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Medical News Today (08 Oct 2012) — The stigma of mental illness often has a greater impact on people’s employment prospects than physical disability or illness, Australian researchers reported today.
The study, commissioned by WISE Employment, a not-for-profit organization aimed at empowering job seekers to find meaningful work, revealed that mental illness, even in today’s supposed period of apparent enlightenment, continues to be a serious obstacle to employment.
The study was commissioned as part of Mental Health Week, which started on Sunday, October 7th, 2012.
The researchers explained that one in every five Australian adults has been affected with some kind of mental illness during the last 12 months.
The main barrier to employing people who have had or have a mental illness is simply ignorance - or lack of understanding, said Matthew Lambelle, from WISE Employment.
Matthew Lambelle emphasized that mental illness is not linked to job performance.
WISE Employment (WISE) says it is dedicated towards the reduction of stigma associated with employing people who have a mental illness. The organization says that people with a mental illness are capable of working, and doing their jobs well; sometimes even being the best person for a position.
WISE explained that most employers with at least five workers most likely already have personnel with some kind of mental illness, many in positions of trust and responsibility.
via Invitation to Psychology
What do you do when you feel angry? Do you tend to brood and sulk, collecting your righteous complaints like acorns for the winter, or do you erupt, hurling your wrath upon anyone or anything at hand? Do you discuss your feelings when you have calmed down? Does “letting anger out” get rid of it for you, or does it only make it more intense?
The answers are crucial for how you get along with your family, neighbors, employers, and strangers. Critical thinkers can learn to think carefully about how and when to express anger, and make a calm decision on how to proceed. Chronic feelings of anger and an inability to control anger can be as emotionally devastating and unhealthy as chronic problems with depression or anxiety. Yet in contrast to much pop-psych advice, research shows that expressing anger does not always get it “out of your system”; often people feel worse, physically and mentally, after an angry confrontation. When people brood and ruminate about their anger, talk to others incessantly about how angry they are, or ventilate their feelings in hostile acts, their blood pressure shoots up, they often feel angrier, and they behave even more aggressively later than if they had just let their feelings of anger subside (Bushman et al., 2005; Tavris, 1989). Conversely, when people learn to control their tempers and express anger constructively, they usually feel better, not worse; calmer, not angrier.
When people are feeling angry, they have a choice of doing any number of things, some of which will be more beneficial than others. Some people sulk, expecting everyone else to read their minds, which is hardly a way to communicate clearly. Many post impulsive comments on blogs that have annoyed them or send nasty texts on the spur of the moment. Some scream abuses at their friends or family, or strike out physically. If a particular action soothes their feelings or gets the desired response from others, they are likely to acquire a habit. Soon that habit feels “natural,” as if it could never be changed. Some habits are better than others, though! Baking bread or going for a jog is fine, whereas many people justify their violent tempers by saying, “I couldn’t help myself.” But they can. If you have acquired an abusive or aggressive habit, the research offers practical suggestions for learning constructive ways of managing anger:
- Don’t sound off in the heat of anger; let bodily arousal cool down. Whether your arousal comes from background stresses such as heat, crowds, or loud noise or from conflict with another person, take time to relax. Time allows you to decide whether you are really angry or just tired and tense. This is the reason for the sage old advice to count to 10, count to 100, or sleep on it. Other cooling-off strategies include taking a time-out in the middle of an argument, meditating or relaxing, and calming yourself with a distracting activity.
- Don’t take it personally. If you feel that you have been insulted, check your perception for its accuracy. Could there be another reason for the behavior you find offensive? People who are quick to feel anger tend to interpret other people’s actions as intentional offenses. People who are slow to anger tend to give others the benefit of the doubt, and they are not as focused on their own injured pride. Empathy (“Poor guy, he’s feeling rotten”) is usually incompatible with anger, so practice seeing the situation from the other person’s perspective.
- Beware of road rage—yours and the other person’s. Driving increases everyone’s level of physiological arousal, but not everyone becomes a hotheaded driver. Some drivers make themselves angry by having vengeful and retaliatory thoughts about other drivers (who have the nerve to change lanes or want to park! Who dare to drive at the speed limit in a school zone!). Hotheaded drivers take more risks while driving (rapidly switching lanes in their impatience), behave more aggressively (swearing, giving other drivers the finger or cursing them), and have more accidents (Deffenbacher et al., 2003).
If you decide that expressing anger is appropriate, be sure you use the right verbal and nonverbal language to make yourself understood. Because cultures (and families) have different display rules, be sure the recipient of your anger understands what you are feeling and what complaint you are trying to convey—and whether or not the person thinks your anger is appropriate. For example, a study compared the use of anger by Asian-American and Anglo-American negotiators. Expressing anger was effective for the Anglo teams—it got more concessions from the other side—but was much less effective for the Asian negotiators (Adam, Shirako, & Maddux, 2010).
Think carefully about how to express anger so that you will get the results you want. What do you want your anger to accomplish? Do you just want to make the other person feel bad, or do you want the other person to understand your concerns and make amends? Shouting “You moron! How could you be so stupid!” might accomplish the former goal, but it’s not likely to get the person to apologize, let alone to change his or her behavior. If your goal is to improve a bad situation or achieve justice, learning how to express anger so the other person will listen is essential.
Of course, if you just want to blow off steam, go right ahead; but you risk becoming a hothead.
Sometimes we need the right music to get ouf of bed in the morning, to get on with cleaning the house, to hype ourselves up. Soundtracks make movies more dramatic, funny, or scary. And some bittersweet songs about lost love even manage to make us cry.
Does music really influence our emotions? The answer lies in the brain:
- Happy music makes you happy because it activates the same cerebral areals as other stimuli that elicit positive feelings.
We knew that pleasant and unpleasant pictures cause different activity patterns in the brain (Davidson et al., 2000). An experiment used EEG data of students (Schmidt & Trainor, 2001) to reveal that “positive” and “negative” music induces the same asymmetrical brain activity.
- Ten students were asked to bring music to the laboratory that gave them goosebumps, which the subject group listened to in turns with neutral compositions (Blood & Zatorre, 2001). When listening to the goosebumps-inducing music, both heart rate and respiratory frequency quickened.
Moreover, their brain activity signaled pleasant emotional arousal. The more intense the goosebumps, the more active the brain areals in question.
What makes music happy or sad?
- One factor seems to be pace. In another experiment students listened to relatively quick and relatively slow pieces. Again, the brain activity was asymmetrical. Quicker music is generally happier than slow music. (Tsang et al., 2001)
It’s still a small mystery why music makes us feel things. Music uses neuronal emotion and reward mechanisms similar to those of food, sex, and drugs. This is remarkable, given that it is neither essential to biological survival or procreation, nor a pharmacological substance.
ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2012)
Switching back and forth between different languages happens all the time in multilingual environments, and often in emotional situations. In a new article in the July issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, psychological scientists Stephen Chen and Qing Zhou of the University of California, Berkeley and Morgan Kennedy of Bard College delve deeper into this linguistic phenomenon.
Drawing on research from psychology and linguistics, the researchers seek to better understand how using different languages to discuss and express emotions in a multilingual family might play an important role in children’s emotional development. They propose that the particular language parents choose to use when discussing and expressing emotion can have significant impacts on children’s emotional understanding, experience, and regulation.
University of California at Irvine | July 31, 2012
UC Irvine scientists have discovered intriguing differences in the brains and mental processes of an extraordinary group of people who can effortlessly recall every moment of their lives since about age 10.
The phenomenon of highly superior autobiographical memory – first documented in 2006 by UCI neurobiologist James McGaugh and colleagues in a woman identified as “AJ” – has been profiled on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and in hundreds of other media outlets. But a new paper in the peer-reviewed journal Neurobiology of Learning & Memory‘s July issue offers the first scientific findings about nearly a dozen people with this uncanny ability.
All had variations in nine structures of their brains compared to those of control subjects, including more robust white matter linking the middle and front parts. Most of the differences were in areas known to be linked to autobiographical memory, “so we’re getting a descriptive, coherent story of what’s going on,” said lead author Aurora LePort, a doctoral candidate at UCI’s Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory.
Surprisingly, the people with stellar autobiographical memory did not score higher on routine laboratory memory tests or when asked to use rote memory aids. Yet when it came to public or private events that occurred after age 10½, “they were remarkably better at recalling the details of their lives,” said McGaugh, senior author on the new work.
“These are not memory experts across the board. They’re 180 degrees different from the usual memory champions who can memorize pi to a large degree or other long strings of numbers,” LePort noted. “It makes the project that much more interesting; it really shows we are homing in on a specific form of memory.”
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