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Psychology Around the Net: December 17, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

This week’s edition of Psychology Around the Net is extremely interesting, if I do say so myself.

Keep reading for the latest on how pets can help people with severe mental illnesses, the new(ish) trend that’s ruining relationships (ever heard of “phubbing?” me either), how spirituality care can benefit medicine, and more.

Pets Can Be Life-Changing For People Living With Severe Mental Illness: According to new research, people living with mental illness — especially bipolar disorder and schizophrenia — say owning pets helps them manage their mental health largely due to the pets’ companionship, emotional support, and absolute need for care. Says Dr. Helen Brooks, a research fellow at the University of Manchester and the lead author of the study, “We know that social isolation is both a cause and effect of mental illness […] People in this study told us that relationships often broke down because friends and family did not understand their condition, or that they did not feel motivated or able to socialize with others because of their condition.”

Is ‘Phubbing’ Ruining Your Relationship? The U.S. divorce rate is around 40% while a survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center shows around 60% in relationships are unsatisfied. Apparently, the most common culprits are money issues, an unsatisfying sex life, and having children; however, there’s a new kid in town causing relationship problems: “phubbing,” which basically means that while you’re on the “phone” you’re “snubbing” your partner. (Clever.)

Just Because I Look Normal Doesn’t Mean Things Are OK: 18-year-old Ellie Newton might look like your “normal” pretty teenage girl, but the college student — who’s battled depression and anxiety since she was 14 years old — recently shared with the world two side-by-side pictures of herself: the first showing her with perfectly styled hair, makeup, and a pleasing grin; the second showing unkempt hair, puffy eyes from crying, and not a hint of a smile. Newton says she wants to bring awareness to the fact that just because a person looks “normal” doesn’t mean all is right. “‘Although you cannot see mental health it shows itself in other ways, like not taking care of my appearance, or not getting dressed or change what I’m wearing most days.
‘When I do go out it often find it easier for other people’s sake if I act like everything is okay, because people get uncomfortable and don’t know what to say or how to act around me when I say I’m not having a good day. That shouldn’t be the case.”

These Three Questions Help You Review and Reflect on Your Work This Year: Marie Forleo — a motivational speaker, life coach, and author — says your answers to these three questions about accomplishments, mistakes, and letting go can help you decide what’s no longer worth your time, learn where to better focus your energy, and get a strong start to the new year.

Abortion Is Found to Have Little Effect On Women’s Mental Health: For five years, researchers followed nearly 1,000 women who sought abortions and found that — contrary to a popular argument against the procedure (that women will experience psychological and emotional trauma) — those women who had abortions didn’t experience any more anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or life satisfaction than those women who were denied the procedure. According to the study, women who were denied the procedure actually felt more anxiety and low self-esteem (with depression levels remaining about the same).

The Case For Incorporating Spiritual Care In Medicine: Dr. Christina Puchalski, a palliative care doctor and the founder of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (which just reached its 15-year anniversary) says a doctor’s patience and willingness to listen are the necessary tools to help tend to a patient’s spiritual concerns, given many patients tend to “search for ultimate meaning” as they try to make sense of their illnesses.

Psychology Around the Net: December 17, 2016

Alicia Sparks

Alicia Sparks is a freelance writer and editor and the creator of, where she blogs to help new freelance writers get their quills in the pot, so to speak. Among animal rights, music, and physical wellness, her passions include mental health and advocacy. Here at Psych Central she works as Syndication Editor as well as authors Your Body, Your Mind and World of Psychology's weekly "Psychology Around the Net."

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APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2018). Psychology Around the Net: December 17, 2016. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 17 Dec 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.