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Become a Contributor to World of Psychology

Unbeknownst to some of you, World of Psychology welcomes guest contributors! Please send us your essays, commentary, opinion or rational (or sometimes irrational!) thoughts about anything in the world of psychology and mental health. This is a wonderful opportunity for the writers in our audience -- professionals and laypeople alike -- to share their point of view with our million readers.

Entries should be about a psychology or mental health...
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Depression

7 Ways to Beat Depression After a Divorce

Divorce is the second most stressful life event, preceded only by the death of a spouse. And what is stress capable of? Expediting a severe bout of depression and anxiety to your limbic system (the brain's emotional center) if you're not careful. Acute and chronic stress, especially, undermine both emotional and physical health. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior suggests that divorced or widowed people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer than married people.

Another study in Psychological Science claimed that a person's happiness level drops as she approaches divorce, although there is rebounding over time if the person works at it. That's what these 12 tips are: suggestions for preventing the devastating depression that often accompanies divorce, and techniques that you can use to keep your happiness level steady or maybe even higher!

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Celebrities

Bon Jovi Rocks for the Homeless

My wife is a big fan of Bon Jovi, so when I read this article about Bon Jovi's fact-finding efforts to help better understand homelessness in order to help it through his foundation, I couldn't help but blog about it.

If you didn't know, a significant portion of homeless persons have a mental disorder, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. It's hard to know for certain, but research suggests that approximately 2 out of 5 homeless people have a mental health issue.

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Brain and Behavior

The Mother of Mindfulness, Ellen Langer

Ellen Langer, a professor at Harvard, is also the mother of the psychological concept of mindfulness. There was a great profile last Sunday of her work in the Boston Globe Magazine.

The article describes how, as a doctoral student, she was intrigued by how people reacted when a poker hand was misdealt:
One round, the dealer accidentally skipped someone. “Everyone went crazy,” Langer recalls. It was out of the question, she learned, to...
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WebMD’s Depression Test Has Issues

Sometimes you have to wonder, "What were they thinking?"

Jim Edwards, writing for bnet, notes how when he took the WebMD depression test (here), it always told him he might be at risk for depression. Even if you answered all 10 questions negatively, it still noted that "You may be risk for major depression":
To be fair to WebMD and Lilly, the test is clearly marked as “funded by Lilly.” And there’s a Cymbalta ad sitting on the same page. But that...
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Brain and Behavior

Building Assertiveness in 4 Steps

All of us should insist on being treated fairly -- to stand up for our rights without violating the rights of others. This means tactfully, justly and effectively expressing our preferences, needs, opinions and feelings.

Psychologists call that being assertive, as distinguished from being unassertive (weak, passive, compliant, self-sacrificing) or aggressive (self-centered, inconsiderate, hostile, arrogantly demanding).

Because some people want to be "nice" and "not cause trouble," they "suffer in silence," "turn the other cheek," and assume nothing can be done to change their situation. The rest of us appreciate pleasant, accommodating people but whenever a nice person permits a greedy, dominant person to take advantage of him/her, the passive person is not only cheating him/herself but also reinforcing unfair, self-centered behavior in the aggressive person.

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Disorders

Harmful Side Effects of Psychotherapy

You cannot look up drug information on the Internet today without coming across at least one page about the negative side effects of taking the drug. In fact, such side effects are deemed so important, their publication alongside the benefits of a drug are strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But the FDA requires no such warnings connected to other mental health treatments, including the use of psychotherapy.

How could...
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Celebrities

Why Tiger Woods Need Not Apologize to Us

When Tiger Woods held a press conference last Friday to explain where he's at in his life, I got this feeling that we were looking into someone's personal and private life in a manner that felt a little silly. After all, what business is it of ours -- the public -- what this sports celebrity does in his personal life?

Then again, one could apply the same logic to virtually any celebrity and our seemingly-endless obsession with following the private lives and failings of celebrities. Entire print publications and weekly magazines are devoted to the following of celebrities' lives, as well as popular websites like TMZ.com.

We love to follow other people's lives -- it takes our minds off of our own mundane (and often less-than-ideal) existence. It explains why these publications are so popular and well-read.

But why put yourself out there, voluntarily, while you're still in the middle of your own recovery? Why hold a "press conference" where nobody is allowed to answer any questions? And where is the one person who should be there -- your wife? What does it help or prove?

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Introducing ADHD In Focus

Attention deficit disorder is a serious mental health issue that affects the lives not only of children and teens, but millions of adults as well. So we're pleased to announce the launch of our latest blog, ADHD In Focus, that will focus on topics in attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

ADHD In Focus is hosted by Kathryn Goetzke. Kathryn is the driving force behind the non-profit organization for depression called iFred (the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression). iFred is dedicated to...
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Depression

7 Depression Busters for Caregivers

Nearly one-third of people caring for terminally ill loved ones suffer from depression according to research from Yale University. About one in four family caregivers meet the clinical criteria of anxiety. And a recent study found that 41 percent of former caregivers of a spouse with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia experienced mild to severe depression up to three years after their spouse had died.

Caregivers are so vulnerable to depression because they often sacrifice their own needs while tending to their loved one and because of the constant stress involved. Here, then, are 12 tips to help protect you from anxiety and depression and to guide you toward good mental health as you care for a relative.

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Brain and Behavior

Go Take a Nap

Well, the latest research confirms the positive effects of a mid-afternoon nap. Adults in the latest -- albeit small -- study suggest that people who took a 90-minute power nap after lunch did better on a battery of cognitive tests than those who didn't. The improvement rate was about 10 percent better.

Some cultures have built in the concept of an afternoon break from the long and non-stop workday. There seems to be some empirical support for...
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