Addiction

How to Be True to Yourself

Every once in a while I pull out my one-year sobriety chip, which reads on the front, “To Thine Own Self Be True.” I've been sober for more than 26 years now, but it was my one-year chip that meant the most to me, because it was during that first year that I realized how difficult it is to be true to yourself.

Everyone thought I was crazy for calling myself an “alcoholic” and going to 12-step support meetings. I mean, at 18 years old, I wasn’t even of a legal age to drink.
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Friends

Accepting the Gift of Criticism

Criticism is often shot with such irrationally charged arrows that it’s natural to yield a defensive shield, which can deflect any kind of positive resolution or self-growth.

Also, criticism can be jarring to one’s self-image. For instance, if you perceive yourself to be a productive member of your company, and someone declares that you’re a slacker, it can be a blow to your ego. It’s natural, then, to try and combat criticism.
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Brain and Behavior

Recognizing & Adjusting Co-Dependent Behaviors

Simply stated, co-dependency describes a dynamic in which one person enables and supports another person’s dysfunctional behavior or poor emotional health like alcohol or substance abuse, immaturity, irresponsibility, and under-achievement.

It’s important to acknowledge that having dependency needs is healthy and normal. In mature and healthy relationships, people are able to comfortably rely on one another for support, understanding, and help while–at the same time–retaining a sense of independence and autonomy. This dynamic is reciprocated, not just one-sided. Healthy dynamics between people fosters independence, resourcefulness, and resiliency, while co-dependent dynamics stifle and limit growth.
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Borderline Personality

A Letter to My Borderline Brain

Dear Borderline brain,

I know you want to go to the hospital. I know. But you are okay, you are not in crisis, and you do NOT need to be there. There will be times that you do. You remember the boy who cried wolf? This is important. Are you listening to me? It’s nice to have people take care of you, but please remember that people ARE taking care of you. Your therapist and your psychiatrist and your nutritionist and your outpatient program leader are always on your team. They are not going anywhere.
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General

How to Reject Rejection: Ice Cream Not Included

“It’s not you; it's me,” she coos. You grimace, swallowing the bitter words.

From romance to career advancement, rejection is a cold, cruel mistress. It pierces our identity, plunging us into a well of despair. We question our value, lamenting life’s unfairness. Even cruelty. Some people internalize its pain while others lash out on an unsuspecting family member or significant other.

The common denominator: You were wronged. And it hurts.

But instead of sulking or scowling, here are strategies to compartmentalize rejection for what it is: a temporary setback.
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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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