One of the most important issues our world currently faces is global warming. While there appears to be no shortage of research exploring the environmental effects of climate change, what about its psychological effects on people?
In a study discussed in detail here, researchers determined that the way people were affected mentally and emotionally by climate change depended on what type of particular concern they had regarding the environment.
Results showed that those who were most concerned about the planet’s plants and animals (biospheric concern) experienced more stress than those who were concerned about the environment’s effects on the individual as well as those whose concerns focused more on humanity in general.
In a wonderful article written by David Pollack, MD, a nationally known community-focused psychiatrist, he discusses various aspects of our changing climate and mental health including, but not limited to, the connection between climate change and an individual’s mental health, clinical areas to more fully understand and treat, and education and research goals.
In reference to climate and health connections, Dr. Pollack discusses the seriousness of global warming and how it directly affects the physical and mental health of individuals. He says:
They [health effects of climate change] encompass the creation, exacerbation, and complication of conditions involving almost all organ systems of humans and most other biological fauna and flora. The mental health consequences are also vast, pervasive, and likely to last longer than most other impacts on health. They require attention, understanding, education, and commitment from all of psychiatry (and other health and mental health professionals) to effectively identify, treat, and prevent.
Dr. Pollack goes on to discuss the need to understand the direct psychiatric impacts of air and water pollution, increased temperature, flooding, opportunistic and pandemic infections, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and other factors on persons with current psychiatric conditions. These connections are real. In one study, a significant increase in suicides related directly to temperature increases was noted.
We are already aware of the negative impacts on cognitive functioning from exposure to air pollution. In yet another study, higher rates of individual and group violence were associated with temperature increases. In addition, people taking most classes of psychiatric drugs are at greater risk of dehydration, hyperthermia, and heat stroke at higher temperatures. It is clear from this information that increased temperatures have a negative impact on those with mental health issues.
Regarding anxiety and trauma, Dr. Pollack says:
Anxiety and trauma symptoms/syndromes arise from rapid and extreme changes in one’s environment.…Many clinicians are reporting that their patients are worried about the future with particular emphasis on the geophysical and political environments. We are seeing a myriad of social, cultural, health, and economic consequences of mass migration stimulated, in part, by global environmental disruption.
This is all so disheartening to say the least. But these mental health issues revolving around climate change need to be discussed openly and acted upon so that something can be done to help future generations. Our children and our children’s children deserve no less.
Author: psychology
Date/time: 10th November 2018, 20:04

In a previous article I discussed how emotional safety is an essential foundation for intimate partnerships and close friendships. If we can deeply understand how intimacy gets disrupted, we can become more mindful about what it takes to create emotionally safe relationships. We’re wired with a human longing for secure, satisfying connections, but sadly, we may not be fully aware of how we create barriers to the intimacy we want.
Feeling emotionally safe means feeling internally relaxed and open. A nourishing intimacy can happen when barriers melt and hearts open, while also maintaining appropriate boundaries as necessary. When we’re intimate, we’re feeling connected. When we’re not connected, we feel distant, protective, or cautious.

Researcher John Gottman has identified criticism and contempt as intimacy-busters. In fact, contempt is the number one predictor of divorce, according to Gottman. Whenever we diminish a person through hurtful criticisms or sarcasm, we trigger their self-protective mechanisms. Just as a flower won’t bloom until conditions are supportive, our tender self won’t bloom unless we feel internally safe. Consistent respect, kindness, and appreciation, which are antidotes to criticism and contempt, are necessary conditions for a deepening intimacy.
In romantic relationships, love is a good start. But if we want to enjoy a healthy, secure attachment and the enduring connection of mature love, we need to feel safe. Such safety creates a foundation for emotional and sexual intimacy.
Early in a romantic relationship, our sexual attraction is often strong. We may wonder why it has faded over time. We might conclude that this isn’t the right partner or perhaps stray into an affair.
One reason that attraction may lessen is the loss of emotional safety. Trust is a fragile flower. If we’re feeling frequently blamed or shamed rather than respected and cherished, our tender heart may go into hiding as we feel unsafe to show our vulnerable self.
We might think we should be stronger and just let things roll off our back. And in fact it may help to explore whether we’re taking things too personally, losing perspective, or feeling overly offended by light-hearted teasing. But hurtful teasing or shaming that poke our partner’s tender spots are likely to push him or her away, thereby frustrating our desire to connect.
If you’re experiencing a loss of emotional, sexual, or spiritual intimacy, you might want to explore your possible contribution to the dilemma. Are you feeling angry, hurt, or fearful and acting-out these feelings indirectly rather than expressing your feelings and needs in a non-blaming, mature way? Do you tend to react defensively or not take your partners feelings and preferences seriously enough? Is your partner distancing from you because you insist on being right, or you’re not listening respectfully, or you’re using words, body language (eye-rolling, head-shaking), or a denigrating tone of voice that raises your partner’s shields?
Building emotional safety begins by becoming mindful about what not to do in relationships. The subtle or not-so-subtle ways we blame, criticize, and shame people is kryptonite to intimacy. We may not be fully aware of the slow, steady drip of harm we inflict on our relationships by lashing out or being snarky in our communication.
Feeling emotionally safe allows us to feel free to share our feelings, thoughts, and desires without undue fear. It takes courage and mindfulness to understand the shadow parts of our psyche that might unknowingly sabotage our longing for love and connection. When two people are committed to the process of creating a nurturing, supportive relationship and are willing to develop the skills necessary to create a safe climate to do so (perhaps with the help of couples counseling), relationships are more likely to thrive and endure.
Author: psychology
Date/time: 10th November 2018, 20:04

This picture has nothing to do with this week’s Psychology Around the Net. I just love fall!
What does have to do with this week’s post is “priming” and how it can help women stop shying away from competition, a first-of-its-kind survey that lets mental health consumers tell scientists what they want them to study, overdose prevention kits popping up on college campuses, and more.
Closing the Gender Gap in Competitiveness With a Psychological Trick: Often, women tend to shy away from competition more than men do, and this could be a reason many women are still at a disadvantage when it comes to career-related matters (e.g. pay, promotions, etc.). Studies suggest that “priming” — a psychological technique that places people in certain situations and can change their decision-making behavior — could lead to situations in which men and women are more similar in their competitive behavior.
Make Wellness a Way of Life With These 8 Daily Habits: These everyday activities — which can soon turn into habits — are sure to help both your physical and mental wellness.
This Marketer Reveals 10 Psychology Truths That Brands Use to Influence Your Buying Decisions: Jake McKenzie, CEO of Intermark Group, the largest psychology-driven marketing firm in the country, explains the most popular (and effective) ways marketers use your own psychological habits to get you to buy their stuff (and if you’re thinking “These kinds of tricks don’t work on me,” well, welcome to #3).
Turning the Tables: People With Mental Illness Share What They Want Scientists to Study: Using a first-of-its kind survey, the Milken Institute and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance are asking patients what aspects of their health — specifically depression and/or bipolar disorder — they want more research on. Since August 2018, nearly 6,000 people have responded to the survey and it’s still available if you want to answer, too.
One Insanely Popular Reason So Many of Us Are Unhappy: I’m not going to give it away, obvs, but I can tell you I remember being a lot more consistently happy when I had a strong handle on this.
Making Overdose Medication Readily Available On College Campuses: Overall, many colleges and universities haven’t felt the full brunt of the opioid epidemic raging through the United States; however, that doesn’t mean they aren’t without any problems and that school administrators want to keep their students as safe as possible. These safety precautions range from awareness and prevention programs to showing students how to save someone from an overdose using Narcan (Naloxone). Going even further, Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts has installed approximately 60 “Opioid Overdose Kits,” each of which contains two doses of Narcan nosespray.
Author: psychology
Date/time: 10th November 2018, 20:04

OCD Awareness Week 2018 has come and gone and there were many successful, informative events to help all those whose lives have been touched by obsessive-compulsive disorder.
There was also attention paid to OCD through the national media, though I’m not sure if the two shows I watched/listened to were broadcast because of OCD Awareness Week.
While I think the productions both did a good job debunking the myths of OCD and illustrating what the disorder is all about (as much as you can without actually having OCD), I believe they were sorely lacking in one extremely important area — treatment.
The first show was a podcast sponsored by American Public Media. Six people with OCD recorded their thoughts and feelings throughout the course of a day, giving the listener an idea of how OCD operates.
I think it was a great idea. But I kept waiting for the host of the program — or anyone — to inform us that, if you have OCD, you do not have to be controlled by it — it is treatable.
While I realize that treatment was not the focus of the podcast, I also believe that not saying anything about recovery leads people to believe “that’s the way it is,” and there is no treatment for the disorder.
I wasn’t asking for a lot. One sentence saying, “OCD is very treatable,” would have satisfied me. But there was nothing. NOTHING! I think one of the six people with OCD might have used the word “Prozac” once in passing but that was it.
The second event was a segment of 60 Minutes with author John Green (The Fault in Our Stars & Turtles All the Way Down). John has obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is the subject of his novel Turtles All the Way Down.
What an inspiration he is to everyone (young people in particular) with OCD! When asked what he does to help himself, I believe his only answer was “exercise.” I don’t know what type of therapy, if any, Mr. Green has tried, but again, I was still hoping that at some point during the broadcast the interviewer would throw in at least one sentence: “OCD is treatable.” But sadly, again, nothing.
I believe these firsthand accounts of living with OCD are invaluable. I really do. But when you (or a loved one) are suffering from this potentially devastating disorder, the only question you’re likely asking is “How can I get better?” I believe we are doing a poor job of answering this question.
Ten years ago my son Dan suffered from severe OCD. As my book synopsis says, “he went from seven therapists to ten medications to a nine-week stay at a world-renowned residential program.”
I believe exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy saved Dan’s life, but finding this treatment was difficult. I became an advocate for OCD awareness and proper treatment precisely for this reason — to let others know that ERP therapy is the evidence-based, first-line psychological treatment for OCD as recommended by the American Psychological Association, and to spread the word that OCD, no matter how severe, is treatable.
Ten years later, for reasons that I just can’t fathom, this therapy still seems to be a well-guarded secret.
Author: psychology
Date/time: 10th November 2018, 20:04