Inspiration & Hope

Video: If Therapy Doesn’t Work, Try Again

Going to see a therapist is a little different than going to see a dentist. And not just because a responsible therapist will never dose you with laughing gas.
When you get a tooth pulled, it's generally a one-off thing. You wouldn't shop around at different dentists to see who does the best job pulling out your tooth. If your first dentist botches the job and only gets the tooth pulled out partway, you wouldn't simply head on down the street to the next dentist to try again.
But therapy is more complicated. Getting your psychological "teeth" pulled is more of a drawn-out, imperfect, subtle process. And therapists are professionals, but they're also humans.
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Anxiety and Panic

4 Things That Hurt Your Thinking & Keep You Stuck

It's easy to get stuck in life. Most of us have experienced this feeling of "stuckness" at one time or another, feeling that despite everything we try and do, we can't move forward in our life.

One characteristic of being stuck is that our brain doesn't move forward. While our brain is nothing like a computer processor (which can handle millions of instructions per second), it does have a set, finite capacity of our attention. It can't be thinking of a hundred things all at once and attend to them all equally.

With a limited attention span and "brain cycles," what kinds of things can bring our brains -- and our lives -- to a screeching halt?

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Children and Teens

What Do You See in the Mirror?

In 1973, an inquisitive psychologist named Beulah Amsterdam wanted to know whether babies recognized themselves in the mirror. To explore this riddle, he used the rouge test, which you likely studied in Psychology 101. Step one: put rouge on baby’s nose. Two: place teeny clown before mirror. Three: observe.

Babies aged 6 to 12 months typically thought, “Woot! Another baby. Let’s play.” Infants in their second year of life often acted wary of the “imposter” before looking away. Toddlers aged 24 months often recognized themselves, prompting some to wipe off the rouge. (Others were arguably too busy mulling over riddles, such as, “Where’s my milk carton?”)

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General

5 More Ways to Relax, Recharge — and Actually Make Time for It

As a culture, we don’t particularly like to slow down. Instead, we prefer to do most things on the go -- like shoving a bagel in our mouth as we run out of the house. We tend to view pausing and relaxing as inconvenient, as interruptions that only impede our productivity.

We think of self-care and rest as optional, said Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, Ph.D, a fitness and wellness educator and exercise scientist. We think “that if we are strong and motivated, we won’t need them.” The problem? “[I]f we don’t purposefully plan to relax and restore, we will do so in unproductive and unhealthy ways.”

We might yell at our kids. We might drink too much on the weekends. We might crash on the couch, channel-surfing for hours without actually feeling relaxed or enjoying what we’re watching. We might scroll through our social media feeds, only to feel cranky and disconnected, she said.
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Caregivers

Showing Up

“Show up.” We have all heard that term before. What does it mean to “show up”? There are several answers to this question.

When you buy a ticket to a cultural or sporting event, have an educational or career deadline or presentation, medical appointment or procedure, you know the date and time that you must be there. If you are late, arrive on the wrong date or location, or miss it altogether, the experience of the event has passed and is impossible to recreate. There typically is a negative consequence and a lesson learned.

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ADHD and ADD

How to Stop Stressing about Work & Finally Fall Asleep

If you’re like most people, you’ve been affected by stress-related sleep problems at some point, lying awake at night filled with anxiety about your career and the future.

Often everyday worries about impending deadlines and your to-do list give way to bigger, more stressful questioning, “Is this job really what I want to be doing with my life? What if I quit? Will I ever discover
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Brain and Behavior

4 Tips for Feeling Successful

"If I try to fail and succeed, which have I done?" - Anonymous
I use the above quote with my college students. I try to challenge them to look at life from a different perspective. In challenging our perspectives I am not merely playing semantics -- I firmly believe that words actually do hold meaning. Words have the power to affect our emotions. By challenging ourselves to look at our own definitions from a new perspective, we have the ability to change how we feel.

How I define success influences how I feel about myself. Many of us have culturally learned that success is defined by tangible goods and wealth. We hear expressions such as “If I have more things than someone else, I am successful” or “if I have a title or initials after my name, I am successful.” Does someone else's level of success negate my perceived level of success? In other words, is one's success defined in relation to another's accomplishments?

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Brain and Behavior

Compassion Fatigue in the Animal Welfare Community

Before becoming a psychotherapist, I had a career in animal welfare. I’ve worn both the boots and the sandals -- that’s jargon for working on the law enforcement side and the shelter side -- and I’ve seen my fair share of trauma.

Whether you’re a humane officer or a shelter volunteer, a vet tech or an animal rights activist, you have likely seen, heard about, or experienced things that most people can’t even begin to understand. Long-term exposure to abuse and neglect, euthanasia, and grief-stricken clients not only can affect your work productivity and satisfaction, but it can also wear on you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you feel like you care so much that it hurts, you may be struggling with compassion fatigue.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

How the Media Affects Body Image

Body image is the way we perceive ourselves when we look in the mirror. We imagine ourselves to look and act a certain way, even though we may look and act differently to those around us.

Someone has a positive body image if he or she is attuned to the reality of his or her physical shape and size. This person fully understands his or her weight, the form of his or her body (from curves to wrinkles), and the way his or her body moves and functions.

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General

5 Simple Ways to Relax and Recharge

Many of us have a hard time relaxing. Maybe just the thought of taking a break actually stresses you. And that’s understandable. Because, as “a society we value being busy, so it can almost feel that we are doing something wrong by relaxing,” said Agnes Wainman, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and self-proclaimed self-care activist in London, Ontario.

Christine Selby’s clients regularly tell her that relaxing is a waste of time because it means they’re not being productive. That’s when she asks them why they’d bother relaxing at all. They usually mention that relaxing feels good or helps them to wind down and destress. “My next question,” she added, “‘Is that not doing something?’”
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