Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: January 16, 2016


Hey, Psych Central readers!

So, a lot of stuff happened this week. Some of it, pretty exciting (we finally got a few Powerball winners!); some of it, downright heart-wrenching (rest in peace, Alan Rickman and David Bowie).

For our purposes (which I have to admit, was a nice distraction from losing Professor Snape and Ziggy Stardust in one week), I've dug up some pretty interesting little psychology bits for you to feast on this morning.

Keep reading for information on how winning the lottery probably won't make you happier, working long hours doesn't always negatively affect relationships, the ways in which dogs recognize human emotions, and more!

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Brain and Behavior

Why It’s OK Not to Make New Year’s Resolutions

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you stick to them? Many of us spend the last days of December thinking about what our resolutions should be in the coming year. This can lead to discussions with family and friends about what we should change and resolve to do differently. Then we make our resolutions and commit to them, or maybe not.

This has become rote behavior for many of us -- a ritual we follow, year after year. We typically choose resolutions to change ourselves into who we want to or feel we should be, but are not. Sometimes we choose something really big to accomplish, which can become too overwhelming. Why do we do this to ourselves?

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Addiction

Daily Rituals to Reduce Anxiety

Who among us has not experienced their fair share of anxiety? Whether it be from finances, school assignments, career troubles or relationship issues, we all - at least occasionally - get caught in the rainstorm that is anxiety. Some prefer to outrun this brewing downpour. I say, save your energy, and just bring an umbrella.

An anxiety umbrella can take many forms: medicine, therapy, self-reflection or alterations in one’s daily tasks that reduce the burden of anxiety and allow you to focus on more important matters. Here are a few examples that you can use when that cloud of stress turns threatens to turn into a perfect storm:

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Bipolar

My Well-Kept Secret

I’ve been an adjunct writing teacher at a major university off and on for more than 25 years. I teach the freshman-level classes -- College English I and II.

In College English I, students learn how to organize a variety of essays around thesis statements. The reading for this class consists of essays from a nonfiction anthology. In College English II, the students learn how to incorporate outside sources into their own persuasive documents. The reading for this more advanced course consists of a number of full-length texts organized around a particular theme.

One year, the theme was banned books. Students read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou; Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck; Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger; and The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison.

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ADHD and ADD

Succeeding in College When You Have ADHD

Navigating the first year of college is hard for anyone, but staying organized and productive is especially difficult for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). My impulsivity and lack of attention caused me to attend four different schools and declare three different majors.

Once I figured things out, though, I graduated with honors and secured gainful employment. Now I’m five classes away from earning a master’s degree.

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Books

Use This Psychological Principle to Master Business Networking

As young professionals, we’re taught to network like our careers depend on it. Your professional network can open just about any door. All we have to do to capture that holy grail of networking is put ourselves out there, and then we’re golden.

We’re told to just "start networking," but in reality it’s never that simple. When you’re new to the professional networking scene, figuring out how exactly to create
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Children and Teens

Why People Drop Out of College: A Freudian Approach

It’s no surprise to anyone that many people who start college do not end up completing it. The U.S. Department of Education claims that “as of 2012, only 59 percent of students on average received a bachelor's degree within a six-year period. The numbers are much higher for private non-profit and public schools, but private for-profit schools are bringing up the rear with a staggering 32 percent finishing rate”(National Center for Educational Statistics).
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Anxiety and Panic

Anxiety, Depression and College Students

A recent survey has determined that anxiety is the most common mental health problem in college students. Depression and stress rank second and third. Anxiety and depression are really just different sides of the same coin. They are both the result of chronic stress that overwhelms your capacity to cope with them. Both can affect your functioning, especially your studies and your relationships.

Some blame "helicopter parents" for college students' mental health problems. These parents hovered over their children, not allowing them to feel their emotions and not allowing them to solve their own problems. These parents handled their children’s problems for them. But the children did not learn emotional regulation and coping skills. When they go off to college, they are emotional novices. They are unable to deal with the stress of independent living and studying for their chosen careers.

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Brain and Behavior

3 Lessons about Psychological Well-Being from a Social Media Tsunami: Professor Holding a Baby

In the past few weeks I have been swept up in a social media tsunami. A photograph of me holding a baby while lecturing, taken without my knowledge in one of my lectures, went viral.

For those knowledgeable about these things, apparently being number one on BuzzFeed Trending and Facebook Trending is “huge.” The frenzy included mainstream media with articles and interviews appearing in the Washington Post, The Guardian and The Independent, as well as on CNN, Canadian television, BBC Radio 5, South African radio and the list goes on and on. On one site alone the photo received more than one million likes.

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Brain and Behavior

How to Learn New Stuff

When I was growing up, family dinners were often interrupted by a mad search through the encyclopedia. During our discussion some question would invariably arise and my dad or one of us would get up from the table and come back with a World Book volume containing the answer.

The practice fueled my curiosity and more than a few Trivia Crack victories.

I’m still in the habit today. Something will come up during our dinnertime conversation and I or my daughter or husband will seek out the answer. But, this time, it doesn’t come from a book. It comes from Google. And that may not be the best way to learn.
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