Photoshopped Images Need Labels by Gia & Danielle

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

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Make 2 Friends and Call Me In The Morning: Building Social Connections to Improve Health by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

In Western culture, which places a lot of value on the role of the individual, maintaining our physical and mental health is typically seen as a solo venture. It’s presumed that our well-being is largely under our own control, and improving our health is something we should be able to tackle independently. However, a large body of evidence from different fields of psychology and medicine are highlighting the key role that our relationships play in our health.

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Actions Speak Louder than Words, in Eating Disorder Recovery by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

Does this sound familiar? You want to recover but you also want to keep a few of the familiar eating disorder behaviors. Maybe you want to ignore your body’s hunger or fullness cues or stay at a weight that your treatment team tells you is not healthy. While recovering, you may want to maintain certain parts of the eating disorder that seem comforting and comfortable. You may have even convinced yourself that you can pick and choose which behaviors or beliefs to keep and which to release. There are so many versions of resistance to change, so many symptoms you may be unwilling to give up. If so, you are not alone.

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How a Suicide Prevention Song Inspires Hope & Help-Seeking by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

We were recently reminded how much of a positive difference one person can make. At the Video Music Awards, singer Logic performed a moving song about suicide prevention and mental health. The song called "1-800-273-8255" is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The day after the song was released, the hotline had the second-highest call volume in its history.¹ Callers reached out for help. Logic’s honest songwriting and courageous performance revealed his own history of suffering and inspired hope through positive action. He connected through our shared humanity. He generated help-seeking. Now, calls to the hotline are up more than 30% from this time last year.

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Use 3 C’s to Improve Body Image: Catch it, Check it, Change it by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

Can we agree that weight and health are not synonyms? Even though most of us recognize this in theory, our everyday language confuses the two words. Furthermore, our conversations are littered with negative assumptions about what it means to have a higher BMI or weight. Research shows that weight bias is the fourth most frequently reported form of discrimination and there has been a 66% increase in its occurrence between 1995 and 2006.¹

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Say My Name: The Power of Naming Emotions by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

In the process of trying to avoid, push away, or minimize negative emotions, people often miss one of the most simple and powerful ways to change emotions: naming them. It sounds somewhat counterintuitive—why would saying I feel sad or anxious help me to feel better? In fact, when asked how much naming a negative emotion would help them to feel better, most people do not think that it will be a useful strategy.¹ However, a large body of evidence now exists to suggest that this simple, easy-to-use technique can be powerful for helping people to get a hold of strong negative emotions.

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Why do we Confuse Weight and Health? by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

Can we agree that weight and health are not synonyms? Even though most of us recognize this in theory, our everyday language confuses the two words. Furthermore, our conversations are littered with negative assumptions about what it means to have a higher BMI or weight. Research shows that weight bias is the fourth most frequently reported form of discrimination and there has been a 66% increase in its occurrence between 1995 and 2006.¹

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The Tyranny of “Should” Thoughts: 3 Questions to Fight Back by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

One of the most common and most problematic types of unhelpful cognitions are “should” thoughts.¹ Sometimes they take the form of thinking you “should” want or not want something, be some special way, or meet some particular (and usually arbitrary) standard. Other times, “should” thoughts are embedded in a deeper sense of whether our actions or someone else’s behaviors are right or wrong. These thoughts are often so deeply ingrained into our way of seeing the world that we might not even notice their presence.

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Want to Reduce Binge Eating? Use Your imagination by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

Michael Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman believes vivid imagining (or mental rehearsal) is necessary for peak performance in every endeavor. Bowman says “the brain cannot distinguish between something that’s vividly imagined and something that’s real...If you can form a strong mental picture and visualize yourself doing it, your brain will immediately find ways to get you there.”¹

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Should You Tell Your Boss About Your Depression? by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

You may have recently read the story of Madalyn Parker, who emailed her boss to let him know she was going to take some days off to attend to her own mental health. Her boss, Ben Congleton, was not only supportive of her in his return email, but responded to reaffirm the “importance of using sick days for mental health” and praised her as an example for others to follow. The story quickly went viral¹, with many people lauding both Madalyn and Ben for being willing to tackle stigma and model the importance of mental health.

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Weighing In on Netflix’s “To The Bone” by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

In “To The Bone”, Ellen, the main character played by Lily Collins, shifts to embrace healing when she faces and accepts the complexities of past missteps, multi-dimensional relationships, the life threatening illness of anorexia nervosa and the difficult recovery journey ahead. As Pema Chodron says… suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there’s anywhere to hide

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How to Improve Your Body Image in 3 Simple Steps by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

Are your thoughts about your body or weight too intense, personal, emotional and overwhelming? Do they interfere in your ability to live well? Does negative body image cause you to avoid social situations?¹ “From womb to tomb, what we look like is an important part of who we are—both to others, as well as ourselves... we experience our bodies through a collection of multidimensional constructs.”²  When the internalized view of your body is strongly negative, you may be engaging in errors of thinking such as exaggerating, personalizing, emotional reasoning, and jumping to conclusions.

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Give Yourself Permission to Have Fun First by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

It seems like there is never quite enough time in the day, the week, or the Summer for everything we want to do. As a therapist, I often encourage people to dedicate more time to self-care, particularly pleasurable and meaningful activities like spending time with friends, being in nature, exercising, or engaging in creative activities. Scientific studies have found that engaging in these types of positive activities improves mood and that increasing positive activities is as effective as more traditional cognitive therapy in the treatment of depression.¹

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Denial is an Enemy, in Mental Health by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

This may seem obvious: but to find solutions, we have to first clarify the problems. In this way, denial is an enemy. When it comes to mental health, we cannot afford to ignore realities-- that suicide, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, bullying, sexual objectification, sexual assault and eating disorders are far too prevalent. Each year, 1 in 5 Americans struggles with mental health issues. Keeping secrets about our individual troubles adds to isolation, to stigma and to the potential damage to our souls.

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Why the Way You Talk About Your Weight Matters by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Danielle Keenan-Miller

I’ve worked with many clients who told me that they used harsh self-talk to keep themselves motivated. In fact, when the idea of using a kinder or more compassionate way of relating to themselves was introduced, many people have told me that they’re afraid they’ll no longer be motivated. There’s no domain in which this self-deprecating approach to motivation is more prominent or socially condoned than appearance, weight, and shape. Think about the last time someone paid you a compliment about your appearance...

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A Body Gratitude Meditation by Gia & Danielle

By Dr. Gia Marson

Go ahead and get comfortable in a chair. Allow your eyes to close gently. Allow your awareness to settle on your breath, traveling in...and out, in and out. Imagine the path of your breath as it comes in warming your body, flowing through your nose, down your throat, and into your lungs and as it flows out, taking with it any tension. Like an ocean wave, it brings in relaxation and takes away stress.

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Learning to Live With Unhelpful Thoughts by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

Your mind is not your friend. Don’t get me wrong-- your brain does lots of wonderful things, most importantly coordinating the many complex and intricate biological systems that must work in harmony for you to stay alive. And in many ways, our minds are responsible for the success of our species, our ability to anticipate, puzzle through problems, and build increasingly complex systems. But on a moment-by-moment basis, there’s a pretty good chance that your mind is not your friend.

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Setting Goals That Work: the Building Blocks of Success by Gia & Danielle

By Danielle Keenan-Miller, Ph.D.

Goals come in all shapes and sizes, large and small, monumental to quotidian. At best, our goals motivate us to make incremental progress towards something we want or something that will improve our lives. But all too often our goals end up being a source of frustration, stress, or disappointment. The difference between accomplishment and failure isn’t the willpower of the person making the attempt. Anyone can be helped to reach their goals more effectively. The difference is in how we create the roadmap for accomplishing goals, starting with how we set goals in the first place.

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Take Steps To Do No Harm: End Weight Compliments by Gia & Danielle

By Gia Marson, Ed.D.

Medical doctors agree to do no harm. Does this responsibility end with them? We are all potential helpers and healers. In every interaction and conversation with family, friends, partners, and strangers, we can either increase light or cast shadows. Yet, sometimes we are unaware of the impact of our actions, especially when cultural norms unintentionally lead us to do harm. We have settled into a destructive normalcy around conversations comparing bodies, weight, shape, and size. Complimenting someone's weight may seem kind and supportive, but it is not.

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