Friday, 25 September 2015

10 Things Animals Teach Us About Being Human

1. Savor the moment.
Animals, by their very nature, live focused on the moment, while we, as humans, far too often are distracted by thoughts about the past and future—a fight with a friend last night, the performance review with our boss tomorrow, or our growing to do list for the coming week. By taking our cue from animals and noticing more of each present moment, we can find a chance to more fully appreciate what is happening right now in our lives.
2. Heed your instincts.
Alert and attentive to each of their senses, animals respond to cues about the world around them by trusting their instincts and acting on them. When we rationalize in our human minds what our instincts may tell us to take notice of—or ignore what our senses are conveying to us—we risk dismissing important signals about events, circumstances, and the people around us. As we attend to our senses and acknowledge our instincts, we open ourselves to new choices and opportunities.
3. Keep focused on what’s most important.
On those days when it seems everything has gone wrong and we come home exhausted and spent, our animal companions devotedly greet us with unfailing offers of love and affection. Even those times we may speak harshly toward them or ignore them completely as we walk in the door, they wait in the wings for the moment to come when we, at last, turn our attention to them. And in their patient devotion, they serve as reminders of how much we value connecting with others and sharing our hearts.
4. Don’t get bogged down on words.
As we communicate with family and friends, most often we think of relying on words. Yet we often neglect to consider the many other ways that we portray our inner world. The tone of our voice, our facial expressions, our posture, our movements, scents released by our skin to waft through the air communicate our thoughts, emotions, and intentions, often more reliably than the words we choose. 
5. Take time to rest.
In the hurried pace of our daily routines, it’s all too easy to fill our days with a steady stream of activities—places to be, people to meet, tasks to accomplish before it’s too late. But, taking a cue from our dogs and cats, the lions at the zoo, a hawk perched in a tree overlooking the road that we glimpse from the car, we can take quiet moments to rest for a bit and give ourselves time to relax and reflect.
6. Remember to play.
In the midst of our day, when we feel the pressures from work or at home, a well-deserved break—even just a few moments—from the task at hand can lighten our load and help ease our concerns. From Labradors to Bengals and timber wolves to leopards, the creatures around us routinely play to invent, discover, and bring joy to their day.
7. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
Whether rolling in catnip or pouncing on strings, our cats jump to play fully absorbed in their game without worries about how they may appear to us or others watching them. Likewise our dogs while chasing a ball, sniffing at lampposts, or gnawing a bone relish their pastimes without concern for how they may look to passersby. Letting go of our inner critic and the judgments of others, we can more fully embrace those times we enjoy.
8. Let go of attachment to being right or wrong.
Evolution favors those creatures that focus on what matters most—finding food, remaining healthy, resting, breeding, and caring for young. When we defer to our sense of pride and self-importance, we risk losing the outcomes and results we want most. Letting go of our attachment to being right or wrong frees us to align ourselves with what we value most.
9. Practice forgiveness.
While animals, certainly, suffer grief, misfortune, and misery, they move past them with greater poise than we humans often do. The continuity of their lives takes precedence over reliving the past.  When words and deeds come back to play in our minds, like the creatures around us, we can give as before with grace and equanimity.
10. Love unconditionally.

In the silent presence of the creatures around us—all alone on the sofa with our dog by our side or cat resting cozily curled in our lap—we sense their regard for our thoughts and feelings, and we respond in kind without reserve. If we choose, we can do so, as well, with each other

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Psychology Blogs: The Ultimate List

(Take note number 18, in the presence of some really wonderful blogs :)

Introducing Psychology Blogs: The Ultimate List

1. Mind Hacks

In their own words: “Neuroscience and psychology tricks to find out what’s going on inside your brain.”
Mind Hacks also have a pretty cool wiki page to explore popular old posts.

2. Research Digest

“We want to demonstrate how fascinating and useful psychological science can be, while also casting a critical eye over the methods used.”
By the British Psychological Society, Research Digest posts about new research and helps to disseminate findings into useful advice.

3. PsyBlog

Launched in 2004, Psyblog is a hugely popular psychology blog.
Explaining recent scientific findings with a clarity that demonstrates how research can be useful in everyday life. 

4. Sharp Brains

Tracking health and applications of brain science, Sharp Brains is an independent marketing research firm.
With great articles, online courses and brain teasers they are definitely worth a visit.

5. Psych Splash

Launched in 2006, Psych Splash is the Pinterest of the psychology blog world.
A personal project of Dr Gareth Furber, Psych Splash is designed to showcase psychology related websites.

6. Dr Deb – Psychological Perspectives

As well as writing thought provoking and informative blog post, Dr Deborah Serani also authors award winning books.
Dr Deb is a practicing psychoanalyst specialising in treating trauma and depression.

7. Science Daily

From one of the internets most popular science news websites.
This psychology blog is always up to date with great psychology related news and videos. 

8. (e) Science News

A fully automated ‘artificial intelligence’ science news aggregator.
This Psychology and Sociology section aims to keep ahead of the latest popular research.

9. BrainBlogger

This well designed and award winning blog aims to review research that will impact peoples lives.
Founded in 2005 it is also affiliated with the  Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation (GNIF), an international neurological and mental health charity.

10. PsychCentral

Owned and operated by Dr. John Grohol, PsychCentral is one of the oldest and largest psychology websites.
Run by mental health professionals it offers reliable information as well as over 200 support groups.

11. Teaching High School Psychology

A bit of a change from the blogs listed so far, this blog is a resource for psychology teachers.
Although even if you aren’t a psychology teacher it has some great articles and resources.

12. The Situationist

Associated with The Project on Law and Mind Sciences at Harvard Law school.
The Situationist is a must read for those interested in social sciences and social psychology.

13. Psychology Today

Psychology today publishes a range of articles written by renowned psychologists, academics and psychiatrists.
First starting in 1967 in magazine form and still going strong.

14. Advances in the History of Psychology

“Advances in the History of Psychology is a news and notes aggregator pertaining to the history of the discipline.”
A great psychology blog for any wannabe psychology geek!

15. Medical News Today

Disseminating the latest psychology and psychiatry research from universities and journals from around the world.
As well as great articles, Medical News Today also has a great knowledge centre.

16. Workplace Psychology

A great blog dedicated exclusively to the area of workplace psychology.
Covering the world of work from a scholarly perspective. The references cited are from well-respected sources.

17. In The News

By Karen Franklin PHD, In The News covers forensic psychology, criminology and psychology law.
Featuring great articles, news and book reviews. 

18. Connecting Hypnotherapy

Maintained by Gregory Mell, a qualified hypnotherapist this blog aims to explain hypnotherapy and other topics related to the mind.

Friday, 18 September 2015

VIDEO America's Got Talent Judge Hypnotised

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Experts Say Hypnotherapy Can be Part of Effective Treatment Plan

According to Stanford University psychiatry and behavioural science professor David Spiegel, hypnotherapy is "literally the oldest Western conception of a psychotherapy."
The American Psychological Association reports "patients who received hypnosis reported less post-surgical pain, nausea, fatigue and discomfort."
Hypnotherapy also reduces treatment costs for less drug use and surgeries. "Lowering those two meant an average cost of approximately $338," Spiegel added. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute released a report in 2007 saying a hospital saved $772 for every patient being treated through hypnosis.
Wesley Anderson, a practicing hypnotherapist for over 20 years tells CNN how it's done. Upon meeting patients, he starts off normally by getting to know them. "I try to establish a rapport and establish the client's intentions for hypnosis."
A hypnotherapist would then silence the patient's peripheral and conscious mind with the use of verbal and non-verbal cues. The patient will be relaxed and still, adjusting to a proper posture. "They're halfway between being completely asleep and completely awake," Anderson explained.
In a state of trance, the part of the brain in-charge of subconscious and non-logical thoughts will be open to any suggestions. "The normal adult filters and belief systems of what is and what isn't will start to fade," he continued. "Clients become almost childlike."
This therapy will help patients manage pain and think differently about their bad habits. "The pain signals might be there, but they wouldn't make it into awareness," Anderson said.
According to Anderson, people normally experience some form of hypnotic state everyday. "If you've ever been lost in a daydream or zoned out and missed your turn while driving your usual route, you've experienced a form of hypnosis."

Friday, 11 September 2015

Dealing With a Violent Child

Dr. Phil's guests tell him: "My 11-year-old son Paul truly frightens me," "Halyn has the face of an angel, but she is monster," "Kristen is violent, angry and out of control." 

He offers this advice on dealing with violent children:

  • Obtain a proper diagnosis from a psychologist.
    Many times, parents are quick to make evaluations of their children's unruly behavior, such as blaming aggressiveness on ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Dr. Phil advises parents to revisit their evaluations, because a child's violence may be stemming from other issues. Don't make judgments until you get to the root of the problem.
  • Acknowledge your role.
    When one child, or the "target patient" is acting out, the family will blame him or her for the family's dysfunction. "Oftentimes, you will see a family that will present a disruptive child for treatment ... this is the sacrificial lamb for the family's toxicity," says Dr. Phil. He advises parents to examine their own behavior, and if need be, the entire family should seek counseling.
  • Maintain a unified front.
    Sometimes aggressive children know that if they engage in "divide and conquer" tactics with their parents, they will be able to get their way. In Jamie and David's case, their 9-year-old daughter Halyn knew that she had consequences if she misbehaved with her father, yet knew that her mother would fail to punish her when she acted out. This strife over Halyn's discipline was dividing their marriage. Dr. Phil advises the couple to be unified in their parenting. "If you're together, if you're unified and if you're there for each other, then all of a sudden there's strength in numbers," he says. Don't forget to close the ranks.
  • Don't get into a power struggle with a child.
    Sometimes aggressive children know that if they struggle long enough with their parents, by yelling, screaming, or throwing temper tantrums in a crowded store, that they will get their way. Dr. Phil cautions parents against these tactics. He told Jamie that Halyn was winning the power struggle because she had worn her mother down to the point where she let her get away with things. Be firm in disciplining your child and let them know that there boundaries that they have to observe.
  • Every child has currency. Use it!
    "There's not a child born that doesn't have currency," says Dr. Phil, whether it's toys, clothes, games, or television. He stresses that access to this "currency" needs to be contingent upon proper behavior. For example, if a child throws a temper tantrum in a crowded store, she should not be rewarded with a toy or a coloring book. She needs to understand the consequences of her behavior, and as Dr. Phil says, "predict the consequences of her actions with 100 percent accuracy."
  • Stop being intimidated by your child.Many parents are afraid to discipline an unruly child for fear that their child will resent them for being an authority figure. Your child doesn't have to like you or even love you, but he or she does have to respect the parent/child relationship, and realize that there will be consequences for negative actions. Recognize that you don't have to be your child's friend, but you do have to be his or her parent.


    Tuesday, 8 September 2015

    Bad memory? Could it be the Sugar Instead?

    We know foods like donuts and soda can make you fat, but the effects of sugar on the liver and brain are less well known. Dietary sugar can fry your liver in much the same way alcohol can. This in turn can hurt your brain, leaving you with dementia-like symptoms decades too soon.
    Most people associate liver disease with alcohol abuse or hepatitis. But another type, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which barely existed three decades ago, has quickly become the most common liver disease in America. NAFLD isn’t caused by booze or a nasty virus, but dietary sugar, which causes a buildup of fat in your liver. Overweight people are likely candidates for NAFLD. Memory loss and diminished cognitive function are often the first symptoms, as the liver loses its ability to filter toxins that compromise the brain.
    According to the American Liver Foundation, at least a quarter of the U.S. population now suffers from NAFLD, and that number is expected to swell to 40 percent by 2030, apace with an accompanying swelling of the American body, thanks to the insatiable American sweet tooth and the corporate interests that feed it. Astudy published March 25 further solidified the connection between sugar and NAFLD, finding that even moderate amounts of sugary drinks will stimulate the production of enzymes that deposit fat in the liver.
    These are sour times at the Sugar Association, a DC-based trade group with a mission that appears increasingly impossible: “to promote the consumption of sugar through sound scientific principles.”
    Alas for Big Sugar, it’s becoming ever more difficult to use even the most convoluted scientific principles to promote sugar consumption, much less defend it.
    The Sugar Association once touted sugar as “a sensible approach to weight control,” something we now know is roughly the polar opposite of the truth. In addition to non-alcohol fatty liver disease, sugar promotes a variety of other ailments, including heart disease, tooth decay, and diabetes. Meanwhile, new research is mounting that suggests sugar is behind Alzheimer’s disease, which has been dubbed Type 3 Diabetes, a.k.a. diabetes of the brain.
    The case against sugar has grown steadily but quietly in the last four decades, in the shadow of dietary fat, which has widely been blamed for these ailments. Meanwhile, the Sugar Association has engaged in tactics reminiscent of the tobacco industry during the height of its denial, including the funding of sugar-friendly research, the installation of sugar-friendly (and sugar-funded) scientists on government advisory panels, and even threats to scientists and politicians who question the place of sugar in a healthy diet.
    The Sugar Association’s general response to the circling wagons of anti-sugar has been to claim a lack of consensus and inconclusive results. But despite these efforts, as with tobacco, this cat is proving too big for the bag.
    In February, the recommendations of USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) were published. They include several significant sugar-related proposals, including a sugar tax. The recommendations take specific aim at added sugars, suggesting they be labeled as such, and kept below 10 percent of total caloric intake.
    Identifying added sugar would distinguish it from sugar that’s naturally in a food product. For example, a six-ounce container of plain yogurt has 7 grams of the sugar lactose, while a pomegranate yogurt has 19 grams of sugar, including 12 grams of added sugar, explains Robert Lustig, a specialist in pediatric obesity, in a March 20 op-ed in the LA Times.
    The yogurt example hits home to me. My dad is diabetic, and used to eat sweetened yogurt daily. My son would eat sweetened yogurt every day, if left to his own devices.
    Added sugar is another way of saying “Big Sugar’s bottom line,” and on March 24 the Sugar Association requested that the added sugar recommendations be removed. In a bitter irony, its letter to DGAC complained that the committee, “selected science to support its predetermined conclusions.”
    In his op-ed, Lustig compared Big Sugar to a wild animal that has been cornered, and will fight with everything it has. But as with tobacco, the evidence against it is just too damning.
    “Sugar starts to fry your liver at about 35 pounds per year, just like alcohol would at the same dosage. This is because fructose — the sweet molecule of sugar — ismetabolized in the liver just like alcohol.” Americans, Lustig notes, consume an average of 100 pounds of sugar per year. “That is why children now get the diseases of alcohol consumption — type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease — without ever drinking alcohol.”
    Big Sugar’s last chance, he says, is intra-agency dysfunction. “There are 51 separate agencies in charge of our food supply. That suits the food industry just fine. Their strategy is to divide and conquerIt’s time for us to unite to tame this wild animal before it can sicken another generation of children. “
    While this power struggle runs its course, we have a choice between limiting sugar consumption, or dealing with its consequences by pumping children full of insulin, lipo-sucking excess fat from teens, and swapping out the livers of absent-minded middle-agers.
    While the dust settles and sugar consumption and labeling guidelines are inevitably restructured, you don’t have to wait for any final word from government agencies. You can use your common sense, though willpower might be more of an issue.
    Sugar craving is widely considered an addiction that’s complicated by the fact that eating sugar is entangled with the healthy, necessary act of eating. But research at MIT, published in January, suggests that compulsive sugar consumption follows a different neural pathway than healthy eating.
    These findings open the door to more research into dealing with sugar addiction. Meanwhile, it’s encouraging that your brain’s sweet tooth can be retrained, before your memory deteriorates to the point that you forget where you stashed the gummy bears.

    Friday, 4 September 2015

    VIDEO Introduction to Psychology

    Tuesday, 1 September 2015

    'Ghosting' - Modern Day Dating Promblem

    After three months of dating, 23-year-old Michael was optimistic about his relationship with Linda*. They were together often, and he'd even met her parents. One night at dinner, the "where is this going?" conversation came up. Michael and Linda mutually agreed that they wanted to move forward in the relationship. He dropped her off at home, kissed her goodnight ... and never heard from her again.
    After his attempts to reach her went unanswered, Michael put on his cute-guy hat and delivered Linda's favorite cupcakes to her office -- only to find out his name had been removed from the guest list at the gate.
    The term "ghosting" (sometimes known as the "slow fade") refers to the anecdotally pervasive act where one dater ends a relationship by simply disappearing. The ghost does not give an explanation of any sort, leaving the ghosted wondering where he or she went wrong.
    This phenomenon isn't new, of course -- prehistoric daters sat by their curly-corded phones waiting for their ghosts to call, and assumed that call musthave come when he or she was out of the house. (The Discovery Channel has yet to confirm the anecdote, but current 20-somethings speculate as much.)
    But in an era of Tinder, OKCupid, JSwipe and Hinge, matchmaking often happens by swiping right and left, making potential daters literally disposable. The ease of app and online dating has allowed ghosting to take new form. Chelsea, a 25-year-old Manhattanite who has been both a ghost and a ghostee says the fast-paced, onto-the-next mentality of online dating makes the need for an "it's not me, it's you," conversation irrelevant. "Even after one or two dates they are still just a profile to you, not a person. I don't feel the normal empathy I would for someone I met organically," she said.
    Logan Levkoff, sexologist and expert on "Married At First Sight," explained that online dating and apps take the humanity out of the process a bit, which could make users prone to being ghosted. "[Because] all it takes is a swipe," she said. "The quantity [of how many people experience ghosting] is more because it's so easy to do and it requires very little human engagement in order to do it."
    In fact, in a poll conducted by YouGov and The Huffington Post, respondents ages 18-29 were more likely to admit they've experienced ghosting on either end than any other age group.
    Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
    Dating is, in some ways, a metaphor for Halloween. ('Tis the season, go with me here.) Trick-or-treaters go from house to house, tasting all different types of "candy" (aka men or women) until they're completely exhausted. They go home, put on comfier clothes, consume literal candy until they can't even breathe declaring to their friends, "I'M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN." That is, until a cute guy or gal ... er, Hershey bar ... messages them.
    In a 2012 study, researchers identified seven types of breakup strategies. Trick-or-treaters polled considered confrontation the best way to breakup, while they classified ghosting (avoiding/withdrawing from contact with your partner) the least ideal method to end a relationship. The YouGov/Huffington Post Poll confirmed these sentiments. Only 13 percent of 1,000 adults polled consider breaking up electronically very appropriate or somewhat appropriate.
    But while most don't condone ghosting, that doesn't seem to influence whether they'll do it to someone else.
    Chelsea admits that's the case for her and a bunch of her friends. "I'm a total hypocrite in that respect. I'll ghost someone without a second thought but when it happens to me I'm the first to run to my girlfriends in disbelief saying, 'The least he could do is let me down easy,'" she said, adding, "It's probably karma."
    So, Is Ghosting Morally Wrong?
    New York-based location scout Victoria Carter protested the slow-fade in a 2013 blog post on XOJane. "When you disappear into the ether without any indication why, all I can do is come up with a million and a half reasons why you’re not into me," she wrote. Ghost victims have certainly been there and done that too, wondering... He could be out of the country without cellphone service, maybe she really is busy at work, Miranda's date actually died in one SATC episode... it could happen.
    To members of Ghosters Anonymous, Carter continued, "Until you close the door and close it completely, I can hold on to that tiny unrealistic shred of hope that you DO still want to hang out, and that maybe you’ll call (text, who am I kidding, nobody calls anymore and I hate it) and it’ll all be great."
    But Greg Behrendt, author of the best-selling book turned movie, He's Just Not That Into You, firmly believes that silence speaks louder than any words could. "What I find weird is that there has to be an explanation after two dates. If someone doesn’t call you after a couple days, that should be enough to say, he's just not that... oh God, I don’t want to quote myself," he said (quoting himself anyway).
    It's simple, and there's no need to contemplate the many "reasons" a date is unresponsive, he explained. "When someone's not texting you and you see they've read your text, then you should really get it," said Behrendt, who recently co-authored a book with his wife, appropriately called, It's Just A Fucking Date.
    Defending ghost tendencies in an Oct. 2013 post on Slate, writer Amanda Hess echoed that sentiment:
    The idea that a direct message is necessary to cement a relationship’s end is yet another obfuscation. When it comes to modern digital relationships, the rhythm of the exchange tells us as much as its literal content, and it doesn’t take any specialized skill to read between the lines. If you’re initiating all the texts in the relationship, the recipient just isn’t that into you; if you’re not getting any texts back, the recipient isn’t into you at all.
    Yes, lack of response from someone you're digging feels crappy. But is it morally wrong? Behrendt doesn't think so -- and he can't understand why humans can't apply the same understanding about changed feelings to relationship as they do to virtually everything else.
    "Feelings change about a lot of things... about a band, about a food, about certain things you thought were fun that you don’t think are fun anymore. But it becomes so profound in relationships like, 'that's never happened in the history of relationships and why would he just walk away?' Well haven’t you just walked away from a million different things in your life because you weren’t into it? It's the universe taking care of you saying, '"I'm sorry but that particular thing is over, go this way,'" he said.
    But... What About R-E-S-P-E-C-T?
    On the flip side, Levkoff feels offering an explanation -- even if it's a short one -- is just part of being a standup woman or man. "It's nice to be able to say to someone, 'Listen I've enjoyed getting to know you, but I don't think this is going to move forward in a romantic way,'" she said.
    The likelihood is that you're not going to feel great if a relationship ends, be it one minute or a year. So a statement like that might hurt feelings, "but it means they respect you if they care enough to be upfront with what's going on," she said.
    Plus, without a conversation, you run the risk of a ghost coming back to life. "When nothing else is going on those people tend to show up again, and then you're like what happened for all that other time?," Levkoff said.
    Writing about the subject on The Date Report in May, reporter Sara Ashley O'Brien explained that ghosting just prolongs the time it takes to move on:
    A simple acknowledgment of an appreciation for the time we did spend together, “Hey, I had a fun few dates with you but I don’t think we’re right for each other beyond that,” would provide so much more closure. It’s always a blow, but you can get over it in a few days. When the ghost disappears, you spend the first few days wondering when you’re going to get a text back and then weeks trying to figure out what went wrong.
    At the end of the day, Levkoff explained, it's each ghost for himself. "We have to take ownership and hold ourselves accountable," she said.
    It's not them, it's you?
    In the days post-ghosting, the unanswered often retrace the ghost's steps, looking for possible clues as to why he or she disappeared. "I don't get it, we had such a great time on our date," or "He promised he would call! There were no signs!" are frequent quotes that friends of ghosting victims hear.
    But Behrendt believes that's never the case -- there are always signs. "Part of it is the way you set the relationship up, and what you allow to happen so that somebody is going to be able to escape," he said. That's the big problem with #kidsthesedays and relationships via text or Tinder or Hinge. If the majority of your "relationship" takes place on one of these platforms, there's a surefire sign that the receiver of your iMessages might disappear. Rule of thumb, Behrendt warns: "If it's not in person, it's not real."
    But given that not-in-person early courtships aren't going anywhere -- what's a woman or man who wants to avoid being ghosted to do?
    Ghosts don't necessarily have personality patterns, and so, the onus is on you to be clear and upfront. Echoing Behrendt's take, Levkoff said, "If we don't acknowledge what we want right from the start, if the beginning of your relationship is about texting back and forth and the conversation is fairly benign and short, it lends itself to easy in, easy out she said."
    That's one place where dating sites and apps might actually lend themselves, she explained. It's very easy to start a Tinder conversation with, "Hey, so why are you on here?" for example.
    Levkoff advises throwing the idea that that type of conversation is "off-limits" out the window. "I don't believe there are any rules when it comes to love and sex and relationships. I think if there’s something you want, you should be upfront about it. I don't think game playing makes sense at all, and if someone doesn't respond well to directness, then they weren't the right person anyway," she said.
    And if your potentials keep disappearing, take a step back and look in the mirror (unless of course, you are the ghost, in which case, owning a mirror would be quite silly). Ask yourself these questions: "Is there something with the people you're meeting? What do they have in common? What are you looking for that's causing the same outcome over and over again?," Levkoff said.
    Behrendt adds a few more warning signs to watch out for: "Look at where he wanted to meet you, look at what his plans were, look at how difficult he was to get in touch with."
    And if you're unhappy with the answers to those prompts, rest easy knowing that even the most notorious ghosts will change their stripes when the right person comes along. Right, Casper?