The Purpose of Emotions as Told through ‘Inside Out’

I was a little skeptical of the animated feature film “Inside Out" when I first met Joy. "Not another lesson about replacing everything with positivity," I thought during the first part of the movie. Her dazzling blue hair, her incessant happy attitude, and her “go-get-'er” attitude were almost too much for me to handle.

I suppose one could say that Joy is the epitome of happiness. But her heart is in the right place. She really wants the best for 11-year-old Riley (the protagonist).
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How to Stay Focused at Work During Personal Crisis

If you’ve made your career a top priority, you’re no doubt a pro at honoring your professional commitments and continually striving for excellence. You may have even made sacrifices to succeed in the workplace -- like not calling in sick when you probably should have or putting your social life on the back burner to stay late and produce the best possible results at the office.

But how do you keep those career ambitions on track then when a major life event suddenly rocks your world? And I’m talking big stuff -- like a family member is diagnosed with cancer, you find yourself in serious financial trouble, or your fiancé calls off the wedding.

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The Line between Parenting and Political Correctness

Parenting is the most difficult, challenging, and stressful job anyone will ever do in their life. With a job that requires no qualifications and offers no training, how do parents know what is right and what is wrong when shaping their children for the future?

As parents we are supposed to protect our children. We are supposed to make choices for them when they are too young to make them for themselves. We are supposed to teach them to be compassionate, understanding, and kind. We are supposed to raise them to be independent and motivated to make decisions on their own.

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What Mild Depression Really Is and What Can Help

We often think that mild depression isn’t that serious and doesn’t require treatment. It is mild, after all. People also confuse mild depression with “subclinical” depression.* That is, they assume it’s not full-blown, true-blue depression. They might assume it doesn’t meet diagnostic criteria for the illness (the criteria laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which clinicians use to diagnose disorders.)

However, in actuality, a person with mild depression does meet criteria for a major depressive episode. They do have depression. But their symptoms are mild in intensity and impairment, said Melanie A. Greenberg, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in Marin County, Calif., who specializes in managing mood, stress and relationships.

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8 Creative Techniques to Cope with Painful Emotions

Many of us have a hard time coping with negative emotions. This makes sense. “Painful feelings like anxiety, sadness, anger and shame tap into the parts of our brain that are connected to survival,” according to Joy Malek, M.S., a licensed marriage and family therapist. For instance, the anger we feel when we’re hurt is the same as the flight, fight or freeze response we experience when our survival is seriously threatened, she said.

We also tend to learn very early that getting mad or crying is not OK, said Meredith Janson, MA, LPC, a therapist in private practice in Washington, D.C. who specializes in expressive arts therapy. “As a mother of a toddler myself, I see every day how children can easily become overwhelmed by their feelings of sadness, frustration and anger. There is a temptation to distract the child or to cheer them up in order to make all the ‘fuss’ stop.”

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How to Eliminate Recurring Nightmares

All of us have nightmares. Maybe in your nightmare you’re being chased by some terrifying but unknown entity. Maybe you’re surrounded by bloodthirsty vampires or hordes of zombies. Maybe you’re trapped in a room with snakes or spiders or any other animal you fear. Maybe you or a loved one is involved in a car wreck or a violent assault.

Maybe you keep having this nightmare over and over. And it’s so real, so vivid, so frightening that the last thing you want to do is fall back asleep.

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Brain and Behavior

4 Ways to Deal with Job Search Rejection

The resume that goes off into the online application ether.

The call for a second interview that never comes.

The rejection letter from your dream job that hits you like a ton of bricks.

No matter what stage you are at in the job search process, it’s likely that rejection has reared its ugly head in your direction. Being turned down for a role you really want is never fun, and it sure can tank your confidence.
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Brain and Behavior

Coping through Comedy

I recently viewed “Misery Loves Comedy,” a 2015 documentary that examines the darker side of comedy. Do you need to be miserable to be comedic? Not necessarily, but this intriguing film highlights interviews with several comics who all wonder where their inherent drive to be funny stems from.

Interestingly enough, many relay that comedy can act as a mechanism to cope, to receive positive attention, or to manage personal distress. They’re certainly not alone.

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When You Feel Empty: What It Means & What to Do

If you’re feeling empty, you’re not alone. Many of us feel empty in different ways. For instance, you might feel empty because something is missing in your life, said Kaitlyn Slight, a marriage and family therapist in Raleigh, N.C. This might be emptiness from a loved one moving or passing away, she said.

Or the emptiness might stem from "slowly abandon[ing] ourselves, not listening to our own hopes and desires." You might abandon yourself unintentionally or unknowingly because you’re striving for perfection or others’ approval, she said. You might stop caring for yourself while focusing on your career. For instance, you might stop moving your body or getting enough sleep. Abandoning ourselves can spark anxiety, depression, guilt and shame, she said.
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4 Ways to Help a Struggling Coworker

When you spend 40+ hours a week with the same group of people, you can’t help but form bonds. Shared experiences like laughing at office-related inside jokes, dealing with tough bosses, and frequenting favorite lunch spots can turn colleagues into personal friends.

You may even come to know about your coworkers’ lives outside of the office. In the modern workplace, it’s not uncommon to spend time with your coworkers outside the office at happy hours and fitness classes or know about (or even meet) their kids, spouse, and friends.
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Children and Teens

8 Insightful Quotes about Life from ‘Wish I Was Here’

The 2014 Kickstarter-inspired release, "Wish I Was Here," starring Zach Braff and Kate Hudson, features a multifaceted narrative for middle adulthood. Braff’s character, Aidan Bloom, is a husband and father who faces obstacles regarding career choice, parenting, faith and impending loss. As the natural progression of life runs its course, new (and rather challenging and emotionally painful) experiences manifest.

Here are eight insightful quotes from this poignant film:
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