Children and Teens

Maintaining Your Sense of Self as a Stay-At-Home Mom

I don’t know who I am other than mom. Even when I have the time and can do whatever I want, I don’t know what I like to do anymore. I feel invisible. I only feel valued for the things I do for others. I have nothing to talk about aside from my kids. I wonder if they’ll think I’m boring.

Clinical psychologist Jessica Michaelson, PsyD, often hears these statements from her clients. It’s not that being a stay-at-home mom is inherently bad or damaging to our sense of self. In fact, if it aligns with your core values, it can absolutely strengthen it, said Michaelson, who specializes in postpartum depression and anxiety, stress management and parent coaching.
Continue Reading

Children and Teens

5 More Strategies for Helping Your Teen Strengthen Their Self-Worth

It’s important for teens to have a solid self-worth. It’s important for them to know that they matter and are already lovable and worthy. Because when kids have a shaky sense of worth, they may latch onto toxic people and make poor decisions. They may let people walk all over them. They may try to earn their worth.

Adolescence is already a tricky, tumultuous time. Teens are trying to figure out who they are, what they like, what they stand for, what they need. Having a solid self-worth helps them navigate these questions more effectively.
Continue Reading


Reconnecting with Your Partner After Postpartum Depression

Having a baby tends to change your marriage. How could it not? You’re adding another (beautiful) human being to your household. A human being who requires you to fulfill their every need, usually every few minutes, and who rarely lets you sleep. And most of us aren’t exactly at our best when we’re sleep deprived, stressed and spent.

When you add postpartum depression (PPD) to the mix, your marriage might feel especially fragile. Even after you’ve recovered from PPD, your foundation may be shaky. You might feel disconnected from each other. You’re physically in the same house, in the same room, and yet your hearts are many miles apart.
Continue Reading

Children and Teens

5 Tips for Cultivating Your Teen’s Self-Worth

One of the most powerful things parents can do for their teens is to help them cultivate a strong and solid self-worth. According to Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, a therapist who specializes in working with children, teens and families, self-worth is “the value you place on yourself and love for self.”

“It tells us who we are and that we matter,” said Rosy Saenz-Sierzega, Ph.D, a psychologist who specializes in working with teens. “[W]e know we deserve to be loved, respected, regarded and forgiven; we believe we matter enough to have our needs and desires met.”
Continue Reading


5 Tips for Increasing Your Chances of Being Heard

We can’t control someone else’s behavior. We can’t control whether they really hear us or not. But we can make the process easier. That is, we can help the other person better understand where we’re coming from by being clear and compassionate. Often we do the opposite: Often we expect others to know what we need. How could they not? Isn’t it obvious? (Usually, it’s not obvious at all.)

Or we stay silent because we fear that by speaking up, we’ll be seen as high-maintenance, unreasonable or rude. If we don’t have much practice asserting ourselves, we might assume that doing so involves being harsh or stern. Or maybe we unwittingly use criticism or blame, which naturally makes the other person anything but receptive to what we have to say.
Continue Reading


Psychology Around the Net: September 10, 2016

On September 11, 2001, four airplanes were hijacked by al-Qaeda and flown into both World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., killing more than 3,000 people, including police officers and firefighters.

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of what we now refer to as 9/11, and people will pause and reflect and grieve just as they have for the past decade and a half.

They will take a moment or two or more to remember those who were senselessly killed during these attacks -- as well as their family members and other loved ones.

I know I, for one, will, too.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

5 More Tips for Navigating a Contentious Divorce

Contentious divorces can do a number on your health and well-being. You might find that you're struggling with symptoms of anxiety and depression or a worsening of these symptoms (if you had anxiety or depression before). You might find that you have very little energy and you’re constantly on edge. Maybe you can’t concentrate either. Maybe everything feels more challenging. Grueling. It’s hard to breathe when you feel like you’re suffocating.

But even during such a chaotic time as a contentious divorce, there are things you can do to improve the situation and to feel better. You can be an advocate for yourself and your family.
Continue Reading


A Letter to My Body After Surgery

“I’m nervous. I’m pretty much always nervous,” I repeatedly told every doctor and nurse who asked me how I was doing before my surgery.

When you're 32 and your pre-op nurse describes you as healthy, it doesn’t dispel all the thoughts that fill your head as you stare at the drop ceiling tiles at the surgery center. “Is this real? How is this my life? What am I doing here?” Those are the kinds of thoughts that usually precede a panic attack for me. But I breathed deeply and stayed in the moment. “Soon this will be over,” I told myself, “and then you can finally eat something today.”
Continue Reading


5 Suggestions for Navigating a Contentious Divorce

Any divorce is difficult, even when the split is amicable. After all, divorce is a major transition, and change is tough. When your divorce is contentious, not surprisingly, things are harder. A lot harder.

“People are often caught off guard by the enormity of the divorce experience,” said Krysta Dancy, MA, MFT, a therapist who specializes in working with couples and families in Roseville, Calif.

If your marriage was contentious, you probably see your divorce as a relief, so you might feel blindsided when your stress skyrockets. You might feel utterly exhausted, anxious, depressed and unfocused, Dancy said.
Continue Reading


How Smartphone Gaming Can Reduce in Stress

Smart phones have made a tremendous impact on how we relate to each other and they serve different functions for different people. There are countless apps available to download making it no mystery why people's faces are constantly fixed on their phones.

Smart phones are predictable and reliable. They are also convenient and portable. Smart phones provide the added benefit of assisting a person with decompression and refocusing after experiencing a stressful situation.
Continue Reading


5 Indispensable Parenting Practices

Being a parent is anything but simple or straightforward. Every day is essentially a new adventure. A beautiful, winding, topsy-turvy adventure. What can be a great help along the ride is your approach.

Sometimes, we assume that parenting is about striving for perfection. Or we think we need to be privy to some significant secret. Or we assume that parenting requires natural talents or natural instincts that we don’t have.

But really, parenting is a skill. It’s about learning and practicing.
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: September 3, 2016

Here in the U.S., we're currently in the throes of Labor Day Weekend (and I'm at a local music and arts festival, celebrating!).

Labor Day is the first Monday of September, and although it gives us a nice little three-day weekend, it's about much more than that: Labor Day honors our country's labor movement and "constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

So, Happy Labor Day! I hope you're doing something to celebrate all your hard work and, once you get a chance, check out this week's latest in how your mood affects whether you live in the moment or the future, the new warning labels regarding opioid use with other medications, what your choice between iPhones and Androids says about your personality, and more!

Continue Reading