Brain and Behavior

Video: Are You Easily Persuaded? (Hint: Yes, And Here’s Why)

Think you can avoid a sales pitch?

Maybe you can. If there's a salesperson knocking on your door, you could run away and hide in the bedroom until he goes away.

But not all masters of persuasion are dressed up in suits and ties to sell volcano insurance. We actually fall victim to many sales pitches each and every day -- from television, from magazines, from friends, and from family.

It's not your fault, really -- it's part of our nature to behave in a manner that makes us susceptible to certain persuasive techniques. In fact, it's common courtesy.

Let's say you head out to the bar with a friend. First round of drinks is on you.

Then what? Who gets the next round?

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Anxiety and Panic

Video: A Real Sufferer Cherry-Picks the Best Anxiety Management Techniques

Have you ever done a Google search for "anxiety management tips"?

You will find a bewildering number of results. Over 4 million, in fact. (Protip: if your anxiety stems from information overload...well, searching for anxiety management techniques on this massive internet of ours might make things worse...right?)

So...if you're looking for effective anxiety management techniques, where should you start? What should you click on? Do you click on the very clinical-looking PDF document from a large university's psychology department? Do you check out the tips on a local therapist's website? Do you check the Psychcentral Library? The NIMH website? Should you read something written by a doctor? A psychiatrist?

I'm neither a doctor nor a psychiatrist. I'm just a plain old anxiety sufferer like the rest of you. Why should you care about what I have to say?1

ON AUTHENTICITY

Now, let me say this: I think there are some fantastic resources out there that are written by mental health professionals. Many of those resources are right here on Psychcentral. A therapist's perspective on anxiety management and recovery is invaluable.

But earlier this week, a few of my Twitter followers were left a bit stymied by
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Video: Chato Stewart’s Mental Health Hero Caricatures (Part 4)

We've reached the end!

Blogger Chato Stewart has so many Mental Health Heroes that it took me four videos to cover them all! He's honored each of his self-selected heroes by caricaturing each hero and writing a bio in his or her honor on his blog, Mental Health Humor.

I've honored Chato for doing all of that honoring by compiling his artwork and bios into videos that show you the human hero and the cartoon hero back to back.

And now, because I don't want the...
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Video: Chato Stewart’s Mental Health Hero Caricatures (Part 3)

This week’s video honors the third (but not quite final!) batch of “Mental Health Heroes” that blogger Chato Stewart selected and caricatured during the month of May. Did your favorite mental health hero make this week’s video?

Several of this week's heroes suffer from either depression or bipolar disorder. (Although perhaps "suffer" is the wrong kind of terminology to use here -- these folks are recovering and thriving!)

The caricatures are a lot of fun to look at and to compare with each Heroes’ original photograph. Kudos to Chato for this unique and creative way of honoring those who are involved in mental health advocacy!

You can watch the video below:
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Video: Chato Stewart’s Mental Health Hero Caricatures (Part 2)

Do you have a mental health-related hero?

Maybe it's your favorite psychotherapist. Or your brother with PTSD. Or your Psych 101 instructor.

Blogger Chato Stewart has plenty. This week’s video honors the second batch of “Mental Health Heroes” that he selected and caricatured during the month of May. Did your favorite mental health hero make this week’s video?

The caricatures are a lot of fun to look at and to compare with each Heroes’ original photograph. Kudos to Chato for this unique and creative way of...
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Video: Chato Stewart’s Mental Health Hero Caricatures

As you may know, May was Mental Health Awareness Month.

Is May over now? Well, yes.

Should we forget all about mental health awareness now? No. Of course not!

With that in mind, this week's video honors 9 of the 33 "Mental Health Heroes" that Chato Stewart selected and caricatured during the month of May. Did your favorite mental health hero make this week's video? (If not, patience! I promise the rest will come soon.)

The caricatures are a lot of fun to look at and to...
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General

Video: A Warm-Weather Mindfulness Activity

Happy Autumn! The leaves are beginning to change colors and there's a cozy chill in the air that invites jackets and light scarves. Isn't it nice?

Just kidding.

But did you stop for a second to look at the calendar? You know, just to make sure that May through September didn't blindly pass you by?

You can't find seasons at the Lost and Found



It's true: you can miss an entire season if you're not paying attention. Have you ever taken a shower (yes, I hope, but let me continue...) in which you're completely blind to the fact that you're even taking a shower until the second you shut off the tap?

This is what happens when we let our minds hang in the past or scurry to the future. We forget where we are, what we're doing, and what the present moment holds for us.

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Disorders

Joshua’s Story: Living with Schizophrenia

As a woman living with bipolar disorder, I understand mental illness-related stigma. I understand the damage it causes and the impact it can have on a person’s quality of life. But I cannot tell you that I understand the stigma associated with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is, without a doubt, the most stigmatized mental illness.

Bipolar disorder often is associated with intelligence, creativity, highs and lows. But schizophrenia is viewed differently. Society often is confronted with negative imagery: A homeless man or woman, dirt under their fingernails, mumbling to themselves; bars on hospital windows where they are confined and, above all, violence.

The stigma connected to schizophrenia, and to those who live with the illness, is different from that connected to people living with depression or bipolar disorder. It is harder to shatter; it is harder for people to understand.

Stepping out and putting a face and a name to my illness was anything but easy. But more people are doing this, and in doing so, we can lessen the stigma.

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Anxiety and Panic

Video: Using “Belly Biofeedback” App for Diaphragmatic Breathing

Belly breathing isn't an easy skill to learn... especially for a panicker like me.

When I first started trying to breathe diaphragmatically while under lots of stress in grad school, the whole effort was a miserable failure. Whenever I tried, even in the comfort of my own apartment, I felt like I wasn't getting enough air. And that airless feeling, in turn, would usually trigger a panic attack.

Despite my perennial pessimism in most other parts of life, I kept trying.

I kept trying at home. I kept trying in my university's anxiety management class. I kept trying in the library. I kept trying and trying and trying.

And now, four or five odd years later, I'm finally able to breathe out of my belly instead of my upper chest. Through mindfulness, I'm now able to notice when my breathing pattern is off -- and then, I can consciously correct it.

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Books

Video: Tending the Family Heart – Family is a Verb

You may not be aware, but our own Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker has an e-book entitled Tending the Family Heart that highlights the importance of creating and nurturing the "heart part" of our families -- that almost magical bond that interconnects every family member with all the others.

According to Dr. Marie's philosophy, it is the heart that provides safety and warmth to all within its embrace. It is what transforms the very ordinary and repetitious tasks of daily life into expressions of mutual support and care. It is what celebrates the dailyness of love and belonging and helps everyone cope in times of challenges, separations, and even tragedies. When the "heart part" is strong, it provides both children and adults with what they need emotionally and psychologically to become their best versions of themselves in spite of whatever stresses come their way.

Psych Central’s Ask the Therapists Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D. & Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. discuss Dr. Marie's bestselling parenting book and how "family" is actually a verb in this video.
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Children and Teens

Video: Cutting, Self-injury & Self-harm

Self-injury and self-harm behaviors are still hidden and stigmatized within the mental health profession. Many professionals are afraid to talk about them with their clients, and family doctors rarely ask their young patients -- who are most likely to engage in such behaviors -- about them.

They are a continuing hidden epidemic among teens and young adults today.

But self-harm behaviors such as cutting don't have to remain in the dark. Best of all, if a person can find a way to talk about them to someone they trust -- such as a friend, a family member or a teacher -- they may also find help for them.

In this video, Psych Central’s Ask the Therapists Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D. & Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. discuss why some people turn to self-harm (such as cutting), and what can be done to help them.
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