Mindfulness: It is what it is

April 2nd, 2014

I love watching sports. I appreciate the passion and the drama. Post-game interviews, however, I can do without. The same coaches and players who spare nothing in an effort to earn a victory often offer very little when they sit down to talk to reporters after the game. This is especially the case after a loss. When asked about a five-game losing streak, a player or coach might utter a few clichés and then end with, “It is what it is.” In these situations, “It

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Six Ways to Celebrate Psychology Month in Canada

February 15th, 2014

February is Psychology Month in Canada. It was launched in 2005. Since that time, there have been efforts to educate Canadians about mental health and reduce the stigma associated with getting help. Bell Let’s Talk and Depression Hurts are two positive examples. That being said, there are still a large percentage of Canadians with mental health issues who do not get help. The Mental Health Commission of Canada found that “less than 20% of employees who develop depression actually seek help” due to stigma, lack

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Understanding Depression

January 15th, 2014

I recently discovered Upworthy, a website with videos about “Things That Matter.” Below, please find a thoughtful and moving video about the experience of depression.  

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Overcoming Holiday Stress

December 12th, 2013

With less than two weeks until Christmas, some of us are feeling the mounting pressure that comes with shopping, family get togethers, and attempting to create the perfect holiday experience. Guest blogger, Lea Anne Goods, has a few thoughts on the topic. Please read her thoughts below. You can also read these Ontario Psychological Association tips for further suggestions.   What is it about the holidays that makes us lose ourselves to the hype? Is it the abundance of glitter and the incessant Christmas musak that sucks us

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Canadian Soldier Suicides – What Can Be Done

December 5th, 2013

As of this afternoon (December 4), it appears that four Canadian soldiers have committed suicide in just over one week. Over the years, I have had the great honour of treating Canadian military veterans. I am amazed by their courage… their courage while actively serving as well as their courage in psychological treatment as they face what they witnessed and experienced as soldiers. Much has been said in the media recently about the stigma associated with seeking psychological help within the military community. In the

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Recovering From Trauma – 3 Important Steps

November 6th, 2013

Stress is a normal part of life. Paying bills, meeting deadlines, and handling conflict can be stressful. Being laid off or going through a divorce can be even more stressful. These stressful events, however, are not traumas. Traumas involve serious injury, physical violation, or death (or the threat of serious injury, physical violation, or death). Many people who experience traumatic events recover without the aid of professional psychological support. However, some people do not. Some people experience lingering effects of trauma, such as nightmares, irritability,

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Caregiving and Grief – How to Help the Helpers

October 3rd, 2013

An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain due to an event that occurs after birth. A brain injury can occur while driving a car, playing sports, or riding a bike. Strokes, aneurysms, and lack of oxygen can all cause brain injuries. For the past few years, I have had the pleasure of leading a psycho-educational group for family caregivers of individuals with acquired brain injuries. Within the group, caregivers offer each other support and understanding. Caregivers also learn strategies for taking care of

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3 Reasons to Write a Blog Post

September 22nd, 2013

Nearly three weeks has passed since my last blog post. In that time, children have returned to school and the NFL has resumed its Sunday takeover. There’s a hum to life at this moment, and posting a new blog entry has not been at the forefront of my mind. Nevertheless, there’s good reason for me to post something new. In fact, there are (at least) three good reasons. Self-reflection – Blogging demands that I consider, “What is important now” and “What do I think about

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Facing fear

September 2nd, 2013

Many years ago, Eleanor Roosevelt said, You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do. My son re-affirmed Ms. Roosevelt’s thoughts this morning as he ziplined over the Elora Gorge. My son’s excitement brought him to the zipline’s entrance, but it was

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Emotional arousal and performance

September 1st, 2013

As a first-year university student, I enrolled in an astronomy course. I attended classes, took notes, and read the textbook, but I wasn’t emotionally invested in doing well. As the first exam approached, my studying was half-hearted. I lacked focus and motivation. On the day of the exam, I was similarly disinterested. Not surprisingly, my performance on the exam was dreadful. A psychological concept, the Yerkes-Dodson Law, helps to explain my poor performance. The Yerkes-Dodson Law explains that for complex tasks (such as an astronomy

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