General

The Beauty of Intentional Forgetting

We store memories using a variety of contexts -- sights, sounds, smells, who was there, the weather, etc. Context helps us retrieve these memories later. For instance, my husband recently made roast chicken and collard greens. It was a normal Sunday night, then the collards hit the iron skillet and I was transported back to 1994. It smelled just like Tuesday night dinner at my Maw-Maw’s house. Walking into the kitchen, I fully expected her to be there at the stove stirring a pot of red beans with ham hocks.

The next morning my home still smelled like it, and it was like she was with me while I showered and got dressed. It was comforting. Of course it was, I love my grandmother very much. But what about the memories you don’t love? What about the times you’ve stuck your foot in your mouth? What about the time you were tyrannically insistent about something and turned out to be wrong? What about the time you cheated on your significant other? What about the time you were dumped?
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Creativity

The Joy of No Sex

Full disclosure: I work in advertising. It's an industry where husky-voiced, hair-flicking women smolder in ads selling cat food and sneakers, and where shirtless hunks flex fuzz-free pecs to sell salad dressing and synthetic butter.

The following viewpoint will therefore get me into trouble, which I’m familiar with.

Here are two commonsense truisms:

While great sex is joyful, lousy sex is not
Happiness is possible without a daily grind (I’m not talking coffee)

Yet for reasons such as the availability heuristic -- a cognitive shortcut that encourages us to think of commonplace examples in our everyday environment when making decisions -- we often overestimate the importance to our well-being of having regular sex. When we pause to think of the world around us, we more often remember non-nude pretzel-like scenarios in which we were happy.
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Brain and Behavior

Could There Be One Cure for All Mental Illness?


"One treatment to cure them all, one technique to find them, one network to bring them all and in the heterogeneity bind them."

Imagine: A cure all for ALL mental illnesses... sounds illogical, perhaps impossible, something straight out of fantasy, no? Well, at the SharpBrains Virtual Summit, Monitoring & Enhancing Brain Health in the Pervasive Neuroscience Era, where presenting cutting-edge innovative research was the norm, I was lucky to be witness to a truly tantalizing talk by psychologist Dr. Madeleine Goodkind that will likely change your perspective.

The current problem with finding a treatment that works for everyone is that each person’s presentation of mental illnesses is different, no one’s full set of symptoms and experiences are the same. And neither are their responses to treatment.
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Books

Psychology Around the Net: May 21, 2016


They're at the tailend of the U.K.'s Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) across the pond!

Similar to October's Mental Illness Awareness Week here in the U.S., the U.K.'s MHAW, supported by the Mental Health Foundation, is all about educating people about mental health and helping people learn the importance of taking care of their mental health.

Thus, you'll see some U.K.-related information in this week's post, including news about the royal's latest mental health campaign and new information about psychedelics and depression. Also catch up on the latest about relationships and mental health, strategies for better sleep, and the importance of doing things by yourself.

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Anxiety and Panic

Recent Research Links Anxiety with Higher IQ


"Ignorance is bliss" is a saying that has been around for years.

What it really means is that when people are unaware of things -- situations, events, circumstances -- they have nothing to cause them worry and anxiety. But new research seems to indicate that these individuals may just have a lower intelligence quotient, as shown by IQ testing. Those people who have anxiety, even chronic worry, tend to score higher on IQ tests.

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Publishers

The 6 Most Important Factors for an Effective Apology

Just saying "sorry" isn't enough.

As humans, we make mistakes all the time, and sometimes these mistakes lead to hurting someone or causing harm. Maybe you messed up at work and sent a client the wrong form, or perhaps you borrowed your roommate's car only to get into a small fender bender. You don't want to be a jerk, so you know you have to apologize.

Sometimes our apologies are accepted, and other times the apology has done nothing to ease the situation. You try to figure out what you did wrong when the person you apologized to doesn't accept your apology. Did they not think it was sincere? Then there are times when saying you're sorry just isn't enough.
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Aging

How Failure Breeds Success

Our weaknesses are the source of our strengths; our failures are the roots of our successes.

This is not another motivational cliché, this is a fact of history and science. Evolutionary theorists long ago concluded that the power of the human species lay in its weaknesses. Aware of their bodies' fragility compared to that of other animals, human beings had to compensate for their powerlessness in order to survive. Individuals were too weak to hunt by themselves, so they collaborated and hunted in groups. Collective activity emerged, communication evolved, tools were built, and the human species ruled all others.

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Habits

Psychology Around the Net: May 14, 2016


It's been a great week for me, sweet readers!

Not only have I made great strides in getting back on track living a healthy lifestyle, but I finally took Your Body, Your Mind off hiatus!

For those of you who don't know, I write the Your Body, Your Mind blog here at Psych Central. I took a break from the blog for several months because my "healthy lifestyle" slowly but surely came to a halt. However, thanks to some good talks with good people -- and teaming up with some inspiring friends -- things are looking up!

If you're interested in exploring how exercise and healthy foods can help manage mental health, head on over to my re-intro post, Welcome Back to Health Living!, and subscribe to the blog.

Now, let's get on with this week's news in mental health!

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General

Busting the Lies About the ‘Myths’ About Mental Illness

I'm constantly dumbfounded by the lies and half-truths told by some who advocate on behalf of some people with mental illness. In an effort to lobby for their specific sub-group of people with mental illness, they spread ignorance and misconceptions about mental illness in general.

In a recent article one mental illness advocate wrote, he describes "myths" about mental illness that don't actually appear to be myths, but simple truths. That is, until they are twisted by arbitrary definitions, filters, cherry-picking of data, and exclusions to fit into this person's viewpoint.

Let's examine these supposed myths, and see whether the data support their view.

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Brain Blogger

9 Personality Traits Risky for Developing Postpartum Depression


Postpartum depression is a very serious condition affecting 10-15% of mothers in most developed countries (that’s 400,000-600,000 women per year in the US). Research shows that mother really is the heart of the family, and when she is hurting, the whole family unit is at risk, where the stress and low quality of mother-infant interactions can affect the child’s brain development, with long-term negative consequences for school years and beyond.

Despite how common and devastating postpartum depression can be, or how effective therapy is, it is still a societal taboo. Many mothers don’t even want to mention the words, with studies showing that most women choose to hide their burdens and turn down much needed help.
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General

Can Therapy Help for Self-Harm?

The problem of self-harm is growing, especially among teens and young adults. People engage in self-harm -- such as cutting, self-injury, or even self-poisoning -- for a wide variety of reasons. But the real question is how to help a person who is self-harming.

Self-harm also hurts the family, friends, and other people around the person who is engaging in the behavior. Friends and loved ones don't understand self-harm, and they don't understand what they can do to help. People who self-harm are themselves sometimes unable to express their reasons, or the kind of relief it brings to their emotional hurt and pain.

Psychotherapy has long been used to help people with mental illness and mental health issues. Can it help a person who self-harms?

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