Do’s and Don’ts for Setting Healthy Boundaries

Leading a truly healthy and authentic lifestyle requires setting defined personal boundaries to create better relationships. Setting such boundaries helps improve communication skills, preserves self-respect and self-esteem, and decreases feelings of resentment and guilt. Knowing who we are as individuals and having a clear understanding of the space between where we end and another person begins is essential to living an emotionally healthy life.

For many people, setting these boundaries can be challenging and, in some cases, a completely new concept.
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Mental Health Hygiene Habits

Parents, teachers, and doctors regularly encourage young people to establish good physical hygiene habits. Here are just a few: Bathe daily. Eat healthy meals. Brush your teeth at least once a day. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom. Clip your toenails before they get too long. These habits become routine after a while.

Most of us probably were not intentionally taught good mental health hygiene habits. These habits also bring consistency to our lives, promote wellness and resilience, and protect us from becoming overwhelmed by mental illness.

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6 Ways to Unplug and De-Stress

Stress, anxiety, chronic fatigue, sleep deprivation and overwhelm are so deeply woven into our lives these days that we regularly seek ways to decompress. On the surface, this looks like a great remedy to balance the madness and the desire for peace in our lives. If we dig deeper, we’ll find that a slight shift in lifestyle will create the space our mind and body need without oscillating between burned out and chilled out.

Below are six simple ways to unplug.

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Choosing Not to Get Upset

We often assume that our emotional responses are dictated by the situation. When we experience an upsetting event, we believe that we have no choice except to react to it. Any other response seems unnatural, or even impossible. But is it?

Sometimes we can choose not to get upset by a situation that normally would have upset us. To succeed, we must think through the situation, recognize that we have a choice, consider the consequences of our response, and then be deliberate about our reaction.

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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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Brain and Behavior

Is There a Pandemic of Smartphone Addiction?

I love fear-mongering. I feel it is one of the surest indications that whatever you're reading has little basis in science (or fact), and a lot of basis in opinion. So for me, fear-mongering acts as a quick but fairly accurate filter when reading stuff online; I can stop reading once I see the article is just another attempt to garner a reaction, rather than have a nuanced conversation.

I hear professionals expounding their doom-and-gloom scenarios all the time in the arena of mental health. But nowhere is it louder than when expert suggest that technology is "addictive." It's a tired old refrain we can trace back to video games in the 1970s -- and one that can be readily shown to be demonstrably false.

There is no digital drug. There is no "pandemic" of technology or smartphone addiction. There are only pundits who go around proclaiming there is, often with little or no scientific backing.

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Brain and Behavior

The Power of Your Thinking

You talk to yourself all day. All your waking hours, you are thinking in words and sentences. You carry on an internal conversation with yourself. You comment on events, ask yourself questions and then answer them. This is normal. We all do it, but we usually aren’t aware that we’re doing it.

Have you ever stopped to consider the impact of all this internal chatter? You might be surprised at the degree to which your thoughts influence your mood, guide your perceptions and direct your behaviors. We would all do well to pay attention to the content of our thoughts, and consider their influence on our mood and choices. Have negative thought patterns caused you to experience unnecessary pain or make unhealthy choices?

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Spring Cleaning of the Psyche

Don’t insist on going where you think you want to go.
Ask the way to the Spring.
Your living pieces will form a harmony. ~ Rumi
With all the chaos in our world, information overload on our computers, and daily tests of our emotional equilibrium, how do we stay the course? How do we keep mind, heart, and spirit clear for what matters most?
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The Benefits of Mindful Eating

At 2 p.m. I still hadn’t eaten lunch. I was struggling to finish up an article before my daughter walked in the door from school. But a growling stomach was making it hard to focus.

I moved to the kitchen, grabbed a banana and a handful of crackers and ate them at the counter, while making notes on my to-do List. Then I grabbed a piece of string cheese from the fridge and a rubbery Tootsie Pop from the back cupboard and carried them to my desk. I still don’t remember eating the lollipop, but the wrapper is sitting there under the computer monitor.

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5 More Tips for Finding Love with a Mental Illness

In a previous post, we discussed five tips for finding love with a mental illness. Here are five more.

1. When to discuss your mental illness? It's a dilemma: When should you reveal your mental illness? The first date should be fun and light so you can find common ground, but you probably don't want to wait so long that a medical event suddenly thrusts your problems into the spotlight.

As you contemplate a future with your significant other, please remember: Don't feel ashamed of your mental illness, medication, or counseling. It's no different from needing medicine for diabetes or having a drug allergy; they're just different types of medical issues that everyday people have.

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