Psych Central

The Psychology of Treats & Treating Yourself

by Gretchen Rubin

The Psychology of Treats & Treating YourselfI’ve asked this question before, but I’m asking again, because I find it so fascinating: Do you have any “treats” that don’t look like treats? What are your treats?

In my forthcoming book, Before and After, about how we make and break habits — really — I identify a bunch of strategies we can use to change our habits.

Perhaps the most delightful one is the Strategy of Treats. (To be notified when the book is available for pre-order, sign up here.)


Introducing Healthy Romantic Relationships

by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Introducing Healthy Romantic Relationships

A healthy romantic relationship won’t always come naturally to all of us. Even the best relationship needs a little boost from time to time. How do you know when you need help? Where do you even start?

That’s why I’m pleased to introduce Healthy Romantic Relationships with Jake and Hannah Eagle. This blog will explore what it takes to create, maintain and improve healthy romantic relationships. Jake and Hannah Eagle teach people around the world how to become emotionally mature and create healthy romantic partnerships. You can learn more about them here.

Please give Jake & Hannah a warm Psych Central welcome over on their new blog now, Healthy Romantic Relationships.


When Unconditional Love Has Conditions

by Eve Hogan

When Unconditional Love Has Conditions

I was once working with a group of teenagers discussing “integrity agreements,” which I described as “either spoken or unspoken agreements not to hurt each other.” These integrity agreements are the fabric of our society.

This belief, that we won’t harm each other, is what allows us to walk down the street without worrying about getting shot or intentionally run over. I discussed with the teens how every time we break integrity agreements with each other — every time we cheat, lie, abuse, or harm — we weaken the agreement and create unstable relationships.


The Power of Cookies and Belonging

by Lauren Walsh

The Power of Cookies and BelongingI ate a Girl Scout cookie the other day — Samoa, to be exact — and rather than just thinking about its delicious combination of caramel and toasted coconut, I thought about the meaning of being a Girl Scout and the desire people have to belong to a group or to another person.

It is this desire that inevitably shapes who we are as people. We seek to fulfill this desire in order to gain a sense of acceptance and security. We avoid solitude because we ultimately fear ourselves and who we might become without the impact or comfort of others.

This fear or encouragement of belonging is instilled from early childhood. At age 4, many parents enroll their children in Little League or other social organizations. We are taught from a young age to belong to groups and to others.


Military, Media Quick to Report Fort Hood Shooter’s Mental Health Status

by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Military, Media Quick to Report Fort Hood Shooter's Mental Health StatusThere’s no way to stop the rare mass shootings that occur in the United States. You may not like it, but it’s a fact no amount of laws or background checks will ever fix.

Every time a new shooting occurs, it’s a tragedy. No words can begin to describe the senseless violence of a mass shooting.

But it’s even more of a tragedy when the media — with the help of the military, in this case — is quick to report that an alleged suspect in such shootings was seeking mental health treatment for a concern. Especially when it ended up having nothing to do with the shootings.


A Mindful Practice to Fully Feel Your Anger

by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

A Mindful Practice to Fully Feel Your AngerEarly in her practice, psychotherapist Andrea Brandt, Ph.D, M.F.T, found that the clients she was seeing were able to talk about their anger. They used popular techniques such as “I” statements. They were able to articulate when they felt angry.

And, yet, their anger wasn’t dissipating. Communicating their anger wasn’t the problem. The problem was their inability to fully feel that anger.


Judgment, Low Expectations and Mindfulness

by George Hofmann

Judgment, Low Expectations and MindfulnessCertainly, the people closest to you want what’s best for you. They want you to be safe, secure, and, if possible, happy. Sometimes they want these things for us even more than we want them for ourselves. This is loving, caring, and compassionate. And it can be a burden that holds us back from our true potential.

After a year of not working due to the difficulties of my bipolar disorder, I abandoned hope of returning to the executive ranks I had belonged to. I took a job in human services, supporting people with developmental disabilities. It was challenging, rewarding, and important work. It paid very little.

I was back in the workforce and establishing my independence just as I was 40 and back living with my parents. My passion for business and economics became hobbies, stuff I read about, and I lowered my expectations of what I could accomplish. So did the people around me.


Culture & Mental Health Stigma: An Advocate’s Story of Struggle and Hope

by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.


“I wish my son had cancer instead of depression,” an Indian mother told Gayathri Ramprasad.

“If he had cancer, all my friends and family would sympathize with us. How can I tell them about depression? They won’t even understand [what that means]…What kind of future will he have?”


Best of Our Blogs: April 4, 2014

by Brandi-Ann Uyemura, M.A.
Best of Our Blogs

Do you know where your attention is?

One night while putting my son to sleep our eyes locked and he gave me a huge smile. It melted my heart and made me cry. How many times a day do I pass up these precious opportunities by unconsciously putting other things first?

It’s one thing to make a choice to work or do the laundry. But it’s quite another to allow your thoughts and worries to take completely control over your life. You might not be able to be 100% present during every second of your life, but the key isn’t to strive for perfection.

As you’ll read from our bloggers below, being conscious of whatever you’re currently experiencing, whether stressed or depressed, is the path toward greater freedom, meaning and joy. Mindfulness gives you the option to experience the beautiful moments like the one I had with my son, but also endure the toughest times in your life.

{Etsy quote by theSilverSpider}

{Etsy quote by TheSilverSpider}


Using Behavioral Psychology to Break Bad Habits

by Kay Khan

Using Behavioral Psychology to Break Bad HabitsWhether it’s smoking, overeating, or worrying, we all have bad habits we would love to get rid of. Behavioral psychology can help. It is one of the most-studied fields in psychology, and it offers great insight into how to break bad habits and build up healthy habits in their place.

Realize the Reward of Your Bad Habit

If you have a bad habit, it is because you are being rewarded for it in some way. Behavioral psychology claims that all of our behavior is either rewarded or punished, which increases or decreases the chance of us repeating that behavior.

If you smoke, you are rewarded with stress relief. If you overeat, you are rewarded with the taste of food. If you procrastinate, you are temporarily rewarded with more free time. Find out how your bad habits are rewarding you, and then you can figure out how to replace them.


The Alternative Road to Health and Wellness

by Emily Waters

The Alternative Road to Health and WellnessMany mental health professionals have long conceded that while temperament is inborn, personality can change a bit over time. Factors that can influence this susceptibility to change include variables such as family, genetics, environment and circumstances, which all serve to contribute to the shaping of an individual’s unique personality over the course of a lifetime.

One’s environment — which largely is controllable — is a major factor in achieving and sustaining happiness. In Spontaneous Happiness, holistic health pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil shares his secrets to finding happiness based on his own lifelong battle with depression.


3 Strategies for Getting Things Done When You’re Depressed

by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

3 Strategies for Getting Things Done When You’re DepressedDepression is a difficult illness. Not only does it sink your mood and self-esteem, but it also saps your energy and motivation. It makes getting things done — everything from working to cooking to paying the bills to making decisions — incredibly challenging.

“I’m still depressed more than I’m well,” writes Julie A. Fast, in Get It Done When You’re Depressed: 50 Strategies for Keeping Your Life On Track, a valuable book written with neuropsychologist John D. Preston, PsyD.


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