Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental health issues now are the leading cause of illness in the workplace. A study conducted by the American Institute of Stress in 2014 showed that job pressure was the leading cause of stress in the U.S. The annual cost to employers in health care and missed work topped $300 billion.

Ignoring mental health in the workplace doesn’t make good business sense. Research shows that companies in the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index (FTSE 100) that prioritize employee engagement and well-being outperform the rest of the FTSE 100 by 10 percent. We know that work performance and effectiveness largely is dependent on mental health and well-being. With as many as one in four of us experiencing mental health problems in the course of a year, organizations understand that this is an important issue for them and their staff.

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Brain and Behavior

Is Stress Good for You?

Disparaged as dangerous, healthy stress levels actually can push you to peak performance. Too much of it, though, strains your heart, robs you of mental clarity and even increases your risk of chronic disease. A study by the American Institute of Stress reported that 77 percent of U.S. citizens regularly experienced the physical symptoms of stress. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed feel that they are living with extreme stress levels.

Researchers and psychologists now say that it is possible to learn how to identify and manage individual reactions to stress. We can develop healthier outlooks as well as improve performance on cognitive tests, at work, and in athletics.

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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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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

The Brain-Gut Connection: How Gut Bacteria May Treat Depression

We humans have a second brain. Come to think of it, men have three. The second one, called our enteric nervous system, consists of some 100 million neurons that are embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut, which starts at the esophagus and ends at the anus. It measures approximately nine meters long, deeper than most swimming pools.

As important as the neurons in the gut is the kind of bacteria found there. Our body is a dwelling place for about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as our microbiome.
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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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My Mental Health Journey in Surviving Cancer

I live with bipolar disorder, OCD, and migraines, and have recovered from complex PTSD, an eating disorder, and other difficult illnesses. I've survived homelessness, domestic violence, and other traumas. Still, when my doctor gave me a cancer diagnosis last winter, it was the hardest shock yet.

First I had to wait a few weeks to see my oncologists and get a treatment plan: six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. The wait was gloomy, filled with dread and fear. I told only close family, not wanting to spread bad news.
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Brain and Behavior

How to Stay Motivated and Committed to Your Mindfulness Meditation Practice

Many people these days are starting a mindfulness meditation practice with great intentions and lots of enthusiasm. They’ve heard of its health benefits, and are eager to start meditating. However, few of them stay committed long-term. And those who don’t stick with it will have a hard time dealing with stress in their lives.

There are several reasons why many people quit soon after beginning:

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Anxiety and Panic

Tips for Thwarting Panic Attacks

I awake in the middle of a summer night, hot and uncomfortable and possibly disoriented from a disturbing dream.

Feelings of nausea intertwine with the heat, rendering me physically drained.

I sit in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices, feet tapping in sporadic rhythm, nervous at the onset of blood pressure readings and other evaluations.
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Brain and Behavior

One Way to Lose Weight: The Do More Good Principle

One of the interesting things about losing a lot of weight is that everyone wants to know your secret. It is as if there were some magic potion that only a select few know about.

When I was 275 pounds, I used to scour the web and magazines for secrets to losing weight; I was a little obsessed. I came into contact with people who were successful with weight loss and would probe them for their secret. They usually said “diet and exercise.” That is definitely not what I wanted to hear. I would try one television “secret” after another, all of them promising swift and long-term weight loss. I became so desperate to lose weight that I was throwing my money (that’s all they are after) at these advertisements.

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Brain and Behavior

Can’t Make a Decision? 4 Things to Try

You’ve just worked your third 12-hour day in a row, with no sign of the craziness winding down in the days ahead, when a client calls you with yet another problem that needed to be solved -- yesterday.

In that moment, it may seem like your brain simply gives up while your client is still on the line, waiting for you to provide another one of the quick, brilliant solutions that she’s come to depend on you for.

This moment of mental paralysis, or the inability to make an effective decision in a brief moment, even if it’s normally easy for you, is what’s known as decision fatigue.
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Psychology Around the Net: August 15, 2015

Good morning (or, afternoon!), Psych Central readers!

This week's Psychology Around the Net covers information about mood disorders and heart disease, helpful tips for pursuing happiness, a new study for preventing schizophrenia, and more.

Enjoy reading and the rest of your day!

Teens With Depression, Bipolar Disorder Should Be Screened For Heart Disease, Experts Say: There's much evidence suggesting heart disease and depression are interlinked in older adults, but now the American Heart Association has stated teens with mood disorders might be at an increased risk for heart disease, too.

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Stressless Aging

I don’t mean to stress you out, but according to a growing number of scientific reports, stress makes us age more quickly. Research suggests that from our skin to our hearts, brains, and even cells, the more we stress, the older we get. The question, “Do we age because of stress or is getting older stressful?” leaves us with yet another chicken and egg scenario.

We're a nation that is collectively losing its mind over the whole stress issue. We’re told that it’s a natural response, an evolutionary act of survival to fight or flee from harm. We’re also told that this response itself can kill us. One side says that we have to control life events in order to reduce stress, while the other states that we only need to control how we think about stress to reduce its damaging effects.

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