Psychology Today: New Scientific Study: Being Honest Improved Health

“The design of the study, which we just finished last week, was simple. Seventy-two healthy adults (average age of 41 years) were recruited through newspapers in the South Bend community. They were randomly assigned to two groups: a Sincerity group and a Control group. Both groups came to my laboratory at the University of Notre Dame every week for 5 weeks to complete polygraph tests and anonymous health measures….What was so amazing is that in the 5th and final week, the Sincerity group reported significantly fewer physical health complaints than did the Control group….

It might not be easy to ‘always mean what you say.’ You might find that you have to go back and correct some of the things that pop out of your mouth. But don’t let that discourage you. Being sincere is a process. You will get there with some practice. And when you do, you will see that you are becoming more humble, more open to learning, and less sensitive to rejection. Being sincere brings you closer to the decent people you know, pushes away the nay sayers, and allows you to feel a certain hopefulness about the world.”

Read more from the article here.

Globe and Mail: It’s not my OCD, it’s me

“OCD is a condition most people see as something to hide, for the simple reason that it falls under the category of “mental illness.” Admittedly, its sufferers indulge in obsessive, ritualistic behaviour, both internal and external…. I was 10 when I developed OCD. What began as a new, frightened awareness of death – really, a horrible case of anxiety – led to a number of compulsive behaviours….But regardless of all this, I have come to view my abnormal brain chemistry in a new light. I’m not saying these disturbed rituals are ordinary or healthy – far from it. When OCD intrudes negatively on a person’s life, the obvious solutions are therapy or medication. But there are benefits to having an OCD brain and personality type….I have learned to manage the urge to perform rituals, and my childhood OCD helped me nurture some very positive skills and abilities…. OCD, once my enemy, has become an accepted part of who I am. I am proud of my unique, flawed, eccentric, but ultimately good personality.”

Read the full article here.

Psychological Science article via NYT: Sometimes, Early Birds Are Too Early: Procrastination

“There is an overwhelming tendency to precrastinate,” according to a paper published in May in the journal Psychological Science. The behavior might include answering trivial emails, for example, or paying bills far ahead of time. “It’s an irrational choice,” the paper said, but it also reflects the significant trade-offs people make to keep from feeling overwhelmed….

“You’re constantly lured into answering email or answering a phone call,” Professor Castel said. But as the Penn State experiment indicates, getting small tasks out of the way might collectively consume significant resources.

“People who are checking things off the list all the time might look like they’re getting stuff done,” he said, “but they’re not getting the big stuff done.”

Read more from The New York Times article here.

Sleep Medicine via PsychCentral: Teen Sleepless Nights Linked with Depression and Anxiety

“Night-owls were found to have a greater risk for insomnia and depression.

The results, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, may have implications for the clinical treatment of teens experiencing sleep and mental health issues….

‘This is a widespread sleep disorder among the general public, and in most countries about 11 percent of teens aged 13-16 years’ experience insomnia at some stage,’ says Ph.D. student Pasquale Alvaro….

‘There is a growing awareness among the scientific community that insomnia, depression, and anxiety disorders are linked with each other, and these disorders contain overlapping neurobiological, psychological, and social risk factors….

‘Having insomnia in addition to anxiety or depression can further intensify the problems being experienced with each individual disorder….

‘It can lead to such problems as alcohol and drug misuse during adolescence,” he says.

Alvaro’s study found that the presence of insomnia was independently linked with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder among teens….

Teens who were more active in the evenings were more likely to have depression and/or insomnia.

This group was also more likely to have obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, and social phobia, although these disorders were often not independently linked with insomnia.

‘Based on our evidence, we believe that prevention and treatment efforts for insomnia and depression should consider this combination of mental health, sleep, and the eveningness chronotype, in addition to current mainstream behavioral approaches. Prevention and treatment efforts for anxiety subtypes should also consider focusing on insomnia and depression.’”


Read the full article here.

Does a more equal marriage mean less sex?

Power — and the act of balancing it — is a common topic with the couples I see in therapy. They’re eager to talk about leveling the domestic playing field but tend to feel awkward about bringing the concept of power into conversations about sex, mostly because it can feel so confusing….Certainly, there are couples who have no problem with, and even genuinely enjoy, these types of arrangements. But frequently I hear from husbands and wives who say they want progressive marriages, in which women have the option to do anything their husbands do and vice versa, then start to feel uncomfortable when that reality is in place. And that discomfort, more often than not, leads to less sexual desire — on both sides.

An article in the New York Times makes the case.

Know Thyself

Personal intelligence opens a privileged window into our own minds as well as into the most byzantine motivations of others. Personality psychologist John D. Mayer, who codeveloped the theory of emotional intelligence, unpacks an idea that has profound ramifications for how we see ourselves.
By John D. Mayer Ph.D., published on March 11, 2014

A thought-provoking article that underlines the value of developing better self-knowledge – the better understanding of your self and how you are perceived by others.