The Sneaky Way You’re Sabotaging Your Own Happiness (And How to Fix It)

You feel on top of the world, invincible, and light -- for about five minutes, until things start to go south.

You swear your boss has been looking at you funny for a few days in a row, your computer crashes just as you’re about to send in a report, you lock yourself out of your apartment, and you have one too many glasses of wine at the company happy hour.

So much for a few days ago, when you totally had your life together. Now you’re left wondering, “Where did that woman go and how do I get her back?”
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Anxiety and Panic

Navigating Catastrophic Thinking, Part 3

When you hear the words “catastrophic thinking,” you likely think of catastrophes, disasters and destruction. And you’d be right. Catastrophic thinking occurs when our minds create worst-case scenarios or exaggerate the negative outcome of a situation, said Jenna Wierenga, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist who works with adolescents and adults at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, an outpatient clinic in Grand Rapids, Mich.

For instance, according to Wierenga, catastrophic thinking is dwelling on all the things that could go wrong with your presentation: “What if I mix up the order of my presentation? What if I choke on my words? What if I faint or have to run out of the boardroom?”
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

8 Ways to Feel Better in a Hurry When You’re Depressed

There will always be dark days, weeks or months where our problems seem insurmountable or every day feels like a journey through an obstacle course. Sometimes resolutions or positive progress can happen quickly. Other times we can only keep plodding forward in faith and with patience. We may not be able to eradicate the difficulties immediately, but we can ease them, make the expedition more bearable and keep going in the right direction.

Below are eight simple ways to make yourself feel better in a hurry. You can practice them anywhere and anytime.

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9 Simple Ways to Exercise Your Brain

Research shows it's possible for both our bodies and our minds to age well. Try incorporating a few of the tips below to keep your brain sharp and strong well into your golden years.

Write a thank-you letter.
Research shows that writing with a pen on paper can create and sharpen existing neural pathways in the brain, while carving new neuronal connections. The hippocampus, which is responsible for memory formation, and stories of memories also is exercised. Research proves every day that cultivating and expressing gratitudecan make you healthier and happier.
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5 Tips to Help You Refocus and Get Things Done

Many things can derail our focus and stop us from accomplishing our work and what’s important to us. Technology, of course, is a big one. “Modern distractions like social media are designed to play on our psychology,” said Melody Wilding, LMSW, a therapist who works with female entrepreneurs.

“As humans, we’re cognitive misers, meaning that we will do anything to avoid mentally intensive tasks and conserve our brain energy.” Technology, with its rapid-fire updates and rewards, makes avoiding complex work that much easier.
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5 More Obstacles that Prevent You from Being Assertive

Many things can squelch our attempts at being assertive -- before we ever even start to express ourselves. In a previous piece we talked about three obstacles that stall assertiveness: a sinking self-worth; our fear of disconnecting with the other person; and lack of communication and emotional management skills.

Because there are many other obstacles, we asked two different clinicians to share their thoughts. Below, you’ll find five more obstacles and practical ways to overcome them.
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Anxiety and Panic

Navigating Catastrophic Thinking, Part 2

When we’re struggling with catastrophic thinking, our mind imagines all kinds of disasters occurring: A presentation at work not only doesn’t go well, but it ends in getting fired. Asking someone on a date ends in a big fat “No!” and getting humiliated. Your best friend not returning your call ends in them hating you. Your spouse running late ends in a car wreck.

These are the disastrous assumptions our minds make -- for some of us, more regularly than others.
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Assertiveness: The Art of Respecting Your Needs While Also Respecting Others’ Needs

Assertiveness lies on a spectrum. On one extreme you’ll find passivity. On the other extreme is aggressiveness. According to psychotherapist Ali Miller, MFT, “Passivity often results from the belief that ‘my needs don’t matter.’” Aggressiveness often results from the belief that ‘your needs don’t matter.’”

Being assertive marries both beliefs. “Assertiveness is the art of holding everyone’s needs with care -- including my own -- when there is something that I want,” said Miller, who has a private practice in Berkeley and San Francisco, Calif., and specializes in helping adults live more authentic, empowered and connected lives.
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: September 5, 2015

Happy September, Psych Central readers!

Our first Psychology Around the Net of the month covers habits to boost creativity, ways to deal with narcissists, how to protect yourself from negativity, and more.


6 Unusual Habits of Exceptionally Creative People: How early do you rise? Are you getting enough exercise? What about your schedule -- how strict is it? You might want to brush up on these tips and more to channel your own exceptional creativity.

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Brain and Behavior

Top 10 Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

Being a perfectionist is stressful. I get it. I consider myself a recovering perfectionist. I've made a lot of progress. I've learned to let go of a lot of things, to relax and enjoy my life, to be nicer to myself, and to take more risks. I've come to realize that people don't actually give much thought to my shortcomings.

Growing up I was a people-pleaser and a high achiever. I was a shy kid who didn't want to make mistakes or do new things (where I might fail). Ironically, because I felt so imperfect, it wasn't until I was an adult that I identified as a perfectionist.

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3 Obstacles that Stop You from Being Assertive & What You Can Do

Being assertive can seem easy in theory. You simply tell someone what you’re thinking, feeling, wanting or wishing. You express yourself in a clear, firm and respectful way.

But there are many things that can prevent us from being assertive. It might be everything from our own mindset to a lack of skills.

Below, psychotherapist Julie de Azevedo Hanks, Ph.D, MSW, LCSW, shared three obstacles that may stand in our way, along with how to overcome these hurdles.
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