Playing Dead: A Physical Response to Stress Besides Fight or Flight

Monday, February 24, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

I occasionally come across cases of misdiagnosis due to a misunderstanding of anxiety responses. Some are convinced that they have a seizure disorder, others believe they have a nerve issue that causes paralysis.

But, anxiety is not all about running from a tiger or beating the crap out of an alligator. Humans have another trick up their collective sleeve: the freeze response. This is caused when something tells the brain that the threat is too big to run from or fight off, essentially that there is no hope except to play dead.  ...  continue reading

The Internet Mistake You Don't Know You're Making (and why it might cause social anxiety)

Friday, February 21, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

Social anxiety, or social phobia, involves intense fears related to social events, like meeting new people or giving speeches. While most people have some nervousness in new social situations, those with social phobia may experience panic attacks or anxiety so intense that they will avoid the situation entirely. 

It's the difference between feeling butterflies in your stomach when going on a first date and calling to cancel said date because you spent the last three hours throwing up just thinking about it....  continue reading

How To Cope With Intrusive Thoughts: Introduction to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Cost Benefit Analysis

Monday, February 17, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Treatment Techniques

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, gosh-darn it, people like me."

Stuart Smally, from the old Saturday Night Live skits may be the poster child for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): the gold standard in treatment for numerous issues including anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, and low self-esteem, just to name a few. The premise behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that by altering your thought patterns, you can change how your body responds, essentially short-circuiting undesired physical symptoms such as the fight or flight response....  continue reading

A Bitter Pill To Swallow: The Link Between Taste and Emotion

Friday, February 14, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under General

What does jealousy taste like? I'd guess like shit.

My guess would be wrong, much to the relief of jealous people everywhere. 

The sweetness of love, the bitterness of hatred, we've all heard the phrases. Through the years, many metaphors have been introduced which link taste sensation to emotional state. 

"He's so sweet it makes me want to gag." (That's what she said.)

So, is there scientific basis for this phenomenon? Researchers say, "Yes."...  continue reading

Secrets Every Married Woman Should Know: What Penis Size Can Teach Us About Monogamy

Monday, February 10, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Sexuality/Relationships

We prize sharing in theory, but nowhere near the extent of our nomadic ancestors who shared food, resources and mates among them like a socialist hippie commune.The egalitarian--or equal--structure of most early nomadic societies relied on both men and women for survival. This equality--along with cooperative caretaking patterns--allowed for sexual expression that favored multiple partner mating.

In other words, we reared our children in big cooperative groups, and lifelong monogomy wasn't really a priority, or a benefit. Switching partners was the norm.  

And there is still a part of our brain that craves this....  continue reading

Lies Your Brain Tells You: Why We Have Scary Thoughts

Thursday, February 06, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Anxiety

People refer to anxiety symptoms as anything from "being stressed out" or "feeling agitated" to "having a nervous breakdown". On the internet, I'm fairly sure the scale goes from :-( to 8-[ . But I could be wrong. 

Lower levels of anxiety hormones are necessary, triggering motivation and even normal functioning like waking up. But too many of those chemicals and you move past motivating thoughts and into scary thought territory; and most of the thoughts have nothing to do with the actual reason for the anxiety....  continue reading