Self-Help Articles

5 Pieces of Mental Health Advice that Miss the Mark

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

How to Deal with Burnout

Today, you’ll find myriad advice about improving your emotional health and relationships. This is a good thing. But, unfortunately, not all of it is accurate. And some of it can even be damaging.

We asked psychotherapists to share the self-help myths they’ve seen suggested over and over — and to set the record straight. Below, you’ll find a list of five myths and facts.

Loneliness within a Marriage

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

relationship-crisisMany of my clients discuss a feeling of loneliness within their marriages. Often their spouses look at them with confusion or contempt. They ask how it’s possible to feel alone when they are in the same house or even the same room much of the time. Mr. and Mrs. Just Not Feeling It may also be helpful in explaining how you feel.

When you feel lonely within your marriage, you don’t feel like you’re part of anything bigger than yourself. You feel alone, and there is no “we,” only you and your spouse, completely separate entities. You may or may not seem to be a happy couple to others, and you may or may not be able to keep a united front for the kids. Either way, when it is just you and your spouse talking to each other, you don’t feel close, connected, secure or safe.

Looking for a Therapist? Key Questions to Help You Find the Right One

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

The Ultimate PainClinical psychologist Ryan Howes, Ph.D, has known individuals who’ve spent more time researching their dinner reservations than their next therapist. However, going to therapy is a vulnerable process. It requires honesty and hard work. It requires revealing your struggles.

As Howes said, “You wouldn’t want to blindly trust just anyone, would you?” This is why interviewing a therapist is vital.

Also vital is spending some time researching your concerns and treatment options, said clinical psychologist Marla Deibler, PsyD. This can help you pick a practitioner who meets your needs.

Silencing the Internal Critic

Monday, February 16th, 2015

The Critical Thinking Coach

Self-nurturing means, above all, making a commitment to self-compassion. – Jennifer Louden

When does your internal critic show up? Is it when you spill your coffee? When you forget to buy the bread? When you speak too harshly to your children? Is it when you made the C when you were striving for the A, or is it when you didn’t get invited to the party?

There are many opportunities for the internal critic to sneak in and remind you of your faults, your failures and your frailties. For some, the internal critic appears with such regularity that it does its dirty work unnoticed. Anything we experience regularly tends to drop out of our awareness. We don’t usually notice our breathing, our eyes blinking or the sensation of the shoes on our feet because those things happen to us all the time.

How to Cope with PMS

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

ChronicPainandDepressionLinkedGender,Age,EthnicityThose who know me know that I tend to be rather vocal about my menstrual cycle (sorry to all the male readers, but it’s the truth). PMS — and the lovely symptoms that incorporate menstruation — rear its ugly head every month via mind-numbing cramps, and moments where I want to weep at everything imaginable, eat everything imaginable, or yell at everything imaginable.

PMS is that pesky hormonal time where emotions are heightened; where we’re susceptible to vulnerability. We’re more prone to feeling annoyed or stressed or upset over circumstances that may normally be dealt with calmly.

According to Jan Sheehan’s article posted on Everyday Health, researchers correlate these emotional surges with hormone fluctuation during the menstrual cycle, particularly in regard to estrogen.

How to Practice Self-Compassion When You Think You Can’t

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

dancing-happy-woman-fieldSelf-compassion is powerful. It promotes inner peace. Self-criticism, the opposite of self-compassion and what most of us are used to practicing, “is an experience of inner conflict,” according to Ali Miller, MFT, a therapist in private practice in Berkeley and San Francisco, Calif. Miller specializes in helping adults live more authentic, empowered and connected lives.

When we criticize ourselves, we’re essentially at war with ourselves, she said. “This inner violence is similar to outer violence, in that it hurts, divides, destroys and takes up a lot of energy.” Self-compassion, however, frees up our energy, so we can care for ourselves and others.

Self-compassion also soothes our pain. “When we relate to our pain with self-compassion, we suffer less. And we feel more connected to others who suffer [and] less isolated,” Miller said.

The Scary Side of Sitting

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Young woman sitting on sofa with electronic padThere is a growing scientific consensus that the more time you spend sitting, the shorter and less healthy your life may be. Excessive sitting, such as at an office desk, in front of the TV, even driving while commuting can significantly affect your cardiovascular and metabolic function.

Your mental health is intricately connected to the amount of time you spend sitting. One study after another continues to reveal that your risk for depression soars the longer you are sedentary. Sitting also increases psychological distress, and decreases feelings of well-being, a problem that fortunately can be rectified.

The Key to Being Productive at Work

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Businesswoman in office pointing at monitor with notes on itThere’s lots of advice on managing our time, getting organized and creating efficient to-do lists for becoming more productive. I explore these topics regularly on Psych Central.

However, according to psychiatrist and ADHD expert Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., these suggestions only scratch the surface. What we really need to do to be more productive is to retrain our attention. We need to delve into the deeper reasons we get distracted at work.

In his newest book Driven to Distraction At Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive, Dr. Hallowell identifies the six most common distractions: electronic devices, multitasking, idea hopping, worry, trying to fix everyone’s problems and underachieving. He presents these distractions in the first half of the book and shares practical solutions for each type of distraction.

Mental Health Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Love CrimesMore than 1 in 3 women in the United States have been victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), including physical assault, rape, or stalking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Although heterosexual males remain the largest class of offenders, there is growing recognition of the impact of IPV committed by heterosexual women on their male partners as well as IPV within same-sex relationships.

Alarmingly, most cases of IPV are never reported to the police (Frieze & Browne, 1989). Survivors of IPV choose not to report the crimes for a variety of reasons, including shame, embarrassment, concern that law enforcement officials will not be supportive, or fear of retribution from their intimate partner.

A Recipe to Mend a Broken Heart

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

From The Heart

“What is the cure for a broken heart?” someone asked.

“You want a cure for a broken heart?” I replied. “And you think I can come up with it?”

Well, I guess I should know it, shouldn’t I? I mean, it’s been 4 1/2 years since the Great Loss, and I have survived thus far, and not just survived, but at times also thrived. So I guess I can come from somewhere other than intellectual curiosity.

But do I know what has “cured” me? Not exactly, so let’s explore it a bit.

How to Defuse an Argument

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

holiday-controllers-critics-couple-arguingMost people become challenged and confronted on occasion by others who differ in their opinions and who desire and are determined to argue. This could be about almost anything and with almost anyone, including our most intimate partners, family members, social acquaintances or colleagues.

It is wise for both parties who enter into arguments to be able to defuse them and dissolve their anger toward each other in a relatively efficient and respectful manner. It is wise to cool down and become calmer so you can return to interacting civilly with the people you previously argued with.

Managing the Fear and Anxiety of the Unknown

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Best of Our Blogs: July 16, 2013Almost everybody worries about what will happen in the future. Remember that no one can predict the future with 100 percent certainty. Even if the thing that you are afraid of does happen, there are unpredictable circumstances and factors which can be used to your advantage.

For instance, let’s say at work that you miss the deadline for a project you have been working on for the last few months. Everything you feared is coming true. Suddenly, your boss comes to your office and tells you that the deadline is extended and that he forgot to tell you the day before. This unknown factor changes everything. Remember that we may be 99 percent correct in predicting the future, but all it takes is for that one percent to make a world of difference.

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