Self-Help Articles

5 More Tips for Finding Love with a Mental Illness

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

5 More Tips for Finding Love with a Mental IllnessIn a previous post, we discussed five tips for finding love with a mental illness. Here are five more.

1. When to discuss your mental illness? It’s a dilemma: When should you reveal your mental illness? The first date should be fun and light so you can find common ground, but you probably don’t want to wait so long that a medical event suddenly thrusts your problems into the spotlight.

As you contemplate a future with your significant other, please remember: Don’t feel ashamed of your mental illness, medication, or counseling. It’s no different from needing medicine for diabetes or having a drug allergy; they’re just different types of medical issues that everyday people have.

What It Means to Teach People How to Treat You

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

What It Means to Teach People How to Treat YouWe often hear the advice that it’s important to teach people how to treat us. But what does this really mean? What does it actually look like?

According to marriage and family therapist Michael Morgan, teaching people how to treat us is a process that involves teaching them “what is acceptable and unacceptable. It is knowing what we need and want and being able to communicate it effectively to others.”

5 Tips for Finding Love with a Mental Illness

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

3 Therapy Exercises to Help Couples ConnectDating can bring joy and passion or make you feel lonely and misunderstood. When you add a mental illness into the mix, things can get even more complicated — if you let them. But you’re hardly alone in your confusion.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in any given year, roughly one in four adults experiences mental illness. Of these, many are enjoying loving, stable relationships. Many others don’t even know they have a mental disorder.

Mental illness is a medical condition that can be treated with medication and therapy. It doesn’t have to limit your social life, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t look for a partner.

The Power of Writing: 3 Types of Therapeutic Writing

Monday, January 19th, 2015

The Power of Writing: 3 Types of Therapeutic WritingSome of us think that writing is only for writers. But writing is for all of us. As Julia Cameron notes in her book The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life, “I believe we all come into life as writers.”

Writing can be beneficial for all of us, because it can be therapeutic. One of the most powerful parts of therapy is cultivating the ability to observe our thoughts and feelings, said Elizabeth Sullivan, a licensed marriage and family therapist in San Francisco. And that’s what writing helps us do.

“Most of us do not think in complete sentences but in self-interrupted, looping, impressionistic cacophony,” she said. Writing helps us track our spinning thoughts and feelings, which can lead to key insights (e.g., I don’t want to go to that party; I think I’m falling for this person; I’m no longer passionate about my job; I realize how I can solve that problem; I’m really scared about that situation.)

Like Jung and Wharton, Do You Remember When You First Knew Yourself?

Monday, January 19th, 2015

mirroremptyIn my writing about habits and happiness, I keep coming back to the same idea: to shape our habits, to build our happiness, we have to start with a knowledge of ourselves — our own nature, our own interest, our own temperament.

It sounds so easy to know yourself — after all, you hang out with yourself all day! But it’s very, very challenging. We’re so distracted by how we wish we were, or by what think we ought to be, or by what other people expect from us … we lose touch with what’s actually true.

Is Brain-Training a Hoax?

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Is Brain-Training a Hoax?In a society that glorifies brain-related companies such as Lumosity, it’s important to note that while their goal is moral, their process is inherently flawed.

As an Integrative Neuroscience major at Binghamton University, I can understand why parents and children alike fall for the tempting ways to enhance your brain’s functioning. After all, it’s no secret that as we begin to age, our memory and other senses begin to fade gradually and sometimes rather abruptly. Nevertheless, the market for these brain-training websites is alive and thriving.

Lumosity prides themselves in being able to “enhance neuroplasticity” through games and other tasks. While their mission statement is not incorrect, it’s not the only route to mental clarity.

5 Helpful Practices for Families

Friday, January 16th, 2015

5 Helpful Practices for FamiliesIn his book The Secrets of Happy Families author and New York Times family columnist Bruce Feiler turns to various fields and individuals — the military, Silicon Valley, sports coaches and Green Berets — for insights into creating stronger, more connected families. He also tries out these tips at home with his own family, which includes his wife and twin daughters.

In the book, Feiler shares all kinds of tools for teaching kids values, creating a more peaceful household and having more fun as a family.

Here are five tips and tools from The Secrets of Happy Families, which you might want to adopt for your family.

6 Tips for Building Emotional Muscle When Life Gets Tough

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Woman outdoors holding flower smiling

If your emotional muscle is damaged from the past, it’s up to you to build it back up.

The scenario happens so often, it’s practically cliche:

A woman or man in an “unhappy” marriage meets someone new. Instantly, there’s a powerful connection, and maybe even an affair occurs; and, instantly, this person thinks she or he now knows how to be happy again.

The Reasons We Ruminate and How to Reduce the Cycle

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

The Reasons We Ruminate And How to Reduce the CycleWhen we’re ruminating about something, we’re really obsessing about it. We overthink it. We blow it up in our minds. We review a situation over and over. And over.

Therapist Melody Wilding, LMSW, compared our ruminating minds to a broken record. Typically we ruminate about the past, including perceived mistakes and missed opportunities, she said.

Ruminating is “characterized by overwhelming self-criticism and negative self-talk about one’s failures and shortcomings.” We think that if we’d just done something better or had been better, the outcome would’ve been more positive, she said.

Why Compliments are Powerful

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Why Compliments are Powerful

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. ~ Mother Teresa

Psychologist John Gottman most likely agrees. His widely respected research found that in good marriages, compliments outnumber criticisms by more than five to one.

My book, Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love:30 Minutes A Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted, tells exactly how to hold a successful marriage meeting. They are short, gently structured conversations with your spouse which fosters romance, intimacy, teamwork, and smoother resolution of issues.

Relieve Pain, Stress, and Sleeplessness with Japanese Massage Techniques

Monday, January 12th, 2015

male sleeping patterns

Getting a good night’s sleep can seem like an impossible dream for those in chronic pain. And to make matters worse, the situation tends to worsen over time, resulting in a never-ending pain/insomnia cycle. The pain causes sleep deprivation, which in turn weakens the body’s natural pain control mechanisms — leading to more pain and more insomnia.

Since medication is not recommended for long-term use, researchers from the University of Alberta have been exploring low-cost, alternative therapies to help people with chronic pain get better sleep.

Their findings show that self-administered hand shiatsu — a Japanese form of massage, similar to acupressure — can help people in pain fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep for a longer period of time.

Working Out of a Creative Slump, Literally

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Working Out of a Creative Slump, LiterallyMore often than not the advice I’m given when I hit a creative slump is to do more creative things. Make a collage. Write in my journal. Draw or doodle. Read a book or watch a movie. Find a new way to reorganize or rearrange my workspace.

But when I’m not feeling creative, creative fixes don’t sound appealing. The more things fail to sound appealing, the less I do and the bigger the slump. It seems like it will never end, and I start to wonder if maybe I’ve already had all my best ideas.

Hitting a creative block leaves us lost and bored. It can make us doubt our abilities, our choices and our livelihood. You just don’t feel like yourself.

Recent Comments
  • James: Some therapists advocate limiting your love life because of your mental illness. Ive heard some say “you...
  • Junefer Enaga: It helps a lot,, specially to the person like me who is nothing to be trusted about my problm
  • Scott B.: This is precisely what I’ve been saying recently to family and friends, in some cases, more so than...
  • Scott B.: I’m getting fed up/cynical myself after years of therapy with various doctors, and don’t get my...
  • Lyle Harris: Thank you. Even though this is an older piece, I still re-read it frequently. I have two young children,...
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