The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.

~Chinese Proverb~

Blog posts : "mental health"

Why Music Is A Mood Lifter and Brain Tonic

April 17, 2015

Most of us do not need proof that listening to music can lift our mood. We simply accept what experience tells us.

That does not stop researchers from looking for reasons why music positively affects our feelings and perceptions. Scientists in Finland at the University of Helsinki, for instance, …

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Short Winter Days and Holidays: Six Ways to Sidestep SAD

December 14, 2014

As the Christmas Carol goes, “It’s that time of year when the world falls in love,” but it is also the time of year when daylight savings time is over, daylight hours are shorter, and many people suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Our body’s circadian rhythm, or its 24 hour interna…

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Depression, Anxiety, and Overthinking

September 17, 2014

Overthinking is examining and reexamining negative emotions, thoughts, and memories. Both men and women can fall into a pattern of overthinking, although women tend to do it more often.

While standard worrywarts fret about the future, overthinkers circle their negative mental wagons around past occ…

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How Music Therapy Relieves Depression

August 4, 2014

We do not hear much about music therapy for depression, although studies showing it effectively relieves depressive symptoms have been done.

Music therapy involves a trained music therapist engaging in improvisational music-making with a client. It seems that the “active doing” of playing musical i…

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How Our Words and Feelings Influence Each Other

July 6, 2014

Maybe you have noticed that many positively charged words contain the “i” sound (e.g., like, high), while many negatively charged words have an “o” sound (e.g. lonely, low).

Some scientists noticed this is true in many languages, and wondered why. Their research shows that the way our mouth…

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Non-Military Triggers of PTSD

June 18, 2014

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be triggered by various traumatic experiences, but the symptoms are most often recognized in individuals suffering military related trauma.

This is not surprising since military experience and PTSD are frequently linked in TV shows, films, and the news medi…

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Why Depressed People Can Often Manage Practicing Yoga

May 6, 2014

There are many scientific reasons why yoga is good exercise choice for people with depression.

Practicing yoga helps us become mindful of the present, reduces stress, and helps balance the body’s hormones. Research suggests yoga increases the release of our feel-good neurotransmitters (e.g., seroto…

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Why Self-Compassion Is A Wise and Practical Choice

February 26, 2014

Compassionate action arises when we understand that beneath our different circumstances and appearances lies an essential oneness, a shared human experience.

Though we know this oneness includes our self, many of us have an easier time extending compassion to strangers than to the person reflecte…

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Meditating on Compassion Builds a Happy Brain

September 27, 2013

When you roll a genetic scientist and monk into one human being, you end up with Matthieu Ricard, a very happy individual with a passion for the perks of meditation.

He wants others to understand that meditation alters the brain just as weight-lifting changes muscle, and that anyone who trains his …

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Solid, Liquid, Gas: Water Can Teach Us Thought Management

September 3, 2013

We know that water can be a solid, liquid or gas. That makes water an excellent metaphor or illustration for thoughts, which can also be a solid, liquid or gas.

What we feel has much to do with how we think. Knowing the difference between “types” of thoughts can help us manage our depression, anxie…

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One Woman’s Experience with PTSD Stigma and Recovery: An Interview

July 28, 2013

You learn the most about mental health diagnoses by talking to people who have them, especially those who have lived with symptoms for many years.

I interviewed Ginny, a 50-something-year-old woman who has struggled with, and learned to manage, symptoms of PTSD.

Part of Ginny’s PTSD journey is dea…

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Dreams and Depression: How the Depressed Brain Does Sleep

July 14, 2013

In The Twenty-Four Hour Mind, sleep researcher Rosalind D. Cartwright writes about dreams as a means of regulating distressing emotion.

She also shares what research has discovered about rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in people who are  depressed.

Cartwright believes that dreams, which occur duri…

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We May Give Our Brain Too Much Credit For Our Behavior

June 27, 2013

We have been taught that thinking (cognition) happens in the gray matter housed in our skull.

It is natural for us to assume that everything we do is the result of complex mental computations that go on there. And it is logical for us to assume that if a person is not managing life well, the proble…

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More Magnesium Could Mean Less Anxiety

June 8, 2013

Our bodies cannot function without the mineral magnesium, and that includes the proper working of neurons and neurotransmitters in the brain.

Research indicates that magnesium  is required for our nervous system to relax from the effects of fear and  anxiety.

Magnesium also supports the brain me…

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The Lessons and Liabilities of Loneliness

May 26, 2013

Most of us, when we speak of loneliness or of being lonely, are talking about a feeling. It is a feeling described as emptiness tinged with longing, sadness or grief.

We may feel cutoff from others, bleak, desolate or desperate whether in a room by ourself, in company with significant others, or at…

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What the Body Needs To Produce Serotonin

May 15, 2013

Our physical, mental, emotional, and chemical well being are interrelated.

We can study these aspects of health separately and address problems in these areas separately, but whatever affects one area touches all the others, for good or ill.

Something that has an immediate impact on each aspect of hea…

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Vitamin D and Depression: Will Supplements Help?

April 26, 2013

We all know vitamin D is necessary for good health and that a lack of it can contribute to numerous health problems. Is depression one of those problems?

Research on the role vitamin D plays in mental health is growing. So far, studies have yielded links and tendencies between mood and levels of vita…

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Falling Apart? How To Create Mental-Emotional Glue

April 15, 2013

One of the best coping methods for stress and symptoms of a mental illness is having a creative outlet, an activity we can pour ourselves into.

It can be anything we deeply engage in such as gardening, scrapbooking, baking, yoga, writing, woodworking, or painting. Writing poems is an excellent creati…

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Finding Light In the Darkness of Depression

April 1, 2013

Our experience of life has much to do with the way we see or perceive it. One of the reasons a poem can be life altering is that it may change our experience by changing our view or perception of it.

April is National Poetry Month, the perfect time to explore the positive and profound effect well-ch…

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Three Ways To Ditch Your Dark Depressive Thoughts

March 22, 2013

When you are caught in a depressive funk, it is important to get away from your thoughts.

Although these thoughts can seem inescapable, they’re not. We can escape them because our awareness is something we can control.

It takes effort to move our awareness where we want it, but with practice it gets…

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