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Family

New Year’s & Coping with Loss

As soon as the Christmas rush subsides and the wrapping paper is thrown away, we start to think about how we will ring in the new year. Images of smiling faces, popping champagne corks, and fireworks tell us how we might be behaving, thinking or even feeling. Yet for many, the persistent feelings of loss and sadness about a person, a relationship or life once lived limit the awareness that a new year is truly a new start.

The spotlight that is placed on our lives at New Year's creates a make-believe time where we imagine that the thoughts we engage with can assist us in navigating the year ahead. While the powers of intentional thoughts have their place in our emotional well-being, for many facing lost loved ones or relationships, their desires can be beyond their grasp.

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Brain and Behavior

What is Affluenza? Is it Real?

Affluenza is a term describing a "metaphorical illness" whereby children or teens who grow up in a privileged lifestyle, largely isolated emotionally and developmentally from their working parents, feel excessive pressure to achieve in both academic and extracurricular activities. This can make children feel more isolated than their friends, while at the same time feeling an increase in pressure to perform. The result? Greater depression, anxiety and substance or alcohol abuse compared to their friends.

Researchers don't generally refer to this as affluenza, but rather as problems growing up in a culture of affluence. There is no official diagnosis of "affluenza," and research into this phenomenon is fairly scarce.

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Disorders

7 Self-Compassionate Practices and Habits for the New Year

Inevitably every holiday season, there are lots of articles about adopting punitive habits as resolutions -- everything from "work out every single day" (whether you like it or not) to "cut out all that dessert you consumed at Christmas."

This leads many of us to think that rigid rules, strict regimens and even self-criticism are the way to go.

But self-compassion is a lot more powerful. Self-criticism keeps us stagnant. Self-compassion helps us to learn and grow. It helps us to better understand ourselves. And it helps us to lead healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives.

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Grief and Loss

The Top 7 Ways You Can Make Your Pain Work for You

Grief can be the garden of compassion. -- Rumi
Have you ever had lower back pain? I once wrenched my back and walked at snail’s pace for weeks, crippled by pain. Lower back pain troubled me for years, until I found an exercise that reliably switches off the pain.

Have you ever lost a loved one? The anguish can seem unbearable.

Abolishing pain might seem a good idea, but please pause to consider this story.

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Caregivers

The Effects of Overparenting on Children

The term helicopter parenting was coined in 1969 by Dr. Haim Ginott, psychotherapist and parent educator, in his book “Between Parent and Teenager.” A helicopter parent is defined as someone who is overprotective or overly interested in their child’s life. Several examples of this include telling a child how to play correctly, brushing a child’s teeth for him when he is a healthy 12-year-old, completing a child’s science project for her, cutting meat at the dinner table for a 16-year-old boy, or talking to a college professor about an adult child's grades.

Being an involved parent is not a bad thing. Being active in a child’s life can increase the child's confidence, build a closer bond between parent and child, and increase chances of the child being a successful adult. But where is the line that divides the actively involved parent and the overly involved parent?

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Best of the Web

Top 10 Psychology & Mental Health Topics of 2015

What an amazing year 2015 has been! We're a little sorry to see it go.

While we've had a great year here at Psych Central, we've also lost some significant people in the field this year -- Oliver Saks and John Nash most notably. We pause to remember their wonderful contributions to the field, as well as our knowledge and understanding of the world around us.

Meanwhile, we continue to bring psychology and mental health to the masses -- our mission for the past 20 years. It's a mission of hope, because although we reach 8 million people a month on Psych Central, there are millions of people each day who suffer from a mental illness in the darkness or with little support from those around them. That's why we now run three separate support communities -- our support groups, NeuroTalk and through our non-profit, Project Beyond Blue -- comprised of over 450,000 members and 250 support groups.

With a new year comes the potential of a new start and changing some of those aspects about yourself that could use a little improvement. We’ll be here for you to help you with those goals, with great new articles on these topics from experts, professionals and people just like you.

Click through to see our top 10 lists for the World of Psychology blog, the entire Psych Central blog network, our Professional site, and from our news bureau.

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General

Loving the Small Stuff

I am really feeling the benefit of peppering my day with mini-meditations right now. The next one I want to share with you is this: loving the small stuff.

I learned this wonderful mini-meditation practice from one of my teachers recently. It’s one that she does every day and I can see why.

I am already a fan (and frequent practitioner) of gratitude practices. I include them in my online and face-to-face programs. But this one has a really delightful twist.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Is Your Microbiome Making You Crazy?

Anxiety, depression, brain fog, mood disorders, mood swings or just feeling out of sorts? It’s possible that the answers may lie in the health of the trillions of bacteria living in the intestine called the gut microbiome.

There is a profound connection between gut flora composition and mood. Depending on the different types and quantities that are prevalent, these bacteria can influence everything from the immune system, digestion, DNA expression, inflammation and brain function -- for better or worse. Bacteria are even known to play a role in serious conditions like autism and schizophrenia. Put simply, a balanced microbiome equals good health, but the opposite is true as well.

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Bullying

A Little Confrontation Is Good for You

In order to “graduate” from the outpatient psychiatric program of Laurel Hospital in Maryland, we had to demonstrate a certain level of competence at assertion skills or confrontation. It’s no wonder it took me three times longer to be discharged than the other patients.

One day an older woman sat in the middle of the circle. She looked very tired and drained. Her daughter had been dumping her kids off at her door in the morning and leaving them with her until late in the evening. Since the woman was battling different medical conditions, this was very hard on her 
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Best of Our Blogs

Top 10 Important or Intriguing Psychology Articles of 2015

The field of psychology is diverse and large -- the American Psychological Association alone has divisions representing more than 54 separate topic areas. Tens of thousands of psychology papers are published every year in peer-reviewed journals. In 2015 alone, there were more than 2,000 meta-analyses papers (research that summarizes and examines other research) published in psychology's PsycINFO research database.

Here are ten psychology articles published in the past year that I think were important or intriguing, and advanced the field of psychology significantly.

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Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: December 29, 2015


Have you ever wondered what your therapist really wishes you'd do? What about ways to finally embrace your appearance? Or, whether there's really room in your relationship for forgiveness?

If I were a betting woman, I'd say the majority of you probably have, and if so, you're in luck! Our bloggers have just the answers you need today.

10 Things Therapists Wish Everyone Would Do
(Overcoming OCD) -- Psych Central blogger Kyla Cathey discusses her past apprehensions about seeing a therapist, how her life has changed once she started therapy, and her favorite tips from a recent Prevention article.

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