Showing posts from October 28, 2018

Mood Swings: What’s Normal (or Not)

Are My Mood Swings Normal?


You're up. You're down. And you're soon up again. It seems like you spend your days riding an emotional roller coaster.

Are these changes normal? The answer is "maybe" -- so long as they don't disrupt your life or the lives of people around you.

Many things can affect how your mood shifts throughout the day. For example, because of body rhythms, most people feel upbeat and energetic around noon but tend to have more negative feelings during the early afternoon or evening.

Sometimes, mood swings are a symptom of a mental illness. Or they could be a clue that something else is happening in your body.

Serious mood shifts that threaten your well-being can be treated by medical professionals. Lifestyle changes can often help mild ones.

But first, you'll need to figure out what could be causing your bumpy ride.

Stress and Anxiety
Day-to-day hassles and unexpected surprises -- both the good kind and the unpleasant ones -- can definitely …

Stuck in a Relationship?

Asking 'Why' Just Keeps You Stuck - What to Ask Yourself Instead

By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

When you’re dealing with emotional struggles, your first instinct might be to ask yourself “why” questions – but those will usually get you nowhere. They only give you “because…” answers that generally don’t help. Instead, they tend to send you in circles.

To clarify, consider Stephanie. Her stormy, on-again-off-again relationship with Brad once again blew up. She knew she should move on, but she couldn’t let go of him. So, she asked herself, Why can’t I move on from him? Because I still love him. Why do I still love him? Because he’s everything to me. Why is he everything to me? Because he’s a great guy and I love him…

Too frequently, these questions keep you stuck, not providing a way forward. So, instead, try asking “what” and “how” questions. You are more likely to find answers that will help you really understand your struggle and guide you toward helpful solutions.

Ask what you are …

Be a Massage Pro

Massage Therapy Styles and Health Benefits


Massage has been practiced for thousands of years. Today, if you need or want a massage, you can choose from about 80 massage therapy styles with a wide variety of pressures, movements, and techniques. These all involve pressing, rubbing, or manipulating muscles and other soft tissues with hands and fingers. Sometimes, even forearms, elbows, or feet are used.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, up to 25 percent of American adults had a massage at least once during 2016-2017. And, they have a wide range of reasons for doing so. More and more people -- especially baby boomers -- recognize the health benefits of massage. They choose from among many massage styles to get relief from symptoms or to heal injuries, to help with certain health conditions, and to promote overall wellness. Here is information you can use to help you decide what types of massage will work best for you. Which Massage Styles Are Best? You may have notic…

What Are You Doing With Your Freedom?

"What are you doing with your freedom?" Tom Weidlinger stumbled across this unexpected question along with a series of other electrifying messages that had been left at the base of a tree by an anonymous artist. The timing was uncanny. Tom had only recently discovered that the woman who was responsible for financing his film-making career no longer knew who he was. With his livelihood hanging in the balance he'd taken a hike. Read on for an intriguing story that reminds us that life's coincidences are sometimes anything but "mere".

What's So Great About Planks?

Love ’em or hate ’em, planks are a staple in the fitness world -- for good reason.

By Gina Harney

As a group fitness instructor, I know I’m going to see two types of reactions when I tell a class to plank:
Groans from the people who hate planks with a fiery passion;
Grins from the people who absolutely love them.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, planks are a staple in the fitness world. And for good reason: they challenge your entire body (particularly your core), they don’t require equipment, and almost anyone can do them (modify by placing your hands on a wall, a chair, or lowering your knees to the floor).
So what’s so great about planks?
Planks build core strength, promote balance, and encourage solid posture. And they’re an extremely “functional” exercise, which means that they mimic movement that we perform throughout the day (when we’re standing, we’re in a moving plank!).
For the best plank possible, keep your neck long, pull in your belly, press back through your heels, and keep your hips in li…

Leave the Painful Past Behind

The best way to make peace with a difficult past is to bring it closer. Here’s how.


All of us have painful experiences in our past that we’d like to forget. But despite our best efforts to leave it behind, the past often has a painful grip on us, and can influence how we think, act, and feel in the present.

Much of my work as a therapist is about helping people make peace with a difficult past—an abusive mother, a traumatic assault, a broken relationship. My patients and I usually spend a lot of our time together addressing exactly the things they’d like to ignore. And for good reason—the most effective way to leave the past behind is to bring it closer to better understand it.

In posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example, one of the best-tested treatments involves repeatedly retelling the memory of the traumatic event, which allows us to process the painful emotions tied to the trauma.

There are three main ways we can change our relationship with the past,…

9 Tips for Better Posture

Don't Be a SlouchIt adds to the stress on your spine. That puts a strain on the bones, muscles, and joints you need to hold your backbone in place. But lousy posture isn't just bad for your back. A constant slump smashes your inside organs together, and makes it harder for your lungs and intestines to work. Over time, that’ll make it hard to digest food or get enough air when you breathe. Swipe to advance 2/9 Straighten UpA great way to prevent posture problems? Stand up tall. You'll feel better and look better -- slimmer, even. Pretend you’re standing against a wall to measure your height. Hold your head straight and tuck in your chin. Your ears should be over the middle of your shoulders. Stand with your shoulders back, knees straight, and belly tucked in. Don't let your booty or hips stick out. Straighten up so you feel like your head stretches toward the sky. Swipe to advance 3/9 Don't Slump at Your DeskIt's comfy to slouch -- maybe even lean back and swivel a bi…

Can a Protest Make You Change Your Vote?

A new study shows that both liberal and conservative protests have had a real impact on U.S. House elections.

By Edmund L. Andrews

From anti-war marches in the 1960s to the Tea Party rallies of 2010 and the almost-nonstop progressive protests in 2018, marching in the streets has been a fixture of modern American life.

But do protests actually accomplish anything in terms of election results or the balance of party power?

Absolutely yes, according to a new study based on 30 years of data.

Co-authored by Sarah A. Soule at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Daniel Q. Gillion at the University of Pennsylvania, the study finds that spikes in both liberal and conservative protest activity can increase or decrease a candidate’s vote by enough to change the final outcome.

“Many people are skeptical that protests matter to electoral outcomes, but our paper finds that they have a profound effect on voter behavior,” says Soule. “Liberal protests lead Democrats to vote on the issues that reso…

Pablo Neruda Against the Illusion of Separateness

"There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song -- but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny." The great Chilean poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda was only a small boy, just over the cusp of preconscious memory, when he had a revelation about why we make art. It seeded in him a lifelong devotion to literature as a supreme tool that widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things." Read more of the creative thoughts and feelings of this extraordinary man.

A Call to Caring

"At the heart of caring is an 'and' not an 'or'. Deep within us lies a potential that transcends our artificial limitations. Can we embrace the possibility that we are fully capable of caring globally, in every direction -- that the compass of our caring could open 360 degrees?" In his new book 'Caring' Tibetan lama Tarthang Thulku dives deep into an exploration of caring the potent antidote it offers to the ills of our time. The following excerpt, authored by his daughter shares thoughts on how to create a more caring world.

The Emotions That Make You Decide to Vote

Research suggests that instilling emotions like gratitude and civic pride may help increase voter turnout.

Voting is an act of altruism. When you vote, you are taking your personal time and effort to advance the collective good, without any guarantee of personal reward—the very heart of what it means to be altruistic.

For many, voting is a civic duty. However, in the United States, there is a large contingent of people who don’t vote, even in presidential elections. Voting can be particularly low in midterm elections—which are coming up on November 6—where the number of nonvoters often exceeds voters.

Political psychology researchers have been studying what encourages voting behavior, hoping to create interventions that might increase voting in the general public. “Because voting is a prosocial behavior, the kinds of things that should stimulate other types of prosocial behavior should have similar impacts on voting,” says Costas Panagopoulos of Northeastern University.


5 Ways Small Actions Have Huge Power

Often we feel like change must come through big donors or governments rather than the ordinary person. But it is just those ordinary people who can work together to change the world. In this delightful graphic from YES Magazine, take to heart the importance of the little gesture.

Your Personality Type: Does It Matter?

By Seth J. Gillihan, PhD

According to this expert, it depends, but there is value in identifying your strengths and needs. It can also help in these other ways.
You probably feel like you know yourself—how you tend to think, act, and feel in certain situations. You know that you prefer intimate gatherings with a few friends over big parties, or that you’re a bit of a perfectionist. Psychologists call these characteristic patterns personality. As interest in learning about personality has grown, many different kinds of personality assessments have become popular. You may have taken one at some point, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the DiSC assessment, the Enneagram…the list goes on. I should note that, while many people swear by these popular personality tests, most don’t have research to back them up. However, we do have solid research showing that there are five basic personality traits: openness to new experience, extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and emotional sta…

Health Benefits of Family Walks

The easiest way to get kids to use walking as a tool to manage stress is for parents to do it themselves. See how else a walk can help your family.
"Walking is the best possible exercise," said Thomas Jefferson. Our third President believed at the turn of the 19th century what science confirms today—walking can improve physical and mental health. Walking is a healthy activity that can make us feel better and improve how we feel. In recent months, scientists have confirmed what many of us knew already––that these effects take place right away—often within 30 minutes. With that kind of discovery, it’s time to get up and go for a walk! What can walking do for you and your family? Walking can show your kids healthy ways to manage stress. Your kids likely can tell when you’re feeling overwhelmed or tense. How you deal with those feelings sends them a powerful message. Perhaps you have your own set of positive stress-busters like listening to music, reading a book, taking a bath, or …

How Creative Writing Can Increase Students’ Resilience

Students can find strength and community in sharing their stories through writing.BY LAURA BEAN
Many of my seventh-grade students do not arrive at school ready to learn. Their families often face financial hardship and live in cramped quarters, which makes it difficult to focus on homework. The responsibility for cooking and taking care of younger siblings while parents work often falls on these twelve year olds’ small shoulders. Domestic violence and abuse are also not uncommon.

To help traumatized students overcome their personal and academic challenges, one of our first jobs as teachers is to build a sense of community. We need to communicate that we care and that we welcome them into the classroom just as they are. One of the best ways I’ve found to connect with my students, while also nurturing their reading and writing skills, is through creative writing.

For the past three years, I’ve invited students in my English Language Development (ELD) classes to observe their thoughts, sit …