Brain and Behavior

How to Put a Stop to Generations of Negative Thinking

The problem with putting a stop to negative thinking is that we often don’t know we’re doing it. We’re not actively throwing out every positive thought and immediately embracing every bad one. We’re on autopilot. And for many of us, it’s an age-old habit that we learned from our parents, just as it was passed down to them.

Recently, I mentioned to my husband that it would be nice to have a small, single-serving milk steamer, so I could have hot milk with my coffee. “I’d heat up a little in the microwave but it always scorches,” I explained. “Then it makes a mess and you need a whole new mug because the old one smells like burnt milk.”
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Anxiety and Panic

5 More Ways to be Kind to Yourself When You’re Anxious

So many of us judge ourselves for being anxious. We think we’re weak. We think we’re being stupid or ridiculous. We think we shouldn’t feel this way -- and ironically, these thoughts only exacerbate our anxiety.

According to clinical psychologist Karin Lawson, PsyD, “When someone is judging themselves for having feelings, then it doesn't allow space to figure out how to soothe and move through the emotion.”

She shared this analogy: A person is experiencing physical pain in her arm. She purposely tenses up and tightens her arm muscles to power through it. But this just layers the pain and creates more discomfort.
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Brain and Behavior

Do You Struggle to Feel Big and Proud?

"Don’t get too big for your britches!" "Don't think you’re better than anyone else!" "Don't get a swelled head!" "Don’t think you are so great!"

Beginning as little children, we hear cultural messages that are meant to socialize and civilize us. We learn to keep our self-confidence in check in order to stay in the good graces of the people around us. Healthy shame makes sure we follow social rules such as not stealing, being honest, or not going to the bathroom in public. Shame is the emotion that ensures we fit in with the groups we need.

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Family

When People Cross Your Boundaries

People cross our boundaries in all sorts of ways. For instance, they might keep pushing you to change your “no” into a “yes” to meet their needs, said Julie de Azevedo Hanks, Ph.D, LCSW, founder and executive director of Wasatch Family Therapy.

They might borrow something and never return it, said psychotherapist Liz Morrison, LCSW. They might invade your personal space -- like touching your pregnant belly without permission. They might instruct your child on how to behave.
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Anger

What to Do When You Get Overwhelmed

Daily life is busy. There are constantly things that require our attention. Whether it’s work or family, there seem to always be things we need to do to keep everything together.

We are juggling numerous balls trying to maintain a balancing act on already-tenuous ground.

The point is, there comes a point in everyone’s life when things can get to be too much. We all get overwhelmed at times.
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General

Can You Live with a Judgmental Therapist?

In a recent interview in the Wall Street Journal, psychotherapist and licensed marriage and family therapist Paul Hokemeyer admitted that his mind often wanders when his patients are talking.

“Frequently. Most of the time it wanders back to the session I had with the last patient and what I should have done differently,” said Hokemeyer, who sees patients in New York and Colorado as well as Skyping across country. “It can also wander if the patient is avoiding connecting and filling the time with superfluous details. I’ll start to think about the dry cleaning or what I can have for dinner.”
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Anxiety and Panic

3 Things that Create or Amplify Our Anxiety

Sometimes we cause ourselves undue anxiety. This might be the things we say to ourselves or the things we hyperfocus on. It might be the way we let others treat us. Which isn’t to say that you’re to blame, and oh, what’s wrong with you?! you should know better!

Rather, it’s a reminder that we can work on our thoughts, and we can take kinder care of ourselves. Once you can identify what spikes your anxiety, you can work on reducing it.
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Anger

An Unwanted Neighbor

Your alter ego, Negative Nelly, inches closer. "You are a fraud. Success? Ha. You are fortunate to remember your child's name. Ohh -- and good luck with that presentation. Maybe you can ask Rick Perry for speech advice." You wince, pleading with the merciless critic to play nice. He mischievously chuckles, gloating at his latest victory.

The critic's name is Isa. He belittles every move, condemning you to a tortured existence. Sensing that twisting knot in your stomach, Isa pounces. Like a bad comedian, his timing is always off -- before a date, a meeting with the boss, or a presentation.

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General

10 Tips to Change Your Mood

You’re having a bad day and you can’t wait for it to be over so you can crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head. Things will look better tomorrow, you tell yourself. But are there other ways that you can overcome a nasty mood, erase the sorrow, ease your anger and otherwise feel a bit brighter? Check out these ten tips to change your mood.

Have an ugly sweater party
If you really want to switch...
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Creativity

How to Find Your Flow

Creativity should be an essential requirement for everyone’s life. We all need a few hours here and there where it’s possible to lose track of time because we are so engrossed in the activity we’re doing.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone has experienced flow at some point in their lives. Whether it’s baking, writing, painting, playing music or drawing there seems to be at least some form of flow for nearly everyone. Some people even lose themselves in busywork. Regardless, we all know what it’s like to (thankfully) lose our train of thought and become so engrossed in something that you could spend hours doing it simply for the joy of it.
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General

3 New Year’s Resolutions You’re Going to Break — and How to Plan for Success Instead


The first days of the new year are always the same. You start off strong, a long list of resolutions planned, ready to conquer your career goals. And you do -- for a week, maybe two, or even a few months if you’re on a roll.

Then, something throws you off track. The culprit may be a seemingly insignificant workplace annoyance, but it has the power to affect your motivation in a big way.

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