General

Happy New Year 2016!

I'm blown away by the fact that another year has come and gone already. Maybe it's just me, but some years seem to go by more quickly than others. Perhaps that's a sign that it's been a particularly good year.

In dealing with mental health issues in society, I think 2015 will stand as a fairly good year on record. While U.S. politicians spent a lot of wasted breath trying to link mass shootings to mental illness -- ignoring all of the evidence to the contrary -- the rest of us were focused on helping bring a more positive light to mental health in America.

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Family

New Year’s & Coping with Loss

As soon as the Christmas rush subsides and the wrapping paper is thrown away, we start to think about how we will ring in the new year. Images of smiling faces, popping champagne corks, and fireworks tell us how we might be behaving, thinking or even feeling. Yet for many, the persistent feelings of loss and sadness about a person, a relationship or life once lived limit the awareness that a new year is truly a new start.

The spotlight that is placed on our lives at New Year's creates a make-believe time where we imagine that the thoughts we engage with can assist us in navigating the year ahead. While the powers of intentional thoughts have their place in our emotional well-being, for many facing lost loved ones or relationships, their desires can be beyond their grasp.

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Anger

A Holiday Guide for Abuse Survivors

Hardly anyone would claim to be a stranger to holiday stress. From money woes to holiday travel, traditions, and family tension, at some point everyone has struggled to make it to January. But the holidays can be a particularly tough time of year for anyone with a family history of abuse, whether it’s emotional or physical.

The idea that one shouldn’t be alone during the holiday season is drilled into our heads and we want familiar people near, even if those people can be toxic to us. Memories of trauma may become more salient. Some holiday encounters could open old wounds. You're not just trying to make it to January -- you're trying to avoid being retraumatized.
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Family

How to Keep Calm and Carry on During the Holidays

The holidays are fast upon us. In the blink of an eye, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve will have already come and gone.

Holidays bring much time spent with family from near and far, preparing and making elaborate holiday dinners and attending parties, buying expensive gifts to show loved ones how much we care and decorating our homes in holiday regalia. We may even find ourselves up late into the night baking cookies for our children’s teachers, our neighbors, and our co-workers and supervisors.

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General

Adding Power to Your New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve lost interest in New Year’s resolutions. I've long since lost the "rah-rah-rah" energy for deciding something, trying to be a new kind of me, with better results in the world out there -- thinner, kinder, richer, organized, highly successful, time for everyone and never missing a yoga class.

And yet, it seems New Year’s resolutions haven’t finished with me yet. Driving along, following the river one afternoon, I was musing on the word "intention." In-tend. Tend-in.

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Family

When Endings are Quiet

Sometimes, endings aren’t synonymous with an overt break, a startling shatter or a definitive finality. Sometimes, endings are quiet.

There is no burning flame, there is no swirl of chaos. It could be the subtleties that shift; particular nuances that roll in and out of our lives like a low tide, unbeknownst to us as we experience moment to moment.

Sometimes relationships begin to alter ever so slightly or fade completely. Sometimes special traditions cease. Sometimes life changes and moves onward. And we may feel hints of loss when this realization hits us.

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General

Happy New Year 2014

To all of our Psych Central readers, I wish you a very Happy New Year!

I hope 2014 is a good year for you, your family and your friends. I hope the universe makes some of your dreams come true this year, and that you’re successful in overcoming some of your own challenges. May the year be full of the things that bring you more happiness in your life.

We here at Psych Central wish you a very prosperous one in whatever you do.

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General

A New Type of New Year’s Resolution

New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time that we attend to the tick of the clock. As we do so, we reflect on the previous year, resolving to do better this coming year.

Most resolutions people make are repetitive, year after year. We’re going to lose those extra pounds, exercise more, drink less, save money, be better organized, be more patient and spend more time with family and friends.

Wonderful ideas. So how come it takes you (if you’re like most folks) about 7 to 10 days to fall off the wagon?

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General

Setting Yourself Up for Failure: 5 New Year’s Resolutions to Avoid Making

Ah, New Year's. The time to make resolutions... and then throw them out the window a month later, as we fail to stick even just one of them. I mean, why do we even bother making resolutions in the first place?

To complement all the great things that have been written about how to make and keep good New Year's resolutions, I thought I'd also share some of the absolute worst New Year's resolutions you can make.

You should avoid making these kinds of resolutions, because most people simply won't keep them.

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General

3 Traits of Failed Resolutions

As the New Year approaches, many of us will be sitting down to reflect on 2013 and create resolutions for 2014.

Of course, many of us also have gotten cynical about setting goals. We’ve read the stories about failure rates. And we probably have first-hand experience of our personal resolutions not working out.

But there’s usually a good reason -- several of them, in fact -- behind unsuccessful resolutions. And it’s not because you lack willpower, self-control or discipline. (Who wants to follow such punitive goals, anyway?)

And it’s not because you aren’t strong enough or smart enough or capable enough or whatever enough.

Here are three traits of resolutions that rarely work -- along with some expert insight into what does.

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