Why It’s so Hard to Put Down Your Phone as a Teen

Teen looking at their phone at night

Being a teen is hard enough. Being a teen in 2019 is even harder.

Not only do you face normal teen pressures like studying for the SATs and asking your crush to prom but you have the added pressure of staying connected with family and friends 24/7 through social media.

A recent Pew Research Center study found that 95% of teens now report they have a smartphone or access to one and 45% of teens say they are online on a near-constant basis. In addition to Facebook (which 51% of teens report using), the study found that YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are the most popular online platforms among teens. Continue reading Why It’s so Hard to Put Down Your Phone as a Teen

I Love Yoga, but Still Think Therapy is the Answer

Sign that says reserved for yoga

I would not be the person I am today without yoga.

When I first started practicing yoga, it was one of the only things I did just for me. I cherished every minute of it. Not being responsible for anyone or anything but my own well-being felt like a luxury. “Yoga is a great form of self-care,” Rachel O’Neill, Ph.D. LPCC-S, and Ohio-based Talkspace therapist said. Having been an overachiever my entire life, the idea of self-care was brand new to me. Yoga felt like the perfect combination of doing something that felt productive while also giving my brain a much-needed break.

“One thing that I really love about yoga is the emphasis on mindfulness (i.e. being fully present and focused on the moment),” O’Neill added. “In my work with clients, I often incorporate those same mindfulness principles into the counseling sessions.” Continue reading I Love Yoga, but Still Think Therapy is the Answer

Low-cost Solutions That Can Improve Your Mental Health

Piggy bank

The wellness industry, which grew 12.8% from 2015-2017 to a $4.2 trillion global market, has done an amazing job at convincing us that self-care is a luxury.

I fell straight into the trap of thinking exotic yoga retreats, expensive green juices, and fancy trips to the spa were the only ways to practice self-care. Over the years I’ve learned (as has my wallet) that self-care doesn’t need to be so elaborate. Rather, the best forms of self-care are those everyday practices that help you feel more balanced, more present, and more intentional on a regular basis. Continue reading Low-cost Solutions That Can Improve Your Mental Health

The Science Behind How Long Therapy Takes

Woman holding a clock

Finding a therapist was one of the best decisions of my life.

At the time, I had been struggling with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (although I didn’t know that’s what I was experiencing), an eating disorder (I didn’t want to admit), and high anxiety levels (so high that my relationship and performance at work were taking a nosedive). I felt like my life was falling apart and I didn’t know what to do. Continue reading The Science Behind How Long Therapy Takes

How to Own Your Instincts (and Beat Your Insecurities)

a woman's hands on her lap

I have a loud inner critic.

It’s this nagging voice in my head that constantly tells me all the ways I’m messing up, falling short, disappointing people, and making a fool out of myself. This sneaky voice pretends it’s protecting me from failure when in reality it’s just getting in the way of me owning my instincts, trusting my decisions, and feeling confident about my abilities.

In her 15 years of working as a professor and licensed Talkspace psychotherapist, Cynthia Catchings, LCSW-S, has observed how people’s insecurities affect them across different settings. Continue reading How to Own Your Instincts (and Beat Your Insecurities)

My Mental Health Ritual: Self-Compassion and Setting Boundaries

a stick of incense burns in the jungle

“Daring to set boundaries is about the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” – Brené Brown

All humans share a desire to be seen, loved, and accepted. Sometimes this longing is so strong that we sacrifice our own sense of self in hopes of receiving validation from others that we matter. Without daily rituals to help me recenter and set strong, loving boundaries, I can become lost in a sea of other people’s feelings, needs, and opinions.

Continue reading My Mental Health Ritual: Self-Compassion and Setting Boundaries

6 Ways to Navigate Cuffing Season

Two people standing with cat in the middle

The days become shorter, the weather turns bitter, and suddenly all those happy singles suddenly start pairing off. The whole world seems to yearn to curl up by the fire and sip hot cocoa with someone. Anyone. At least until Spring when the freedom of the single life calls again. If this sounds familiar, you might be falling victim to the effects of cuffing season. Continue reading 6 Ways to Navigate Cuffing Season

This is Your Brain on Instagram

Social media brain

When is the last time you took the elevator, rode the subway, or waited in line at the grocery store without getting sucked into Instagram? My answer to this question is bleak.

Instagram hit 1 billion monthly users in the summer of 2018, and has been experiencing faster growth than the oh-so-popular Facebook and Snapchat platforms. What’s behind our collective desire to incessantly check this simple, yet tantalizing photo-sharing app? Here’s what the research says. Continue reading This is Your Brain on Instagram

This Year, Try an Unresolution

A tiara that says "happy new year" sits on a drab deck

“Have you considered not setting any New Year’s resolutions this year?” my therapist asked me.

Was she serious? This was back in 2013 when my whole identity was tied to being an overachiever. At the time, setting New Year’s resolutions felt essential to my future happiness. It didn’t matter if my goals ended up making me feel bad about myself. The important part was I had the self-discipline to achieve them. Continue reading This Year, Try an Unresolution

What Gratitude Does to Your Brain

Praying hands

When it comes to Thanksgiving traditions, my family does not hold back. From our morning brunch, to afternoon disc golf, to folding napkins into turkeys set around the dinner table, we love our annual traditions.

Last year we tried something new. We wrote notes to each present family member with what we appreciate about them and took turns reading the notes aloud. There were laughs, there were tears, and most of all, there was a deep sense of gratitude. This may be our best tradition yet. Continue reading What Gratitude Does to Your Brain