Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 1, 2017


Happy April Fool's, sweet readers!

Oh, how I love this day. I love jokes, pranks, tricks -- everything designed to make me laugh (as long as it doesn't hurt others, of course). Not only does it amuse me, but it's also good for my mental health. Yes, I know, many of you know the drill, but for those of you who don't, check out the NCBI's Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review (the abstract is easy reading, I promise).

Now, let's get on with it, shall we?

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Ethics & Morality

Tolerance Must Be Intentional

It is virtually impossible to grow up white in America completely free of racism or bias. We are a country which was built upon the genocide of one race, and the enslavement and brutalizing of another. White, and male, superiority was written into our original Constitution, and has taken centuries to soften. Much as well-meaning and ethical white people would like to avoid them, racist notions seep in under our doors, appear unbidden on our screens, as much as does body distortion for women and hyper-masculinity for men.
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Ethics & Morality

A Fundamental Human Need

As odd as it sounds, survival in life parallels survival in wartime. World War II, to this day, maintains its place as the most popular war in American history -- as well it should.

An argument can be made that the Vietnam War should not have been fought. An argument can be made that the Iraq War should not have been fought.  
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Bullying

The Mental Health Impact of Racism on Students

Since the presidential election, American primary and secondary schools have seen a
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Ethics & Morality

Expressing Gratitude Throughout the Year

Now that Thanksgiving is over, and everyone has expressed lots of gratitude to their family, friends, co-workers, over Facebook, and through other social media outlets, does this mean we are done with expressing gratitude? It shouldn’t mean that, but often it does.

Gratitude is a practice that should be expressed on a daily basis. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude can increase your level of happiness. Our brain often has a negativity bias, meaning...
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Children and Teens

What ‘Stranger Things’ Can Teach Us about Parenting

If you are one of the few out there who have not seen it: Stranger Things is a science fiction series that is very reminiscent of "The Goonies." The story takes place in 1983 and the central plot line follows a group of four boys. In the first episode, one of the four boys goes missing. The three remaining best friends do their best to find and rescue their friend. They do so independent of adults. They work together as a team (mostly) and it all involves a lot of bike-riding. We all love the nostalgia in this throw-back drama. As an instructor of college courses in Infant and Child Development, I was immediately hooked on how the show depicted the preadolescent gang of boys.

Prior to the disappearance of their friend, the main characters spend their free-time riding bikes and playing Dungeons and Dragons, a table-top role-playing game. After the disappearance, they use the skills learned through years of friendship and freedom to participate in their own mystery man-hunt. If these kids survive what they are up against, every major CEO would want to hire them. They are smart, creative, team-players who are confident in their abilities to solve problems.
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Addiction

How Sex Addiction Can Change Mental Illness

I was married to a sex addict narcissist for close to 20 years. My father was a sex addict. I was a stripper many years ago and worked for many years around sex addicts. It started when I visited my father’s house on his weekend to have me after my parents' divorce. He was at work and I was a nosy child. I found a Playboy magazine. I remember it well. Suzanne Somers was on the cover. I slowly turned each page, looking at and soaking in the beauty and perfection of these women.

My immediate thought was that these women looked nothing like my mom. They were doing things my mom would never have done. I think I was only 8 or 9 years old. In that moment, I knew in my mind, like it was complete truth, that if I grew up and became a woman like that, I would be able to keep a man.

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Ethics & Morality

How to Keep an Open Mind — Even During an Election Year

The presidential election is less than six months away and we’re all starting to feel a little fed up. Judgment, opinions, shaming, and finger-wagging are happening all around us. The news media can pump into our homes 24/7. We’re all left thinking, “Can’t we just vote already?”

You know how you feel. You know your values. You’re capable of digesting information and making a decision -- you do that all day long. And you’d definitely be more open to hearing new perspectives if people were respectful of that.
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Ethics & Morality

Collective Compassion: Celebrating Our Humanity

As human beings we are inscribed with natural tendencies to connect with one another, disregarding natural differences that separate us. Despite the vast ways in which people find division and disconnection from one another, there are some glowing attributes that illuminate the human condition.

When we think of the world today and all of its “sham, drudgery and broken dreams” as Max Ehrmann wrote in his 1927 poem Desiderata, we may become disillusioned or feel sad that there is a lack of real or widespread compassion among us. However, as Ehrmann so eloquently went on to explain long ago, “It is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
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Brain and Behavior

The Healing Power of Hugs

One day several years ago, I spontaneously hugged a patient of mine, Gretchen. It was during a moment in which her despair and distress were so intense that it seemed cruel on a human level not to reach out my arms to her, in the event that she might derive some relief or comfort from an embrace. She hugged me for dear life.

Months later, Gretchen reported to me that the hug had changed her. “The motherly embrace you gave me that day,” she said, “lifted the depression I have had all my life.”

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