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Video: Chato Stewart’s Mental Health Hero Caricatures (Part 4)

We've reached the end!

Blogger Chato Stewart has so many Mental Health Heroes that it took me four videos to cover them all! He's honored each of his self-selected heroes by caricaturing each hero and writing a bio in his or her honor on his blog, Mental Health Humor.

I've honored Chato for doing all of that honoring by compiling his artwork and bios into videos that show you the human hero and the cartoon hero back to back.

And now, because I don't want the...
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Migraines and Headaches: Can Therapy Help?

Migraines and headaches have long been viewed as a purely medical issue. But that's not necessarily always the case.

While migraine education and research is constantly expanding, there still is no certainty of what medically causes (or cures) migraines.

In fact, even during severe migraine auras, there often are no underlying medical issues detected, and MRIs and CT scans are commonly negative. While medications are prescribed to treat migraines, it is usually done so with the understanding that what the person suffering from the migraine does on their own to understand their headaches may end up being the most effective treatment.

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Best of Our Blogs: July 20, 2012

We tend to see life as either black or white. We dichotomize our days into categories because putting situations into two boxes, right or wrong, good or bad, true or false feels easier the way it did when we were kids. Two choices. Yes or no. Do it or don't.

But continuing to see life as two paths not only makes the journey harder, it can make it debilitating. Because who wants to make the wrong decision when there are only two choices to make?

If you've ever put your life on hold out of fear, you'll get lots from this week's posts. You'll discover a way to forgo fear and its opposing brother, boredom, and cultivate more meaning in your life. You'll also learn a new way of perceiving food and your emotions. There is no good and bad emotion. There is no good or bad food. it is only what it is. A lot of times it's the fear, judgement and shame that we place on them that makes deciding so hard.

How do we know whether we're attributing objective situations in an unfair subjective way? How can we navigate our lives with less fear, more meaning and awareness? As these posts will teach you, it's all about being mindful of what we're really feeling and then taking positive steps in response.

Have a great weekend! 
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Have You Ever Wanted to Change the Past?

Allison Winn Scotch’s novel, "Time of My Life," is the perfect read for those of us who are prone to the “what if game.”

What if we can change our past? What if we can go back in time and do it all differently? Would our future be better? Would we be happier?

Scotch effectively illustrates how our past leads us to exactly where we need to be.

In "Time of My Life," the protagonist, Jillian, appears to be going through the motions of motherhood after the birth of her first child, Katie, and can’t help but feel something is not quite right in her suburban life and marriage. She and her husband, Henry, no longer connect the way they used to, and she sometimes finds herself pining for what once was -- the intense relationship she had with her ex-boyfriend, Jackson, and the fulfilling work she did at an advertising agency in New York City.

So when Jillian goes to get a massage and her masseuse “unblocks her chi,” where she travels back seven years into the past, she is very content to embark on a second chance.
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Want To Have More Fun? Go On a Mission

Writer Jean Stafford scoffed, “Happy people don’t need to have fun,” but in fact, studies show that the absence of feeling bad isn’t enough to make you feel good; you must strive to find sources of feeling good. Research shows that regularly having fun is a key factor in having a happy life; people who have fun are twenty times more likely to feel happy.

Recently, I noticed a pattern among activities that people find fun: Go on a mission. There’s something about having a playful purpose, of trying to achieve something, that makes an activity more fun.

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Experts Share Solutions to Their ADHD Obstacles

Some symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can easily turn everyday activities into obstacles in life. (For instance, if you're constantly distracted, it may be difficult to get work done at your job.)

But that doesn’t mean that they have to remain hurdles and hamper your days. The key is to forget what works for people without ADHD and find the tools and techniques that work for you.

Below, several coaches and clinicians who both specialize in and suffer from ADHD share their biggest challenges and the successful strategies they use. Maybe these approaches will resonate with you, too.

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Jesse Jackson, Jr. is Entitled to His Privacy for Treatment of Mental Illness

Should politicians and celebrities see it as their responsibility to share the specific details of their mental illness or mental disorder diagnosis in order to help reduce the prejudice surrounding these conditions?

That's the question Torrie Bosch asks over at Slate and arrives at this conclusion -- yes, it is a politician's duty and responsibility to offer full disclosure about their mental health concerns.

But I think Bosch is missing a key component here. When in the throes of a full-blown episode (whether it's bipolar disorder, depression, or something else), one shouldn't be making any life-changing decisions or decisions that could forever alter one's future career.

While it's easy to believe that politicians and celebrities are something special, underneath their public persona beats the heart of an ordinary person -- someone who is entitled to his or her privacy. Especially for health or family concerns.

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Welcome Back to Partners in Wellness

After Kate said goodbye to our blog, Partners in Wellness, one of our other popular bloggers — Chato Stewart — had a suggestion. Could his wife pick up the reins of this blog and continue its mission and purpose?

I said sure thing!

So I’m pleased to introduce to you our newest blogger, Joan Winifred. Joan is an advocate for the underdog. A mother of four who is known in her world as a peaceful friend. Here at Psych Central, she is best known as Chato’s wife. Loving and living with the cartoonist behind isn’t always funny. However, facing the serious side of her husband’s mental illness with a positive attitude is crucial to success.

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4 Ideas for Cultivating Creativity

I had the pleasure of interviewing several artists and authors on how to break out of a creative rut. (Here's that piece.)

In addition to sharing valuable tips and techniques, they also shared their wisdom on cultivating creativity in general. Today, I wanted to share their inspiring words on how to start and keep creating.

1. Realize that, yes, you are creative.

One of the biggest myths about creativity is that it’s bestowed on a lucky few, and the rest of us don’t have a creative bone in our bodies.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Christine Mason Miller, a mixed-media artist and author of Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World, “Being creative does not mean you have to ‘be an artist.’ Being creative is about expressing yourself, and the more we express ourselves, the more good we create in the world.”

Miller has witnessed the many different ways people channel their creativity. “I once talked to a parking garage attendant about his love of opera and the conversation has never left me. One of my best friends turned her love of chocolate and world travel into a brownie business.”

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Is Biased Journalism Making Us Crazy? Newsweek’s Hit Piece on Technology

I guess I need to stop believing the media can cover a topic such as humanity's interaction with technology without bias. Newsweek provides one of the most biased, non-neutral pieces that I've seen ever written about technology, psychology and human interaction in last week's paper issue (also available online).

Cherry-picking from only the research that supports his hypothesis -- that technology is evil and making us all crazy -- writer Tony Dokoupil doesn't provide a nuanced, complex review of what researchers have discovered. Instead, he provides a sledgehammer-to-the-gut hit piece meant to infuse fear and continued ignorance into the complex findings in this area of psychological research.

And in an accompanying video piece, Dokoupil feels perfectly free to dispense mental health advice -- as though by writing about the topic, he's suddenly become a psychology or mental health expert.

So let's dive in.

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Anxiety and Panic

The Golden Rule of Habit Change

In the last decade, our understanding of the neurology of habit formation has been transformed.

A quiet revolution has upended our concept of the way patterns work within our lives, societies, and organizations. And much of what we have learned has come from studying the simplest of habits -- such as why people bite their nails.

In the summer of 2006, for instance, a 24-year-old graduate student named Mandy walked into the counseling center at Mississippi State University. For most of her life, Mandy had bitten her nails, gnawing them until they bled.

Lots of people bite their nails. For chronic nail biters, however, it’s a problem of a different scale.

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Best of Our Blogs: July 17, 2012

It's not that we don't want to relax. It's not like we don't wish we felt better, or were more amicable, peaceful, easy going. In fact, it's what we dream about.

We dream about it in midst of busy schedules, careless and mindless interactions with loved ones and in-between the daily doings of life. Just for once, we think to ourselves, "Wouldn't it be nice if I could just lay down and breathe?"

You can. It takes maybe five minutes to do so. But it never makes it on your priority list because there's always the kids (the literal and internal ones) that need attending first. There's always dishes in the sink, laundry piling up and errands that need taking care of. It doesn't matter that you've been getting headaches more frequently or you notice you've been more stressed lately. Or does it?

This week you'll learn that minimal changes can lead to significant health benefits. And you'll get the motivation you need to finally make positive changes in your life (e.g. reduce your anxiety, learn to trust yourself, exercise, and lower your stress). It's a healthy serving of emotional well-being all in one place. Enjoy!
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