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Psychology Around the Net: June 27, 2015

Learn about how mental illness affects teens later in life, how one Orange Is The New Black storyline can teach you about depression, antidepressants and rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Mentally Ill Teens Struggle With School and Work as Adults: Recent research analysis shows teens who struggle with chronic health issues -- particularly mental health issues -- are more than twice as likely to drop out...
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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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Anxiety and Panic

Anxiety More than Depression Concerns College Students Today

According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health 2014 annual report, anxiety is the number one concern of college students' mental health needs today, with depression placing second. As college counseling centers continue to deal with ever-expanding workloads and needs of the college students they serve, it's concerning that so many students are facing serious mental illness, such as anxiety and depression.

University counseling centers were originally setup to help students primarily with academic and relationship concerns, as well as just the issues that arise from living on your own for the first time in your life. But in the past two decades, these centers -- whose services are usually provided at little or no cost to students, covered by their student fees -- have begun serving more and more students with serious mental illness.

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Psychology Around the Net: April 18, 2015

Can you spot a genuine smile from a fake one? How much do you know about creating a mental health plan for your child before college? What about true happiness -- do you actually experience it?

Learn about these topics and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Psychology of Smiling: Can You Tell a Fake Smile From a Genuine One? Psychologist Richard Wiseman and his new photographic test for checking empathy will help you find out.

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Psychology Around the Net: March 21, 2015

Learn more about the stigma of mental illness, how to use your memory to make better connections, the rampant misuse of ADHD medications among college students, and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net!

Combating the Stigma of Mental Illness: When as many as "as many as 25 percent of adults and 40.3 percent of adolescents reported suffering an episode of mental illness within a 12-month period," why are we still stuck in a world filled with stigma?

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ADHD Could Lead to Obesity

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could be at greater risk of becoming obese, a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry shows. "We found that ADHD was a risk factor for later obesity," said Alina Rodriguez, a visiting professor at Imperial College London, UK, whose recent study found that children with ADHD symptoms were less likely to engage in physical activity and more likely to become obese as adolescents.

This may sound counterintuitive to the image most people have of a child with ADHD: sprightly and in constant motion. How could someone who can’t sit still ever become lethargic and paunchy?
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Failure to Launch

John was never the greatest of students but he did manage to graduate from college in six years. Yay! His parents breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, he had accomplished what he set out to do.

Now, three years later, Mom and Dad are feeling increasingly distressed. John is living back home and going nowhere. His motivation to get a job comes and goes. The bulk of his day is spent on social media, video games and getting high.

He shows little interest in becoming an independent, self-sufficient adult. If his parents would get him an apartment, he’d move in a minute. But the idea of working toward that goal is beyond him.

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The Link between Bullying and Children’s Body Image

The U.K. government recently released the results of a nationwide survey to better understand public perceptions of body image. Shockingly, they discovered that 87 percent of girls aged 11- 21 think that women are judged more on their appearance than on their ability.

This is worrying. Evidence from academic experts shows that poor body confidence can have a devastating effect. From achieving at school to effectively dealing with bullying, healthy body image is important for children. (The term "body image" describes a person's comfort level with his or her body, their integrated sense of body and self, and the extent to which their personal value is tied up with their physical appearance.)

Whatever your role with children and young people, we all have a responsibility to do everything we can to give out positive messages about our bodies to further the fight against bullying.

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Simple Tips & Tweaks for Creating a Productive To-Do List

I love lists. And I make many of them. I make lists of my daily tasks. I make lists of the articles I need to write each month -- both in a Word doc and in a separate notebook. I make lists in most of my blog posts. I make lists for different projects. I make lists for the grocery store. I make lists of the bills I need to pay and write down when I’ve paid them. I make lists of books I’d like to read. I probably make lots of other lists that simply aren’t coming to mind right now.

With my penchant for listmaking, it seems I’ve found a kindred spirit in Paula Rizzo, the founder of and author of the new book Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful, and Less Stressed.
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Improving Your Child’s ADHD with Exercise

Getting in a good run before work keeps us focused and productive at the office. But did you know exercise could also help children with ADHD perform better in the classroom?

"There is evidence that physical activity improves academic performance," said Betsy Hoza, a professor of psychological science at the University of Vermont. Her recent study found moderate to vigorous aerobic activity before school helped children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder become more attentive.

"The immediate effects are that you’re much more alert -- there’s that endorphin rush," said Hoza. That rush has proven to boost mood, help ward off anxiety and depression in adults, and now to improve cognitive function in children with ADHD.

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The Power of Maybe

Many of us view uncertainty as the enemy. It makes us uncomfortable and fearful -- especially if our expectations have painted only one picture. That is, we dread uncertainty when we've convinced ourselves that only one result will do. Only one thing will make us happy or feel fulfilled. Only one thing, one path will lead to our dream life.

This one thing may be a relationship, a home, a business venture, a big move. Or, as in Allison Carmen's case, a specific law school.

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