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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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The Nature of Post-Traumatic Growth

You’ve had a terrible, stressful experience. Maybe you’d even call it a trauma. Are you going to be debilitated by it for the rest of your life? Maybe; maybe not.

PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, is a term that’s bandied about a lot in our current culture. But have you heard about its corollary, post-traumatic growth (PTG)? Probably not. Since it’s not a reimbursable diagnosis, it doesn’t capture the headlines that often. But, it’s important to recognize that people can emerge from life’s traumas stronger, more resilient and even happier than they once were.

How does this positive outcome occur? Let me show you the ways:
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Psychology Around the Net: October 21, 2017

Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

It's a gorgeous day here in my neck of the woods, and trust me when I say we'll be taking full advantage of it! After all, the days are getting shorter and soon there won't be as many warm and sunny days (at least, not here) until spring. Many people begin experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as fall really kicks in. As many of you know, for a lot of people light therapy is an effective way to treat SAD.

However, did you also know light therapy might be able to help with bipolar disorder? That's just one of the topics we're covering in today's Psychology Around the Net!

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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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How to Regain Your Self-Respect Once It’s Lost

“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.” – Clint Eastwood

Many people don’t think about self-respect until they realize they’ve lost it.

By then, however, it can be very difficult to find the courage to rebuild what’s gone. While it isn’t impossible to regain self-respect, it does take a great deal of effort and determination.

Yet, how can you...
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How Do You Know if You Have High or Low Self-Esteem?

The phrase "self-esteem" is thrown around frequently when discussing mental health. In the 70s, programs in public school systems encouraged children to think better of themselves. They thought having higher esteem would bolster confidence and fight off depression if it was nurtured from an early age. With less negativity surrounding oneself, a child would be able to succeed not only in education, but in life.

The definition of self-esteem is slippery. Some equate self esteem with narcissism or an ability to push one's way to the top. Self-esteem, unlike true narcissism, includes a healthy amount of empathy. In the simplest of terms, self-esteem is how one person reflects on their own self-worth. This worth may include external success such as career, education, or finances, as well as internal worth, such as emotional states of mind and values. Do they see themselves as kind or anxious? Do they feel ashamed? These are just some of the complex feelings people may have about their own identity and self worth.
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Free Live Webinar: Healing from an Unloving Mother

As central as the mother-child relationship is to psychological health, that of the mother and her daughter has its own specificity. Daughters whose emotional needs weren’t met in childhood or who were actively disparaged, ignored, controlled, or scapegoated emerge into adulthood with specific deficits. They may not even know the degree to which they’ve been wounded by their mothers’ treatment until they begin to flounder in life, embark on a series of failed relationships, find it hard to stay balanced and focused, or engage in self-destructive behaviors.
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Some Reassuring Thoughts About Needing Reassurance

Even the most secure people need reassurance sometimes. It’s part of being human. Even if you need lots of validation, this is nothing to be ashamed of.

Many of us didn't receive enough reassurance growing up. We didn't get the memo that we’re lovable, wonderful, or just ok as we are. A reassurance deficit may keep us on the wheel of continually looking outside ourselves for validation to help us feel valued and grounded.

If we grew up with lots of
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Finding Hope: How to Turn Disappointments into Strengths

Disappointments can be deeply painful, crush our self-esteem, and shake our world.

Disappointment is defined as “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the unfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.” So, naturally, disappointments leave us feeling sad, regretful, dismayed and sorrowful. And given the current news today, from the numerous worldwide natural disasters to the country’s political instability, many people are experiencing an array of emotions associated with disappointment.

When we are disappointed, we tend to focus on the outcome that caused our feelings of disappointment. We may feel paralyzed to do anything to make our circumstances or ourselves feel better, and we focus only on the feelings of loss surrounding our un-actualized dream or goal.

With this information in mind, one can spot the similarities between feeling disappointment and mourning. This is because mourning is part of disappointment.
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Inner Strength: How to Build a Firm Foundation for Living Your Best Life

Inner strength is created through effort and determination. At the core of it is the trust that one way or another you will be able to deal with whatever you may encounter in life -- whether it be a crisis or simply the challenges of daily life.

If you do not let them crush you, hardship and adversity provide a opportunities to steel your inner fortitude. But you can also develop and strengthen it by deliberately enhancing key psychological attributes that will make you stronger and more resilient:

Strengthen Your Sense of Self
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Trump’s Nicknames and the Psychology of Bullying

In his Sept. 19 speech before the U.N., Donald Trump mockingly referred to the President of North Korea as “Rocket Man.”

During and after the presidential campaign, Trump bestowed offensive nicknames on several of his opponents. There was, famously, “Crooked Hillary”, but there was also “Little Marco”, “Crazy Bernie” and “Lyin Ted” for Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, and Ted Cruz, respectively. Trump also repeatedly referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” a jibe at her assertion of Native American heritage. More recently, Trump has given Sen. Chuck Schumer a series of nicknames, including "Head Clown," "Fake Tears" and "Cryin' Chuck."

Why does any of this matter? As a psychiatrist, I believe Trump’s habit of bestowing offensive nicknames opens a window into the psychology of bullying -- and
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Why You Need to Cultivate Self-Love

Self-love -- really? Isn’t it conceited, selfish, unpleasant, arrogant, narcissistic, vain and full of false pride? It is, if ego-based and full of self-importance. However, there is a different kind of self-love you really need.

The right kind of Self-Love.

Real self-love is a spiritually based attitude towards yourself. With it you recognize and appreciate your intrinsic value as a human being. You have respect for your life, time and energy. You nurture yourself with self-care. You do not allow others to take advantage of you or treat you badly. You accept yourself unconditionally with all your limitations. And when you have been less than perfect, you treat yourself with a compassionate mindset.
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