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Anxiety and Panic

8 Ways to Make Technology Less Stressful

Whatever you do, DO NOT think of an elephant right now!


Don't think about elephants, or big floppy elephant ears, or elephants at circuses, or elephants in the wild.

Now, be honest: you totally just thought of an elephant. Didn't you?

That's exactly how I felt all week when I tried to stay away from the internet.

When I opted to spend a week away from the internet and other technological devices, I expected my brief affair with the IRL ("in real life") world to whisk me away into romantic oblivion.

Sadly, that was not the case.

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The Freudian Problem

Excluding pop psychologists, (such as Dr. Phil, Dr. Drew or Wayne Dyer) Sigmund Freud is probably the most well known name associated with psychology (at least to the lay public).  In Frank Sulloway’s book, Freud: Biologist of the Mind, the author notes, “Few individuals, if any, have exerted more influence upon the twentieth century than Sigmund Freud.” (Shermer, 2001, p.203).

A 1981 survey of chairpersons of graduate psychology found that the respondents considered Freud the most influential figure in the history of psychology (Davis, Thomas, & Weaver, 1982).  But times have changed.
“[I]f all the members of the American Psychological Association [APA] who  were concerned with Freudian psychoanalysis were collected, they would make up  less than 10 percent of the membership.  In another major psychological association, the Association for Psychological Science, they would make up  considerably less than 5 percent.” (Stanovich, 2007, p.1)
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Brain and Behavior

Taming Our Brain’s Amygdala

In The Emotional Brain, Joseph LeDoux, a professor of neuroscience at New York University, explains the "fear system" in laboratory animals -- such as monkeys -- and humans.

The almond-shaped clump of tissue called the amygdala can be a real troublemaker. Whenever you sense potential danger (26 voice-mails on your cell phone coming to life like the Nutcracker), the amygdala triggers an "oh, crap!" reaction, pumping adrenaline and other (not so great) hormones...
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Best of Our Blogs: April 29, 2011

You know what amazes me? No matter how far we come in life, there is always a point where we suddenly forget.

Maybe it's the relative who negated your recent accomplishment or the friend who brushed off your latest idea. It could be the classmate that surpassed you in school or the colleague who got one step ahead of you in your career.

Suddenly, everything you ever did is just not good enough.

How do you get back to that place of peace and gratitude? How do you return to the moment where you remember all of the trials and tribulations and trauma you have already overcame in the past? You get back to yourself. Whether it's by yoga, meditation or walking, these posts will help inspire you to do just that.

Yoga and Meditation: The Benefits

(ADHD in Focus) - Are you mystified by yoga and meditation? Feel like it's not as effective as other forms of exercises? This ADHDer felt that way too until she began doing both and discovered that they brought her love and peace.

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Introducing Boomers on the Rise: Aging Well

I'm pleased to introduce our newest blog, Boomers on the Rise: Aging Well with Tamara McClintock Greenberg, This blog will discuss the increasingly complicated landscape of modern day aging, because, let's face it, none of us is getting younger. Topics relate to healthcare and medicine, gender differences related to aging, coping with illness, and the many demands today’s middle-aged and older adults face.

We’re all getting older, and...
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Brain and Behavior

Motivation: IQ Tests More Than Intelligence

One of the common misconceptions about psychological testing is that even the so-called objective psychological tests (usually done on a computer or paper-and-pencil tests) tap into a single "truth" about the person. And that there is very little subjectivity in such tests.

In fact, one's approach to taking a psychological test has a big impact on the test's results -- and the interpretations of those results by a trained psychologist.

The problem is that psychologists -- and worse, the legal system -- uses these tests as not only an indicator of where a person is in their life right now, but as a predictor of their future potential. If something as simple as one's motivation can have a significant impact on one of these scores, what does that mean for the predictive power of these tests?

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Brain and Behavior

10 Quick Stress Busters

Stress is like dark chocolate. A little of it won't kill you. In fact, small blocks here and there can be good for you, or at least give you a reason to get of bed in the morning.

But chronic and severe stress can damage your body and mind, blocking the fluid communication to and from most organs -- especially in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and in the limbic system, the brain's emotional center. Believe me, you want these two systems--much like the House and Senate -- running as smoothly as possible, with low levels of the delinquent stress hormones in your bloodstream.

Which is why I have handy some tress busters. I use an average of five a day. Today I'm using all ten. Here they are, and good luck!

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Nominate Someone for the SAMHSA Voice Awards

I pass this news release along, in case anyone knows of someone (or themselves!) who might be a good candidate for nomination for this year's SAMHSA Voice Awards.

Join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in recognizing consumer/peer leaders and TV and film professionals who have given a voice to individuals with behavioral health problems (mental health and/or addiction issues).

This year, SAMHSA is putting special emphasis on the impact of trauma and the significant effects it can have on individuals, families and friends, communities, and our Nation. Consideration is being given to consumer/peer leaders who have successfully advocated for the rights of trauma survivors and promoted the importance of trauma-informed care. Additional consideration is also being given to TV and film productions that accurately and respectfully portray the experience of trauma, healing, and recovery.

The Voice Awards honor consumer/peer leaders who have done exemplary work promoting the social inclusion of individuals with behavioral health problems. The awards also recognize TV and film writers and producers that incorporate dignified, respectful, and accurate portrayals of individuals with behavioral health problems into their scripts, programs, and productions.

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8 Reasons Why Waiting in Line Drives Us Crazy

I'm a very impatient person, and standing in a slow-moving line is one of those very small, maddening aspects of life that drives me crazy. As often happens, however, when I learned more about the experience, it became more interesting to me.

I happened to read a paper by David Maister, The Psychology of Waiting Lines. The piece is aimed at people who operate stores, restaurants, doctors' offices, and other places where people fuss about being kept waiting. Of course, most of us are the ones standing in line, not the ones controlling the line, but I was fascinated by getting this insight into my own psychology.

Maister's main point is that the actual time we're waiting may have little relationship to how long that wait feels. Two minutes can pass in a flash, or two minutes can feel interminable. Here are eight factors that make waits seem longer...

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Brain and Behavior

7 Tips for Coping with Finals

It's that time again if you're a college or graduate student -- time for finals. It's also time to self-sabotage, to get in your own way in terms of effective studying. We stress out more than usual, even when we're on top of the material, because of the anxiety surrounding test-taking.

But you don't have to stress out about final exams. You can actually do better (and feel better about your performance) if you keep the stress at bay and focus on simple study skills over the next few weeks.

Here's a few tips for coping with finals to get you started. None of these are going to be eye-opening or stuff you don't already know... But sometimes we need to be reminded of the things we already know, to drive home their importance.

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Best of Our Blogs: April 26, 2011

Today, I started thinking about who we were as infants and the impact of time and life on our well-being. It's the layers of criticisms, lessons, memories (good and bad) that start weighing on us. Like a perfect stone weighed down with years of sediment or a beautiful painting undiscovered because it is covered in dust.

Maybe our purpose in life is to take a duster and remove all those layers (shame, insecurities, etc.) that appear to be us, but in reality are other people's stuff. Maybe we are supposed to find exactly who we are by getting back to who we were before disappointments, fear and judgments impacted us. What do you think? I think it's something worth pondering this week.

Speaking of which, here is another fine, round-up of best blogs to peruse-starting with a Happy Anniversary post to and for Mental Health Humor blogger Chato B. Stewart. Enjoy!

Happy 1 Year Anniversary Mental Health Humor Blogging at Psych Central

(Mental Health Humor) - Happy Anniversary Chato B. Stewart! He's made us laugh and cry and learn something new. Read what a year of blogging and cartooning has brought for our Mental Health Humor blogger.

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Understanding Research: An Interview with Mark Young

Mark Young specializes in helping individuals learn to understand scientific research.  He has a degree in kinesiology with a minor in psychology from McMaster University in Canada, and he has conducted graduate research in biomechanics and exercise physiology under the guidance of Dr. Stuart Phillips.  Today, he's an Ontario-based exercise and nutrition consultant.

Here are some of Young's thoughts about how we can understand research better.

Correlation and causation are often confused.  How do we clear up the confusion when informing the lay public of this misunderstanding?

Given the large amount of research presented to the lay public through the media I honestly think that everyone should be required to take at least one statistics and research design course in high school so that people might better understand the potential limitations of what is being presented.

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