By: Stephanie M. Bucklin
"When Karen Papajohn first came home from the hospital with her infant son, AJ, she felt numb. “I kept wondering why I didn’t feel the same ‘joy’ and ‘happiness’ of welcoming this precious gift into my life as my husband did,” she wrote in a survivor story on Jenny’s Light, a perinatal issues website. Amongst other things, Papajohn was sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, and exhausted.
But she wasn’t depressed—instead, Papajohn was suffering from postpartum depression, a condition that is distinct from major depressive disorder. While the many of the symptoms are similar (sad mood, restlessness, poor concentration), PPD isn’t merely an extension of depression, as a recent review published in Trends in Neurosciences confirms. It involves distinct changes to the brain, which suggest that PPD is a separate biological disease, and may even require distinct treatment..."
By: Florence Williams, National Geographic
"When we get closer to nature—be it untouched wilderness or a backyard tree—we do our overstressed brains a favor.... Our brains aren’t tireless three-pound machines; they’re easily fatigued. When we slow down, stop the busywork, and take in beautiful natural surroundings, not only do we feel restored, but our mental performance improves too."
"A large study found less death and disease in people who lived near parks or other green space—even if they didn’t use them. Researchers suspect that nature works primarily by lowering stress. Compared with people who have lousy window views, those who can see trees and grass have been shown to recover faster in hospitals, perform better in school, and even display less violent behavior in neighborhoods where it’s common. Such results jibe with experimental studies of the central nervous system. Measurements of stress hormones, respiration, heart rate, and sweating suggest that short doses of nature—or even pictures of the natural world—can calm people down and sharpen their performance."
By: Dr. Andrea Chisholm
"Having a baby is one of the happiest times in life, but it can also be one of the saddest.
For most new mothers, the first several days after having a baby is an emotional roller coaster ride. Thrilling moments of happiness and joy are abruptly interrupted by a plunge into moments of depressive symptoms including weeping, anxiety, anger, and sadness. These “baby blues” usually peak in the first two to five days after delivery, and in most women, go away as quickly as they came.
Except sometimes they don’t go away...."
By Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LGSW
"From the time that we are children, many of us are told things such as, “don’t cry,” or “there’s nothing to be sad about.” As a culture we are often taught that we should try to avoid unpleasant emotions at all costs. Thus, for many the primary impulse when they are experiencing unpleasant emotions is to try to escape from their feelings, whether it is through alcohol, drugs, restricting food, binging, workaholism, busyness, compulsive sex, or a variety of other self-harming behaviors.
However, I believe that it is far healthier to “lean into” your experiences of pain, rather than trying to numb your emotions. The following are three reasons that it is important to allow yourself to process and experience your feelings."
By Dr. Roni Beth Tower, ABPP
"A romantic relationship can be easily recognized by its intense and sometimes irrational driving force of emotion. Passion fuels our behavior, guides or distorts thoughts, changes physical and chemical functioning, and alters lives.
The romance might begin with a “coup de foudre," or the lightning bolt that we think of as love at first sight. The attraction can seem to have no earthly reason or explanation, and may appear to emanate from another planet, lifetime, or dimension. It could be the sort of experience that compels someone to abruptly stand up in the middle of a meeting and follow an invisible beam pointing to a person standing across a room.
Romantic love can also arise more slowly, building on a firm foundation of friendship. A base of shared history allows reason to remain in control for at least an initial critical period. It doesn't matter how you found your perfect partner; you typically know when he or she has arrived—and the rest is in the details.
But you must tend to these details to make your relationship flourish. These 10 strategies will help you nourish and sustain a close, romantic relationship."
By The Scene
Two best friends wrote down the things they don't like about their own bodies. They are now going to say these comments out loud, but direct them to each other. Why do we say things to ourselves that we wouldn't ever say to (or think about) our best friends? Be a best friend to yourself.
Helen M. Farrell, animation by Artrake Studio
"Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world; in the United States, close to ten percent of adults struggle with the disease. But because it’s a mental illness, it can be a lot harder to understand than, say, high cholesterol. Helen M. Farrell examines the symptoms and treatments of depression, and gives some tips for how you might help a friend who is suffering."
By Sharon Horesh Bergquist, MD
Stress can be helpful for small bursts of energy or productivity. However, chronic stress can be damaging to the body and can even change the structure of your brain. Learning how to manage your stress (versus stress controlling your life) is critical for your well-being. Research consistently shows that exercise and meditation are excellent ways on managing and decreasing stress. Additionally, regularly engaging in exercise and meditation have been shown to increase the size of parts of your brain that are responsible for improving memory. Click below for a quick video animation on how stress affects your brain.
by Dr. Robert Waldinger
"What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life."
Robert Waldinger is a psychiatrist and the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history.
By Brene Brown
We're all guilty of blaming others. Here's a short and funny video offering an explanation as to why we might quickly jump to blaming others when something goes wrong. She explains that blaming is a temporary discharge of anger, which is different and less effective than holding others accountable and being vulnerable enough to express our own feelings.