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7 Fun Steps that Lead to ‘Happily Ever After’

You decide how the story of your life is told.

One of the most powerful acts of self-care you can make is owning your life story. This core story is your personal narrative, based on the ideas you've collected and internalized about yourself, your experiences and the world around you.

This is the story that lives at the center of your being -- the story that influences every aspect of your life. It colors everything you do in life (what you believe you're capable of, whether you believe you're worthy or not, the meaning you assign to interactions with others, your levels of personal happiness, etc.).
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Why Psychologists are Starting to Care About Sleep Apnea

Sleep has always been an integral part of mental health, but now there is more reason than ever to consider an interrelation between the two. Recent studies, such as the one cited in a previous Psych Central article, have confirmed a strong correlation between depression and the prevalent disorder of sleep apnea. There are also connections between sleep apnea and other aspects of mental health, as well as reasons why the psychology field should familiarize itself with the symptoms of this disorder.

Though commonly mistaken for mere snoring, sleep apnea is a serious medical condition characterized by brief pauses in breath during sleep. The cessation of breathing prevents the sleeper from inhaling oxygen and can lead to a multitude of health complications that range from insomnia and high blood pressure to tumor growth and a higher cancer risk. Moreover, sleep apnea is not a rarity. In America alone, over 14 million people suffer from sleep apnea but do not know it.

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Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: June 30, 2015

Whether I succeed or fail in life, there is a part of me that still secretly hopes someone will cheer or hold me in response. What I often get instead is an underplaying of my wins and a kick in the shins when I fail. The worst part is that I'm usually at fault. I both long for and admonish my desire to be self-soothed.

How often do you do this too?

You might resent a loved one for their inability to empathize with you. But I've found that when I'm desperately seeking external validation, self-compassion is what I'm really looking for.

Could you comfort yourself with words you'd save only for a good friend? Words like:

"It's okay. You did the best you could."

"You're beautiful. I love all of you just as you are."

"You did an amazing job! I'm so proud of you."

It may seem absurd and silly at first, but as you'll read this week, self-love could be the greatest gift you give others and yourself.
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We All Agree: Don’t Put a Mental Hospital In My Backyard

Sadly, in many communities across America, people still feel it is perfectly acceptable to discriminate against people with a mental illness.

Now in a small town north of San Luis Obispo, California called Templeton, residents there are saying no to a voluntary inpatient psychiatric hospital that a company would like to build -- adding to the town's tax rolls and job base.

Would they be equally likely to say no to a regular, medical hospital? Or is there something specific about a psychiatric inpatient hospital that the residents of Templeton object to?

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The Legend of the Two Wolves

There is a Cherokee legend about an elderly brave who tells his grandson about life.

“Son,” he says, “Within all of us there is a battle of two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."

He continued, “The other wolf is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth,
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The #1 Key: How to Help a Person Dealing with Depression

"Don’t look for someone who will solve all your problems. Look for someone who won’t let you face them alone." -- Unknown
Depression for me is like constantly walking up a hill.

Most of the time the hill has only a one percent gradient. You can hardly even tell it’s a hill. I walk, run, jump, skip along, doing cartwheels and stopping to smell pretty flowers and listen to bird-calls; it’s sunny and warm, with clear blue skies.

Even though I have to put in a little bit of effort to walk up, times are good.

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Anxiety and Panic

How We Deny Ourselves Joy Without Even Realizing It

"When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy." - Rumi
There's a funny thing about depression and self-esteem. Even when we feel like life is good, maybe even great, and we have everything we could possibly want, we somehow can't believe it. We wait for the other shoe to drop. Why? Because we're not even aware of the fact that we have a long history of denying ourselves joy.

The pattern is pervasive. We make jokes that undercut how well we are feeling at the moment. It's almost superstitious. If we said out loud, "My life is wonderful. I am happier than I ever could have imagined. I'm excited about the future," the whole thing will instantaneously go up in flames.

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The Fallacy of Unconditional Love: Why Selfless Loving Doesn’t Work & What Really Does

Wouldn't it be great to find someone who loves and accepts us as we are? Many times during psychotherapy sessions, my clients have uttered some version of, “I just want to be unconditionally loved! I want someone who can accept me with my flaws and foibles.”

I’m very sympathetic to our desire for a partner who is not bent on fixing and changing us. As psychologist Harville Hendrix has suggested, one purpose of adult relationships is to heal old childhood wounds. A common wound is not feeling seen and accepted as we are. Love relationships can help us feel welcomed, wanted, and embraced, despite our limitations.
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Children and Teens

10 Tips for Supporting Children Through a Spouse’s Mental Illness

A parent's mental illness can leave a child feeling scared and unstable.

Dad's mood changes. The whole household feels the effects. Everyone quickly switches gears, puts on their best behavior, and attempts not to cause any waves. Mom tries to put on a happy face and hopes that the kids don't notice. Nobody mentions this change in mood, but the tension in the household is obvious.

Everyone quietly distances himself and waits for the storm to pass. The adults understand what is happening, but the kids are left to draw their own conclusions. They begin to wonder why mom and dad are acting differently. Why is dad so sad, or so angry? Why won't he play outside like he used to?
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Anxiety and Panic

Anxiety, Depression and College Students

A recent survey has determined that anxiety is the most common mental health problem in college students. Depression and stress rank second and third. Anxiety and depression are really just different sides of the same coin. They are both the result of chronic stress that overwhelms your capacity to cope with them. Both can affect your functioning, especially your studies and your relationships.

Some blame "helicopter parents" for college students' mental health problems. These parents hovered over their children, not allowing them to feel their emotions and not allowing them to solve their own problems. These parents handled their children’s problems for them. But the children did not learn emotional regulation and coping skills. When they go off to college, they are emotional novices. They are unable to deal with the stress of independent living and studying for their chosen careers.

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Psychology Around the Net: June 27, 2015

Learn about how mental illness affects teens later in life, how one Orange Is The New Black storyline can teach you about depression, antidepressants and rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Mentally Ill Teens Struggle With School and Work as Adults: Recent research analysis shows teens who struggle with chronic health issues -- particularly mental health issues -- are more than twice as likely to drop out...
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