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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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The Psych Central Show Podcast is a WEGO Health Award Winner

We are honored to be the winner of the 2017 WEGO Health Award in the Best in Show: Podcast category for our outstanding weekly podcast, The Psych Central Show, hosted by Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales.

We are humbled by this achievement for our podcast, which offers a candid chat on mental health and psychology topics. Congratulations to Gabe & Vincent for doing such excellent work each and every week!

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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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Podcast: Why Do People Believe Conspiracy Theories?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales discuss conspiracy theories with guest John M. Grohol, Psy.D., founder and CEO of Psych

Dr. Grohol explains what exactly is meant by “conspiracy theory” and where the theories come from. Discussion includes questions of whether conspiracy theories are ways for people to rationalize why horrific tragedies occur; if they are based on distrust of authority figures; and if those who believe them are just attention-seekers. Ultimately, the question is raised of how to respond to them.

Can we convince theorists that they’re wrong and, if so, how do we do it?
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Ethics & Morality

Gunning for a Solution

“There will certainly be a time for that policy discussion to take place, but that’s not the place we’re in at this moment,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

And then she teared up at the horrific Las Vegas shooting.

I rolled my eyes--not because I am questioning Sanders’ sincerity. Like all of us, she is aghast at the latest senseless tragedy. But I roll my eyes--and chuckle ruefully--at the practiced condolences. American society: the equivalent of a Hallmark card.

We decry senseless gun violence in the most visceral of terms. Our Twitter feeds and Facebook post lament the latest tragedy. And following Vegas or Orlando or San Bernadino, we buy a cup of coffee for an appreciative stranger. We reaffirm -- at least temporarily -- our collective faith in humanity’s benevolence.
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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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#MeToo: You Too?

A viral campaign that has been making the rounds on social media comes equipped with a hashtag and an attempt to bring attention to the prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse, both in the workplace and in personal life. It arose because of the not so secret secret of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein (no relation to this author) threatening and assaulting women.

On October 15th, 2017, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted: "If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet." She
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Helping Others Can Heal the Brain

The greatest show in Las Vegas history must be the recent outpouring of the best of humanity. The courage shown by professional rescuers and regular citizens reaching out to help, and even risking their lives to do so, leaves many of us wondering what would we do and what can we do to help others.
Making a positive difference in someone’s life doesn’t take a life-threatening effort. Simple kindnesses can go a long way for someone struggling. I was lucky enough to receive such help this summer.
I blew out my ankle. Really blew it out. As I enjoyed a walk with my husband, on slightly uneven pavement my foot slid off the side of my two-inch platform sandal. Three bones broke and the ankle dislocated.
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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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Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: October 17, 2017

Did you ever walk into a room and notice you're drawn to and repelled by certain people?

People are mirrors and we can use this knowledge to understand ourselves.

Maybe that new co-worker exhibits qualities you wish you had or an acquaintance is expressing qualities you dislike in yourself.

Maybe you need to work on being more open, genuine and vulnerable. Maybe you need to learn to accept your critical nature or relentless competitiveness.

It's difficult to look within. It's much easier to judge others. But if you're ready to make positive changes in your life, you need to look deeper than your initial assessment.

You can start by reading up on your current relationships. Are you neglecting or even ruining it? How are you doing with confronting a narcissist or being calm in the midst of frustration with your child? When we can courageously search within, we're more able to connect with the relationships, people and opportunities we're most looking for.
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OCD and Computational Psychiatry

There is a relatively new field of research known as computational psychiatry, which focuses on the development of mathematical models to better understand defects in the brain -- defects that lead to adverse behaviors.

A new study published in the journal Neuron discusses findings from this type of research into the fundamental processes of OCD. Senior author Benedetto De Martino says:
"Medicine today is very much about decoding the mechanisms in the body. When we are talking about something like a heart valve, that's a mechanical part that can be clearly understood. But the brain is a computational device that has no mechanical parts, so we need to develop mathematical tools to understand what happens when something goes wrong with a brain computation and generates a disease. This study shows that the actions of people with OCD often don’t take into account what they’ve already learned.”
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