Psychology Around the Net: December 26, 2015

Ah, you survived -- and possibly thrived in -- the holidays, sweet readers, and we've got just what you need to unwind and catch up on what's going on in the world of mental health.

Grab a cup of joe (or hot chocolate...unless you're experiencing this weird heat wave here in the U.S.), and read up on how music therapy can help depression, a therapist's answers to pressing anxiety questions, what we can push for regarding state mental health legislation next year, and more.

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Grief and Loss

How to Find Spiritual Strength During Times of Illness

Some people awaken spiritually without ever coming into contact with any meditation technique or any spiritual teaching. They may awaken simply because they can’t stand the suffering anymore. -- Eckhart Tolle
Sometimes in life, we face pain so great that we must focus on surviving one day at a time, or even by the hour or the minute. During these moments, it feels as if our hearts naturally gravitate toward the spiritual, as there is only so much sadness, fear, bitterness or grief a human heart can hold before it cracks.

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Learning to Accept Your Soul Under Construction

For most of his life, my father was a plumbing instructor in a trade school and was one of those people who can build a house from scratch. I envy that ability and regret that I didn’t learn some of his skills: plumbing, electrical, carpentry.

He was a master at hanging wallpaper and could plaster a ceiling silky smooth. I tried plastering a wall once, and it turned out looking like something you would see in a distorted mirror.

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Using Karma to Recognize Difficulty in Our Relationships

With origins in ancient India, the term karma stems from the sanskrit word for “action, work or deed.” Karma not only applies to tangible actions like our words and deeds, it also applies to unseen energies like thoughts, intentions and emotions.

Under the spiritual law of karma, our intent and actions (cause) directly influence our future, and therefore our present (effect). For example, good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and future happiness; bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and future suffering.

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5 Common Spiritual Ego Traps (and How to Avoid Them)

Though many of us may have a love-hate relationship with our ego, it’s necessary to remember that it serves an important spiritual role. In the positive, it gives us a distinct personal identity that helps us fulfill our life purpose, allowing us to share unique soul gifts with the world while working out our karma.

In the negative, the ego fools us into becoming overly identified with our bodies, thoughts and emotions. This attachment tricks us into believing we are fundamentally separate from God, one another and even our own souls, which leads to suffering. Over time, enough profound suffering eventually leads us back to God, completing the cycle.

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How Spirituality Can Shape Our Self-Esteem

Some children aren't spiritually inclined, but many are. Is this because their tender, innocent awe for all things alive and imagined hasn't yet been trounced by trauma, teasing and/or adult logic? Is it because angels, deities and saints are magical beings on par with elves, fairies, imaginary friends and Queen Elsa of Arendelle? Is it because their memories of past lives still feel fresh? Is it because it is the nature of the young, for better or worse, simply to believe?

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Craving Mindfulness? Here Are 3 Ways to Start Meditating Today

Meditation. It’s just a glorious thing for those who have experienced it. But many people have trouble either beginning a practice or maintaining one. However, there are several simple meditation methods that you can do to encourage a happy, meditative mind.

In the time it takes you to read this short essay, you could have done a meditation. So let’s go over 3 simple methods of meditation to get you started on a practice today. You can do this.

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Get Mindful: 10 Ways to Live in the Present

Having trouble living in the present moment? Here are 10 ways to ground yourself in the now:

1. Ask. As always, ask. Ask the universe, ask your higher self. Ask a divine power if you believe in one. Ask for help to get present.

2. Lay a daily foundation. Carve out three to five minutes at the beginning or the end of the day to just be present. Notice your breath, your body, your thoughts, and the world around you.

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How Difficult Times Can Lead to Incredible Breakthroughs

"Beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete."

That was the password to the file share (motherboard))at the technology company where I used to work. I was expecting, "Cloud123," or something boring and bland like that. Not the quintessential Japanese aesthetic known as "wabi-sabi."

I shed a tear or two when the engineer setting up my computer told me the password. It brought me such consolation. Here I was, a mental health writer with a mission to save people from suicide, confined to an office job where I sat in a cubicle for eight hours a day composing press releases about cloud text analytics.
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