Brain and Behavior

The Secret to Remembering More

I was going to write this post weeks ago when I first read the story about triggering memory.

But I forgot.

I also forgot where I put the notes, and the research. But, I did remember the number for the Chinese takeout and to invoice early as per my client’s request.

What’s that about? Why do some of these must-do details stick in our memories, while others -- which we had contemplated just moments before -- don’t?
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Psychology Around the Net: March 14, 2015

Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

Despite losing an extra hour this week, we hope you'll make some time for today's Psychology Around the Net, which takes a look at how daylight-saving time can affect your relationships, what teen depression really looks like, how your psychologist feels about dating apps, and more.

Daylight-Saving Time Is Bad for Your Relationships: We already know that poor sleep leads to a wealth of mental and physical health problems, but losing that extra hour during daylight-saving time (or any time) could lead to relationship problems, too.

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Anxiety and Panic

4 Stress-Busting Steps for a More Restful Night

Do you tend to ruminate on the negative events of your past or the fears of tomorrow? Many of us do. When we allow this pattern to continue, however, daily stresses and traumas have a way of building themselves up in our psyches, and even in our bodies, causing chronic mental and physical tension. This can make getting to sleep at night a very real challenge.

More than three in 10 adults in the U.S. suffer from brief symptoms of insomnia, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. One in 10 has a chronic insomnia disorder in which the sufferer has trouble sleeping at least three times a week for at least three months. Symptoms of anxiety and depression are often the driving forces of these sleepless nights which can eventually turn into a continual cycle of depression, no sleep, more depression, and so forth.

But why is it so hard to relax at night?

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: March 7, 2015

Get the latest on the psychological importance of dressing for success, how distractions might affect creativity, anxiety and poor decision-making, and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

An Early Bedtime Could Prevent Mental Illness, Study Finds: Canadian and French researchers propose that earlier bedtmies (and healthier meals) could relate to mental health in the "way that our body's natural cycles affect certain chemicals in the brain."

How to Get Your Relationship Back On Track After a Terrible Fight: No relationship is "perfect," and some might even say fighting (or at least arguing or disagreeing) is a healthy part of any relationship; however, what happens when the fight takes a toll on an otherwise happy, healthy relationship? Check these tips for getting the romance back on track.

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Psychology Around the Net: February 28, 2015

Check out this week's Psychology Around the Net to learn more about smokers and their relationships to anxiety and depression, how your state ranks regarding the five aspects of life satisfaction, neurons that predict how we might react in particular situations, and more.

Neurons That Help Predict What Another Individual Will Do Identified: Scientists have located two groups of neurons in primates that: one that activates during cooperation situations and another that predicts how one will react.

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Psychology Around the Net: February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day, Psych Central readers!

For those of you who observe Valentine's Day, we have some interesting information about why single people actually might benefit more than those in relationships.

Oh, and there're are a few more fascinating reads -- from taking a peek at some useful mental health apps to learning how successful people deal with depression.

We hope it provides a great start to your weekend!

It's Better to Be Single On Valentine's Day: Here's one that's sure to drum up some controversy: Philosopher Neil McArthur and author Marina Adshade make several arguments about why it's actually better to be single on this day of celebrating love, going beyond just the economic implications and diving into the "are you or are you not committed to me" realm.

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The Key to Being Productive at Work

There'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.

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10 Ways to Brighten Your Winter Workdays

As a long-term transplant to New England, I was faced with a choice: spend the winters hibernating and grumbling or strategize on how to make it all work better. The “it” here is the New England weather -- or these seemingly endless weeks between the holidays and springtime.

Happily, I’ve managed to brainstorm and practice a number of winter wellness tricks. You can, too.

1. Morning pages. Long before Natalie Goldberg coined the term "morning pages," I kept a teenage personal journal. Now, in middle age, I see it as both a wellness and a creativity tool. Therapeutic, medical and wellness experts have long touted the personal, creative and professional benefits of writing down our lives and feelings.
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How One Woman Reclaimed Stability During Postpartum Depression

One minute I was fine, the next a raging lunatic.

Nothing ever prepares you for motherhood. Nothing. I read the books, made my birth plan, chose a playlist for my delivery and yet I was still totally naive and ignorant when the baby actually came nine months later. I was particularly wary about having postpartum depression since I had had episodes of depressed states in my 20s.

In the first few months after giving birth, I was always on guard of how I was feeling. It was a soupy mixture of sleep deprivation fog and hazy bliss.

I was handling new motherhood like a champ until six weeks in at 3 AM in the morning when my husband and I had a huge fight, the biggest to date in our marriage.
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Can Hugs Protect Against Illness During Stressful Times? Research Says Yes!

It’s cold and flu season again -- make sure you get plenty of sleep, take some extra vitamin C and ... hug each other a little more. Yes, that’s right. A new study reveals that frequent hugging lowers your chances of becoming ill during times of stress.

Prior research has found that high levels of stress can weaken the immune system, making us more susceptible to illness and infection. On the other hand, science has also shown that individuals with a strong social support system tend to enjoy a protective "buffer" against greater levels of stress.

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Relieve Pain, Stress, and Sleeplessness with Japanese Massage Techniques

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.

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: January 3, 2014

Happy New Year, Psych Central Readers!

As we begin 2015, let's take a moment to reflect on some of 2014's final psychology news.

We have everything from ways to make your New Year's Resolutions stick and how your job affects your sleep to finding hope in depression and evolving into someone who can help others with anxiety disorders.


7 Psychology Tricks to Make Your Resolutions Stick: So many of us make New Year's Resolutions each January, and so many of us feel disheartened or even give up within a few weeks or months. Check out these seven tips to help you stick to your resolutions this year.

Make Small-Scale Changes to Reach Long-Term Goals: Speaking of New Year's Resolutions, here are a few ways for you to set realistic goals, deal with challenges, and ultimately reach your destination (and stay there!).

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