Family

New Year’s & Coping with Loss

As soon as the Christmas rush subsides and the wrapping paper is thrown away, we start to think about how we will ring in the new year. Images of smiling faces, popping champagne corks, and fireworks tell us how we might be behaving, thinking or even feeling. Yet for many, the persistent feelings of loss and sadness about a person, a relationship or life once lived limit the awareness that a new year is truly a new start.

The spotlight that is placed on our lives at New Year's creates a make-believe time where we imagine that the thoughts we engage with can assist us in navigating the year ahead. While the powers of intentional thoughts have their place in our emotional well-being, for many facing lost loved ones or relationships, their desires can be beyond their grasp.

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Grief and Loss

The Top 7 Ways You Can Make Your Pain Work for You

Grief can be the garden of compassion. -- Rumi
Have you ever had lower back pain? I once wrenched my back and walked at snail’s pace for weeks, crippled by pain. Lower back pain troubled me for years, until I found an exercise that reliably switches off the pain.

Have you ever lost a loved one? The anguish can seem unbearable.

Abolishing pain might seem a good idea, but please pause to consider this story.

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Anger

Sadness in the Midst of Gladness

It’s a happy time of year. A time to be joyous. A time to be together with family. But I'm listening to a sad story. A young woman died in an instant. A bone got stuck in her throat. A stupid, senseless, useless death.

A mom is in shock. She can’t believe what has happened. People come to pay respects. They bring food. They shed tears. They embrace. They offer their deepest sympathies. They ask if there’s anything they can do. But they all know that the one thing they wish they could do, they can’t.

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Anxiety and Panic

How to Get Out of a Work Rut or Career Slump


Have you ever had a day when things felt off? Maybe you continually lost focus, had an utter lack of motivation, or simply couldn’t rally to get anything done. We’ve all had unproductive days here and there, but occasionally, these slumps can span days, weeks, or even months.

A single bad day is one thing, but a lingering work rut can be detrimental to your happiness, well-being, and career. When you’re in a slump, you don’t produce your best work and may become disengaged from the tasks that used to excite you.
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Caregivers

Coming to Terms with a Chronic Illness

It can be difficult to deal with a diagnosis of a chronic illness. News of a long-term or lifelong condition can take its toll on both your physical and mental health. It can also affect your relationships, home, career and finances.

Each person diagnosed with a chronic illness likely will react differently. There will be challenging times ahead, but adopting certain strategies and knowing that you are not alone can help you cope in the best way possible.

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General

Setting Boundaries Around the Holidays

The holidays are a good time to set boundaries. That’s because there are a lot more demands coming from all directions, said Meredith Janson, MA, LPC, a relationship expert and therapist in private practice in Washington, D.C. This might include everything from buying gifts and sending cards to traveling and attending get-togethers to hosting people -- just to name a few.

By setting boundaries, you’re able to focus on the real meaning of the holidays: gratitude, spiritual traditions and family togetherness, Janson said.

A boundary is simply a “dividing line,” she said. “In psychological terms, it's a catch-phrase meaning setting limits or asserting your thoughts, feelings, and needs even when these are in opposition to the person with whom you're interacting.”
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Children and Teens

Teen Depression and Suicide: The Tough Lessons I Learned


There are important warning signs -- knowing them could save someone close to you.

It started out like any other Friday Fall morning. The foliage was slowly turning to stunning yellows, reds and oranges. Workers and students alike were heading off to their respective responsibilities, likely looking forward to the weekend.

And then the devastating and shocking news started to circulate amongst our friends, loved ones and community.

A 15-year-old 10th grader had taken her life.

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Creativity

Storytelling Will Save the World

Captain’s log. Stardate January 2011. Where unfortunately many have gone before. I’m 26 years old and thinking about dying. Actually, I’m not being entirely truthful. I’m dangling halfway out the fourth floor window of my bedroom in New York City.

I don’t really want to die. I just want the emotional pain to stop, and I don’t know how to do that. Both my father and grandfather didn’t know how to make their own terrible personal pain stop, and now both are dead.
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Family

How to Keep Calm and Carry on During the Holidays

The holidays are fast upon us. In the blink of an eye, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve will have already come and gone.

Holidays bring much time spent with family from near and far, preparing and making elaborate holiday dinners and attending parties, buying expensive gifts to show loved ones how much we care and decorating our homes in holiday regalia. We may even find ourselves up late into the night baking cookies for our children’s teachers, our neighbors, and our co-workers and supervisors.

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Brain and Behavior

Using Imagery to Find Peace After a Breakup

Letting go of relationships is a process. I recently ended one. I cognitively understood the relationship would not work, but the subsequent feelings of loss and pain were still there. To create a healthy distance from my partner, I utilized imagery. I found it to be a powerful tool to create the healthy lifestyle I wanted to live and be my authentic self.

My partner was frequently away on business and personal trips. It was difficult to keep in touch when he traveled so I became accustomed to lengthy silences. To create even more distance I began to imagine the “tie that binds” as a rope engulfing each of us. Across the miles, we were tethered to each other with this imaginary rope.

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Anger

What It Really Means to Practice Radical Acceptance

There are many misconceptions about what radical acceptance -- a skill taught in dialectical behavior therapy -- actually looks like. One of the biggest myths is that radical acceptance means agreeing with what happened. People assume that acceptance is akin to approval.

If I accept what happened, then I approve of it. Then I like it. Then I’m OK with it. Then I excuse the abuse. Then I absolve the person who deeply hurt me of all responsibility. Then I allow the infidelity. Then I can’t do anything about losing my job or losing my home. I can’t change it. Then I resign myself to being miserable. Then I keep wallowing and suffering.


Radical acceptance doesn’t mean any of these things.
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