Posts Tagged mental-health

Honesty May Be Best Policy for Mental, Physical Health


Honesty May Be Best Policy for Mental, Physical HealthA provocative new study suggests that telling the truth when tempted to lie can significantly improve a person’s mental and physical health.

University of Notre Dame researchers presented their study, called the “Science of Honesty,” at the American Psychological Association’s 120th Annual Convention.

“Recent evidence indicates that Americans average about 11 lies per week. We wanted to find out if living more honestly can actually cause better health,” said lead author Anita E. Kelly, Ph.D.

“We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health.”

In the study, researchers evaluated 110 people over a 10 week period. Thirty-four percent of the sample were adults in the community and 66 percent were college students. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 71 years, with an average age of 31.

During the investigation, approximately half the participants were instructed to stop telling major and minor lies for the 10 weeks. The other half served as a control group that received no special instructions about lying.

Both groups came to the laboratory each week to complete health and relationship measures and to take a polygraph test assessing the number of major and white lies they had told that week.

Researchers discovered that over the course of the study, the association between less lying and improved health was significantly stronger for participants in the no-lie group.

For example, when participants in the no-lie group told three fewer white lies than they did in other weeks, they experienced on average about four fewer mental-health complaints, such as feeling tense or melancholy, and about three fewer physical complaints, such as sore throats and headaches.

In contrast, when control group members told three fewer white lies, they experienced two fewer mental-health complaints and about one less physical complaint. The pattern was similar for major lies, Kelly said.

Compared to the control group, participants in the more truthful group told significantly fewer lies across the 10-week study, and by the fifth week, they saw themselves as more honest, Kelly said.

When participants across both groups lied less in a given week, they reported their physical health and mental health to be significantly better that week. Researchers discovered that a week with less lies was also correlated with improved personal relationships and enhanced social networks.

At the end of the 10 weeks, participants in the no-lie group described their efforts to keep from lying to others in their day-to-day interactions.

Some said they realized they could simply tell the truth about their daily accomplishments rather than exaggerate, while others said they stopped making false excuses for being late or failing to complete tasks, Kelly said. Others said that they learned to avoid lying by responding to a troubling question with another question to distract the person, she said.

Because the findings are new they will be submitted for scientific review and publication later this year, Kelly said.

Source: American Psychological Association

Two woman talking photo by shutterstock.

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Do I Have an Issue?


Hi, I’m 14. I’ve been in high school for about a year now. I started becoming very very lonely. I used to go out with my “friends”. Now I stay home every single day & it’s summer. I sometimes cry myself to sleep because I feel so unwanted! My parents are divorce, I live with my dad & my dad HATES my mom. I haven’t seen my mom in 4 years. Witch probably makes me so emotional. I sometimes even cry because I don’t think I feel love or understood by anyone. I don’t like talking a bout my feelings to people because I feel unwanted, I feel like they won’t care. I keep so much to myself. It brakes me. I believe my dad is Bi-Polar & has anger issues, witch could be a reason why I get mad very easy. I hate my body so much! I’m fat! Im very insecure. I have so much emotion in me. I’m always sad, I could be happy for one minute then back to sad. I also sleep my whole day away.

A. It seems as though you may be experiencing symptoms of depression. You have negative thoughts, you don’t feel good about yourself and you are withdrawing from friends and family. Your feelings may be related to the breakup of your parents’ marriage or their contentious relationship. They may be so focused on battling each other that they are neglecting your emotional needs.

Another aspect of this problem is that you have been without your mother for four years. It is unclear why you have not seen your mother for such a long time but this likely is contributing to your problems.

I would strongly advise you to speak to your father or other members of your family about the possibility of professional help. Don’t ignore these problems. Your symptoms need to be addressed. It seems as though your father is currently unable to meet your emotional needs and if that is the case, then you should seek help from a mental health professional. A therapist can assist you in developing coping skills and the processing of your feelings in a psychologically healthy way.

If you feel uncomfortable approaching your father about this issue, then as soon as school begins next month, speak to a guidance counselor. The guidance counselor could assist you in addressing these problems or refer you to a mental health professional.

In the meantime, force yourself to be in the presence of others. That may not be easy but do it anyway. The less that you are isolated, the better. Isolation increases the likelihood of negative feelings. I would also encourage you to begin writing in a journal. A journal could be helpful in a number of ways including being a release for your emotions and documenting your symptoms. When and if you have the opportunity to meet with a mental health professional, having those notes from your journal could greatly assist the therapist in determining what might be wrong. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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mind less eating


A food psychologist has found that people overeat unconsciously, due to numerous factors. Studies show that larger plates result in larger servings. Also, watching television while eating leads to people eating 40 percent more food.

America is a nation of over-eaters. But according to one food expert, the reason we eat too much is all in our heads.

Busy lifestyles cause many people to over-eat without noticing. A problem Brian Wansink, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, calls “mindless eating.”

“We’re a nation of mindless eaters. We do so many things during the day that when it comes to food we can just nibble and nibble and nibble, and eat and eat and eat.” Dr. Wansink said.

Dr. Wansink says the mind is to blame for over eating, not always the stomach. And just choosing a different plate could stop over indulgence.

“Our studies show the bigger the plate is, the more people serve, typically to the level of about 25 to 28 percent more,” Dr. Wansink said.

Six ounces of pasta on an eight-inch plate, looks normal. But that same serving on a bigger plate barely looks like an appetizer — causing many people to dish out more. “The best way to mindlessly eat less is to get rid of your large plates, or get rid of your large serving bowls,” Dr. Wansink said.

Distracted television viewers also don’t pay attention to what’s in front of them. Studies show over 40 percent more food is eaten while watching TV.

“We often end up eating more because we simply eat to the pace of the program, or we eat until the program is over.” Dr. Wansink said.

Brian has made a career watching how people behave around food. His best advice? Don’t be fooled by hidden dangers of food and packaging.

BACKGROUND: Brian Wansink is a food psychologist at Cornell University who focuses on the how and why people eat. For instance, he can tell you if you get more beer from a tall skinny glass or a short fat glass. His Food and Brand Lab tries to help people eat more nutritiously and to help control how much they eat. An additional focus is on increasing the acceptance of soy foods and the consumption of fruits and vegetables. He oversees a series of test kitchens, restaurants and cooperating grocery stores to understand how consumers “choose and use” foods.

SIZE (AND SHAPE) MATTERS: Wansink and his colleagues conducted two studies of 167 people demonstrating that both children and adults pour and consume more juice when given a short, wide glass compared to those given a tall, narrow glass – although they believed the opposite to be true. Those with the short wide glasses poured 76% more juice than those with the tall slender glasses. The bias is caused by a visual illusion known as the vertical-horizontal illusion: we tend to focus on heights instead of widths, so we are more likely to over-pour into wide glasses while thinking we poured very little because of the shorter height.

FAT-FREE ISN’T CALORIE-FREE: Wansink has also found that people will eat more of a snack – even one they don’t like very much – if it is labeled “low fat.” IN fact, low-fat cookies, for example, only have about 30% fewer calories than regular cookies, while low-fat granola only has 12% fewer calories. In one study, people given low-fat granola ate 35% more – 192 extra calories – than those who thought they were eating regular granola. The low-fat label leads people to mindlessly overeat a product, while believing they are being “health-conscious.” Wansink’s advice: if you’re going to indulge, eat something you truly enjoy – just eat half as much of it.

SEE WHAT YOU EAT: The human stomach isn’t designed to keep accurate track of how much we have eaten. In fact, it takes about 20 minutes after we eat before our stomachs register that we are “full.” Visual cues are critical to controlling our much we eat, according to Wansink. Students participating in an all-you-can-eat chicken wing buffet ate continually if their tables were continually cleared, because they couldn’t see how many they’d already consumed. Here’s a handy tip for your next buffet: people who put everything on their plate before they sit down to eat – including dessert – eat about 14% less than people who take smaller amounts and go back for seconds or thirds. He also advises people not to eat snacks out of the box; put it into a separate dish and leave the box in the kitchen. You will eat less if you can see how much you’ve already eaten.

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In an Emotionally Abusive Relationship? 5 Steps to Take move out.


In an Emotionally Abusive Relationship? 5 Steps to Take

by YourTango Experts

In an Emotionally Abusive Relationship? 5 Steps to TakeThis guest article from YourTango was written by Julie Orlov.

If you’ve ever been in a controlling relationship, you know how easy it is to get caught in its web. It usually starts out with a simple suggestion like, “Do you think that outfit is the best you can do for the banquet tonight?” or “I think you’re better off ordering the salad,” or “You should get a real job and stop all that nonsense about making it as an artist.”

At first, you take their suggestions as a reflection of their love and concern for you. After all, their comments are not that far off base, and you certainly don’t want to appear unappreciative or defensive. At this stage of the relationship, you want to please your mate, not alienate him or her. It’s more important to appear receptive and understanding of your partner’s opinions than to challenge them.

Some time goes by. You now notice that your significant other’s opinions of you continue to be critical. Only now, there is an emotional undertone that suggests if you don’t abide by his opinion, he will be angry, punitive and emotionally manipulative.

The scariest times come when you believe the threats of rejection and abandonment.

 

The cycle has repeated itself in such a way that somehow, you’ve become sucked in and are believing the rhetoric. Or, at the very least, you’ve been trying to manage the critical outbursts. You’re now so consumed with keeping your partner’s emotional judgments at bay that you have trouble considering if his demands have crossed over into an abusive and inappropriate arena. Your judgment is clouded.1

You continue to ask yourself, Is it me or him? You feel anxious around him, believing that somehow you can make things right again; you want to feel the love you did when the two of you first got together. Deep down, your biggest fear is that his opinions of you are right … that there really is something wrong with you, and you just may not be lovable the way you are.

The bad news? You are now caught in the web. The good news? There is a way out. It is so important to understand what control is really all about. Let me show you the way.

Why Do People Want to Control Others?

Here’s what a person’s controlling behaviors are generally all about:

  • Their own sense of helplessness and powerlessness
  • Getting someone else (like you) to make them feel okay
  • Wanting to hand-off their own anxieties so they don’t have to deal with them themselves
  • Ensuring that you will never abandon or reject them
  • Projecting their deepest fears of being inadequate and unlovable

A person’s controlling behaviors are virtually never about you.

Take Control Back

Here are five steps to getting out from under a person’s control:

1. Get your power back.

The quickest way to do this is to be willing to walk away from the relationship if need be. This enables you to move forward with the next steps from a place of power, not a place of fear.

2. Set limits on his criticism and emotional outbursts.

Let your partner know that you are open to hearing his concerns about your actions and how they impact him, but will no longer engage in conversations that attack who you are as a person.

3. Consider your partner’s concerns.

What are you willing to do for him? What is completely off the table? Make sure you align these requests with your personal well-being and integrity. Don’t agree to do things simply in order to keep the peace or save the relationship, especially if deep down you know it isn’t right for you.

4. Be clear and honest with yourself first, then your partner.

Consider your values, goals and needs. Make sure your decisions are in alignment with your highest self, needs and all. Let him know what you can and can’t do for him. Whatever you do, do not be intimidated. Have a powerful “no” and make it clear that he will need to accept the “no.” If he can’t, then it may be best for the two of you to part ways.

5. Find people and experiences that celebrate who you are.

Find ways to reconnect with the powerful person you truly are, i.e. someone that would never tolerate being treated in such a manner. Engage and connect with other people that support and love you for exactly who you are.

At the end of the day, only you can decide if his controlling behavior is something you are willing to live with or not. Relationships should be something that supports your growth, not something that diminishes it. Love celebrates who you are; it does not put you down. You deserve to have a powerful and loving relationship. So start with yourself. Love yourself enough to take the first step in reclaiming you.

Most couples deal with issues of control; it is a common tension that arises from time to time. However, if you and a loved one are struggling with how to deal with control issues constructively, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here to help. I want you to have the best possible outcome when it comes to strengthening your relationships.

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Martin Seligman on positive psychology


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Do You Need Permission To Succeed?


As a recent private practice consultation group that I was leading came to an end, we took a few minutes to celebrate the growth and successes of each group member. I asked what each group would take away from their consultation group.  One therapist turned to me and said, “Thank you for giving me the permission to succeed.”

I have never really thought about my private practice consulting services as giving colleagues “permission to succeed,” but it seemed to fit. I asked myself, “Where did I get the permission to succeed?”

As I thought about it, I realized that my dad had modeled for me personal and professional success. As a child, I watched his music career flourish, how much he was energized through self-expression, and how he was motivated to inspire others through his work. My Dad’s modeling taught me that I, too, could create a professional life where I could express myself, be creative when faced with challenges, and inspire to make positive change.

I grew up believing that everyone had permission to have an amazing, creative and fulfilling life. I think that’s partly what inspired this blog. I want you to create a thriving private mental health practice that fills you with joy, that works for your life, and that reflects who you are.

When I saw my Dad a few weeks ago, on Father’s Day, I made a point of thanking him for giving me permission to succeed. I let him know that I really valued that gift that he’d given to me — the belief that I could find success and personal fulfillment in my professional life.

Do you need permission to succeed in your private practice?

Permission granted.

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Bullying is Bad for Your Health


Health

Health (Photo credit: Tax Credits)


Bullying is Bad for Your Health

By KATHERINE PRUDENTE, LCAT, RDT

We all know bullying is unhealthy for one’s emotional well-being, but a new study from Sweden shares its findings on how bullying from adolescence can affect one’s physical health into middle age.

Researchers have discovered that teenagers who are ostracized at school are more likely to be at risk of developing heart disease and diabetes when they enter middle age.

They are more likely to be obese, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as being at greater risk of developing diabetes by their early 40s.

Furthermore, the study found that girls were much more susceptible to the health risks associated with bullying.

In light of the new research, it’s evident that our emotional well-being is closely linked to our overall health – a mind-body connection. Why is there a correlation between bullying and physical health?

We know that bullying causes mental anguish, thus body’s stress response system – the release of cortisol, the “stress hormone” – kicks in to protect us from danger. The body does not distinguish between physical danger vs. emotional danger; it just knows that the person is in a state of anxiety.

When we consider the bullying dynamic – a repeated interpersonal dynamic characterized by intentional harm and a power difference – a victim’s stress response system is working in overdrive. Victims worry about how to get from class to class without getting shoved, taunted and humiliated.  These young people develop in a constant state of stress and thus acclimating to a high stress livelihood.The body’s heightened stress response becomes the new normal.

In addition, we need to help our young people to develop healthier means to manage their feelings.  If we don’t they are more likely to engage in behaviors that are unhealthy to manage – either bullying others, using food as a means to self-soothe, self-harming or isolating themselves. All of which can lead to the health concerns delineated in the study.

We live and develop in the context of relationships. It’s evident that we have to help our young people foster healthy relationships, not only for their mental health, but physical as well.

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