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5 One-Minute Ways to Be More Mindful

Every minute counts.

Every minute is an opportunity to experience joy, calm, peace or fun -- no matter what you’re doing, no matter where you are. The key is to be mindful.

“If there is a single secret to one-minute mindfulness, it is this: live the next sixty seconds as if your whole life depended on them, with a sense of urgency and excitement, or as if you had just arrived in a foreign land where there is nothing expected, hackneyed, or taken for granted,” writes author and psychotherapist Donald Altman, MA, LPC, in his book One Minute Mindfulness: 50 Simple Ways to Find Peace, Clarity, and New Possibilities in a Stressed-Out World.

In the book, Altman features exercises for all areas of our lives: at home; at work; for relationships; for health and well-being; and for nature and spirituality. He helps readers go from our usual autopilot ways to opening our eyes and understanding the magic in every minute or moment.

Here are five one-minute activities from One Minute Mindfulness that you can practice every day to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.

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How to Switch Off an Angry Person

Any time I see people having angry altercations, I perk up my ears and observe intently. I watch their displays, not in a sadistic or feeling superior kind of way, but fascinated with how it unfolds: “Will it work for them? Are they going to get what they want with this approach”?

I have practically never seen it work, not during my observations in therapy or in personal life.

Even on rare occasions where it seems to work in the moment, yielding some win-loss resolution, it never works sustainably. Peace can never be found on a shaky and fake foundation of emotional tyranny. As humorist Kin Hubbard said, "nobody ever forgets where he buried a hatchet."

Here are some strategies for dealing with difficult people, organized around the main psychological premises driving their anger: fear and need for control.

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Anxiety and Panic

Anxious About Everything? 6 Ways to Cope with Anxiety

This guest article from YourTango was written by Dr. Tina Tessina.

There is always something on TV to scare us. Hysterical articles in the media sell papers and attract eyeballs to websites, but usually exaggerate facts. If you listen without evaluating what you're being told, it's easy to become frightened. There's a reason why I don't usually waste time and energy on panic and drama.

I see the negative results of panic every day. People get upset, they're afraid of emotional consequences and they overreact, which can actually create the consequences they fear.

Panic is an overreaction to a real (or even imagined) problem. Frightening yourself beyond the real need to deal with a problem puts your body into fight or flight mode as though your life were immediately threatened.

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Brain and Behavior

Why You Should Turn Off the TV, Computer & Close the Blinds In Your Bedroom

For decades now, researchers have shown how important sleep is to a wide host of things in our lives -- our mood, our memory, our concentration, and to help the body rejuvenate after a day of work and consciousness. Everybody knows that in order to be at our best, you need a good night's sleep of between 7 and 8 hours (although the exact number varies).

Any less, and it's the equivalent of giving yourself a daily handicap -- making your life harder than it has to be. (Any more and it also doesn't really benefit you.)

Now researchers have discovered that one of the things that may be contributing to our lack of of quality sleep is artificial lighting. Light seepage coming in from outside (like a streetlight) or coming from inside your bedroom -- such as leaving a TV or computer on -- appears to affect our mood over a period of four weeks.

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Brain and Behavior

Bruce Springsteen’s Depression

Bruce Springsteen suffered from depression, according to a new, lengthy article in the latest edition of The New Yorker. While previously he's disclosed his on-again, off-again battle with depression to biographer and friend, Dave Marsh, this is the first time it's been discussed at some length.

Writer David Remnick interviews many Bruce Springsteen confidantes for the article, including his wife Patti Scialfa. In the article, we learn more about Springsteen's battle with depression -- even to the point of having some suicidal thoughts 30 years ago.

It's an interesting interview, but you need a good 30 or 40 minutes to read the entire thing. Not being a particular Springsteen fan, I learned a lot about him. It turned him from being "Oh, he's just one of those rock superstars" to "Oh, he's a guy who really had to fight, scratch and battle his way up not only in his career, but in his life too."

I have a lot more respect for him now -- and am glad he was successful in battling his depression.

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Best of Our Blogs: July 24, 2012

Appearances are powerful. We read about a blogger we adore, for example, and believe that their spotless windows are always that way. We catch a friend's Facebook update and their happy news could linger in our minds even as time fades. We watch movies and TV shows and get caught up in the lives of other people and in their perfect light, our life seems less than.

This idea of perfection clouds our reality. It's what makes living and happiness harder. We think that because our lives are not fairy tale perfect, we're not worthy or we're not doing something right. When in reality, all mirrors are slightly cracked. We just don't have the perspective that others do to see it.

Instead of striving for a postcard perfect life, our top posts this week teach us there is beauty in being able to accept your own reality. And if we refuse to buy into perfection, we may discover something even better -- a path toward loving all the wrinkles and cracks in our lives.

Learn the truth about how to have a successful relationship, understand the importance of the valleys in your life, and get survival tips for coping with a traumatic event. All great posts to read whether you're on vacation at the beach or in dire need of a summer break.
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7 Tips to Boost Your Energy Fast

A feeling of energy is a key to feeling happy.

Studies show that when you feel energetic, you feel much better about yourself.

On the other hand, when you feel exhausted, tasks that would ordinarily make you happy -- like putting up holiday decorations, getting ready to go to a party, or planning a trip -- make you feel overwhelmed and blue.

When my energy feels at a low ebb, I try one of these techniques (well, first I drink something with caffeine in it, but if I feel like I need to take further steps, I try these strategies).

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Hair for Men? Preying on Men’s Insecurities

Most of the time, society doesn't pay much attention to men's insecurities. Where there are dozens of magazines devoted to women and helping them feel better (or worse, depending on how you look at it) about themselves, there are very few men's magazines.

What you'll find men's magazines is similar to what you find in magazines targeted to women -- products or services to help them feel better about themselves. For women, that magic bullet is always about losing weight.

For men, the magic bullet is a little bit different. It's about losing their hair.

Here's what over $12,000 buys a man for a hair loss treatment. If you take out your magnifying glass, you may spot the difference.

Men are just as vulnerable to self-image and self-esteem advertising as women are. It just usually isn't targeted at their beer gut, but their balding head of hair.

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Many Mentally Ill Americans Have Few Options

Despite the passage of the mental health parity act a few years ago, and the help that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has also brought, many Americans still fall through the cracks of our disjointed, disorganized public mental health care system.

Unlike public health care, the public mental health system is a patchwork quilt of disparate systems that vary incredibly from state to state. They also rely on significant state funding -- funding that's usually the first to be cut when state budgets are tight.

The U.S. is one of the most wealthy societies in the world who's standard of living would make people envious. Shouldn't we do more to ensure that just because you're poor, you have the same access to treatment as you would if you were poor and had a medical concern?

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Keep Your Relationship Emotionally Fit! 8 Simple Tips

Self-care is key for our spiritual, emotional and physical health. You probably partake in a variety of nourishing habits every day -- from the bare essentials of taking a shower and brushing your teeth to getting enough sleep, exercising and meditating.

The same is true for relationships: They require daily care to stay healthy.

It’s important for couples to nourish their relationships on a regular basis. But this doesn’t mean sweeping, dramatic acts. The seemingly small stuff counts, and it goes a very long way.

In his book Emotional Fitness for Couples, psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D, shares simple ways couples can stay in shape and become closer and stronger every day.

Here are eight ideas from his helpful book.

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A Few Signs Your Teenager May Be Depressed

This guest article from YourTango was written by Frank Medlar.

We all know the typical stereotype that teens are moody. You remember your own teen years ... how intense your feelings were, how you soared to edgy emotional highs and then plummeted down into stress and heartache over troubles that seem now insignificant.

Depression is a different matter. It is not just plain moodiness. Instead, it is a mood disorder — a serious mental health condition that can sometimes even lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Until recently, it was thought that children and teens do not get mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder.

The sad truth is they do. The third leading cause of death among teens is suicide caused by untreated or undertreated depression.

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