The Trauma of Racism

In the United States, black people are almost guaranteed to be born into a life of trauma. It is a trauma informed by a long history of brutal inhumanity, repression, violence, and injustice that continues to firmly grip black men and women each and every day. This trauma is not something any of us who have not had the experience of being black in America can speak to in the same way as someone who has. Yet, acknowledging this trauma and casting it in a broad, unflickering light is all of our responsibility.

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UNmuted: The Necessary Discomfort in Acknowledging America’s Racial Pandemic

When Africans arrived in the New World, they weren’t allowed to read or write. Transmitting information orally was the only way that the slaves were able to retain their culture from generation to generation. Today, that oral tradition is reflected in storytelling, rap music, and spoken word performance. This type of expression is normatively accepted as non-threatening, as it is more insular to the African American community. But when issues related to racism, social justice, and personal truth have been voiced from a larger mainstream platform, there has typically been a white gatekeeping knee-jerk function in place to silence the commentary.

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Saving Lives from Suicide During a Pandemic

The current crisis we’re enduring with Covid-19 is taking a toll on more than our physical well-being. A recent Kaiser poll showed that nearly half of Americans feel the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health. Suicide and crisis call and text hotlines have reported “unprecedented” spikes in the number of calls they receive, and many are concerned this could mean a rise in suicides.

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Tips for Coping With Coronovirus Stress

With the coronavirus throwing us into an uncharted state of uncertainty, our anxiety is through the roof. Many of us are practicing social distancing or spending our time in isolation or quarantine. The mental health effects of these circumstances are likely to be vast as we know from prior research, but whatever state we may find ourselves in, self-care is essential. There are powerful tools and practices to adopt right away that can help us take care of ourselves and one another. Here are some tips to help us cope in this period of uncertainty.

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10 Ways to Fight Loneliness While Sheltering at Home

With 95 percent of Americans ordered to shelter in place, many of us have found ourselves trudging through new levels of loneliness. It’s a strange paradox that one of the most globally impactful events in our lifetime, rather than bring us together, could force us to be our most isolated. Yet, here we are, taking each day as it comes, doing our best to keep ourselves and one another safe. Part of this effort should be taking care of our mental health, finding ways to ease our anxiety and cope with feeling lonely. Here are 10 powerful and effective ways to feel more resilient in the face of loneliness.

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Death Anxiety and the Coronavirus

The ultimate tragedy of the human condition is our awareness of our inevitable mortality. Each person is born with a death sentence. The developing child initially discovers the traumatic reality that their parents will die and later that they themselves will eventually die. This reality is too terrifying to tolerate, so the child must resort to psychological defenses. However, defensive solutions such as denial and religious beliefs that offer respite from death attempt to block out the pain, but never fully eliminate death anxiety. Death awareness has a powerful effect on every aspect of human life.

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The Hidden Powers of Gratitude

Laughter has long been hailed the best medicine, but a growing body of research is showing gratitude to be a major player in the path to a happy and healthy existence. Scientific findings have revealed that when we make a habit of focusing on and appreciating the positive parts of life, we can enhance our overall well-being. As one journal review noted gratitude is “related to a variety of clinically relevant phenomena.” These include positive outcomes in mental health (particularly around depression), adaptive personality characteristics, positive social relationships, and improved physical health (especially regarding stress and sleep).

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How Do Adverse Childhood Events Impact Us?

In the 1980s, Dr. Vincent Felitti, a physician from Kaiser Permanente was running an obesity clinic through the Department of Preventive Medicine. After several years, much to Felitti’s puzzlement, more than half of the people participating had dropped out despite successfully losing weight. Determined to find out why, Felitti eventually stumbled upon a troubling finding: many of the participants who dropped out had suffered childhood trauma. Their struggles with obesity were directly related to this early trauma, and therefore, losing weight was more than just a physical issue.

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Making Sense of Your Life to Empower Your Future

What could be more important and empowering than making sense of your story? Research demonstrates that creating a coherent narrative of your early life frees you to be the author of your future. When we fail to make sense of the past, we are often trapped in it, reliving old hurts over and over again. Creating a coherent narrative provides you with the keys to unlock stubborn destructive patterns in your relationships, from whom you select to the dynamics that are created. The self-knowledge gained makes you aware of your triggers, and this allows you to be a better parent, a better partner, and a better person.

 

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Insight into the Violent Mind

The World Health Assembly recently declared that violence has become a major and growing public health problem internationally.  Studies have shown that violence — an extreme expression of aggression toward others — and suicide — an extreme manifestation of aggression directed against the self, overlap to a certain extent. Researchers have long attempted to better understand why some individuals act out aggression toward themselves while others express their anger outwardly. Part of the answer appears to lie in identifying the negative thought processes experienced by those who are at high risk for either suicide or violence.

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