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WELL-BEING POSTS ON PSYCH BYTES

“Understanding Consent” is a multi-part series exploring consent, sexual assault, and the conversation our nation is having around bodily autonomy and women.My middle school daughter recently shared an...
Understanding Consent is a multi-part series exploring consent, sexual assault, and the conversation our nation is having around women.The Role of Silence in Rape Culture
What is Burnout?Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion due to overwork and stress that can lead to a feeling of ineffectiveness and a lack of meaning or purpose.
Pain is a part of the human experience, but it’s the unhelpful thoughts we have about our pain, and our response to these thoughts, that fuel psychological distress. In the world of psychology, these thoughts are often...
From Chaos to Calm: The Practice of MindfulnessMindfulness is a popular buzzword these days. It’s written about in blogs, discussed on podcasts, and encouraged at corporate retreats.
What is Mindfulness?Mindfulness is a popular buzzword these days. It’s written about in blogs, discussed on podcasts, and encouraged at corporate retreats.But what is mindfulness and how should we...
FOMO: Meaning and DefinitionTechnology impacts the way we think about, understand and interact with the world. Undoubtedly there are some implications for how this impacts our psychological well-being.There are a number of...
Throughout the duration of high school, countless were the nights I would sit wide awake at my desk in the early hours of the morning, writing and rewriting essays and attempting to memorize hundreds of Spanish vocab...
I am by no means a career counselor, but on occasion, career-related concerns emerge in my work with clients. The expressed issue typically involves a lack of personal fulfillment when it comes to that person’s vocation of...
The World Health Organization (WHO) is now including Video Game Addiction as a disorder. The disorder is defined as a “persistent or recurrent” behavior pattern of “sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational,...
Gaming as an AdultI love gaming. Getting immersed in a far-off location, solving problems, solving puzzles and being super strong and powerful are some of my favorite ways to spend my free time....
I DON’T Want to Party in College...College has this reputation, I think you know where I’m going with this. Ever seen Animal House? Revenge of the Nerds? Project X? Neighbors? I could write...
Where Did All the Stuff Come From?Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are the post-WWII generation. After the Great Depression and World War II, Americans married, moved to the suburbs, and started families at very high...
“I can’t believe it is already mid-July.”“ has gotten so big! How did that happen? When did that happen??”“Today flew by. I feel like I got nothing done. Why...
In recent years, there has been a growing awareness about childhood trauma and its lasting effects on learning, development, and long-term outcomes. According to recent statistics, approximately 35 million children have experienced one or more types of...
Without mindfulness, too many type-A career overachievers end up killing their workplace and leadership dreams.These star performers burn out before they get the corner office or that seat at the table, as chronicled...
Why do we find things funny? In this episode of the Psych Bytes Podcast, Craig Pohlman, Ph.D., and Jennifer Fights, LPC, do a deep dive into the psychology of humor.
Hey. It’s getting warmer outside, you know what that means!I’m baaaaaaaaack.You know?? Your old “friend.” I know we haven’t talked to each other since you saw that friend...
My youngest daughter finally celebrated her eleventh birthday with her friends this past week. Despite her birthday falling in April, her softball commitments in the spring prevented her from hosting a party until school was over.
Dr. Dave Verhaagen has begun a practical six-part series to help young adults live happier, healthier lives. Based on the acronym OMEGAS, he has already explored the benefits of intentional optimism, mindfulness, and emotional awareness.
I feel very strongly that one of our sole purposes as humans is to be in a near constant state of growth - learning and adapting to new situations and people that we encounter.
3 Signs You Are Experiencing Caregiver BurnoutWhat are some signs of caregiver burnout?Burnout can take place over weeks, months, or seven years. Here are some signs of caregiver burnout.
Is social media good? Is social media bad? How much information is too much information to share with social networks?In this episode of the Psych Bytes podcast, Craig Pohlman, Ph.D., and Jennifer Fights,...
Challenging Anxious ThoughtsSince our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected, one way to reduce anxiety symptoms is to work on challenging anxious thoughts. Challenging means to slowly chip away at potentially years...
Expand Your Perspective with Beginner's MindCall to mind the last time you started something new - maybe a course, a job, a hobby, a relationship. Remember the quality of attention, curiosity, purpose, and...
Validate Your Child's Feelings and EmotionsValidation sometimes gets confused with agreement.You can validate your child without agreeing with their action.For example, I've had kids who...
Are You in a Position of Non-Acceptance?Here are some key signals that you might not be in an accepting place.Trying to control the present moment or reject what's happening.
My mother was one of those parents who cared too much. And like a lot of parents who cared too much, she would often say things that were designed to keep her kids safe and out of...
In her book, The Dark Side of Light Chasers, Debbie Ford talks about how we consciously or unconsciously hide different aspects of ourselves, ultimately rejecting them because we are afraid to recognize their existence.
What is caregiver burnout?Caregivers are often family or friends of somebody who has a debilitating illness, or disability, that require care far beyond the scope of medical resources.Caregiving can...
A lot of us have mixed feelings about saying “no” in certain situations or asking someone to do something for us.Maybe we feel guilty or inadequate for having to ask someone else for...
We've all struggled with moments that we don't have control over and we get really frustrated in that moment.A few examples of this could be a traffic jam in the morning or...
Using the acronym “OMEGAS,” Dr. Dave Verhaagen offers a six-part plan to help young adults live happier and emotionally healthier lives. He previously wrote about Optimism and Mindfulness, but here he talks about the benefits of developing...
So, what is non-judgment?Non-judgment is a mindfulness practice of observing the events of your situation without judging them as good or bad, so you stick to the facts.A...
In this video, we're going into the PERMA model by Martin Seligman and what that entails.PERMA model is a model that helps you attain overall well-being as opposed to just short term...
Being a caregiver is a challenging and time-consuming job. Caring for someone who is ill or disabled requires energy, time and resources. Often, the caregiver is a family member, a friend or other person that provides care...
We’ve all struggled with events that we don’t want to experience, which is when radical acceptance may be one of the most powerful skills that you can implement.These unwanted experiences range in...
Dr. Dave Verhaagen continues his series for Psych Bytes called OMEGAS that helps young adults live happier lives. In the second of this six-part plan, he explains what Mindfulness is and how it can lead to great wellbeing.
I recently spoke to a group of high school parents and administrators about the current substance use trends among teens. After the presentation, one of the school counselors brought out a box and dumped out its contents...
Take a moment to think about the goals and resolutions you set for this past year:What approach did you take to meet those goals last year?What helped...
"I know EXACTLY how this is going to go…"Maybe you've had this thought cross your mind during a meeting at work or when having a difficult conversation with a friend.
There are four things to keep in mind when dealing with an emotional child. This video will be talking about step number one.The first thing to keep in mind when dealing with an...
For some people, the holidays aren't as a joyful time. Whether it be family issues or the season of gift giving might feel a little too materialistic for their taste.What I often recommend...
Recently, Psych Bytes introduced a new series for young adults to help them live happier lives. Using the acronym “OMEGAS,” Dr. Dave Verhaagen provides a practical six-part plan to increase your sense of happiness and wellbeing. Today,...
Make the Holiday Season More Positive with an Attitude of GratitudeOne way to make the holiday season more positive is with an attitude of gratitude. Some ways to do this is by...
Emotions do not exist in a vacuum. They are influenced by our thoughts and our behaviors. As we contemplate healthy living during the holidays, the following tips and tools are designed to enhance our holiday experience and avoid a...
Ideally, the holidays are like the inspirational Hallmark holiday films where everybody pitches in, works together, and family members enjoy each other’s company.Realistically, for some families, the holidays are closer to reality television, where strong personalities, conflict, competition, and...
The following is the third and final article of a three-part series exploring how substance abuse and addiction can sabotage healthy, stable relationships. Today’s topic, boundaries.I have found that it is very easy to...
Fall Has Arrived, Folks! The extreme heat of the summer sun has shifted to a gentle warmth with cooler temperatures. The change in weather is enjoyable for many, but for some, the gradual decrease in exposure to sunlight as the...
Any day of the year can bring reminders of loss. We each carry around important dates unique to our relationships, along with places, things, and shared experiences that point to memories of life before a loss.Holidays are no exception,...
Find Your True Meaning of the Holidays If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, it’s hard to hit the target.  That truism applies to many things in life.  It certainly applies to enjoying the holidays without sacrificing your overall...
Dear High School Self,First of all, holy moly I am so proud of you. I know you are doing the best that you can with everything... school, friends, family, and remembering to feed the cat (sorry, Prissy).I wanted to...
For many, the holidays are their favorite time of year. And yet, several of these very same people get to a point when they cannot wait for the holidays to be over. What gives? What is it about the...
You Don't Need to Meditate to Practice Mindfulness You don't need to meditate to practice mindfulness. Some people misperceive mindfulness as a zen state or an emptying of the mind.In reality, mindfulness is a focused attention on the present moment.So,...
Gratitude gives perspective even in the darkest of times. When life is going well, it is easy to feel grateful and to be appreciative. When someone does something kind for us, it is easy to give them a “thank...
Thanksgiving Day Gratitude It seems the entire nation skips right to the December holidays after Halloween costumes are put away. Black Friday previews creep into early November. Wintery holiday commercials are aired beginning in October, which felt particularly jarring to...
A 24-year-old guy - I’ll call him Will - sat in my office not too long ago. He was in his first job after graduating from college, living in a city far from his family. He liked his job...
Although structure, organization, and consistency are highly encouraged, there can come a point where we go a little overboard and become rigid and inflexible. You may have heard the words “control freak” or “uptight” used to describe...
What Are the Misconceptions of Happiness? As a mental health professional, there are many clients that come into my office every day asking about the concept of happiness and how they can attain more happiness in their life.However, there's a...
Creating and Living a Balanced Life Can you truly have it all? Is it possible to have a complete and balanced work/home life? Would proper balance lead to a happier life?The answer to all of these questions is yes, but...
What Is Charisma? Some people seemed to understand social relationships and were magically gifted with social skills, whereas I was pretty lacking in that department. It didn’t help that I had moved to a new city and had a terrible...
Ever Wish You Had a Pause Button? Like when you sent that one text to your friend or couldn’t stop the stream of worried thoughts in your head before a presentation? Or when you were having the time of your...
Enablers Make Addiction the Center of the Relationship The following is the second of a three-part series exploring how substance abuse and addiction can sabotage healthy, stable relationships. Today’s topic, Enabling.It’s no secret that America has a drug and alcohol...
How Can I Validate My Child's Emotions? Let's talk about preventing emotional outbursts at home.So, I'm betting if you're interested in this video, you've got a middle-schooler or a high-schooler at home.You might find yourself trying to have conversations with...
Despite mandatory evacuations of areas at risk of a hurricane hit, relatives and friends pleading to loved ones to leave a flood zone, we are now quite familiar with what happens: the large majority will leave and seek safer...
How Does Exercise Benefit Your Mental Health? There are a lot of positive benefits of physical exercise.The physical benefits are pretty obvious. It's the main reason why most people work out is for the physical benefits. You know, weight loss,...
Supporting Your Loved Ones with Cancer Cancer affects every individual in unique ways. Family and caregivers are critical for support and comfort.Often times we are nervous about what to say or do. We don't want to respond the wrong way....
Kids are heading back-to-school! Beach plans are coming to an end, sleeping in and relaxed mornings are over. Majority of parents and caretakers are excited to see their children back into a routine and out of the house.However, the...
Anxiety is an all-encompassing part of your cancer journey.During initial screenings, you prayed that you didn’t have the disease. Then at your actual diagnosis, your worst fear was confirmed.Now you’re uncertain. You’re afraid for your life. These worries may...
As a behavioral sleep specialist, I spend a good portion of my day trying to help people who can’t sleep. One of the biggest errors that we make when trying to cope with insomnia is scaling back our physical...
What NOT to Say When Talking to Your Teen About Marijuana Here is a list of conversation killers to avoid when talking to your teen about marijuana.1. Avoid making it one, all-or-nothing conversation. Be open to ongoing conversations. This can...
How Substance Abuse and Addiction Can Sabotage Healthy, Stable Relationships The following is the first in a three-part series exploring how substance abuse and addiction can sabotage healthy, stable relationships. First up, Codependency.  What Exactly is Codependency? Codependency is one of the most...
Why is Deep Breathing Important? Anxiety is self-sustaining, often setting itself up cyclically: it causes physical symptoms that are often frightening... these then cause more anxiety, which leads to more physical symptoms and on it goes.This can cause poor breathing...
3 Ways to Prepare for Your Cancer Diagnosis Cancer. This is a word that can quickly capture your attention, especially in medical situations.Hopefully, you’ll never face this terrible disease, but for those starting their battle, consider these important tips after...
No candles. No appliances. No kitchen. No nails in the walls. Utilitarian oak furniture. A plastic mattress. One desk. One wooden chair. One dresser. One wardrobe.This isn’t some new trend in minimalism, it’s the basic guidelines for a dorm...
10 Basic Sign Language Signs You Should Know Wherever you go, there's a chance you could meet a deaf person who uses sign language.Wouldn't it be great to know some basic signs so you can chat with them and maybe...
I’ll preface this by saying that I have always loved traveling. As a junior in high school I went on a mission trip to Peru and spent two weeks in Israel with my church, and after my senior year,...
Sleep Changes vs. Depression or Anxiety in Adolescence Our sleep needs remain pretty high through childhood and adolescence, which gets more and more challenging when adolescence arrives.There are some changes to sleep patterns that are associated with development in adolescence.Most...
Guilt vs. Shame I often ask my clients to describe the difference between guilt and shame. They usually tell me that they believe they are on in the same.It is important to note that they're not!Research has shown that one...
How to Get Over Jet Lag: 9 Tips for Long Fights Flying across time zones puts our internal circadian rhythm, or sleep/wake cycle, out of sync with our external environment. Eventually, our natural cycles will adjust, but it takes time.While...
Is There a Normal Experience of Grief? Is there a normal experience of grief? In short, no.Grief is experienced uniquely by each person. It captures a wide range of emotional, mental, behavioral, and physical responses to loss and transition.It can...
Let’s face it: college is all about the social life. Gone is your family and provincial high school friends. It’s time to start from scratch; here’s your chance to be the life of the party.Nevertheless, it’s worth talking about...
Summer brings the promise of moments with feet up and a good book in hand, hopefully near a lake or the ocean. The night before I leave for a trip, I question if I really need to bring 4...
Why Is My Child Struggling with Sleep? There are several characteristics in people that can make them more vulnerable to struggles with sleep.People who have insomnia have a predisposition to developing these sleep struggles.1. They have more challenges when there...
Overcoming Social Anxiety Today is the final article exploring several skill areas that socially anxious individuals can practice to begin feeling more confident in their ability to face anxiety-provoking situations. And honestly, these are skills we all need to remember...
What to Say When Discussing Marijuana with Teens More than one in five parents of teens believe that what they say has little influence on whether their child will use drugs or alcohol.Teens report their parents' beliefs around drugs and...
Overcoming Social Anxiety I have been discussing several skill areas that socially anxious individuals can practice to begin feeling more confident in their ability to face anxiety-provoking situations. And honestly, these are skills we all need to remember and practice at...
Overcoming Social Anxiety This series covers several skill areas that socially anxious individuals can practice to begin feeling more confident in their ability to face anxiety-provoking situations. And honestly, these are skills we all need to remember and practice at times.Today’s...
Overcoming Social Anxiety For individuals who are shy or have social anxiety, it can be very hard to feel comfortable interacting in social situations. These situations can range from one-on-one conversations, group meetings, social events, or performance situations.Oftentimes, it is...
Before we start, it’s important for you to understand that my school isn’t your typical school when it comes to Greek Life. I go to a private Christian School in Nashville that only has four Panhellenic sororities and one...
It was the beginning of my freshman year of college. Never in my life had I ever seen more people doing more things, with seemingly enough stamina to complete anything their heart desired without batting an eye.There were Cookout...
In my Dietetic internship in 2005, there were a few life-threatening conditions that I was able to study in the classroom and then observe a patient with the same condition in the hospital. Some of these conditions were scary...
To be clear, I am not the most disciplined human being on the planet. But I do have certain habits I never have to think about, which is really what a habit is. An unconscious behavior you don’t need...
Mental Health Extends Beyond a Diagnosis “Mental Health” encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Many mental health professionals extend this definition to consider how our physical and spiritual health interacts with our overall mood and well-being.
What Does It Mean to Live Intentionally? Intentional living is deliberate and purposeful living. It’s about slowing down and consciously creating your experiences every day, including: in your relationships, how you spend your time, what you own, and how you...
Saying goodbye to a pet is not an easy decision to make. The saying goes that a dog is a man's best friend and without a doubt, I believe this now more than I ever had in the past.When...
How Do I Talk About Marijuana with My Teen? Here are a few tips to try and stick to when starting up a dialogue about marijuana.1. Create an optimal time and environment. If your teen has done nothing wrong, nothing...
Conquering Your Kid's Nighttime Fears The challenge with nighttime fears is that they can feel really irrational to parents, but are absolutely real to kids. The best way to handle this to start with trying to understand them the best...
What is one of your favorite childhood memories? Imagine back as far as you can to the clearest joyful image from when you were young.If you are like most of the parents I ask in my workshops and...
How Is Perfectionism Holding Me Back? In our culture, perfectionism is a socially glorified mindset that comes with a lot of baggage. It helps us reach goals, move forward in our schooling and careers, and prevent error.Does it help us...