5 Ways Your Hormones Are Affecting Your Brain: The Menstrual Cycle, Anxiety, Memory, Exhaustion and Chocolate

Friday, April 11, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

The only reason I'm able to post this is because I'm extremely caffeinated. Coffee or no, if someone doesn't give me some chocolate soon, I may lose my shit.

Maybe it's not that bad, but we've all had those days. Oddly, their appearance may not be related to chocolate withdrawal. Hormones play an important role in the way we perceive the environment. The hormones related to menstrual cycling can alter everything from sleep, to obsessive thoughts, to motivation and even the susceptibility to addictive substances.

Addictive substances...like chocolate right?...  continue reading

Reciprocal Altruism: The Evolutionary Drive Towards Not Being A Jackass

Monday, April 07, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Evolutionary Psychology

There is a reason it feels good to help others. Human beings are emotionally hardwired to help each other in times of need. But altruism isn't a moral obligation or a selfless act of kindness. At root, altruism is a biological imperative that is all about self-interest. And this predisposition has the ability to trigger guilt and anxiety if we aren't careful to repay kindnesses.

"You hear that, Judy? Where's my casserole dish?"...  continue reading

On The Loss of a Parent: Grief From Love

Friday, April 04, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Since writing this post, I introduced a short story that really put all my emotions in one place. Metaphor--it is lovely. If you'd like to check out Alien Landscape, CLICK HERE.

Grief. 

They say it comes in stages, a uniform pattern of expectations. In therapy sessions, we focus on it, at least in small pieces, based on the assumption that by describing it to people, they will recognize the pattern and understand that it will invariably progress and the pain will pass.

While the pain does pass, the pattern is not as clear-cut as many believe. It is a mess, a virtual soup of emotion....  continue reading

Mom Alert: How Contemporary Views of Attachment Can Cause Guilt (and why they might be wrong)

Monday, March 31, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Psychology of Motherhood

There's something about Bowlby, and it isn't his hot ass.

Much research has been done on the nature of mother-infant relationships. While I won't go hardcore into infant psychology, the model has a great many implications for women. Our societal model encourages women to stay at home, caring solely for their children, while at the same time pushing them back into the work force earlier by making single-income living unfeasible.

Unfortunately, we often feel guilty or anxious regardless of our choices or why we make them.  What we fail to realize is that there are a great number of ways to "attachment parent", all of which provide healthy environments for children. The myth that attachment parents do it one specific way creates far more anxiety than it needs to.

First things first. Let's look at why we feel so bad....  continue reading

The Great Fight or Flight Hoax: Why What You Know About Panic Might Be Wrong

Friday, March 28, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Fight, flee, then find yourself a girlfriend. Because nothing is more effective than female to female support.

The fight or flight response is what people generally refer to when discussing high anxiety or panic. This reaction, mediated by the central nervous system, is what motivates self-defensive behavior through physical changes. It alters breathing, heart rate and emotional response, a combo which can lead to scary thoughts.

 However, in women, this response may more accurately labeled "tend and befriend". According to research published in "Current Directions in Psychological Science", the panic response is an evolutionary imperative that drives us to attach with those around us as much as fight or flee1

Get by with a little help from our friends? If by "get by" you mean don't freakin' die, then yes....  continue reading

The Big O: What You Need To Know About Sexual Frustration and Overall Happiness

Monday, March 24, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships


The functioning of our bodies, especially our sexual responsiveness, is tied directly to our autonomic nervous system. The hormones produced in response to this system can trigger panic or orgasmic bliss. But which one you get may depend on your past experiences and how much satisfaction you've been enjoying.

"But you said size doesn't matter!"

So, here's the quick and dirty (heh): hormones like oxytocin are necessary for sexual functioning, from progression of labor to the Big O. Oxytocin is responsible for bonding, both with children and with partners, which may be one reason that having a lot of sex tends to restore connections between partners, increase attachment and decrease insecurities1. Enough oxytocin pushes us over the edge into orgasm....  continue reading