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College

Feeling Lonely at College

There's nothing so bad as feeling alone in a crowd. When you first get to college, it can feel like a pretty overwhelming event. Sure, you get to meet a lot of new people, some of who may even become your friends.

But when you're alone at night in your room, the feeling of deep loneliness can creep in as you realize there's no one here that really knows you. And being that lonely while at university can really mess with your head.

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Depression

Don’t Worry, Don’t Be Happy: Surprising Perks of Unhappiness

We’ve been told since our first pimple arrived to look in the mirror and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and today is going to be a GREAT day, despite this mammoth zit on my chin” while plastering a fake grin on our face.

Positive psychologists have force-fed us affirmations, telling us that the more we say them and try to believe them, that happiness will be ours; that happiness is the only thing we should really care about, because “the pursuit of happiness” is our American right.

But is all of this scientifically sound?
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Creativity

Exploring Our Deepest Truths Through Writing

Exploring our deepest truths can be difficult. Sometimes what we find when we open the door is darkness. Sometimes what we find is inconvenient or embarrassing or upsetting. But it is also liberating and important. Because knowing ourselves, truly knowing ourselves, is what helps us to build meaningful, fulfilling lives. It is what helps us to make good decisions. It is what helps us to know what is right—and not right—for us.

One way to explore our deepest truths is through writing.

Because when you write, it’s just you and the page. In fact, this might be one of the only times you’re alone, to think, to reflect, to just be. Yourself. There is no pretending or impressing. There are no distractions, devices or to-dos.
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General

When You Feel Lost

Lately, you’ve been feeling lost.

A loved one passed away. Your relationship ended. You were overlooked for a promotion. You failed an important exam. An opportunity fell through. Your life is taking a direction you didn’t think it would.

You are dumbfounded. You feel numb. You feel helpless, maybe even hopeless. Everything has a gray hue.

Or you aren’t sure why you feel lost. But you do. You feel utterly aimless, like you’re floating from random task to random task.
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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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General

Podcast: Is Loneliness More Dangerous Than Smoking or Obesity?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales discuss loneliness. It’s a very common feeling that most people experience at some point in their lives. Now, medical experts report that the effects of loneliness should be considered to be a major health danger. Our hosts discuss how this is the case. They also explain the differences between being alone and being lonely and between loneliness and solitude. Other information provided in this episode include the different types of loneliness (it’s not all about being without a romantic partner) and what steps one can take to stop being lonely.
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Holiday Coping

IMAlive: A Global Crisis Chat Service

IMAlive.org is an online crisis counseling service that uses an instant message (IM) chat interface instead of phone or SMS texting.

I maintain Online Suicide Help, a global directory of services which are usually restricted to one country or even one small town. This has meant that most countries in the world could not access any services. Recently I learned that IMAlive changed its service area from US and Canada to be the first crisis chat service available worldwide, and I emailed to find out more about this change. John Plonski, IMAlive's Director of Training and Developer of its Helping Empathically As Responders Training (HEART) program, kindly wrote back to share more.
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Anxiety and Panic

Speak the Evil

See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.

And in case you were wondering, the proverbial “evil” would be my dormant mental health issues.  

Growing up in an upper-class family in Des Moines, Iowa, mental health was an afterthought -- sandwiched in between tennis matches, gawky Homecoming dance photos, and college football Saturdays. While I struggled with perfectionism (presaging a later struggle with OCD), my mother glossed over my mental rigidity.  

“You just have high standards, Matthew,” she soothingly reassured to me and -- perhaps -- herself.
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General

Navigating the Biggest Energy Sappers for HSPs

When Rachelle Mee-Chapman’s daughter was just 5 years old, she’d walk into a restaurant and say “Mommy, that couple is fighting.” The people weren’t visibly arguing. But by the end of their meal, they were. Whether she was picking up on non-verbal cues or some energetic exchange, Mee-Chapman’s daughter was internalizing more information than the average person. Which is precisely what highly sensitive people (HSPs) do. We notice details the rest of the population doesn’t.

We experience the emotional nuances of others, and we are more aware of our own emotional states, said Mee-Chapman, also an HSP and an author and educator who helps people create right-fit spiritual practices for themselves and their families.
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Addiction

When Creative People Are Afraid Medication Will Dull Their Spark


Creative people worry that their essential spark -- that which makes them artists in the first place -- will disappear forever, or at least be hindered, if they seek chemical relief for depression or anxiety.

Like everyone else, writers today can address their depression and anxiety in numerous ways. Treatment options are omnipresent. It’s impossible to watch a TV show without encountering pharmaceutical commercials, after all.
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