Exercise & Fitness

Reading Your Medical Chart: How One Word Can Ruin Your Day

So many things have changed for the better in the past decade when it comes to a patient's transparency and ability to access their medical records. Online portals make such access to review your medical file as easy as logging in and start reading.

But with transparency comes an unexpected downside -- too much information, not always couched in gentle language. Knowing what your health care practitioner thinks of you can have emotional consequences few people are ready for -- and that few physicians or therapists understand.

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Bullying

Trauma: The Lie Whisperer

Many, if not most of us, have been through some traumatic event in our lives. When you think back to your childhood you may see flashes of violence, abuse, neglect, or addiction. This might have been your "normal." This might still be your "normal." When we live through trauma something happens to us, without our knowledge. Lies are quietly spoken to our psyches. So what are these lies and who whispers them to those of us who have suffered trauma?

First, let’s define trauma. Merriam-Webster defines trauma as:
a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time.
But why does “a very difficult or unpleasant experience cause someone to have mental or emotional problems”? Sounds like a silly question, right? One could answer; because it was scary, anxiety provoking, hurtful, debilitating, horrific, physically painful, and the list goes on. But this still does not answer the why of my question. Let’s break it down even further. What is the connection between experiencing trauma and internalizing it, resulting in, what Merriam-Webster calls, “mental or emotional problems”?
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Psychology Around the Net: November 12, 2016


I won't begin this edition of Psychology Around the Net by saying "Happy Saturday!", as I usually do, because I -- like the rest of the country, and the world -- am well aware that many of you are not happy.

Whether you voted for Hillary Clinton and are outraged that -- and perhaps feeling scared and threatened because -- Donald Trump won the election, or you voted for Donald Trump (or a third-party candidate) and are hurt because some of your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even strangers are accusing you of not caring about important human concerns such as racism, sexism, and the safety of the LBGTQ community, chances are you're not happy.

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Depression

Where’s Maslow? A Lifelong Search for Security

Since the late 1980s, I have seen dozens of therapists due to depression and low self-esteem caused by financial distress.

One of these therapists once told me that everyone deserves a certain level of comfort. Whether this is factually accurate has been subject to much debate -- both in philosophy classrooms and in politics.

Regardless, if you do have the intellect to debate this subject, then you have likely had at least one course in basic psychology.

Upon sitting through a semester of Psychology 101, you know of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs -- developed by the American psychologist, Abraham Maslow. In short, this hierarchy addresses human needs -- everything from the need for food and job security to the need for love and self-esteem.
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Habits

Moving Out of Fear and into Your Life

What is stopping you from achieving your goals in life? There are lots of things that may hinder you from taking the action required to make changes in your life, grow and reach certain goals. Fear can be one of those hurdles that continues to limit people from scaling greater heights. Fortunately, fear is a normal occurrence and it depends on your ability to move out of it in order to become what you have always wanted to be.

Fear is the sign of a window of opportunity. When you move closer to your dreams, you can rest assured that you will encounter fear. It is because of fear that you stop telling your truth and expressing yourself authentically. It then becomes challenging to move forward. However, did you know that you can move out of fear and into your life?
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Alcoholism

Are You Using Alcohol as a Crutch?

One of my friends hasn’t had a drink in over a year. She stopped drinking because she realized that it clouded her thinking. She realized that she was using alcohol to relieve stress and escape from her thoughts and feelings. No one would call her an “alcoholic.” In fact, many of her friends don’t understand why she quit.

But, without alcohol, she’s seen many positive changes. She has more clarity. She feels more motivated. She sleeps better. She’s more present in her life.

We think of drinking in two ways: Either you’re a normal drinker. Or you’re an alcoholic. Either you have a serious problem. Or you don’t. But drinking is way more nuanced and much more layered than that.
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Bullying

Positive Ways to Negotiate with Bullies

One of the definitions of “bully” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “a browbeating person who is cruel to others.” A definition for the word “negotiate” includes: “to arrange for or bring about through conference, discussion, and compromise.”

Since the very core of negotiation is compromise -- and since that is often the very last thing bullies are prepared to do, it takes some thought to maneuver through a negotiation process with one. But it can be done!

The Toastmasters Interpersonal...
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Creativity

3 Suggestions for Revising Unsupportive Stories

The stories we hold about ourselves can expand or narrow our lives. One example of limiting narratives revolves around what we believe we’re good at and what we believe we’re bad at. Helen McLaughlin’s clients often create these kinds of stories, letting them dictate their decisions and days. For instance, one client might hold the story that she can’t ask her boss for a raise because she’s bad at anything resembling a confrontation. And she’s really bad at advocating for herself.

The problem? This narrative “locks her into a future in which she has little control over what she can and can’t achieve at work and in life,” said McLaughlin, a transformation coach who helps smart, motivated life-explorers to leverage their curiosity, discover what exists for them beyond their default future, and achieve their Big Thing. Plus, the client might’ve created this story based on inaccurate or outdated information—a moment from many, many years ago.
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Children and Teens

Psychology Around the Net: October 22, 2016


Once again, my friends, I come to you from behind a computer screen with a box of tissues on one side and a trash can on the other. Tears are running down my cheeks, I can't stop sneezing, and even though I can't breathe my nostrils aren't too stopped up to -- well, I won't get gross.

Wasn't it just a few months ago I was suffering from allergies? Can you even get allergies in the fall? According to WebMD, you sure can, and thanks to a myriad of potential culprits (mold spores and pollen hiding out in fallen leaves and dust mites triggered from turning the heat on for the first time), I am once again down for the count.

Still, that hasn't stopped me from bringing you this week's latest in mental health news! Keep reading for healthy tips for how to break off a friendship, Instagram's new mental health "flagging" feature, ways you can beat election stress, and more.

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Creativity

Revising the Negative Narratives We Tell About Ourselves

All of us hold stories about ourselves. Maybe you’re unwittingly telling yourself that in order to be lovable, you must always say yes to others and avoid upsetting them. At all cost. Maybe you’re telling yourself that you’re terrible at romantic relationships.

Maybe you’re telling yourself that you can’t switch careers, or succeed with having ADHD. Maybe you’re telling yourself that you don’t deserve kindness. Maybe you’re telling yourself that you can’t tolerate painful emotions. Maybe you’re telling yourself that you’re not creative or smart or qualified. Maybe you’re telling yourself that in order to be respected you must never show weakness or make mistakes.
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Books

A Box Full of Darkness: Growing Up in the Shadow of BPD

Someone I loved once gave me
A box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
That this, too, was a gift.
-Mary Oliver

I can’t remember now how I ran across this poem by Mary Oliver. I saved it, because the box-full-of-darkness metaphor seemed genius. As time went by, its relevance to my experience became clearer. The poem eventually served as an epigraph for my book Missing: Coming to Terms with a Borderline Mother.

First, here’s what I won’t be saying about these lines. I won’t say that all dark boxes become gifts. The loss of a child or debilitating pain or one’s own mental illness? Starvation? Violence? Are these gifts, or can they become gifts? It feels presumptuous to say so. I can speak only to my own experience, and a largely blessed and lucky experience it has been.
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Personal

Why I Admire Psychopaths… Some of Their Traits Anyway

Sometimes, when I wake up on Monday mornings and feel a little stressed about my upcoming week, afraid I won’t be convincing during a presentation, or not sure about taking on some project that is a little out of my comfort zone, I wish I had a little more psychopathic traits.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I wish I was an emotionless serial killer, just that it would be nice to have a little more of some of the traits they share that are actually coveted in today's society.
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