The Benefits of Feeling in Control as We Age

From Pyschology Today Author, Arash Emamzadeh:

"Recent research by Robinson and Lachman of Brandeis University shows that higher perception of control results in greater cognitive performance, and that this is mediated through physical activity.

Perceived control

Perceived control refers to an individual’s perception of her ability to bring about desired outcomes and prevent undesirable ones.

For example, an employee who believes that working hard would soon result in recognition and advancement, has high perceived control; if, on the other hand, she believes that despite working hard she might get fired any day and that as a result she will be unemployed for a very long time, she has a comparably lower sense of control.

High perceived control is associated better health, wealth, wisdom, life satisfaction, optimism, cognitive performance (e.g., better memory or ability to pursue goals), and lower levels of depression and less functional limitations; people with lower income and those in lower social positions typically have a lower sense of control over their lives, though ones who nevertheless maintain high levels of perceived control appear to have similar health status as individuals with higher income.2

The relationship between perceived control and various outcomes, however, appears to be reciprocal and cyclic.1

For instance, an employee who believes that she may get fired any day, is more likely to experience stress, anxiety, and memory problems. These mental and emotional difficulties would then affect her efforts, motivation, and her use of strategies at work. And given that she is feeling less motivated and puts in less effort, there is a higher chance that she will face disciplinary action, and as a result perhaps feel even less in control at work.

But the same cycle can also start from a different point, such as with health problems.

Take health problems and aging. A large portion of older people have health or memory difficulties and thus potentially feel less in control of their lives.

But these control related beliefs can also influence their work life, such that they begin to feel less capable and effective at work, which of course results in anxiety, depression, and putting in less effort at work....

The present research

In the present study, Robinson and Lachman were interested to find whether changes in perceived control could predict changes in  cognitive performance, and if so, via what mechanisms" ... CONTINUE READING:

How Savoring Will Save You from Missing Out

From Pyschology Today Author, Caren Osten:

" ... Chances are you’ve savored the wafting aroma of coffee brewing. Or a breathtaking glow of pink and orange hues during a sunset. Or the melody of a song so amazing that you need to close your eyes to take it all in?

Savoring is not a new idea, and its origins date back to ancient times when savoring—or fully appreciating a taste, smell, or sight, for example—was considered wise. More recent research supports this notion and reaches further, revealing that savoring positive emotions is a strategy that can optimize your health and well-being. More specifically, the benefits of savoring include stronger relationships, improved mental and physical health, and increased creativity in solving problems.

In today’s busy world, however, we are pulled in so many directions that we often forget or forego the savoring—we simply have too many emails to respond to and tweets to read, among a million other things. The good news is that savoring positive experiences can be learned, like playing the piano, and if you practice, you’ll improve. So take a deep breath, slow down and open up to your positive experiences by stopping to savor the moment. Savoring not only cultivates positive emotions in the present, but also builds resources for coping—connecting us to moments in the past, present or imagined future that give us an emotional boost when we are in need.

Strategies to Help You Savor

1. Share Your Experience

Calling attention to an experience as it’s happening is an invitation to others to participate in it with you—making it an opportunity to savor, increase connection, and deepen relationships. During a recent yoga ..." Continue Reading:

May is Mental Health Month: #4Mind4Body

Article from Psychology Today Author, Kristen Fuller, M.D.:

"Approximately one in five adults in the United States, 43.8 million, or 18.5%, experiences a mental illness in a given year and approximately one in five youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental health disorder at some point during their lifetime. Mental illness is not prejudiced; as mental health disorders affect men and women of all ages, races and social classes. Since 1949, the month of May has been observed as Mental Health Month in the United States and many national organizations such as NAMI, Mental Health America, and other affiliates spotlight Mental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to stop the stigma associated with mental health disorders. The theme for this year’s Mental Health Month is Fitness #4Mind4Body, meaning that health is an all-encompassing matter and we must take care of our minds just as much as we take care of our bodies. Mental health is important for our physical health and vice versa. A well-balanced diet, a healthy sleep schedule, exercise, gut health, and hydration all affect our mental health and our physical health equally. Studies have shown that individuals who have chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure or autoimmune disorders have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety. Our bodies and mind act as one unit and therefore it is important to care for both our emotional and mental states as well as our physical health." Continue Reading:

Grieving Loss and Embracing the Future

Interesting article and reminder that loss and grieving are a process and everyone copes differently, don't do it alone ... if you are grieving whether it be the loss of a loved one, a relationship or something else entirely let's talk (941) 376-6834. 


Article from Psychology Today Author,  John D. Rich, Jr., Ph.D.:

"... If you are grieving, don't worry about any of that. The grief process plays out differently for everyone. Grieving is the interplay between the desire to pay homage to the deceased and the need to move forward and be grateful for the life you still have in front of you, and for the lives of those you love, who are still here. My father may not be here any longer but my mother and brother are. My wife is still alive, and so are our two incredible children. My father will still be there, in my memory, forming me into this person I am becoming. For now, I still have people I can call, who I can see and hear and smell and touch. So do you ... Read full article:

Why We Are Stressed Out And What To Do About It

Interesting article regarding modern stress ... take the first step to feeling better and let's talk (941) 376-6834.


Article from Psychology Today: A Conversation with Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D.

Social Brain Blog: What is the current brain health-based thinking about how best to recover from stress?

JKG: There’s evidence showing that mindfulness meditation, yoga, or similar practices can decrease responses to stress. In addition, health behaviors matter so much in terms of managing stress. When people are stressed they tend not to sleep, and being short on sleep is itself very stressful. They tend to eat more poorly, and that can exacerbate mood and make people feel worse. You know, cupcakes are really appealing when you’re stressed but you generally don’t feel better after you eat them—even though the process is fun...

Another thing we really know is that social relationships and close personal relationships are so important and so connected to our health. One meta-analysis suggested that being socially isolated was the equivalent of smoking in terms of health risk. And when we’re stressed we tend to isolate ourselves, and that’s the very time when social relationships matter most. Part of the recovery process involves talking with people, being with people you care about and who care about you, and being able to talk about what you’re feeling and what you’re going through.

SBB: Stress is now supposedly an epidemic, but it’s always been around. So what’s changed? Is there actually more stress, or are we just more aware of stress? ... Continue Reading:

Neuroscience Suggests That We're All "Wired" for Addiction

Interesting article and reminder that addiction takes many forms and can affect anyone ... if you are dealing with addiction call me today (941) 376-6834.


Article from Psychology Today Author,  Christopher Bergland:

"Contrary to popular belief, Anderson has found that even those without a history of addiction can quickly develop attentional biases that mimic addictive behavior. After undergoing classical conditioning between stimuli and a drug-free reward, participants who identified as nonaddicts responded to cues in ways that would equate to relapse for a drug addict. To some degree, everyone’s brain appears to be “wired” for addiction—and we all have the capacity to become an addict." ... Continue Reading:

Living with Loneliness

Interesting thoughts on dealing with loneliness. A good article to get you thinking, let's talk more (941) 376-6834.


Article from Psychology Today Author,  Robert L. Leahy Ph.D.:

"Have you had the experience of feeling lonely, like there is no one around and no one to talk to, as you sink into a state of sadness or anxiety that you fear you will never get over? Does such a feeling overwhelm you at times? If you've had such feelings of loneliness, you are far from alone. Loneliness is one of the most common, if unpleasant emotions that millions of people experience. For some, it may be a passing emotion. For others, it’s a recurring sense of desperation and sadness. 

Keep Reading:

Happy Mind, Happy Life: A Valentine’s Day Gift

Interesting thoughts on relationships and the value of a healthy mind.


Article from Psychology Today Author,  Joseph Cardillo Ph.D.:

"As time goes on in relationships, however, celebratory activities often have to get bigger and fancier for the same rewards, which eventually weaken in effect. This happens to just about everyone. Not only does the tremendously rich energy you initially felt decline, but so do many of those aspects of our lives that were vitalized and sustained by it—everything from health to physical and mental strength. 

Nonetheless, the luxurious, high-quality energy of relationships we initially connect with is real. And it doesn’t have to fade or run out." ... Keep Reading:

Ten Steps to Freeing Yourself from Your Worry

A good article to get you thinking but if this sounds familiar it's time to talk about it ... call me today (941) 376-6834.


Article from Psychology Today Author,  Robert L. Leahy Ph.D.:

"Are you dwelling on negative thoughts about the future—predicting that dire or terrible things will happen? Do you lose sleep because of your worry, find yourself distracted, feel nauseated, exhausted, and tense? Worry is one of the most common psychological problems that many of us face, but some people find themselves worried about something on a daily basis. If that is the case, then you might be suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder." ... Keep Reading: