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Brain and Behavior

8 Simple Ways to Give and Why Giving Is Good for You

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Giving feels good. We’ve all experienced that high from doing something good: donating our used books to the library, feeding the homeless at the soup kitchen, walking for AIDS or another cause, calling or visiting an older relative, or giving  someone a very personal and meaningful gift that they appreciated.
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Binge Eating

Podcast: What Does Binge Eating Disorder Feel Like?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales discuss Binge Eating Disorder. At his heaviest, Gabe weighed 550 pounds. He describes in detail how he went from a “normal-sized” guy to being morbidly obese, his return to being “normal-sized,” and addresses the question of whether he was, in fact, addicted to food. During the second half of the show, our hosts welcome Lisa, a woman who was with Gabe during this period of his life. She shares her experience of what it was like being with someone with binge eating disorder and how he finally confronted it.
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Minding the Media

A Twitter Diagnosis

Hypothetical tweet from @DumpTrump: “Did you see the latest Trump meltdown? How did we elect such a megalomania? No question, the guy is mentally ill.”

In a snarkily filled tweet (or, let’s say, a snarkily written 500-word column), we impugn the President’s mental stability. And we -- composing that latest Facebook missive or Twitter soundbite -- are not alone. From CNN to Washington Post, armchair commentators have diagnosed Trump with a buffet of mental health issues. “He is narcissistic,” the commentators scream. “No, he isn’t narcissistic; the problem is his inability to control his impulsive tendencies,” another talking head bloviates. “No, it isn’t his impulsiveness; the real problem is his bullying, disparaging treatment of, well, anyone,” the latest scribe sneers.  
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Anger

The Surprising Health Benefits of Swearing

No one needs to tell you that having a potty mouth is crass and vulgar. In fact, ever since we were little children we were told not to curse or swear excessively. While this advice seems well intentioned with respect to social decorum, science says otherwise. In fact, science reveals that a little cursing here and there can actually be a balm for our soul. How so? Let us examine how this seemingly bad habit can turn into something surprisingly comforting when the moment calls for it.
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Anger

How to Transition from Enemy to Friend

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” – Martin Luther King
It certainly sounds like an impossibility. If you have an enemy, how can that person ever become a friend? This isn’t the recommended religious practice of turning the other cheek that we’re familiar with from the Bible, but close. Still, something about the process involved in transitioning from enemy to friend seems rather difficult.

Maybe not. Here are some examples of effectively transitioning from enemy to friend. Hint: A lot of the transformation has to do with
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Anxiety and Panic

The New Normal

“On a scale of 1-10, how do you feel?”

It’s a question that most psychiatrists ask when assessing mood and medication maintenance. The scale is used to monitor feelings of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. A patient’s response is the main test used for treatment.

But if 1 means that a person feels ecstatic, and 10 means they are suicidal, what is a 6 or a 3? What happens if a patient feels like something is wrong, but nothing has happened? Or if they can’t stop crying since their dog died last week? How much of an impact do average issues have? Are they really feeling an 8 or is the magnitude of sorrow dependent on the specific moment they are experiencing at the time? The scale has problems of its own.
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Bullying

You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught: How to Explain Hatred to Your Children

With world events occurring at lightning/frightening speed, adults who may be bewildered themselves, may feel at a loss to answer the questions their young ones may have about topics they see broadcast on television or hear about on the school bus. In the wake of the virulent rally in Charlottesville and those that have followed since, it is an even more important topic for parents to address. Children will ask questions and it is crucial for answers to be available and not brushed under the rug, as it might seem easier to do.
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Anxiety and Panic

Requiem for a Nightmare


I am a recovering praise fiend.  

As a little boy, I would sprint home and unload my day’s events to my nonplussed mother.

“Hi, Mom, I earned an A on my English paper,” I would gush. And then my tone would drop an octave, “But I earned a B on that math quiz.” Dropping my head, I would then sulk to the kitchen table. That B would invoke a night of heavy soul-searching and, at times, self-flagellation (“What happened? How could I get a B on that math quiz?”). While amusing now -- in an awkward, semi-embarrassed way, my self-reporting entailed more than a daily academic update. It represented my unquenchable thirst for praise.
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Anger

The Problem with Yelling


“The problem with verbal abuse is there is no evidence,” Marta shared. She came for help with a long-standing depression.

“What do you mean lack of evidence?” I asked.

“When people are physically or sexually abused it’s concrete and real. But verbal abuse is amorphous. I feel like if I told someone I was verbally abused, they’d think I was just complaining about being yelled at,” Marta explained.

“It’s much more than that,” I confirmed.

“Much more,” she said.
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Anxiety and Panic

Sharing Knowledge of Your Mental Health Issues

We were on Route 9 in between Kremmling and Silverthorne, Colorado. Our ultimate destination was Colorado Springs. To say that we were out in the boonies was an understatement. Mountains rose up to the right and left of us. I was enjoying the solitude when suddenly my cell phone rang.

Who could be calling me?

It was a New York City area code and a phone number that I didn’t immediately recognize. I was surprised I could even get cell phone service at this altitude.
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