Bit of exciting news for a Wednesday! As a major advocate of all things ‘crazy,’ I take an interest in charities that aim to spread…
Emerging research suggests the size of a specific area of the brain appears to influence emotional regulation in healthy people.
In a study of healthy college students, University of Illinois investigators discovered individuals with a relatively small inferior frontal cortex (IFC) — a brain region behind the temples that helps regulate thoughts and emotions — are more likely than others to suffer from anxiety.
These individuals also tend to view neutral or even positive events in a negative light, researchers report.
Investigators evaluated sixty-two students. Brain structural data from neuroimaging scans and responses to standard questionnaires were used to determine anxiety levels and predilection for negative bias.
Previous studies of people diagnosed with anxiety have found similar correlations between the size of the IFC and anxiety and negative bias, said University of Illinois psychology postdoctoral researcher Sanda Dolcos, who led the study with graduate student Yifan Hu.
But the new findings are the first to see these same dynamics in healthy adults, the researchers said.
“You would expect these brain changes more in clinical populations where anxiety is very serious, but we are seeing differences even in the brains of healthy young adults,” Dolcos said.
The study, reported in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, also found that the relationship between the size of the IFC and a student’s negative bias was mediated by their level of anxiety.
“People who have smaller volumes have higher levels of anxiety; people who have larger IFCs tend to have lower levels of anxiety,” Dolcos said.
And higher anxiety is associated with more negative bias, she said. “How we see this is that the higher volume of the IFC confers resilience.”
“We found that larger IFC volume is protecting against negative bias through lower levels of trait anxiety,” Hu said.
Anxiety appears to be on the rise on college campuses. According to the American College Health Association, nearly 60 percent of students report at least one troubling bout of anxious worry every year.
“There is a very high level of anxiety in the student population, and this is affecting their life, their academic performance, everything,” Dolcos said. “We are interested in identifying what is going on and preventing them from moving to the next level and developing clinical anxiety.”
Anxiety can interfere with many dimensions of life, causing a person to be on high alert for potential problems even under the best of circumstances, Hu said. Negative bias also can interfere with a person’s commitment to activities that might further their life goals, she said.
Understanding the interrelatedness of brain structure, function and personality traits such as anxiety and their behavioral effects such as negative bias will help scientists develop interventions to target specific brain regions in healthy populations, Hu said.
“We hope to be able to train the brain to function better,” she said. “That way, we might prevent these at-risk people from moving on to more severe anxiety.”
Source: University of Illinois
Do you ever have one of those days when you’re like; “what the fuck am I doing with my life?” It’s not a question one…
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Qaafirana Lyrics from Kedarnath is sung by Arijit Singh and features Sushant Rajput & Sara Ali Khan. It is composed by Amit Trivedi and written by Amitabh Bhattacharya.
MITHI MITHI Lyrics – Amrit Maan Ft. Jasmine Sandlas is back with their new Punjabi Song Mithi Mithi. This song is composed by Intense While it is released with Crown Records Music Label. It is
If you told me 13 years ago, that I’d be grateful for having had a social anxiety disorder most of my life, I’d probably want to kick you in the shin. Social anxiety has been the biggest part of my life, it consumed me through my teenage years and taunted me as an adult. For a long time, I felt as if I’d missed out on an important chunk of my life and I desperately wanted the experiences that everyone around me had.
It’s easy to hate your mental illness, I did for years. I just wanted it gone and the fact that it lingered for so long, tore me up inside.
The last couple of years have been a whirlwind and I have now reached a point where I can manage my social anxiety. It’s still there, I don’t believe it will truly ever go away since I’ve had it for 20+ years but I can manage it much better, enough to live a “normal” life (whatever the fuck normal is). Having reached this point, I’ve been able to reflect properly on my life with social anxiety and see myself in a clearer view. This reflection has taught me that my experience with social anxiety is not something I feel hurt about and I certainly don’t see it as being unfair, in fact it has made me grateful.
“What did it make you grateful for though?” I hear you shouting with amazement
Well, let me tell you, as a I stroke my imaginary long white beard to convince you that I’m old and wise now…
So I get on a bus for a journey that lasts 10 minutes, or answer a phone call without hyperventilating and it’s a huge fucking deal. Things that I used to struggle doing because of my social anxiety that I’ve learnt how to be comfortable with, like having a conversation, going to the shop by myself and going to the checkout by myself, getting on public transport or answering the door to a parcel… they are all things I’m grateful for every time I’m able to do them. I’m grateful for super mundane things that most people complain about having to do just because I am ABLE to do them, because I remember what it’s like to not even be able to leave the house at all.
Any time you go into something that terrifies you and you get through it anyway, it’s a massive achievement. I always get to feel a sense of achievement whenever I leave my front door because every social interaction, every place I enter, every person I’m able to even walk past is something that takes a lot for me to be able to do.
Whatever confidence I do have, is completely real. It’s something that I’ve earned over time and it’s stuck with me now and as I’ve grown in confidence and peeled back the layers of my social anxiety, my true personality has been revealed to me. All these years that I thought I was quiet and timid but the reality of the matter is, I’m a loud potty-mouthed extrovert who loves a good party and acts like a tit. I have loved learning who I really am and becoming my true self has been an incredible journey.
Having a mental illness teaches you empathy and compassion because you realise people can suffer in different ways and without it being obvious. You also know what it’s like to struggle so often it makes you more aware of other people’s pain. I’m definitely grateful for that. I’d hate to be someone who doesn’t appreciate other people’s suffering.
Another plus, is that having social anxiety has made me a super good people photographer because I photograph a lot of people who are super camera shy and get anxiety in front of a camera – they’re always telling me I helped them relax and made that process much easier for them. It’s because I can put myself in their shoes, I know how that shit feels.
Social anxiety made me feel pathetic and weak and I often told myself that I was rubbish at everything, it was a constant battle between me and my head. The truth is, I was strong. I left the house at times I thought I couldn’t face it. I went into situations that made my heart palpitate, hands sweat, body tremble and stomach nauseated. I wasn’t weak at all. I faced my biggest fears on a daily basis, I still do really.
That’s what I’m most grateful for, learning my own strength, because now if someone asks me to do something or an opportunity arises, I know that even if it’s scary as fuck, I CAN and WILL do it!
What does social anxiety make you grateful for? What has your mental illness taught you?
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New research suggests that both good and bad moods can be “picked up” or transferred from friends, but depression cannot.
In the study, U.K. investigators examined whether friends’ moods can spread across friendship networks and affect other individuals.
To do this, University of Warwick researchers analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health which incorporates the moods and friendship networks of US adolescents in schools.
Investigators believe their findings imply that mood does spread over friendship networks, as do various different symptoms of depression such as helplessness and loss of interest. However, they also found that the effect from lower or worse mood friends was not strong enough to push the other friends into depression.
Using mathematical modelling they found that having more friends who suffer worse moods is associated with a higher probability of an individual experiencing low moods and a decreased probability of improving. Conversely, they found the positive moods can spread among teens who had a more positive social circle.
Public health statistics researcher Rob Eyre, a Warwick doctoral student, led the study. Investigators looked for evidence for the individual components of mood (such as appetite, tiredness, and sleep) spreading through U.S. adolescent friendship networks; they then adjusted for confounding by modelling the transition probabilities of changing mood state over time.
“Evidence suggests mood may spread from person to person via a process known as social contagion,” Eyre said.
“Previous studies have found social support and befriending to be beneficial to mood disorders in adolescents while recent experiments suggest that an individual’s emotional state can be affected by exposure to the emotional expressions of social contacts.
“Clearly, a greater understanding of how changes in the mood of adolescents are affected by the mood of their friends would be beneficial in informing interventions tackling adolescent depression.”
The World Health Organization has estimated that depression affects 350 million people across the world, impacting on individual’s abilities to work and socialize and at worse leading to suicide.
Researchers believe the findings emphasize the need to also consider those who exhibit levels of depressive symptoms — just below those needed for a diagnosis of actual depression — when designing public health interventions.
The study also helps confirm that there is more to depression than simply low mood. At the individual level, these findings imply that following the evidence-based advice for improving mood, e.g. exercise, sleeping well, and managing stress, can help a teenager’s friends as well as themselves.
But for depression, friends do not put an individual at risk of illness so a recommended course of action would be to show them support.
The study conclusions link in to current policy discussions on the importance of sub-threshold levels of depressive symptoms and could help inform interventions against depression in senior schools
Co-author Dr. Frances Griffiths of Warwick Medical School said, “The results found here can inform public health policy and the design of interventions against depression in adolescents. Sub-threshold levels of depressive symptoms in adolescents is an issue of great current concern as they have been found to be very common, to cause a reduced quality of life and to lead to greater risk of depression later on in life than having no symptoms at all.
“Understanding that these components of mood can spread socially suggests that while the primary target of social interventions should be to increase friendships because of its benefits in reducing of the risk of depression, a secondary aim could be to reduce spreading of negative mood.”
The study is published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
Source: University of Warwick
Emerging research suggests the quality of your high school friendships, rather than the number of friendships, influence mental health through young adulthood.
Adolescence is a time of social challenges and changing expectations. For many youth, being with the “in crowd” and becoming a social butterfly are key for social inclusion and happiness.
Now, a new longitudinal study suggests that the types of peer relationships youth make in high school matter for mental health through young adulthood.
“Our research found that the quality of friendships during adolescence may directly predict aspects of long-term mental and emotional health,” according to Rachel K. Narr, Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Virginia, who led the study.
“High school students with higher-quality best friendships tended to improve in several aspects of mental health over time, while teens who were popular among their peers during high school may be more prone to social anxiety later in life.”
The study looked at a community sample of 169 adolescents over 10 years, from the time they were age 15 to when they were 25.
The youth were racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse, with 58 percent Caucasian, 29 percent African American, and eight percent of mixed race/ethnicity, and with median family income $40,000 to $59,999.
Adolescents were assessed annually, answering questions about who their closest friends were, reporting on their friendships, and participating in interviews and assessments exploring such feelings as anxiety, social acceptance, self-worth, and symptoms of depression.
Researchers also interviewed teens’ close friends on their friendships.
High-quality friendships were defined as close friendships with a degree of attachment and support, and those that allow for intimate exchanges. Friendship quality was determined from reports by participants’ best friends at age 15.
Popularity was defined as the number of peers in the teens’ grade who ranked them as someone they would like to spend time with, and was measured using nominations from all the teens.
Researchers found that teens who prioritized close friendships at age 15 had lower social anxiety, an increased sense of self-worth, and fewer symptoms of depression by the time they reached age 25 than their peers.
Conversely, teens who were broadly sought after in high school — that is, those who were popular among their peers — had higher levels of social anxiety as young adults.
Neither having a strong best friendship nor being more popular predicted short-term changes in mental health, the researchers note. These differences only became apparent later and they appeared regardless of youth’s experiences in the interim.
The study’s conclusion: Experiencing strong, intimate friendships during adolescence may help promote long-term mental health.
The researchers suggest that this may be because positive experiences with friends help bolster positive feelings about oneself during a stage of life when personal identity is being developed.
Also, close friendships may set adolescents on a trajectory to expect and therefore encourage supportive experiences in the future.
The study also determined that there was a low relation between teens having high-quality friendships and being more sought after by their peers.
This suggests that although some teens manage both popularity and close friendship well, and attract both due to similar characteristics, for the most part, these two types of social success are due to different personal attributes.
“Our study affirms that forming strong close friendships is likely one of the most critical pieces of the teenage social experience,” explains Joseph Allen, Hugh P. Kelly Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, who both coauthored the study.
“Being well-liked by a large group of people cannot take the place of forging deep, supportive friendships. And these experiences stay with us, over and above what happens later.
“As technology makes it increasingly easy to build a social network of superficial friends, focusing time and attention on cultivating close connections with a few individuals should be a priority.”
Competitive situations can lead to a strong display of feelings, including the chance of heated arguments and disputes. However, as emotions get hot, not everyone reacts in the same way.
A new study finds that men respond differently to women, and the reactions of individuals are dissimilar to those of groups of persons.
In the research, psychologists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) examined the correlations between competitiveness, aggression, and hormones.
Participants in a laboratory study were required to master competitive tasks over 10 rounds. They competed against each other either as individuals or as teams, and one side lost the competition while the other side won.
Participants were allowed to give full rein to their aggressive impulses during the competition.
For this purpose, at the beginning of each round, they were asked to specify how loud an unpleasant noise would be that the opponent would be required to listen to through headphones if they lost the round.
Saliva samples were collected from the participants prior to and after the competition in order to document changes to hormone levels.
Dr. Oliver Schultheiss and Dr. Jonathan Oxford found that men tended to behave more aggressively than women, that losers were more aggressive than winners, and that teams were more aggressive than individuals.
Furthermore, the researchers also detected a correlation between aggression and levels of the stress hormone cortisol; the more aggressively a person behaved, the lower their cortisol level was.
The study appears in the journal PLOS ONE.
“Our results show that the usual suspects are the ones who become aggressive — namely participants who are male and frustrated.
“But our analysis also revealed that it was easier for participants who were part of a team to attack others than it was for individuals. At the same time, elevation of stress hormones when encountering a threat that cannot be mastered is in actual fact associated with less aggression,” explains Schultheiss.
A unique aspect of the study included close inspection of female subjects.
Interestingly, researcher’s discovered the hormonal reaction to victory or defeat that occurred in women or female teams was significantly dependent on their personal thirst for power.
Women with a particularly marked thirst for power had higher levels of the sex hormones testosterone and estradiol after a victory than after a defeat.
This reaction was not recorded in women who have a less pronounced power-orientated outlook. Experts believe this hormonal reaction is the reason dominant behavior in women is intensified by a victory, and then subdued by a defeat.