Creativity

Revising the Negative Narratives We Tell About Ourselves

All of us hold stories about ourselves. Maybe you’re unwittingly telling yourself that in order to be lovable, you must always say yes to others and avoid upsetting them. At all cost. Maybe you’re telling yourself that you’re terrible at romantic relationships.

Maybe you’re telling yourself that you can’t switch careers, or succeed with having ADHD. Maybe you’re telling yourself that you don’t deserve kindness. Maybe you’re telling yourself that you can’t tolerate painful emotions. Maybe you’re telling yourself that you’re not creative or smart or qualified. Maybe you’re telling yourself that in order to be respected you must never show weakness or make mistakes.
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Family

Marriage Meetings: Not for Everyone?

“I’ve been married 38 years. Are you saying my husband and I need to hold a formal meeting when we’re doing fine?” a radio talk show host challenged me.

Up until this point her tone had been contentious while I focused on practicing active listening (1) and on staying composed. I couldn’t blame her for being contentious. Her job is to inform and entertain listeners. Who doesn’t enjoy hearing a little skirmish now and then along with some good sound bites?

“Are you saying there’s no room for growth in your relationship?” I asked, in a puzzled tone.
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General

Connecting to Your Core Self

We often come across the term “core self” in magazines or online. Maybe we hear it in conversation. Maybe we hear statements like it’s important to connect to your core self. It’s important to develop a deep understanding of it. Doing so is vital for building a fulfilling, meaningful life.

But what is a “core self”? What does it really mean?

According to psychotherapist Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, “core self is your true self, or most authentic self.” It is our “inner wisdom, inner nurturer, wise self, feeling self, inner voice…” It is our values and personality, she said.
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General

How to Stop Beating Yourself Up for Messing Up

We tend to beat ourselves up for all sorts of things—for making a bad decision 2 years ago. For making a rude remark. For not going back to school when we were younger. For getting into debt. For staying in a toxic relationship for too long. For bombing an interview for a job we so desperately wanted. For not being productive. For being too sensitive. For misspelling a word. For giving a boring presentation.

Basically, for so many of us, the list is endless.

And, of course, we beat ourselves up for days, months, years. An insult-fueled record that plays on repeat.
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Depression

Beyond Ending the Stigma: Radical Compassion for Suicide Prevention

When my dad ended his life, it felt like I arrived somewhere I had always been headed. I was 13 years old when I first saw the signs. I was 15 when he was hospitalized for his first attempt -- his life thereafter owed to the vulnerable courage he demonstrated by calling 9-1-1 on himself. I was 26 when, after a long recovery, he spiraled downward again. 27 when we intervened and got him to go back to therapy. And then, I was 28 when I stood in front of his house last year -- just before Thanksgiving -- and learned that his life had ended. That our brave fight was over.
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Addiction

6 Signs You’re a Productivity Addict

Do a search on Google for “productivity” and you’re served up almost 18 million results.

Dive in and you’ll find blogs, websites, apps, op-eds, subreddits, consulting firms, podcasts, and scientific studies devoted to the art of efficiency.

Our obsession in modern society with doing more is rivaled only by our preoccupation with doing it harder, better, faster and stronger. We’re gunning the engines at max speed, cramming our work days full of tasks, then feeling guilty if we steal a quick second to call a friend or read a book for pure pleasure (gasp!).
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Books

Psychology Around the Net: October 8, 2016


If the image didn't give it away...today is my birthday!

I've been celebrating since last night -- not because I'm a person who likes a big deal made out of her birthday, but because I have family members and friends who love me and want to celebrate life with me.

I'm blessed, and I'm eternally grateful for it.

So, while I take a break this morning and check out What Science Has to Say About Being in Your 30s (much of which I'm pretty used to at this point, I'm sure), why don't you check out some of this week's latest in mental health news such as how psychology explains our fear of clowns, how we're sabotaging ourselves during the pursuit of happiness, how our personalities can help us choose the best careers, and more!

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Brain and Behavior

How Complaining Can Alter Our Perception

It is intuitive that a negative attitude and constant complaining are bad for us, but can it really affect our brain? It turns out that there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that negativity can alter our perception of life by changing the connection of the neurons in our brain. This would then result in increased stress levels, which is linked to chronic diseases and mental health problems.

A common perception of complaining or “venting” is that people feel better after getting their emotions out. Contrary to popular belief, however, studies have shown that expressing negativity can be bad for the mood of both the complainer and the listener, and here we briefly discuss a few findings on how negativity can impact our well-being.
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General

A Doctorate in Mixology: How to Overcome Crippling Underemployment

"I need an extra shot of espresso in my latte" an impetuous woman barks.

You flinch at her shrillness; her demeaning tone irks. Muttering to yourself, you add an extra shot of espresso for her iced latte. Maybe if she knew I was a (doctor, lawyer, accountant), she wouldn’t be so condescending, you think.

The synapses are connecting in your mind. You are a (doctor, lawyer, accountant) and you are retrieving iced lattes in your local coffee shop.

Whaaat?
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Brain and Behavior

Why I Prescribe Pokemon Go for My Patients

This week, the parent of one of my patients asked me about Pokémon Go. She was concerned with her child’s obsession and felt like this could lead to social or emotional problems.

Electronics, as with most things, are good in moderation -- but Pokémon Go isn’t your average video game. Unlike games that keep people glued to the couch, Pokémon Go requires people to get up, move around, and interact with others. What that means to me as a child psychiatrist is that it comes with a variety of health benefits. Exercise is as good for the brain as it is for the rest of the body. I’ve seen people walking, riding their bikes, and finding more excuses to get outside because of Pokémon Go.

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Habits

When Perseverance Costs You Success

Most of us know that persevering -- staying the course and not giving up despite difficulties and setbacks -- is an important part of what it takes to be successful in many areas of life. Intelligence, or talent, alone isn’t enough if you cannot persevere and weather frustration and challenges.

But perseverance, like other intrinsically healthy behaviors, can be taken too far and actually work against moving forward. When this happens, what may look like constructive perseverance functions behind the scenes as an unconscious attempt to avoid loss or avoid the positive risks required to progress to the next chapter. Another issue masquerading as perseverance, particularly with bright, driven people who are used to getting it right, is the compulsive need to prove themselves or restore a feeling of omnipotence.
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Anger

4 Ways To Stop Overthinking Your Mistakes

You know how when you trip walking down the street, it feels like the entire cityscape of people is staring at you in amusement? Or when you’ve worn the same pair of pants three times in one week, you’re completely paranoid your colleagues are judging you for your lack of fashion sense (or cleanliness)? What about when you fumble over your words in a presentation, and then can’t stop thinking about how every person in the room now thinks you’re a terrible speaker?

As human beings with egos and an innate self-awareness of our own feelings, actions and thoughts, we tend to notice and greatly exaggerate our flaws while assuming everyone around us has a microscope focused on our faults, mistakes and slip-ups. In truth, other people don’t notice them nearly as much as we assume. Why? Because they’re too busy noticing and greatly exaggerating their own flaws!
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