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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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Grief and Loss

How Gratitude and Mindfulness Go Hand in Hand

Think of someone with whom you have shared happy moments or someone who has supported you and been there for you. Write them a thank you letter and deliver it to them. In your letter describe to the receiver why you are grateful to have them in your life and explain how their presence has given you growth and happiness. In a 2009 study, when researchers asked participants to do a similar exercise, they found that those who wrote thank you letters and delivered them reported an increase in their level of happiness that lasted for up to two months. Expressing gratitude significantly improved their well being.1

If you prefer to experience gratitude without having to express it to others, you can keep a gratitude journal. Every day before going to bed, write down three things that you are grateful for. A 2005 study found that research participants who wrote about three good things in their lives every night for one week reported an increase in happiness that lasted for six months.2
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Bouncing Back: Resilient Thrivers Tell Their Stories

This is the first in a series of articles about people who have survived life challenges that they never anticipated. For each of them, the unexpected brought lessons and skills that have helped them to move from victim to survivor to thriver.

Albert Borris is a 58-year-old man who lives in the Philadelphia suburb of Moorestown, New Jersey. For three decades, he worked as a Student Assistance Counselor in a high school setting, guiding young people who were facing psychological and addiction oriented challenges. According to his colleagues and those whose lives he touched -- likely thousands over the years -- he was superb at his job. He is the father of three children; two young sons and a daughter who is following in her father’s footsteps professionally, now in graduate school earning her Masters of Social Work.
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8 Ways to Persevere When Depression Persists

Although I like to cling to the promise that my depression will get better -- since it always has in the past -- there are long, painful periods when it seems as though I'm going to have to live with these symptoms forever.

In the past, there was a time when I had been struggling with death thoughts for what seemed like forever. One afternoon, I panicked when I surmised that they might always be with me. I embraced the wisdom of Toni Bernhard, who wrote a brilliant handbook for all of us living with chronic illness, How to Be Sick. While reading her words, I mourned the life I once had and made room to live with symptoms of depression indefinitely.

The death thoughts did eventually disappear, but I'm always mindful of my depression. Every decision I make in a 24-hour period, from what I 
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Mental Health and Wellness

How to Grow Self-Acceptance and Find Wholeness: A Challenge of Being Human

We all long for acceptance, to feel seen and heard and held in a space where we are accepted unconditionally by another person. Some of us are fortunate to have such people in our lives on a regular basis who offer us that. But whether we have such a person in our lives or not, we can also learn how to give ourselves this kind of acceptance and unconditional regard.

This can be a challenging task. We are human and we make mistakes and fall short of who we want to be -- often. Typically it's easier to see our shortcomings than our strengths. We experience emotions that we would rather not feel -- some painful (e.g., sadness, grief, hurt), and some not so complimentary of who we would like to be (e.g., jealousy, rage).

How do we embrace our whole selves, how do we offer ourselves whole-hearted acceptance, in the context of this human conundrum?
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8 Everyday Thoughts that Limit Your Success and How to Change Them

Why do some of the most intelligent people sabotage their own success? It all goes back to unconscious everyday thoughts, also called cognitive distortions, first identified by psychologist Aaron Beck and Dr. David Burns.

It’s typical to have these irrational thoughts every now and then. Mindset missteps are common among even the brightest, most well-meaning people. We can all relate to that feeling of getting in our own way.  It’s simply part of being human, an evolutionary response designed to keep us safe and protected.
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A Visit to the Hospital Reminds Me of How Happy I Am to Be Healthy

Ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree: gratitude is a key ingredient to a happy life.

Research shows that people who cultivate gratitude get a boost in happiness and optimism, feel more connected to other people, are better-liked and have more friends, and are more likely to help others. They even sleep better and have fewer headaches.

Nevertheless, I find it… challenging to cultivate a grateful frame of mind.
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Anxiety and Panic

Getting to the Root of Your Anxiety

One of Rachel Dubrow’s clients was anxious about a big presentation at work. It wasn’t because she was worried about speaking in front of her boss and colleagues. It wasn’t because she was worried about doing a good job.

She was afraid that she’d be judged for not having straight teeth. (Instead of discussing public speaking anxiety, she and Dubrow explored her self-image and the perceptions of others.)

Another client of Dubrow’s insisted on completing all his work before leaving the office, which meant that he stayed late. Every single day. He wanted his performance reviews to exceed expectations. This stemmed “from his childhood when his parents told him that in order to be happy, he needed to clean his room, put away his toys, do his laundry, and do the dishes just like they did before bed each night,” said
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Living in the Moment

We all have heard to live in the moment. Stay focused on the present. Concentrate on today. We understand that these sayings all have the same meaning: be in the here and now. Easier said than done sometimes, right? You're not alone in that feeling.

As humans we are conditioned to feel a variety of emotions at once. When we begin to think too far ahead or too far in the past, we lose sight of what is happening right in front of us in the moment of time we are in. It becomes increasingly prevalent when we are faced with life situations or circumstances that are beyond our own control. We want to hold on to something to ground us, so we look for something in our past or try to put our hopes into a future goal -- one which may not be realistic. It is a human struggle.
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10 Simple Mindfulness Practices to Try Right Now

People often tell Zen teacher Jay Chozen Bays, M.D., that they’d love to practice mindfulness. But they’re too busy. They have too much going on. You probably feel the same way. After all, it’s another activity to add to your already full schedule. It’s another activity to feel guilty about not doing. And who wants that?

Thankfully, you can easily include mindfulness in your life. Yes, it requires a switch in perspective. But you don’t need to be on a meditation cushion for an hour to savor the benefits.

Bays, also a pediatrician, wife, mother and grandmother, understands what it’s like to have a bustling life. She created a wonderful deck of cards, aptly called
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Intimacy as a Spiritual Path

Attachment theory and neuroscience tell us that we’re wired with a human need for connection. Neither infants nor adults thrive without safe and secure relationships. Might our longing for connection and intimacy be synonymous with a spiritual longing that lies at the very heart of what it means to be human?

When we hear the word “spirituality,” we may think of something otherworldly and transcendent. We pray to some larger presence beyond ourselves that we call God or participate in rites and rituals that we hope will secure our salvation or enlightenment.

Rather than pursue a vertical spirituality of transcendence, what if we pursued a horizontal spirituality that invites us to be awake in our everyday lives and relationships?
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3 Things that Keep Us Lonely

As a psychotherapist, I frequently observe how lonely and isolated people feel. Although they may be married or successful in their career, people often report a painful sense of disconnection or alienation.

Although there are varied reasons for experiencing a sense of isolation, here are three things I've noticed that may contribute to the epidemic of loneliness in our society.
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