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Miriam's Picks

Miriam's Picks

 
 

PREVNET – A CANADIAN RESOURCE ON BULLYING

Bullying can have significant and long-lasting consequences for children’s well-being and development. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to help children cope with ongoing teasing or victimization.  When a child is bullied at school, it’s not uncommon to hear someone, be it a parent or a peer, suggest that they should “fight back”. But does that really work? What can we do as parents, educators, therapists, and bystanders to help children who are being targeted by their peers? Prevnet is a Canadian resource for youth, teens, parents, and educators who are dealing with bullying in some way. It contains information about the warning signs to look out for (e.g., anxiety, school refusal, physical complaints), tips on building healthy relationships, and advice on what we can do to intervene. The team at Prevnet has done a fantastic job of compiling research and making it accessible and it’s a great resource to have on hand if you or someone you know is being bullied.


In this TED Talk, Kang Lee, a researcher from the University of Toronto demystifies children’s lie-telling behaviour. Dr. Lee argues that lie-telling is not only normal, it is actually something to celebrate (to a point!), given that it signifies the appropriate development of self-control and theory of mind (our ability to perspective-take). Dr. Lee also discusses his research demonstrating that we aren’t nearly as good at detecting lies as we think they are. This talk (and the related research) is near and dear to my heart having studied lie-telling with one of Dr. Lee’s colleagues, Dr. Victoria Talwar (McGill University) during my undergraduate studies.


BIG MAGIC – ELIZABETH GILBERT

Lately, I’ve been sharing my appreciation for “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert (“Eat, Pray Love”) with anyone who will listen. This wonderful book touches on how the need for creativity, be it through writing, painting, music, or innovation of any kind, is universal. It is not frivolous or self-indulgent, but rather deeply meaningful and even necessary. Gilbert’s message about how fear and self-criticism can interfere with our creative process and well-being will resonate with anyone who is interested in Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability (Brown, 2010, 2012). Overall, “Big Magic” is a great choice for anyone who struggles with perfectionism or self-critical thoughts and is looking to pursue a passion, be it a creative hobby or career path.


THE 5-MINUTE JOURNAL

Here at Connecte we often talk about the importance of gratitude. This isn’t surprising since the practice of reflecting on the people, things, and experiences we have to be grateful for can greatly improve our mental and physical well-being (Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010; Rash Matsuba, & Prkachin, 2011). However, it can be difficult to find time to practice gratitude on a regular basis. The 5-Minute Journal provides the ideal solution and structure. In the morning, you are encouraged to list three things you are grateful for as well as three things that would make your day great. In the evening, you are prompted to reflect on three positive things that happened that day. It also includes motivational quotes and challenges to help you make the most of each day. Check it out here: The 5-Minute Journal. For more on the importance of gratitude check out Andrea’s recent blog post.


SETTING LIMITS ON TEEN’S SOCIAL MEDIA USE

At one point or another, most parents have likely been frustrated with their teen’s frequent social media use. Although a moderate amount of social media use is expected and perfectly normal, recent research suggests that youth who are heavy users of social media (e.g., more than 2 hours a day) have poorer mental health outcomes (Sidani et al., 2016). Heavy usage of social media can also interfere with sleep and physical activity and create unrealistic expectations related to relationships and body image. That being said, it can be difficult as a parent to know how to regulate teen’s use of technology and social media. In the following article, Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, provides 10 helpful tips for setting limits. Read more about teens' mental health and social media use here: Here's Why Social Media Harms Your Teen's Mental Health.

Simcha's Picks

Simcha's Picks

 
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THERE’S NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAR OF FEAR ITSELF

One of the things that clients struggling with anxiety often mention is how physically uncomfortable this emotion can be; as such, it’s not surprising that they feel eager to eliminate it, or at least to reduce it as quickly as possible. Indeed, recent statistics show that anxiety is on the rise, and in her recent article, clinical psychologist Jelena Kecmanovic proposes some reasons as to why this might be. Most interestingly, she also describes the various ways that we try to avoid feeling anxious, how this can backfire, and how we can learn to acknowledge and tolerate anxiety without fearing it.


Live to procrastinate another day

I have heard many clients assume that they procrastinate out of laziness, but as this NY Times article explains, procrastination may be related to our difficulty managing the negative emotions that a task elicits. I appreciated how this article included both psychological approaches like mindfulness and self-compassion, as well as concrete tips, to help overcome procrastination. Don’t put off checking it out!


On being a “good-ish” person

Do you consider yourself a good person? Do you strive – or expect yourself – to be one? Research shows that viewing ourselves, and being viewed, as a good person is important to many of us (Aquino & Reed II, 2002). Check out this TED talk by psychologist Dolly Chugh on why aiming to be a “good-ish” person, rather than a “good” person, can have multiple benefits including acknowledging our own mistakes and moving toward a more self-accepting stance.


CALLING ALL PROCRASTINATORS!

Do you have a goal in mind, know what you need to do to meet that goal, but for some reason have trouble getting it done? Interesting research found that participants felt more motivated to accomplish their goal after giving advice to others, than after receiving advice, about the topic at hand. So, for example, if you know what you have to do to get a good grade on an upcoming exam but have trouble getting started, giving advice to a friend about how to overcome their own studying procrastination might actually help you feel more motivated!  


CLUES FOR PARENTING YOUNG BOYS COME FROM AN UNLIKELY SOURCE

Talking to boys like we talk to dogs? The title had me curious. This New York Times article sheds light on the paradoxical behavior of 7- to 11-year-old boys; that is, why do they often behave well at school but not at home? Clinical psychologist Wendy Mogel notes that their energy and anxiety may surface at home, after their self-control has been drained by school and extracurricular activities, making it challenging for many parents to avoid nagging or criticizing their children. She provides parents with tips for communicating with their children in a way that is caring, effective, and perhaps even similar to how they interact with their pet dogs! 


LOVING THIS PODCAST ABOUT LOVE

One of my favorite ways to learn is by listening. And lately I’ve been eagerly listening to the podcast “Where Should We Begin?” by psychotherapist Esther Perel. Each episode consists of a couples’ therapy session that she conducts with a different dyad. Her podcast exposes our seemingly conflicting desires for comfort/familiarity on the one hand, and novelty/excitement on the other hand, in relationships with secondary attachment figures (romantic partners); this balance is in some ways reminiscent of how youth negotiate closeness versus independence with their primary attachment figures (their parents). So, if you’re looking for a podcast to keep you engaged, and leave you thinking, this one is definitely worth a listen!


Electronics overload: More living, less posting

When was the last time you saw something special that you wanted to remember? Did you take out your smartphone to capture it and share with others, or did you immerse yourself in the experience and focus on what it felt like using your five senses? If you, like myself, reluctantly and sheepishly answered the former, then this TED talk may be of interest to you: In it, psychologist Adam Alter discusses research findings about the positive consequences of carving out time in our day that is free of screens, and how to go about limiting screen time in a more realistic way (see Alter, 2017).


FEELING “BAD”? LET’S NARROW THAT DOWN

Emotional granularity is the ability to narrow down what emotions you are experiencing in more precise terms, for example, specifying that you feel irritable or angry instead of saying that you generally feel “bad”. Having a better sense of exactly what we are feeling could help guide us towards more specific actions, and some research suggests that this ability is related to better psychological and social functioning (Smidt & Suvak, 2015). Check out this New York Times article to learn more about this and how you can help develop your own emotional granularity!


STICKS AND STONES: THE PAIN OF SOCIAL REJECTION

We can all probably agree that being socially accepted by others feels good and that being rejected can be pretty painful, but did you know that some brain areas that have been linked with enduring physical pain may also be involved when we undergo social rejection (Kross, Berman, Mischel, Smith, & Wager, 2011; but see Woo et al., 2014)? In this article, psychologist Guy Winch explains why this might be, how we might be inadvertently making social rejection more painful for ourselves than it has to be, and how we can react more adaptively to social rejection in the future.


Most of us can agree that we would like to live long, happy and healthy lives. But where can we devote our time and energy so that we are more likely to have such positive outcomes? Findings from the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which studied the same group of individuals for decades, suggest that the quality of our social relationships is an important predictor of later well-being (Waldinger, Cohen, Schulz, & Crowell, 2015; Waldinger & Schulz, 2010). Watch this TED talk by the study's director, Dr. Robert Waldinger, to learn more!


DON'T FRET: SOME WORRIES ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS

Many of us tend to have mixed views about worry: we don’t like experiencing it and sometimes even try to suppress worry-related thoughts on the one hand, but we also think that worrying can help us (perhaps by preparing us in some way for the negative event that we are anticipating) (see Davey, Tallis, & Capuzzo, 1996). Check out this New York Times article, in which Roni Caryn Rabin explains that certain kinds of worry are more constructive than others and provides some tips for how we can manage our worries.


Oxytocin - The Next Big Anti-Anxiety Medication?

The neurohormone oxytocin is attracting a lot of attention in both popular media and scientific communities! Some studies suggest that oxytocin nasal sprays have social benefits, including making people more trusting (Kosfeld, Heinrichs, Zak, Fischbacher & Fehr, 2005) and generous (Zak, Stanton, Ahmadi, 2007). Other studies have found relationships between levels of oxytocin and psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety (see Neumann & Landgraf, 2012). Does that mean that oxytocin will be the basis for the next big anti-anxiety medication? Not necessarily. See this article by researcher Paul Zak to find out why it’s not quite that simple.


Breaking the Cycle Between Depression and Inactivity

Decades of research have shown the benefits of exercise on mood (Dinas, Koutedakis, & Flouris, 2011). Many people report that they have less desire or energy to do things like daily chores, socializing, and exercising when they’re feeling depressed. This makes sense because decreased motivation, energy and pleasure can be symptoms of depression! The problem is that this can create a cycle where we feel down so we become more inactive/sedentary, but then this inactivity makes us feel even more down. Check out this link to learn more about how you can make small changes to your activity level in order to help break this cycle and improve your mood.


Saying and Getting What You Want in Your Romantic Relationship

When we think “Valentine’s Day”, we think love, flowers, and chocolate. But we all know that relationships aren’t always that simple or easy. Visit this link to learn why it is so important to tell our partners what we want, and how we can go about doing this!


How To Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Many people notice that the weather can affect their mood. Visit this link to learn more about the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and what we can do to help improve our mood during the darker and gloomier winter months.


Why Using Facebook Makes You Feel Bad

Ever feel like other people seem to lead a more charmed life than you do? Or at least that’s what it looks like on their Facebook pages… Check out this article to see why we might be getting a skewed sample from social media, and how we can guard against its negative impact on our mood!


DR. LISA FIRESTONE: HOW YOUR ATTACHMENT STYLE IMPACTS YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Ever wonder why some people seem to connect easily with others, while others have trouble trusting or relying on their partners? In this Psychology Today article, Dr. Lisa Firestone explains these different attachment styles, their bases in early childhood experiences, and perhaps most importantly, that these styles can be changed over time. Which attachment pattern best describes you?


Are you, or someone close to you, considered an introvert? Is being an introvert a bad thing or a good thing? In this TED talk, Susan Cain highlights the many advantages of being an introvert in a society that places high value upon extraversion. I also recommend her book entitled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.


DR. ALEX KORB: FIX YOUR SLEEP HYGIENE

Sleep is something that comes easily to some, but can be daunting to others. For those of us who have had longstanding trouble falling or staying asleep, counting sheep may not be enough. In this article, Dr. Alex Korb gives 14 tips to improve the quality of your sleep, which can have a big impact on both your mood and your ability to concentrate at work.


Andrea's Picks

Andrea's Picks

 
 

Local non-profit targeting body positivity in youth!

As a psychologist who sees clients struggling with self-esteem issues, something that often comes up in session is body dissatisfaction. In today’s society, we are bombarded with messages that our bodies need improvement, so it’s no wonder that most people report dissatisfaction and wanting to change their appearance. As a result, I am encouraged (and excited!) when I hear about positive influences in the media working on fostering body positivity in youth (bonus: happening in Montreal!). One of these positive movements is “Bien avec Mon Corps” who recently launched their website. Their mission is to help individuals feel better in their bodies and have greater self-esteem. They are also creating awareness about the importance of body positivity and preventing body dissatisfaction in youth. Check it out!


THE MINDFUL SELF-COMPASSION WORKBOOK

We're hearing more and more about the importance of self-compassion in the media these days. What exactly is self-compassion and how does a person work on improving their ability to be compassionate towards themselves? If you've found yourself asking yourself these questions or if if you've noticed that you have a tendency to be kinder to others than you are with yourself, The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook is a great tool full of practical exercises and strategies that can help. Check it out!


 A TOOL FOR FOSTERING A GROWTH MINDSET FOR LITTLE ONES! 

Looking for a fun way to foster a growth mindset in the little ones in your life? I was, and recently discovered the Big Life Journal; it’s a colourful (and fun!) tool developed for kids. The introduction encourages little ones to do some of the exercises with a “journal buddy” so the journal is a great tool for building resilience and confidence in kids, and the exercises allow you to connect with your child in a meaningful way. The creators of the journal also offer some free growth mindset printables for children on their website; you won’t regret checking this out! 


The Self-Care Revolution

We hear a lot about self-care these days, but what does it really mean and how do we actually practice self-care? Psychologist Suzy Reading, PhD has written an awesome book called The Self-Care Revolution: smart habits and simple practices to allow you to flourish.

Suzy uses a storytelling approach and shares both her personal experience and professional expertise making this not only an informative and helpful book but also a very enjoyable read. You’ll discover what Suzy calls her “vitality wheel” which includes eight areas in our lives in which we can incorporate ways boost our health, happiness and general well-being. I enjoyed it immensely myself and have found the strategies very helpful for my clients (not to mention for myself- it also makes a great gift idea!). I hope you treat yourself to checking this gem out, it won’t disappoint! 


How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and How to Listen so Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

It has been well documented in the literature that our parenting style/practices styles have an impact on our children, both on their development and their well-being (see Joseph & John, 2008, Bornstein & Bornstein 2014, and O’Connor & Scott, 2007).

Have you ever felt discouraged or ineffective (helpless and frustrated?!) when trying to communicate with your child (please tell me I’m not the only one who finds herself asking the same question repeatedly before getting a response from her child!). “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk” (Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish) is a wonderful book to help parents learn the skills to communicate more effectively with their child(ren), or for anyone wanting to communicate more efficiently with any of the children in their lives. Written in a way that is down to earth (yes, they admit to making parenting mistakes; haven’t we all been there?) they provide practical and accessible strategies to help improve your communication with your precious little ones. Who doesn’t want a tool to help strengthen their relationship with their child? I highly recommend checking out this book, or even checking out one of the many workshops based on the principles outlined in the book. In fact, there are a few currently being held around the city of Montreal (see www.kiddoactive.com/workshop-for-parents.html OR www.federationcja.org/en/event/how-to0talk-so-kids-will-listen-15019/).


HAVE YOU FILLED A BUCKET TODAY? A GUIDE TO DAILY HAPPINESS FOR KIDS BY CAROL MCCLOUD  

I had picked this book up to read with my own children (who love it!) and found it could also be helpful as a tool in therapy with children when helping them with social skills training, etc. I have since discovered that it is used in several schools abroad (ex. Australia) to help encourage positive behaviours in classrooms and as an educational tool for anti-bullying behaviour. Studies have shown that promoting children’s social and emotional learning in the classroom can have a positive impact on children in a number of ways such as a more positive attitude, better academic performance, fewer conduct problems and less aggressive behaviour and less emotional distress (Durlak et al., 2011). A study among Canadian tweens found that students who extended more kindness towards others report improved greater well-being (Layous et al., 2012). "Have you Filled a Bucket Today" is a wonderful book that helps to encourage children to be kind with others and encourages more positive behaviours. Metaphors about filling and dipping into an invisible bucket are used in the story to help children understand the possible effects their behaviour may have on others and on themselves (for example, the rewarding effect of being kind and caring towards others which helps to fill buckets and more negative behaviour is referred to as bucket dipping). I highly recommend checking it out with the special little ones in your lives!


Parents, it’s time to make your self-care a priority (yes, I am adding something to your to-do list, but you’re going to thank me for it soon enough!)

This is a wonderful article aimed at parents on the importance of taking time for self-care. Prioritizing self-care is something I often find myself talking about with my clients, particularly with parents of babies or young children (often its mothers of young little ones, because most my clients are women). Many of the mothers I see in the office challenge me by saying that they just don’t have time for self-care because they have too much going on. It’s because of these reports of feeling that they have “too much going on” that makes me emphasize the importance of taking time for self-care. As the popular saying goes: “you cannot pour from an empty cup”.  Its well-known that self-care is important in maintaining good mental and physical health. Data from the Well-being Module from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) also revealed that parents reported parenting as their most meaningful activity but also as being the most exhausting (as reported in Wang 2013), suggesting that self-care in parents might be of even greater importance in maintaining good mental and physical health. In her article, Lindsey (2017) shares different strategies for scheduling time for self-care, including some she experimented with herself! I highly recommend parents (or any care provider for that matter) take a few minutes to check out the article for some helpful tips on making self-care a priority. Remember, self-care isn’t selfish! Self-care means giving the world the best of you, instead of what is left of you.


Helping our children through the use of mindfulness

Sitting still like a frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) written by Eline Snel - This is a fabulous book accompanied by a CD that was recently recommended to me by another mother at my children’s school. The book includes a series of meditation/mindfulness exercises and is accompanied by a CD of audio recordings of the exercises and they are narrated by Myla Kabat-Zinn (Jon Kabat-Zinn’s wife!). Myla Kabat-Zinn has a very soothing voice which helps to foster feelings of calm and relaxation. I have had the pleasure of trying a couple of the recordings out with my own children and have found that not only do they appear (and report!) to enjoy them, I can see they are more relaxed once they have done the exercises (and I admit to feeling more relaxed and centered as well when I join in. Win-win!). Studies have demonstrated that mindfulness not only reduces feelings of stress, but also anxiety and depression in children (Raes et al., 2014). I found listening to these exercises to be a great way to connect with my little ones while helping them develop a valuable life skill (and all in under 10 minutes!). I highly recommend checking it out and giving it a try with your children. The audio recordings of the exercise are offered for free on the publisher’s website at www.shambhala.com/sittingstilllikeafrog. The last recording on the CD (“sleep tight”) is ideal for incorporating into a child’s bedtime routine. It’s also available online and if it helps get the kiddos to sleep more easily, that is worth a try (parents of young kiddos, isn’t getting the kids to sleep without a fuss something we are all after?). Enjoy!


In her Ted talk, former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford, Julie Lythcott-Haims, discusses the risks of a style of parenting known as helicopter parenting. In her passionate (a little intense at times!), honest, witty and very convincing talk, she shares an important message about the disservice well intentioned parents are doing when micromanaging their children’s lives and imposing perfectionistic standards on their kids. She encourages parents to be less obsessed with our children’s success and to put more effort into helping them develop autonomy (give them chores!), genuinely connecting with them and expressing our unconditional love to them. Her suggestions are based on findings from The Harvard Grant Study (George E. Vaillant’s “Triumphs of Experience”), that demonstrated that professional success is linked to having done chores as a kid, and that genuine happiness comes from connections/relationships with others. Lythcott-Haims also has a book called “How to Raise an Adult” which I have yet to check out, but it’s on my reading list for 2017!


HELPING OUR CHILDREN BECOME MORE MINDFUL

"The Dog Who Chased His Tail" by Greg March is a beautiful children’s story that introduces the concept of mindfulness. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with your child while reading and introducing the idea of how we can quiet our busy mind to improve our focus. We have been hearing more and more about mindfulness and its benefits in children, and studies have demonstrated its benefits, such as reduced symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression (Raes et al., 2014). A review of the literature (Burke, 2009) also provided support for the feasibility and openness to mindfulness interventions in children and adolescents, but maintains that more rigorous research is needed to demonstrate its efficacy.  


A QUICK BREATHING EXERCISE TO HELP YOU DE-STRESS ON A BUSY DAY!

Want a quick self-care break during a busy day? Studies have demonstrated that we can change how we feel simply by focusing on our breath (Brown & Gerbarg 2012; Philippot et al. 2002). Check out this short but effective visual/animated breathing exercise, it’s a great little tool to help slow down your breathing if you’re feeling stressed out or anxious and don’t have much time. Give it a try!


AN INSPIRING WAY TO LOOK AT OUR ROLE AS PARENTS: CONSCIOUSLY AND AWAKENED!

Check out this awesome podcast on the Goodlife project interviewing Dr. Shefali, author of the “Awakened Family”, “The Conscious Parent”, and “Out of Control”.  In this enjoyable interview, Dr. Shefali shares with us a little about her past and her inspirational journey. She helps us understand the importance of being mindful of our children’s journey in allowing them to figure out who they are for themselves, and letting go of what we want and try to impose on them (often related to things we need to work on ourselves!). Conscious parenting she explains involves letting go of our own agenda for our children’s future and respecting their own desires and path. Enjoy this engaging and entertaining and inspiring podcast; and check out one of her books! They’re sure not to disappoint!


Check out this inspiring TedTalk by Andy Puddicombe, the creator of Headspace, the popular meditation app so many people are talking about and using (in fact, there are over 5 million Headspace users worldwide!). Puddicombe cites a study that demonstrated that humans tend to spend 47% of their day thinking about something other than what’s actually going on in the present moment and that this type of thinking contributes to feelings of unhappiness (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010). Puddicombe enlightens us to some of the benefits of taking just a mere 10 minutes a day to do "nothing" by engaging in the present moment.


LOCAL WEEKLY SUPPORT GROUP FOR WOMEN EXPERIENCING PERINATAL DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY

Our local Montreal media has published a couple of stories recently to try and help increase awareness and reduce stigma associated with perinatal mood disorders (postpartum depression and/or anxiety, etc). Approximately 20% of women experiences clinical depression or anxiety during pregnancy or postpartum, and yet many don't get the help and support they need. Please spread the word about the wonderful work being done by MotherWit to provide a weekly support group (free of charge!) that meets regularly as well as a private closed Facebook group started by a Montreal mother (interviewed in the Montreal Gazette article below) allowing new mothers to support one and other (see Facebook group, Maternal Mental Wellness: by Moms for Moms.).

Please see the following articles for more information:


In this brief and entertaining TedTalk, Arianna Huffington talks about the importance of sleep. Huffington points out that in our society, people tend to brag about sleep deprivation, as if getting less sleep is something to be proud of?! In her witty talk (guaranteed to get a couple of giggles watching it!), she shares with us that, in fact, sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on one’s happiness, productivity and success. Research has also demonstrated that sleep deprivation can contribute to lower emotional intelligence (Killgore et al. 2008) and lower performance at work (Kessler et al. 2011). On that note, I think I’ll go catch some ZZZ’s! 


The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

For a long time, it was a common belief that hard work alone led to success, and that, in turn, this success would result in happiness. Studies in the area of positive psychology have proved that, in fact, the opposite is true: happiness fuels performance and success. In this fascinating book, Achor outlines his seven principles on how we can apply what he refers to as the “Happiness Advantage” to develop a happier mindset, which ultimately has a positive impact on our performance and success. I enjoyed this book so much, particularly because it included so many practical and helpful strategies. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post where I will share some of his strategies with you! 


In this engaging and entertaining TedTalk, Guy Winch points out that we teach our children to take care of their physical health but neglect to teach them about the importance of taking care of their mental health. I hadn’t heard of Guy Winch until recently and I was intrigued when I stumbled upon his Ted Talk, which I enjoyed immensely. He’s a very likeable speaker and his wittiness adds to one’s enjoyment of his talk.  Winch points out that we are often quick to see the doctor when we have a flu or a cold, but yet when faced with more difficult psychological challenges we have a tendency to try and figure things out on our own rather than seek professional help. He argues that we should take care of our mental health with as much care and attention as we do our physical health and he gives interesting examples of how to practice what he refers to as “emotional first aid”. The importance of mental health being overlooked is nothing new; just a couple of years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO; see http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/) reported that mental disorders such as depression are the leading cause of disability worldwide. What are we waiting for? Let’s start taking better care of our mental health and teaching our children to do the same! 


Tim Ferris and Jane McGonigal podcast: Getting More Done with Less Stress and the Health Benefits of Gaming

Wow! This was a fascinating podcast about the benefits of playing games on our well being in addition to our ability to be resilient. McGonigal talks about fascinating research on the benefits of using games and play. Research has demonstrated games to be helpful for overcoming head trauma, reducing the risk of developing PTSD after witnessing a trauma, reducing anxiety, helping to change a habit, etc. (Roepke, Jaffee, Riffle, McGonigal, Broome, & Bez, 2015). Looks like I have found a great excuse to play a little Tetris everyday! See this article describing the effects of "Superbetter" (McGonigal’s game) on depression, anxiety and general well being.


Jessica Lahey’s book, The Gift of Failure

 Parents, have you ever found yourself wondering if you are doing the right thing when it comes to your kids? In this recently published book, Jessica Lahey’s message echoes something we have heard more and more about in the media: Well-intentioned and loving parents who believe they are helping their kids are actually doing more damage than good when they hover. In her book she explains that in today’s society we have a tendency to be “overprotective” or “overparent” which, despite our good intentions, is actually doing our kids more harm than good. As a psychologist who works with children and their parents and as a parent of two young kids myself, Jessica Lahey’s message really hit home. This book does not disappoint!


Mandala coloring books

 You’ve probably noticed these “adult coloring books” around the bookstores and gift shops lately. They are becoming more and more popular. According to this Huffington Post article in July 2015 6 of the top 20 books being sold on amazon were adult coloring books! Read more about how coloring may actually have stress-reducing benefits. Get in touch with your inner child and try one out today!

 Check out this link to try a free adult coloring page. 


 In this engaging and entertaining TedTalk; Shawn Achor shares some interesting findings on happiness and success. He explains that contrary to what many of us believe (success breeds happiness), in fact, it is happiness that breeds success! If you want to learn more and even pick up a few tips on how to bring more happiness into your life, check out his TED talk. I challenge you to get through it without a giggle, not only is Shawn Achor an engaging speaker, he has a great sense of humour that shines through in this talk. Enjoy!

Check out this short video on how Shawn Achor’s “Happy Secret to Better Work” TED Talk inspired a couple of University students to engage in a random act of kindness during exam period. Who knows, maybe it will inspire you to carry out your own random act of kindness? I have a couple of ideas to try myself after watching this! Let’s get our happy on! 


Cited as being one of the most successful Ted talks of all time (over 20 million views!), this is a powerful and engaging talk on living a fuller life by allowing ourselves to be authentic and vulnerable. Truly inspiring!


 Pacifica app

This self-help app is based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and can be helpful for managing stress and anxiety. A great tool that can be used on its own or in combination with therapy for extra support applying techniques in between sessions.


 “Achieve more by doing less”

See the June 2015 issue of Mindful Magazine for full article.

A quick read by Christine Carter featured in Mindful Magazine with a great message: Don’t let busyness become a badge of honour. It is possible to be productive, yet do less and come out feeling great! Who wouldn’t want that? 


One of the most frequently viewed Ted Talks!  Amy Cuddy is a captivating speaker with an inspiring life story. In this Ted Talk, she shares her research findings on how our body language has an impact not only on how others perceive us, but also on our body chemistry, which in turn, has an impact on how we feel. Bring on the power poses! 


SIMPLY BEING APP

This is basically a simple guided meditation, which allows you to choose a 5, 10, 15, or 20-minute meditation. You can choose to have your meditation accompanied by music or a choice of pleasant nature sounds. A great tool for those looking for an initiation to guided meditation. 


FITBIT

This is a great tool to help motivate you to become more active. There are a number of different models available, but my personal pick is the Flex. Discreetly worn on your wrist like you would a bracelet, this little gadget tracks your steps and distance. It has a feature that allows you to track the quality of your sleep at night and can also be used as an alarm. There is an accompanying app available which allows you to sync your stats wirelessly and track your progress on your Smartphone and even support your friends with a Fitbit. A fun motivating tool!