Brain and Behavior

The Making of a Happy Mind

The mind, just like any other entity in nature, follows some specific laws. The mastery of these laws can be immensely helpful in improving mental health and generating happiness.

Long before the discipline of psychology was established, philosophers started providing answers to the question of how to reach happiness. Tested by science, some their claims have been refuted, while others were confirmed, such as the following statement made by Epictetus in The Art of Living:
Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control and some things are not. It is only after you have learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility become possible.
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 23, 2016


Earlier this week, a recently unemployed friend of mine began a round of several interviews for a new job that, if all goes well, potentially could be the perfect fit for him. During the first interview he was asked, "What is your strongest attribute and how would it benefit our company?"

My friend is a quick thinker and delivered an answer that, after talking about it later, we both decided indeed summed up his strongest attribute; however, the interviewer's question made us both start thinking more deeply about our attributes -- especially as they relate to employment and personal relationships.

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General

Mental Health Courts: Does Coercion Add Anything of Value to Treatment?

Mental health courts are America's sad, broken way of dealing with people who have mental illness -- who also happen to have committed a crime. Even something as small as a misdemeanor. I mean, what better way to treat a person's mental illness than to send them to a court tailored for their mental health needs?

The truth is that if a person is receiving adequate care in the community through the public mental health system, there'd likely be far fewer people who get involved in criminal justice system to begin with. People with mental illness get involved in the court system for a wide variety of reasons (psychosis, drugs, mania, etc.). Such involvement is usually just a side effect of a person who isn't getting any kind of decent treatment.

So do mental health courts work? Or could you offer the same services to people without the coercion and get similar results? The long-term data is in.

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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 16, 2016


Good morning (or afternoon, evening, or night?) lovely readers!

If you checked in with me last week, you know I was dreading a weekend of snow; well, Mother Nature smiled on my little neck of the woods and gave us a few inches only on Sunday.

All in all, not a raw deal.

Anyway, I'm probably working this weekend (boo!), but I have some great tips, resources, and other updates from the mental health community to share with you first. Read on to get the latest on tips for anger management, find out which of your seemingly harmless common daily habits could actually hurt your health, why sarcasm could be good for creative thinking, and more!

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Brain and Behavior

Is the Cure for the Common Cold Within Reach?

Handshakes, High Fives, Fist Bumps, And Hugs
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” - Virginia Satir
In 2008 Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, gave each other a fist bump after a well-received campaign speech in Minnesota. The gesture went viral. It became the new handshake. Now, according to some, it may be trending as a health initiative.
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Anorexia

Psychology Around the Net: April 9, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

As you read this, I'm probably looking out my window wondering where spring went. (Snow? Really?) Or, if the weather forecast is wrong -- *fingers crossed* -- I'm outside romping around with my dog.

Regardless of your weather situation and how it affects your Saturday plans, you must check out the latest in mental health news this week first. Want to know about the possible negative impact of smartphone apps designed to help mental health management? We have it. How about signs that you're experiencing "sympathy pains" from your partner's depression? We have that, too.

Oh, and on a more upbeat scale, we've thrown in an inspiring call-to-action from the award-winning violinist and YouTube superstar, Lindsey Stirling.

Enjoy!

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Bullying

The Trope of the Closeted Homophobe: Is It True?

In one of the latest episodes of "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia," a character named Mac finally reveals that he is gay after 11 seasons of being in the closet. A running joke throughout the show was that Mac has always been secretly gay, despite being outwardly homophobic. Because of his strict Catholic upbringing, Mac has shown plenty of hostility toward gays and lesbians in many different ways, such as fighting gay marriage or giving a five-hour sermon on the evils of homosexuality. When he finally reveals that he’s gay, the rest of the gang simply exclaims that they already knew.

The trope of the homophobic character who is secretly gay isn’t exactly new. It’s been used several times before in television shows such as "Glee" and films such as "American Beauty." In all these situations, a character is outwardly homophobic and may even bully gay characters. Later it is revealed that this character is secretly gay and his or her homophobia was likely a means of dealing with repressed feelings.
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 2, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I'm hoping you all ended your week with some funny April Fools' Day shenanigans, and are ready to start the weekend with some of the latest developments in mental health!

Read on for news on how men are more vulnerable to developing stress-related depression, how people with mental health issues fit in when it comes to physician-assisted suicide, ways you can effectively help another person cope with anxiety or depression, and more.

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Brain and Behavior

How Time of Day Can Affect Morality

For some people, morality appears to be a flexible concept. They might be good, honest, and upstanding in one moment and a liar and a cheat in another. Believe it or not, this sort of behavior might be a bit more common than you think. Someone’s shifting morals might have less to do with him or her as a person and more to do with the time of day.

Three Harvard Business School professors -- Christopher M. Barnes, Brian Gunia, and Sunita Sah -- published
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