All posts tagged: depression

Coping With Loneliness: The Basic Psychological Need for Relatedness

This is the fourth and final post in a series about the three most important needs identified in psychological research to human health and happiness: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Today, we’re rounding out the series with a discussion of the importance of human connection. This third need, called “relatedness,” is the idea that we need to feel close to other people. You might be thinking, “Duh, Elly. Everyone needs people,” and you’re right. This need is likely one you’ve thought a lot about, and there’s a reason for that: because it’s so darn essential to human living. Need For Human Connection: What the Research Says To prove my point, here are just a few of the hundreds of studies on this need for human contact. The need for social connectedness is statistically linked to: self-esteem (Leary & Downs, 1995), depression (Peeters, Nicolson, Berkhof, Delespaul, & deVries, 2003), suicide risk (Christensen, Batterham, Mackinnon, Donker, & Soubelet, 2014), sense of vitality and life satisfaction (Léon & Liew, 2017), and positive and negative affect, meaning the emotional states …

Comparison and Contentment

In a time where we are preoccupied with maintaining appearances both online and in-person, we go through our days managing the impressions we make on other people. We wear clothes we think strangers will approve of, we post pictures we think will accrue the most “likes,” all the while running from the feeling that we’re doing it all wrong. At the end of the day, we pour over the profiles of beautiful people with impressive resumes, comparing our messy life and stained pajamas with that carefully curated picture. We know it’s not real: that the beautiful smiles of airbrushed influencers or the perfect home of that mommy-blogger are not real life. We know that everyone posts their shiny moments, the ones where they look brave, the ones where the dirt is swept beneath the rug, and demons safely locked away. We know that we are comparing our worst moments to other’s highlight reels, and yet, we still set down our phones with the heavy feeling that we are inferior, that we are not enough. The …

Self-Worth: What the Research Has to Say

Psychologists are really interested in what they call “contingencies of self-worth.” This is the idea that our assessments of our own worth depend on things around us that fluctuate: we may feel worthy when people give us praise, when we get a good grade or a promotion, or when we have a productive day. Conversely, we may feel unworthy when we receive criticism, a poor grade, or when we aren’t as productive. The point is, when our worth is tied things in our daily lives that are inconsistent, we are left in a perilous state which wreaks havoc on our well-being. Below are some summaries of recent research findings about self-worth, and what you can do to start grounding your self-esteem in something more consistent. Finding #1: When students’ self-esteem is tied to their academic performance, they tend to be more depressed. Crocker and colleagues (2003) investigated these “contingencies of self-worth” and found that students tend to feel better about themselves on days they get good grades and worse about themselves on day they get …

5 Minute Mindfulness: Leaves on a Stream Visualization

If you haven’t read my first post describing what mindfulness is, I suggest reading it before playing the recording below. Below is an audio clip I made of one of my favorite mindfulness visualization exercises called, “Leaves on a Stream.” This exercise is designed to help individuals who struggle with racing thoughts, negative self-talk, anxiety, etc. It helps us practice not giving weight or power to the thoughts we have, but rather act as a non-judgmental observer of these thoughts. This exercise involves a high amount of visualization, so if that’s not a strong-suit for you, it might not be as impactful. If that’s you, I will be posting other mindfulness audios that are a less visualization-heavy, so stay tuned. 🙂 Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Understanding Your Insomnia and What to Do About It

My first experience of insomnia was in college, and it was terrible. When you can’t sleep, it feels like a loss of control. You feel betrayed by a body that won’t take what it badly needs. I had no idea that I could survive on so little sleep, and no idea how to make it better. That is, until I did some research, tried out what I found, and made progress in tackling my insomnia. The first and most important question to ask yourself about your insomnia is where it might be coming from. Keep reading for different possible causes, and what to do about it. Is it Related to Mental Health? If insomnia has recently flared up, ask yourself what else has changed during that time. Have you become more stressed? Has your mental health been suffering? Anxiety, depression, and a variety of other psychological concerns can contribute to difficulty sleeping at night. If this is something you’re wondering about, perhaps now is the time to seek out psychotherapy. Finding a licensed psychologist, mental …

How to Help a Loved One Who Struggles with Depression

Many of us who try to educate ourselves in mental health/psychology have experienced that feeling of helplessness when someone we love is suffering with clinical levels of a disorder. When we see someone in pain, often times, our first instincts are to try to “fix the problem,” do something to make it better, or say the perfect thing to help. A lot of times, these efforts don’t have their intended impact. This post is dedicated to those of us who want to help our loved ones with depression, but aren’t sure where to start. First Things First: Understanding Depression While we all experience sadness, hard days, and times when we feel down, depression is something over and above just ‘having a hard time.’ This is an essential thing to understand about depression: if you don’t have it, you probably don’t understand. I am sure you’ve all seen the check list of possible symptoms of depression, so I won’t bother by listing what a quick google search can tell you. What the DSM-V doesn’t explicitly say …

Series Introduction: Mental Health

Our thoughts and emotions are powerful. They dictate how we see the world and how we act on it. Having unhelpful ways of thinking, along with some deep and unaddressed hurts is so, sonormal. And yet, these are really hard to talk about. It’s all too easy to slap a smile over our struggles and pretend they aren’t there. We put that painful stuff in a dusty box in the farthest corners of our closet, and keep the new, shiny shoes up front. And that’s okay for a little while. The problem is, the longer we wait to really look at what we’ve put in that closet, the heavier our box becomes. So, let’s do some spring cleaning: let’s look at what we’ve put away and see if it’s something we really want to carry with us into our next chapter. If not, let’s work day by day to slowly set it down.