Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!
Whew, I’ve had a stressful week. I’ve been juggling everything from major work deadlines to doctor appointments to preparing our guestroom for entertaining company all weekend, and honestly, the only thing that’s helped keep me focused is my to-do list.
That’s right. I am a huge advocate of to-do lists. I know some people avoid them, but, not I. I can’t even explain the sheer elation I feel each time I mark off a chore.
Anyway, if you’re a to-do lister — or want to get started — our article on How to Write an Effective To-Do List offers several tips (including why we should avoid super long lists, pretty much to keep paralysis at bay).
Check it out when you get a chance, and in the meantime, let’s move on to this week’s latest in mental health.
Decades Into Crisis, Kids Still Suffer From Shortage of Psychiatrists: According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), America currently has only around 8,500 child psychiatrists, which means no state meets the AACAP standard of having one child psychiatrist for every 2,127 kids (people 17 years of age or younger). Contributing to this problem are factors like health insurance reimbursement, retirement, and a shortage of medical students entering the child psychiatry field (which typically involves four years of medical school, three years of residency working with adults, and two years of training — plus a ton of student debt). “We’re just not replenishing ourselves,” says Mark Olfson, a teacher and researcher of child psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, as the United States continues to struggle with depression and suicide among young people.
Study: ‘Love Hormone’ Gene Key to Better Relationships: They state further studies are necessary, but after “assessing the social skills as well as brain structure and function of 120 people,” researchers from the University of Georgia say a process called methylation can reduce the “expression” of OXT, which is responsible for the generation of oxytocin, the “love hormone.” Researchers believe if they can confirm these findings with additional studies, we might find more effective treatments for certain social and behavioral disorders.
Psychology’s First Superhero: Celebrating Wonder Woman At 75: Our first female superhero, Wonder Woman, turns 75 this year, but why do we care about that here at Psych Central? Well, her creator, William Moulton Marston (pen name Charles Moulton) did more than create the character who landed him in the Comic Book Hall of Fame; among other things, he also was a Harvard-educated psychologist who created the systolic blood pressure test, which became a component of the modern polygraph test. (Gives us a whole new perspective on that magic golden lasso Wonder Woman used to get people to tell the truth, hmm?)
Anxiety and Depression: Habits or Mental Illness? Dr. Joe Luciani states that by changing the language, i.e. mental “illness,” and thinking of conditions like anxiety and depression as “habits” instead, we can take charge of our mental health, break the habits that feed our anxiety and depression (such as self-doubt, fear, and negativity), and possibly use our thoughts to change chemistry.
New Equation Reveals How Other People’s Fortunes Affect Our Happiness: You guys…this is an actual mathematical equation, complete with all the weird squiggly math symbols that my brain refused to remember from high school. New research from University College London created a first equation in 2014 to predict happiness highlighting the importance of expectations, and now there’s an updated version of the equation that takes into account how the fortune of others plays a role.
Simple Habit: An App to Squeeze Mindfulness into Your Busy Day: By now, we all know how important mindfulness is to our physical and mental health, as well as how well we function during everyday activities. Now, Yunha Kim has thrown her hat into the ring of the myriad of mental health-related smartphone apps, presenting Simple Habit, an app that provides audio meditations as short as five-minutes that are focused on specific situations. Says Kim, “Our app’s approach is based on goals/things you want to improve. Kinda like Advil/painkiller approach so that busy people can wrap their heads around what they are doing by meditating to this specific track (also a great way to set an intention).” Currently, the app is only available in iOS, but there are plans for an Android version and a website.