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Psychology Around the Net: June 1, 2019

Happy June, sweet readers!

This week’s Psychology Around the Net is packed with information about exercise and anxiety (and it’s probably not what you’re expecting), the unhealthy relationship between self-worth and professional achievements, the new official definition of work-related burnout, and more.

Can Working Out Make Your Anxiety Worse? Experts Weigh In: You probably associate exercise with anxiety in the way that exercise is a great way to manage anxiety, and that’s true — just not true for everyone. Holistic psychiatrist Ellen Vora, M.D. and gynecologist and obstetrician Anna Cabeca, D.O. weigh on on why exercise can trigger anxiety for some people and which exercises they’re more likely to enjoy anxiety-free.

Psychology Shows It’s a Big Mistake to Base Our Self-Worth On Our Professional Achievements: Emily Esfahani Smith — an instructor in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, an editor at the Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and now the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters — has a few things to say about the ways many people define success. For her new book, Smith talked to people who defined their identity and self-worth by educational and career achievements. She found that many people were happy and felt their lives were meaningful when they succeeded; they felt despair and worthlessness when they struggled or failed. Not only is this way of thinking elitist and misguided, it’s also actively harmful.

College Students (and Their Parents) Face a Campus Mental Health ‘Epidemic’: Colleges and universities across the country report an explosion of mental health problems, and now a new book argues students are experiencing an “inordinate amount of anxiety.” The Stressed Years of Their Lives aims to help parents help their kids not only survive but also thrive during their college years. Here, authors Janet Hibbs and Anthony Rostain why today’s college students are more stressed than those of previous generations, what it costs to push our kids too hard, why so many students don’t use their school’s counseling services, and more.

Work-Related Burnout Has a New Official Definition: Even if you love your job, get along great with your boss and co-workers, and get weekends off and plenty of vacation time, it’s probably safe to say that at some point, you’ve felt work burnout. Now, the World Health Organization has given work burnout a specific definition as a syndrome (not a disease, but a “factor influencing health status”) with three dimensions. According to the WHO, work burnout is “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” characterized by ” 1) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 2) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and 3) reduced professional efficacy.”

One Candidate’s Suicide Prevention Plan: Annual Mental Health Check-Ups for All Troops, High Schoolers: Rep. Seth Moulton, Democratic presidential hopeful and Marine veteran, believes veterans and military members can serve as an example of proactive use a mental health care. Moulton wants to mandate annual mental health checks for all service members and high schoolers. Says Moulton: “Veterans across the country are opening up about our post-traumatic stress and mental health challenges because it is vital that we tell our stories, end the stigma around these issues, and make sure everyone gets the support they need. And it should be a model for everyone else.”

Being Teased About Weight Gain Linked to More Weight Gain Among Children: A new study published in Pediatric Obesity shows children who were ridiculed about their weight experienced a body mass increase by 33 percent each year, compared to a similar group of children who weren’t teased. The study included 110 children who were an average age of 11.8 years old when they enrolled and were either overweight (had a body mass index over the 85th percentile) or who had overweight or obese parents. They participated in annual followup visits for 15 years. These findings contradict a popular belief that teasing kids about their weight could motivate them to change their lifestyles and try to lose weight (which is, in this editor’s opinion, a dumb and dangerous belief to begin with).

Psychology Around the Net: June 1, 2019

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. (2019). Psychology Around the Net: June 1, 2019. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 31 May 2019 (Originally: 1 Jun 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 31 May 2019
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