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General

Podcast: Come On, Get Happy – The App

More and more apps are showing up that are geared toward mental health. One such app is called, simply, “Happy.” This simple to use app allows a user to speak with a “giver” (an emotional support individual) to discuss whatever happens to be troubling the user. In this episode, we speak with the company’s CEO, who explains how the app works, the vetting process of the givers, and plans for the future of the app. The importance of emotional support is also discussed, as are specifics on how the app works, including how a user is matched with a giver.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Contribute to Brain Disorders?

There seems to be a lot of talk about Vitamin D deficiency lately, particularly in relation to brain disorders.

I’ve always associated vitamin D with healthy bones, but really, it is important for good overall health. Vitamin D helps our hearts, muscles, lungs and brains work well. Unlike other vitamins, most vitamin D does not come from what we eat, but rather from our exposure to the sun (and possibly from supplements).

With all the emphasis on staying out of the sun and/or wearing sunscreen these days, it’s not surprising that many of us are now deficient in vitamin D.

Another unique characteristic of vitamin D is the fact that our bodies turn it into a hormone called “activated vitamin D” or “calcitriol.”
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Anxiety and Panic

7 More Ways to Navigate Anxiety with Art Journaling

Anxiety is an uncomfortable emotion with uncomfortable physical sensations. Our chest tightens. Our breathing gets shallow. Our stomach feels like we’re on a rollercoaster with exactly one thousand drops. We feel restless. Our thoughts are fast and furious, like a game of ping pong. Maybe we’re ruminating about everything we have to do. Maybe we’re ruminating about losing our job and not being able to pay the bills. Maybe we’re ruminating about a relationship, an upcoming project, an upcoming move, a mistake we’ve made—or many, many other things. Or maybe we're not sure what our anxiety is about, but it's still persistent.
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Books

How to Use Writing to Ease Your Depression

After receiving another round of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which she’d been receiving every other day, Elizabeth Maynard Schaefer, Ph.D., lay in a hospital room and felt hopeless. In the past ECT had “worked wonders” in treating her deep depressions, the devastating lows part of her bipolar disorder. But lately it’d seemed futile.

As she writes in her beautiful, thoughtful, inspiring book Writing Through the Darkness: Easing Your Depression with Paper and Pen, “Desperate, I reached for an empty notebook. My brain was too flat and blurred to put together sentences, so I scribbled a list of words about my situation and slammed the book shut. Immediately, I felt some lifting of the black cloud of depression, so bleak that it scrambled my thoughts and choked my breath.”
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Depression

Am I Depressed or Just Lazy?

I'm often asked, "Am I depressed or just lazy?"

It's a legitimate question, in that many people who suffer from clinical depression will initially feel like they're just being lazy, not wanting to get off the couch or out of bed. On the surface, the two -- laziness and depression -- appear to share some similarities.

But dig just a little deeper and you can quickly determine whether you're depressed or just being lazy.

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Brain and Behavior

Genealogy in the Psyche Department

Perhaps a psychological mapping of the human genome would tell us the future odds of being bullied in school, or of becoming a priest.

Genes inherited from the "family tribe" contribute to the formation of self through a complicated process that incorporates a fusion of interrelated factors: genetic traits, familial relationships, societal interactions, educational opportunities, random influences, etc.
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Depression

Reclaiming Your Life After Breaking Up

As the saying goes, breaking up is hard to do. There are few things more painful than the heartache of separating from someone who has found their way into our heart -- the shock of a sudden ending and being alone again. How can we heal and move on after such a gut-wrenching trauma?

A complex slew of feelings may overwhelm us after a break-up. How can we tap into inner resources that might help us heal?

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Anxiety and Panic

5 Ways to Use Art Journaling to Navigate Anxiety


Anxiety can be persistent and stubborn, especially when you try to ignore. It's like a child who refuses to take no for an answer and simply gets louder and louder, until they’re throwing a full-blown tantrum on the floor of your local Target.

Anxiety also is an emotion we often despise. We see it as an adversary, as something that gets in our way, as something we must fight and defeat. Which means we don’t want anything to do with it, which means it remains unprocessed and misunderstood.

What can help is art-making. Art-making gives us the opportunity to explore and process our anxiety in a non-intimidating way.
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Children and Teens

Are You a Mom Who Holds These Stress-Boosting, Joy-Squashing Beliefs?

Moms hold a variety of beliefs that stress us out and squash our joy. Beliefs about who we should be and how we should feel. Beliefs about how we should work and parent and practice self-care. Beliefs about what we should get done. Beliefs about what we must expect from ourselves.

Many of Emma Basch’s clients feel massive pressure to “lean in” in all areas of their lives. And if they don’t move up at work, be fully involved in their child’s school, manage their household and have an active social life, they feel a profound sense of failure.
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Creativity

10 Small Ways to Create Brighter, More Inspiring Days

Small habits can create significant benefits. For instance, even though I’m often bleary-eyed as I get up, writing before the sun rises, in a still, quiet house, energizes and inspires me. Listening to music often does the same. These small changes have shifted my perspective and the tone for the rest of the day.

Sometimes, we think we need to overhaul our days and our lives in order to feel more satisfied and uplifted. We want to burn it all down and start fresh. But really the smallest activities can do wonders for us.
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