Are There Good Reasons for Your Bad Feelings: Interview with Randolph M. Nesse

Randolph M. Nesse

Our relationship with mental health is typically based on challenges we’re currently experiencing — but what if our current issues are rooted in the distant past? Often overlooked is the fact that our predispositions for conditions like depression and anxiety have existed for millenia. From an evolutionary standpoint, why haven’t these detrimental traits and behaviors been filtered out and how might they affect us now?

Randolph M. Nesse, MD, a founder of the field of evolutionary medicine and author of recently-published Good Reasons for Bad Feelings, helped us understand the gap between human physiology and modern environment, and how we can apply this field for better therapy outcomes. Continue reading Are There Good Reasons for Your Bad Feelings: Interview with Randolph M. Nesse

When is Someone Else’s Mental Health Your Business?

Two people sitting next to each other

When the phone buzzed, my heart filled with warmth. With all the news alerts and junk text messages constantly passing through our smartphones, “warm-hearted” is a pretty rare thing to feel from a text notification.

I was going through a rough patch, and the buzzing phone was a message from a friend. She had noticed something was up, and she was just reaching out to express concern and tell me she cared.

These small moments of love, friendship, and concern from people we care about can be life-saving. I mean that literally: Mental health professionals have identified social support and outreach as key in recovery for people at risk of suicide. Even when the stakes aren’t so high, support from loved ones can help us heal and get support in any situation, from workplace troubles to unsafe home or relationship situations. Continue reading When is Someone Else’s Mental Health Your Business?

5 Ways to Break Out of a February Funk

Disco ball head

There are a few things I can always rely on in life: death, taxes, my sister not returning the clothes she borrows, autumn anxiety, and a February funk in the middle of winter gloom.

Even though a count of its days says differently, February feels like the longest month of the year every year. And if I don’t do anything about it, I’m expecting the same this year. Continue reading 5 Ways to Break Out of a February Funk

Why We Repress Memories

Girl with hands over her eyes

For those who study and practice psychology, there is a heated debate surrounding repressed memories. In particular, can or should they be recovered, and when recovered, are they actually accurate?

While some mental health practitioners such as psychologists find repressed memories can be recovered, researchers tend to be less likely to believe in their veracity. To better understand the complexity of this debate, it is important to dig into repressed memories overall. Continue reading Why We Repress Memories

5 Ways to Face Regret

Sad pug

Mistakes linger cruelly in your mind. Something dumb you did in fifth grade can still make you cringe two decades later. And big errors — ones that affect your friends and loved ones — those can depress your entire mood for years at a time.

Regret can be painful. Whether you’re regretting a long-lost relationship, hating yourself for hurt you caused your friend, or simply focused on a poorly thought-out comment, the notion that you should have been better may preoccupy your mind. Continue reading 5 Ways to Face Regret

How to Have an Awesome Existential Crisis

Man sitting in heart room

I recently turned forty, and as soon as I blew out the candles, I waited for “the thing” to happen. You know what I’m talking about, right? The infamous “midlife crisis.” The mother of all existential crises. A force to be reckoned with.

Knock on wood — I seem to have gotten only a mild version of a midlife existential crisis. Well, at least so far. I do find myself asking all kinds of questions I never asked before, like “Is my life now the best it’s ever going to get?” and “What if I die never accomplishing anything better than this?” Continue reading How to Have an Awesome Existential Crisis

Is it Okay to Not Feel Okay?

Guy with ok hat

“Look on the bright side! Everything happens for a reason — you’ll see.”

When things go wrong in life, people love to throw clichés at the problem. Maybe it’s not even a big problem, maybe you’re just having an off day. But when people notice, they’re quick to try cheering you up.

Expressing unpleasant emotions makes people around you uncomfortable. Maybe they don’t want their own mood impacted by your negativity; perhaps don’t want to confront their own complicated feelings about negativity. But this discomfort might make you wonder — it’s ok for you to feel bad, right? Continue reading Is it Okay to Not Feel Okay?

Why Are Impulsive Behaviors So Hard to Control?

A group of men at a party

Many of us don’t know exactly why we take the actions we do. From overeating when you’re not hungry, to having yet another drink on a weeknight, or texting someone we know we shouldn’t be texting, controlling impulsive behavior can be a tremendous challenge.

Why do we act on these impulses? There are a range of reasons, and understanding which of them apply to you can help you figure out how to best address your impulsivity.

Continue reading Why Are Impulsive Behaviors So Hard to Control?

Can You Really Change Your Personality?

Butterflies in different metamorphic stages

Some people have enviable levels of self-esteem and think that their sparkling personalities are flawless, set just the way they are. But others of us often wonder whether certain aspects of our personalities can be changed. Being more extroverted, for example, sounds like fun, or being more confident or risk-taking.

This begs the question: How much of our personalities are set in stone? Can we really change who we are?

Continue reading Can You Really Change Your Personality?

Does Science Back Up Anxiety and Depression “Miracle” Cures?

Colored viles

Fact: Americans are anxious. Research shows anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 18.1 percent of Americans each year and one-third of Americans over their lifetimes. So, it’s no surprise that a blanket marketed as able to assist with uneasiness and nervousness raised $4.7 million on Kickstarter.

It didn’t start with blankets, however, and it doesn’t end with blankets. There are adult coloring books, aromatherapy candles, essential oils, sun lamps, and a slew of other products that claim are designed to calm people down. So, do they? Continue reading Does Science Back Up Anxiety and Depression “Miracle” Cures?