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How Music Impacts, Helps Our Emotions

Music unquestionably affects our emotions. We tend to listen to music that reflects our mood. When we're happy we may listen to upbeat music; when we're sad we may listen to slower, moving songs; when we're angry we may listen to darker music with heavy guitar, drums, and vocals that reflect our level of anger.

Were you ever asked to name your favorite band or performer? Were you able to rattle off the top five you listened to regularly?

We may not know why we prefer the artists we listen to, except to say that we resonate with or feel the music, or just that they write songs we like.

But we can learn a lot about our emotional selves through our musical tastes.

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Best of Our Blogs: June 26, 2012

It's Tuesday. Do you know where your head is?

It can be so easy to go from worried to overwhelmed. Maybe it all started with a harmless misunderstanding, an unintentional wrongdoing, an emotional outburst built up from stress and bad coping tools. Whatever it is, it's left you raw, dried up and vulnerable. That's it. You have nothing left to give.

It's okay. Maybe it's just a sign you need to stop doing what you're doing and tune back into yourself. Maybe it's an opportunity to do some self-forgiving. Maybe this is your moment to realize that you're not supposed to be perfect, that just because you're not "normal" like you're neighbor, your FB "friend" or your co-worker, it's okay. Because truthfully, no one's really normal anyway. And the best ones are far from it.

This week our posts will help remind you of that. You'll remember that it's okay if you don't always get it right, that life often gives us second chances. And that the most important thing is to be aware of what you're feeling, what's not working and then quickly turn it around.  Plus, you'll learn fun ways to get your kids to keep reading over the summer and discover why your communication may need some tuning up.
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Will a Single Coin Make a Person Rich?

I'm struck, when I reflect back on my education -- years in grade school, high school, college, law school -- by the things I remember. From all those years of study, what do I retain? Not much. But at odd moments, a random fact or snatch of poetry or phrase will float into my mind.

For instance, I can never see a daffodil without thinking of a line from Milton's "Lycidas": "And Daffadillies fill their cups with tears." Now, why do I remember that? I don't even remember reading "Lycidas," but that one line I remember.

This morning, I caught myself thinking about something I read in Erasmus's The Praise of Folly. I read this passage many years ago, and have never looked back at it, until just five minutes ago, but I've never forgotten it.

I'm quite impressed myself that I remembered where I'd read this idea; in fact, it isn't even in The Praise of Folly itself, it's in a footnote that explains a reference in the text to "the argument of the growing heap."

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Adele: Heartbreak as a Catalyst

At a recent doctor’s appointment, while the nurse was administering one of those enjoyable blood tests, she broke the silence between us by commenting on the background music.

It was Adele’s “Someone Like You” -- the song that can easily induce tears even upon hearing the first verse:

"I heard that you settled down
That you found a girl, and you’re married now
I heard that your dreams came true
Guess she gave you things, I couldn’t give to you."

“Adele’s so great, isn’t she?” the nurse said. “That first heartbreak, though, is the worst.”

The nurse inspired me to wonder about Adele.

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Should Psychotherapy Notes Be a Part of Your Electronic Health Record?

A story last week caught my eye about a patient, Julie, who was surprised to discover that her psychotherapy notes became a part of her electronic health record at the hospital system that administered her care -- Partners in Boston.

She found out that any doctor within the Partners system could access her record -- including her sensitive psychotherapy notes -- with no reason whatsoever. And she only discovered this privacy issue because her new internist initially refused to prescribe her needed medication because of "concern" about her psychiatric history -- a history he had access to and read without the patient's prior knowledge.

There's a couple of problems here. But it's a teaching moment for others implementing system-wide electronic health records. Psychotherapy notes enjoy special status in the health care community, and that special status should continue even in the age of electronic access.

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What Are Your Relationship Non-Negotiables?

This guest article from YourTango was written by Dr. Tiffany Perkins-Munn.

The process of finding a mate is one of the most dominant and powerful forces in our lives. It is also one of the most daunting and overwhelming tasks.

People often complain about getting this wrong more often than getting it right. Part of the problem is that we make a lot of allowances for the behaviors of our potential mates. We compromise, we give in, we negotiate, all against our better judgment, thus ending up in situations in which we are unhappy and unsatisfied.

Just because you jump when the phone rings in anticipation of someone's call, your heart beats rapidly when you see the person, you feel butterflies in your stomach at the mention of their name, does not make this your lifetime partner.

More from YourTango: 7 Ways Love Transforms Your Brain

All these physical symptoms do is confirm attractiveness, a key ingredient in relationships, but they also get you prepared for the big payout: S-E-X.
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Breaking Through Two Common Limiting Beliefs

Whether they’re shaped by our society, the media or past experiences, the limiting stories we spin and the tales we tell ourselves can rule our lives and shift our focus from what’s really important. They can sap our joy and keep us asleep to life’s beautiful moments.

They can negatively affect our relationships. And they can leave us clinging to external reinforcers and mistakenly assuming that our lives are all wrong (or wrong in one area, which still becomes all-consuming).

In her book, Love Has Wings: Free Yourself from Limiting Beliefs and Fall in Love with Life, author and spiritual teacher Isha Judd helps readers destroy some of the most common illusions that hinder our lives.

According to Judd, while the word “destruction” has a negative connotation, it actually welcomes wisdom and strips away the white noise that distracts us from just being and enjoying life.

Below are two common illusions from Judd’s book, along with how you can empower yourself by destroying them and shifting your perspective.

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Reducing the Stigma Associated with Schizophrenia

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Joshua, who participated in the documentary “Living With Schizophrenia: A Call for Hope and Recovery.”

Joshua talked about the stigma associated with living with schizophrenia and shed light on the reality of the illness: Those living with the illness often lead productive lives.

Rebecca S. Roma also is featured in the documentary. She provides viewers with a unique perspective: She works primarily with chronically mentally ill patients who are living in the community after long-term hospitalization. She has dedicated her life to keeping the mentally ill out of hospitals and the legal system.

Click through to read the interview.

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Ever Feel Awkward About Getting a Friend Request?

I’m in the middle of a very interesting book by Paul Adams, called Grouped. It’s about how friends and networks work in an online environment.

Adams cites research by Liz Spencer and Ray Pahl (that I’m going to investigate; sounds fascinating) that identifies eight types of relationships, which can be characterized as “weak ties” or “strong ties."

So what are these 8 types, and how do they relate to friend requests online?

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6 Steps to Finding New Love

If your relationship has ended, you might be nervous about dipping your feet in the dating pool. Or you might worry that you’ll never find love again. Maybe you’ve even assumed that you’re just unlucky when it comes to love.

Relationship and family therapist Terri Orbuch, Ph.D, often hears people say they’ve lost hope. But she wants individuals to know that it’s absolutely possible to find a fulfilling partnership. For instance, in her 25-year study of 373 married couples, Orbuch found that 71 percent of divorced singles found love again.

Also, love has very little to do with luck. In fact, “there is a method to the love madness,” said Orbuch, who’s also author of the recently published book Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship.

She believes in working from the inside out. Before pursuing a new relationship, Orbuch stresses the importance of working on your own beliefs, emotions, behaviors and sense of self. She helps readers do just that in Finding Love Again, along with offering tips on everything from first dates to building a strong relationship.

Below, Orbuch discussed her six steps for seeking and finding a great relationship.

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Why Fighting With Your Spouse Might Save Your Marriage

This guest article from YourTango was written by Jacqueline Marshall.

If you rarely fight with your spouse, Dr. John Gottman would consider your marriage to be an unstable union. His research indicates that strong marriages require a certain amount of negativity -- too much harmony between couples leads to relation-stagnation.

Throwing in the hot pepper of an occasional argument creates a partnership that is dynamic and far more interesting.

How much conflict is just right? Let's find out...

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History of Psychology: The Birth and Demise of Dementia Praecox

“…[He] was a twenty-five-year-old graduate of the University of Zurich Medical School who had just completed his doctoral thesis on the forebrain of reptiles, had never held formal employment as a clinician or researcher, did not enjoy treating living patients during his medical training, preferred to spend his time studying the brains of the dead, and had little formal training in psychiatry.”

This is a description from Richard Noll’s fascinating book, American Madness: The Rise and Fall of Dementia Praecox, of the man who’d become the most influential psychiatrist in the U.S. in the first few decades of the 20th century -- and the one who’d bring dementia praecox to America.

Swiss-born Adolf Meyer didn’t just have little formal training in psychiatry; he essentially knew nothing about it. Fortunately, in 1896, 29-year-old Meyer got the crash course he needed when he set off on a tour of European psychiatric facilities.

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