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
“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?
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?
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?
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?
At a young age, many of us are taught that telling a lie is absolutely bad. Yet as we grow up, we slowly become exposed to small, “white” lies — those told to keep us from becoming upset or sad. Even as we transition into adulthood, well-meaning lies are often told to shield a person from criticism or added hardship. But can we ever be sure telling a lie is the right thing to do? Continue reading Is it Ever Okay to Lie?
It’s typically easy to recognize “problematic” mental health — most of the time we know how to recognize anxiety, depression, stress, conflict…the list goes on. When we strive for good mental health, however, it’s a little harder to figure out exactly what that means.
What is good mental health, and how do we know when we’ve got it? Everything you need to know can be found below. Continue reading What Is “Good” Mental Health?
What defense mechanisms are holding you back?
Psychoanalytic theory holds that there are certain defense mechanisms that people use in order to cope with life stressors. While it’s normal to have and employ defense mechanisms, they can, paradoxically, end up making your life a lot harder in the long run. Continue reading Which Defense Mechanisms Are Holding You Back?
A lot of the time, impulsive people truly can’t help their behavior. In fact, some folks are genetically predisposed to impulsivity, and a handful of mental illnesses such as borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder are characterized by impulsive behaviors. You don’t have to have a mental illness to act impulsively, but engaging in such behaviors might be wreaking more havoc on your mental health than you thought.
Here are 5 examples of (many different) impulsive behaviors that could be destroying your mental health.
Continue reading 5 Impulsive Behaviors That Are Destroying Your Mental Health
“Is this normal?”
As a therapist who works with children and teens, I hear this question frequently. Adolescents go through changes in such a short period, teens (and parents) may wonder if they’re losing their grip. Continue reading A Parent’s Guide to Teen Mental Health