7 things people with social anxiety disorder go through

By Pallavi Kandhari, Freelance Contributor 

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Social anxiety is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. Social anxiety is the fear and anxiety of being negatively judged and evaluated by other people. A person suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) may sometimes think that people would ‘judge’ them if they talk about this fear. But it is the most common anxiety disorder with up to 10% of people being affected at some point in their life. So, you are not alone. Here are some points every person going through SAD can relate to-

1) Excessive worry about one’s looks

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They tend to spend more time in getting ready than what an average person would do and that is because of the fear of being negatively “judged” by people they don’t really know… So, they need to look their best every time they step out of the house in order to avoid the fear of being negatively evaluated. And as Eleanor Roosevelt said rightly,” No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.
2) Being the center of attention is a NIGHTMARE

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Have to give a presentation at work, school or college? Have to give a speech? The mere thought of being the center of attention is equivalent to a nightmare and cripples them with fear and anxiety. They are afraid that what if people notice, how anxious they are? Sweating, trembling and other physiological reactions come naturally when asked to give a speech or presentation.
3) Shyness is a pervasive personal state

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Having any sort of conversation with any stranger or sometimes even known people triggers shyness related anxiety and they begin to having irrational thoughts that they might end up getting judged, mocked or negatively percieved in some way. However it is important to remember that many people who are shy do not have the negative emotions and feelings that accompany social anxiety disorder. They live a normal life, and do not view shyness as a negative trait.
4) Hesitance and low self confidence tend to be mostly around the corner

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People with social anxiety usually (but not always) tend to have a low self esteem due to the fear of being rejected or being mocked at. They try to avoid conversations as much as possible in order to avoid being judged or evaluated. They constantly have the fear of being criticized and disapproved. They sometimes hesitate to take decisions and risk ending up coming across as ill-equipped in handling pressure situations.
5) Ordering food is not meant for them.

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Ordering food in person or on phone can be very stressful as it involves taking a decision and then interacting with a stranger. When they go to a restaurant they constantly feel that people will judge and laugh at them. Sometimes they may have the fear of pronouncing something wrong and that raises their anxiety even before they order as they feel that they may end up sounding silly.
6) Escape becomes their best friend

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Leaving a party, social gathering or a family function after spending a brief amount of time is very common. They are the last ones to enter and the first one to leave. Escaping from these situations when anxiety raises can sometimes help them to calm down and they have no regrets of leaving early or escaping from anxiety provoking social gatherings.
7) They become their own best friends

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With the constant fear of being negatively evaluated or criticized by people, they mostly avoid their company and start to enjoy their own company. They become their own best friends and end up spending a lot of time with themselves which sometimes curbs the anxiety provoking thoughts and make them a feel a bit relaxed.

 

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10 Positive Psychology concepts that’ll give you a different perspective on life

 

Kritika Joshi, Freelance Contributor

Stay positive, all other choices are pointless punishments to your psyche”  – Joe Peterson

The “positive psychology” field has been around for decades, but only in the recent years, thanks to some notable researches have we been able to recognize its profound impact on society. Fortunately, many of these studies point to specific ways of thinking and acting that can strongly impact our sense of happiness and peace of mind.

So here are 10 Positive Psychology concepts that’ll give you a different perspective on life.

  1. ENVIRONMENTAL MASTERY

 

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It is the degree to which you feel competent to meet the demands of your situation. It is the sense that we have an influence on the events in our lives. We can say it is the sense that we are capable of acting on our own behalf. In simple terms, environmental mastery is the ability to create environment suitable to satisfy one’s own psychological needs.

  1. FLOURISHING

 

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The ability to flourish is defined as the ability for a person to grow as a human being through good times and through life struggles. Flourishing is the product of pursuit and engagement of an authentic life that brings inner joy and happiness. It is a state where people experience positive emotions, positive psychological functioning and positive social functioning most of the time.

 

  1. LEARNED OPTIMISM

 

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Coined by the famous positive psychologist Seligman, It is a mechanism where people systematically remove depressive thoughts by concentrating on the positive. Optimists have a belief that they have control over situations and because of this, the opportunity to influence the result they are highly motivated to achieve. It can be summed up as a pattern of persisting in the face of difficulty.

 

  1. FLOW

 

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The idea of flow is that “a person can make himself happy, or miserable, regardless of what is actually happening ‘outside’, just by changing the contents of consciousness. Happiness is about changing the contents of our consciousness and the way to do this is by putting ourselves in the state of optimal experience called flow. Flow is that state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.

 

  1. UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD

 

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The concept of unconditional positive regard requires a person to suspend any form of personal judgement and accepts other human beings, regardless of the content of any disclosure they may have made or any behavior they may have displayed. It can help create better relationships with your spouse, friends, relatives and even strangers.

 

  1. CONGRUENCE

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Congruence is when the inner beliefs and concepts of a person match his experience of the external world. According to Carl Rogers, personality is like a triangle made up of ideal self, real self and perceived self. When there is a good fit between these three the person has congruence.

 

  1. CONDITIONS OF WORTH

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Conditions of Worth are the conditions we think we must meet in order for other people to accept us as worthy of their love or positive regard. Children raised in an environment of unconditional positive regard have the opportunity to fully actualize themselves. Those raised in an environment of conditional positive regard feel worthy only if they match conditions that have been laid down for them by others

 

  1. EUDAIMONIC WELL BEING

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Eudaimonic well being refers to effectiveness of an individual’s psychological functioning that helps them to realize their true potential. True happiness is found in expression of goodness. Eudaimonic  view of well being conceptualizes well being in terms of cultivation of personal strengths or acting in accordance with one’s inner nature and deeply held values.

 

  1. GOAL ORIENTATION

 

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It refers to the goals individuals implicitly pursue while attaining performance outcomes. It can be differentiated into two types – mastery and performance goals. Mastery goals involve learning and developing mastery as one approaches tasks. Performance goals involve approaching tasks with a focus on performance relative to others.

 

  1. TRANSCEDENCE

 

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It means ‘going beyond’ a prior state. It involves connection to something or someone larger than oneself, a theme that unites the character associated with it. In positive psychology, the virtue of transcendence is associated with the strengths of meaning that connects you with the larger world and helps you make sense of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Ways of Controlling Technology Addiction in Children

Shraddha Gupta,  freelance contributor

Due to the frequent use of technology young minds are becoming dull as well as unimaginative and creativity is becoming endangered. While many parents think that they are aiding their children by getting technological devices like smartphones, laptops and tablets etc.; they are only partially correct. Without the proper control and restriction on use of the internet, children can very easily become addicted to social media platforms. The boon of technology then, starts to become a bane.
But if the right controls and limits are set, parents can prevent this addiction and children can benefit more from the internet than they would lose. Following are the ways in which this addiction can be controlled or prevented:
1. Setting a Time Limit
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Time limits for the usage of technology should be set for children and it should be made sure that they are adhered to. It might be troublesome for parents in the beginning, but they should remain firm. This will ensure that the child uses technology more for learning and reading. Children can be motivated to make this restriction, a habit by rewards and punishments.
2. Using the Token Economy Technique
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Token economy is a form of behaviour modification designed to increase desirable behaviour and decrease undesirable behaviour with the use of tokens that the children would receive after displaying desirable behaviour. The collected tokens can then be exchanged for whatever they want. Tokens can also be taken away on display of bad behaviour.
3. Self Control
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Children at a tender age try to imitate their parents to learn behaviour. This behaviour generally becomes permanent and doesn’t change very easily is learned. If children see their parents on screens most of the time, they will tend to do the same. Children will have a natural attitude of depending on technology if they see their parents doing the same.
4. Find Ways to make Technology Habits Productive
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A technology obsessed child may be trying to find a passion for him or herself. Try and channelize that into a positive path and enroll him/her in various classes like programming, sports, dancing, animation etc. for him/her to be sure of whether they want to pursue their life in this field as a career or if it is just a hobby.
5. Using the Technique of Aversive Conditioning
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Parents can instill the hazards of using technology excessively like obesity, weakening of eyesight, lowering of concentration span etc. to make their children more aware about why they want them to leave this addiction. This will also give the children an insight that their parents are caring and they just want the best for them always.
6. Motivational Interviewing
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This technique involves structured conversations that can help children increase their motivation to overcome technology addiction by, for example, helping them recognize the difference between how they are living at present that is, behind screens and how they wish to live in future while spending real time with parents and peers and see what they were missing out on.
7. Self-monitoring of Urges
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Another way to foster detachment from urges to check social media almost every 5-10 minutes, is to have teens use self monitoring procedures to keep track of the internal and external cues that stimulate the urge, their mood, how long the urge lasted, coping skills used to cope with the urge and how successful or unsuccessful these coping strategies were.
8. Urge Surfing
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In this technique, teens can be taught to label these internal sensations and cognitive preoccupations as an urge or craving that is beginning to develop and to foster an attitude of detachment and dis-identification regarding this wave of desire, initially through training and support from parents. If after practicing this for a while, it becomes easier for the teens to delay and distract this urge and eventually, their addiction diminishes.

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10 indications that you’re overthinking stuff

Shivangi Srivastava, Freelance Contributor

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Do things keep playing in your head on repeat mode?
Are you always trying to crack some secret code?
Does your sleep ditch you at night?
Are you constantly worrying about your future?

To think about things or situations in life is necessary but when ‘thinking’ goes overboard, that’s when we start facing problems in life. Over-thinking is a state of constant worrying, where our mind starts to work extra hard, unnecessarily.
Here are 10 indications that will help you understand if you’re over thinking it:

1) You’re hesitant when it comes to giving a voice to your opinions.

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You may find it very difficult to share your thoughts and opinions regarding a certain topic or situation because you fear that people will JUDGE you for how you think and for the kind of choices you’ve made or are currently making in life.

2) All the possibilities are only assessed as either ‘BAD’ or ‘WORSE’.

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For you, ‘WORST-CASE SCENARIOS’ are the only possible scenarios. You may find yourself focusing too much on all the things that can possibly go wrong. Good outcomes are just a matter of luck for you. Also, you tend to be over critical about yourself. People who overthink rarely are able to see their own positive sides because they’re too busy evaluating themselves on their negatives.

3) It seems as if the whole world is conspiring against you.

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You may feel as if people around you observe all the things that you do and judge you for it. It may seem as if everybody around you is talking about you, is criticizing your actions and has formed strong opinions AGAINST you.

4) You believe that one must know ‘EVERYTHING’ in order to understand you.

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You try to include all the possible details while telling somebody about anything. In your opinion, missing out on any piece of information would mean that the message was not conveyed exactly how you wanted it to be and now people won’t understand you and may form negative opinions about you.

5) Creative skills are mostly used in decoding ‘HIDDEN’ messages which may not exist at all.

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Being an over-thinker, it is possible for you to consume your energy in looking for underlying meanings for every word that you hear. You may find yourself constantly worrying if somebody’s motive was to indirectly tell or indicate something to you while conversing with you.

6) You cross-check the messages you’re about to send multiple times.

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It takes you a lot of time to send a message to somebody. You keep going through the messages, again and again, deleting or editing its content. You have the notion of sending an error-free or so-called ‘perfect message’ so that the person on the receiving end does not take you for a dumb individual.

7) Maladaptive daydreaming
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As an over thinker, you experience frequent and intrusive daydreams that can disrupt your everyday tasks and quality of life. Certain situations are often stuck in repeat mode inside your head or you start imagining things that have no end to them and eventually find it very difficult to come to reality and do your daily tasks.

8) You take ‘LITTLE’ things very ‘SERIOUSLY’.
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While having a conversation with somebody, you may find yourself taking little things very seriously. There may be times when people are just talking or discussing things on a very general level but you might take things personally and feel disturbed. It sometimes gets a little difficult to convince you that everything’s okay because you usually want every piece of information to make up your mind.

9) Your behaviour and actions are mostly based on your ‘ASSUMPTIONS’.
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The term ‘over-thinking’ itself suggests thinking more than required; thinking more than there is to think actually. Over-thinkers usually pre-assume a lot of things (basically, jumping to conclusions) and later are found constantly worrying about things that may or may not exist. This eventually leads them to behave oddly around people.

10) Anxiety knocks and blows good night’s sleep away.
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Overthinking often generates anxiety and results in panic attacks. This anxiety holds you back and disrupts your normal functioning. Messing up one thing might mean messing up the entire thing, in your opinion. You keep ruminating about it and thus, face trouble sleeping.

 

 

 

 

7 things you can do in the moment to tackle Anxiety

by Kritika Joshi, freelance contributor |

Anxiety is an emotion we address in our everyday lives. It is a part of everyone’s experience, whether it is exam anxiety, social anxiety or specific phobias etc. Anxiety is associated with alterations in our mental state experienced as worry or apprehension and physical symptoms such as raised heart rate and adrenaline. It is likely to affect us temporarily until the source of our anxiety has passed or we have learnt to cope with it.
The following are 7 things one can do in the moment to tackle anxiety:

1. DISTRACT YOURSELF
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It is important to think clearly when you are flooded with anxiety. Take time to calm down and try your best to distract yourself from whatever it is that has you on edge. Taking a walk, a bath, noticing the environment, listening to your favourite song are activities that could help.
If you get anxious regularly, engage yourself in a hobby which you could turn to during those trying times.

2. PHONE A FRIEND
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Sometimes all you need, is to hear a familiar, friendly voice or to just know that you have a human soundboard to bounce ideas off of. Surround yourself with people that are a good influence on your life. Discussing your problems with others can help you feel less alone. Socializing stimulates the production of hormone oxytocin, which has an anxiety reducing effect. So next time a freak out happens grab your most trusted pal and sit with him/her.

3. SMILE
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It sounds like the most obvious advice imaginable; but clichés are clichés for a reason, so just put up a happy face.
A recent study claims that smiling does actually help us feel better and reduce anxiety. When you are feeling anxious try forcing a smile on your face. There will be something oddly satisfying watching the anxiety monster crumble at the sight of your smiling face.

4. PLAY AROUND:
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Playing with a dog can decrease cortisol (stress producing hormone) whereas increase oxytocin production (stress reducing hormone). Why not have access to natural anxiety killers that have the added advantage of being super cute, if you can.

5. DRINK WATER
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Studies show that water is a great ‘anxiety quencher’. When body is dehydrated it can induce anxiety and nervousness. Our brain needs sufficient water to function properly. Experts recommend drinking 2-3 litres of water daily.

6. SIT WITH YOUR BODY FOR 10 MINS AND JUST LISTEN TO IT
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Take 10 seconds out and collect some fresh oxygen. Have a silent conversation with yourself. When you are anxious your breathing becomes faster and shallower. Bring your breathing and mind together. Listen to the movement of your lungs. Try deliberately slowing your breath. Count to 3 as you breathe in slowly then count to 3 as you breathe out slowly. This’ll calm you down.

7. SAFE PLACE MENTAL IMAGERY:
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Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm, visualise a happy place. It could be any happy memory from childhood or any other happy incident, to soothe you until your anxiety lowers.
Try not to pay attention to current anxious mental state just focus on the feeling of smooth sailing through the storm.

 

7 most common negative thought patterns and how to handle them

by Avnie Garg, Freelance Contributor

All of us in life go through failures, doubts, criticisms which make us think negatively. These thought patterns can prove to be dangerous for our mental health and eventually may negatively affect our personal and social life. It is important to realize your negative thought patterns to live a peaceful and happy life. Following are some examples that you may like to go through:-

  1. Only bad things happen to me:

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Many of us generalize the life events and think that this is how things have happened till now and this is how they will continue to be. We start pitying ourselves and create the thought that things might never get better.
How to handle: realize that you may be only considering negative aspects of all that happens to you. Try some gratitude exercises which will help you to thank all the good things in life.

2. What if this happens? :

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We may overthink many trivial things which do not even require our attention. We tend to think the most extreme consequence of a particular situation that we are going through in life. This muddles our thought process and we end up taking undue stress.
How to handle: realize that this is doing you a lot of harm. Train yourself to ‘go-with-the-flow’. Engage in useful stuff that prevents you from overthinking.

3. “What could have been”:

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Some people contemplate a lot about what could their lives have been, had a particular thing not happened. They delve into the past just too much. This keeps bad memories intact and creates emotional and professional problems.
How to handle: ask yourself if your thoughts are really true! You may think that other alternative in life would have been better but you are ignoring the cons related with it. Try being happy in the present and work hard for things to happen your way from now on.

4. I can’t do it :

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Questioning one’s abilities creates feelings of self-doubt. We start losing faith in ourselves. This thought is a big obstacle in achieving success in life.
How to handle: practice self- compassion. Be kind to yourself and think instead of your accomplishments. Find out what you are good at and hone your skills in that area.

5.’must/should’ statements:

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“Everyone should love me”, “I must be present there” etc. are some of the unrealistic thoughts we create in our mind. It is essential to refrain from such thoughts. It affects the way you think about yourself and the world.
How to handle: flexibility rules the world, rigidity does not. Counter question yourself next time you think of such statements. For instance, “why should everyone love me?” tell yourself that you loving yourself after all is the most important thing.

6.All-or-none thinking:

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It happens when you think at the extreme ends. Example- “there is nothing good about my job” or “Leela is worst person I’ve come across in life”. So you think no in-between. It is also called black and white thinking.
How to handle: try thinking the pros and cons of everyone and everything you get extreme thoughts about. This will help you to balance your viewpoint. And take some time before you make judgments about others.

7.I’m so unlucky:

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This thought may be the outcome of the people around you (your mom tells she has been unwell since she gave birth to you) or you might have created them in your head(I’ve never won a lottery in my life). Incidents taking place now and then reinforce this thought.
How to handle: realize that luck is just a probability. Try affirmations like “I am fortunate to have a so and so thing”, “I am really lucky for myself”.

The most important thing is to firstly identify your negative thoughts, know that they are not permanent and then distort them one by one. You can also write them down on a piece of paper and destroy the paper after that. This can help relieve you!

 

 

 

10 Neuro-psychology Researches that’ll change the way you look at the world

by Ishaan Kumbkarni, staff writer

Here are 10 recent neuroscience and psychology researches that’ll transform the way you look at and perceive the world.

  1. Is your thought process really a private phenomenon?

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Scientists in Germany used pattern recognition software to predict, from functional magnetic resonance imaging of people’s brains, whether each person had secretly decided to add or subtract two numbers he was looking at. The computer correctly predicted the decision more often than not. What’s stopping a super computer from surveilling our brain?

 

  1. Our brain is capable of beautiful things

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Some people have been brought up in hate and are taught to despise the world (see: terrorists and xenophobes) but a new study, from the University of Zurich, reports that having just a few positive exchanges with a person from an outside group can trigger neuronal changes in the brain that cause someone to become more empathetic towards strangers from an outside group.

 

  1. You can train your brain to change the quality of your life

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Neuroscientists at Oxford University recently discovered a neurobiological mechanism that might explain how one can overcome apathy and stay active and motivated.  They hypothesize that anyone who is healthy can change the functional connectivity of his or her brain by consciously changing habits of behavior and patterns of thinking. Because the brain is plastic—your mindset, explanatory styles, and predisposition to be motivated or apathetic are never fixed.

 

  1. The brain has a separate, small beating heart, all for itself

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A team led by Prof. Ed Wu at the University of Hong Kong revealed that low frequency (1Hz) oscillations in the hippocampus help to synchronize activity in the brain. They used optogenetics and resting-state fMRI to explore the role of the slow hippocampal-cortical oscillatory activity in controlling and connecting different areas of the brain.

 

  1. Stress can actually change the structure of your brain; and not for the better

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Neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that chronic stress triggers long-term changes in brain structure and function. Their findings might explain why young people who are exposed to chronic stress early in life are prone to mental problems such as anxiety and mood disorders later in life, as well as learning difficulties.

 

  1. There was a marked increase in the number of suicides following Robin William’s suicide

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A new study revealed that there was a 10 percent increase in suicides in the months following Robin Williams’ death. Researchers report, significantly, there was a 32 percent increase in suffocation suicides in the 5 months following Williams’ death by the same method. This is a known psychological phenomenon with the rates of suicides in general population increasing after most high-profile suicides.

 

  1. People who daydream may be intellectually advanced

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People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering. Eric Schumacher and his team at Georgia Tech found that people who report frequent daydreaming score higher on creative and intellectual ability and have measurably more effective brains than those who don’t. Apparently, the smarter you are, the more you daydream. Dream on!

 

  1. Emotions can alter your ability to learn and perceive

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Educational situations where students feel stressed, shamed, or just uncomfortable can actually make it more difficult for them to learn, increasing negative emotions and sparking a vicious cycle that may leave some children reluctant to attend class. Research is revealing why, as the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system has the ability to open up or shut off access to learning and memory. When under stress or anxiety, the brain blocks access to higher processing and stops forming new connections, making it difficult or impossible to learn.

 

  1. Dopamine is a magic liquid running inside us and it becomes active when we experience new things

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Researchers have found that novelty in the world around us causes the dopamine system in the brain to become activated, sending the chemical throughout the brain. Dopamine is often regarded as the “feel good” chemical, scientists have now shown that it actually plays a much bigger role, encouraging feelings of motivation and prompting the brain to appreciate and learn about new and novel stimuli in the surroundings. Really, they should be selling this stuff on amazon.

 

  1. Cognitive Offloading: How the Internet is Increasingly Taking Over Human Memory

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Researchers from UC Santa Cruz and the University of Illinois report that our ever-increasing reliance on the internet and our ease of access to new information is affecting our ability to learn and recall facts from memory, as well as impeding our ability to solve problems. Basically, the internet is making us dumber.