Mental Health and Wellness Articles

Psychology Around the Net: January 10, 2015

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Healing My Inner Child

Happy Saturday, readers!

As cliche as it might sound, we can’t help but think of new beginnings when we think of a new year, and what better way to welcome new beginnings than by keeping up with all the new mental health news, research, and even opinions as we launch into 2015?

After all, we want to stay as healthy and informed as possible!

This week’s Psychology Around the Net features research related to pets and their owners’ personalities, gut bacteria and how it relates to anxiety, how childhood guilt can affect adult mental health issues, and more.

9 Ideas for Creating Serene and Satisfying Days

Friday, January 9th, 2015

9 Ideas for Creating Serene and Satisfying DaysOur circumstances don’t necessarily have to change in order for us to experience serenity and satisfaction. Because sometimes we can’t change a situation. Most things are not within our control.

This is a hard realization but tends to feel liberating when you can accept it. And it certainly takes practice to keep accepting it. But we can always look within ourselves. We can change our beliefs, thoughts and actions.*

In her book The Wholehearted Life: Big Changes and Greater Happiness Week by Week author Susyn Reeve shares a slew of exercises for contentment and community. Below are nine ideas and activities to help you cultivate calm, kindness and connection throughout your days.

4 Simple But Significant Ways to Start the Day with Self-Compassion

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

I'm Not Psychic: The Cold, Hard Truth about CatastrophizingSelf-compassion provides a bounty of benefits. It helps us create more meaningful relationships — with ourselves and with others.

According to psychotherapist Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, practicing self-compassion helps us tolerate difficult feelings instead of turning to distractions — such as a credit card or remote control — and becoming dependent on them, she said.

“This pattern can be painful, because it traps you in a never-ending quest to avoid discomfort.”

Self-compassion teaches us that we don’t have to turn away from discomfort. “In fact, feeling the emotions that are present allows them to flow, while avoiding them tends to keep them stuck.”

Learning from Abusive Relationships

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

When Depression Becomes DepressingRelationships are hard for everyone, but especially for survivors of child abuse. Before I started my recovery work, I spent years in relationships that were obviously abusive and damaging to my emotional wellness, but I was too blinded by my own trauma to see it.

My family had always taught me that survival depended on having a man in my life. In my family, women kept abusive men around because of this belief.

It was critically important for this to be ingrained in each family member as early as possible. There could be no understanding of their individual power. They must believe they could not survive without a partner or the abuse might not be tolerated.

The Power in Being Still & How to Practice Stillness

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

3 Ways to Develop A Spiritual PracticeToday, stillness can be hard to come by. There’s just so much going on. So much noise both inside and outside our brains. So many tasks on our to-do lists. At least several screens within reach.

But stillness is still possible. It, too, is within our reach whenever we need it.

You can cultivate stillness while walking on a busy street, while chaos swirls all around you.

Coming to Terms with Your Delusions

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Coming to Terms With Your DelusionsI’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought some pretty outrageous things in the course of my illness. I’d also be lying if I said I don’t think about outrageous things still. Even with a good amount of stability, delusions can still persist.

Sometimes it’s about what people think of you, maybe just an offhand notion. Other times it can be so bad that you think you’re a king or a prophet or Jesus Christ himself. I’ve seen every part of the spectrum.

Nine years on, I still deal with whether people are making fun of me. This is a delusion which, no matter what I’ve tried, I can’t stop.

Adults and ADHD: Reminders for When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Adults And ADHD: Reminders for When You’re Feeling OverwhelmedClinical psychologist Roberto Olivardia’s clients who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) regularly tell him they feel overwhelmed by everyday tasks. “They feel as if they are in the midst of an avalanche of chores they cannot properly prioritize, organize or execute.”

Tasks such as paying the bills, preparing dinner, or getting the car fixed can feel monumental, he said. On top of that, adults with ADHD can feel frustrated seeing others without ADHD accomplish these tasks with little effort, he added. “This leads many with ADHD to feel like they are ‘failing at life.'”

A Surprising Way to Quiet Your Inner Critic

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

The Many Factors That Trigger DepressionSelf-criticism has many faces. It might be a subtle push toward producing better work, or it might be an aggressive or abusive assertion that you’re wrong, bad or seriously flawed, said Ali Miller, MFT, a therapist in private practice in Berkeley and San Francisco, Calif., who specializes in helping adults live more authentic, empowered and connected lives.

Self-critical thoughts have two things in common, she said: They’re very painful, and they’re founded on the belief that you’re not good enough.

They may sound like: “I’ll never amount to anything,” “I’m so lazy,” “I always ruin relationships,” “I’m a lousy cook/mom/dad/friend/worker/person.”

Introverts: You Were Born That Way

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Introverts: You Were Born That WayI hate people. I must hate people. I recently took a night class at a local university, and I didn’t learn any of my classmates’ names. I never spoke to any of them. I just knew them by description.

Asian woman with glasses. Asian woman without glasses. Australian woman. British woman. Dude with beard. Dude without beard. Am I a jerk? Maybe. But maybe something else is going on.

I’ve been called many things in my life. Reserved. Shy. I especially like anti-social; my older sister came up with that one (thanks, Jessica).

Dealing with the Side Effects

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Dealing with The Side-EffectsHaving lived with schizophrenia for almost nine years I’m no stranger to the myriad things that can happen when you’re on a course of antipsychotic medication.

Many times these side effects can be disruptive to everyday life. Sometimes they come on slow and have a lasting impact, such as gaining a significant amount of weight. Sometimes they can be dull, such as drowsiness or a dissociative feeling.

The important thing to remember in all these cases is that side effects are negligible compared to the benefit of the drug.

Ways Winter Can Boost Our Mental Health

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Ways Winter Can Boost Our Mental HealthSome have an aversion to winter, and can you really blame them? There’s chatter surrounding possible storms or blizzards. There’s loneliness, depression and anxiety that may be coupled with the holiday season. And then there’s the chronic cold that dares people to pack their bags and book a tropical getaway. (Or at least think about making a great escape for warmth.)

However, winter can rejuvenate our spirits. Here are several ways this chilly season can boost our mental health:

30 Prompts to Reflect on In the New Year

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

The Power of the Written WordIn 2014 I shared 60 prompts we can respond to in order to get to know ourselves. (See here and here.)

Here’s another list of 30 prompts to help you delve deeper, take kinder care of yourself and connect to the core that is you. Prompts include everything from reflecting on 2014 to exploring your favorites to lessons you’ve learned about yourself.

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