Why Gossip is So Seductive (and How to Avoid It)

A mother and daughter tell secrets while one holds string cheese

Gossip is like the junk food of communication. We know that it is bad and unhealthy, but it’s hard to resist its draw. It is rude and unkind, and of course it’s always terrifying to think that something you said could get back to the person you were gossiping about.

Knowing all of its downsides, why is gossip still so hard to resist?

Continue reading Why Gossip is So Seductive (and How to Avoid It)

3 Simple Ways to Bust Out of a Summer “Funk”

A plastic flamingo in the sand

It seems almost everyone talks about how depressed they feel during short, dark winter days, but very few people discuss feeling down during in the summer. Even though your friends may not talk about it as openly, plenty of people experience a funk in the warmer months as well. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression that strike in the summer.

For those who feel lonely or isolated, the summer can feel like a time when everyone else is having fun. It seems like everyone except you is hosting or being invited to pool parties and barbecues, using vacation time to travel to exotic destinations, or meeting new people to date.

Of course, this is rarely the case, just as it isn’t the case during the rest of the year. In the summer, though, social activities are much more visible, because they often occur outside and are blasted across social media. This can make people who are already anxious about their social lives feel left out and friendless.

Continue reading 3 Simple Ways to Bust Out of a Summer “Funk”

Managing Your Social Media Intake (Without Quitting It Completely)

An iPhone homescreen

Research shows that social media use actually releases dopamine in the brain, just like food, sex, or drugs. It is no wonder that so many people feel that they are “addicted” to social media, and feel antsy or anxious when they try to stop checking Instagram, Facebook, or other sites for more than a few minutes. If you feel that social media is controlling you, instead of you controlling when you use it, then you may want to think about how to better integrate your social media use within your day-to-day life.

Continue reading Managing Your Social Media Intake (Without Quitting It Completely)

How to Identify an Avoidant Partner and Improve Your Relationship

Couple with tattoos by cinder block wall

Many people feel very anxious in their relationship, because their partner avoids emotional intimacy. Despite how frustrating the avoidant partner may appear, not everything can be blamed on them.

Any relationship comprises a dynamic between two people, and issues within the relationship have to be examined in the context of both partners. To understand avoidance in the context of a relationship, let’s start with a list of avoidant behaviors.

Continue reading How to Identify an Avoidant Partner and Improve Your Relationship

Attempting to Understand Suicide

Hands reaching out to each other with a sunset background

In light of the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, and headlines that suicide rates have climbed in the past twenty years, suicide has become a topic that is widely covered in the media.

Many sociologists and epidemiologists attribute increased suicide rates at least partially to economic variables. Suicide rates often rise in times of economic uncertainty, like the most recent recession, since this makes people feel more scared and hopeless. The opioid crisis may also play a part. You can read more about these theories here.

Continue reading Attempting to Understand Suicide

When Does Family Drama Become Toxic?

Family on the grass making funny faces

Almost everyone has experienced family drama at one time or another. For some people, there is sibling rivalry that continues into adulthood. For others, it is a dramatic parent who expresses their disapproval in very obvious ways. Nobody feels good about family conflict, but, in some families, it is bearable and fairly infrequent. However, in other families, drama becomes a constant source of unhappiness and even toxicity.

Continue reading When Does Family Drama Become Toxic?

Is Living With a Partner After a Breakup Bad for Your Mental Health?

Couple with wall between them

After a breakup, many people desire time and space to heal, and choose not to interact much with their ex-partner. However, more people nowadays continue living with their partner after a breakup. There are multiple reasons, including financial issues, the desire to remain friends, or being joint “parents” to a pet.

Other people simply don’t like change, and want to remain in their homes.They assume that if their breakup wasn’t contentious, they will be able to continue to live amicably with their ex.

There are some situations where this arrangement can work out well, but it can be risky for both partners. There are important variables that impact whether or not this will work for you and for your ex-partner. Here are a few to consider.

Continue reading Is Living With a Partner After a Breakup Bad for Your Mental Health?

Is Relationship Jealousy Damaging Your Mental Health?

Couple standing by lake with man's back turned

A little bit of jealousy is healthy for a relationship. If you didn’t care at all about your partner leaving you for someone else, this would generally be considered a bad sign for your relationship. In fact, in evolutionary psychology, there is a phenomenon known as “mate guarding,” which is when an animal guards their mate more closely around potential rivals.

Humans do the same thing when they become more aware or vigilant about their partner’s behavior around other attractive people. And people often respond positively to minor signs of jealousy in their partners. They assume that it means that their partners value them, consider them attractive to others, and don’t want to lose them.

Continue reading Is Relationship Jealousy Damaging Your Mental Health?