Why We Need Maury Povich: Sexual Selection, Trust and Misunderstanding

Monday, June 16, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

How did you choose your lover? Sexual selection is more than a choice of position, though that is by far the most fun definition. 

"Tonight's sexual selection shall be....the reverse cowgirl."

In evolutionary psychology, sexual selection refers to the idea that specific traits evolved over time for the purpose of attracting a  mate, and not for survival. Examples in the animal kingdom would include the dancing ability of a bird, or bright colors on a frog.  

However, for humans, sexual selection does not stop at the physical. With the development of higher order cognitive functioning, and more complex social interaction, came other criteria for mate choice....  continue reading

Why Am I Thinking About All This Weird Stuff? Real Stories About Intrusive Thoughts and Anxiety

Monday, June 09, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Mom Stories/Opinion

Have you ever felt like your thoughts are on hyperdrive? I'll tell you a secret: a lot of people do.

So today, we are going to do something a little bit different. Instead of quoting research, I am employing the help of Kristen Mae, fellow writer extraordinaire, to tell you about her personal experiences with anxiety, racing thoughts and the physical process she experiences. She has also shared some tricks that she uses to calm down.

This anxiety process is not the same for everyone, and everyone has a different level of tolerance for the symptoms themselves. But most with anxiety struggle with some physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, and trouble breathing along with scary or intrusive thoughts of some type, from losing their minds, to fear of embarrassment, to suddenly blurting out something inappropriate.

Even though it can feel horrible when it's happening, those around you are usually blissfully unaware that it's occurring at all. Everyone around you is going through something, their own struggles, their own "weirdness" regardless of what outside appearances may lead us to believe.

It doesn't feel normal to most people. But it is. It's those little pieces of "weirdness" that makes us all normal....  continue reading

Is Your Sweetener Messing With Your Brain? The Link Between Aspartame and Depression

Monday, June 02, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

Think artificial sweeteners are safe? Think again. Because in a serotonin and aspartame smack-down, aspartame will win every time.

It isn’t that serotonin is a weakling. Aspartame has a three-on-one advantage that destroys neurotransmitters and alters the way brain cells respond to one another. It’s like serotonin--one of the brain's happy chemicals--has to fight blindfolded with one arm behind his back, and we get depression, irritation, aggression or trouble sleeping as a reliable byproduct of this exchange. 

In short, aspartame is a cheating, ear biting asshole.

Don’t believe me? Let’s check out the research....  continue reading

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Using Humor to Combat Stress, Reduce Phobias and Decrease Intrusive Thoughts

Friday, May 23, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Treatment Techniques

Laughter. It’s kind of a big deal. 

I, to my benefit or my peril, have the uncanny ability to turn almost anything into a ridiculous, sarcasm-filled fantasy. If this sounds fun to you, humor may be just the ticket out of scary thoughts

The Psychological Benefit of Laughter

Humor may be just as effective at reducing fear as desensitization, a type of exposure therapy1. Even the simple act of smiling has the ability to improve mood according to David Eagleman author of Incognito8

But why would this be?...  continue reading

Why Are You Jealous of Your Friend's Friend? BFFs, Ruthlessness and Vulnerability

Monday, May 19, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Evolutionary Psychology

Friendships were critical in our evolutionary history due to the fact that we usually raised our children together, sharing all responsibilities among close members of a group. Women even evolved a special "tend and befriend" panic response to ensure we stuck together when things got stressful. I assume this meant that fewer early women wanted to run off and join the circus on the regular. 

Built in assistance? Yes, please. 

Our emotional closeness to each other was the biggest facilitator of this arrangement by allowing us to create long-term friendships with other women. Today we don't rely on each other as much, but this certainly doesn't mean that our brains have forgotten all about those early days of critical connection....  continue reading

Using Your Workout To Fight Depression: The Benefits of "Green Exercise" and Avoiding Creepy Dudes

Friday, May 16, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

Numerous studies link exercise to mental health improvement, possibly due to the release of endorphins or assistance in regulating stress response systems.

But I have a confession to make: I hate going to the gym. 

There, I said it. It's not the actual exercise part, not really. It's more that I always get stuck on a stair climber next to those people who barely sweat in their unwrinkled workout clothes, while I huff away in my yoga pants and three-day-old socks. 

Then, there's always that creepy dude in the corner who seems intent on watching the people on the stair climbers, regardless of their sock situation. 

"Hey, baby. I've got something you can climb..." 

Pass, creepy dude. 

Luckily, there might be a better way to exercise, one that leads to higher rates of emotional benefits....  continue reading