Religion On the Brain

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Have you ever wandered why those shouting “Alleluia!” at church on Sunday morning seem happier and more energetic than the average person, projecting a feeling of satisfaction in their lives that you don’t get from the folks reading the paper at Starbucks on Sunday morning? I understand this well because I have used religion as […]

I’m Depressed, Not Dangerous

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I am reposting this blog because I continue to be irritated by the inaccurate association between mental illness and violence. Every time there is a tragedy like the Germanwings crash in which the murderer is suspected of (or is documented with) mental problems, my job as a health advocate who tries to educate the public […]

5 Exercises to Nurture Self-Compassion

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According to Kristin Neff, Ph.D., self-compassion expert and associate professor of human development at the University of Texas in Austin, there is physiological data supporting the claim that self-compassionate people have better emotional coping skills. In her book Self-Compassion, she explains that researchers have measured cortisol levels and heart-rate variability among participants trained to have […]

10 Forms of Twisted Thinking

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David Burns, bestselling author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, and Abraham Low, founder of Recovery, Inc., teach techniques to analyze negative thoughts or identify distorted thinking so that we can be more aware of them and to disarm them by teasing apart truth and fiction, attaching logic to the misguided stories we weave about ourselves. Since Low’s language […]

10 Ways to Beat Insomnia

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I have battled insomnia off and on for the last three years. At first I tried sleep medication (Lunesta and a few others) but they made me more depressed and anxious, so I have experimented with all kinds of natural remedies, many of them suggestions from fellow friends with sleep problems. Here are a few of them.   […]

9 Ways to Fight the Winter Blues

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People with Season Affective Disorder (SAD) or the clinical version of the winter blues aren’t the only ones who struggle with the shorter days, colder weather, and the general blah of the winter season. Less sunlight can affect our circadian rhythm, the body’s biological clock that governs certain brain wave activity and hormone production. If […]

Believe!

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This post is from my archives. I have a love-hate relationship with December. Many people do. I feel like December adds another 50 percent of things to be scratched off of my “to do” list, and therefore tells my sympathetic nervous system that panic mode is appropriate, that we are aboard the Holiday Titanic and […]

9 Ways to Promote Gratitude in Your Life

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Musician and songwriter Willie Nelson once said, “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” Study after study on gratitude shows how simple exercises of appreciation build emotional resilience, improve our relationships, and promote our well-being. Gratitude researchers like Martin Seligman, PhD, director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; Robert […]