How Nature Improves Your Mental Health

I’m Hayley, and I am part of the overwhelmingly high statistic of people who struggle with a mental health problem. I choose my words carefully. I struggle with mental health on a daily basis, sometimes it’s debilitating but it does not own me, I am not my mental health problems and some days are better than others.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and as the core of my business (and life) is about promoting positive wellbeing and emotional health I wanted to share some information, and hopefully inspiration with you.

When I sat there five years ago in the doctor’s surgery being given my diagnosis and prescription for tablets, every part of my body rejected it. I felt a deep instinct to learn more, to work out how I could help myself and how I could get better. I know from the people I work with that many of them also want to feel in control of their own treatment and take more ownership, perhaps that taking drugs does not give them.

I realised that between the panic, extreme fear and catastrophizing thoughts that my life had become, I felt calmer in certain situations. Taking my dog for a walk helped me feel normal, having a picnic in the garden made me smile, digging my allotment focused my thoughts and I love the buzz you get from skiing or clifftop blustery walks. There was a theme in all my happiness. It was all outdoors. Being in nature made me feel better, manage my thoughts and lighten my load.

Fast forward five years, a lot of reading, training, qualifications and learning later and I now run a business which uses nature as inspiration to help people feel better.

I’m an ecotherapist and am found running outdoor coaching sessions whilst hiking with a client, running outdoor team building days with companies in Yorkshire, toasting marshmallows on my retreats and building dens on my ecotherapy workshops!

But why nature?!

I believe that nature can heal us. Every single one of us. Of course people also need medication, therapies, good nutrition and other holistic therapies to help them along the way but I believe nature is absolutely essential to our emotional health. There is loads of research on the benefits of being in nature and loads of ways that you can connect with nature.

Here’s what happens when you step outside:

1. Breathe Easy – The most obvious benefit but not one to be overlooked. Breathing fresh air not only improves our circulatory system and our respiratory system, but all that oxygen also helps improve our energy levels, makes us more alert, and sharpens our concentration.

2. Creativity – Being out in nature actually causes our brain functions to shift. We spend most of our life glued to screens, but nature causes something called ‘soft fascination’ to kick in. This happens when our brain realises it can drop the intense focus it usually needs, relax and become more curious. Our eyes adjust and they send calmer, softer signals to the brain. Being in that state of mind helps us to be more creative due to the natural stimulus demanding less. Creativity creates new ideas, inspires better ways of working and helps people to relax.

3. Focus and Productivity – Studies from the University of Michigan have shown that nature is scientifically proven to improve our ability to focus and be productive! Being deeply immersed in nature e.g. in a forest or at the beach has significantly more benefits than a town-based walk or a view of a cityscape.

4. Healing – Being in nature actually helps us to heal both physically and emotionally. Professor Roger Ulrich from a University in Texas did a study based on recovery from surgery in hospital. He monitored people’s rates of recovery and how nature would affect that. He found that depending on where people’s beds were placed greatly impacting on rates of recovery and that those with a view of nature (compared with a view of the ward or a wall) recovered much quicker.

5. Stress – Now the biggest reason for absence from work according to the Health and Safety Executive. Well, nature can help there too! Research published in the Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine journal has shown that being in nature, specifically in forests, reduces the cortisol levels in our brain (our stress hormone) and can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. With 12% of staff absence due to mental health problems this is something we can no longer ignore.

6. Fun! – Of course being outside is fun! It’s a natural playground, it creates childlike wonder. When was the last time you toasted a marshmallow! We do it EVERY DAY on my team away days! Having fun is actually a fundamental key to happiness. How does building dens, swinging on ropes and making kazoos in the woods sound!? A whole load of endorphins (feel good hormones) flood the brain helping you feel lighter and more relaxed.

Nature helps us be creative, resilient, inspired, relaxed, excited, engaged. I work therapeutically outdoors so you can experience all of that whilst working on boosting your self-belief, healing negative doubts, increasing your confidence and getting unstuck too. I work with people who feel stressed out and burnt out and I also work with people who have goals and ambitions and want to live their life with sparkle and zest.




Psychiatrist Defines 16 Personality Types, Which One Are You?

Whether you are intrigued by the idea of personality types or believe them to be nonsense, it’s always interesting to see which type you supposedly fall into and perhaps gain a little more knowledge about yourself. This test is devised using psychiatrist Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ definitions of sixteen varying personality types. I’m going to see which I am and you can take the test here!

So, I am an INFP type which means I am introvert, intuitive, feeling and exploring according to this test. The celebrities with my personality type are writers mostly, so it looks like I’m in the right profession. Which personality type did you get? You can see below which famous people have the same traits as you do:



13 Real AF Things Carrie Fisher Said About Living With Mental Illness

“You should be proud of being able to say, ‘This is what I’m getting through right now.’”

1. On her life with mental illness:

On her life with mental illness:

2. On the unspoken difficulty of living with mental illness:

On the unspoken difficulty of living with mental illness:

3. On the advice she would give to people struggling with mental illness who are afraid to pursue their dreams:

On the advice she would give to people struggling with mental illness who are afraid to pursue their dreams:

4. On taking medication for your mental health:

On taking medication for your mental health:

5. On what to do if things start going wrong:

On what to do if things start going wrong:

6. On life during the depressive phase of bipolar disorder:

On life during the depressive phase of bipolar disorder:

7. On giving yourself credit:

On giving yourself credit:

8. On finding your own “normal”:

On finding your own "normal":

9. On making peace with yourself:

On making peace with yourself:

10. On not being defined by your mental illness:

On not being defined by your mental illness:

11. On being a mental health advocate:

On being a mental health advocate:

12. On the advice she’d give to a young woman struggling with bipolar disorder:

On the advice she'd give to a young woman struggling with bipolar disorder:

13. On being comfortable with yourself and your mental health:

On being comfortable with yourself and your mental health:

When Anxiety Makes You Feel Like a Fish Suffocating Underwater

Imagine being a blue tang fish (like Dory from “Finding Dory”). You are just swimming around in your underwater palace. You enter the banquet hall and see there are a lot of strangers there. You didn’t know about the party.

As you greet the guests, you feel like they are all staring. You know they are not staring, but it still feels like it. You continue to act like nothing is wrong. Then, it hits you like a ton of bricks. Your insecurities show up.

Suddenly, you can’t breathe underwater like you always have. You start trying to breathe, but it just isn’t working. Your throat burns. No one really notices because you are being silent. You try to control yourself, but nothing is working.

This is what it’s like to have anxiety. It can happen over the smallest things, like when you are eating in public or just by walking. Anxiety is not cute. It is not funny. It is a real problem. No one should want anxiety.

Anxiety can cause people to do weird things, like always check their phone to make sure no one called or refuse to talk on the phone because they are scared. They may make excuses when invited places so they don’t have to see people. Just the thought of being in a public place or an upcoming event can cause a panic attack.

Anxiety should not be overlooked. If you have a friend who struggles with it, then let them know you are there for them. Sometimes, just hearing, “You will be OK. I am here for you,” can calm someone so much.




What I’d Like to Hear Instead of ‘You’ll Be Fine’ When I Ask for Help With My Mental Health

I’m not a fan of the phrases ”You’ll get there” or “You’ll be fine.” It’s hard enough to muster up what little courage I have to say, “OK, I can’t do this on my own,” and then go to someone who I think will understand, and it frustrates me when all they can say is, “You’ll be OK.”

I struggle with anxiety on a daily basis and mild depression. I recently had a really bad episode as I am trying to go for my certification in my job, and when I went to ask for help for courage or someone to listen, they just said, “You’ll be fine,” or “You’ll get there.” But I was feeling not good enough and really frustrated.

I found myself getting more and more agitated that I couldn’t find help from people around me; I started to shut down so much I ignored every text message and phone call. Thoughts started swarming around me, each one on top of the next, until I turned to my music and clicked on the ambience playlist. Then I thought about taking a bubble bath, or sitting upwards with hot tea or coffee in my hand and a candle lit in the background.

So, what’s my problem? Why am I writing my feelings for the general public? (That alone makes me want to crawl under a rock.) I want to embrace my feelings and emotions in a healthy way, and I feel if I share them, I can and will be stronger. I can even help someone else, and I believe we can be stronger as a whole.

I don’t have it all together; I am not perfect. I am a woman who has feelings, emotions, bad days, good days, sad moments, happy moments, confidence, aggravations, difficulties, strengths, weaknesses — all of the above and more.

When I finally opened up to my significant other, even though I was afraid of what he would think, he was really understanding and just hugged me. That helped me realize I don’t have to have it all together; I can be where I am, a day at a time. If we can understand that life is a journey and not a race, I believe we can work through each other’s differences.

So, how do I think we can better support each other? How about instead of saying “You’ll be fine” when someone comes to us for help, we try:

Is there something I can do?

You’re not alone.

I’m here for you.

Do you want to talk?

I’m here to listen.

If you need a shoulder to cry on, look no further.

I believe it’s how you choose to deal with challenges that make you, you. I will continue to write after I figure out how to be happier as a whole, but for now, I’m taking this journey day by day, finding happiness for now in the little things.




11 Little Known Facts About Left Handers

1/11   Left-Handedness and Your Health

surprising-facts-about-left-handers-01-pg-fullThere’s no denying it. Left-handers are the odd ones out.

Sure, lefties make up about 10 percent of the population — but, frankly, it seems like society has forgotten about them. Just condsider all of the right-handed gadgets, awkwardly designed desks, and cooking tools that fit comfortably only in your right hand.

What causes someone to become a southpaw? Scientists aren’t exactly sure, but research points to a complex collaboration between genes and environment. While no exact set of “leftie genes” have been discovered, people who dominantly use their left hands do have more left-handed family members. And researchers have found different brain wirings in righties vs. lefties.

But no matter what it is that drives someone to use their antipodal paw, science has also uncovered a particular set of personality traits that left-handed people tend to have. So for all of you lefties, leftie-loving righties, and ambidextrous folks out there — it’s time to brush up on your left-handed knowledge and help put an end to leftie discrimination once and for all.

2 / 11   Lefties Have a Higher Risk of Psychosis

Lefties make up about 10 percent of the general population. But researchers have found that in populations with certain mental disorders, that rate goes up. Previous studies have found that people with psychosis had a 20 percent likelihood of being left-handed, though a small study in the journal SAGE found the rate of psychotic lefties may be even higher. Researchers at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas assessed 107 patients at outpatient psychiatric clinics. For those with mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder, the rate of left-handedness was close to average, at 11 percent. But in people with psychosis, such as those with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, the rate of left-handedness was 40 percent, well above average. Researchers theorize brain laterality plays a role.

3 / 11   Your Handedness May Determine Your Health

Your Handedness May Determine Your Health

Scientists have also found an increased risk for dyslexia, ADHD, and certain mood disorders in left-handed people, according to a 2010 study published in Pediatrics. Researchers are not exactly sure how to explain this phenomenon, but many believe it’s related to how the brain is wired. Your noggin is divided into two halves: the left side and the right side. Most people (righties and lefties alike) rely on the brain’s left hemisphere for tasks like language functioning. But about 30 percent of left-handed folks are either partial to the right hemisphere or have no dominant hemisphere at all. According to scientists, having one hemisphere dominate is much more efficient, which is why some left-handers are at increased risk for learning impairments and brain disorders.

But lefties may be in luck when it comes to other health conditions: Results of a large survey published in the journal Laterality found that left-handers had lower rates of arthritis and ulcers.

4 / 11   Lefties Hear Speeches Differently


Lefties Hear Speeches Differently

People who use their left hands when listening may more easily hear slowly-changing sounds than those who use their right hands, according to a study from Georgetown University Medical Center. The researchers who conducted the study, presented at Neuroscience 2012, found that the left and right hemispheres of the brain specialize in different kinds of sounds. The left hemisphere, which controls the right hand, likes rapidly-changing sounds like consonants, while the right hemisphere, which controls the left hand, likes slowly-changing sounds like syllables or intonation.

According to the researchers, if you’re waving an American flag while listening to a presidential candidate, the speech will sound slightly different to you depending on whether you’re holding the flag in your left or right hand. The research could ultimately result in better treatment for stroke and language disorders.

Update: An earlier version of this post stated that people who use their left hands may more easily hear rapidly-changing sounds that those who use their right hands. In fact, left-handers hear slow-changing sounds better.

5 / 11   Left-Handed Neanderthals Were the Minority, Too

Left-Handed Neanderthals Were the Minority, TooRight-handed bias isn’t just a modern-day phenomenon: It turns out we’ve been dominantly using our right hooks for more than 500,000 years.

University of Kansas researchers recently determined the handedness of ancient humans by studying — oddly enough — their teeth. The study, which was published in the journal Laterality, found that when our great-great-great-great-(you get the point)-grandfathers processed animal hides, they would hold one side of the carcass in one hand and the other in their mouth. By locating the wear and tear on those prehistoric chompers, scientists were able to determine whether our prehistoric ancestors were using their left hand or right hand more dominantly

“All you need to have is a single tooth, and you can tell if our assumptions are right — if the individual is right- or left-handed,” study researcher David Frayer, Ph.D., told LiveScience. The results? “The fossils are just like humans in that we are mostly right-handed, and so were they.”

6 / 11   Lefties Make Better Artists

Lefties Make Better Artists Southpaws have been bragging about their creative clout for years. But is it true — does being left-handed mean you’re also more likely to be artistic or innovative?

According to research published in the American Journal of Psychology, there is some evidence that left-handed people have the upper hand in at least one creative facet: They’re better at divergent thinking, a method of idea generation that explores many possible solutions.

To determine whether lefties were more likely to pursue creative careers than righties, the folks behind the Left-Handers Club (a pro-leftie group dedicated to left-handed research and product development) surveyed more than 2,000 left-handed, right-handed, and ambidextrous participants and found that lefties tended to find advantages and be drawn to careers in the arts, music, sports, and information-technology fields.

But that may also add up to lower paychecks: According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, left-handers’ salaries are 10 percent lower on average than those of right-handers.

7 / 11   We Vote for Left-Handers!

We Vote for Left-Handers! It doesn’t matter which way they swing politically: A surprisingly high percentage of recent U.S. presidents were on the left (in terms of handedness, of course).

The lengthy list of left-handed leaders includes four of the last seven commanders in chief — President Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Gerald Ford — as well as past presidents James Garfield and Harry Truman. In fact, there’s a rumor that Ronald Reagan was born a leftie, but stringent schoolteachers converted him to a righty when he was young.

Should right-handed presidential wannabes fake it? Our penchant for left-handed POTUSes is probably pure coincidence. But one recent Dutch study suggests that left-handed politicians actually have an advantage in televised debates. As a whole, people tend to associate right-handed gestures with “good” and left-handed gestures with “bad,” according to the researchers. Since television presents a mirror image, the lefties are the ones who appear to gesture with their right hands (the “good” hand).

8/ 11   Grrr! Left-Handers Get Angrier, Too

If you just can’t let go of that spat you had with your right-handed pal (but he seemed to move on just fine), you may be able to blame it on your left-handedness. According to a small study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, lefties are more prone to having negative emotions. In addition, they seem to have a more difficult time processing their feelings.

Again, this seems to be related to the brain-hand connection. Compared to righties, left-handed participants in the study showed an imbalance in activity between the left and right hemispheres when trying to process their moodiness.

9 /11   They Have Their Own Day!

They Have Their Own Day!Mark your calendar: August 13 is International Left-Handers Day.

Lefties across the globe celebrate the annual event, which was launched in 1992 by the UK-based Left-Handers Club to increase awareness about the left-handed lifestyle. According to the group’s Web site, it’s a day “when left-handers everywhere can celebrate their sinistrality and increase public awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed.”

How should you observe the occasion? Create a “leftie zone”: a designated area of personal space where everything must be done in a left-handed fashion, from your workspace setup to the way you use cutlery.

And that rule also extends to any right-handers who happen to enter the leftie zone.

10 / 11   Lefties Like to Booze

Lefties Like to Booze Next time you have a run-in with a boozed-up barfly, check out which hand he’s holding his whisky with: chances are, it’ll be his left.

For years, myth has held that left-handers are more likely to become alcoholics. Research into the topic was murky, however, and relied on small samples. But a survey of more than 25,000 people from 12 countries has cleared things up a bit. While lefties are not more prone to alcoholism, they do drink more often.

Researcher Kevin Denny, who examined the data for a paper published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, says the main takeaway should be debunking that whole left-handedness-alcoholism link. “There is no evidence that handedness predicts risky drinking,” he stated in a press release. “Hence, the results do not support the idea that excess drinking may be a consequence either of atypical lateralisation of the brain, or due to the social stresses that arise from left-handers’ being a minority group.”

11 / 11  Lefties Aren’t Going Anywhere

Lefties Aren't Going AnywhereLeft-handers are the minority. So does that mean they’ll go extinct one day? In fact, some researchers believe that when it comes to survival of the fittest, lefties come out on top.

Here’s why: In one-on-one combat, using the left-hand is like throwing a curveball. “The fact that left-handers are less common means they have a surprise effect,” University of Montpellier researcher Charlotte Faurie told ABC News. To dig deeper, Faurie and her colleague Michel Raymond studied nine different primitive societies. In more violent societies, they found, lefties thrived (think southpaw slugger Rocky Balboa’s left hook).

Looks like the left hand has the upper hand after all.



Sad young woman looking down( acting )

8 Common Effects Of Narcissistic Parenting

“Character is the trace of relationship,” wrote Christopher Bollas, the brilliant post-Freudian psychoanalyst, in his ominously titled but infinitely hopeful book, The Shadow of the Object. What he meant was that we all develop in context, gathering bits and pieces of the relationships around us and fixing them, unconsciously, to our temperament—that wired-in biological blueprint that partially determines who we become. This, he concluded, is how any personality is born.

What happens to the development of our personality when we live in the shadow of narcissistic parent? Here are eight of the most common effects.

1. Chronic self-blame. Narcissistic parents may or may not be openly abusive, but they’re almost certainly emotionally tone deaf, too preoccupied with their own concerns to hear our pain. Because emotionally sensitive children who long for love can’t simply walk out the door and find a new family, they often nurture hope by sacrificing their self-esteem. “I’m the problem,” they tell themselves. “If I were quieter, calmer, or happier, my mother wouldn’t yell at me, ignore me, or criticize me all the time. If I fix myself, I’ll finally be loved.” Sadly, we often blame ourselves for what’s missing from our lives to preserve a shred of hope.

2. Echoism. If you’re particularly sensitive or empathic by nature, you’re more likely to respond to narcissistic parenting with a stance I call echoism, named after the nymph Echo, who was cursed to repeat back the last few words she heard. Just as Narcissus fell in love with his reflection, Echo fell in love with Narcissus. Narcissistic parents who explode without warning, or collapse in tears any time a child dares to express a need, force sensitive children to take up as little room as possible, as if having any expectations at all is an act of selfishness. Like Echo, echoists struggle to have a voice of their own—and often end up with extremely narcissistic partners.

3. Insecure attachment. Think of secure attachment as our degree of comfort with becoming close to and depending on others in healthy ways. The neglect, abuse, or emotional absence of a narcissistic parent can make us question how safe we are in other people’s hands. Roughly speaking, insecure attachment can take two forms: avoidant attachment, in which we manage our fears by shutting people out (I’ll never risk depending on anyone ever again!) and anxious attachment, where we chase after love, pursuing—sometimes angrily—the connection we long for with our loved ones (Why won’t you pay attention to me!). Whether you become anxious or avoidant depends on a complex combination of temperament and consistency in care and attention, but ongoing neglect tends to create avoidance, and unpredictable attention generally yields anxiety.

4. Need-panic. A related problem is something I call need-panic. Narcissistic parents can make their children terrified of their needs, who bury them by becoming compulsive caretakers or simply falling silent. They may hum along for a while, seeming to need nothing from their partners or friends. Then, a crisis hits, and suddenly—in ways they find deeply unsettling—they call their friends incessantly or seek constant reassurance. The quickest way to eliminate a need, after all, is to get it met immediately; paradoxically, the people most afraid of their needs are apt to seem the most “needy.”

5. Fierce independence. Outgoing, adventurous children may respond to narcissistic parenting by abandoning emotional intimacy altogether, believing that no one can be trusted or relied on. This is impossible to sustain, naturally, and can easily engender intermittent need panic. Alternatively, children with more sensitive temperaments may become compulsively selfless caretakers, as if the only way they can enjoy nurturance is vicariously, by providing others with the warmth and caring they never enjoyed.

6. The parentified child. Temperamentally sensitive children (who are often gifted empaths) can develop a laser-like focus on their parents’—and later, their partners’—needs. They organize their lives around the happiness of others, convinced they have to bolster their parents’ esteem (of course you’re pretty!) or prevent their next explosion (I’ll get your snack, you’re stressed!) by closely minding their every desire or whim. The frightened child turned little adult often grows up to worry endlessly about their selfishness. They may even grow to hate their own needs, viewing them as a burden to others.

7. Extreme narcissism. The more aggressive a child is by nature, the more likely they are to respond to narcissistic parenting by playing a game of if you can’t beat them, join them: “I’ll just make sure I’m the loudest, prettiest, smartest person in the room. That way no one can make me feel unimportant again.” If you’re born with a stubborn, bombastic temperament and exposed to the kind of neglectful or abusive parenting narcissists often provide, you’re more likely to end up narcissistic yourself.

8. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The more abusive narcissistic parents become, the more likely they are to traumatize their children. That can lead to a fearful approach to life and to PTSD. Abuse throws us into a state of constant alertness, vigilantly prepared to dodge the next danger. This typically leads to chronic anxiety, sudden memories of abuse, emotional numbing, and even a foreshortened sense of future, in which people become so fixed on simply surviving that they lose the ability to imagine life beyond the present. One client felt certain, for example, that he wouldn’t see his 30th birthday. When living represents a constant threat, there’s no room for a five-year plan. The future becomes nebulous, even opaque, and when that happens, mapping out the next steps in life is like trying to walk through a brick wall.

In this video I go into greater detail about each of these common effects:

Where do you fall in the narcissism spectrum? Too high or too low? Take thenarcissism test and find out. Sign up for my newsletter, for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book, Rethinking Narcissism.



Do you have a narcissist in your life? These traits can be telltale signs

It feels like narcissists are popping up everywhere lately. They’re the best, know all the awesome people, and attend the coolest parties.

“People who are narcissistic, they have a pretty big footprint. They have a lot of friends, they tend to date more,” said W. Keith Campbell, professor of psychology at the University of Georgia. “It’s not that there are more out there. But people who are narcissistic are extroverted and have big social networks. You just run into them a lot.”

But not every narcissist displays the bombastic, extroverted traits. And certainly some extroverts could look a bit like a narcissist.

“Most of us have some narcissistic qualities,” said Ann Kearney-Cooke, a psychologist at the Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute. “Most are not full blown narcissists. But if you have a lot of certain qualities you might be.”

While, only about 2 percent of the population struggles with pathological narcissism there are people with loads of narcissistic traits driving us bananas at work, on dates, or in friendships. But, how can you tell?

Experts share some lesser known behaviors that might indicate whether that super fun, self-involved friend, loved one or coworker is really narcissistic.

1. Oh yeah, I totally know this

At a party someone brings up the Battle of the Shivering Sea. That sea exists in Westeros and that battle never happened, even fictionally. While most people would ask what the heck the person is talking about, a narcissist would know all about it.

“One of the most interesting findings you see is something called the over-claiming effect,” said Campbell. “You give them things that aren’t real and they will claim to know what they are.”

Narcissists think that knowing an obscure reference makes them look good, causing the over-claim. And, they certainly wouldn’t want to admit to not knowing something.


2. Making mountains out of molehills

Let’s say a boss offers up constructive criticism to her employees. That narcissist employee hears that feedback and blows up.

“Someone with narcissism gets enraged,” Kearney-Cooke said. “They’re very sensitive to anybody in anyway in dissing them or putting them down.”

The problem with this anger? Narcissists act on it. They can’t let it go.

3. ‘Emotional hot potato’

When narcissists feel vulnerable, they don’t want to process those feelings. Instead, they put others down to bolster their self-esteem, what Craig Malkin calls playing “emotional hot potato.”

“They find ways to avoid being vulnerable,” said the author of Rethinking Narcissism. “‘I don’t want to feel small so here, you take these feelings.’”


4. Having a string of broken hearts

Narcissists value fame, beauty, and success more than relationships. Sure, they date and have friends and often these relationships start out exciting — but fizzle quickly.

“People who are narcissistic should have a trail of bad relationships behind them,” Campbell said.

It’s not easy to see a history of terrible relationships but Campbell said that a little digging can uncover a pattern. He also advises people to watch how others treat wait staff, taxi drivers, or cleaning people — anyone that narcissists might think are below them. If people act haughty with service people, it could be a sign of narcissism.

5. Changing plans at the last minute

At the last minute, your friend skipped happy hour, leaving you alone at the bar. The week before, he weaseled out of movie plans. It seems like he wants to hang out but he always cancels immediately before plans.

“They feel at the mercy of your schedule if they have to keep an appoint with you and it makes them feel very uncomfortable,” said Malkin.

So they cancel.

“It is another way of avoiding feeling vulnerable,” he said.

6. Throwing someone under the bus

Missed deadline? Someone else is to blame.

Husband shows up for date night but wife is missing? His texts are incomprehensible.

“People who are narcissistic are more likely to blame their colleagues, blame their friends,” said Campbell. “If you blame other people you can still feel good about yourself.”


7. Surprise!

At the last minute, your boyfriend shows up with a surprise date night—tickets to a concert. It seems so romantic.

But now that you think about it, every date is a last-minute surprise. Or he always picks the restaurant, movie, or concert. When you suggested trying the new Ethiopian place, he couldn’t go because he doesn’t like Ethiopian food. He also said that about the new Italian place.

“They’re exerting stealth control. They don’t trust people … to meet their needs,” said Malkin.



DORAL, FL - OCTOBER 23:  Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump attends a campaigns rally In Florida at the Trump National Doral on October 23, 2015 in Doral, Florida. Trump leads most polls in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.  (Photo by Johnny Louis/FilmMagic)

Top U.S. Psychiatrists Confirm Trump’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder, ‘Textbook Case’

A striking number of leading mental health experts are concerned enough about the possibility of a Trump presidency that they’re willing to speak out, publicly, about the candidate’s “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder.”

During a recent interview with Vanity Fair, developmental psychologist Howard Gardnera professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, referred to Trump as “remarkably narcissistic,” while clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis  used the term “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” to describe Trump.

Michaelis went on to explain,

“In the field we use clusters of personality disorders. Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them.”

Going on, Michaelis described Trump’s constant belittling of other people as a ‘symptom’ of a deeper problem.

“To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it’s antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That’s what he’s doing.”

Michaelis expressed his concerns about a Trump presidency, saying,

“He’s applying for the greatest job in the land, the greatest task of which is to serve, but there’s nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He’s only serving himself.”

Indeed, narcissism is characterized with by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, as well as a lack of concern or empathy toward others.

While it was once thought that narcissists were overcompensating for low self-esteem, the latest research suggests that narcissistic personality disorder is defined by a sincere belief that you are superior to others.

According to Psychology Today, “the latest evidence indicates that narcissists are actually secure or grandiose,” not just on a superficial level, but on a subconscious level as well.

A person with narcissistic personality disorder:

  • Reacts to criticism with anger, shame or humiliation
  • Takes advantage of others to reach his or her own goals
  • Exaggerates own importance
  • Exaggerates achievements and talents
  • Entertains unrealistic fantasies about success, power, beauty, intelligence or romance
  • Has unreasonable expectation of favorable treatment
  • Requires constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
  • Disregards the feelings of others, lacks empathy
  • Has obsessive self-interest
  • Pursues mainly selfish goals

“He’s very easy to diagnose,” psychotherapist Charlotte Prozan told Vanity Fair. “In the first debate, he talked over people and was domineering. He’ll do anything to demean others,” she said.

George Simon, a clinical psychologist who specializes in manipulative personalities, told Vanity Fair that Trump is “so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics.” He went on to say that without Trump, he “would have had to hire actors and write vignettes,” to illustrate the narcissistic personality disorder for his students. He described the candidate as “a dream come true,” at least from the perspective of having a boatload of free material to use during student lectures.

Licensed clinical social worker Wendy Terrie Behary pointed out that narcissists often have a deliberately distorted interpretation of reality.

She explained to Vanity Fair,

 “Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They’re uncomfortable with their own limitations. It’s not that they’re cut out to lie, it’s just that they can’t handle what’s real.”

Vanity Fair asked what kind of treatment was available for someone with narcissistic personality disorder. Behary responded by saying she’d be “shocked if Trump walked through her office door. “Most narcissists don’t seek treatment unless there’s someone threatening to take something away from them. There’d have to be some kind of meaningful consequence for him to come in,” she said.

Simon responded similarly, saying,

“There is help available, but it doesn’t look like the help people are used to. It’s not insight-oriented psychotherapy, because narcissists already have insight. They’re aware; the problem is, they don’t care. They know how you’d like them to act; the problem is, they’ve got a different set of rules. The kind of approach that can have some impact is confrontational. It confronts distorted thinking and behavior patterns in the here-and-now moment when the narcissists are doing their thing in the session.”

As Harvard professor Howard Gardner pointed out during the interview, as frightening as the idea might be, the real problem facing our nation may not be the threat of a Donald Trump presidency.

“For me, the compelling question is the psychological state of his supporters. They are unable or unwilling to make a connection between the challenges faced by any president and the knowledge and behavior of Donald Trump. In a democracy, that is disastrous,” Gardner said.

The idea that Trump, an obviously disturbed individual who consistently belittles and degrades other people, is currently polling better than every other GOP candidate says a lot about the Republican Party.

Clearly teapublican voters see Trump as a reflection of themselves. As a party, they’re rabidly against treating other people with dignity and respect, calling it “political correctness” – a thing to be despised and rejected at all costs.

The more offensive and disgusting you are, the higher you poll among Republican voters. The more you threaten to harm “lesser” human beings, whether in the name of your “superior” race, religion or creed, the more the rabid right adores you.

The Republican Party may claim to be the party of “Christian values,” but it’s really an entire political movement that is made up of people exactly like Donald Trump, self-obsessed and sincerely convinced that they are superior to their fellow human beings.

Donald Trump is their candidate because he accurately represents their devotion to the Ayn Rand Virtues of Selfishness doctrine that has been spoon fed to them by the right-wing propaganda network over the last few decades.

The idea of “American exceptionalism” has taken root, and many are convinced of their white Christian supremacy, just as surely as any member of the KKK or the American Nazi party has ever been. They are so convinced of it that they cheer at the mention of a nuclear holocaust in the Middle-East, and praise Donald Trump for proposing that mosques be shut down and Muslims profiled.

Not surprisingly, Hitler also was diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. The lack of empathy and remorse, characteristic of someone with the disorder, explains how he could commit such horrible crimes against other human beings, without ever feeling guilt or remorse.

A short list of other well-known figures with narcissistic personality disorder include,

  • Jim Jones
  • Joseph Stalin
  • The infamous Angel of Death, Joseph Mengele
  • Serial killer Ted Bundy
  • Lee Harvey Oswald
  • Saddam Hussein

It’s no wonder so many mental health experts are sounding the warning about Donald Trump. In spite of the “Goldwater rule,” many mental health professionals feel it is their duty to warn Americans about the dangers of allowing someone with Donald Trump’s psychological makeup to become Commander-in-Chief of the largest and most powerful military force on earth.



Mystery of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is one of the most frightening psychiatric diagnoses.

It is a chronic condition affecting about one per cent of the population and is associated with some of the most notorious symptoms of mental illness – hallucinations and delusions.

Schizophrenia is troubling because it often begins when a person is in the prime of his or her life and can distort one’s ability to tell what is real and what is not

Schizophrenia can be difficult to treat and its causes and triggers are still a mystery.

A large-scale study published in 2014 in Nature has brought us a little bit closer to understanding this complex disease.

A collaborative group of researchers examined the genetic codes of more than 150,000 people. Roughly 37,000 were diagnosed with schizophrenia and results found 108 genetic markers for the risk of getting the disease.

This is a big finding because the majority of these markers had not previously been reported.

Most people will have some of these genetic markers and still not develop schizophrenia, but this study did find that those with the most markers were 15 times more likely to develop the disease than those with fewer of them.

This is very interesting and provides some insight into genetic vs. environmental triggers for the condition.

We have long known there seems to be a link between the immune system and schizophrenia.

Families with autoimmune disorders appear to be at increased risk and there is a link between viral infections during pregnancy and higher rates of schizophrenia in offspring.

The markers identified in this study confirm this immune system link. Researchers associated with the study say it is now very clear the immune system is involved with the condition.

Although it will still be many years before this information can lead to new treatments for schizophrenia, it is a piece in the ongoing puzzle.

There is still much to learn, but when scientists from around the world work together and pool data from many thousands of people, it certainly allows our understanding to move forward much more quickly than when we work in isolation.

I look forward to seeing more results from this group and others as we continue to unlock the mystery of schizophrenia.

In the meantime, there are treatments available that help many with this frightening condition. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one, contact your doctor now for help.