Why Feeling Your Anger is Good for You

mental health

Hell hath no fury like me in a political argument. My heart pounds. My breath speeds. My face reddens. I look like I just worked out, but that sweaty, vibrant flush is pure, righteous anger.

Wise people throughout human history have taught us to beware the excesses of anger. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and ancient Greek philosophy all provide some choice wisdom on the subject. Science bears these teachings out. Frequent, intense, or prolonged anger causes physical and psychological stress, increasing our risk of committing intimate partner violencegetting into a car crashabusing drugs, and even suffering from heart disease.

Read the full article on Talkspace and Thrive Global. Featured image: Chris Willis, Wikimedia Commons.


7 Insightful Mental Health-Themed Books to Read This Summer

mental health

Kids are out of school, adults are playing hooky from work, and we’re all sweating from parts of our bodies we didn’t even know could sweat. Summer is the time to rest, relax, and recharge. Whether that be taking time to see friends and family, going on a trip, or taking a much-needed staycation with Netflix, this summer, prioritize things that give you joy.

While you take some much-deserved time and a mental health break for yourself, why not read for pleasure? We know, we know, in the age of constant social media updates and endless work emails, reading for pleasure is a rare luxury. But taking that time to crack open a good book keeps your brain healthy and gives your imagination space to roam.

Try one of these new books on mental health. From first-person essays to heartfelt novels, they’ll teach you something new, entertain you, and even make you cry in a good way. Happy reading!

Read the original article at Talkspace and Thrive Global. Cover image: Radness.com.au

10 Inspiring Self-Love Quotes from LGBTQ Icons

$4 Wine, mental health, Sexuality, social justice

When trans women of color led the way in the Stonewall Riots of 1969, Pride was born. It was a movement against police harassment and to claim space for a marginalized community. By fighting back, members of New York City’s queer community signaled they would not be pushed into the shadows anymore.

The Stonewall Riots are part of a decades-long campaign for LGBTQ visibility, inspired by the belief that accepting and celebrating ourselves and our community — even when society won’t accept or celebrate us — is a radical act. The courage to come out transformed LGBTQ people’s status in society, and in the face of continued discrimination, it remains a powerful weapon to guard one of our most powerful resources: our mental health.

Read the full article on Talkspace. Featured image: Stonewall Inn 1969.

6 Ways to Support the Mental Health of Your LGBTQ Loved Ones

mental health

As rainbow streamers fill the air and LGBTQ representation fills the streets, June is a time to celebrate LGBTQ identity and the contributions of the queer movement. Pride is a joyful time for the LGBTQ community and allies alike. It’s also a time to reaffirm our commitment to creating a more equal world. That’s why this Pride, we invite allies and supporters of the LGBTQ community — which should be everyone! — to show up for the mental health and wellbeing of their LGBTQ loved ones and the community at large.

While in the past, psychologists considered gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and trans identity to be a mental illness, today’s professional standards recognize queer identity as normal and healthy. However, the LGBTQ community continues to face devastatingly high rates of mental illness, including elevated rates of depressionsubstance abuse, and suicide. Harassment is also common, with 65% of LGBTQ people reportedly experiencing some form of anti-LGBTQ harassment or discrimination in 2016.

Read the full piece at Talkspace.

Why Don’t Men Ask for Mental Health Help?

mental health

On January 17, 2010, Joshua R. Beharry stood on a British Columbia bridge, attempting to end his life.

Luckily, his attempt failed, and today Beharry is a mental health advocate and Project Coordinator of HeadsUpGuysa British Columbia-based campaign to support men who have depression. He tells his story so that men, and all people with depression, can feel empowered to reach out.

“I didn’t really start out trying to reach men more specifically,” Beharry wrote to Talkspace in an email interview. “But through my work at HeadsUpGuys I’ve come to realize that a lot of guys go through similar issues and face similar barriers to reaching out as I did.”

Beharry is not alone. While more women than men attempt suicide, more men than women — 3.53 times more, in fact — complete it. This contradicts the widespread notion that depression, and other mental illnesses, are women’s diseases — and points to a serious gap in mental health resources for men. Researchers have found that while factors like racial discrimination and cost of mental health care prevent men from reaching out for mental health help, there’s another culprit: toxic masculinity, or harmful stereotypes about what it means to be a man.

Seeking mental health support is totally normal, healthy, and can even be life-saving. So how can we help men reach out? It starts with recognizing the unique ways in which men experience and express mental illness, and addressing the stereotypes that prevent men from seeking help. Mental illness isn’t shameful or a sign of weakness: it’s a genuine and common medical issue, and everyone who suffers deserves help.

Beharry hopes that by encouraging men to reach out, they can get help before they hit rock bottom. “I went through a lot of unnecessary pain and struggles ’cause I didn’t reach out right away,” Beharry says. “I want to help as many people avoid that as I can.”

Read the full article at Talkspace. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. 

Do You Have to Forgive to Move On?

accountability, mental health, trauma

My mom had one response to our childhood complaints of schoolyard mean girls: “They’re probably having problems at home. Let it go.”

I, of course, wasn’t having any of it. “But they’re mean to me,” I would wail. “Can’t you take my side?”

Now that the grade school social scene is firmly behind me, I understand that my mother didn’t literally mean that every kid who picked on others had a difficult home life. She meant instead that people hurt one another for a reason, and understanding those reasons can help us make sense of hurtful experiences and move on.

Research on forgiveness backs up my mother’s advice, with numerous studies (below) finding that forgiveness not only encourages emotional healing, it can improve your physical health.

But many kinds of trauma go much deeper than a few grade school taunts, and even “normal” childhood hurts can leave big scars. When it comes to deep experiences of pain and anguish, from traumatic accidents to sexual assault, is “forgive and forget” actually the best advice?

Therapists say the act of forgiving can help us move on, but only if it’s something we feel genuinely.

Forgiveness is Good For Your Health

In the 1970s, burn surgeon Dr. Dabney Ewin discovered a trick. He began noticing that burn patients coming into his emergency room brought another kind of heat: the fire of their anger toward themselves or whoever caused the accident. Ewin soon found that when he encouraged his patients to let go of their anger and devote their energies toward healing, patients got better faster.

While Ewin’s experiments in the healing powers of forgiveness were anecdotal, numerous studies have found a relationship between the act of forgiveness and improved mental and physical health. Forgiveness for past trauma lowers stress levels, increases emotional wellbeing, and even decreases patients’ heart stress and blood pressure. In fact, one study found that failure to embrace unconditional forgiveness is correlated with mortality. Translation: forgiveness can be life-saving.

Read the full piece at Talkspace. Cover photo credit: scem.info

Piece on Toxic Masculinity Reposted at The Good Men Project

mental health, Relationships

With the #MeToo movement dominating the headlines over the past few months, many of us have had to ask tough questions about our own experiences of gender, power, and relationships. While women have taken the forefront of the movement, it’s also been a moment of reckoning for men.

The movement has not only provided an opportunity to confront more obvious acts of violence, but also how gender roles influence the way we treat one another in our own lives and relationships. This means confronting the role of toxic masculinity in our lives and relationships.

What is toxic masculinity?

Toxic masculinity is a term for some of the harmful associations of “maleness” in our culture. It doesn’t mean that masculinity is bad or that it is bad to be a man. It does mean, however, that some traits associated with masculinity in our culture are harmful or toxic for both men and women’s mental, physical, emotional, and relationship health.

We can all think of examples of toxic masculinity: the idea that it’s “unmanly” or “weak” to express one’s feelings or to cry; the idea that men should judge their own value on how many women they have sex with; or the idea that men should get into fights with one another to express their dominance, for example.

Read the full piece at The Good Men Project.

The Anxiety of Treating Yourself: When Self-Care Becomes Problematic

mental health

Forty dollar, potentially toxic “raw” water. Pricey massages. A $400 juicing machine that doesn’t even juice. These days, wellness is big business. The average person is constantly bombarded with hot new wellness trends promising to make them healthier, happier, and more relaxed. Many of these products and services praise the benefits of self-care, or prioritize the self to de-stress, enjoy life, and prevent burnout.

Of course, this brand of self-care is drenched in irony. By making self-care into a task to check off the to-do list in your hectic schedule, many wellness trends create yet another yardstick to measure yourself by. At the same time, these trends can come with hefty price tags, making it sound like taking care of yourself requires a fancy, Silicon Valley-level paycheck.

Luckily, none of this is necessarily true. In fact, the idea that self-care is an obligation that you have to shell out big bucks to meet is totally counter to its goal.

Read the full article at Talkspace. Cover photo: Wikimedia Commons. 

How To Survive a (Friendship) Breakup

mental health, Relationships

“A friendship between college girls is grander and more dramatic than any romance.”

So says Hannah Horvath, Lena Dunham’s character in the hit TV show Girls, which follows four women in their twenties through romance, career — and most importantly, friendship.

It’s not just college women who have grand and dramatic friendships. While friends tend to be given short shrift to romantic relationships in our culture, our friendships are super important to our mental and emotionl lives. And the joys and traumas of friendship can be just as painful, if not more so, than the ups and downs of a romantic relationship.

That’s why losing a close friendship, whether through conflict or simply by losing touch, can be just as devastating (if not more!) than losing a partner. All the breakup feelings of mourning, confusion, and loneliness apply. And to make it worse, unlike with a romantic-partner breakup, a bestie breakup leaves you without your friend’s shoulder to cry on. What’s more, while most people are sympathetic to romantic breakups, friend breakups just don’t get the same recognition.

Friendship matters, and the end of a friendship can be devastating. It can also be an opportunity for self-reflection and growth. Here are some tips for surviving a breakup — the friend kind.

Read the full article on Talkspace. Featured image: Jerry Weiss, “Friends.” 

The Unexpectedly Positive Attributes of Anxiety

mental health

We all get anxious sometimes: first-date butterflies, taking a test worth 33% of our final grade, or driving away from home only to wonder if we really turned off the stove. Most of the time, these everyday worries pass.

But if you have an anxiety disorder, daily worries can take over your life. From work performance to social interactions and everything in between, an anxiety disorder can leave you feeling nervous, fearful, agitated, and constantly on edge. Luckily, therapists can help those who suffer from anxiety disorders learn to cope with symptoms, and address habits caused by anxiety.

Understanding these habits is the first step toward living happily and healthily with an anxiety disorder. And the news isn’t all bad: Many of the habits people with anxiety express can actually be good qualities if channeled in the right way. Here are some common habits of people with anxiety, and how you can find your secret strengths inside of these behaviors.

Read the full article at Talkspace.