There’s nothing as fascinating as human psychology. We know that the brain has a big influence on the way we behave psychologically. But even though we use our brains every day, but we know so little about how it works. Still, science has uncovered some interesting tidbits about human psychology. See how many of the following five psychology facts take you by surprise.
1. Pygmalion Effect
The Pygmalion effect is the official term for self-fulfilling prophecy. It has to do with meeting expectations. People who are expected to do better, do better. This holds true in all kinds of environments, including the school environment. The opposite effect can happen, too. The Pygmalion effect holds true when expectations are low. If a person’s expectations are that they will fail, they will be more likely to fail.
2. Confirmation Bias
Did you know that you research things to validate what you already believe? This is called confirmation bias. It means that you give more weight to information that aligns with what you already think is true. It also means that you discount information that clashes with your beliefs. Oh, did you think you were a completely objective person? Nope. Unless you’re being paid to give equal weight to both sides, chances are you are guilty of confirmation bias.
3. Memory Distortion
You may think that memories are facts that stay the same. But memories can be manipulated. Let’s say you witnessed a crime. You’re questioned by a detective. The detective keeps asking if the perp had a mustache. You can’t remember, you say. The detective goes on to describe the mustache. You’re sure he didn’t have a gray mustache and a small goatee, he asks? You start to doubt yourself. You know, now that you mention it, I think he did, you say. Yes, I’m certain of it now. It’s frightening that memories can be manipulated in this way. Especially for someone who’s being accused of a crime. Yikes.
4. Bystander Effect
Bystander effect has to do with being in a crowd. The more people who are bystanders when an emergency happens, the less likely it is that any one person will actually do something about it. The reasoning is that each person assumes that either someone else is more qualified to help. Or maybe each person just thinks someone else will help. By the time people realize that no one is helping, well, it may just be too late. The next time you see something, step up, folks!
5. Fundamental Attribution Error
Fundamental attribution error is a psychology term that says that others attribute your words and actions to your personality, not to your situation. Let’s say you have an employee who comes in late almost every day. You make a judgement about him that he’s irresponsible. When you show up late the next day, you don’t think of yourself as irresponsible. You know that road construction is messing up your commute. But your employee is deemed to be irresponsible for exhibiting the same behavior as you because you attribute his actions to his personality, not on his situation, which you know nothing about.
These five psychological facts give insight into how our psyche actually works. It’s interesting that we operate on subconscious, hard-wired behaviors in so many areas of our lives.
College offers lots of benefits and rewards in life, but it can be rife with stress. For many students, college is the first time they will be away from home. This can feel scary and stressful.
For other students, the stress of college has to do with the desire to get good grades. Ambitious college students are more likely to put demands on themselves that lead to feelings of stress.
Some students feel stress at college because of peer pressure. There are feelings of wanting to fit in and make new friends.
Whatever the reason, there are effective ways to manage the stress of college. Here are five ways to cut down on stress during the college years.
1. Get Exercise
Physical health is closely related to mental health. It’s easy to become lazy in college. After all that mental excursion in class, you may just want to sit around and watch TV. But being lazy can lead to feelings of stress.
Instead, make sure you get some form of exercise every day. After classes, enjoy a long, leisurely walk on campus. Consider taking an exercise class or going for a swim. It will do you good!
2. Be Social
When you’re feeling stressed out, you may think you won’t be good company. But being around friends is a good way to de-stress. You can talk to your friends about feelings of stress. You’ll probably discover that your friends feel the same way, and this can actually make you feel better. Knowing that you’re not alone in your feelings of stress can be a big relief. You and your friends can get through it together.
3. Seek Counseling
If you’re feeling really stressed and can’t seem to come out of it, seek counseling. Most colleges have trained counselors on staff to help students dealing with stress. Go to the administrative offices and find out what resources your college offers. Trained professionals will understand your feelings and help you to learn how to overcome stress.
4. Find an Outlet
Many feelings of stress are actually negative emotions that build up inside. If you can find a way to release those negative emotions, you may feel more relaxed.
Some people release stress by taking up physical hobbies like running or boxing. Others find that dancing is a great outlet. Just be sure to avoid dangerous vices like alcohol and drugs to relieve stress. Substance abuse will quickly lead to its own set of problems. Find an outlet that isn’t addictive and that doesn’t harm your body.
5. Tell Your Parents
Sometimes stress comes from parental expectations. If this is you, try talking to your parents about it. Tell them that you feel they have high expectation. Explain that this is making your feel more stressed than is healthy. After an honest chat, chances are you’ll feel better.
Use these five essential tips to manage the stress of college, and everything will be easier from here on out.
Good mental health is so important! Maintaining good mental health contributes to your happiness and personal well-being. Ultimately, having good mental health can help you maintain good quality of life. Good mental health doesn’t always come naturally – many people must work hard to achieve and maintain good mental health. Below are five things you can do to enjoy good mental health.
1. Make Friends
Humans are social creatures who need to see other people in order to be happy. Making friends and maintaining in-person social connections gives many people a sense of fulfillment as well as happiness.
Making friends isn’t something that happens without putting some effort in, especially if you’re an adult. Some suggestions:
- Get involved in community activities and social groups.
- Download and start using friendship apps.
- Make casual connections with people and then pursue deeper relationships by talking about commonalities and making an effort to get together.
2. Exercise and Stay Active
Getting regular exercise can improve your mood and your self-confidence. It’s also good for your physical health, which is directly tied to your mental health. Some tips to make exercising a regular part of your life:
- Make an exercising routine. Set aside specific days and times to exercise. If you have a hard time holding yourself accountable to your exercise routine, get an exercise buddy who will exercise with you.
- Start slowly and build up to a more intense exercise routine if you’re out of shape.
- Exercise naturally throughout the day. For example, if you’re going to a store that you can easily reach by foot, then walk instead of taking a car.
Meditating helps lessen anxiety and gives you a sense of peace and tranquility. Meditating is easy to do and even just a little meditating throughout the day can make a big difference in your life.
Set aside time each day to meditate, either at the beginning of the day or near the end. If meditating doesn’t appeal to you, consider another activity that focuses on mindfulness and creating a sense of peace. Yoga is a good activity for this.
4. Talk to a Therapist
Therapy isn’t just for people who struggle with their mental health. Therapy can help everyone! Talking to a therapist can help you work out everyday problems that cause unhappiness and uncertainty. Find a therapist who offers good advice and feedback when you discuss everyday issues. Find a therapist and build a good relationship slowly.
5. Protect Your Leisure Time
Working too hard is bad for your mental health. Give yourself time to relax at the end of every day, whether you’re reading a book, talking to friends, watching television or turning on a movie. Protecting your leisure time will help you relax and alleviate feelings of anxiety.
Check In With Yourself Regularly
Taking time to check in with your own mental status on a regular basis can help you gauge the state of your mental health. Check in with yourself on a regular basis by asking yourself how you’re doing. If you’re feeling sad or unhappy, ask yourself why. Work through these issues with your therapist as well. By performing these regular check ins, you can help maintain overall positive mental health.
If you are facing a major decision and who isn’t, you need to have a way to handle the choice with less stress. The Benjamin Franklin method is a way to start thinking about a difficult choice. Then, you can apply five core principles of planning, seeking advice, tapping the subconscious mind, flexibility, and taking a test drive.
Good Ole Ben
Benjamin Franklins’s method for approaching a major decision is to make two columns of line items about the decision. In one column are the pros. In the other, the cons. Then, add a weight to each factor according to its importance.
Eliminate the pros and cons that have equal weight by pairing them up to cancel them out. Then, if the weight of two pros equals the weight of one con, eliminate all three. Do the same in reverse. If the weight of two cons equals one pro, eliminate all three.
This method helps you think about the possibilities and reduces the extra concerns, so you can focus on the key elements.
You can use the Benjamin Franklin method with these five core principles to improve your key life decisions.
1. Take Time to Plan
Major life decisions may be stressful because so many things are involved. Rather than make a rash choice with insufficient information, take time to understand all the ramifications. Investigate your idea, and then plan for the change.
2. Work with an Advisor
You do not have to make these major life decisions alone. If you have someone you trust, confide in them and ask for their advice. You don’t have to follow their advice; however, it is good to know what they think.
Speak to a professional who has expert knowledge about the decision you are facing. You may benefit from the insights they learned from their experience.
3. Sleep On It
Find the inner voice that guides you by letting your subconscious mind work on the decision overnight while you are asleep. Some believe that they have contact with angels. Others call these helpers spirit guides.
Put a pen and notepad on the side of your bed. Right before you go to sleep, write down the question that you want to be answered. If you wake up in the middle of the night, jot down everything you can remember before you fall back asleep. Read your notes in the morning. Notice any feelings or reactions you have about them.
Take a nice relaxing warm shower in the morning and let your mind wander. You may find sudden clarity and realization that you know what to do in this relaxed state of mind.
4. Be Flexible
Suppose you decide to try out for the Navy Seals. What if you fail to make the grade? Many fail. Rather than give up, you might consider expanding your decision from specifically joining the NavySeals to joining the military in another capacity.
Don’t get stuck in any predetermined cultural modes when exploring options. Find your purpose. You may find it just as interesting to enjoy a disciplined life as a Buddhist monk instead of being a soldier.
5. Take a Test Drive
Many life decisions have the possibility of trying out a smaller commitment before making a major one. Want to work for a certain firm? Consider interning there for a few months first. Think you might like to live in another place? Take a working vacation to a place you think you may want to live and work there for a short time to get a feel for the locals and the lifestyle.
We’ve all been there—stuck in a rut and feeling utterly burned out.
Whether you’re feeling burnout in your job, in relationships, or something else, this emotional place is not the best place to be. In a lot of ways, burnout presents itself as depression. Check out five essential rules for avoiding burnout.
1. Recognize the signs of burnout before it sets in fully
Sometimes, burnout sneaks in like a slow-moving cloud. Unfortunately, by the time you’re smack-dab in the middle of the burn, it’s harder to wriggle your way out of the mindset. The best bet is to get to know the signs of burnout, so you can stop in and make changes before things get too bad. Specifically, stay in tune with yourself and pay attention to things like increased agitation, loss of interest, extra fatigue, and forgetfulness. You may even experience problems with sleep, changes in appetite, or increased physical illness.
2. Learn to take care of yourself first
When you get on a flight, one of the first things you’re told is if anything happens, get your oxygen mask first. Then, check on the people around you. At first impression, this sounds cold—it’s human nature for most of us to want to help others first. However, you can’t do your best at a job or even in relationships if you’ve sacrificed too much of your own well-being to start with. Take some “me time” just for you, whether that means taking a nap, taking a walk, or simply giving yourself a little time to breathe.
3. Set limits on commitments
Unfortunately, a lot of people who end up totally burned out have been on autopilot in the “yes” position for way too long. Saying yes to every potential commitment that comes your way equals imminent burnout, always. If it’s work that steals all your time, set limits, and keep your schedule in check. It is very possible that you’re going above and beyond and committing your mental space to your job even after hours. If it is other people that constantly require your attention, don’t be afraid to say no when you need to. See, tip two above for why saying no is perfectly fine.
4. Change things up
Burnout isn’t always about overcommitment or giving too much. Sometimes, feeling burned out is more about monotony. Think about what happens when you do the same workout routine for days on end at the gym. Eventually, the workout loses its spark and becomes more like work. The same thing happens to a lot of people when they get stuck in routines at work, in relationships, or just in life. If you feel like imminent burnout is on the horizon, try switching things up. Consider adjusting your work schedule, trying a new hobby, or just doing something new with your significant other.
5. Talk through it
Just about everyone on the planet has felt the singe of burnout at some point. Therefore, opening up about how you feel and getting that camaraderie from someone who understands is not a bad idea. Grab a good friend, a sympathetic co-worker, or even a therapist and talk through your frustrations when they first start. This is especially important if you’re stuck in burnout mode, and it’s starting to affect your mental health.
Everyone feels stressed at different points in their lives, and when you harness the emotion correctly, it can be productive. But for the hundreds of millions of people with an unhealthy level of daily stress, learning to break free from its constraints can change their lives forever.
Number 5: Identify What is Stressing You Out
Many people assume that they know the reason behind their stress, but the truth is they’re probably wrong. If giving a big presentation makes you feel stressed, it is likely not the presentation causing you anxiety but the consequences of doing poorly. If the real reason for your stress is that you fear you will get fired, it is easier to assure yourself that even if you flub the presentation, your boss is unlikely to terminate you for just one poor performance. Once you realize your worst fears will not happen, you will feel more relaxed, and there is a good chance you’ll do better.
Number 4: Keep Yourself Busy
Endlessly thinking about what makes you stressed is a perfect way to make things worse. Instead, keep yourself busy by getting involved in an activity that you enjoy, preferably something with other people. Engaging in sports or exercise is a natural way to relieve stress by increasing the number of endorphins your body produces. Take advantage of your stress to give you the motivation to finally make those positive changes in your lifestyle that you have been putting off.
Number 3: Create Boundaries, and Learn to Say No
A lot of stress is caused by spreading yourself too thin and trying to please everyone around you. Stop trying to be everything to everybody, and put your foot down and say no. Making such a radical change can be stressful in itself, but it is essential to understand that you are the person that matters the most. By reducing the amount of stress you feel every day, you’ll be better able to de devote the time you do spend with
Number 2: Stop Procrastinating
Are you a person who leaves jobs to the last minute to complete? When you procrastinate, you increase your levels of stress in two ways. The first is by having a task hanging over your head. Every hour closer to the deadline, your anxiety about whether you can complete the task on time will continue to build. The second way protestation can stress you out is by requiring you to rush to complete the job and worrying you won’t do it well enough.
Number 1: Experience Nature
Spending time outdoors is one of the best ways to unwind and de-stress. Researchers have found that walking in the sun for as little as ten minutes has a positive effect when treating PTSD and other forms of stress. So add plenty of outdoor activities to your schedule, like hiking and gardening. If you can’t escape to nature, why not bring the outside indoors by growing culinary herbs or flowers on your windowsill?
Unfortunately, you will never eliminate stress, but using these tips, you can start to reduce the stress level to a more manageable amount.
These days, everyone seems to be stressed. What’s more, stress has been continually linked to severe mental and physical illnesses and other plights. Heart disease, migraines, autoimmune diseases, and even cancer have all been linked to chronic stress.
Reducing stress, however, isn’t so easy. We cannot control everything. Things will happen that are stressful, and this is simply a part of life.
The only thing we can do is control our emotions and our reactions to life’s stressors. Therefore, it behooves us to learn how to relax on command — and to do it well.
If you would like your relaxation game to go deeper and if you would like to be able to relax more readily — basically, whenever you want — these tips are for you.
Make Relaxation Even Better with These 5 Tips
1. Keep all your devices out of the room.
There’s really no way to relax completely when you’re waiting to hear if your phone will ring or buzz, and the only way to get rid of this aural temptation is to simply not have any devices nearby.
2. Learn to visualize.
Visualization is a highly underrated form of relaxation. The main benefit of visualization is the fact that it allows you to focus on something instead of the dreaded “clear your mind” strategy, which doesn’t work for many people.
You can start visualizing by trying to picture a scene or setting that makes you feel relaxed — perhaps the beach, your childhood bedroom, or a beautiful forest. Try to think of everything possible that would be in this space. Pretend you are there, and try to describe it to yourself. This diversion of focus can be immensely helpful at getting to a relaxed state.
3. Be consistent.
Like anything from playing basketball to learning the violin, relaxation is a skill that takes practice. For this reason, you’ll get better at it when you start to do it every day. The key to this is setting aside a particular time for relaxation. Don’t assume you’ll just get to it when you can because that won’t ever happen. Instead, put it into your daily agenda as you would a meeting or a doctor’s appointment.
4. Try a body scan.
A body scan is a physical and mental relaxation practice. To do a body scan, lay down on your back with your legs straight and your arms at your side. Start by clenching your toes and feet tightly. Hold this for several seconds, then release. Move to your calves. Clench them tightly, hold, and release. Finally, do this all the way up your body until you reach your face.
5. Consider guided meditation.
If you’re still having trouble relaxing, try a guided meditation. Get a CD or MP3 player to play a recording of someone performing a guided relaxation session (many are available online). It’s better not to use your computer or smartphone, if possible (see #1). Guided meditations can be helpful because they give you second-to-second “tasks” and topics to focus on, and that way, your mind doesn’t wander as much.
Learning to master relaxation is a life skill that will always be useful, for as long as you live. In this way, it’s worth working on. Use the tips above to improve your relaxation game and give yourself this wonderful, lifelong gift.
More than ever, us humans are dealing with noise on a near 24 hour basis. From cars that are zooming past your house to our televisions, computers and phones going off constantly, you’re bombarded with noise almost non-stop. Every now and then, it’s important to unplug from everything and find yourself some quiet time. Not only is it good for your ears, but it can help in many other ways. Here are some of the health benefits that you can get from enjoying more quiet time throughout the day.
5. Creativity Boost
If you’re someone that wants to tap into their creative side, you don’t want to do it while surrounded by a lot of noise. That’s because you are much more creative when you’re sitting in silence. You’re able to tap into your own thoughts much better this way, and science proves this. Whether you’re writing a book, trying to play a musical instrument or painting a picture, it’s best to do it without all of the distractions that can cause you to lose focus and slip up.
4. Memory Enhancer
Do you ever find yourself forgetting things throughout the day? It might not be because you’re losing your memory, but because you’re not spending enough time in silence. A Duke University study found that those who enjoy two hours of silence per day improves the function of your brain’s memory. This is because new cells generate while you’re resting in silence, and this boosts the hippocampus’s development. You’ll never forget a birthday or anniversary again if you get a little quiet time.
3. Better Decisions
When we find ourselves in silence after going through the stress of loud noises, our brains start to create positive hormones such as serotonin and endorphins. When you’re more relaxed mentally, you’re more likely to make decisions that are well thought out and beneficial compared to when you’re stressed and make snap decisions without first thinking about the long term results. You’re brain is more clear in silence, so don’t take it for granted.
2. Better Sleep
It seems that these days, many of us need to have some sort of noise to help us fall asleep. For many, it’s a fan or the television at a low volume, or at least some white noise. However, these forms of noise are best for masking other noises such as traffic. Instead, the best way to get healthy sleep is through complete silence. This may mean that you have to wear noise canceling headphones, and that takes some adjustment, but it will be better for you in the long run.
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
Have you ever been surrounded by a bunch of noise all happening at once? Between sitting in traffic, sitting in a massive office building or people constantly talking at home, life is loud. These noises all thrown at you at once can increase your stress levels and, in turn, your blood pressure. Sitting in silence instantly reduces your blood pressure in the short term while also having a long term benefit for your heart health. You don’t have to tell people to zip their lips all the time, but getting away from too much chatter is good for you.
It seems that as time goes on, there are more and more people struggling with depression. While it’s estimated that about 5 percent of adults have depression, that’s only from those that have been diagnosed. Depression is much more common than we think, and some feel like they’re fighting an endless battle. If you find yourself in this situation, there are some hobbies that can help you get back on track, and here are five of the most effective ones.
Depression can be brought on by a culmination of stress in your life, and one of the best ways to help battle back against stress is through meditation. Meditation helps to change the way you think, as well, with research showing that those who meditated for 30 minutes per day dramatically improved their depression symptoms over just two months. If you begin to feel symptoms, try this hobby to help block out the negative sensations that your brain may experience.
It may seem like a simple task, but there’s something about gardening that can help alleviate depression greatly. Gardening tends to give you a higher sense of purpose since you’re helping to create a lifeform and also brings the chemicals needed to improve your mental health. You feel a certain hit of serotonin and dopamine when you’re working on your garden and this is especially true around harvest time. Overall, your self-esteem improves greatly while gardening, too.
This seems like the obvious one, but for a lot of people, exercise is more of a hobby rather than a weight loss tool or a competition. Exercise is the most natural way for your body to produce endorphins, and it helps to get rid of some of the other key contributors to depression. Those who exercise on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from insomnia, and that improved sleep goes a long way in helping depression. Your self confidence also improves after each workout and that fresh air and vitamin D from exercising outdoors is an added bonus.
For a lot of us that have dealt with depression, the absolute last thing that you want to do is cook for yourself or anybody else. However, studies have shown that getting yourself into the kitchen can actually reduce signs of depression significantly. Perhaps one of the more notable examples of people taking to cooking to fight depression was during the COVID-19 pandemic. With people stuck in their homes for a significant amount of time, depression rates climbed quickly. Those that learned new hobbies, especially cooking, were able to help combat depression while attaining a distracting skill that will last a lifetime.
The best way to improve your mental health is to not keep your thoughts bottled up. As a result, writing is a great way to help treat your depression. Whether it be writing in a journal, working on a story that you’ve always wanted to do or just making some quick haikus, writing is the ultimate form of expression. One study showed that those who ranked high (between 30-35) on the Beck Depression Inventory dropped to around 20 when journaling on a daily basis.
There’s a good reason why people often say that taking a break is the key to productivity. When you’re constantly working, your brain gets tired, and developing new ideas or solutions to problems becomes harder. That’s where relaxation comes in. It gives your brain a chance to rest and recharge, so you can return to your work refreshed and ready to take on anything.
But relaxation is more than just a mental break – it also has incredible physical benefits. Here are five unbelievable facts about the power of relaxation:
1: Relaxation Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
If you’re feeling stressed, your blood pressure will usually rise. This is because stress causes your heart to work harder and pump more blood around your body. Over time, this can lead to serious health problems like heart disease.
But relaxation can help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of these problems. When you’re relaxed, your heart rate slows down, and your blood vessels open up, which lowers blood pressure.
2: Relaxation Can Boost Your Immune System
When stressed, your body releases hormones that can suppress your immune system. This makes you more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.
Relaxation can help to boost your immune system by reducing the levels of these stress hormones. This means you’ll be better able to fight off infections and illnesses.
3: Relaxation Can Help You Sleep Better
If you’re struggling to sleep, relaxation can help. When you’re stressed, your body is in a state of ‘fight or flight,’ which makes it harder to relax and fall asleep.
But when you’re relaxed, your body is more likely to enter the ‘rest and digest state. This is when your body can repair and heal itself, and you’re more likely to drift off to sleep.
4: Relaxation Can Reduce Pain
If you’re in pain, relaxation can help to reduce it. When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that increase pain perception.
But when you’re relaxed, your body releases endorphins – these are natural painkillers that can help to reduce pain.
5: Relaxation Can Improve Your digestion
If you’re struggling with digestive problems, relaxation can help. When stressed, your body goes into the ‘fight or flight state, which can slow down or even stop digestion.
But when you’re relaxed, your body is in the ‘rest and digest state, which means digestion can improve.
When it comes to the power of relaxation, the benefits are clear. By taking a break and relaxing, you can improve your mental wellbeing, boost your immune system, sleep better, reduce pain and improve your digestion. So if you’re feeling stressed out, make sure to take some time for yourself to relax – you’ll be glad.