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Brain and Behavior

Timing Is Everything: How to Produce Your Best Work

Producing high-quality work day after day is no small feat. When you use your brain on perpetual overdrive, you’re bound to hit productivity slumps where it feels like you’re fresh out of new ideas.
While there’s no shortage of tricks and tips to hack your way to more innovative thinking, timing is everything, says sleep doctor Dr. Micheal Breus, author of The Power of When. He believes working in sync with our body’s natural clock is the key to unlocking success to produce our best, most creative work.
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Free Live Webinar: Productivity Hacks for Writers

Writers have tried all kinds of interesting rituals to keep writing through blocks. Steven King used cocaine and beer to stay in his “flow.” While this may be tempting, and King wrote four very successful novels this way, it’s any easy way to become addicted. You can also write what you think is the great American screenplay, only to find in the morning, it sucks. We’ll discuss some less dangerous methods writers have used, and some that therapists have developed so you can try them on your next screenplay.

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7 Meaningful Ways to Start Your Morning—Especially If Mornings Aren’t Your Thing

Mornings tend to be tough for many of us.

You open your eyes to the blaring of your alarm, and think, “Ughhhh.” You think about your super-long to-do list and dread the day. You calculate the cups of coffee you’ll have to consume so your head doesn’t smack the desk. You scroll through random sites and social media. You check your email five thousand times.

After a snooze or ten, you finally stumble out of bed, and trip 18 times on various objects -- shoes, toys -- on your way to splashing water on your face.

In short, mornings aren’t exactly your thing.

But there are small ways you can turn that around. Below are seven suggestions for making your morning more meaningful, brighter, and a bit more fun.
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9 Self-Care Tips to Put Your Life Back in Balance

Are you feeling run-down? Are you continually putting the needs of others before your own? Do you feel like your life is out of balance?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, consider investing in self-care. Self-care refers to the practices you engage in to decrease stress and promote general well-being. Practices vary from person-to-person, however, self-care as a whole creates similar outcomes: increased happiness, balance, productivity, reduced stress and a greater sense of control.

Practicing self-care tends to be the first neglected “to-do” during times of stress when in reality self-care is the antidote! When incorporated into your daily, weekly and monthly routine, you'll experience a profound impact relative to the time invested.
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How to Unwind Without a Glass of Wine

It’s been a terrible week. You barely checked off any tasks on your to-do list, and nothing went the way you wanted it to. You’re finally able to sit on the couch and savor a tall glass of wine—or three.

Your toddler finally fell asleep after yelling nonstop for 30 minutes about…you can’t recall. You have some peace and quiet—and can drink your wine. After all, you deserve it after the day you’ve had.

You’ve been worrying about so many things lately, so you jump at the chance to meet your coworkers for cocktail hour. You literally jump. You could use a fun escape. In fact, you require it.
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Anxiety and Panic

How to Help Anxious Kids Adapt to Change

Nico loved having the same routine every day of the week. When his routine changed, he would get upset. His emotional meltdowns and rigidity were trying on him and his family. When changes occurred and he was tired, hungry or stressed, his ability to cope was absent. Nico’s parents began to notice that his behavior was also affecting his younger sister. She had begun to show rigidity and unwillingness to try new things as well.

All parents do their best to help their children feel happy, learn about life, and cope with change. However, there are some children who may show less flexibility because of anxiety or other mental and emotional difficulties. Some children are not able to self-soothe and they need extra help to do so. This can be challenging and distressing for parents as they see their younger children mimicking their older sibling’s behavior.
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The Secret Payoff of Being Introverted

Introverted individuals as a whole may, at times, come to be viewed by society as a shy, weird, problematic, standoffish, reserved, and socially awkward bunch of people.

Some studies have pointed to introverts not having enough immune boosting properties to ward off infection and pathogens in the environment, primarily because they tend to avoid large gatherings and their perceived cesspool of germs. Other studies point to a link between introversion, depression, and anxiety.

While these studies may point to a correlational link and nothing directly causal, it is unfortunate that from a social and perhaps health viewpoint, introverts have come to be perceived this way. In reality, we can learn a lot from their behavior, and keen level of introspection and observation.
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A Chemical Hiccup: Medicated Oblivion and Art

“I want to hold you in a warm Atlantic,
A sea of my own making, a meringue of lapis wine.”
It is bedtime, and I have swallowed my evening cocktail of bipolar drugs: 300 mg of Seroquel, the Lamictal, and, of course, the Clonazepam. The Seroquel silence is seeping in. I have about 20 minutes on this dead-end road. Soon, I will fall asleep, content and comfortable, a pleasant and sleeping “high-functioning bipolar,” but I will not get to think about what happens to that person in the warm waves of the Atlantic or find the rhythm that goes with my lapis wine.

Instead, I will forget about the beginnings of my poem in my own happy oblivion, and tomorrow I will pay the bills, maybe watch my favorite show on Netflix, and I will stop trying to knit these words together.
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Recommendations for Reporting on Mental Health & Mental Illness

Despite providing education online for mental illness and mental health issues for more than two decades, here at Psych Central we still see people -- and sometimes even fellow journalists -- reporting on mental health and mental illness in ways that perpetuate ignorance and misunderstandings. I'm sure that in many cases this is not intentional, but simply because the journalist didn't know any better.

In celebration of mental health week (Oct 2 -8) this year, we've developed the following guidelines and recommendations for journalists on how to report and write more thoughtfully and respectfully about mental illness and mental health issues.

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5 Ways to Deepen Your Relationship with Yourself

Our relationship with ourselves is the most important relationship. It is the beginning. It is the foundation. Everything starts and sprouts from here. Which is why focusing on this relationship, prioritizing it, is vital. It is essential.

“Your relationship with yourself affects every other relationship in your life,” said Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, a therapist in private practice in San Francisco. For instance, if you’re regularly berating yourself, you might assume that others are berating you, too. Which can lead you to feel defensive or inferior, she said.

Self-criticism also activates our body’s stress-response system -- fight/flight/freeze -- making it harder to think clearly and respond to what’s actually happening in the moment, she said.
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5 Ways to Let It Flow

“The mind is like a river, and, as with a river, there’s no point in trying to stop its flow.” – Mingyur Rinpoche

You know when you get into a groove, you just want to keep on going. You might say you’re “in the flow,” “going with the flow,” “in your sweet spot,” or some other catchy phrase.
It feels good.
You want it to continue.
Why don’t you let it?
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How to Become a More Interesting Person

Many people see themselves as boring or not very interesting. As a result, they minimize social contact, or feel self-conscious and awkward when interacting.

Having a self-image of being uninteresting can lead to isolation and loneliness, while eroding self-worth.

A fascinating inquiry is to explore what makes us interesting. Is it our net worth, our accomplishments, or knowing people who are popular? Maybe these factors create a curious image that some people find appealing. But do we want people to find our image interesting or find us interesting?

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