Anxiety and Panic

The Darker Side of Flakiness

Everyone has a flaky friend. You may even be that friend. I’ve certainly been that friend from time to time.

Increasing “flakiness” -- meaning canceling plans a very short time before said plans are about to begin -- is a trend generally attributed to people’s overscheduled lives, conflicting commitments, constant access to each other through personal technology, or a combination of all three.

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Aging

Love is a Verb: Findings from the Longest Study on Happiness

For decades psychology as a science studied the flaws in human beings. Depression, anxiety and mental illness research and treatment protocols dominated the journals. Looking for causes and treatments, scientists sought to find ways to alleviate suffering for the populace. In spite of all the advances and success, one truth remained: Not being depressed isn’t the same as being happy.

Nonetheless, since 1938 researchers at Harvard have been collecting data about 724 men. The study followed two groups of men for 75 years. Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant began the study of 268 Harvard sophomores, while law school professor Sheldon Glueck studied 456 12- to 16-year-old boys who grew up in inner city Boston.

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Family

Relationships — When Silence Is Golden

We might think that our spoken words express what people take in. Yet studies by Dr. Albert Mehrabian and colleagues (1) confirm the truth of the familiar maxim, “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.”

Here is what they found regarding how much of the message received by the listener is based on the sender’s words, voice, and body language when people are communicating about their feelings and attitudes:

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Alcoholism

5 Tips for Building a Healthy Relationship with Your Teenager

As any parent will know -- or at least will have been warned -- a child’s teenage years can be some of the toughest. It can be particularly hard if their parents are divorced or separated.

A whirlwind combination of puberty, hormones, high school years, and the growing need for independence can be a challenge for any parent. In a household with a teenager, every day can seem like a battle -- sometimes over the smallest things. As a parent, you want to be able to love and guide your child like you always have, but you need to understand that just as they’re changing, your relationship with them needs to change as well. These are some of the most formative years of their lives, so it’s good for them to know that their parents are there for them, and are willing to realize that they have a young adult who deserves their respect and guidance.

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General

How Do You Use Your Limited Time & Brain Cycles?

There's a meme that started way back in 2007 talking about a professor who fills up a jar full of golf balls, pebbles, and sand to demonstrate that you should fill your life with the important things first (the larger golf balls), so that the little things (the pebbles and sand) don't take up all the room in your life (the jar).

There's a reason memes become popular and get shared online -- because there is some kind of universal truth connected to them that people recognize. This clever story of a jar and golf balls is just such a meme.

You have a very short time on this planet -- much shorter than you realize when you take into account the tens of thousands of years of civilization before you were born, and the likely tens of thousands of years in the future. How are you going to spend that time? What kind of things will you spend most days focusing on -- the little, useless things, or the bigger, meaningful stuff?

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Addiction

An Open Letter from a Wife in Recovery

Please note, this letter is my own and unrelated to any Al-Anon approved literature.
After reading An Open Letter From an Addict, I took the liberty of writing a letter back early on in my own recovery. Yes, my recovery.

After finding out my husband was actively using for years, I was devastated. How could I not know? What was I thinking this whole time?

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Brain and Behavior

5 Ways to Get Your Partner to Change

Everyone says you can’t change another person, nor should you try. You have to accept him or her, flaws and all.

While it’s fundamentally true that you can’t make others change -- they have to want to change themselves -- there are ways to influence someone else’s behavior. Below are five steps that increase the likelihood of change and may bring couples closer together.

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Ethics & Morality

Buddhism, Spirituality & Dependency

Recently I attended a six-day Zen meditation retreat (sesshin in Japanese) which included the celebration of Rohatsu on December 8. Rohatsu is said to be the day that Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, came to his great enlightenment.

As a couples therapist and student of attachment theory, I cannot deny what seem to be inherent contradictions of this spiritual path and current research on healthy dependency. First, Siddhartha left his home, his wife, his newborn, his parents, and his duties as a prince to go alone on a spiritual quest. Accounts also say that he left at night and did not say goodbye to his wife or see his newborn son.

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General

In Love & Still Lonely

Many of us believe that if we feel lonely, we are searching for love. We think that love is the most profound feeling possible; it is the glue that holds us together. It is the greatest joy we can experience.

While this may be true under the right circumstances, love also is fickle. We have the capacity to fall in love with someone who is unavailable. Maybe the person we love doesn’t love us back. We might fall in love with someone who is incapable of expressing emotions or affection. In fact, falling in love with the wrong person can be the worst of all heartaches.

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General

3 Surprisingly Simple Keys to a Happy Marriage

Maintaining a happy marriage isn’t complicated. In fact, it can be simple. The keys to a happy union are feasible and fairly straightforward. Which isn’t the same as easy and effortless. Because a happy, healthy marriage requires work from both spouses. Anything worthwhile does.

Below, Ashley Thorn, a licensed marriage and family therapist, spells out the simple keys. She also reveals how she helps her clients cultivate these keys—and how you and your spouse can, too.

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Addiction

Empaths vs. Codependents

I don't like when the term “empath” is used interchangeably with “codependent.” “Empath,” which has its origins in the spiritual and metaphysical world, was never intended to be a replacement term for codependency.

An empath is defined as a person with the paranormal ability to intuitively sense and understand the mental or emotional state of another individual. According to empaths I have spoken to and the information available on the Internet, they are highly sensitive to others' emotional and metaphysical energy. If, indeed, this extra-sensory phenomenon exists, it is definitely not the same thing as codependency.

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Anger

Re-Visioning Strength: What It Really Means to Be Strong and Why It’s Important


In this year’s election cycle, there is understandable anxiety about terrorism. Political candidates are competing to reassure voters that they are the strongest candidate and have the best plan for keeping us safe.

This raises some interesting psychological issues. How do we react when our sense of safety and well-being are threatened? What does it mean to be strong in the face of danger? What is a wise response to a difficult or scary situation?

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