Brain and Behavior

The Importance of Being Yourself on Social Media


Over the last few months I’ve been sharing my photography on Instagram. It has resulted in a near-constant desire for validation through likes and follows -- I’ll write another article on that soon. The point is, scrolling through the newsfeed, I see copious amounts of photographers who are at the top of their game. Their craft is so refined and their style is so distinct that I can’t help but fawn over the pictures they take.

I decided I wanted my pictures to be like that. I really needed my pictures to be like that. Soon my admiration became a months-long effort to hone and refine my pictures to the point that they’d look exactly like these Instagram-famous photographers' photos.
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Children and Teens

Mindfulness Explained through Baseball

In my writings and videos I often write and speak about mindfulness. In talking about mindfulness I emphasize the present moment, yet I am aware of how our past and our future work together. The definition of mindfulness instructs us to live in the present moment, nonjudgmentally.

"Nonjudgmentally" means we need not put a value judgment on the present moment. We are simply to experience the moment. The minute that we think this is a good moment or a bad moment, we have judged the moment.

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Books

4 Tips for Helping Your Kids Practice Mindfulness

Our kids get just as stressed out as we do. While they don’t have bills, a demanding boss or a continuously-increasing workload, they do have homework, classmates, teachers, bullies and big emotions. So it helps to have a variety of tools they can use to manage their stressors and regulate their emotions -- tools they can take into adolescence and adulthood. Because stress and emotions are part of everyone’s daily life. And because everyone benefits from having healthy coping strategies.

That’s exactly what author and clinical social worker Carla Naumburg, Ph.D, provides in her newest book Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with Your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful Family. In this wise and down-to-earth book, Naumburg features practical and creative strategies for practicing mindfulness at home. She defines mindfulness as “the practice of choosing to pay attention to whatever is happening right here and right now, without judging it or wishing it were different.”
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Mindfulness

3 Simple Ways to Relax Your Brain After a Funky Day


Shut. It. Off.

You've been in overdrive all day -- juggling logistics, people, deadlines, and endless to-dos -- or maybe putting out fires, squeezing in errands, finding lost toys, and making sure you've filled out all the forms for school tomorrow.

All day, you eagerly anticipate finding just 30 minutes to chill out, catch up with your significant other, and relax into sleep.

But the problem is...though your body is ready to plop down on the sofa and decompress, your brain is still going a mile a minute.

It's stuck in "go-go-go" mode. As a result, you're there with your loved ones, but you're not really present. You think, "What's wrong with me? Why can't I relax?"
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Anger

The Myth of Negative Emotions

Emotions that provide us with unpleasant feelings have traditionally (and unfairly) been labelled “negative emotions.” People tend to want to avoid them, force them away, or silence them as soon as they emerge. They are the Rodney Dangerfield of emotions: they get no respect.

The truth is, there is no such thing as a negative emotion, since each emotion has its own role and purpose. In fact, in the book, The Upside of Your Dark Side, authors Todd Kashdan, Ph.D., and Robert Biswas-Diener argue that in order to attain happiness, one has to welcome every emotion (pleasant or unpleasant) and learn how to make the best of them. It is not the emotion that is problematic but rather the way we deal with them that can be. Instead of pushing these emotions away, we should learn to welcome and listen to the important messages these feelings are trying to communicate to us.
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Anxiety and Panic

What to Do When You Have to Wait — and Can’t Stop Worrying

Any time we have to wait, many of us get nervous. Very nervous. Our minds fill with disastrous scenarios and all kinds of what-ifs.

What if the results are negative? Or positive? What if I failed the final? What if I failed the bar? Again? When will this marriage finally -- and officially -- be over?

We try to focus on our work, but the negative thoughts surround us like a pack of wolves. We try to relax, but we just feel too tense and tight. We want to have an answer. But instead we must wait. And wait.

Many circumstances in our lives present with a waiting period - which can trigger our anxiety. Carolyn Ferreira’s clients have experienced anxiety while waiting for everything from MRI results, to a loved one’s recovery, to the finalization of a divorce, to the settlement of a deceased parent’s estate.
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: March 19, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I hope you've had a fantastic week -- better than mine, anyway. We're having a new roof installed and, well, when you work from home, let's just say it's a bit difficult to concentrate with all the banging, hammering, and stomping. (However, the contractors at least chose some of my favorite classic rock hits to blast, so, there's that!).

Despite all the distractions, I managed to scour the Internet for some fascinating information on new research and reports regarding the happiest countries on the planet, the lesser-known postpartum bipolar disorder, the five different personality types, and more.

Enjoy!

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Anger

Daddy Dearest: When the Father-Son Bond Just Isn’t There

Golfing buddies, hiking pals, math tutor, and your hero-in-chief. Or not.

I grew up with an emotionally distant father. His parenting style: disinterested with a minor in disdain. There was an aloofness, even coldness.

I vowed to be different than Dad. And I am. But then, innocuously enough, I mutter one of his pithy sayings. Those thoughts, sensations, feelings overflow. I stew, ruminating on the frayed relationship.

Entering adulthood, my father’s detachment gnaws. The demeaning comments rankle; the coolness stings. When Mom (RIP) was alive, her warmth compensated for Dad’s standoffishness.
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General

What Self-Care Is (And What It Isn’t)

There are many misconceptions about self-care. For instance, many of us assume that self-care means engaging in activities that are “good for us” (which we may or may not even enjoy). We assume self-care is going to the gym or lifting weights or running outside. It’s meditating for 30 minutes. It’s getting a massage. It’s practicing yoga every day.

And so you do all these things. But you don’t enjoy them. In fact, you might even dread them. Which really means that these activities aren’t self-care for you. Because self-care isn’t a should. It isn’t something we
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Anxiety and Panic

When You Can’t Relax: 7 Tips to Try

Many of us feel a constant pressure or prodding to be productive. As we sit down on the couch, we’re met with 50 reasons why we need to get back up. Fifty reasons, which include folding laundry, washing dishes, checking email, calling so-and-so about such-and-such, and so on.

We might feel guilty for trying to relax. Or maybe we feel like we’re missing out and need to constantly stay connected to our devices. Or maybe we're worried about an upcoming presentation or project and our brain is being bombarded by a slew of "what-ifs."

Either way, one thing is clear: We want to relax. But we can't.
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General

Top 10 Secrets of the Happiest People


You can tell just by their lifestyle choices.

Happiness is meant to be shared, but sometimes the happiest people are too busy living to tell the rest of the world how they got there. Talking about how great life is can also quickly go past humble to just bragging, especially around others who may not be having the best of times.

Happiness can often look like it's luck of the draw or the pull of the longest straw. But whatever it looks or feels like for those who have it -- contentment, overwhelmingly positive emotions, bluebirds and/or sunshine halos around our heads -- there are some specific ways to be happy, even if the most joyful people are too busy digging their lives to talk about it much.
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