Brain and Behavior

Head. Heart. Repeat.

We can restore contact with our emotions even after years of them being buried. Psychological suffering, symptoms, and even character armor (the tough defenses we erect to protect ourselves from vulnerability and hurt) can be reversed because our brains are pliable. We have heard much in recent years about neuroplasticity.

Contacting emotions is not enough though. We need to utilize them as a catalyst for change for the better. On our own or with a therapist, we can transform our shame, guilt and anxiety and begin again to sense our core emotions (sadness, fear, anger, joy, disgust, excitement, sexual excitement).

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: November 28, 2015

Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

If you live in America, chances are this was a pretty...eventful week for you, what with the Thanksgiving holiday and the ever-controversial Black Friday.

We hope today is a day a peace and relaxation, and we've gathered all the latest mental health-related news across the 'net to help you settle down and refocus.

This week, you'll learn more about how to manage the holidays when you have anxiety, the most important things everyone should know about seasonal depression, and the one thing you're likely not doing for yourself if you're unhappy.

Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Silence is Golden

The old song by Simon and Garfunkel was so right: silence really is golden, but maybe in more ways than we realize. In our urban, busy world we don’t get enough outer silence. There’s always the sound of traffic, TVs, other people in their apartments and the general buzz of the city as we go about our daily business. These days we have to hunt out the quiet spaces, but they are there as I discovered just the other day.

I’m selling my apartment, so we have the bi-weekly ritual of having to go out with the dog for 45 minutes during house viewing and find somewhere to be. As my dog is a bit old and grumpy (he’s 85 in human years), we try to seek out places that avoid other dogs and small children, which is hard in a café-obsessed beachside suburb of Sydney. As we took a walk up the road we discovered a small nature reserve that had been recently restored. Pristine bush tucked away in the city, green, tranquil and no sound, that’s bliss.

Continue Reading


Setting Boundaries Around the Holidays

The holidays are a good time to set boundaries. That’s because there are a lot more demands coming from all directions, said Meredith Janson, MA, LPC, a relationship expert and therapist in private practice in Washington, D.C. This might include everything from buying gifts and sending cards to traveling and attending get-togethers to hosting people -- just to name a few.

By setting boundaries, you’re able to focus on the real meaning of the holidays: gratitude, spiritual traditions and family togetherness, Janson said.

A boundary is simply a “dividing line,” she said. “In psychological terms, it's a catch-phrase meaning setting limits or asserting your thoughts, feelings, and needs even when these are in opposition to the person with whom you're interacting.”
Continue Reading

Holiday Coping

Using Lists to Get Organized and Actually De-stress During the Holidays

Every year the holidays seem to sneak up on us, don’t they? Come December many of us are surprised – and overwhelmed – by the extra responsibilities, extra tasks and extra events. We start to panic and wonder how the heck everything is going to get done. And all this stress only takes away from the meaning and beauty of the holidays.

The reality is that a lot of our stress is self-afflicted, said Paula Rizzo, a senior health producer and author of the book
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Embracing Your Inner Self

Embrace and make peace with life because in this very moment you are right where you were meant to be. We have the opportunity to grow and learn from the past and create an amazing future.

Growing up, I never felt good enough. Not only was this my internal dialogue but it was reiterated by my father. So for years I had to learn how to embrace positive cognitions and self-talk. It hasn’t come naturally to me, but with time and coaching I learned how to embrace myself and take control of my life.

Continue Reading


ADHD Overdiagnosis? Most Done After Checklists, Neuropsychological Testing

A lot of people have gotten this idea -- myself included -- that a diagnosis for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is pretty easily obtained. I've been led to believe this by media hype about the "overdiagnosis" of ADHD. Some journalists I've spoken to in the past believed this so insistently, they based their entire story around the premise.

But what if the common wisdom and journalists are wrong?

What if most ADHD diagnoses are made after careful consideration of a child or teenager's actual behaviors, verified through a behavior rating scale or checklist? What if most children who receive an ADHD diagnosis actually go through neuropsychological testing too? What if, before giving an ADHD diagnosis, most parents were also questioned about their child's behavior in different settings too?

Could so many diverse measures and datapoints all be wrong?

Continue Reading


Think Twice Before You Label Events as Good or Bad

There is a Taoist parable about an old farmer who owned one beautiful horse. One day, this beloved horse ran away. His neighbors, upon hearing the news, came over to give their condolences. “We are so sorry,” they said. “How terrible this must be for you.”

He replied with a simple “Maybe.”

A few days later, the lost horse came back with three wild horses. His neighbors rushed to his home. “How wonderful! You are so very fortunate!”

The old farmer just said “Maybe.”
Continue Reading


12 Habits for Developing Greater Self-Love

Self-love is often something we find quite challenging. It can seem self-centered or indulgent, especially for those who are mothers or partners. How often do you put others' needs before your own? As a mother, I often took the burned bits of toast, let my son have the last chocolate, or went without the ice cream because we couldn't quite afford one for everyone.

But developing and nurturing loving kindness toward ourselves is an important part of health, healing and happiness. So to kick-start us on that journey, here are some helpful tips:

Continue Reading


The Perfectionist’s Guide to Making Decisions: The Art of Satisficing

You’re awesome at your job. You know it, feedback from colleagues and clients has affirmed it, and you consistently deliver results that are above and beyond what’s been asked of you. You repeat this pattern enough times and it becomes the norm -- which, frankly, can be exhausting.

High achievers are prone to this pattern of behavior, which is usually completely unsustainable. Eventually, you realize that no matter how many cups of coffee you drink, after-work happy hours and gym sessions you cancel, or calls from your parents you send to voicemail, there’s no possible way to create what you really need:
Continue Reading