Psych Central

Mental Health and Wellness Articles

Water’s Psychological Benefits

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Water's Psychological Benefits“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.”

- President John F. Kennedy

The ocean shimmered, even at dusk, on that wintry day in Coney Island. It was my first encounter with a beach in several months, and I deeply missed the view.

Finding the Right Kind of Mental Health Support at the Right Time

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Finding the Right Kind of Mental Health Support at the Right TimeOur society has come a long way in terms of open dialogue about mental health and wellness. What used to be swept under the rug, looked down upon and ostracized is now discussed freely and holistically. However, too many Americans still have a foggy notion of available mental and physical wellness options.

When most think of mental health, images come to mind of a doctor hiding behind a notepad and a patient lying on a long black couch. But many new models exist which can be more beneficial and transformative.

The Lie of Focusing on Those with Serious Mental Illness

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

The Lie of Focusing on Those with Serious Mental IllnessI’ve long scratched my head at one of the arbitrary political lines drawn in the sand in the world of mental health and mental illness advocacy — “serious mental illness.” (Some people refer to it as “severe mental illness,” but the correct term is “serious.”)

Focusing on this division is a lie. It is a lie told to Congress and to the public with earnest testimonials. But also with little evidence that it represents a valid — or meaningful — scientific distinction.

Does Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) Exist?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Does Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) Exist?Sluggish cognitive tempo is a long-time component believed to either be a part of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or may be its own stand-alone concern.

Parts of what we now call sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) has been around since the 1960s, but it was in the late 1980s — long before any attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications existed — when researchers first demonstrated that SCT symptoms are probably a unique condition or sub-type of ADHD (Lahey et al., 1988; Neeper & Lahey, 1986).

In other words, the scientific foundation for sluggish cognitive tempo has been around for nearly 30 years. It’s not new. And it’s hardly news. Scientists regularly identify dozens of proposed syndromes or symptom constellations in their research. Only a tiny minority of them ever go on to become a recognized mental disorder or diagnosis.

But does SCT really exist? Is it its own condition or disorder?

3 Lessons from Making Mistakes at Work

Monday, April 14th, 2014

3 Lessons from Making Mistakes at WorkWe regularly hear that making mistakes is key to learning, innovating and succeeding. But how often do you hear people actually discussing the details of their mistakes?

That’s what inspired Jessica Bacal to interview women about their biggest blunders. As she writes in Mistakes I Made At Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong, “… [O]ver the years, I’d seen too many women waxing rhapsodic about the ‘value of learning from mistakes,’ without actually describing any, to find that platitude helpful.”

In the book, women from a variety of fields, including medical, arts and finance, share in their own words the vital lessons they’ve learned from their errors — because, as Bacal says, “There’s power in talking about our mistakes and failures.”

Below are three lessons from Mistakes I Made At Work.

The Many Problems with the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

The Many Problems with the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis ActWe haven’t yet spoken up about the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013 (HR 3717), sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy because we were hoping Congress would see through this less-than-subtle attempt to gut SAMHSA, coerce states to pass new forced-treatment laws (even if their citizens don’t want them), and create yet another huge federal bureaucracy in the Department of Health and Human Services that nobody has asked for, with no data to support its creation, and that nobody wants.

Sadly, that hasn’t happened. The least offensive parts of the bill are starting to get passed, and that suggests that there may be some momentum to pass the more offensive, egregious components in the future.

So here are the major problems with this bill, and why it stinks for everyone — especially patients.

5 Ways to Get Unstuck from a Creative Block

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

5 Ways to Get Unstuck from a Creative BlockI’ve always been curious about how others work — other writers, researchers, artists. I wonder what inspires them. I wonder about the particulars of their process. I wonder how they overcome self-doubt and fears of failure.

These questions have been at the forefront of my mind even more, now that I’m working on my own book about creativity.

Non-Judging, Non-Striving and the Pillars of Mindfulness Practice

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

3 Tips for Being Mindful at WorkTwelve of us sit in a circle at the third session of the mindfulness-based stress reduction course (MBSR) offered at the hospital. The program was developed 35 years ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn at his Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It is meant to help persons with difficult and chronic illnesses better manage their symptoms, work with pain, and find peace of mind in their day.

I am making slow but steady progress on learning how to “dance in the rain,” a concept I explained last week about approaching treatment-resistant depression and chronic pain with a welcoming spirit, instead of a fighting heart.

A New Approach to Overcoming Psychological Disorders

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

A New Approach to Overcoming Psychological DisordersFor more than a decade, researchers have known that all major psychological disorders — including depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia — are associated with an excessive tendency to rumination. When faced with depressive or anxious urges, your mind often goes into overdrive by becoming excessively engrossed in thoughts.

“Engrossive” thinking is the primary mediating factor that exacerbates psychological disorders. However, until now there has been no therapeutic approach that integrated this key finding.

How to Get Over Impostor Syndrome

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

How to Get Over Impostor SyndromeImpostor syndrome is a sneaking feeling that you’re a fake, according to Melody Wilding, LMSW, a therapist who works with young professionals and business owners.

You dismiss your achievements and successes as the result of timing, luck or anything else that’s beyond your control, she said.

You worry that others will find out you’re a fraud, an impostor, who’s not smart, capable, good, interesting or talented enough. You’re convinced that you’re unworthy of an accomplishment, accolade or position. You fear that any minute all your “faking” will be found out.

Introducing Going on the Ride of Your Life

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Introducing Going on the Ride of Your Life

I’ve known Ran Zilca for a number of years now, since he and his company, Signal Patterns, developed an innovative personality test that gave you a personality profile report that was meaningful to ordinary people.

So it was a pleasure when we recently reconnected and he suggested sharing some of his insights, tips, and findings from research to help people better understand their life journey. How do we know where we’re going in life? Are there scientifically-proven ways we can turn our lives around through simple, daily exercises?

Is the Pursuit of Happiness Real?

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Is the Pursuit of Happiness Real?The pursuit of happiness is a fallacy.

There, I said it.

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