A Brief History of Humor’s Power and Danger

By Nichole Force, M.A. • 3 min read

charlieAn understanding of the power and concomitant danger of humor has never been as necessary as it is today. Humor was the impetus for the brutal slaying of 12 employees of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and for threats of violence from North Korea over the release of the U.S. comedy movie “The Interview,” but these recent events are far from unique in humor’s complex history.

The fear of the weapon of humor was alive and well in Nazi Germany. The legal code of the time reflected Goebbels’s interpretation of the political joke as “a remnant of liberalism” that threatened the Nazi state. Not only was joke-telling made illegal, but those who told jokes were labeled “asocial” — a segment of society frequently sent to concentration camps.


Neurosignaling for the Masses? What I Think About Thync

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. • 5 min read

Neurosignaling for the Masses? What I Think About ThyncThync is a new consumer device and app that hopes to help the average person better control their emotional energy state. The company claims the device allows a user to choose between two mood states: more energized and focused (for increasing attention), or more relaxed and calm (for decreasing stress).

The current version of the Thync device uses modulated transcranial direct current stimulation, or what founder W. Jamie Tyler likes to refer to as just transcranial electrical stimulation (TES). Using a specific wavelength, new proprietary electrodes, and exact placement, Thync believes it can help moderate your moods.

So what do I think about Thync? Does it really have the potential to affect our mood?


Rescheduled Webinar: Celebrate Psych Central’s 20th Anniversary!

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. • 1 min read

Free Webinar: Celebrate Psych Central's 20th Anniversary with Founder Dr. John Grohol

Psych Central is the Internet’s leading mental health self-help resource, and this year marks our 20th year online.

Join me, Psych Central’s founder, to learn how Psych Central has evolved since 1995 from an online index of support groups and resources to today: an award-winning resource serving over 7 million visitors a month, globally, with a wide array of offerings including support groups, psychology and mental health information, bloggers from wide and diverse backgrounds, and much, much more.

Due to technical difficulties, this webinar has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. The new registration link is here and below.


Best of Our Blogs: January 27, 2015

By Brandi-Ann Uyemura, M.A. • 1 min read
Best of Our Blogs

There are many situations when darkness seems to win over hope. It’s the time when you’re tired from doing too much. It’s the moment when you feel defeated, rejected and isolated. It’s when you feel least like trying and most like giving up.

But I’ve found that during those dark moments, there is always, always, hope. It could come from a friend who calls out of nowhere, or from a blog post. It could come while taking a walk, watching a funny youtube video or reading an email with just the thing you needed most. It could come from a song, a single realization that you matter, and a reminder of how much you are loved.

Recently, I heard singer Natasha Bedingfield sing these lyrics:

“Remember morning always comes
As night surrenders to the sun
No matter how dark it may become
Don’t stop your light from shining on
‘Cause nothing’s ever over till you say it’s over
And nothing’s ever finished
Not unless you walk away
You see I’ve got hope.”

It was written in collaboration with Bedingfield and Philosophy to bring awareness to women’s mental health and it’s beautiful. Listen to the song below, read our posts this week and feel the hope:


The 6 Worthwhile Benefits of Life in the Slow Lane

By Kathy Kruger • 3 min read

Summer landscape with green grass, road and clouds

“Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress; which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.” — Unknown

I’ve been practicing yoga, on and off, for fifteen years.

It’s helped me through and out the other side of infertility, kept me company on the long and winding road of adoption, and helped walk me out of the shadows of depression.

It’s a big part of my life, part of who I am — a faithful friend, the kind that welcomes you back with open arms even after you’ve been inattentive.


5 Tips for Becoming a Better Listener

By Gretchen Rubin • 2 min read

listenI’m a big fan of Elizabeth Bernstein‘s work in the Wall Street Journal, and she wrote an interesting piece, “How Well Are You Listening? We’re naturally bad listeners, even with loved ones; steps to avoid burn-out.”

Here are some of the key steps she outlines, for being a better listener:

1. Look for hints that a person wants to talk — and signal your willingness to listen. My husband rarely wants to “talk,” but when he does, I put my book down flat in my lap, to show that I’m paying close attention (and to prevent myself from sneaking a look at the page).


10 Ways to Win the War Against Workplace Stress

By Dennis Simsek • 3 min read

10 Ways to Win the War Against Workplace StressWorkplace stress is one of the most common forms of stress. In order to cope with it, you need to accept that your job is the cause of your stress. Only when you come out of your denial can you overcome this form of stress.

Here are some tips you can use to deal with workplace stress:

1. Take on only as much work as you can do. Promotions and incentives notwithstanding, your health should be important to you. You should know what your limit is, and then you should work within that limit. If you just give your nod to work that you can realistically do, then you will be much happier with your job.


Siblings with Severe Mental Illness: An Evolving Relationship

By Sarah Newman, MA • 3 min read

Siblings with Severe Mental Illness: An Evolving RelationshipThere is an undeniable connection between siblings. You came from the same family and grew up in the same environment. There will always be a shared past between siblings, whether they are close or not. But when your sibling is diagnosed with mental illness the personal history and the things you had in common can seem to disappear.

Life seems to stop and be consumed by their illness. An intangible connection can be seemingly swept right off the page. Something that therapists never told me was that one day I would just be happy to take what I could get.


Improving Your Child’s ADHD with Exercise

By Kevin Sterne • 3 min read

physical-fitnessGetting in a good run before work keeps us focused and productive at the office. But did you know exercise could also help children with ADHD perform better in the classroom?

“There is evidence that physical activity improves academic performance,” said Betsy Hoza, a professor of psychological science at the University of Vermont. Her recent study found moderate to vigorous aerobic activity before school helped children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder become more attentive.

“The immediate effects are that you’re much more alert — there’s that endorphin rush,” said Hoza. That rush has proven to boost mood, help ward off anxiety and depression in adults, and now to improve cognitive function in children with ADHD.


Should You Ask Dr. Google Your Health Questions? Yes, Absolutely

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. • 3 min read

Should You Ask Dr. Google Your Health Questions? Yes, AbsolutelyFor the past two decades, hundreds of millions of people around the world have done something extraordinary and unprecedented in human history. They’ve turned to the unlimited information resource we call the Internet to ask personal questions about their health and mental health.

And what have they learned?

More than anyone could have imagined. People today are better-informed health consumers than at any point in human history. They know more about their health — and about how their bodies and minds work — than even the best doctor or researcher did just fifty years ago.

We all have become experts on ourselves. And nothing could be better.


ADHD Tip: How to Organize Your Family and Household

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. • 2 min read

ADHD Tip: How to Organize Your Family and HouseholdRunning a household takes effort. And it can be especially challenging for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

ADHD impairs executive functioning in adults (and kids), making it harder for people to plan, prioritize, organize and follow through with various tasks — especially boring ones.

Of course, that’s exactly what you need to do when everyone in the family has a demanding job, goes to school, is involved in extracurricular activities, and has other commitments.


Do Comfort and Adventure Have to Be Mutually Exclusive?

By Will Donnelly • 3 min read

Woman Outdoors Looking Away

“Which do you prefer, adventure or comfort?” I was asked recently, matter-of-factly, as if the two were mutually separate entities, and I, given the option to choose only one.

I closed my eyes and I wondered. Now, at the age of 53, I see clearly that my answer is remarkably different than the answer I would have certainly given in my 20s.

“I am seeking comfort,” I shot out too quickly, “…and adventure,” I added, clearly coming across as someone who has trouble making decisions.


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