Free speech debates often focus on the mental health risks of bullying and hate speech- but they rarely consider the mental health benefits of freedom of expression. As a clinical psychologist, I believe that open dialogue outshines top-down censorship for those seeking wellness, authenticity, and growth.
The holiday season is here, and while this can be a wonderful and joyous time it can also come with plenty of stress. If you’re lucky enough that your entire family is full of nothing but warmth and kindness (or at least courtesy), then you may not even need to read this blog- congratulations! However, many people who enjoy a larger extended family find there may be one person in the mix who maybe is “more difficult”. Even if you really love the person (in fact, sometimes especially if you really love the person), even minor conflicts can seem stressful. For many people, family dynamics can contribute to anxiety about holiday gatherings… but the beauty of this type of stress is that it can be planned for. Family pattern stressors are, by nature, predictable stressors allow us to fill our tool belts with the necessary items for managing holiday interactions before any difficulties are met.
The start of a brand-new year often inspires many of us to make resolutions. The sense of newness that a clean slate brings can be wonderfully energizing, and I'm all in favor of taking a boost anywhere we can find one.
However, that same positive momentum can suddenly feel like it's working in the opposite direction as soon as the first setback occurs. That disappointment can trigger a spiral into self-criticism or just giving up altogether unless we know how to handle ourselves with both honesty and compassion.
As a clinical psychologist and admittedly a lover of goals, I'm eager to share a few of my tips to help you find a healthy stride with your resolutions this year, if you choose to make them.
Caveat: New Year's resolutions aren't for everyone. If you don't feel like making them, sometimes it's best to honor your intuition and take the year to just let things be–but if you're interested in making resolutions this year, you're in the right place!
Are masks healthy for social development?
For some of us, nothing compares to a good horror film. We know it's fake of course, and perhaps that's why it can feel so liberating: We get to expose ourselves to the darkest, scariest side of human nature, without any actual fear of harm or guilt.
But still, why would we enjoy this? And what does it say about us if we love (or hate!) horror movies?
Each person and situation is different of course, but as a clinical psychologist, I have a few thoughts on potential reasons why some of us love nothing more than getting spooked out of our minds by a scary movie:
They say there's nothing like losing something to make you realize how special it truly is to you. Many of us experienced something similar during a recent outage on Facebook and Instagram—those trusty little "friends" suddenly disappeared for a few hours, and many people quickly realized how integral social media is to our lives.
They're back now, but what can we learn from that brief time when they went offline? I think we can actually glean quite a lot.
Let me begin by saying that after a long time of personally resisting it, I've come to appreciate social media for its potential. I'm also a psychologist on a mission to help people channel distress into energy for self-care. So I've put together the three main categories of reactions I noticed people having in my personal and professional life amid the outage—along with a few tips on how to grow from the insights of each type of response:
Many driven, intelligent people who want to "live their best life" are very interested in self-improvement. Their drive for excellence has a lot of positive aspects, but this healthy drive can also go into overdrive—making them vulnerable to perfectionism. Getting stuck in perfectionism can be demotivating and, ironically, become a barrier to creating the life they actually want.
As a clinical psychologist and author working with clients who want to increase their well-being and reach their goals, I've encountered a lot of people who struggle to find the balance between striving for personal growth and getting lost in perfectionism. Here are a few quick tips that can help people embrace their drive to succeed, without getting stuck in the pitfall of perfectionism:
Because I am a clinical psychologist, people ask me a lot of questions about mental well-being, both on social media and IRL. I recently invited my Instagram followers to ask me questions through the stories feature, and I received a number of responses. Here is one recent query that stood out: