How Imposter Syndrome Torpedoes Our Success

A dog wearing glasses with a fake nose

You go forth into the world to follow your dreams and shine your beautiful light — only to feel like a fraud on the inside. You begin working on something, and self-doubt and anxiety creep into your brain. So, you choose over preparation and exert overreaching effort. You may even accomplish your goal through luck. But truly, you just want relief, and it comes only temporarily, until you push back any form of positive feedback — resulting in a loop back to anxiety and feeling like a fraud.

This is the cycle of imposter syndrome.

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What is Catastrophic Thinking? (And How to Stop)

A woman looks pensive in the dark with colored light around her body

When your thoughts start spiraling, getting off the “staircase” can feel impossible. One terrible notion leads to the next: If I can’t get this report done in time, you might think, then I’ll be fired. And if I’m fired, I’ll have nothing to do all day. If I have nothing to do all day, I’ll fall into a video game and beer hole. If I fall into a video game and beer hole, then my wife will leave me. And then…and then…and then

Does this process sound familiar? This anxiety spiral — also known as “catastrophic thinking” or “magnifying,” — often occurs alongside anxiety and depression. Think of your brain as a rocky mountain: one single distressing thought loosens an avalanche of related anxieties.

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Why It’s Healthy To Lower Your High Expectations in College

A woman stands over a balcony with a graduation cap and gown on

A group of us were getting together for the first time since graduation, reminiscing about our earlier selves.

“We were all horrible in college,” my friend said recently over drinks. “We were so status-obsessed and trying to keep up with everyone else who was status-obsessed.”

Another friend, sipping his beer, put it more succinctly: “We were all so depressed in college.”

He meant this literally.

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6 Things I Wish I Could Have Told My Anxious College Self

A woman writing in a notebook with a chunky sweater and some coffee

For many people, college is a time when they come into their own. College gives you the opportunity to not only further your education but also to grow as a person. I realize hindsight is 20/20, however.

Now that I’ve been out of school for a few years, and have a better handle on my mental health, there are certainly a couple things I would’ve done differently.

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4 Ways to Deal with the “September Scaries”

A woman with a clear umbrella reaches out to a yellow leaf

Unless you’re an extreme pumpkin spice latte enthusiast and all-around summer hater, you’ve probably experienced the “September Scaries.”

Unlike the Sunday Scaries, which roll in every week around 7 p.m. on Sunday, September Scaries hit (thankfully) only once a year as fall draws near. There’s just something about September that feels daunting and draining. This exact sentiment may have led to a Grammy for Greenday, whose song “Wake Me Up When September Ends” appeared on their award-winning album.

September Scaries are especially real for those who are still in school, returning to the world of homework and research papers. But, adults who work all year round aren’t immune to the September Scaries.

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August Anxiety: Why We Get Anxious at the End of Summer

A hand giving a peace sign to the sunset

It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy, right? Not necessarily.

If you find the back-to-school blues affecting you this month — despite no school to go back to and no life changes since June or July — you’re not alone. There’s evidence that the return of chillier weather, including shorter days as we edge toward winter — can raise anxiety levels among adults and school-age children alike.

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3 Ways City Living Increases Your Anxiety

Times Square New York City

Many are drawn to big cities for their vibrant culture and promise of better career opportunities — just ask the 80 percent of the U.S. population that lives in an urban area. And while the allure of “city lights” can both inspire and provide an escape from the monotony of more rural environments, the constant crowds, congestion, and noise can actually trigger and worsen a person’s anxiety.

It is widely understood that many who live in a city experience daily stress, such as public transportation issues and rapidly rising rent costs, but research reveals the stress of urban living is more than just a daily annoyance — it significantly impacts a person’s mental health. So what is it about the city that makes a person’s anxiety spike?

There are three primary ways.

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What Flaking on Plans Says About Your Mental Health

Woman watching tv on couch messily eating popcorn

I can’t lie — I love how good it feels to flake on plans I really didn’t want any part of in the first place. Sweet relief! (But I swear, I really don’t do this often.)

However, I’ll be the first to admit that my plan cancelling is usually the result of something that runs a little deeper than the desire to stay in my PJs and be lazy on the couch. In fact, flakiness — especially sudden-onset flakiness — can sometimes be an indicator of something going on with your mental health.

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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.

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