Green and Environment Articles

6 Summer Activities to Boost Your Spirits

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

6 Summer Activities to Boost Your SpiritsCome summer, we may bask under blue skies, gorge on delicious barbecue and frequent the outdoors, acquiring boosts of vitamin D. However, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can occur in the summer months, too.

Here are summery activities that may reignite innocence and enjoyment:

Anxious? Stressed? Depressed? Hire Nature as Your Therapist

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Mysterious path

Stressed out? Let nature calm you down.

For the past ten years I have taken a small group of people into the woods for a seven-day retreat in the fall. Every year, I am amazed at the healing effects of this. By the end of the week, everyone is blissful, at peace and alive in ways they were not when they arrived.

Each year, at least one person experiences a radical, life-changing shift. They have the tools to endure suffering better than they have in the past.

Now Japanese scientific studies prove that “forest bathing” or taking a walk in the woods, can have a profound effect on the immune system and the elimination of stress and anxiety. Yoshifumi Miyazaki, director of the Center for Environment Health and Field Sciences at Chiba University and the head researcher on the project, said, “humans had lived in nature for 5 million years. We were made to fit a natural environment. So we feel stress in an urban area…When we are exposed to nature, our bodies go back to how they should be.” In fact, “forest bathing” is a standard preventative medicine in Japan for those at risk of stress-induced diseases.

Are Antidepressants Enough?

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Are Antidepressants Enough?Zinc, exercise, Vitamin D and potential stress busters top the list of new possibilities to supplement the widespread use of antidepressant medicines. The latest research is welcome because antidepressants only work about half the time, and they often come with unwanted side effects, such as low libido, weight gain, and in some cases (believe it or not) depression.

Water’s Psychological Benefits

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Water's Psychological Benefits“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.”

- President John F. Kennedy

The ocean shimmered, even at dusk, on that wintry day in Coney Island. It was my first encounter with a beach in several months, and I deeply missed the view.

Living with Extreme Sound Sensitivity

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Living with Extreme Sound SensitivityIf you feel disgusted to the point of rage when you hear the sound of chewing, swallowing, breathing, throat-clearing and other common “people” noises, you’re not alone. You’re also not crazy. Misophonia is a sound sensitivity disorder, which makes certain noises intolerable to the sufferer.

Although this condition is primarily neurological, the experience of these sounds can cause psychological distress. The term misophonia was developed by Pawel and Margaret Jastreboff, American neuroscientists. Literally translated, it means “hatred of sounds.”

Summertime Self-Care: 10 Ways to Nurture Yourself This Season

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Summertime Self-Care: 10 Ways to Nurture Yourself This SeasonThe summertime is all about slowing down, kicking back and unwinding. It’s the season for barbecues, sand between your toes, boat rides, plunges into the pool and other relaxing and rejuvenating adventures.

We asked several therapists and coaches to share their ideas for nurturing ourselves (and having fun) this summer. Here are their self-care suggestions.

1. Plan a vacation or staycation.

“Where you go isn’t as important as taking the time to do something for yourself,” said Natasha Lindor, a coach and founder of The AND Factor, who helps professionals have a successful career while working less and living more.

Aromatherapy: The Good Smells That Can Make You Happier

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Aromatherapy: The Good Smells That Can Make You HappierWe take the power of scent too lightly. To surround self or surroundings with scent, even demurely, has tremendous potential.  

Aromatherapy can play a part in wellness, but its applications go way beyond the massage room at the spa. 

Some new takes on good smells — even some that you may recognize — follow below. And believe it or not, research backs up a lot of these findings.

For instance, dab a solid-gel flower scent (popularly sold by various makers) on your inner wrist. It can remind you of a behavioral habit you want to transform or bring you to a place of peace amid chaos of the coming day.

Help for Highly Sensitive People in Big Cities

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Help for Highly Sensitive People in Big CitiesBeing a highly sensitive person (HSP) can feel overwhelming.

Being an HSP in a big, boisterous city can feel utterly unbearable. That’s because HSPs have a hard time screening out stimuli. Specifically, the problem lies in artificial stimulation, according to Ted Zeff, Ph.D, a psychologist and author of three books on HSPs, including The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide and his newest book Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy.

All sights, sounds and smells aren’t created equal. Compare a big city’s bright lights, big crowds, honking horns, pollution and bumper-to-bumper traffic with a smaller town’s hiking trails, chirping birds, ocean waves and scents of freshly cut grass.

It’s very hard to function when grating stimuli assault your senses, and you’re in a constant state of overwhelm. One of Zeff’s students told him that at times she felt like she was “walking around with no skin, like a sponge absorbing everything that comes her way.” Over time, this can affect your emotional and physical health, such as spiking your blood pressure, Zeff said.

Our Fear of Silence

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Our Fear of SilenceThe cultivation of mindfulness requires periods of focused attention. Many proponents of mindfulness maintain that this is best developed through seated, silent meditation. So before considering how to focus attention, we must first consider our relationship with silence.

Whether in the center of a city or deep in a forest, the cacophony of sounds around us makes it apparent that true silence is impossible. Composer John Cage wrote music that included long periods of silence. When the musicians stopped playing, concertgoers were quickly confronted with the shuffling, shifting, and coughing sounds in the concert hall.

So what is silence?

Pollution and Well-Being: A Startling Connection

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Pollution and Well-Being: A Startling ConnectionPollution can be ugly.  Just think of an industrial chimney spewing smog into the air.  It has devastating effects on the environment, plants and wildlife.  And we know that pollution has a negative effect on our physical health.  Since the 1970s, a recent article in Monitor on Psychology reports, we’ve studied the harmful impact of pollution on our cardiovascular and respiratory health.

A growing body of evidence indicates that the impact of pollution goes beyond physical health.  According to the Monitor, researchers have found that high levels of air pollution may damage children’s cognitive abilities, increase adult risk of cognitive decline and may even contribute to depression.

The issue is not as visible or taken as seriously as it should be, according to Paul Mohai, PhD, a professor in the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources.

Why Hurricane Sandy Made Me Think of Winston Churchill

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Why Hurricane Sandy Made Me Think of Winston ChurchillI live in New York City, and the destruction in this region wrought by Hurricane Sandy is devastating.

So many people’s homes and  neighborhoods and entire towns were destroyed, and many more people can’t get basic necessities. It’s overwhelming to think about the amount of work that needs to be done to put things right–and to guard against this kind of disaster in the future.

I’m awed by people’s resiliency in the face of such circumstances. Watching the news the other night reminded me of one of my favorite passages in all literature, from Winston Churchill’s history of the Second World War, Their Finest Hour, about the events of 1940.

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy Emotionally, Psychologically

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy Emotionally, PsychologicallyWhile most people who are likely to bear the brunt of Hurricane Sandy have already bought all of their bottled water and batteries, you can’t purchase peace of mind at Walmart (well, maybe you can, I haven’t checked lately).

So what can you do to prepare yourself for Hurricane Sandy from an emotional and psychological standpoint? How can you ensure you keep your calm and wits about you — especially if others are depending on you?

Here are some tips from our past combined articles on coping (mostly) emotionally and psychologically with a hurricane.

Recent Comments
  • Dp: As a treatment resistant depression sufferer, I’m quite familiar with this. But I need to tell you that...
  • Kent: Thank you for this article. I can’t understand why I am having such a difficult time getting over this....
  • Tara: Oh Jennie, I’m sorry to read that you’re in a bad place. Your situation seems as bad as mine except...
  • kristina: They didn’t seem to mention higher levels of leptin, nor any background on other habits of the woman...
  • London: Thanks Alf. However, I’m afraid that I’m not as optimistic as you. My first marriage ended...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 15061
Join Us Now!