15 Facts You Didn’t Know About Laughter 

Laughing is an action that can be looked at physiologically, psychologically, and socially. Physiologically, we know that we laugh because our bodies release a physical reaction from our respiratory system that lets out an auditory sound similar to “ha-ha” or “he-he” (Stearns, 1972). Psychologically, we most often laugh because we are confronted with some positive emotion, such as joy or amusement. However, laughing may also be a psychological response when we are surprised or embarrassed (Gregory, 2013). And from a social context and human behavior standpoint, laughter is often triggered by positive interactions with other humans which can offer bonding, emotional intimacy, and acceptance from others (Scott et al., 2014). ​  Laughter research suggests that the evolution of human laughter began more than ten million…

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7 Exercises for Radical Acceptance 

Discover how to practice radical acceptance to improve your emotional health.​  There is a famous saying that “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” It suggests that pain is an inevitable part of life; suffering, however, arises from not accepting the pain. What makes this quote helpful is that it not only discerns between pain and suffering, two concepts we often use interchangeably, but it also recognizes that we have power in the face of challenges. We have the power to accept.  Radical acceptance is accepting what is not under your control and embracing what is happening now in a non-judgmental way. When you wholeheartedly and radically accept emotional or physical pain, it can reduce suffering.    Marsha Linehan, a leading psychologist who introduced the idea of…

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How To Recognize and Handle Burnout 

What Is Burnout?   Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that comes from stress exposure (Schaufeli & Greenglass, 2001). Generally, the stress that leads to burnout is consistent and ongoing for an extended period. A single stressful event usually isn’t enough to cause burnout. When you are burned out you may feel constantly exhausted or anxious and on edge. You may feel irritable and angry. You may feel like you are living in a fog and unable to think clearly. You may be unable to relax or get to sleep.  Burnout Syndrome  Burnout syndrome was first formally defined in the 1970s to describe a collection of symptoms often seen in people working as medical professionals, teachers, social workers, and others in helping…

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What is Positive Reinforcement?

Learn how to harness this powerful principle to improve your life and the lives of others.  Positive reinforcement is the process of increasing the future probability of some behavior by following that behavior with a pleasant or desirable consequence (Scott et al, 2017). In other words, positive reinforcement is when you act or behave in a certain way, get something that you like, and then become more likely to act or behave in that way again. When you log in to Instagram and see that your latest post has received a lot of likes and comments, you may find yourself checking Instagram more often. Similarly, when you visit the vending machine and get a delicious snack, you may find yourself making more trips to the…

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10 Tips for a Peaceful Mind 

A peaceful mind may be defined as a state of calmness or tranquility that is free from worry, ruminative thoughts, or other types of busy, frenetic thoughts. Oftentimes, we spend too much time thinking—thinking about what’s to come in the future, what’s happened in the past, or even what’s going on right now. These are the times when we may crave a peaceful mind. We desire to rest our brains and just be present in the moment without the constant buzz of thoughts running through our heads.  There is actually a pretty good amount of research on how we can decrease our distressing thoughts and calm the body. For example, we know that the body’s stress response includes sympathetic nervous system activation, and the release…

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8 Scientific Benefits of Hugging 

Discover why hugs are important and the magic number of hugs we need in one day.   Let’s take a moment to think about some of the contexts we use hugging. Maybe you’re meeting up with a friend or family member and it is your way of greeting them. Perhaps you’ve had a bit of a rough day and need a hug from your partner or child when you arrive home. You may find yourself giving hugs (or asking for them) when you’re feeling affectionate or need support. Regardless of your reasoning, for many of us, hugs can be an essential source of care and comfort.   Many of us likely learned how to hug at a very young age. Whether it was hugging our families as…

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