Just because our brains evolved to struggle, doesn’t mean we have to suffer.

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愚木混x株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

Life is suffering. At least, that’s what the Buddha said. Artists, writers and philosophers throughout history have named this pervasive existential dread the human condition. And so we’ve collectively grown to accept that this is as good as it gets.

You need therapy. I don’t even know you, yet I’m certain there’s something that weighs on your mind, keeping you up at night. It’s the thing that has you reaching for one more drink, just one more snack, or another episode of television.

The right fit can make the difference between moving forward or staying stuck.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

As a mental health professional and someone who has been in therapy off and on for over a decade, I believe everyone can benefit from therapy.

Yet I’ve known too many people who have said therapy didn’t work or wasn’t for them. Research shows that the primary reason talk therapy works is the quality of the relationship between the client and the therapist. Imagine claiming that friendship or romance just “wasn’t for you” because the first person, or ten people, you met weren’t a good fit.

Finding a good therapist is like dating. Except harder because if you’re new to therapy, you don’t even know what you want out of your future partner … er, mental health provider. …

Because therapy is supposed to help you feel *less* anxious

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Photo by Mathilde LMD on Unsplash

Many of us have contemplated quitting therapy entirely rather than overcome our anxieties about video chat sessions:

  • Seeing my own face is so distracting!
  • I can’t when I’m not seated across from a real person.
  • How do I open up with it’s just me sitting with my computer?
  • Ugh, weird tech delays make it hard to keep conversation flowing

Here are some tips to make your teletherapy experience less stressful:

Hate the way you look? Change the camera angle

Stack books under your computer, so the camera is planted just above your eye level pointing slightly downward. …

And it could be the reason you can’t focus on work, school, or really much of anything.

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

The prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain known as the “thinking center”. The thinking center of your brain is responsible for exactly that — your conscious thoughts and cognitive processes. It’s also the part of your brain responsible for maintaining focus and attention.

Typically, when we’re struggling to keep our focus during a task, it’s likely we are just preoccupied, using our prefrontal cortex to solve problems beyond the one directly in front of us. …

We often hear that exercise is good for the brain, but why? And how can we get the maximum mental health benefit when we work out?

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Photo by Blubel on Unsplash

A 2018 study of CDC data for over 1.2 million Americans found that people who engage in regular exercise self-report an average of 43.2% fewer days of poor mental health than those without a regular exercise routine. This works out to be almost a whole weekend every month! Over a year, that’s about two and half weeks of feeling great instead of feeling sad, anxious or depressed.

Why It Works

What happens in our brain when we exercise that causes such a positive effect? When we get our heart rate up, we increase the blood flow to our brain. With more blood flow, our brain is exposed to more oxygen and more nutrients. The brain then releases proteins that help to grow new neurons, or brain cells. So if you’ve ever heard people joke about “killing off brain cells” after a night of hard partying, exercise literally does the opposite. When we exercise, our brain starts healing itself and creating new brain cells to keep our brain working at peak performance. …

Video chatting with your therapist may feel strange at first, but that doesn’t mean it’s not helping your mental health.

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Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Online therapy — also known as teletherapy, video therapy, telemental health, telebehavioral health, telepsychiatry and many other names — has been around for a while, first seeing a rise in popularity and usage by mental health professionals in the early 2000s. Prior to COVID-19, this technology was especially useful for serving people living in rural areas or with mobility issues that made seeing a therapist in-person difficult.

Telemental health has gotten a bad reputation in the past for being less effective or therapeutic than “normal” or “real” in-person therapy, despite research demonstrating that telepsychiatry can be even more effective than in-person therapy in some cases. …

In the midst of a global pandemic, how do we know what “mentally healthy” even looks like?

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Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

“Caring for your mental health” is at the forefront of many brands’ messaging right now in an attempt to sell us more products even in the midst of historic economic fallout. Although many of us intuitively know we won’t find mental peace via Amazon, it’s hard to articulate what “mental health” truly is.

Let’s talk about what mental health is not:

Mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness. Many people without symptoms or a diagnosis of a mental illness aren’t exactly mentally healthy; their lives are soaked in stress, rumination, obsession or self-loathing. …

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c/o Texas Monthly/Getty/Scott Olson

As does every guy who took an improv class in 2015. So why does it matter?

Unlike a steampunk parody produced by UMich grads, Cruz’s podcast, Verdict, has listeners—to the tune over one million downloads. In each 25 minute episode, Cruz relays his account of the day’s impeachment trial activity while making his case for the acquittal of Donald Trump.

Verdict is co-hosted by conservative media commentator (and graduate of the Stella Adler Acting Studio?), Michael J. Knowles. Knowles is the Tea Party’s Jons Lovett and Favreau. He’s affable, charming and most concerningly, quite good at what he does: Knowles flatters Cruz and his legal background, then deftly sets him up to espouse opinions with a cadence that’d make you believe they were facts. Cruz excels at pontificating with a plain spokenness that make his biased appraisals seem like Common Sense to the uninformed or disengaged. Cruz knows the value of spin. …

Because time is money in the small business of You.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Critics of the freelance lifestyle are quick to remind would-be entrepreneurs of the perks a 9 to 5 job provides: no big tax bill, automatic 401(k) deposits, and freedom from all of the frustrating admin work that comes with being your own small business.

There may be truth to each of these criticisms, but going freelance doesn’t need to be an administrative headache. If you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer (or if you’ve already embraced the self-employment path!), here are four tools I wish I’d used when I was first starting out:


Many new freelancers don’t know that opening a 401(k) is possible without a full-time job. Not only is it something you CAN do, investing is something you MUST do to ensure your freelance career is sustainable for years to come. …

In our increasingly dystopian news cycle, it’s easy to become numb to the horror of headlines. But on Monday morning, one tragedy held my attention — a decorated, young athlete passed away from suicide.

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Photo by Simon Connellan

Kelly Catlin, 23, was not only a silver-medal Olympic cyclist, but a graduate student pursuing dual degrees in computational and mathematical engineering at Stanford.

When I learned of Kelly’s life, I could see myself in her relentless drive to reach impossible metrics of productivity or achievement. And the frustration of never working hard enough to prove my worthiness to an invisible judge.

Kelly Catlin was exceptional by any account, yet she couldn’t reach her own impossible standards. When even the superhumans among us are crippled with feelings on inadequacy, how do we, the ordinary, survive? …


Kayla Lane Freeman

Former content writer for Fortune 500 companies, turned social worker and therapist for people struggling with substance use disorders.

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