All posts tagged: health

Confidence in Competence: The Second Basic Psychological Need

This is the third post of a four part series which summarizes crucial research findings about what causes most people to feel unhappy, dissatisfied, and unmotivated in different areas of their lives. As discussed in this series’ first post, there is robust research support for the notion that there are three psychological needs that humans have which, if unmet, prevent them from being happy and fulfilled. The first of these three needs is autonomy, which was discussed in this post. Today, we’re talking about competence, which is the second of these three most important psychological needs. Several years ago in my first developmental psychology class, the professor said something that stuck with me. He said that, for children who suffer from an abusive or otherwise unhappy home life, being good at something is a saving grace. Picture a kid who grew up in poverty and was raised by a single mother who dated a series of aggressive men. If this child felt really confident in their ability to do well in school, or sports, or …

Supplements for Mental and Physical Health: Which Ones You Should Start Taking

Our bodies are complex vehicles, and the type and amount of fuel we put into them influences the way they run. The human body requires essential nutrients, some of which we get a lot of, some of which we don’t. Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are involved in pretty much every bodily function/process you have, but unfortunately, the typical American diet is pretty lacking in these nutrients. When one of these key players in your optimal mental and physical health is missing, it leaves a hole that cannot be filled with anything else. Some of the signs you may be micronutrient-deficient include sluggishness, fatigue, dizziness, poor immune system functioning, brittle bones, or fertility issues. To address the underlying cause of these symptoms, taking daily supplements can get you back on track towards feeling your best. Although I try not to pop a pill to solve everything, I am a fervent supporter of taking daily supplements. Keep reading for which supplements to take, as well as links to the highest quality and most cost-effective supplements on Amazon. …

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 …

Tricking Your Brain into a Happier Life: The Power of Selective Attention

As we go through our daily lives, we are bombarded with a sea of new sensory input. Scientists have discussed how, in a given moment, there are thousands of sights, sounds and ideas our brains have to sift through to decide what’s important. So, in any moment, what we actually, see, hear, and think about is simply what our brains decided was worth our time. What does this have to do with anxiety, mental health, and happiness? Glad you asked. Selective Attention: The Problem What our brains tells us to pay attention to dictates the information we have about our world. Importantly, the information that our brain believes to be relevant is determined by our own beliefs. Here’s an example: I’m terrified of spiders. Fortunately (and unfortunately), I also possess a super-human ability to notice even the tiniest or most well-hidden spider. Why is this the case? Well, because my fear of spiders has told my brain that any information pertaining to spiders is something that the boss-lady (a.k.a. me) is probably going to want …

5 Ways to Find Motivation to Exercise

We all love the high that comes from finishing a good workout. It makes us feel good, it’s good for us, blah blah blah. The trouble is, getting to the gym is often very, very difficult. Why is it that, after a day of sitting, continuing to sit feels so good?? As a former college athlete, I have been on both sides of this dilemma: at certain points in my life, I have been the person who effortlessly goes to the gym most days. More recently, I have also experienced the daily struggle of not having the motivation to get off the cozy couch. Below are some simple steps to bridge the gap. 1. Expand your idea of what a “work out” is. When a lot of us think of “exercise,” we have a mental picture of sweating on an elliptical, hating every minute of it. Exercise is anything that involves moving your body. Walking is a workout. Dancing is a workout. Spending 2 hours going on what my husband calls a “cleaning rampage” is …

Why I Don’t “Diet:” A Healthy Relationship with Food and Body

In 7th grade, a girl on my school bus asked me how she could lose weight. I was taken aback. I think I said something to the effect of, “Uuuhmmm I dunno… Sorry.” This is not a post about how to lose weight, but it’s what I wish I would have said to that 7th grade girl on the school bus. Since then, I hope she heard a message like this one. I don’t “diet.” This is because I believe that dieting tells us to stop listening to our body, to give it less than it is asking for, to label foods as ‘okay to eat’ and ‘not okay to eat,’ all with the goal of addressing “problem areas” of our appearance. Dieting assumes that the way my body looks right now is not enough: not enough to be beautiful, to be successful, to be healthy, and to be happy. I want confidence, happiness, and health as much as the next person. What I don’t want is for those things to be dependent on whether …

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 …