Category Archives: Resilience

The Trauma of Parenthood

0629GRAY-superJumboThe Trauma of Parenthood

We need more time to rest and play!

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Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain

AUG. 9, 2014

Read the full article here

Teen’s Lack of Sleep May Contribute to Depression

Teenagers' sleep patterns may be a clue to their risk of depression.

Teens are notoriously confounding to their parents, especially their mood swings. This interesting article from NPR sheds light on the relationship between lack of sleep and depression in teens. It also explores the role of media and teen moods.

Here’s an excerpt:

Teenagers who don’t get enough sleep are four times as likely to develop major depressive disorder as their peers who sleep more, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. They tracked the habits of more than 4,000 adolescents over a year.

And already depressed teens were four times as likely to lose sleep. “That’s a pretty strong reciprocal relationship,” says behavioral scientist , the study’s lead author.

A lot of adolescents just aren’t getting as much sleep at they should. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nine to 10 hours, but 70 percent of high schoolers don’t meet that requirement

In a second study, researchers in Sweden found that lack of sleep and excessive media use were associated with mental health problems in teens.”

Here’s a link to the full story: http://goo.gl/30lQgo

One of the Reasons Work is So Stressful

This NY Times article sheds light on a new study about the detrimental effect of working in a noisy environment. Its an interesting read and food for thought for those that work in an open office setting. Finding a way to quiet the noise can reduce your stress and mental fatigue on a daily basis.

Read the full article here.

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy

Why the obsession with our kids’ happiness may be dooming them to unhappy adulthoods. A therapist and mother reports.

The Atlantic has a fascinating article on the current trend of parents doing far too much for their children, and doing severe damage to their kids as a result. It looks at the value of letting kids feel frustrated, scared, devastated, lonely, bored, a sense of failure…and then letting them see that they can survive these normal feelings that are part of life. When we let our kids develop coping skills, they have a better chance of becoming functional, and content, adults.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Dan Kindlon, a child psychologist and lecturer at Harvard, warns against what he calls our “discomfort with discomfort” in his book Too Much of a Good Thing: Raising Children of Character in an Indulgent Age. If kids can’t experience painful feelings, Kindlon told me when I called him not long ago, they won’t develop “psychological immunity.”

“It’s like the way our body’s immune system develops,” he explained. “You have to be exposed to pathogens, or your body won’t know how to respond to an attack. Kids also need exposure to discomfort, failure, and struggle. I know parents who call up the school to complain if their kid doesn’t get to be in the school play or make the cut for the baseball team. I know of one kid who said that he didn’t like another kid in the carpool, so instead of having their child learn to tolerate the other kid, they offered to drive him to school themselves. By the time they’re teenagers, they have no experience with hardship. Civilization is about adapting to less-than-perfect situations, yet parents often have this instantaneous reaction to unpleasantness, which is ‘I can fix this.’”

Wendy Mogel is a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who, after the publication of her book The Blessing of a Skinned Knee a decade ago, became an adviser to schools all over the country. When I talked to her this spring, she said that over the past few years, college deans have reported receiving growing numbers of incoming freshmen they’ve dubbed “teacups” because they’re so fragile that they break down anytime things don’t go their way. “Well-intentioned parents have been metabolizing their anxiety for them their entire childhoods,” Mogel said of these kids, “so they don’t know how to deal with it when they grow up.”

Which might be how people like my patient Lizzie end up in therapy. “You can have the best parenting in the world and you’ll still go through periods where you’re not happy,” Jeff Blume, a family psychologist with a busy practice in Los Angeles, told me when I spoke to him recently. “A kid needs to feel normal anxiety to be resilient. If we want our kids to grow up and be more independent, then we should prepare our kids to leave us every day.”

But that’s a big if. Blume believes that many of us today don’t really want our kids to leave, because we rely on them in various ways to fill the emotional holes in our own lives. Kindlon and Mogel both told me the same thing. Yes, we devote inordinate amounts of time, energy, and resources to our children, but for whose benefit?

“We’re confusing our own needs with our kids’ needs and calling it good parenting,” Blume said, letting out a sigh. I asked him why he sighed. (This is what happens when two therapists have a conversation.) “It’s sad to watch,” he explained. “I can’t tell you how often I have to say to parents that they’re putting too much emphasis on their kids’ feelings because of their own issues. If a therapist is telling you to pay less attention to your kid’s feelings, you know something has gotten way of out of whack.”

See the full article here: http://goo.gl/k7SzK

Value of Exercise

Another good reminder. It’s simple and free.  See the video here: goo.gl/yTPzCy

The Psychological Toll of Income Inequality

The NY Times as a new piece on the psychological toll of income inequality and our relentless pursuit of “more”. We are making ourselves sick…and for what?

Here’s an excerpt:

“Ms. Johnson concludes that psychiatric conditions like mania and narcissism are related to our striving for status and dominance, while disorders such as anxiety and depression may involve responses to the experience of subordination. Similarly, she suggests that the pressures of coping with social hierarchies may contribute to other conditions such as antisocial personality disorder and bipolarism.     ….

“If mental illness is related to dominance and subordination, you might assume that disorders like narcissism would be more common at the top of the social hierarchy while others, like depression, would occur more frequently at the bottom. The full picture, however, is more complicated.

It is true that depression is much more common lower down the social ladder, but it does exists at all levels: Few are immune to feelings of defeat or failure. Similarly, people can be narcissistic or strive for dominance anywhere in the hierarchy — although Paul Piff, also a psychologist at Berkeley, has shown that higher status is indeed associated with more unethical and narcissistic behavior.

“So how does increasing inequality factor in? One of the important effects of wider income differences between rich and poor is to intensify the issues of dominance and subordination, and feelings of superiority and inferiority. Two sociologists at the University of Toronto, Robert Andersen and Josh Curtis, found that although there is always some connection between people’s income and the social class to which they feel they belong, the match between the two is closer in societies with bigger income differences between rich and poor.

Inequality not only intensifies the problem, but also makes it more extensive. A new study by Dublin-based researchers of 34,000 people in 31 countries found that in countries with bigger income differences, status anxiety was more common at all levels in the social hierarchy. Another international study, from 2011, found in particular that self-enhancement or self-aggrandizement — the tendency to present an inflated view of oneself — occurred much more frequently in more unequal societies.”

Read the full article here: http://goo.gl/O6NCkw

An Atheist Walks Into an AA Meeting

Many people who need the support of AA complain that it requires faith in a God, or Higher Power, that they don’t believe in. Sometimes this is an excuse to avoid confronting their drinking problem. Sometimes it’s a legitimate existential crisis. Here’s an interesting blog post from an Atheist that made AA work for her. Food for thought. Read the entire story here: http://goo.gl/VYKp9

My Faithlessness: The atheist way through AA

 

How Exercise Can Help Us Sleep Better

Regular exercise can help us sleep better. But it takes time..

” But, Dr. Baron pointed out, most of these other studies employed volunteers without existing sleep problems. For them, exercise and sleep seem to have a relatively uncomplicated relationship. You work out, fatigue your body and mind, and sleep more soundly that night.

But people with insomnia and other sleep disturbances tend to be “neurologically different,” Dr. Baron said. “They have what we characterize as a hyper-arousal of the stress system,” she said. A single bout of exercise on any given day “is probably not enough to overcome that arousal,” she explained. It could potentially even exacerbate it, since exercise is itself a physical stressor.

Eventually, however, if the exercise program is maintained, Dr. Baron said, the workouts seem to start muting a person’s stress response. Her or his underlying physiological arousal is dialed down enough for sleep to arrive more readily, as it did in the 2010 experiment.”

See the full article here: goo.gl/xEdfy3

The Mindful Revolution

Time magazine has a cover story about the power of mindfulness. It’s a good read. Check out the full version here: http://goo.gl/RKQPsd