Staying healthy psychologically is just as important as staying fit physically. In fact, doctors and researchers are beginning to realize the mind-body connection is virtually impossible to separate. When we are happy or content we tend to have more energy. And as most people have experienced, feeling of stress, depression, and anxiety can manifest in mental and physical ways, leading one to feel physically run-down and fatigued. Recent studies have found that factors like social relationships, family support, and satisfying work are linked to better adjustment and a longer lifespan. On the other hand, chronic emotional stress can take a toll on one’s heart, weight, sleep, sex drive, memory, and immune system.

There are many ways to improve our emotional and psychological health and more are being developed every day. Brain scans have given us a renewed appreciation for the positive effects of "talk" therapy and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for improving coping skills and resilience, deepening self-awareness, and making lasting emotional changes. Antidepressant medications, such as the SSRIs, are an effective way for many to break the emotional and biological grip of chronic depression. Alternative methods like yoga and meditation have also been found to affect the brain and improve overall emotional functioning.

Emotional Health Basics

The Happiness Dilemma: When scientists study happiness, or as they call it, positive affect, they tend to see a difference between the happiness offered by the immediate pleasures we chase and more lasting types of life satisfaction. It's not good enough not to be depressed. A circle of friends, a job we love, an optimistic outlook, and family all impact our happiness and health positively. A designer handbag, fancy car or other luxury goods? Not so much. >

The Psychology of Close Relationships is Dr. Ann Weber's course on intimacy and close relationships traces how important social connection is to us all. From attraction to jealousy to improving communication, it covers the rewards and risks of being close to others. Relationships can be a hugely satisfying part of life. The more you understand them, the better you'll feel, and the better they'll be. >

Emotional Health News

Better Language Helps Kids Cope: Helping kids with language development gives them the tools to express their emotions, rather than act out.

Good Partners Make Good Parents: Wondering what kind of parent you will be? Certain qualities make it pretty easy to predict.

How Our Brains Get Us Motivated: Motivation is the ability to decide whether an activity is worth the energy it will cost. We’re starting to understand how it works in the brain, and the implications for depression.

Love and Relationships

The Emotional Lives of Parents:
Some studies suggest parenting is linked to happiness, while others claim the opposite. A new one gets closer to the truth.

A Spray to Keep Your Man from Straying:
A spritz of "love" hormone kept men's eyes from wandering. Is this a new form of chemical warfare or a set-up for a sitcom?

Social Support for Longer Life:
Having stronger support systems – close friends and family – may improve your health and boost your lifespan.

Close Friends Are Good for the Head:
Friends, no matter how different from you, light up the social networks of your brain.

Loneliness Comes from Within:
Feeling lonely comes from your opinion of others. Judging others less harshly can make you feel less isolated.

Anxiety and Depression

Cyberbullying in Offices Is More Common Than You’d Think :
Bullying doesn't just happen at school. Cyberbullying at work can affect your mental health.

Ketamine May Be the New Antidepressant:
Ketamine is a pediatric anesthetic, a club drug, and now, the most promising antidepressant.

Learning to Name "Negative" Emotions Could Help with Depression:
Learning to identify your emotions may help with depression. It's not as easy as it sounds.

Too Many Antidepressants:
Many more people are being treated for depression. But how? And how well is it working?

Mindfulness Relieves Loneliness:
A simple program of mindfulness mediation reduced feelings of loneliness, and boosted health in other ways.

Work and Family Relationships

Shy Preschoolers May Be at a Disadvantage:
Children who are quiet or withdrawn may not reap the same benefits of education as the outgoing ones. The Solution?

The Bus Rider’s Dilemma:
It's common to place your coat on the bus or train seat next to you hoping for solitude: The old personal space issue.

Family Meals Are Best for Kids:
Moderation and the healthy support of family meals help obese children lose weight better than simply cutting fat.

De-Stress for Better IVF:
Success Couples taking fertility treatments who attended stress reduction courses were more likely to get pregnant .

Kids’ Relationships Are the Key:
When it comes to well-being later in life, having good friends is more important than getting good grades.

Too Much TV Harms Development:
The more screen time kids put in, the more likely they were to develop social problems and attention deficits.