Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: January 23, 2016


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

I've been snowed in for the past few days and I have to admit, the extra time to really dive in and reflect gave me a hard time choosing from so many new and interesting psychology-related topics this week!

However, I managed, so now you can dive in and learn more about tackling mental illness stigma with social media, how a father's depression can affect premature birth, why learning how to properly feel emotions...
Continue Reading

Books

Want to Make 2016 a Happier Year? Here’s How I Did It Month by Month

If you’re looking for ways to make 2016 a happier, healthier, more productive year, may I self-promotingly suggest my book, The Happiness Project?

The first day of the new year always feels so fresh and full of promise to me -- but at the same time, it’s very discouraging to look back over the year that’s just ended, and realize that I’d never accomplished an important, happiness-boosting change that I’d hoped to make.

This feeling is one of the major reasons that I undertook my happiness project.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Finding the Illusive Optimism Hidden Inside Us All

"Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them." -- Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD)
In the film “Adaptation,” stressed-out screenwriter Charlie Kaufman has a twin brother, Donald, who’s seemingly perfect. He’s everything Charlie’s not. No, Donald’s not the most handsome or successful guy in the world. What Donald has in spades is optimism.

He’s not afraid to try something new and he’s no stranger to failure. He’s not defined by how others perceive him, and he doesn’t let their opinions hold him back. He doesn’t anticipate the worst-case scenario, so he doesn’t live his life paralyzed by what-ifs.
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Emotions Are Physical

In 2003, I learned that emotions were physical experiences. It was an “Aha!” moment for me. Of course they are!

When an emotion is triggered in your brain, it sends a series of impulses all over your brain and body. Physically, each emotion contains a program that causes very specific physiological changes that ready us for action. We can sense these changes physically by paying attention to our bodies.

Continue Reading

5 Tips for Coping with the Post-Holiday Blues

Do you hear that sound? What sound, you ask? The sound of calm after the holidays. The moment when we realize the guests have left and the errands are complete. The moment when we finally look around and notice all we have missed while immersed in the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays.

Personally, the days immediately following New Year's Day are mixed emotion days for me. The first couple weeks of January, I relax in the glow of Christmas and the expectation of new beginnings. Yet, mingled amid my joyous feelings, there is a feeling of sadness as I realize that the holiday season has ended and normal life has returned.

Since I was a young child, I have loved the period from Halloween to New Year's because of the festivities, the traditions, the foods, smells, and sights. Yet it seems that as soon as Halloween is upon us, in a flash, we are past New Year's Day.

Continue Reading

Ethics & Morality

Buddhism, Spirituality & Dependency

Recently I attended a six-day Zen meditation retreat (sesshin in Japanese) which included the celebration of Rohatsu on December 8. Rohatsu is said to be the day that Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, came to his great enlightenment.

As a couples therapist and student of attachment theory, I cannot deny what seem to be inherent contradictions of this spiritual path and current research on healthy dependency. First, Siddhartha left his home, his wife, his newborn, his parents, and his duties as a prince to go alone on a spiritual quest. Accounts also say that he left at night and did not say goodbye to his wife or see his newborn son.

Continue Reading

General

In Love & Still Lonely

Many of us believe that if we feel lonely, we are searching for love. We think that love is the most profound feeling possible; it is the glue that holds us together. It is the greatest joy we can experience.

While this may be true under the right circumstances, love also is fickle. We have the capacity to fall in love with someone who is unavailable. Maybe the person we love doesn’t love us back. We might fall in love with someone who is incapable of expressing emotions or affection. In fact, falling in love with the wrong person can be the worst of all heartaches.

Continue Reading

General

How to be Productive without Losing Your Sanity or Skimping on Self-Care

In our quest to get things done, we might be missing something, or rather someone, very important: ourselves.

That is, in trying to get everything checked off our to-do lists, we might neglect our needs. We might sacrifice sleep. We might work overtime without much, if any, rest. We might feel the pressure to schedule every minute of our day, believing that we should be doing and going all the time.

Continue Reading

Happiness

5 Ways Faking Confidence Leads to Authentic Happiness


Sometimes you have to work with what you've got!

Fake it 'til you make it -- We hear this advice all the time.

But, does the approach really work?

When you know what you’re doing and where you’re going, you carry yourself more assertively and, as a result, attract better opportunities.

And it seems, even when you don’t know what you're doing, when you ethically fake it by acting overconfident, you still achieve greater happiness.

Continue Reading

General

8 Small Ways to Show Your Spouse Some Love

Gretchen Rubin says, “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” This is true for relationships. Love is in the small things. In daily acts.

“Consistency is king in relationships,” said Anna Osborn, LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist who practices in Sacramento, Calif., and virtually coaches couples across the country. So as great as grand gestures are, it’s the small acts that help our partners to feel seen and significant. Feeling valued is our biggest need in intimate relationships, Osborn said.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

5 More Ways to be Kind to Yourself When You’re Anxious

So many of us judge ourselves for being anxious. We think we’re weak. We think we’re being stupid or ridiculous. We think we shouldn’t feel this way -- and ironically, these thoughts only exacerbate our anxiety.

According to clinical psychologist Karin Lawson, PsyD, “When someone is judging themselves for having feelings, then it doesn't allow space to figure out how to soothe and move through the emotion.”

She shared this analogy: A person is experiencing physical pain in her arm. She purposely tenses up and tightens her arm muscles to power through it. But this just layers the pain and creates more discomfort.
Continue Reading

Family

When People Cross Your Boundaries

People cross our boundaries in all sorts of ways. For instance, they might keep pushing you to change your “no” into a “yes” to meet their needs, said Julie de Azevedo Hanks, Ph.D, LCSW, founder and executive director of Wasatch Family Therapy.

They might borrow something and never return it, said psychotherapist Liz Morrison, LCSW. They might invade your personal space -- like touching your pregnant belly without permission. They might instruct your child on how to behave.
Continue Reading