3 Creative Activities for Couples to Cultivate Your Intimacy

All relationships require regular tending. They require effort, attention and time -- like anything worthwhile. One of the best ways to tend to your relationship is to focus on your intimacy.

Intimacy isn’t just about sex. It’s about cultivating your intellectual, emotional, and spiritual connection.

Specifically, intellectual intimacy is sharing thoughts or interests that each partner finds stimulating, said Lanie Smith, MPS, ATR, an Arizona-based art therapist who believes in the value of creativity and communication in helping couples play, heal, and grow together.
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Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven, Part 1

If you go into your internet browser’s search bar and type in the word “asylum,” a host of terrifying images of dirty hallways, rusty beds, and screaming faces will pop up. Let’s face it -- asylum is mostly known as a negative word, a place where unspeakable things occur in the movies that keep us awake at night. Regardless of its roots in providing protective safe haven, the concept of asylum receives a bad reputation mostly because of historical documentation of the awful and dehumanizing conditions of psychiatric hospitals.

"It's not easy to talk about. You don't want people to think you're 'nuts' when everyone in there is not nuts," Ann explains while sipping a cup of coffee. "During certain stays I had dignity, but there was one hospital where there were bed bugs all over. They had to keep changing my sheets and the staff would come in to clean them out of the lights." Now in her fifties, Ann has experienced many years of hospital stays at different institutions while combating major depressive disorder (MDD).
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Brain and Behavior

Pillow Talk: You Need More Sleep

“You can sleep when you are dead,” a friend chides.

Offering an awkward chuckle, I was too tired to supply a witty response. In America, we stifle our collective yawn to meet the next pressing deadline. But there is a more important deadline than the latest accounting project: our (sleep) health. For a painful few, sleep is an elusive dream.

In American society, we sacrifice sleep for employment or academic obligations. In competitive academic programs, we brag about the number of all-nighters we pull. Time has chronicled the sleep fatigue of first-year residents and its damning effect on patients.
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Consider These 10 Questions for Building a Fulfilling Life

Our society has all sorts of ideas about what a fulfilling life looks like. Lose 10 pounds right now, and be happier! Simplify your life! Be more productive than you ever thought possible! Own a brand new car for next to nothing! Do it all! Don’t do it all!

Our parents, grandparents, colleagues, friends, neighbors and others have their own ideas, too. Some believe that getting married, having kids and owning a home leads to a fulfilling life. Some believe that traveling around the world -- minus a mortgage -- does. Some believe that being an entrepreneur is fulfilling. Some believe it’s a 9 to 5 with plenty of free time during nights and weekends.
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3 Suggestions for Revising Unsupportive Stories

The stories we hold about ourselves can expand or narrow our lives. One example of limiting narratives revolves around what we believe we’re good at and what we believe we’re bad at. Helen McLaughlin’s clients often create these kinds of stories, letting them dictate their decisions and days. For instance, one client might hold the story that she can’t ask her boss for a raise because she’s bad at anything resembling a confrontation. And she’s really bad at advocating for herself.

The problem? This narrative “locks her into a future in which she has little control over what she can and can’t achieve at work and in life,” said McLaughlin, a transformation coach who helps smart, motivated life-explorers to leverage their curiosity, discover what exists for them beyond their default future, and achieve their Big Thing. Plus, the client might’ve created this story based on inaccurate or outdated information—a moment from many, many years ago.
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There Is a Place for Antidepressants

When I was six months pregnant, I attended a birthing preparation class with my husband and about 12 other expectant parents. During the fifth session, the instructor asked the mothers whether or not they were going to use medication to get through the pain of childbirth labor.

“Everyone who wants to try for a natural birth, stand over here,” she said. “And everyone who plans on having an epidural or taking other pain medication, stand over here.”

I looked at the two groups, which held about the same number of people. My head went from one to the other, much like a puppet with a tic. Like most decisions in my life (including which dressing I want on my salad), I had analyzed the hell out of this one -- done all the research on both sides -- and still couldn’t commit.
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Grief and Loss

Using Social Media to Deal with Personal Tragedy

From May-September 2016, I battled cancer. The cancer had formed from prior radiation therapy for a previous bout of breast cancer in 2012. The 2016 cancer was called angiosarcoma. Treatment for this angiosarcoma was drastic surgery to cut the cancer out of my right breast. Luckily, I would not need chemo or more radiation.

One of the ways I endured the stress and the strain of the cancer was to use Facebook to communicate my...
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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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Children and Teens

ER Beds for Kids Lacking, But School Programs Can Help

Everyone who is a front line clinician in an emergency room (ER) knows the hard reality of the lack of psychiatric services available. Discharging someone from an ER into inpatient mental health treatment is virtually nonexistent for adults. For kids, the situation is usually far worse.

The good news is that if we focus more on preventative care in school -- helping kids and preschoolers long before they have a full-blown diagnosis -- we may be able to stop them from ever having to use an emergency room. All we need do is start making mental health a funding priority for both the states and the federal government.

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Anxiety and Panic

When Anxious Thoughts Just Won’t Quit

Maybe you can’t stop worrying about work. You’re convinced that you are an impostor, and everyone at the office knows it, too.

You’re bound to get fired. Maybe you fear that your partner will abandon you, because you know you’re not enough. Maybe you fear for your family’s safety after your neighbors were killed in a car crash. Maybe you’re worried about your own health after experiencing certain symptoms.

Maybe your thoughts involve a different anxiety. Either way, you carry them wherever you go. They are stubborn. They are persistent.
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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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6 Questions that Can Strengthen Your Inner Will

When 39-year-old Uzeyer Novruzov fell off his 18-foot ladder during the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent, my heart stopped. The balancing stunt once landed him in a coma for three days, but that apparently has not stopped the circus performer from attempting it over and over again.

The first thing he said when he rose to his feet was, “If you give me another 90 seconds, I can do it.”

“What the...?!?” I yelled to my husband and son as we watched Uzeyer beg the judges for more time.

Inner will -- THAT is what it looks like.
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