Depression

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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Anger

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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Health-related

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.

Enjoy!

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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Mental Health and Wellness

Psychology Around the Net: December 27, 2014


Ah, the weekend after Christmas. Whether or not you celebrate, this Saturday has to be a relaxing time. What better way to decompress than to check out this week's psychology news circulating the 'net?

From effective communication to handling rejection, we have a great reading list for you today!

10 Rules You Need to Know to Communicate Effectively: Do you use small words and short sentences? Are you consistent and credible? These and other traits could help you better communicate with others.

Psychology: Why Boredom Is Bad...and Good for You: Although boredom is, well, boring, it can actually help shape important characteristics.

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How to Work with Your Dreams

A lot of us are drawn to working with our dreams. Knowing where to start and how to go about it can be confusing. Here are some basic tools to help you with the process.

1. Tell yourself the whole dream. Tell yourself the dream from start to finish so that you have a sense of it as a complete narrative. Dreams sometime seem to open somewhere in the middle -- things are already in process. Capture this information as fully as possible.
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General

Could Your iPad, Laptop or Kindle Be Keeping You From Sleep?


Getting a good night's sleep is a challenge for many people. Whether it's constant awakenings throughout the night or difficulty falling asleep or something else, your sleep is the foundation for your mental health. Without regular, deep sleep, you're not functioning at your best. For most of us, that's a problem.

We've previously reported on research that shows light in your bedroom can interrupt your sleep cycle. Turning off those LEDs and turning down those bright clocks can even help too (something a lot of people miss). And there may be tools to help you improve your sleep even if you use electronic devices at night.

But what about using our iPads, tablets, smartphones, laptops or Kindles before we go to bed?

Preliminary new research suggests you should look at all of your electronic devices just as you'd eye a cup of full-strength coffee an hour before bed -- with extreme caution.

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Anger

Psychology Around the Net: December 20, 2014


From holiday gift ideas to dealing with our bosses' bad moods, today's Psychology Around the Net is sure to keep you on the edge of your seats!

The Best Psychology Books of 2014: The Guardian writer Lisa Appignanesi provides a list of six of the best psychology books over the past year. (HINT: You might even get one or two holiday gift ideas from this one!)

The Best Christmas Gift Ever: Finding Blessings in Challenges: Speaking of holiday gifts, oftentimes some of our greatest blessings come from our greatest challenges. When have you faced a challenge that turned around and offered you a gift?

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: November 13, 2014


Check out this week's Psychology Around the Net for information on mindfulness during the holidays, beating stress at work, making insecurity work for you (yes, you read that correctly!), and more.

3 Ways to Embrace Your Need for Solitude and Quiet Time: The holidays are a great time for this lesson on fear, guilt, and mindset.

5 Tips for Coping With Stress at Work Starting First Thing in the Morning: You've probably heard them all, but what would happen if you actually started practicing them?

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Brain and Behavior

7 Ways for Those with Dysthymia to Get the Day off to a Good Start

I’m a deep thinker, a creative type -- and a dysthymic. As in: a person with dysthymia, officially known as Persistent Depressive Disorder, characterized by feeling “down” on a regular basis without reaching the level of near-total impairment associated with major depressive disorder.

The sense of depression is at its worst when I have little immediate “busyness” to occupy my mind.

Often the hardest part of the day is starting it: that is, getting out of bed in the morning. If you have a similar problem, the following strategies help:
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Depression

4 Proven Ways to Uplift Your Mood

It is not uncommon for people from all walks of life to feel sad or lonely at times. Everyone at one time or another will have the blues, but you may have depression. Depression is a medical condition that requires help and is much more serious than being in a slump.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of clinical depression. It’s far more common in women than in men, and children also are affected by it.

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