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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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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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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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Grief and Loss

You Won or Lost: Here’s How to Get Over It and Move On

“Winning and losing are both very temporary things. Having done one or the other, you move on. Gloating over a victory or sulking over a loss is a good way to stand still.” – Chuck Knox
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being stuck. When something goes wrong -- meaning, I’ve made a mistake -- it’s a personal setback, to be sure. I don’t like it, but I’m not going to dwell on it any longer than necessary.

Similarly, once I’ve attained a
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Happiness

Why It’s So Important to Hold On to Hope

Five years ago, I wrote about the correlation between expectations and happiness -- lower your expectations and you will be happier -- reign in expectations and stress and despair won’t be prominent when life does not go according to plan. And perhaps there is a semblance of truth to that notion.

But here’s where it’s nuanced. With diminished expectations, we chip away at hope. And how can we not hope for a better tomorrow? I consider myself to be someone with spirit. I become excited when I have an idea. I look forward to experiences and anticipate memorable ones. And while it’s important to cope when such experiences fall through, I think it’s even more important to hold onto what was originally present -- that sense of hope.
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Alzheimer

Psychology Around the Net: August 26, 2017


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

Can you believe it's the last weekend of August? I know summer doesn't technically end as soon as August is over, but...where did the summer go?!

Well, before you head out to enjoy the weekend, take some time to catch up on the science of spirituality, why having a best friend as a teenager helps develop a sense of self later in life, how winning the lottery will contribute little to your level of happiness, and more.

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Addiction

5 Ways to Safely ‘Get High’ with Your Kids


Everyone needs to feel EXTRA alive sometimes.

I've been thinking lately about the term “getting high”, as it is so commonly used in our culture today.

As a student of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), I know the real power our language has in influencing our lives.

This leads me to wonder about the relationship between how we define getting high and the epidemic we now face with substance use disorder in our country.

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Anxiety and Panic

Experiencing Goodwill


As someone who shamelessly scours Goodwill for second-hand finds, this confession is particularly painful: New is better.

New experiences -- that is. I will forever cherish my vintage t-shirts and maps.

Over the past year, I have put those vintage maps to use, traveling to five countries.

While traveling can tire (that said, I have a sneaking suspicion that you are not shedding any tears for me), fresh experiences rejuvenate -- at least anecdotally. Even when they seemingly sap every reservoir of energy and patience.
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Grief and Loss

How to Get Back Your Joy After Loss

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” – Jalaluddin Rumi
My belief is that you invest joy in yourself. No one can take it with them when they leave.

When you live in joy, finding appreciation in the seemingly trivial things in life, the quiet moments you share with others, in your accomplishments, pursuing your dreams, making full use of your talents and abilities, you grow your self-confidence, boost your self-esteem, and realize that you are whole and complete as you are.
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Habits

Overwhelmed by Difficult Emotions? Take Charge and Calm Emotional Storms


Feelings come in waves, often appearing out of the blue, triggered by a memory, words overheard, pictures or experiences. The more we are trying to reign them in, suppress or ignore them, the stronger and more persistent they get -- if not in the moment then sometime later, even after many years. Many people find emotions bubbling up decades after they thought they had dealt with them or they were no longer relevant.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

How to Chase Away Your Summertime Blues

Does your stomach turn when the thought of summer begins? Do you feel lonely, sad, or depressed in the summer months? Is it hard for you to plan a vacation, or get some good shut eye? If so, don’t feel bad, because you are not alone. In fact, reverse SAD occurs in about less than 10% of the population during the summer months.

Most people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD when winter rolls around, the more common form of SAD. But summertime reverse SAD, while temporary, and short lived, can still be very emotionally taxing for the summer months that are endured.
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Creativity

When Procrastination is Persistent, Pervasive and Pointless

Sure we all procrastinate sometimes. Why not? Let’s see, shall I spend the evening doing mind-numbing clean-up chores or enjoy a good time with my friends? Shall I do tedious paperwork or plop down on the couch and watch my favorite show? It’s never been easy to control our urges, especially when what we “should” be doing goes against our grain.

In the digital world, however, procrastination is even harder to conquer. Accessible, appealing, addictive distractions are everywhere. Beepers beckon. Entertainment entices. Digital devices ding. Social networks seduce. Gaming, blogging, chat rooms, You-Tube, video streaming -- and more -- easily lead us astray. Digital temptations are just so much more seductive. Exciting, fast-paced entertainment actually changes the way our brains operate. If a task doesn’t immediately hold our interest, our minds gravitate to other matters.
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