Psychology Articles

How to Be Happy

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

How to be HappyHappiness is a tough one.

We spend a lot of our time and billions of dollars trying to obtain happiness. Inevitably, though, we find ourselves back in the grind: dreading going to work, dreading doing the myriad errands and responsibilities it takes to live as a human being in this multifaceted world.

The thing about happiness, though, is it’s not supposed to be constant.

The Heartbreak of Mental Illness

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The Heartbreak of Mental IllnessI was talking to a friend the other day who is a clinician at a home for people with mental illness, and I told her I know what it’s like to suffer. She said something that struck a chord, though: she said she thought it was more a case of heartbreak than anything else.

I had never heard it described that way before, but I knew exactly what she meant.

I can remember when I was first diagnosed. I was so crushed by the label of schizophrenia that I could hardly will myself to do anything. I was in fact, heartbroken.

5 Mindful Treatments for Rumination

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

5 Mindful Treatments for RuminationRumination is a mental habit which leads to fixation on flaws and problems, thus extending a negative mood.

With continued attention to our problems, we become obsessed with our pain and can retreat from life. We stop eating (or eating more), sex drive disappears, sleep is disrupted, we are tired all the time, life is dull, and we do less and less.

Rumination starts off as a dim light that we stop putting energy into, allowing it to get darker and darker until we can’t see anymore.

You Don’t Have to Do Everything Perfectly

Friday, September 26th, 2014

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One of my biggest struggles is the fact that I feel like I have to do everything just right. There’s some small part of me that kind of panics if I don’t do things correctly, or the way I imagine they should be done.

How to Know if You’re Truly Resilient

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

How to Know if You're Truly ResilientIf there’s a word people in the top ranks of human capital are buzzing about these days, it’s resilience. I get asked all the time what it means — followed by questions about how to get more of it.

I’ve done lots (and lots) of reading and thinking and speaking about resilience. I’ve watched it in action, experienced it myself, and heard more than one person oversimplify it (“The ability to bounce back,” for instance), while hearing others attempt to explain it biologically and psychologically (and go on far too long).

The fact is, resilience in a person is far more than a tough-as-Teflon surface or rubbery resolve that helps you rebound from stress or disappointment.

Managing Anger

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Managing AngerRegulating emotions is one of the best things that you can do for yourself and others in your environment.

Emotional regulation is really about the ability to bring yourself back on even keel, to calm yourself down when you are distressed, to lift yourself up when you are feeling dejected, and to help yourself feel better. It is about being able to restrain yourself from destructive actions and point yourself in the direction of constructing, value-creating actions.

Emotions provide us with information, and by acknowledging them and redirecting them as needed, we become less a victim of our thoughts and feelings and more of a responsible steward of them.

Quieting the Voice of the Devil on Your Shoulder

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Quieting the Voice of the Devil on Your ShoulderI often equate having schizophrenia to having a little devil on my shoulder that likes to whisper nasty stuff in my ear.

He’s a cunning little jerk, too. If he senses a vulnerability or the potential for anxiety he’ll start screaming.

In the eight years I’ve lived with the illness I’ve come to recognize these triggers and do a pretty good job of avoiding them. You can’t do it forever, though, and eventually the devil is gonna start screaming again.

Movie Music and Theory of Mind

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Flickr Creative Commons / anyjazz65Movie music can have a huge impact on our perception of a film. Ever since the days of “silent” movies, filmmakers have recognized that music enhances the movie-going experience.

The earliest movies were shown in halls with live accompanists playing pianos and organs. Some films were even accompanied with full live orchestras. Why would movie companies go to such expense, if not to make viewers enjoy the film more?

‘I Don’t Want My Friends to Think I’m Crazy’: The Stigma of Bipolar on the College Campus

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Flickr Creative Commons / Massachusetts Office of Travel & TourismMental illness is a prevalent issue on college campuses that often goes unseen and unacknowledged. When I decided I wanted to write an article about students at my university with bipolar disorder, I ran into the difficulty of finding subjects to interview. I asked around my fellow students to see if anyone knew someone who might be willing to speak to me.

“My friend is dating this one crazy girl,” one of my friends jokingly told me. “She’s so bipolar. You should try interviewing her.”

How to Be Real Without Being Mean

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

What is Anger?The mantra to “get real” has become popular nowadays — and for good reason. We live in a society where images rule and authenticity is reserved for blue jeans and ethnic recipes. We’re trained to polish and parade a false self that we think will garner acceptance and accolades.

The isolation and disconnection that’s rampant in our society is based on a disconnection from our own genuine feelings and longings. We’re afraid to show what’s real, including our fears, insecurities, and yearning for love and intimacy. Instead, we may try to project a confident, self-assured, unruffled self that we think will win us friends and gain success. For example, we might conceal our hurt or sadness when our partner is late. Our built-up disappointment or resentment might leak out later over something trivial, which leaves our partner confused.

How to Love Yourself

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

How to Love YourselfI have a confession to make. I have a reminder on my phone that goes off every morning at 8 o’clock that says simply, “You’re awesome.” This might sound dumb but you’d be surprised how often I forget that fact.

This is just one tool in my arsenal of tricks that I use to combat the depression and paranoia that come with a mental illness.

I’ve been in some pretty dark places and I’ve thought many times about putting an end to things when I’m having a hard time, but then, every day at 8 a.m. my phone vibrates and I’m reminded that I’m awesome.

Low Serotonin Levels Don’t Cause Depression

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Low Serotonin Levels Don't Cause DepressionOne of the leading myths that unfortunately still circulates about clinical depression is that it’s caused by low serotonin levels in the brain (or a “biochemical imbalance”). This is a myth because countless scientific studies have specifically examined this theory and have come back universally rejecting it.

So let’s put it to rest once and for all — low levels of serotonin in the brain don’t cause depression.

Let’s find out why.

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