Mental Health and Wellness Articles

5 Pieces of Mental Health Advice that Miss the Mark

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

How to Deal with Burnout

Today, you’ll find myriad advice about improving your emotional health and relationships. This is a good thing. But, unfortunately, not all of it is accurate. And some of it can even be damaging.

We asked psychotherapists to share the self-help myths they’ve seen suggested over and over — and to set the record straight. Below, you’ll find a list of five myths and facts.

Looking for a Therapist? Key Questions to Help You Find the Right One

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

The Ultimate PainClinical psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D, has known individuals who’ve spent more time researching their dinner reservations than their next therapist. However, going to therapy is a vulnerable process. It requires honesty and hard work. It requires revealing your struggles.

As Howes said, “You wouldn’t want to blindly trust just anyone, would you?” This is why interviewing a therapist is vital.

Also vital is spending some time researching your concerns and treatment options, said clinical psychologist Marla Deibler, PsyD. This can help you pick a practitioner who meets your needs.

3 Rules for a Positive Transformation

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Change Your Mindset, Find True Love

Things do not change; we change.
– Henry David Thoreau

At the core of positive psychology is the research on intentional activities. The effectiveness of deliberate positive interventions has created a platform from which many people are transforming their lives for the better. Purposeful, conscious activities — such as committing acts of kindness, expressing gratitude, and reviewing the good things happening in your day — have an additive effect. The more we do, the better we feel, and the more we seek intentional activities to supplement these good feelings.

Barbara Fredrickson, one of the leading researchers in the field, coined this progression “broaden and build.” Intentional activities run the gamut: meditation, exercise, expressive writing, or the proverbial “count your blessings.” Researchers and applied practitioners are constantly seeking new interventions to add to our emotional piggybank.

How to Practice Self-Compassion When You Think You Can’t

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

dancing-happy-woman-fieldSelf-compassion is powerful. It promotes inner peace. Self-criticism, the opposite of self-compassion and what most of us are used to practicing, “is an experience of inner conflict,” according to Ali Miller, MFT, a therapist in private practice in Berkeley and San Francisco, Calif. Miller specializes in helping adults live more authentic, empowered and connected lives.

When we criticize ourselves, we’re essentially at war with ourselves, she said. “This inner violence is similar to outer violence, in that it hurts, divides, destroys and takes up a lot of energy.” Self-compassion, however, frees up our energy, so we can care for ourselves and others.

Self-compassion also soothes our pain. “When we relate to our pain with self-compassion, we suffer less. And we feel more connected to others who suffer [and] less isolated,” Miller said.

Psychology Around the Net: February 14, 2015

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

love letter 3

Happy Valentine’s Day, Psych Central readers!

For those of you who observe Valentine’s Day, we have some interesting information about why single people actually might benefit more than those in relationships.

Oh, and there’re are a few more fascinating reads — from taking a peek at some useful mental health apps to learning how successful people deal with depression.

We hope it provides a great start to your weekend!

It’s Better to Be Single On Valentine’s Day: Here’s one that’s sure to drum up some controversy: Philosopher Neil McArthur and author Marina Adshade make several arguments about why it’s actually better to be single on this day of celebrating love, going beyond just the economic implications and diving into the “are you or are you not committed to me” realm.

The Scary Side of Sitting

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Young woman sitting on sofa with electronic padThere is a growing scientific consensus that the more time you spend sitting, the shorter and less healthy your life may be. Excessive sitting, such as at an office desk, in front of the TV, even driving while commuting can significantly affect your cardiovascular and metabolic function.

Your mental health is intricately connected to the amount of time you spend sitting. One study after another continues to reveal that your risk for depression soars the longer you are sedentary. Sitting also increases psychological distress, and decreases feelings of well-being, a problem that fortunately can be rectified.

The Key to Being Productive at Work

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Businesswoman in office pointing at monitor with notes on itThere’s lots of advice on managing our time, getting organized and creating efficient to-do lists for becoming more productive. I explore these topics regularly on Psych Central.

However, according to psychiatrist and ADHD expert Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., these suggestions only scratch the surface. What we really need to do to be more productive is to retrain our attention. We need to delve into the deeper reasons we get distracted at work.

In his newest book Driven to Distraction At Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive, Dr. Hallowell identifies the six most common distractions: electronic devices, multitasking, idea hopping, worry, trying to fix everyone’s problems and underachieving. He presents these distractions in the first half of the book and shares practical solutions for each type of distraction.

One Way to Break a Bad Habit & Uncover Happiness

Friday, February 13th, 2015

One Way to Break a Bad Habit & Uncover HappinessBelow is an excerpt from Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.’s new book, Uncovering Happiness.

Start by picking one of the undesirable habits that you’ve identified as fueling your depression loop. Take a moment to picture in your mind the routine as vividly as possible. What time does it occur? Where are you? Who are you with? The more real you can make it and the more detail you can imagine it with, the better.

Next, pause before engaging with whatever the routine is.

The Benefits of Detaching from Technology

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

iPhoneEven though I’m a member of Generation Y, I will cling to non-smartphones until they become obsolete. But my cell phone is automatically encompassed in my daily routine.

Has a day gone by where I haven’t composed a text message? Not really. And the Internet is an integral part of my life, an undeniable dependency for work, recreation or contact.

“The Internet buzzes in the background of my life, comforting —  always there to entertain me, to feed me information, to connect me to my grid of friends and family and to writers I follow,” Lisa Shanahan wrote in her personal narrative about an ‘unplugged’ vacation with her husband.

Mental Health Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Love CrimesMore than 1 in 3 women in the United States have been victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), including physical assault, rape, or stalking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Although heterosexual males remain the largest class of offenders, there is growing recognition of the impact of IPV committed by heterosexual women on their male partners as well as IPV within same-sex relationships.

Alarmingly, most cases of IPV are never reported to the police (Frieze & Browne, 1989). Survivors of IPV choose not to report the crimes for a variety of reasons, including shame, embarrassment, concern that law enforcement officials will not be supportive, or fear of retribution from their intimate partner.

Why Do Therapists Charge So Much?

Monday, February 9th, 2015

therapist_negativeThe world can be a stressful place. You are feeling overwhelmed, and nothing seems to be working consistently. You’ve reached out to friends and family. They may have helped a little, but not enough. Perhaps friends or family are somehow associated with your stress, which leaves fewer people in whom to confide.

The day has come when you finally decide to seek help to get where you want to be. As you type “psychotherapist” into your search engine, you feel a strange mix of anxiety, apprehension, and determination. Next, you find someone who seems to be a good fit for what you hope to accomplish in therapy. Finally, you’ve gained the courage to call or meet with this so-called expert, who has brought you at least some relief through validation and, perhaps, recommendations. As you get to the end of the free consultation, you ask about fees.

What Makes a Highly Sensitive Person?

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

serious-female-faceMy mom called me her “flapper” when I was a baby. Whenever I got excited, I would flap my arms, like I was young chick taking off for flight … in front of a hawk. I still do that, to some extent, but I manage to keep the arm movements to a minimum extension.

I am easily excitable, a “highly sensitive person,” as defined by Elaine Aron in her bestseller, The Highly Sensitive Person. If you answer yes to most of these questions on her website, you’re probably in the club, which holds 15 to 20 percent of human beings:

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