Happiness

The Joys of Changing Your Perspective

When we talk about skills for taking care of our mental health, we often talk about things like practicing self-care, eliminating stress from our lives, and being able to seek support from others.

There’s another powerful skill, though, that has more to do with what you think than what you do: changing your perspective.
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Aging

Video: Medical Conditions That Can Cause Psychiatric Symptoms

It seems like common sense that psychological problems require psychological solutions. If anxiety is interfering in your life, then surely the appropriate treatment is psychotherapy or anxiety medication, right?

In reality, though, other medical conditions can sometimes masquerade as psychiatric conditions. Hyperthyroidism can cause anxiety, and vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause paranoia, to give only two examples.
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Depression

Inertia and Self-Care

You’re feeling down. Your energy is lagging. Going out and engaging with the world seems like so much work. Here are some ways you might think about addressing this state of affairs:

Eating an entire carton of ice cream
Going on a Netflix binge
Just going back to sleep

You’ve got to take care of yourself, right? Surely one of these things will revitalize you.
Ha, only kidding! If you’re anything like...
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Bipolar

You’re Depressed, But Are You Depressed Depressed?

Depression is a slippery word. Like many mental health terms, the way people use it in everyday speech doesn’t always line up with the clinical meaning of the word.

We might say: "This year’s presidential election is depressing." It’s understood, of course, that we aren’t literally claiming the electoral process has triggered a serious mood disorder that’s interfering with our day-to-day functioning.

In other cases, the line between colloquial "depression" and clinical depression gets a little more subtle. What’s the difference between being depressed and having a really bad day -- or a really bad month for that matter?
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Self-Help

Video: Constructive and Destructive Perfectionism

When does perfectionism go from being a good thing to a bad thing? I'm not sure there's a perfect answer to this question -- but I'm going to keep looking for one.

As a writer, one way I think about perfectionism in the context of creating something new.

Sometimes when I'm writing I'll rework a sentence several times before I feel like I've found the words that express what I'm trying to say. This tinkering with words can become a little perfectionistic, but not necessarily in a bad way. If I just wrote down every sentence that popped into my head without a second thought, reading these blog posts would be a very different experience.
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Inspiration & Hope

When Someone Tells You You’re Not Good Enough

Have you been rejected, told you don't have what it takes? You're probably doing something right.
Pretty much every famous person you can name risked rejection to get where they are, and got plenty of it. Any time you're doing something different, some people just aren't going to like it.
Among writers, it's common to wear rejection letters as badges of honor. Being told you don't have what it...
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Disorders

Don’t Self-Diagnose, But Do Self-Refer

The internet has put entire libraries of information about mental health right at our fingertips. It's now possible to go online and learn about any mental health disorder you can name, take questionnaires looking at your symptoms, and even read the scientific literature if you feel like it.
In fact, with so much information a click away, it can be tempting to cut therapists and psychiatrists out of the process altogether. Why go to the trouble...
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Psychotherapy

Who Can Benefit From Individual Therapy?

If you're thinking of meeting with a psychotherapist, you might have a general feeling that you want to try therapy but not be sure exactly what a therapist is going to do for you. You might even wonder, "Can I really get that much out of talking to a therapist?"

The short answer is: yes. Everyone stands to gain from reflecting on their lives and improving their coping skills.

But there's one group of people who have a problem that is an especially good for therapy. I'm talking about people who feel they need another perspective.
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Relationships

Video: Lying in a Relationship

The best indicator you have of how someone will treat you is how they treat other people.
Looking at your relationships in these terms can make for some unpleasant insights. You know that friend you have who says nasty things about other people behind their backs?
Well, yes, chances are you aren't special -- he or she is probably saying the same kinds of things about you when you aren't around to hear.
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