Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: September 24, 2016


Well, it's finally fall, y'all!

Though my neck of the woods is still squeezing out every last drop of 90-degree weather it can.

If you're chilling at home like I am (and hey, even if you're not you can check them out later!), take a minute to catch up on the latest about a possible connection between internet addiction and mental health issues, how to cure your fear of flying, a new plan for schools to support students' mental health problems, and more.

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Eating Disorders

Fitness Trackers: Fun Gadget or Serious Weight Loss Aid?

While many media outlets are promoting the new Fitbit Charge 2, fitness trackers may turn out to be not as helpful as many of us believe when it comes to helping us lose weight. Although not marketed specifically as a weight loss tool, many people use fitness trackers to monitor their daily activity primarily in an effort to lose weight.

A new study should cause us to pause in our belief that technology always helps. Sometimes, the answer is simply not that clear.

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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: September 17, 2016


Before you run off to enjoy the last weekend of summer, take some time to enjoy the seriously random mix of mental health news and stories I've found for you this week!

Read on to take a look at data on how psychiatric drug advertising affects prescriptions, a study related to how writing down your dreams and goals increases your chances of achieving them, reviews on various self-help books for pet parents (you read...
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: September 10, 2016


On September 11, 2001, four airplanes were hijacked by al-Qaeda and flown into both World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., killing more than 3,000 people, including police officers and firefighters.

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of what we now refer to as 9/11, and people will pause and reflect and grieve just as they have for the past decade and a half.

They will take a moment or two or more to remember those who were senselessly killed during these attacks -- as well as their family members and other loved ones.

I know I, for one, will, too.

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Habits

Watching TV with Your Sweetheart May Boost Your Happiness

I’m very interested in the role of TV-watching in our happiness. After all,  after sleeping and work, it’s the biggest consumer of the world’s time.

So I was interested to see that new research suggests that for couples who don’t have lots of mutual friends, watching the same TV show (or reading the same book or going to the same movie) can help both people feel that they inhabit in the same social world.

It turns out that couples who have lots of mutual friends tend to have the strongest bonds, and for those who don’t have a lot of mutual friends, having “shared media experiences” helps them to feel connected.
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Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: September 3, 2016


Here in the U.S., we're currently in the throes of Labor Day Weekend (and I'm at a local music and arts festival, celebrating!).

Labor Day is the first Monday of September, and although it gives us a nice little three-day weekend, it's about much more than that: Labor Day honors our country's labor movement and "constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

So, Happy Labor Day! I hope you're doing something to celebrate all your hard work and, once you get a chance, check out this week's latest in how your mood affects whether you live in the moment or the future, the new warning labels regarding opioid use with other medications, what your choice between iPhones and Androids says about your personality, and more!

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General

Forgiveness & One of the Most Important, Overlooked Things for a Relationship

There are a lot of factors that make relationships work well. One of the most important keys to a successful, long-term relationship is forgiveness. The act of forgiveness is immensely powerful and humbling. Some people have a hard time with it, usually due to past hurts that they can't release. Without forgiveness, however, your relationship is likely to suffer.

Why is forgiveness so important? What is it about forgiveness -- and this other, mystery factor -- that makes them so important to the long-term success of a relationship?

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Brain and Behavior

Harnessing Our Racing Thoughts

To stop overthinking (also known as ruminating), we first have to understand why we do it.

Our brains favor a hardwired "negativity bias." This keeps our subconscious scanning our environment for any kind of perceived threat to our physical or psychological safety. If our brains, consciously or subconsciously, interpret any kind of threat, we have a psychological and physiological response called "fight, flight or freeze" that will go into effect to keep us safe.

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Disorders

Psychology Around the Net: August 20, 2016


A few weeks ago, my beau and I decided to tackle a huge home improvement project together.

According to Amy Kipp, a couples and family therapist in San Antonio, "Working through the ups and downs of a big project helps you hone your communication skills [...] The sense of accomplishment and teamwork that results from a challenging shared experience strengthens a couple’s bond. (Her quote is featured in 7 Relationship Milestones That Are Just as Meaningful as Marriage.)

Thus, it seems working on this project is a way to strengthen our relationship. This project is not an improvement our home needs (i.e. we're not renovating a bathroom with a leaky toilet and busted shower tiles); it's an improvement we -- as the homeowners -- want (basically, we're a large part of our backyard into a sort of outdoor oasis). As such, creative ideas are flying everywhere. We have both collective and separate visions, and we're working to combine those visions while making sure each of us is happy.

We haven't thrown any paint brushes at each other yet, so I'd say we're succeeding so far.

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Creativity

Using our Sports Culture to Ignite Mental Health Discussion

It’s a strange dichotomy. Endless chatter about sporting minutiae is common, while serious discussion on mental illness remains rare. But inject sports into the mental health conversation, and you find a plethora of Outside the Lines reports, peer-reviewed studies on sport-induced chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and arguments about the respective mental fortitude of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Even when we talk about mental illness in art, as in the Oscar-nominated movie "Silver Linings Playbook," the main characters are Philadelphia Eagles fans. Indeed, it seems mental health only interests our society when it relates to sports.
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Brain and Behavior

Science Explains How We Choose Political Leaders


Wherever you might live in the world, you know what it’s like when it’s election time. The airwaves and the billboards are taken over by the electoral candidates. Your mailbox is flooded with brochures and mailers every other day while the newspapers ignore most events other than those related to the elections and the candidates.

We, of course, gobble up every piece of information that is dished out to us. After all, we need to know about the candidates before we choose a leader. But how do you think we make up our minds?

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