By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.
The holidays are often a time for gathering with people we don’t see much during the year-- distant relatives, neighbors, and friends of the family that by chance or by choice are not part of our everyday lives. At its worst, negotiating the several hours of a holiday dinner can feel painstaking or repetitive. But having a handy list of the questions that avoid causing conflict and instead open up the door to engaging and meaningful conversation can turn those long holiday meals into a time for joy and connection.
A new study in the American Journal of Health Education looked at the impact of a popular wearable lifestyle technology on teen exercise habits. At first, the 13 and 14 year olds reported being more motivated -- by guilt and competition to meet the fitness goals. But the positive trend in their desire to improve exercise habits did not last. The study revealed, it’s not that simple.
By Dr. Danielle Keenan-Miller
The holiday season comes with an onslaught of requests for your time and money: envelopes from non-profits arriving to ask for donations, soup kitchens requesting volunteers, and even the ringing bell of the Salvation Army santa. In the midst of the stress, lack of sleep, and (let’s be honest) grumpy mood that can accompany the holiday season, it’s easy to tell ourselves that we don’t have the time, energy, or resources to give. However, the science of altruism suggests that accepting some of these requests, rather than depleting us, would likely improve our well-being (in addition to contributing to the social good).
By Dr. Gia Marson
A day that seems to be all about food can be very stressful if you are trying to recover from an eating disorder. Here are some tips that can help you manage well on Thanksgiving. Starting by...
Therapists have long known that the key to conquering fears is facing them and learning that you can survive. In fact, the therapy based on that concept, called exposure therapy, is the treatment of choice for a number of psychological problems, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, anxiety disorders, and PTSD. For example, if you went to therapy because you were afraid of dogs, that therapy should include things like looking at pictures or movies of dogs, going to dog parks, petting dogs, and maybe even engaging with dogs that seem scary. Current theory of how exposure therapy works is that it helps people learn something new about their feared situation-- that the outcome that they fear is unlikely to happen, or that if it does happen, it’s not the end of the world.
"Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging" --Joseph Campbell
As if overcoming a serious eating disorder isn't challenging enough, more than half of people with bulimia nervosa also deal with a depressive disorder. New reseach is encouraging for those working to recover from both.
We’re all aware that “fat talk” -- that is, talking about dissatisfaction with our own bodies or making negative comments about the bodies of others-- are harmful to ourselves and those around us (not to mention foster a negative social environment where women’s bodies are commodified). But far fewer of us are aware of how dangerous it is to even mentally compare our bodies, exercise, and eating habits to those of other women. Our culture’s obsession with social media, reality TV, and celebrity watching have enabled us to make detailed comparisons between our lives and those of people we may have never even met, and there’s reason to suspect that those comparisons are hurting us.
by Dr. Gia Marson
"The Intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind a faithful servant, we have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." - Albert Einstein
We live in a complex world, bombarded by media & technology. It is easy to default to spending our days reacting to external stimuli. This strategy can get you through days, weeks and even years. But it may not get you what you truly want. If you have been busy chasing your life as opposed to living it, I want to encourage you to make change-- to a life of acting rather than reacting. One well researched, simple method to shift away from responding to forces around you and toward being centered and value driven is meditation. Evidence shows it can improve your mental and physical health...and it feels good.
By Dr. Gia Marson
France now requires all retouched, airbrushed or altered photos to come with a warning. The purpose of the new law that went into effect Sunday, is “to avoid promoting inaccessible ideals of beauty and to prevent anorexia among young people...Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic body images leads to a feeling of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can have an impact on health-related behaviour” according to their former health minister, Marisol Touraine.¹
By Dr. Gia Marson
Spreading hope is part of what I love about being a psychologist. The following quotes have been shared anonymously by courageous people in recovery from eating disorders. I hope they inspire you to overcome any challenges you may be facing or to share your own success story.