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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Emotions

In Elemental. More on Medium.

New research shows the ‘tapping’ technique reduces anxiety, depression, and PTSD

Photo: Luis Quintero/Unsplash

For years people thought the practice of “tapping,” aka Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), was, well, crazy, to put it kindly. But after 100+ clinical trials have shown its efficacy, even the hard-won U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) got hip to the idea.


A therapist explains how to distinguish between the two

Person in a dark background with a cobalt blue light on their face, looking despondently at the camera.
Person in a dark background with a cobalt blue light on their face, looking despondently at the camera.
Image: Kyle Cleveland/Unsplash

I was eight years old when the wrecking ball of doom came a-swinging. One minute I was riding my Huffy Sweet Thunder down the road, speed lifting my pigtails, adrenaline twisting the handlebars as I launched off the curb, bravado daring me to let go, as if to say, “Hell ya, I’m omnipotent.” And the next moment, invincibility took a digger. I landed with a face full of dirt and a mouthful of blood, heart on fire, trembling like a newborn in the cold, drenched as if I had just gone swimming. …


Surprising ways the ‘yuck factor’ affects our brains, beliefs, and behavior

A sticker with a cartoon of a carton of milk with a face sticking its tongue out.
A sticker with a cartoon of a carton of milk with a face sticking its tongue out.
Photo: Tania Malréchauffé/Getty Images

It turns out that you don’t need a thick self-help book in order to “change your thoughts.” All you need is a bottle of — wait for it — fart spray. Not a big vial either, just a small whiff of “real fart” smell. This is according to David Pizarro, professor of psychology at Cornell University, who investigated whether the smell of something disgusting could affect people’s judgment.

Pizarro’s experiment builds upon a growing body of research that shows disgust, once labeled the “forgotten emotion of psychiatry,” is far more influential in shaping our beliefs, bonds, and behavior than previously…


My Therapist Says

Feeling antsy isn’t a character flaw but a sign

Illustration by Kate Dehler for Elemental

I’ve always considered myself a pragmatist — when facing a challenge, I often try to take a breath, go eat something, get some rest, and revisit with a fresh perspective in the morning. Don’t get me wrong — I make decisions based on gut feelings all the time. I just try to give it time to clarify and not make emotional decisions impulsively. Often it’s not a crisis; I’m just hungry.


Some things are just sad

Photo: PictureNet Corportation/Getty Images

Five words was all it took to break through the blockade that surrounded my heart, freeing it to feel legitimate pain and eventually inspiring it to let go:


A psychiatrist explores cultural bias and the history of medicine

Image: Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images

One of the first patients I saw in medical school was an elderly man dying of metastatic colon cancer, which had spread to his bones and was excruciatingly painful. I was shocked and heartbroken when I saw him beg the doctor for more pain medicine than the modest doses he was receiving. When I asked the attending physician if we could increase the dosage, I was told “no, he’d become an addict.” This was incorrect, illogical, and inhumane — as it turned out, the man died in agony. He would have never become an addict and even if he did…


My Therapist Says

In a time when we’re experiencing so much turmoil, divisiveness, and lack of empathy, sensitive people are necessary

Illustration: Kate Dehler

I’ll never forget the moment my son received vaccinations as an infant. He held onto me and my eyes welled up with tears as my husband innocently chuckled as he watched my reaction. All I could see was the fear in my baby boy’s eyes as he braced himself for the unknown. It didn’t matter that I knew the vaccine was protecting him. In that moment, I was living vicariously through my adorable little man and I felt his pain.


Professional advice on morphing back into a responsible human

After the confetti was swept up and the champagne bottles recycled on Sunday morning, was your hangover sort of… disproportionate? You may have let your usual healthy habits slip a bit as the anxiety built last week, but if you’re still feeling exhausted and unfocused, it may be that you’ve actually been overdoing things emotionally (it’s not just all the candy and CNN-bingeing), says Washington, D.C.-based therapist Kathleen Smith, PhD, at Forge. “I’ve told my therapy clients before that it’s normal to experience some dip in mood and functioning after a period of high emotion,” she writes. “People often feel…


Plus, how to muster up the tears if you’re a little too used to bottling up emotions

Photo: Yuichiro Chino/Getty Images

Back in July, Brooklyn-based novelist Andrea Bartz started to notice hives on her back and hip.


MY THERAPIST SAYS

How the Feeling Wheel has helped me navigate my emotions during a pandemic

A person pointing to a feelings wheel.
A person pointing to a feelings wheel.
Illustration: Kate Dehler

“How does that make you feel?” is probably the question most associated with therapy. It’s meant to help people connect with their feelings, but sometimes it can be hard to adequately express emotions. I should know — my therapist calls me out on this on a regular basis. We were discussing my relationship with close family members when my therapist asked how a particular situation made me feel.

Elemental

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