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Brain and Behavior

Is He Checking You Out?

How do you know if someone is checking you out?

New research suggests that it may have something to do with how masculine or feminine a face looks.

Women were able to more quickly determine whether someone was looking at them when that person's face was more masculine. The same is true with men, except they could make the determination more quickly when the face was more feminine.

Men were no quicker in determining gaze direction when looking at other men's faces, nor were women able to more quickly determine gaze direction when looking at other women's faces. This, the researchers say, suggests an evolutionary component is at work for mate selection.

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Brain and Behavior

Emotional Trauma in the Womb

The caller complained, “I’ve been sad all my life. I’ve been to many therapists and none have been able to help me get rid of my sadness. Do you think you can help me?”

Since I have seen many similar cases like this before, I told the caller, “I have a good hunch on what is going on. Come on over and lets see if I can help.” After briefly treating the person, the sadness was gone and it has stayed that way ever since. I have treated hundreds of these situations where individuals have been able to experience release of seemingly hopeless issues. What has made the difference?

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Gender and Forgiveness

"The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret. "
-- Henny Youngman

But a new study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Positive Psychology may shed some light.

Positive marriages are those determined to have resiliency, courage and strength of perseverance to endure, with the added virtue of partners being able to accept or forgive each other when the feces hits the oscillator. The usual transgressions that a typical marriage encounters assure that every couple will be tested, but statistics show that not all pass the forgiveness test.

Once a betrayal has occurred and trust has been broken, forgiveness, or lack thereof, will determine the couple's future. Experts report that in the United States, the marriage failure rate increases with the number of tries: Half of first marriages fail. That increases to nearly two thirds of second marriages, and three quarters of third marriages. This daunting data demonstrates that learning how to forgive may be the most important skill for sustained marital happiness.

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Best of Our Blogs: June 29, 2010

How do you handle the daily stresses in your life? Are you a hide under the covers person, a problem-solver, or a face things head on warrior? Or maybe you're a little of all three depending on the situation.

What surprises me is that no matter how healthy we've become through therapy or how advanced we are as a society, there is still a lot we can do to be and do better. There are, for example, still roadblocks ahead concerning mental health stigma. On top of that there's the economy, natural disasters, and the oil spill, oh my!  With the weight of the world on our shoulders adding significant baggage to our already piled up plate of worries, perhaps now more than ever, quoting the title of the 1965 Beatles song, "What the World Needs Now is Love."

Yes we definitely need a break, don't we? Hope you'll indulge yourself a bit with a little reading. You can start with these top 5 best blogs of the week. As always, I hope they'll bring you hope, inspiration and the courage to be strong when necessary, be open to support from others when you are unable to, and have the wisdom to know the difference. Cheers!

Overwhelmed, Procrastinating or Depressed? Advice from Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr.

(Mindfulness & Psychotherapy) - Are stress, depression or the world's problems affecting your ability to finish that project or work toward building a positive future? We hear you! This post will motivate you to take the steps necessary to get yourself going even if that means just getting out of bed.

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Brain and Behavior

Good versus Evil in Strength?

You have to hand it to Kurt Gray, a doctoral student at Harvard. He knows how to spin a set of three small experiments he conducted to make headlines. Here's what Gray had to say about his findings:
“By perceiving themselves as good or evil, people embody these perceptions, actually becoming more capable of physical endurance.”
"But in fact, this research suggests that physical strength may be an effect, not a cause, of moral acts."
Did Gray actually measure a person's inherent "goodness" or capacity for evil (or did he measure artificial situations created in a lab that may or may not actually mimic these qualities)? And if so, did he also measure physical strength (or simply one small aspect of strength, physical endurance)?

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Strong at the Broken Places: On Living Bravely with Chronic Illness

I love this man. Richard Cohen. I love him. His mantra is mine. His hope I cling to. He inspires me.

He tells the story of coping with his multiple sclerosis and colon cancer in his New York Times bestseller, "Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness." Awhile back, he came out with a fascinating book, "Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, a Chorus of Hope," profiling five brave persons battling illness. Writes Richard, "These are the faces of illness in America. Do not look away. The characters may surprise you, even shatter a stereotype or two. They are people, not cases, survivors, not victims. Quite simply, they are us. they carry shared resolve, a determination to survive. To flourish."

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Brain and Behavior

If I Stumble, If I Fall: 5 Tips When Failing

As a toddler, we learn to walk not by walking, but by falling.

We push ourselves up, we take a few tentative steps, then we fall down.

Some might say we fail, over and over again. But a parent looks at their baby trying to walk and thinks, "Look at her trying to walk! She's doing so good. Look, she made it three steps further this time."

No matter what you call it, learning something new involves taking risks and risking failure. Not just once, but over and over again. It is something that we're born into -- it's not something we choose.

Of course some of us learn more easily than others. But for most of us, it's a hard, sometimes trying process. It may result in failure time and time again, just like a little toddler learning to walk. But unlike the toddler, we often criticize our failures as adults -- we're stupid, we're not good enough, we can never do anything right.

Toddlers don't think that. They think, "Hey, this walking thing is kinda cool. It's what grownups do and I'm doing it! Ooops, I fell again. Well, I'll just get back up and try again."

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Congratulations to Christine Stapleton, Depression on My Mind

Earlier this month, Christine Stapleton, blogging for us over at Depression on My Mind, won a 2010 Media Award from Mental Health America, the national mental health advocacy group. This is a prestigious award honoring journalists, writers and producers who cover mental health issues during the previous year in newspapers, magazines and online.

I "discovered" Christine through her wonderful column in The Palm Beach Post called "Kicking Depression." But of course, tens of thousands of people were already aware of her writing! I thought she would make a great addition to Psych Central because she brought a journalist's eye to covering her own battle with depression -- a refreshing perspective to say the least.

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Best of Our Blogs: June 25, 2010

Well it's here! We're officially in the midst of summer. In fact, we're almost at the end of June. July here we come!

Yet, for some of us summer doesn't automatically mean fun. There's the oil spill, for example, the economy and everything else on the news. Added to that are our plain old daily concerns on everything from our weight to our empty wallets. Yes, we definitely need an extra boost to have fun as adults. It's not just about ice-cream cones or playing in the sand anymore, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

If we have to work harder to have fun than so be it. We deserve to play as much as any kid out there! Even if you can't get away this summer because the cost of a vacation is just too much for you this year, there's still lots you can do. Go to a park. Spend time in your garden. Read a summer book that'll whisk you away to an exotic spot. Spend the time learning how to love and accept yourself. And if you want to know how to do so, go straight to our top blogs of the week and it'll show you how. Enjoy!

A Little Fun with Acceptance

(Bipolar Advantage) - Didn't know that Dr. Will Meecham, our Bipolar Advantage blogger was a poet too? Well he is! Check out his poem personifying Grief, Sorrow, Rage, Disgust, and more and have the pleasure of reading his creative depiction of self-acceptance.

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Omega-3 Treatment for Depression

Can omega 3 help treat depression? According to new research, the answer is yes.

In one of the largest studies on omega-3 supplements done to date, Canadian researchers found that for people who don't also have an anxiety disorder with their depression, the popular omega-3 fish supplements helped improve depression symptoms.

The improvements the researchers found in this study were similar to improvements found in studies of antidepressants, suggesting that for some people, omega-3 may be an inexpensive antidepressant alternative.

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Best of Our Blogs: June 22, 2010

How was your Father's Day? Was it all you wanted, expected and hoped it would be?

The activities of the day, however, are less important than the memories associated with Father's Day. Even if you're not a father yourself or were unable to spend time with your dad due to death or distance, there's still a lot that can be celebrated. Things like treasured memories and happy moments and taking time to remember the fatherly figures in your life and how they have influenced who you are today.

On Sunday, I spoke with my dad. He talked about his life as a child growing up in Hawaii. He reminisced about the way things were. The neighbors he knew, the small local-owned stores that used to be in existence, and the truck that sold produce picked from local farms. How simple life seemed to be then and how much things have changed within a lifetime.

While some things in life have gotten more complicated, other things like mental health issue and awareness are getting a lot better. We're learning how to forgive and better ourselves, improve the way we view our bodies and are more open to mental illness and healing. The good news is that there's lots of resources to help us get there. The even better news is that we've got them here in our best of our blogs for this week. Here they are:

Forgiveness Means Giving Up All Hope for a Better Past

(Mindfulness & Psychotherapy) - Still griping over a 6 year old slight? Maybe it's time to consider forgiveness. This popular post will get you to reconsider that grudge you've been holding onto about the past so you can live a more compassionate and hopeful future.

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