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Suppressing negative thoughts may improve mental health, contrary to popular belief, study finds

Don't think about a pink elephant for the next minute.

Could you do it? Most likely not — that pink elephant was probably on your mind. Psychologists have long used this example to illustrate that suppressing a thought only makes it more intrusive. By the same logic, suppressing fears or anxieties is commonly assumed to negatively impact one's mental health.

"Part of the goal of psychotherapy is to figure out what you’ve repressed and bring it back and deal with it and then you’ll be better," said Michael Anderson, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge.

But Anderson's new research challenges that idea, suggesting instead that suppressing negative thoughts may in fact improve symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Keep reading here. 

These habits can cut the risk of depression in half, a new study finds

If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, here's a strategy that may help boost your mental health: Spend the next week observing your daily habits. You can jot them down in a journal to keep track.

How well are you sleeping? Are you eating foods that nourish you? Did you make time for a favorite hobby and exercise? Did you gather with friends or loved ones?

Your answers to these questions may help explain your mood — and your risk of depression too. In fact, a new study finds that people who maintain a broad range of healthy habits, from good sleep to physical activity to strong social connections, are significantly less likely to experience episodes of depression.

Keep reading here.

Boosting Their Creativity Helps Kids Face Life's Challenges, Study Finds

Just like adults, kids face daily stressors.

Luckily, a new study suggests that teaching them creative thinking can help them manage it all.

Researchers found that when school-age children learned some "narrative creativity" techniques -- such as shifting your perspective and imagining "what if" scenarios -- they quickly became better problem-solvers.

Keep reading here. 

The science of happiness sounds great. But is the research solid?


In a new review in the journal Nature Human Behavior, researchers Elizabeth Dunn and Dunigan Folk found that many common strategies for increasing our happiness may not be supported by strong evidence. In fact, almost 95% of experiments on three common strategies—spending time in nature, exercise and engaging in mindfulness/meditation—did not hold up to even the most basic of current best practices for showing psychological effects.

Keep reading here