Brain and Behavior

Getting to Know Your Three Brains: Part 1

Happy relationships make happy people. Perhaps the most important relationship we have is the one with our self. In fact, the better the relationship we have with our self, the better we feel, the easier life is and the better relationships we have with others.

When we judge our self harshly, we tend to judge others harshly as well. There is a direct correlation between how we treat ourselves, how we feel and how we treat others.

Regardless of whether you believe it, you do have power to change for the better. How do I know this? I know this because in my journey to become a health care professional, I had the great fortune of learning about the brain. This knowledge helped me tremendously.
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Bullying

Recovering from Childhood Abuse: The Past Keeps Getting Clearer

In trauma recovery it is said, “You’ve done the hardest part -- you survived the abuse.”

After a year of accepting that I was sexually abused as a child, I’m finally starting to understand that recovery isn’t the hardest part. The shame is less automatic now, and the past is getting clearer.

As a child suffering abuse we don’t understand exactly what’s happening to us. Sex and sexuality is a mystery, so it’s not easy to recognize sexual abuse. Physical abuse is also confusing. We are tricked into thinking we’ve done something to deserve maltreatment. And in the end, we give in to this naive hope: “Everything is normal. No one would let abuse happen to me. I’m not in an unsafe situation.”
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General

7 Confidence-Killing Words and Phrases to Ban from Your Vocabulary


If you have great ideas, you need to know how to communicate them. At work as in relationships, it all starts with conveying confidence. But a challenge many high-achieving women run up against are bad speech habits that have been conditioned in us over the years. Without us even knowing it, these verbal crutches can damage our internal and projected confidence levels and can even negatively impact how we’re perceived at work.

Women’s brains are naturally tuned for emotional intelligence and specialized for masterful communication. The female mind is hardwired to pick up nuances in spoken language and
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General

Why Self-Compassion Isn’t Self-Indulgent

So many of us think that self-compassion is the same as self-indulgence. That is, we think that self-compassion means sitting on the couch and zoning out while we watch TV. For hours and hours. We think self-compassion means shirking our responsibilities. We think it means buying things we can’t afford because we simply want them. We think it means being solely ruled by short-term pleasure, letting self-gratification dictate our actions.

We think it means not being accountable for our choices, said Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, a therapist in private practice in San Francisco. We see self-compassion as coddling ourselves and being hard on ourselves as the only way to achieve results, she said.
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Marriage and Divorce

5 Ways Stress Knocks Your Love Life Way Off Track


Your libido, appearance and more take a hit when you're feeling too overwhelmed.

If being stressed out of your mind didn't feel bad enough, there's a study that will make you want to chill the eff out even more. Researchers discovered that men find stressed out women less attractive.

After men rated women's faces for attractiveness, the study found that the prettiest faces consistently belonged to the women with the lowest levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. But don't let that make you worry any more, because women are actually guilty of the same thing. According to previous research, women don't go for anxious men either.

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General

Can You Hear Compliments? How to Let Praise into Your Life

I was recently having a conversation with an old friend. We were talking about what was up lately and I was so excited about what was going on in her life, that I didn’t even realize that I was missing so much of what she said. It wasn’t until later, when I was recounting the conversation to my husband, that I realized she had paid me a lot of compliments and I glossed over every one like they never happened.

It’s not humility. Humility means
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Brain and Behavior

The Healing Power of Hugs

One day several years ago, I spontaneously hugged a patient of mine, Gretchen. It was during a moment in which her despair and distress were so intense that it seemed cruel on a human level not to reach out my arms to her, in the event that she might derive some relief or comfort from an embrace. She hugged me for dear life.

Months later, Gretchen reported to me that the hug had changed her. “The motherly embrace you gave me that day,” she said, “lifted the depression I have had all my life.”

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Binge Eating

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Weight Management

Countless people feel unhappy with their bodies. Some have eating disorders, and many others deal with issues surrounding weight management. They may have tried the standard self-help techniques, from exercise and dieting to grueling weight loss programs, without success.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective and widely used therapeutic approach that can be applied to issues including self-esteem, body image, and weight management.

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Brain Blogger

Fostering Self-Actualization During Child Development


Finding out who we are meant to be can be a difficult task and most won’t take the time and energy involved in the journey. Perhaps, not that they won’t, more often than not they can’t.

Many people struggle daily with meeting other, more base needs, rendering them unable to direct their energy towards higher, more fulfilling needs. In no way am I a self-actualized person, in Rogerian terms I am self-actualizing, that is, I am tending towards my real self and this is necessary for proper and healthy development, and should start no later than once the child is born.

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Bullying

Kill Them with Kindness

“Matt, you are too sensitive,” a family member said.

I chafed at the label. Sensitivity, within my immediate family, is disparaged as a sign of weakness. Stoicism, with the occasional angry outburst, reigns. Feelings? According to my family, Oprah and I should schedule couch time to discuss them.

In my world, feelings predominate. My mood and emotion vacillate based on a heart-warming compliment or stinging rebuke. When feeling well, I exude confidence and joy. When feeling down, I ruminate and question. Feelings -- and a willingness to experience raw, unfiltered emotion -- define me.
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General

10 Ways to Get Back to Winning

Winning isn’t everything, but it does feel good. If you’ve been going through a rough patch, losing more than you succeed, you might think this is a permanent situation. It doesn’t have to be, but you do need to be a little proactive to switch things up and make the necessary changes. Here are 10 suggestions for doing just that:

1. You have to want it.

Wishing things were better won’t get it done. No matter what your idea of winning is, you have to want it more than anything in order for it to have any possibility of becoming reality.
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Anger

How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Us

The statistics are alarming. From 2009 to 2014, the number of girls between the ages of 10 and 17 hospitalized for intentionally cutting or poisoning themselves has more than doubled. This isn't the first time I'm reading about this. But it's certainly time to talk about it.

In my work with inherited family trauma, when I see a child who injures herself, I've learned to probe into the family history. The self-injurer could well be reliving aspects of a trauma she inherited from her parents or grandparents, though this is not always the case. Self-injurious behaviors can arise for other reasons as well.

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