Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: July 2, 2016


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers (and Happy Fourth of July to you American readers)!

This week's edition of Psychology Around the Net covers why we might benefit more from summer reading than books we pick up any other time of the year, several New York University studies gone wrong, how one psychiatry professor is fed up with the way new generations of psychiatrists are using their education, and more.

Enjoy!

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Anxiety and Panic

A Bigger Deal than the Freshman 15

I was (Carolina) blue. Unlike my beloved Tar Heel hoops squad, my unstoppable opponent was bludgeoning me into submission. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and anxiety nearly toppled me during my college years. The issue is bigger than my beloved alma mater: On university campuses, mental health issues affect 25 percent of the student body.

I bleed Tar Heel blue. I founded a student organization on campus, graduated with a shiny GPA, and studied abroad in Australia. I rejoiced on Franklin Street when the Heels upended Duke. From riveting seminars to proud traditions, Chapel Hill provided the quintessential university experience.

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Bipolar

Bipolar: My Life on the North and South Poles

I was born in 1969, the flower power days.

School for me was difficult because I had dyslexia, and back then the word "dyslexia" wasn’t in the dictionary. Instead they said I was lazy and not working hard enough.

After school, I started a jewelry apprenticeship -- you don’t need to read much when you are a jeweler, you see. I decided to work as a contractor. I realized it’s easy for your boss to kick you in the bum, but it’s hard to do it yourself.

I knew I needed a change, so I went to work at a lighting company where I met Roseanne. I had a seven-year relationship with Roseanne, but when we broke up the depression set in.
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ADHD and ADD

How to Stop Stressing about Work & Finally Fall Asleep

If you’re like most people, you’ve been affected by stress-related sleep problems at some point, lying awake at night filled with anxiety about your career and the future.

Often everyday worries about impending deadlines and your to-do list give way to bigger, more stressful questioning, “Is this job really what I want to be doing with my life? What if I quit? Will I ever discover
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Habits

How Can You Being ‘Drifting’ if You’re Working So Hard?

Drifting is the decision you make by not deciding, or by making a decision that unleashes consequences for which you don’t take responsibility.

If you want to dodge a fight with the people around you, or you want to please them, or you want to avoid a struggle with self-doubt or uncertainty -- you drift. In my case, I drifted into law school.

Because I think drift is so important, I made a vow to myself that I’d raise the issue anytime I spoke to students -- high school, undergraduate, or graduate. And it always strikes a chord.
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Anxiety and Panic

Walk, Don’t Rush, to Judgment

"Why isn’t my date texting me? I thought she had a good time. I mean, we had fun, didn’t we?”

You check your phone again. Once again, your smiling visage greets you. No text, Facebook message, or InstaPic of you and your date.

As your anxiety marinates, you instinctively check your phone. Nothing. Still. You call her again; the call buzzes to voicemail.

Now panicked, emotion overtakes logic. Four times. Six times. Your voice rising, anxiety coats your messages. “Hello, this is (insert name). I just wanted to check in. The date was fun -- call me when you get this.”
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Aging

Going Back to School Later in Life

This past September my mother, at age 70-something, returned to graduate school after a 40-year career in interior design.

Going back to school brought great joy to her life. She loved learning and being part of a collegiate community with its accompanying youthful energy and enthusiasm. But she also experienced high anxiety about grades, keeping up with the workload, reading small print with her failing eyesight, and getting to class in bad weather.

When I went back to school at age 39, I also remember feeling both excitement and fear. My mind raced with questions: will I be able to study and do well while maintaining my family responsibilities? Will I be the oldest in my class? Will I still have the focus to study after all these years? Will the classes be interesting? Is it worth the money that school costs? Will it lead to a better life? I had many hopes and dreams but also the fear of failure, dread of embarrassment, and anxiety about all the unknowns.

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Children and Teens

What to Do When You Feel Unmotivated in Your Career (And 3 Ways to Do Your Best Work)

We’ve all faced days at the office where we’re just not feeling motivated. Off days happen to everyone and it’s tough -- if not unrealistic -- to constantly do your best work. There are bound to be times when you procrastinate too much, lack focus, or struggle to start important projects.

You may react by getting down on yourself, wondering where your determination has gone. It can be disappointing to feel like you’re not living up to your aspirations, especially when there’s important work to be done, which there almost always is. Speed, efficiency, and productivity are what drive results, and when our energy doesn’t match our ambition, it can be frustrating.
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Children and Teens

Running in Place: Improving Public Education

Reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. In popular culture, we have a cheerful image of little Jim and Jane skipping to their suburban elementary school. Cute? Yes. Accurate? Only if Jim and Jane hail from upper-class backgrounds.

Compare Jim and Jane, two adorable first-graders from Coldwater Canyon, to Marcus and Mariel, two adorable first-graders from Los Angeles. For Marcus and Mariel, domestic violence, physical violence, and food insecurity pervade their daily lives. On Mariel’s walk to her gang-infested school, she dodges used needles and condoms. In their bleak environment, elementary school represents a critical, stabilizing influence.

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Anxiety and Panic

A Doctorate in Life: Dual Degrees

“I’ve wanted to be a doctor since the age of 4,” an ex-girlfriend once confided. She said this with absolute certitude.

At age 4, I was whimpering for Little Debbies. Doctor? Sure, I was a precocious child, at least according to my mother, but terrorizing babysitters and sparring with brothers was my chosen profession.

I marveled at Haley’s preternatural obsession with medicine. She knew, like, in her bones knew, that medicine was her destined profession. “How do you know?” I would inquire -- a touch of amazement and disbelief lining my voice.
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Brain and Behavior

The Long and the Short of It: Answering Questions in a Complex World

Last week, I was driving home from work at a local university, where I teach freshman writing. As usual, I was listening to NPR. A story came on about how Alaska Airlines had struck a deal to buy Virgin America. I wasn’t really paying attention to the details until someone asked the reporter a question about the takeover. The reporter said “The short answer is -- ” and then proceeded to answer the question.

At that phrase, my ears perked up. “What a wonderful way to frame information!” I thought. Life is complicated. There are short answers, and there are long answers. It struck me as very smart to begin explanations by saying either “the short answer is” or “the long answer is.”

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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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