Archives for Stress

Dieting

Research-Backed Resolutions

The more I read and think about  New Year's Resolutions, the less I think they accomplish a dingdang thing. I've made a lot of resolutions that have led me absolutely nowhere. Mostly, they make me feel bad because I tend not to follow-up. Oh sure, I'll get back on my eating/exercise program as soon as the holiday minefield of homemade pound cake and mint M&Ms is behind us, but that's more about returning to...
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Cognition

World Mental Health Day: A Cognitive Therapy Toolbox

I’ve been a science project since I was a troubled teen sitting across from my first shrink.

I’ve warmed a lot of therapists' office chairs since then, and experimented with various strategies at different times. I've journaled and created rituals and signed contracts. I talked to the empty chair and my inner child. I've projected and rejected and introspected. It's been a lifeline and hobby.

My therapists all dabbled in an array of theories and...
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Addiction

The Unplugged Experiment

My five-day experiment in unplugging was a flop.

No, I didn’t cave and mainline Facebook during my Mexico-beach vacation. I didn’t crumble and tweet my every mojito, check my email, text, or even google anything. My computer stayed home and I kept my phone turned off and locked in the room safe.

Despite all my prior misgivings, no trauma was involved.  Not the slightest twinge. My husband had his computer with him and...
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Addiction

Fear of Going Off the Grid

I’m going on vacation next week. A real, total-veg-out vacation at an all-inclusive beach resort. I’m shutting down my office and my brain. I haven’t taken a vacation like that in 20 years.*

The resort has in-room WiFi, but I’ve decided to cut myself off and leave my computer at home. No working. No googling, no Facebook, no Twitter, no blogging (look for guest posts next week). Radio silence.

It sounds great, right?

Then why does...
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Books

Self-Help Books: Take What You Want, Pass It Along

Here it comes, the avalanche of brain-training books, following the leaps and bounds made in research in recent decades. As we learn about the brain, the self-help industry is following the neurons to a happier, healthier you. Also with a better memory.

A book called Train Your Brain to Get Happy crossed my path recently, so I picked it up. (Actually, I got a press release and requested a review copy from the...
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Consumer Behavior

Sometimes You Just Need a Pressure Release

It’s been a very long week, and not in a good way. Righteous anger is a bitch.  Trying to fit another thought into my overheated brain has been difficult and I've struggled to settle on something to write about. I didn’t want to write more about institutionalized sexism in the media. (Actually I did, but y'all have probably had enough.)

Casting around for something to get traction in my brain, I thought about ancillary...
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Cognition

When You Can’t Stop Thinking About It

A friend was recently robbed at gunpoint on a dark street. She’s a little bruised from being pushed around, but she's generally OK. However, she says, she can’t stop thinking about it and wishes she could.

Not unusual. In the psychological literature, that’s called repetitive thought, and it can be a bad thing except when it’s a good thing.

As you probably already know, trying to suppress a thought is pointless—that old “don’t think about a...
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Brain Function

My Brain is Tired…Whatever That Means

My brain is tired.

My work as a freelance writer requires a lot of thinking. Not only a lot of thinking, but a lot of thinking about a lot of different subjects. Research too. And then, after I’ve thought and researched and thought some more, I have to string together words to explain all that thinking and research in a way that might be interesting to other people.

I’ve cranked out a lot of work in...
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Friends

Worshiping at the Shrine of a Really Good Shrink

I put myself into psychotherapy for the first time when I was a teenager, and have returned at various times over the years when I’ve been overwhelmed by whatever.

But when a friend compared my attitude about therapy to a fundamentalist’s attitude towards religion—implying that it is unyielding and intolerant of questioning—my feelings were hurt.

Eventually, though, I had to concede that she had a point.

My belief in therapy, as long as the therapist is worth a...
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Depression

The Paper-Clip Game: Sad People in Happy Places

You know that old technique for measuring creativity, where you’re supposed to come up with as many uses for a paper clip as you can?

I like to play a version of that game when I see interesting research. I've been puzzling over  the new research about how the happiest places in the United States have the highest suicide rates.

Curious, eh?

The researchers speculate that this is because we all tend to compare...
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