Brain and Behavior

10 Flimsiest Excuses for Not Taking Action

When a decision needs to be made and work must be done, instead of springing into action and doing what’s necessary, too often the temptation is to offer an excuse. More often than not, the excuse is a lame one, such as the following:

I don’t know how.
Did it ever occur to you that you might have been given this task or project as a way to expand your skills, gain new insights, or expand your abilities? Don't push it aside because you are unfamiliar with it or lack experience in doing it. Doing so makes you look weak, ineffective and possibly lazy. Ask for help if you need it. That’s a more proactive approach when you need to take action.
Continue Reading

Bipolar

Is Physician-Assisted Suicide Right for Severe Psychiatric Disorders?

Two summers ago, our family grabbed a bite to eat in downtown Annapolis and headed over to the Naval Academy for a parade -- celebrating the end of Plebe Summer, six weeks of rigorous physical and mental training for new midshipmen.

It was late August, and I was horribly depressed, trying out medication combination No. 45 or something like that (in the last 10 years). My inner dialogue sounded like this:

Does everyone want to be dead?
Where do these people get the energy to function?
I wonder if the young plebes would be excited if they had a way of dying.
Don’t all of us just want to die as soon as possible?
Why do we have to wait so long?
I wish I could die today.

Continue Reading

Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: May 17, 2016

It's amazing. You could be going along with your business and not even know it. Unconsciously, you're in awe and full of compassion for a friend's struggles. You find yourself gossiping about a co-worker's shockingly distasteful behavior.

You're working the outside world without checking what's going on in the inside. There's a gap there. There's a disconnection. Maybe it makes you feel invincible. But on a deeper level, it makes you feel isolated and alone.

What you don't realize is you play a huge role in what you're experiencing. It took some time until I realized everything that was triggering me-the courageous lady who endured a painful past, the really bossy boss-were all different sides of myself that I hadn't yet acknowledged. Swimming right below the surface, they were begging to be seen.

If you grew up feeling unheard, it may take you awhile to recognize what's missing. Sometimes all it takes is reading someone else's story for it to click. Whether it's your sensitivity or your long lost emotional needs, our following posts on may just help you reconnect and remember.
Continue Reading

Aging

How Failure Breeds Success

Our weaknesses are the source of our strengths; our failures are the roots of our successes.

This is not another motivational cliché, this is a fact of history and science. Evolutionary theorists long ago concluded that the power of the human species lay in its weaknesses. Aware of their bodies' fragility compared to that of other animals, human beings had to compensate for their powerlessness in order to survive. Individuals were too weak to hunt by themselves, so they collaborated and hunted in groups. Collective activity emerged, communication evolved, tools were built, and the human species ruled all others.

Continue Reading

Family

3 Things You Might Be Neglecting in Your Relationship — and Tips to Help

All relationships require care and tending. Anything that you want to thrive does. But in the midst of our fast-paced days and family obligations, we may neglect the very actions that are essential to building a beautiful union. Or maybe we miss these vital components because we never knew about them in the first place. After all, so many of us aren’t taught how to have healthy relationships. For instance, we assume that we’re listening to our spouses because, well, we can hear them. But hearing someone’s words and understanding them are two very different things.

Below are three things you might be neglecting to do in your relationship -- along with some helpful suggestions from
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Kristen Bell: On Feeling Anxious & Depressed

I'm not usually a big fan of sharing celebrity stories here, only because I believe undue attention is given to celebrities' hardships and tribulations. But actress Kristen Bell's words rung a special kind of true, so I felt like sharing them with you.

"I shatter a little bit when I think people don't like me... I compensate by being bubbly all the time. Because it really hurts my feelings when I'm not liked," says actress Kristen Bell in an interview published last month.

"I've also struggled a lot with anxiety and depression."

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

A Husband’s Guide to Understanding Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Approximately 20 percent of all postpartum women experience a perinatal mood disorder such as postpartum depression (PPD) or anxiety. These are medical conditions which can be successfully treated. Knowing the risk factors and understanding the signs and symptoms are important for a spouse in order to get his wife the appropriate care and help.

Any new mom can develop a perinatal mood disorder; however, there are some risk factors to be aware of:

Personal or family history of depression or anxiety
History of severe PMS or PMDD
Chronic pain or illness
Fertility treatments
Miscarriage
Traumatic or stressful pregnancy or birthing experience
Abrupt discontinuation of breastfeeding
Substance abuse

Continue Reading

Personal

Learn How to Let Go of Shame and Forgive Yourself

"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 haven’t always been the woman I am today.

I used to be scared. Of everything. And everyone. Painfully shy and insecure, I saw myself as a victim of my circumstances, and was always waiting, on guard, for the next rejection. I masked my insecurity in a blanket of perfectionism, and worked hard to put forth the image that I had everything together and had it all figured out.

Continue Reading

Family

3 Tips to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great

Good marriages are healthy marriages. They’re built on a foundation of love, trust, safety, commitment and respect. Great marriages have these elements, too. But they go further.

Below, John Harrison, LPCC, a counselor and coach who specializes in working with couples, shares three ways to transform a good marriage into a great one. His tips are simple and straightforward. But these are not quick, empty fixes. Instead, they are steps we must take on a regular basis to enhance our relationship and connect on a deeper, truer level with our one and only. 

Challenge each other
Continue Reading

General

How Practicing Gratitude Can Change Our Lives

Do you ever notice how some people are just happier than others? One friend can be faced with terrible circumstances and still have a positive outlook, while another is consistently negative, no matter how well things in his or her life are going.

The difference between the two could be how grateful they are. People who are grateful often are associated with being happier. Practicing gratitude can change our perspective of the world. It can change our mood, how we treat others, impact our productivity, and ultimately, change our lives.

Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Surviving the Traffic Jams of Life

The shrill horn startles you. “Hey, jerk, pay attention,” a flat-chested trucker shrieks at you. Waving in his direction, you respond with your own blue streak. Sadly, your vulgar mouth moves faster than the gnarled traffic. The 7 a.m. commute is a fitting metaphor. Stuck in an unfulfilling job and crumbling relationship, a catnap is a futile reprieve from your sinking life.

In the U.S., we face snarling traffic, time-sucking commutes, and soul-sucking jobs. In 2015, Los Angeles commuters wasted 81 hours rotting in traffic. Even in cities regarded for their quality of life (I am looking at you Denver, Seattle, and Minneapolis), choking traffic is the norm.

Continue Reading

Children and Teens

5 Ways to Help Young Kids Communicate Their Emotions

One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your child is to identify and manage their emotions. Doing so shows them that experiencing a range of emotions is normal. Kids who learn healthy ways to express and cope with their emotions show less behavioral problems. They feel more competent and capable.

“Being able to talk about emotions sets the foundation for healthy problem solving and conflict resolution,” said Sarah Leitschuh, LMFT, a psychotherapist who specializes in helping families develop healthy ways to communicate about and cope with emotions. These skills also help kids to maintain healthy relationships right now and as they get older, she said.

Sometimes, however, parents teach or model the opposite to their kids: They inadvertently create a space where a child feels uncomfortable expressing their emotions, Leitschuh said.
Continue Reading