Creativity for Better Performance

A long term-patient told a fascinating story a couple of weeks ago which points to the power of creativity in strengthening critical thinking. The person’s identity is well-disguised so no confidentiality is breached.

For several years I have been treating a young man (we’ll refer to him as Collin) with psychostimulants for chronic ADD and psychotherapy to address his perfectionism. We’re also working on finding a work environment conducive to combining his entrepreneurial proclivities and his considerable technological savvy. (He taught himself to code a complicated computer program that would benefit his industry.)

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Brain and Behavior

Banish Negative Thoughts Forever

Makes a lot of sense.

When you've hit your lowest low, bouncing back on your feet often seems impossible. You're not where you want to be professionally, mentally or physically, and it's really starting to get you down.

But that doesn't mean you have to let yourself fall deeper into a pattern of destructive thoughts. Sometimes, it may feel easier to wallow in your funk but the truth is that it isn't healthy, and will only make things worse.
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Brain and Behavior

Why the Mundane Matters

We’re always looking forward to the next big thing in our lives, whether it’s a long-awaited trip abroad, graduating from college or getting a promotion at work. So it makes sense that when we set out to document our lives on paper, through photos or on video, we usually focus on the bigger or more unusual happenings.

But while these out-of-the-ordinary moments are certainly worth remembering, research shows that recording even our most mundane everyday experiences can be more meaningful than we realize. We’re generally not very good at predicting what will matter to us down the line.
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You’ve Got a Story to Tell

Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here. ~ Sue Monk Kidd
You’ve been through a lot in life: exceptional experiences, powerful passions, happy happenings, sorrowful situations.

On occasion, you’ve thought to yourself, “I should write about what’s happened to me.” You may not even be sure why. Would you be writing a memoir for yourself, for your kids, for kindred souls? Or should you consider writing a book for publication?
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Anxiety and Panic

Musical Intervention: From Calming Nerves to Weaning Patients Off Ventilators

Music can be a powerful tool. We use it to self-soothe, to brighten our walk to the store, to iron out frayed nerves, and to cut loose.

Because music can elicit a particular emotion at any given time, it can be an effective coping strategy. Music therapy can lead to stress reduction and ease depression symptoms. Our musical taste can even tell us more about ourselves and help us to work through emotions. But can music help us heal? The results of a new study suggest it can.

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5 Foolproof Tips to Overcome Procrastination

If you’re like me, you have a growing to-do list filled with big ideas to accomplish. Yet day after day, life gets in the way and our passion project falls by the wayside.

We make excuses like “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’m not in the mindset right now”, waiting for the perfect moment of inspiration to suddenly strike. The funny thing is that “perfect moment” doesn’t actually exist.
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Stigma Is Contagious

We all need to STOP infecting others with our own stigma.

I was recently scanning through the world’s favorite past time (Facebook, of course) and saw a post by one of my gay friends. That boy had called forth his inner diva and was on a roll about the stigma towards people with HIV.

I commend him with being so forthright about his status, but it also made me realize something. The way he was talking about the stigma of his illness can be applied to so many people of all different conditions.
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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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Anxiety and Panic

What if You Woke Up Tomorrow and Were 15 Years Old Again?

A woman recently told BBC News that she woke up one day in 2008 believing it was 1992. Then 32, Naomi Jacobs was convinced she was 15 years old. She was baffled by modern technology and had no recollection of her 11-year-old son. Even her voice didn’t sound familiar to her -- it was much too deep.

"Everything from fear to joy from seeing this child that I didn't have any memory of giving birth to, but knew undoubtedly that he was mine because he looked so much like me, to terror of having the responsibility of this small child,” Jacobs
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How to Let Go of Letting Go

The art of moving into the peaceful state of Letgo.

After thirty years in the mental health profession, I have grown leery of psychological catchphrases. Sure, they make good headings on posters and coffee mugs, and as personal mantras they can even have a stabilizing and healing effect.

However, much of the time these Neo-Freudian one-liners have all the sincerity of political sound bites and the illuminating power of an Itty Bitty book light.
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Memory and Perception

Choosing and Doing: Don’t Live by Default

"What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing." -- Pablo Picasso
In a world where we have so many options, so many choices, many of us find ourselves not choosing at all. Ironic, isn’t it?

Often, we have the intention of doing something important, but it is perhaps too much for us to think that we could actually get it done. So we end up choosing, and thus living, by default. But is this a wise choice?
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Brain and Behavior

The Secret to Remembering More

I was going to write this post weeks ago when I first read the story about triggering memory.

But I forgot.

I also forgot where I put the notes, and the research. But, I did remember the number for the Chinese takeout and to invoice early as per my client’s request.

What’s that about? Why do some of these must-do details stick in our memories, while others -- which we had contemplated just moments before -- don’t?
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