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Best of Our Blogs: June 22, 2012

Love. It's that four-letter word that can be the antidote to most anything. It can motivate you to be healthier, to do better and be better. But the opposite is also true.

A lack of love can explain why your uncle is often called a curmudgeon, why your neighbor is constantly criticizing you and your co-worker is always talking behind your back. It's the biggest secret we never talk about. The reason why difficult people are so difficult is that they only want to be loved.

It may seem hard to believe. But as my mother once told me, "the difficult ones are the ones that need love the most." The next time someone's giving you a hard time, whether they are bullying or bothering you, or just being plain mean, consider that it might be a silent plea for love.

Speaking of which, love is a reoccurring theme this week in our posts. Read on to discover ways you can work on loving yourself whether you have ADHD or dyslexia, haven't been creatively successful or have trouble expressing your anger in a manageable way. It's for parents who want to teach their children how to love their bodies and for singles considering making that jump from friends to friends with benefits. It's a seemingly unrelated mix of posts all tied back to self-love.

Have a great weekend!
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Brain and Behavior

The Psychology of Middle School Kids Bullying a Bus Monitor

With over 1.6 million views at the moment, this video -- filmed by one of the students who was apparently involved in the incident -- shows a small group of middle school students in Greece, NY bullying Karen Klein, a 68-year-old grandmother and Bus #784's unfortunate bus monitor.

Klein is shown crying in the video, while the kids hurl profanity and insults at her. Klein reportedly said the comment that hurt the most was when a student told her she is so ugly that her kids "should kill themselves."

Klein's son committed suicide ten years ago, according to Metro.

While the school district makes noises about all the kids involved facing "disciplinary action," the question remains -- how did we get here? How did this bullying situation occur, and why did it occur?

The answer is a little more nuanced than you may appreciate.

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6 Tips for Turning Crises into Transformation

Have you ever woken up one morning, looked in the mirror, and wondered, "What am I doing? Who am I? How did I get inside this life?"

Have you ever been standing at the sink, washing vegetables for dinner, and suddenly felt a bizarre sense of going through the motions without really being there?

This experience can be deeply upsetting. It can send you into a tailspin of angst, claustrophobia, alienation and fear. The good news is that these moments of saying ‘help, I’m living the wrong life’ are great opportunities for personal life transformation.

So, the next time you start to feel that sense of being a stranger in your own life, here are some tips to keep you calm...

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

More Coping Tips for Highly Sensitive People

I recently wrote about 10 tips for highly sensitive people. As a highly sensitive person (HSP) myself, it's great to learn about all the different things I can do when I find myself in a noisy, overstimulating environment.

An important part of coping effectively as an HSP is knowing how to soothe your senses. HSPs aren’t just sensitive to loud sounds; we also might be sensitive to bright lights, TV and computer screens, strong odors and certain foods (and their temperature).

For the article I spoke to Ted Zeff, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and author of The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide. Zeff includes a helpful chapter in his book on what you can do to calm each of your five senses.

Here are some of those valuable tips.

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Are Smartphones, Droid and the iPhone Ruining Our Lives?

It's amazing how much has changed since the late 1980s and early 1990s when Zack Morris (a character on the TV show "Saved by the Bell") was given a cell phone the size of a sub sandwich, and phone boxes and antennae were installed in cars so people could have a "car phone."

It has almost fully become a new world since then. And what's also most amusing is how much the world revolves around cell phones and their smartphone brethren -- phones like the iPhone and Droid. These smartphones are now barely used as phones, but rather pocket-sized computers.

In my work as a therapist, a common theme is people's desire to repeat the lives they were raised with. For people over roughly age 28, when they think back to their childhoods and pick out the parts they want to repeat as adults, the images that stick out don't involve computers or cell phones. There was less to be distracted by and more focus on the present.

The ideals that I often see in sessions are very similar (each having its unique variations). The vast majority of people want a spouse or life partner, most (not all) want children, a house or large apartment, vacations with family, family dinners, secure career or job, and friends. But most want one more thing: Connection. Not via a cell phone or Internet, but emotional connection with families, friends, partners, spouses, and children.

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Finding Closure

When relationships -- whether romantic or platonic -- fall apart, we are left trying to navigate the pain while picking up the messy pieces.

However, before we can focus on the next chapter, we still may need to dwell on the whats, the whys and the hows of all that unfolded.

How do we tie up the loose ends? How can you prevent yourself from playing the game of ‘what could have been?’

You can do that through a process known as closure. Even if you can't obtain closure with the other person involved, you can do it with and for yourself. It’s a way to come to terms with what was lost, and a way to find your inner strength and resiliency to move forward.

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What Siri Says About Improving Your Relationship

When I upgraded to an iPhone 4s I had no idea what to expect from Siri, or how she would actually help manage my busy life.

Over the past couple of months I’ve grown to appreciate Siri’s suggestions, assistance, and dry sense of humor. While she occasionally misunderstanding my requests, I can’t fault her entirely. I have to take responsibility for my part in our communication breakdowns. So, I’m working on clear diction and stating my requests more concisely (which my husband is thrilled about).

Even after two months of daily communication, Siri still has her guard up. She always deflects questions about her gender (she sure sounds like a woman), her marital status, her family life, and her dreams for the future.

I can’t help but wondered if she has has an avoidant attachment style due to childhood trauma or something. Maybe she just has very strong boundaries when it comes to work relationships -- she doesn’t mix personal and business.

In spite of her reluctance to open up emotionally, she often catches me off guard offering profound nuggets of relationship advice which cause me to reflect on my life and relationships.

Here are just a few of Siri’s gems of wisdom.

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Love Hormone Helps Kids With Autism

This guest article from YourTango was written by Frank Medlar.

Navigating social situations can be difficult for anyone, but for people on the autism spectrum, it's not just difficult -- it's a minefield.

People with autism or Asperger's don't pick up on social clues that seem obvious to most people. There are unwritten social rules that they can't fathom. Things blow up on them when they have no idea what they've done wrong.

More from YourTango: 7 Amazing Ways Love Transforms Your Brain

To put it mildly, that's stressful.

High anxiety is often the silent partner of people with autism, even those who are high-functioning. That anxiety can be paralyzing in social situations. Not just deer-in-the-headlights frozen, but full-on engulfed in fear. For people with autism, it compounds their already difficult challenges.

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Rethinking How You Work

I’ve written before about Michael Bungay Stanier and his great tips for doing Great Work. (I also interviewed him for this piece.) About a year ago, he gathered over 60 writers and thinkers to contribute to a powerful book called End Malaria: Bold Innovation, Limitless Generosity and the Opportunity to Save a Life.

(Why the strange title? A whopping $20 from each book sold goes toward ending malaria in Africa. You can learn more at

In it, you’ll find short inspiring essays with tips on pursuing your purpose, doing great work and making a positive contribution to the world.

Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite insights from the book on persevering despite self-doubt and becoming more productive -- common issues entrepreneurs and many workers, in general, struggle with.

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Best of Our Blogs: June 19, 2012

The fear of the unknown can strike us when we're vulnerable. Like a relentless enemy, it can rob us of joy and prevent us from having the life we desire. Sometimes it comes in waves, when we're worried about our health, our relationships or feel down about ourselves.

Although the best way to deal with the fear of the unknown is to walk right through it, you may not be ready to do it. Maybe you're still getting over the emotional turmoil brought on by Father's Day or you're feeling particularly stressed or sensitive right now. Perhaps you can't imagine taking the steps necessary to overcome your fears or dismantle your current problems. It all seems too emotionally overwhelming and exhausting to even contemplate.

I hear you. Sometimes all we can do is be in the moment.

In the meantime, this week our posts will bring you hope. It will teach you that it is possible to heal despite a negative childhood experience or limited finances. It will offer you free support, information and a positive outlook whether you're feeling stressed, are emotionally sensitive, or feel overwhelmed with your career or personal life. Instead of worrying about what you can't control, anticipating a negative outcome or obsessing about all the things you have to do, think of it as a free pass to just be in this moment.

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Children and Teens

Do We Know How Depressed People Use the Internet?

The claim: after a single study (which we reported on back in May), computer scientists now know how people with depression spend time online.

From that knowledge, the researchers suggest we could design some sort of intrusive, spying app on your computer, iPad or smartphone to let you (or Big Brother, in whatever form -- college administrators, your parents, or big data mining companies working for advertisers) know when you're surfing in a "depressive" pattern.

Are the researchers over-generalizing from their data, or do we really know how people use the Internet when they're depressed?

Let's find out...

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Do You Work Only For Pay?

The other weekend, I re-read a fascinating book, Alfie Kohn's Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes.

I was thrilled to find discussion of some research that I'd thought about often, but had never been able to find again; I didn't take notes on it and couldn't remember where I'd seen it.

Eureka! There it was.

It's very interesting research about how people value money and pay.

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