15 Things To Avoid Doing When You’re Sleep Deprived, No Matter How Tired You Are

Bustle Article Here

If you missed a few hours of sleep, you’re definitely going to feel tired the next day. And with that fatigue will likely come all sorts of ideas for staying awake, such as guzzling caffeine, taking a long nap, or going to bed super early. But even though it all seems like a good idea when you’re tired, these are things you should avoid at all costs.

The only real cure for fatigue is getting a good night’s sleep, every single day. And that means creating a healthy sleep schedule, one night at a time. “Resetting your sleep schedule or establishing good sleep hygiene is a process and takes more than a few days,” licensed psychologist Nicole Issa, PsyD, tells Bustle.

And yet, the sooner you can start, the better. “It will begin with having a consistent wake up time and sticking to it,” she says. “Your bedtime will gradually shift to an earlier time to allow you to get enough rest.”

Creating a relaxing evening routine can come in handy, too, such as slowing down, putting away your phone, reading a book, and even getting ready for bed beforeyou’re tired. As Dr. Issa says, “That way you can just go to bed when you are ready and not get woken up by washing your face, brushing your teeth, etc.”

These are things you should do for good sleep, as opposed to the things listed below, which experts say you should try to avoid if you’re tired.

1. Drinking Tons Of Energy Drinks

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Even though they can give you a quick boost of energy, it’s not a good idea to load up on these drinks as a way to stay awake.

“[They] often have a lot of B vitamins, which can be stimulating, and then cause insomnia, which perpetuates the cycle of being tired and reaching for more energy drinks,” Catherine Darley, ND, from the The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine, tells Bustle.

Instead, stick to one caffeinated drink in the morning, so it has plenty of time to wear off before bed, when you can officially catch up on your rest.

2. Taking A Nap

g-stockstudio/Shutterstock

If you can, try to resist the urge to take a nap. Or at least try to time it right.

“Avoid taking a nap longer than 30 minutes to ‘catch up,'” Doug Hale, a sleep expert from Brooklyn Bedding, tells Bustle. “Just as important, don’t take a nap late in the day as that will disrupt your normal sleep cycle, leading to insomnia at night.”

3. Going To Bed Super Early

Mladen Zivkovic/Shutterstock

While it might be tempting to pass out the moment the sun goes down, try to stay awake as long as possible, or until your usual bedtime.

“Going to bed too early […] can result in what is essentially a long nap late in the evening,” Dr. Darley says, “which then causes the inability to sleep through the night.”

Do this, and you’ll likely wake up at 3 a.m., and be just as tired the next day.

4. Staying Inside

Ashley Batz/Bustle

When you’re tired, you might want to hide away from the blinding light of the sun. But stepping out can actually be a good thing.

“Get outside in bright sunlight for 20 minutes soon after getting up, then continue with light bursts of 10 minutes every couple hours,” Dr. Darley says. “Full spectrum light naturally increases alertness.” And that can help get you through the day.

5. Doing A Strenuous Workout

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“It might seem like a good idea to burn off energy in order to get a restful sleep, but working out later in the day can cause cortisol to spike which can prevent some people from being able to fall asleep,” health coach Rachel MacPherson tells Bustle. Instead, do your workout in the morning. Or skip it entirely until you’ve caught up on sleep.

6. Snacking To Stay Awake

Rawpixel/Shutterstock

Fatigue can make you feel hungrier than normal, and lead to cravings for simple carbohydrates. And while that’s fine, keep in mind that eating sugary snacks can crash your blood sugar, and make you feel even worse. Instead, “eat a healthy balanced diet so your blood sugar levels remain steady,” Dr. Darley says.

7. Drinking A Night Cap

svershinksy/Shutterstock

A night cap may seem like a good idea, if you want to fall asleep faster. But if you want that deep sleep, you may want to stick with water.

“Alcohol interferes with your deep sleep cycles and REM cycles,” Jason Piper, a sleep and nutrition coach, tells Bustle. “These are the restorative phases we go through at night. Alcohol keeps you mainly in a light sleep phase.”

8. Cramming For A Test

Hannah Burton/Bustle

If you have a big test tomorrow, and plan to stay up all night studying, it may be smarter to just go to bed. “You may feel like you are making progress, but when you finally go to sleep and it is a short duration, you will miss out on a lot of your REM sleep,” Piper says. “REM sleep is when the brain moves short-term memories into long-term memory, so a lot of what you were studying becomes lost.”

9. Sleeping In

Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Just like going to bed early, sleeping in always seems like a good idea in the moment. And yet, “it can shift [your] circadian rhythm for the day, making it harder to fall asleep at night,” Piper says.

Basically, sleeping in — even for just one hour past your usual wake time — throws off the timing of the sleep hormone, melatonin. It’s best to stick to your normal sleep and wake times, to help your body get back on track.

10. Eating Right Before Bed

Nomad_Soul/Shutterstock

While it’s OK to have a light snack before bed, keep in mind that eating a big meal can make for a rough night.

“Your body needs to digest the food,” Piper says. “So it will raise your internal core [temperature] as it metabolizes the food and also will divert energy away from sleep to digesting the food.”

With all that going on, it’ll be hard for the body to slip into a deeper, more restorative sleep cycle, Piper says, and you’ll feel even more tired come morning.

11. Checking The Clock

Nadezhda Manakhova/Shutterstock

If you ever find yourself in bed, tired, and yet unable to fall asleep, do yourself a favor and avoid staring at the clock. Or worse, wondering when (or if) you’ll ever fall asleep.

“Doing this isn’t going to change anything,” Dr. Issa says. “In fact, it will only make you feel more anxious which will increase your physiological arousal and make it harder to fall asleep.”

12. Relaxing With Your Phone

Ashley Batz/Bustle

However tempting it may be, don’t lay in bed and scroll through you phone, as the “blue light from it will interfere with your ability to fall asleep,” Dr. Issa says. If you want to fall asleep easily, and wake feeling rested, avoiding electronics before bed will be key.

13. Willing Yourself To Sleep

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Have you ever had that moment where, despite how tired you feel, you just can’t fall asleep? When that happens, it’s actually best to get out of bed, instead of lying there wishing for sleep.

“Doing that will probably come with a lot of other thoughts about your lack of sleep,” Dr. Issa says, including anxiety about how tired you’ll feel the next day.

“Instead, get out of bed and take a break,” she says. “Get up and go in a different room until you start to naturally feel tired. Then go back into your bed.”

14. Making Important Decisions

Pressmaster/Shutterstock

If a big decision can wait, do yourself a favor and wait. “Whether financial, relationship, or anything important, you would be much better off making that decision in the morning when your mind and body are fully rested,” Bill Fish, certified sleep science coach and co-founder of Tuck, tells Bustle. When you’re fatigued, you just won’t have the capacity to think clearly.

15. Soaking In A Hot Bath

UfaBizPhoto/Shutterstock

In order to fall asleep quickly, it may be a good idea to avoid warm showers and baths right before bed, and instead opt for a quick (and cool) rinse.

According to MacPherson, since your core body temperature drops at night in preparation for sleep, taking a hot bath can disrupt that cycle, increase your heart rate, and make it difficult to sleep.

Even though it often seems like a good idea, doing these things when you’re tired tends to be anything but helpful. The best and only way to feel less fatigued is to get a good night’s sleep, which includes sticking to a bedtime routine, and getting the right amount of rest every day.

The 2 Zodiac Signs Most Likely To Get Taken Advantage Of In Relationships

Bustle Article Here

Astrology can predict a lot about your relationships. Not just who you’re compatible with, but what kind of partner you are, and what your relationship’s strengths and weaknesses will be. And while astrology can give you an idea of what zodiac signs you’re compatible with, it can also serve as a warning sign. Astrology can alert you to the zodiac signs most likely to get taken advantage of in a relationship, for instance.

Some signs, like Gemini and Sagittarius, may constantly crave adventure in relationships, while others, like Libra and Taurus are more traditional romantics. Every zodiac sign is different in a relationship, and it can depend on factors like your ruling planet.

“Neptune [is] the planet of mystery, dissolution, confusion, fantasy, and sacrifice,” astrologer Cindy Mckean of Kansas City Astrology & Tarot LLC, tells Bustle. “Venus, the planet of love, also rules romance.”

Mckean says some of the most romantic signs are Libra, Taurus, and Leo. Libra and Taurus are romantics because they are ruled by Venus, and Leos are just in love with love.

But being too much of a romantic can lead to problems in a relationship. In every healthy relationship, boundaries are needed to prioritize your well-being. When you’re too invested in a relationship, others can take you for granted. These are the two zodiac signs most likely to get taken advantage of in a relationship.

1. Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19)

Tina Gong Ilos/Bustle

“Though it seems that the serious-minded, hard-working Capricorn is someone that can’t be taken advantage of, those traits are exactly the reason they can be taken advantage of in relationships,” Mckean says. “Sometimes Capricorn can turn their relationships into a job as they are willing to do favors and tasks for their partner in return for the carrot at the end of the stick. It may take a Capricorn a long time to come to their senses that the carrot isn’t really meant for them.”

Mckean says this effort put into relationships is why it takes a long time for Capricorns to recover from broken hearts, and why they may hold a grudge against that partner for years. Capricorns should remember that relationships are all about give and take. You don’t have to constantly go out of your way to make your partner happy, especially if they wouldn’t do the same for you.

2. Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20)

Tina Gong Ilos/Bustle

“Ruled by Neptune, Pisces are a naturally romantic and passive sign,” Mckean says. “As a mutable sign, they are willing to bend over backwards for the one they love and accommodate in any way for their partner’s success and happiness. Unfortunately, this sometimes means they can easily be taken advantage of without seeing it as their planetary ruler tends to fog their perspective.”

Although it’s natural to look back with regret, being romantic shouldn’t be looked at as a negative. Mckean says Pisces are resilient, and will recover from their heartbreak quickly.

If you fall in love easily, all hope is not lost. You may have to be more careful when it comes to recognizing what healthy relationships look like, but you don’t have to give up on love all together. Identifying what you want in a partner and making your happiness a priority can help you find the right relationship.

8 Reasons Why Your Depression May Not Be Getting Better

Psych Central Article Here

By 

You’ve been to four psychiatrists and tried over a dozen medication combinations. You still wake up with that dreadful knot in your stomach and wonder if you will ever feel better.

Some people enjoy a straight path to remission. They get diagnosed. They get a prescription. They feel better. Others’ road to recovery isn’t so linear. It’s full of winding bends and dead-ends. Sometimes it’s entirely blocked. By what? Here are a few impediments to treatment to consider if your symptoms aren’t improving.

1. The Wrong Care

Take it from the Goldilocks of mental health. I worked with six physicians and tried 23 medication combinations before I found the right psychiatrist who has kept me (relatively) well for the last 13 years. If you have a complex disorder like I do, you can’t afford to work with the wrong doctor. I would highly recommend that you schedule a consultation with a mood disorders center at a teaching hospital near you. The National Network of Depression Centers lists 22 Centers of Excellence located across the country. Start there.

2. The Wrong Diagnosis

According to the Johns Hopkins Depression & Anxiety Bulletin, the average patient with bipolar disorder takes approximately 10 years to receive the proper diagnosis. About 56 percent are first diagnosed incorrectly with major depressive disorder, leading to treatment with antidepressantsalone, which can sometimes trigger mania.

In a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, only 40 percent of participants were receiving appropriate medication. It’s pretty simple: if you’re not diagnosed correctly, you won’t get the proper treatment.

3. Non-adherence to Medication

According to Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and author of An Unquiet Mind, “The major clinical problem in treating bipolar illness is not that we lack effective medications. It is that bipolar patients do not take these medications.” Approximately 40 to 45 percent of bipolar patients do not take their medications as prescribed. I’m guessing the numbers for other mood disorders are about that high. The primary reasons for non-adherence are living alone and substance abuse.

Before you make any major changes in your treatment plan, ask yourself if you are taking your meds as prescribed.

4. Underlying Medical Conditions

The physical and emotional toll of chronic illness can muddy the progress of treatment from a mood disorder. Some conditions like Parkinson’s disease or a stroke alter brain chemistry. Others like arthritis or diabetes impact sleep, appetite, and functionality. Certain conditions like hypothyroidism, low blood sugar, vitamin D deficiency, and dehydration feel like depression. To further complicate matters, some medications to treat chronic conditions interfere with psych meds.

Sometimes you need to work with an internist or primary care physician to address the underlying condition in tandem with a mental health professional.

5. Substance Abuse and Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people who are addicted to drugs are approximately twice as likely to have mood and anxiety disorders and vice versa. About 20 percent of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder, such as depression, also have a substance abuse disorder, and about 20 percent of those with a substance abuse problem also have an anxiety or mood disorder.

The depression-addiction link is both strong and detrimental because one condition often complicates and worsens the other. Some drugs and substances interfere with the absorption of psych meds, preventing proper treatment.

6. Lack of Sleep

In a Johns Hopkins survey, 80 percent of people experiencing symptoms of depression also suffered from sleeplessness. The more severe the depression, the more likely the person will have sleep problems. The reverse is also true. Chronic insomnia creates a risk for developing depression and other mood disorders, including anxiety, and interferes with treatment. In persons with bipolar disorder, inadequate sleep can trigger a manic episode and mood cycling.

Sleep is critical to healing. When we rest, the brain forms new pathways that promote emotional resilience.

7. Unresolved Trauma

One theory of depression suggests that any major disruption early in life, like trauma, abuse, or neglect, may contribute to permanent changes in the brain. According to psychiatric geneticist James Potash, M.D., stress can trigger a cascade of steroid hormones that likely alters the hippocampus and leads to depression.

Trauma partly explains why one-third of people with depression don’t respond to antidepressants. In a study recently published in Scientific Reports, researchers uncovered three subtypes of depression. Patients with increased functional connectivity between different brain regions who had also experienced childhood trauma were categorized with a subtype of depression that was unresponsive to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Zoloft and Prozac. Sometimes, then, intensive psychotherapy needs to happen alongside medical treatment in order to reach remission.

8. Lack of Support

review of studies published in General Hospital Psychiatry assessed the link between peer support and depression and found that peer support helped reduce symptoms of depression. In another study published by Preventive Medicine, teens who had social support were significantly less likely to become depressed after experiencing work or financial stress in early adulthood than those without support. Depression was identified among conditions affected by loneliness in a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health. Persons without a support network may not heal as quickly or as completely as those with one.

 

6 Ways to Use Mindfulness to Ease Difficult Emotions

Psych Central Article Here
By 

Mindfulness has become quite the buzzword these days, with impressive studies popping up in the news with regularity.

For example, research from the University of Oxford finds that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is just as effective as antidepressants for preventing a relapse of depression. In MBCT, a person learns to pay closer attention to the present moment and to let go of the negative thoughts and ruminations that can trigger depression. They also explore a greater awareness of their own body, identifying stress and signs of depression before a crisis hits.

Four years ago, I took an eight-week intensive Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at Anne Arundel Community Hospital. The course was approved by and modeled from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s incredibly successful program at the University of Massachusetts. I often refer to the wise chapters of Kabat-Zinn’s book, Full Catastrophe Living (which we used as a text book). Here are a few of the strategies he offers:

Hold Your Feelings with Awareness

One of the key concepts of mindfulness is bringing awareness to whatever you are experiencing — not pushing it away, ignoring it, or trying to replace it with a more positive experience. This is extraordinarily difficult when you are in the midst of deep pain, but it can also cut the edge off of the suffering.

“Strange as it may sound,” explains Kabat-Zinn, “the intentional knowing of your feelings in times of emotional suffering contains in itself the seeds of healing.” This is because the awareness itself is independent of your suffering. It exists outside of your pain.

So just as the weather unfolds within the sky, painful emotions happen against the backdrop of our awareness. This means we are no longer a victim of a storm. We are affected by it, yes, but it no longer happens to us. By relating to our pain consciously, and bringing awareness to our emotions, we are engaging with our feelings instead of being a victim to them and the stories we tell ourselves.

Accept What Is

At the heart of much of our suffering is our desire for things to be different than they are.

“If you are mindful as emotional storms occur,” writes Kabat-Zinn, “perhaps you will see in yourself an unwillingness to accept things as they already are, whether you like them or not.”

You may not be ready to accept things as they are, but knowing that part of your pain stems from the desire for things to be different can help put some space between you and your emotions.

Ride the Wave

One of the most reassuring elements of mindfulness for me is the reminder that nothing is permanent. Even though pain feels as though it is constant or solid at times, it actually ebbs and flows much like the ocean. The intensity fluctuates, comes and goes, and therefore gives us pockets of peace.

“Even these recurring images, thoughts, and feelings have a beginning and an end,” explains Kabat-Zinn, “that they are like waves that rise up in the mind and then subside. You may also notice that they are never quite the same. Each time one comes back, it is slightly different, never exactly the same as any pervious wave.”

Apply Compassion

Kabat-Zinn compares mindfulness of emotions to that of a loving mother who would be a source of comfort and compassion for her child who was upset. A mother knows that the painful emotions will pass — she is separate to her child’s feelings — so she is that awareness that provides peace and perspective. “Sometimes we need to care for ourselves as if that part of us that is suffering is our own child,” Kabat-Zinn writes. “Why not show compassion, kindness, and sympathy toward our own being, even as we open fully to our pain?”

Separate Yourself from the Pain

People who have suffered years from chronic illness tend to define themselves by their illnesses. Sometimes their identity is wrapped up in their symptoms. Kabat-Zinn reminds us that the painful feelings, sensations, and thoughts are separate to who we are. “Your awarenessof sensations, thoughts, and emotions is different from the sensations, the thoughts, and the emotions themselves,” he writes. “That aspect of your being that is aware is not itself in pain or ruled by these thoughts and feelings at all. It knows them, but it itself is free of them.”

He cautions us about the tendency to define ourselves as a “chronic pain patient.” “Instead,” he says, “remind yourself on a regular basis that you are a whole person who happens to have to face and work with a chronic pain condition as intelligently as possible — for the sake of your quality of life and well-being.”

Uncouple Your Thoughts, Emotions, and Sensations

Just as the sensations, thoughts, and emotions are separate from my identity, they are separate from each other. We tend to lump them all in together: “I feel anxious” or “I am depressed.” However, if we tease them apart, we might realize that a sensation (such as heart palpitations or nausea) we are experiencing is made worse by certain thoughts, and those thoughts feed other emotions.

By holding all three in awareness, we could find that the thoughts are nothing more than untrue narratives that are feeding emotions of fear and panic, and that by associating the thoughts and emotions with the sensation, we are creating more pain for ourselves.

“This phenomenon of uncoupling can give us new degrees of freedom in resting in awareness and holding whatever arises in any or all of these three domains in an entirely different way, and dramatically reduce the suffering experienced,” explains Kabat-Zinn.

 

How To Get Smarter Every Day

Author Article
By Thomas Oppong

If you can consistently train your brain to adapt to new situations and information — you will get smarter with time.

Work on your personal priorities

In five minutes, you could decide what to do next week. Track what have you learned so far to avoid getting complacent and help learn new things.

Planning in a few fun anchor events gives you something to look forward to. Make a list of things you want to learn in the upcoming days.

Don’t over-plan and under-act though. A decision alone changes nothing. Action is the greatest gift that only you can give to yourself, so get started.

Reading is insanely essential

Opinions vary on what’s the best brain-boosting reading material, with suggestions ranging from developing a daily reading habit to picking up a variety of fiction and nonfiction books.

I have recommended a few books in the past here here, and here.

Charlie Munger once said, “I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you”

Embrace life long learning

Use the Feynman Technique to make sure you understand things. This is perhaps the single most effective studying tool that you can use to focus.

Learning is best when you connect it to things that you’ve already learned. The more you know the more you can connect.

Don’t stop looking for answers. If something doesn’t make sense to you, look for ways to expand your knowledge so that you do understand it.

Subscribe to insightful newsletters

A smarter you is just a few newsletters away. Barking Up The Wrong Tree, Farnam streetBrain Pickings, and The Longreads are a few newsletters you should subscribe to.

These newsletters share ideas on how to be awesome at life.

It pays to have a knowledge source from where you can learn something new daily. Use Pocket to save insightful pieces you come across for later reading. Before going to sleep at night try to finish those.

Give yourself something to pursue

Do something. Create something of value. Share your works. Start a passion project. You will learn more in the process even if you failure. You will be a better person than you were before you gave it a shot.

No matter what you do: create value.

Every online break doesn’t have to be about checking social feeds. Replace hours of social browsing with something more mentally nourishing activities.

Challenge yourself to do something original.

Start reflecting in writing

Write down what you learn. It doesn’t have to be pretty or long, but taking a few minutes each day to reflect in writing about what you learned is sure to boost your brainpower.

Write a few hundred words a day on things that you learned. Always take notes. Records brilliant thoughts you get through the day for later use. Be willing to try new things — even if they don’t seem immediately useful or productive.

You never know what will be useful ahead of time. You just need to try new things and wait to see how they connect with the rest of your experiences later on.

Share what you learn

One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it. If you really want to learn something, find a way to teach it to others.

Share your thoughts with others via a blog, podcast or vlog. Answer a question on Quora. Teach what you know on Udemy.

Explain what you learn. It might help others and it will definitely help you, just for the sake of learning.

“The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks,” says Mortimer Adler

When you share, you remember better. It challenges your understanding and forces you to think.

Publish what you learn. It will help you organize your thoughts.

Take time to sit in silence

Take purposeful breaks. Giving yourself space for your brain to process what it’s learned.

A growing body of evidence shows that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves creativity and that skipping breaks can lead to stress, exhaustion, and creative block.

Idleness is not a vice, it is indispensable for making those unexpected connections in the brain you crave and necessary to getting creative work done.

Spend some time to think

There is one activity that will have a tremendously beneficial impact on your results: thinking.

Unless you schedule a time to think, to really do nothing else but think, you won’t do it.

Don’t just read for other people’s opinions, read for facts and then think. This requires time and effort. You’ll have to learn how to focus.
That space needs to be free from distractions. Your mind is a novelty-seeking device. It evolved to pay attention to things that are new and interesting.

Evaluate your ideas. Ponder them. Thinking is asking yourself questions about ideas.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, for instance, makes his executives spend 10 percent of their day, or four hours per week, just thinking. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, schedules two hours of uninterrupted thinking time per day.

Increase mental intensity

Developing mental strength is a work in progress. Mental strength requires that you continue building new neural pathways by learning new things.

Mental strength involves more than just willpower; it requires hard work and commitment.

Force yourself to use your brain more.

The more regularly you pick up a new skill, or study a new subject, the stronger your mind becomes. Try to pick up one new thing every week, then continue working on it as you learn new things.

Focus, strategy, logic, and creativity are just a few of the mental muscles you should be exercising more regularly.

Cultivate self-awareness

Awareness is a powerful tool.

The power of being self-aware is that it helps you become conscious of your own habits and decide if you need to change them.

Self-awareness keeps you in touch with your emotions and the underlying feelings that influence your actions and thoughts.

Self-awareness is a tremendous tool for helping us understand ourselves and be at peace with who we are. It leads to self-confidence by building on the knowledge of who you are.

Create a daily habit of self-reflection.

Observe your mind when you are immersed in emotion.

Compete with yourself

Get one percent better every day. Focus on tiny consistent improvements every day.

Learn to beat your expectations of yourself. You will learn how to handle your limits and challenges in the process.

If everything is too good, you’re probably stuck not being awesome.

Calvin Coolidge says “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”

If you want long-term success, stop avoiding what’s hard.

Stay hungry!

Before you go…

If you enjoyed this post, you will love Postanly Weekly (my free digest of the best productivity and self-improvement posts). Subscribe and get a free copy of my new eBook, “The Power of One Percent Better: Small Gains, Maximum Results”. Join over 24,000 people who are on a mission to build a better life.

How to Heal from Heartache

Author Article

BY NICOLE BAYES-FLEMING

Since the doomed days of Romeo and Juliet, our society has been inundated with books, movies and songs about longing, heartbreak, and lost love. But in this video from School of Life, Alain de Botton explains how romanticizing that kind of narrative may prevent us from seeking out the love we truly deserve.

“This sort of unrequited passion – so often celebrated in literature and society more generally – may sound generous and in that sense loving, but a devotion to an unrequited situation is, in truth, a clever way of ensuring we won’t end up in a relationship at all; that we won’t ever need to suffer the realities of love,” he explains.

Whether you’re pining over someone who broke it off, or can’t stop thinking about a crush who could have been the one, here are three ways to move on from heartbreak:

1. Confront your fears

Longing for someone after an unexpected break-up is natural, but if you still find yourself fixated on an ex-partner months—or even years—later, it often has less to do with missing them and more to do with protecting yourself from being hurt again.

“The fear of love may be motivated by a range of factors: a squeamishness around hope, a self-hatred which makes someone else’s love feel eerie, or a fear of self-revelation which breeds a reluctance to let anyone into the secret parts of ourselves,” de Botton says.

What fears or insecurities cause you to dwell on the past? Have you created a story in your mind about why things didn’t work out? Letting go of them is the first step to moving on.

Rather than focusing on the motives of an unresponsive ex, de Botton recommends looking inwards. What fears or insecurities cause you to dwell on the past? Have you created a story in your mind about why things didn’t work out? Letting go of them is the first step to moving on.

2. Consider what worked

When you can’t stop thinking about someone who left or rejected you, many of us are guilty of only focussing on their flaws, and perhaps denying that we ever truly cared for them in the first place.

Instead, de Botton recommends focussing on what it was that attracted you to that person, before things went south—like their dry sense of humour, their dedication to their career, or a shared love of cheesy movies.

“[We] come to see that the qualities we admired in the ex must necessarily exist in other people who don’t have the set of problems that made the original relationship impossible,” de Botton says.

Ultimately, you’ll realize they weren’t all that special—and you can find someone elsewho will watch your favourite movie with you again and again.

3. Get back out there

It’s certainly easier said than done, but the most effective way to get over someone is often to start dating again.

Doing so not only distracts you from thinking about your ex, but it also helps remind you that there are other people in the world who are interested in getting to know you more deeply.

“True love isn’t to be equated with pining for an absent figure; it means daring to engage with a truly frightening prospect: a person who is available and thinks, despite our strong background suppositions to the contrary, that we’re really rather nice,” de Botton concludes.

Childhood trauma scars the brain and boosts depression risk

Author Article Here

Childhood trauma such as neglectful parenting causes physical scarring to the brain and increases the risk of severe depression, a new study has found.

For the first time, scientists have linked changes in the structure of the brain both to traumatic early-years experiences and poor mental health in later life.

Published in the Lancet, the study found a “significant” link between adults who had experienced maltreatment as children with a smaller insular cortex, part of the brain believed to help regulate emotion.

It focused particularly on a phenomenon known as “limbic scarring”, which previous research has hinted is linked to stress.

It involved 110 patients admitted to hospital with major depressive disorder who were then monitored for relapses over the following two years.

They were subjected to a detailed childhood trauma questionnaire, which retrospectively assessed historical incidents of physical abuse, physical neglect, emotional abuse, emotional neglect and sexual abuse.

The patients were then given MRI brain scans, which looked for changes to brain structure.

Dr Nils Opel from the University of Münster, Germany, who led the research, said: “Given the impact of the insular cortex on brain functions such as emotional awareness, it’s possible that the changes we saw make patients less responsive to conventional treatments.

“Future psychiatric research should therefore explore how our findings could be translated into special attention, care and treatment that could improve patient outcomes.”

The findings suggest that the reduction in the area of the insular cortex due to limbic scarring could make a future relapse more likely, and that childhood maltreatment is one of the strongest risk factors for major depression.

All participants in the current study, aged 18 to 60 years, had been admitted to hospital following a diagnosis of major depression and were receiving inpatient treatment.