New Hope For Depression

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Every week, when Ian Hanley sits down with his therapist, he goes through a list of depression treatments he’s been researching online. The best-known treatments at the top of the list–half a dozen antidepressants and known combinations of those drugs–are all crossed out. “My therapist says he’s never had this much difficulty with somebody,” says Hanley, “which is sort of …

Microdosing Medical Marijuana for Depression

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We can’t help but think sometimes that “more is better.” However, that is often not the case when it comes to medicine. For example, small daily doses of aspirin may help reduce stroke risk in some people. However, a whole bottle of aspirin is dangerous. Likewise, you don’t want to overdo it with medical marijuana for depression. People typically need …

The Dilemma of High-Functioning Depression

Counselling Ottawa Nepean

High-functioning depression, or dysthymia. may be harder to detect than major depressive disorder (MDD) because the people living with it are often high achievers who make you think everything is all right all the time. I had a difficult time beginning this piece because the topic hit very close to home. I’ve suffered from depression pretty much my entire life. …

Hearing colors and tasting sounds

Counselling Ottawa

Can you taste sounds or visualize symphonies of color whenever you hear a song? If your answer to these is “yes,” you may have a wonderful condition known as synesthesia, which you share with many great artists, writers, and musicians. Writer Vladimir Nabokov had it, and he called it “color hearing.” By his own account, Nabokov saw each letter in …

How Your Mind, Under Stress, Gets Better at Processing Bad News

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Some of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime will occur while you feel stressed and anxious. From medical decisions to financial and professional ones, we are often required to weigh up information under stressful conditions. Take for example expectant parents who need to make a series of important choices during pregnancy and labour – when many …

Where Does Happiness Reside in the Brain?

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Neuroscience research points toward the role our brains play in our happiness, even if we don’t understand all the brain’s mysteries yet. Ever wonder why we get a warm feeling when we come home? Or why laughter makes us feel so good? Or why, even though exercise is good for us, so many of us tend to avoid it? If …

On Self-Loathing

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We are all our own worst critics. Truly, we beat ourselves up for things that others would never even think about, let alone berate us for, and we often hold ourselves up to damned near impossible standards. That’s all pretty normal. What can be a cause for concern is when several contributing factors all team up to make us truly …

Does Nature Shape Our Personalities More Than Nurture?

Newport-Beach Psychologist

The nature vs. nurture debate is nothing new. Simply put, it’s a question of whether genes or environment matter more when it comes to how our personalities are shaped. This is an ongoing debate and will likely continue to be because there are so many ways to look at it. It’s important to keep in mind that nature refers to …

Infantilization and What It Means to Infantilize

Newport-Beach-Psychologist

The simple definition of infantilization is treating a child much younger than their actual age. For some parents, this becomes their ‘normal’ way of child rearing, and it can lead to unhealthy development in the child. But, it’s usually an issue with the parent that triggers infantilization in the first place. It’s not uncommon to look at your little one …

The Complexities of Self Sabotage

Newport-Beach Psychologist

Learn more about what it means to self-sabotage and how you can overcome it. A behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it interferes with long-standing goals and makes it harder for one to succeed. To put it another way, self-sabotage is the conflict between your conscious and unconscious desires that manifest in self-limiting patterns. Self-sabotage can be severely damaging …

Toxic Conversations & Objective Truth

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In a key moment of the final Trump-Clinton presidential debate, Donald Trump turned to a question regarding Russian president Vladimir Putin: “He has no respect for her,” Trump said, pointing at Hillary Clinton. “Putin, from everything I see, has no respect for this person.” The two debaters then drilled down to try and gain a more nuanced understanding of the …

What Happens to Creativity as We Age?

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One day not long ago, Augie, a 4-year-old Gopnik grandchild, heard his grandfather wistfully say, “I wish I could be a kid again.” After a thoughtful pause, Augie came up with a suggestion: Grandpa should try not eating any vegetables. The logic was ingenious: Eating vegetables turns children into big strong adults, so not eating vegetables should reverse the process. …

Alexa, Are You Safe For My Kids?

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Earlier this month, the toy-giant Mattel announced it had pulled the plug on plans to sell an interactive gadget for children. The device, called Aristotle, looked similar to a baby monitor with a camera. Critics called it creepy. Powered by artificial intelligence, Aristotle could get to know your child — at least that was how the device was being pitched. …

Do Cultural Differences Change What Depression Feels Like?

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The contrasting ways Chinese people and Westerners express symptoms could point to distinct experiences of the same disorder. Just after lunchtime, on a blistering summer day in Washington, D.C., cultural psychologist Yulia Chentsova-Dutton is showing me the stars. They’re on her computer screen at Georgetown University, and labeled disturbingly: insomnia, anhedonia, headache, social withdrawal, chronic pain, and more. Each star …

When Anger is Your Go-To Emotion

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Anger is my emotional factory setting. I inherited the trait from my father. He used to punch empty cardboard boxes in the grocery store, where he worked after school. His father had been angry too; Wilsons have been short-tempered for generations. It didn’t help that when I was a kid playing sports, over-aggression was prized. It was called being competitive. …

How We Lost Our Work-Life Balance

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How to Reclaim Your Weekend A new book explains how we lost our work-life balance, why it matters, and what to do about it. It’s funny how my weekends no longer feel like weekends of yore. Instead of spending time in play, exercise, or community pursuits, often as not I end up catching up on work, answering emails, or doing …

Tweaking the gut microbiome may hold promise for fighting stress, anxiety

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Each night before “Greg” goes to bed he brushes and flosses his teeth. Then he double-checks the instructions on the dark brown bottle his nurse gave him before he unscrews the cap and tips five drops of a light-amber, oily liquid onto a spoon. The brew, glistening from the light of the bathroom fixture, is tasteless and has no odor …

Sleep may help us to forget by rebalancing brain synapses

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New research provides evidence for the idea that sleep restores cellular homeostasis in the brain and helps us to forget irrelevant information. We spend one third of our lives sleeping, but we still do not know exactly why we sleep. Recent research shows that that the brain does its housekeeping while we sleep, and clears away its waste. According to …

Turning Negative Thinkers Into Positive Ones

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Most mornings as I leave the Y after my swim and shower, I cross paths with a coterie of toddlers entering with their caregivers for a kid-oriented activity. I can’t resist saying hello, requesting a high-five, and wishing them a fun time. I leave the Y grinning from ear to ear, uplifted not just by my own workout but even …

What I Learned From a Stroke at 26: Make Time to Untangle

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As an idealistic, knowledge-hungry college graduate and aspiring writer, I had grown tired of hopping from one office gig to the next. It was 2000 and technology was in full bloom. I wanted to cash in on the digital gold rush. Like many of my friends in Austin, Tex., I figured, why not join the internet economy? I answered an …

How Silicon Valley Can Help You Get Unstuck

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At one time or another, many of us feel stuck: in the wrong job, the wrong relationship, the wrong city – the wrong life. Christine Metzger felt that way. After a decade of working in education administration, she woke up one day and realized she wasn’t the person she wanted to be. Christine found what seemed like just the change …

Just a few weeks of therapy is associated with significant and long-lasting changes

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Imagine the arrival of some high-tech brain device for treating mental health problems. It’s effective for many, but there’s an important side-effect. It changes your personality. Alarm ensues as campaigners warn that users risk being altered fundamentally for years to come. Now replay this scenario but replace the neuro-gizmo with good old-fashioned psychotherapy, and realise this: we’re talking fact, not …

A kinder, gentler philosophy of success

A kinder, gentler philosophy of success

Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure — and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure? He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work. To see his Ted Talk, click here.

How Exercise Might Keep Depression at Bay

How Exercise Might Keep Depression at Bay

Exercise may be an effective treatment for depression and might even help prevent us from becoming depressed in the first place, according to three timely new studies. The studies pool outcomes from past research involving more than a million men and women and, taken together, strongly suggest that regular exercise alters our bodies and brains in ways that make us …

Lots Of Other Countries Mandate Paid Leave. Why Not The U.S.?

Lots Of Other Countries Mandate Paid Leave. Why Not The U.S.?

If you’ve been paying attention to the political news in the past couple of years, you know that the U.S. stands virtually alone in not mandating paid leave of any type for its workers. It’s hard to miss; the topic has become a top talking point for Democratic politicians. Hillary Clinton is advocating for stronger paid-leave policies on the campaign …

The Art of Condolence

The Art of Condolence

Offering a written expression of condolence (from the Latin word condolere, to grieve or to suffer with someone) used to be a staple of polite society. “A letter of condolence may be abrupt, badly constructed, ungrammatical — never mind,” advised the 1960 edition of Emily Post. “Grace of expression counts for nothing; sincerity alone is of value.” But these days, …

The End of Reflection

The End of Reflection

There are many moments throughout my average day that, lacking print reading material in a previous era, were once occupied by thinking or observing my surroundings: walking or waiting somewhere, riding the subway, lying in bed unable to sleep or before mustering the energy to get up. Now, though, I often find myself in these situations picking up my phone …

Life With A New Frame of Reference

Life With A New Frame of Reference

We all carry in our heads invisible frames of reference that filter our experience and shape the way we see the world around us. Those frames are the product of many things — our cultural experience, our assumptions, but also our biology and the way the biology of our particular mind focuses our attention in the world. To read more …

Is Your Personality Fixed, Or Can You Change Who You Are?

Is Your Personality Fixed, Or Can You Change Who You Are?

This is the story of a prisoner who committed a horrible crime and says he’s no longer the same person who did it. It’s also the story of why it’s so hard for us to believe him. In the early 1960s, a young psychologist at Harvard University was assigned to teach a class on personality. Though Walter Mischel was excited …

Where Does the Time Go? How to Keep Track

Where Does the Time Go? How to Keep Track

How busy are we, exactly? The author and time management expert Laura Vanderkam decided to answer that question for herself. She tracked her time for an entire year (8,784 hours in a leap year), and in doing so learned her life was a bit less hectic than she thought. Ms. Vanderkam, a working mother of four young children, recently wrote …