General

Squashing Self-Criticism

I strive to use mindfulness in all facets of my living and being. For me, the most beautiful and valuable gift that mindfulness offers is permission to receive, and to let go, repeatedly, particularly of my self-criticism. This helps me stay connected to the good, rather than the critical parts of myself. It helps me to experience my wholeness, and the wholeness of human nature, of which I am a part. This breeds contentment within, allowing me to be more authentic with self and others.

Many of us are conditioned to acquire, or be in constant pursuit of things, feelings or status. Often we feel less equipped to honor and navigate loss in our lives. Mindfulness creates a larger space for joy, making it easier to find in times of struggle.

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Anxiety and Panic

How Media Shapes Our View of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Most people would consider an abuse victim as a person who experienced “trauma.” However people often don’t view them as potentially experiencing “post-traumatic stress disorder.” PTSD is more commonly thought of as a condition affecting combat veterans, but the number of civilians suffering from PTSD is 13 times more than military personnel, according to a release from Drexel University. So what gives? According to researchers at Drexel, the media plays a large role in what the general population and lawmakers associate with PTSD.

The Drexel study reviewed 35 years worth of articles on PTSD published in the New York Times -- from 1980, the year PTSD was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to 2015. Of 871 articles a little over 50 percent focused on military cases of PTSD. The occurrence of PTSD in veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan is 20 percent. But research shows the condition is far more likely to affect civilians who suffer sexual assault (30-80 percent of survivors), nonsexual assault (23–39 percent), survivors of disasters (30–40 percent), and car crashes (25–33 percent).
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Happiness

The 4 Secret Ingredients for a Truly Happy Life


Be sure you have what it takes to cook up your own delicious life.

Although the definition of "a truly happy life" is relative, we all want it. Does truly happy ever seem like a far-fetched thought, or a rigged carnival game that keeps you striving for an unattainable prize? Maybe you just get one area of your life smoothed out and another area starts to wobble. It can be a constant battle and that's not how anyone wants to live.

Here's the deal... happiness is a recipe and you’re simply missing some key ingredients.
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General

How to Judge Yourself Less

We judge ourselves for so many things. Maybe it’s what we look like. Maybe it’s the size of our thighs. Maybe it’s the mistakes we made. A decade ago. Maybe it’s the small errors we make at work from time to time. Maybe we see ourselves as weak. Not good enough. Inadequate. Deeply flawed.

Maybe you often think in shoulds. I should be over this by now. I shouldn’t be anxious about that. Psychologist Karin Lawson, PsyD, regularly hears these kinds of statements from her clients. They also judge themselves for their emotions. Their sadness. Anger. Fear. “I hear clients judge themselves for just feeling, for being human.” After all, feeling a range of emotions is part of our humanity.
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Books

3 Ways You Might Be Making Yourself Miserable

There are many things that make us miserable that we can’t control. Our employer is forced to make cuts, and our job is part of the downsizing. Our colleagues are bullies. We’re born with a bad lung or poor eyesight. We’re too short for the sports team we’ve always wanted to join. There’s traffic, construction zones, storms, and a driver who was texting and smacked into your parked car.

But thankfully there are other...
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Anger

How to Heal After an Abusive Relationship

If you’ve recently gotten out of an abusive relationship or are considering doing so, your sense of self has likely been altered -- or even destroyed. So, too, have your feelings of safety and your ability to trust others.

You can and will regain these things, but it will take time. This is likely one of the hardest things you will ever do, so be patient with yourself. You can move on...
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Brain and Behavior

The Key to Success? Not Comparing Yourself to Others

The grass is always greener. I’ve been there, scrolling through newsfeeds on social media, talking to friends, seeing successful people all over the place. That's when the feeling starts to creep in that I’m not good enough, that I’m not motivated enough, that I need to do better.

It seems like we focus on the people who appear to be doing better than we are, instead of focusing on ourselves or those who may be struggling the most.

I think, "If I could just do what that guy is doing I’d have enough money to buy a house, to live comfortably for the rest of my days, and my worries would be over."
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Self-Esteem

Video: Working on Self-Esteem by Doing, Not Thinking

There are some problems where you can't think your way to a solution. Anyone who's ever been anxious knows this all too well: once you've lost your cool, thinking tends to make things worse!

Still, it's tempting to believe you can think your way to happiness and better mental health. After all, if the problems are all in your head, maybe the solutions are too.

But the old cliché that actions speak louder than words often applies even when the speaking is between you and your own brain. What you do can influence how you feel more than what you think.
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Anger

Past Tense

I stop: a droll smile and infectious cackle singe my synapses. I feel good. Like endorphins-are-murmuring good.

Maybe it is a sun-baked trip to the beach, the well-received Psych Central articles, or heartfelt conversations with my aunts and uncles. Or maybe it is learning to accept past failures for what they are: character lessons, not character flaws. The past can be a vengeful lover; she will terrorize you if you allow her to.

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General

Five Tips to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

If you're an introvert like me, who sees any "confidence boosting'" tip online as the tastiest link bait in the online ocean, you'll have read this common piece of advice: "Fake it 'til you make it." Right? Of course! That's what we have to do to appear more confident: just fake it.

Like anything in life we struggle with, "faking" our skill level gets us to where we want to be -- right? Not for me.

One of the reasons I lack confidence in many situations is that I feel like an imposter. Like I'm a total fake, just waiting to be found out.
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Anxiety and Panic

Calling All Perfectionists

In my obsession with perfection, I forgot a valuable life lesson: pretty good can be perfection too.

Adventurous and fun-loving and driven and studious, I have sought it all. The dreamy vacation, the fulfilling career, the steamy romance. But the mind has always craved more.

Growing up, I would spend hours poring over an essay. I rehearsed clever rejoinders before dates. I would analyze events from 2002. I am laughing and cringing at these memories.

I was comfortable in my skin as long as I met my own exacting standards.
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