mental health

Four Unfunny Truths About Laughter Yoga

I went to laughter yoga the other night, I guess because I live in a big city and sometimes wear stretchy pants in the street and pretty regularly force-feed myself kale.

Regular yoga is no longer the cure-all for your out-of-balance, toxins-infested mind-body; the cure-all is laughter yoga. Basically, laughter yoga is the new method for scrubbing out our dirty bodies and changing our brain chemistry and banishing sadness and stress from everyone. Forever.

The idea is that laughing is good for you (science says so, after all), and that pretending to laugh can be just as good for your health and wellbeing as actual laughing. So that’s what you [...]


Hearing Voices

A not-insignificant number of individuals who routinely hear voices find that it ain't no thing (admittedly, their voices appear mainly to provide a commentary on their day, i.e. "eating some toast, huh? it's nice out!" instead of more classically delusional/malevolent manifestations.)

Other voice-hearers who ARE troubled by their voices advocate a clinical approach which investigates why they hear what they hear, and the implications for their individual preoccupations, instead of necessarily prioritizing an end to the auditory hallucinations themselves. Some doctors worry that attitude will provide an excuse for the dangerously delusional to avoid seeking help.

So, really, is this just another flashpoint in the anti-psychiatry [...]


Loneliness and the Bath

Now that you've gotten rid of your two best friends, pillows and cocaine, what's left? Nothing, only hot water.

The greater the feeling of loneliness, the more baths or showers a person is likely to have, the longer they stay in and the hotter the temperature. Warm physical experiences were found to significantly reduce the distress of social exclusion.

Moreover, "The lonelier we get, the more we substitute the missing social warmth with physical warmth," says one of the study's researchers. Imagine if Sex and the City were one woman and three bathtubs!


Obsessed, Nervous, or Just Hungry?

I can tell you the exact moment I became a nail biter. I was 6 years old, watching my mom get dressed for work. She paused to mull something over, chewing on a nail. My reaction: "How cool! How grown-up! I think I'll try it."

I never stopped. It was embarrassing — like wearing your neuroses on your sleeve. At parties, I learned to wrap my fingers all the way around my wine glass, so that my nails faced my chest.

Amy Standen considers the recent proposal to add "pathological grooming" to the OCD section of the DSM — the manual used to diagnose mental disorders. Not considered: the relative [...]


Exercise Key to Reaping Benefits of Exercise

Turns out the depressed folks from that study you may have heard about last week who weren't helped by exercise just weren't that motivated to exercise and were ashamed to admit it. It's as if they were depressed.


Enough About Me, Let's Talk About You! What Do You Think of Me?

Is there some bit of personal information you're dying to know about your therapist? ("Why can't you stop yawning when I talk?") Well, you should just go ahead and ask them, after first asking if it's okay to ask them about themselves. Maybe they'll say yes, and then you'll have your answer, which you might not actually want to hear. ("Because I find your voice to be so soothing that I get sleepy when you drone on about your problems.") But, hey, at least you will know.


"On Falling Apart"

Let me tell you: if you already think people are monitoring you, if you’re already worried that people are plotting against you, then being locked up against your will by people who want to monitor your thoughts feels like literally the worst thing that can ever possibly happen. It feels like all your fears are coming true.

Sady Doyle wrote a comforting — no really! — essay  for Rookie about being diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, and where you go from there.


Cupcakes Used to Treat Mental Illness, Finally

Michelle Clement watches Cupcake Wars to manage her emetophobia (fear of vomiting). What's your excuse?