Below are three recent articles that list ways to help and/or understand aspects of your mental health and health. Topics include how to deal with anxiety, research findings about single people, and unhelpful health-related myths. As is usually the case with my posts, refer to the links for further explanation and detail.
I. “How to Combat Your Anxiety, One Step at a Time.” Jen Doll, New York Times.
- Consider what makes you feel in control
- Medication can have its place
- Your phone is not your B.F.F.
- Getting sweaty is great
- It feels really good to say no…
- …but say yes to the right things
- Spend quality time with friends, both furry and human
- Ask for help
II. “6 New Things Researchers Learned About Single People in 2017.” Bella DePaulo, PhD, The Cut.
1. Demographically, single people are more powerful than ever before. “In 2017, the Census Bureau reported that a record number of adults in the U.S. were not married.”
2. Marriage is no longer considered a key part of adulthood. “…(M)ore than half of the participants in a nationally representative sample (55 percent) said that getting married was not an important criterion for becoming an adult.”
3. High-schoolers aren’t as into dating — or sex. “…(P)sychologists Jean M. Twenge and Heejung Park analyzed four decades’ worth of data (1976–2016) on the sex and dating experiences of more than 8 million students in the ninth through twelfth grades. The percentage of teens who had ever been on a date was lowest in the most recent years of the study. And along the same lines, the percentage who had had sex was at an all-time low in recent years.”
4. Single people are having more sex than married people. “…Adults are having less sex than they used to…(T)he drop was especially pronounced for the people who were married or divorced, compared to people who had always been single.”
5. A relationship doesn’t mean higher self-esteem. “…(R)esearchers Eva C. Luciano and Ulrich Orth studied more than 9,000 adults in Germany as they entered or ended romantic relationships or stayed single. Their conclusion: ‘Beginning a relationship improves self-esteem if and only if the relationship is well-functioning, stable, and holds at least for a certain period (in the present research…one year or longer)’.”
6. … and marriage doesn’t mean better health. (Several newish studies are cited.)
III. “8 bad science and health ideas that should die with 2017.”
Below are eight myths along with either a simple excerpted quote or an aside from me:
1. Voters make decisions based on facts. “Instead of facts, we are often guided by our emotions and deeply held biases.”
2. Addiction is a moral failure. “If you talk to doctors and experts about addiction, they’ll tell you that addiction is a medical condition, not unlike cancer, that needs medical help.”
3. Opioids are effective for treating chronic back pain. “…(I)n February 2017, the American College of Physicians advised doctors and patients try ‘non-drug therapies’ such as exercise, acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, and even chiropractics, and avoid prescription drugs or surgical options wherever possible.”
4. “Statistically significant” means “strong scientific evidence.” (Read the article for the over-my-head explanation.)
5. Placebos are useless. (They can be helpful in various ways listed in the article, including for mental health.)
6. Exercise is the best solution for obesity. “…(T)he evidence has been accumulating for years that exercise, while great for health, isn’t actually all that important for weight loss.”
8. We need a “debate” about climate change. “Challenging, scrutinizing, and dissecting new findings is the foundation of research, and while no human endeavor is perfect, there’s also no evidence that the peer review process has failed climate science.”