Latest News in MH: Anxiety, Bullying, and More

Latest news in mental health (October 2017):

I. Anxiety Makes It Harder to Listen to Your Intuition. Katie Heaney, The Cut 

Heaney starts out: “As an anxious person, I find the mantra ‘go with your gut’ endlessly frustrating. What’s so trustworthy about my gut instinct, which has, at various times, convinced me I’m dying of brain cancer, or about to get on an airplane doomed to crash, or destined to be alone forever?”

An excerpt about recent research on this topic:

The researchers hypothesized that anxiety’s effects on our decision-making is damaging for several reasons: Anxiety makes us risk-averse, pessimistic, and less confident — all qualities which make us likelier to choose what we perceive as the most safe, routine, and unchallenging decision.
In some cases, anxiety can also effectively paralyze us, resulting in no decision made at all. Using one’s intuition, the researchers argue, requires confidence and trust in oneself. If anxious people don’t have that confidence and trust, they may be more likely to ignore subtle emotional or bodily cues which indicate a ‘hunch.’ But any anxious person knows it goes beyond that — many of us deal with what could be considered ‘cues’ and ‘hunches’ all the time: a racing heart, elevated heartbeat, sweating, weird twinges and tingles. For many anxious people, the psychosomatic symptom possibilities are endless, and only infrequently indicate that something is actually wrong. In many cases, it’s wiser for us to ignore these ‘signs’ and symptoms than to take them seriously…

II. How Fiction Becomes Fact on Social Media. Benedict Carey, New York Times  

“Skepticism of online ‘news’ serves as a decent filter much of the time, but our innate biases allow it to be bypassed, researchers have found — especially when presented with the right kind of algorithmically selected ‘meme’.”

Those pesky cognitive biases at work again.

III. Feel deal: which emotions really make us happy? Quiz. Ben Ambridge, The Guardian     

Intro by Ambridge: “What is the secret to happiness? Is it simply experiencing pleasant emotions most of the time? Actually, according to Aristotle, the best way to be happy is to experience the emotions that you want to experience, whether positive or negative. So, do you?”

And now, the quiz:

On a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (most of the time), how often do you experience emotions in each of the following four groups?

(a) Love, affection, trust, empathy and compassion
(b) Anger, contempt, hostility and hatred
(c) Interest, curiosity, excitement and enthusiasm
(d) Passion, calmness, relaxation, relief and contentment

Now – on the same 1-5 scale – how often do you want to experience each of these four types of emotions? The greater the similarity between your two sets of scores, the happier you are likely to be, and the less likely you are to show symptoms of depression.

IV. Walking Study Corroborates Hippocrates’s Prescriptive Wisdom. Christopher Bergland, Psychology Today

Subtitle: “A new study backs up his favorite prescription for health and longevity.” Guess what it is?

V. Burger King/”Bullying Jr.”

As described by the company, their interesting new PSA:

Scrawny. Short. Ugly. Fat. Weird. 30% of school kids worldwide are bullied each year and bullying is the #1 act of violence against young people in America today (Source: nobully.org). The BURGER KING® brand is known for putting the crown on everyone’s head and allowing people to have it their way. Bullying is the exact opposite of that. So the BURGER KING® brand is speaking up against bullying during National Bullying Prevention Month.

In the BURGER KING® brand Bullying Jr. experiment, more people stood up for a bullied WHOPPER JR.® than a bullied high school Jr. Visit NoBully.org to learn how you can take a stand against bullying.

Be prepared to maybe shed a few tears:

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