All posts tagged: Mental Health

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 …

Relationships and Rejection: A Letter to Your Broken Heart

Right now, the words “moving on” feel unbearably heavy. Right now, words that are meant to encourage you seem to never land, sliding off the cold shield that is your pain. “If that is true, then why did they leave?” Right now, the concept of “finding someone else” feels like a hopeless endeavor in which you want no part. “I didn’t want someone else; I wanted them.” And now that they are gone, you want to forget them, but a cruel tether of nostalgia pulls you back to feelings that you don’t wish to feel. Right now, what hurts the most is the fact that you let them see you; you let yourself be really, truly seen. You gave them the best you had to give, all you had to offer, and that makes the sting of goodbye so much worse. Worse because that sense of safety is betrayed, and worse because it feels like your best was not enough.  Right now feels so powerful, so immeasurable and weighty that it seems as though your …

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 …

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 …