Psychological research has had a tendency to study negative effects of behavior both on the individual and cultural level. But new research has started to focus more on the positive aspects of behavior. I like this shift, as I think it will change how we interact with the world. In one TED talk I watched, scientists were studying genetic superhumans. That is, people with genetic ‘flaws’ that has proven to give these people abilities normal people don’t have. By getting more knowledge about these ‘superhumans’ we are also a step closer to knowing which environmental, psychological and biological factors contribute to their genetic make-up.
Humans in a big crowd have an inclination to behave the same way. It is difficult to resist the force of it. This is why people, who ordinarily are sensible, can do things that they regret afterwards . It is also the reason people who normally are harmless can become violent.
There are thousand different ways we can be affected by mass suggestion, both in a negative and positive sense.
A mass-suggestion experiment
If I could do a study as a researcher, I would want to look at how positive mass-suggestion could affect us . Let’s for fun’s sake call it a social media experiment. If every person shared the research hypothesis I’m about to present with one person, it would be interesting to see what would happen next.
My hypothesis would be something like: Can we by mass-suggestion, make people around the world do the same thing on the same day?
For example I could propose that the 30th of september, every one of us tried to do one random act of kindness. What do you think would happen? Could it affect us all in a positive way?
The date could be set one year in advance to make sure that many get the message, but as information can spread like fire in the right circumstances maybe it would not be necessary to wait that long.
So, would somebody be interested in an experiment like that? What can each and all of us do by simply being kind towards others?
Why not try? We got nothing to lose.
I am a 29-year-old girl from Norway where I work as a psychologist. On my free time I love to read, travel and experience new things. I also like taking photos and creative activities like scrapbooking and decoupage. My personality? For those of you who know the BIG 5 personality test, I am high on Openness, Conscientiousness, middle on agreeable and on extroversion/introversion. It basically means that I`m a flexible person, work hard, usually don`t make a fuss and love to be with others, while also needing to be alone to think and calm down. I also want to add that I love the Italian language, my family, Haruki Murakami, good music and my friends. I am VERY emotional, but calm when I have to be. Earlier I had a tendency to put other`s needs first, believing that I wasn`t worthy of any attention myself. Luckily I have grown in heart and mind since then, and learnt that being there for others mean taking care of your own needs first.
This blog is a blend of my personal story (called narrative or the sound of..) topics related to psychology and just random things I find interesting. I work daily as a clinical psychologist, and most of my clients have been abused and neglected in heartbreaking ways. Many of my posts will cover subjects related to trauma and dissociation. I am quite open and honest in my posts, because I believe it might make us psychologist less mysterious.
Most of the psychologist I know are kind, intelligent people. Some with their own stories, but all with a genuine wish to help. In this blog I want to share what I know about overcoming challenges and following your dreams.
Since more and more people have started to read this blog, I unfortunately found it necessary to password protect some of my more personal posts. If you want to read them, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. I am also on twitter (@ninjafighter), instagram and Facebook. I also have two other blogs that are dedicated to psychology and the “Kindness project” that I started one year ago, You find them here: Free psychology and The kindness project.
In the last blog I post interviews with different people. I ask them questions about good things they do, and my hope is that their answers will inspire others to do be kind towards others. I have also invited guest bloggers to share their stories on “Free psychology”. They are brilliant writers, so feel to explore their story on this blog. I am always open to invite more bloggers who want to write, so feel free to contact me at any time if you`d like to write about topics relevant for the blog.
I started my blog three years ago, and it has grown so fast I almost can`t believe it. I am really proud of it, and grateful because I have made new friends and found other blogs that I like.
I want to thank all my readers and offer some encouragement to everyone who suffers or have done so in the past. I have been in the deepest valleys myself, and felt emotional pain so intense that I was afraid of it.
I hope this blog might prove that the fight for a better life is worth it.
- What Are the Different Types of Psychologists and What Do They Do? (psychology.about.com)
When I went to school, homework did not take long. We did not have any subjects concerning life skills, which there are plenty of now. When I worked one year as a psychologist in the school system I was flabbergasted by how different school was today. When children are having their break they often watched educational videos on a big screens, and at lunch break games often were organized so that everybody could join in. Challenged kids with emotional issues often got an extra focus, and in class there were often discussion about social situation to help children develop empathy and problem solving. I liked this, that school was no longer just about facts. But, no system is flawless, and I want to highlight some issues with school in Norway today.
My partner has two children, who come home from school every day with lots of homework. I get that it’s important to teach children as much as possible, but time is precious and I know that they feel stressed by the share amount of what they must do, like many others in their class. Pupils report that they feel stressed by everything they have to do at schools. Teaching them life skills in addition to maths, reading, spelling and so on, also leads to pressure; There are even more things children must learn and understand. This pressure ironically makes it even harder to problem solve, since stress inhibits our ability to think outside the box and be creative. Creativity is stifled by rules, so introducing even more of our way of seeing things, can actually have a negative effect on preparing children for adulthood.
Now I’m curious; how is school organized in other countries and do you have any thoughts on the subject?
Sometimes I fall asleep from exhaustion after my son. He sleeps peacefully but wakes often, waking me from the blissful deep sleep that I so crave.
Being a mother is tough. ESPECIALLY when your tired and have to be there anyway. I take him out with the pram often and sit at cafes with and without company so he can enjoy this exciting world with all the people in it. I change smelly diapers and talk to him. I try to read even if he is more interested in putting the book in his mouth.
If he starts to sleep better, that would make everything easier so I cross my fingers.
Any parents out there who at are going through the same and tell me if there is light at the end of the tunnel?
Today I got 34 years old, and I had all really lovely day.
It began far too early since the little one felt very awake around 05.00 and he had wet himself, so bleary eyes I had to go change his clothes. After that my boyfriend took over so I could sleep in for a bit, which saved my day. I god breakfast made for me, and then we went to the city center at enjoyed a wonderful warm September day. When we came home my brother and three friends came to play board games and I loved every second of it.
This is a reblog from another site.
It’s normal to struggle with stress from time to time, but what happens when that feeling of overwhelming misery becomes more of a near-constant battle than an occasional annoyance? Well, that’s what it’s like for the 15.7 million Americans who struggle with depression alone – and those staggering numbers don’t even include the myriads of other disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Bipolar Disorder.
If you struggle from any number of mood, anxiety or other mental disorders, you are certainly not alone. In fact, I myself suffer from GAD and Panic Disorder! More importantly, there’s no shame in seeking help for your mental health. Whether you’re suffering from a full-blown mental illness or just stressed out of your mind, the Internet can be an amazing resource for helping you take control of your mental health – if you know about the amazing websites that are out there.
So, here are just 8 of the best mental health resources available online today (as of September 2017) to help you feel happier, healthier and overall better about yourself and your life. And remember: this is NOT medical advice. If you’re in crisis, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for confidential help ASAP!
Ever find yourself needing to slow down and just BREATHE? Sometimes we forget to take that time for ourselves during the day, and find ourselves quickly becoming panicked and overwhelmed. Thankfully, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a resource called Safe Space on its website. Described as a “calming, de-stimulating environment,” the Safe Space encourages you to breathe in a minimal landscape until you find yourself calm, cool and collected once more. (Note: if you are in crisis, this is not a suitable alternative to calling the lifeline. Please call the hotline above or visit your nearest crisis center ASAP!)
A good support group won’t replace professional therapy for those who suffer from anxiety or depression – but itisa great supplement to help you connect with likeminded people and remember that you’re not alone in this struggle! The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has a free online support group through the site HealthUnlocked, which you can access via web or mobile app. Simply log into HealthUnlocked, follow the ADAA support group and start communicating almost instantly!
TalkSpace is an app that provides text and video chat therapy that you can access anytime, anywhere. Just shoot your therapist a message whenever you’re feeling low, or have got something on your mind you just can’t shake, and they’ll reply to you next time they’re online. The only downside to this app is that you have to pay for it – but if you don’t have insurance or have confidentiality obstacles, TalkSpace is a great, cheaper alternative to traditional talk therapy.
If you struggle from a mood or anxiety disorder, Pacifica is an awesome tool to help you track your moods, unravel your negative thinking patterns and calm down on the go. Once you create a free account, Pacifica can be accessed either via its website or the mobile app. Inside the app, you can enter your mood and Pacifica will recommend an appropriate activity for you to complete to help yourself feel better instantly. You can also listen to a guided meditation, add positive pictures to your Hope Board and write a journal entry to help you identify the thought patterns that might be hurting you.
Happify is another excellent tool for anyone suffering from a mental illness, at their wit’s end or simply looking to boost their mood in the long term. With Happify, you complete activities and games that are scientifically-designed to help you feel happier – and stay that way! First, you create an account and receive recommendations for “tracks” (i.e. mini courses) to choose. Then, you choose a track, view your recommended activities and complete them daily for a chance to win medals – and even monthly raffle entries!
Therachat is an anxiety self-help tool originally designed for therapists to help their clients track their mental health between sessions. However, anyone can use this app regardless of whether or not they have a therapist to guide them! With Therachat, you can customize a chat bot to guide you through journal entries and mood ratings with your preferred style and tone. The app even uses a therapist-approved approach called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of therapy that guides patients through the process of recognizing and altering their negative thought processes.
In case you haven’t heard, meditation and mindfulness are all the rage for helping you cope with negative emotions and mental illness. Luckily, Calm is a free resource to help you stay more mindful and connected to the present moment. With the Calm app, you can meditate along to guided audio or in silence – or simply enjoy the calming scenery and soundscape. You can access Calm online via their website, or download their mobile app for meditation on the go. Still craving more? You can pay to subscribe to Calm’s premium version, which provides you with even more guided meditations and ways to relax.
The MoodMission app will help you conquer negative feelings like stress, anxiety and depression by completing mini actions to boost your mood and make you happier. You begin by choosing whether you’re feeling depressed, anxious or neither, and the app will recommend a challenge accordingly. For example, when I’ve been feeling flat, drained and numb, MoodMission has told me to try the puppy yoga pose, scroll through my favorite websites or make a list of three things I’m grateful for. Once you accept the challenge, it’s up to you to complete it – and watch your mood rise when you do!
“Alcohol and other drugs can cause a range of health problems. Substance addiction also increases a person’s risk of facing other life-changing consequences. Overdose, disease and legal problems are among the top hazards for people with substance use disorders, but there’s another major risk that’s often overlooked.”
“‘A lot of times, suicide is not on the radar of drug and alcohol treatment providers or families because, for understandable reasons, they’re so focused on safety around substance use,’ Mark Ilgen, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, told DrugRehab.com. ‘Sometimes suicide risk goes unnoticed and doesn’t get the attention it needs.’”
When I’m old and look back on my life, memories from times with others is what will feel important. Not how many books I’ve read, not what I’ve eaten for dinner or when I cleaned the apartment. What really matters are conversations, laughter, feeling connected to others. But although I know this, I often forget how important it is.
Today one of my best friends came to visit us. Yesterday I thought this was inconvenient. It meant less time with my book and time for scrapbooking, and that annoyed me somewhat. But it turned out to be a wonderful evening. We had dinner together, talked and played a board game. She held my son and showed me a video from when her son was the same age as Gabriel is now, and I felt the warmth of sharing my life with her. The good feeling in my body from just being together with a person I care about.
When I get old, I will look back at this evening and remember that I felt happy. I’m so grateful for my friends. They have been there when I needed it the most, offering support and consolation. They have seen me cry and made my laugh again. Friends make everything easier, they give you hope and offer different perspectives when you don’t see clearly. We are hard wired for connections; and it’s no secret that loneliness often hides behind depression or anxiety.
Isolation is never good for us, so if you feel that you don’t have time to be with others, then just think about what you will think about when you’re old. It’s not the hours you spent at the office or the money you made.
This is a reblog from the blog lets queer things up.
Sam Dylan Finch is the blogger behind Let’s Queer Things Up!, where he writes about mental health, body positivity, and LGBTQ+ identity. He’s also the Editor of mental health and chronic conditions at Healthline.
Last month, I wrote about the fourth type of trauma response — not fight, flight, or even freeze, but fawn.
The term was first coined by therapist and survivor Pete Walker, who wrote about it in his groundbreaking book “Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving.” And let me tell you, as a concept, it thoroughly changed the game for me.
In a nutshell, “fawning” is the use of people-pleasing to diffuse conflict, feel more secure in relationships, and earn the approval of others.
It’s a maladaptive way of creating safety in our connections with others by essentially mirroring the imagined expectations and desires of other people.
Often times, it stems from traumatic experiences early on in life, as I described in last month’s article.
It resonated with so many you, and since then, I’ve gotten a lot of questions on how to recognize this type of response in ourselves, particularly in our day-to-day interactions.
I can only speak from personal experience, but there are a number of commonalities among “fawn” types that I think are worth noting.
I’m going to share seven struggles that a lot of us seem to experience as people-pleasers. If it sounds familiar, you, my friend, probably know a thing or two about fawning.
1. YOU STRUGGLE TO FEEL ‘SEEN’ BY OTHERS.
If you’re a fawn type, you’re likely very focused on showing up in in a way that makes those around you feel comfortable, and in more toxic relationships, to avoid conflict.
But the downside to this is that you’re not necessarily being your most authentic self. The more you fawn and appease others, the more likely you are to feel unknown to others, even in your close relationships.
If no one sees your authentic self, it can lead to feelings of being misunderstood, and even resenting the fact that no one really “sees” you.
The painful irony is that often times, you’re the one obscuring their ability to see you in the first place.
2. YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO SAY ‘NO’ TO PEOPLE.
Fawn types are almost always stretched thin. This is because we’re so eager to make others happy, we blurt out “of course!” and “yes!” before it even occurs to us to say “I can’t right now” or “no thanks.”
Your catchphrase might even be something like “it’s no trouble at all, really!”
Meanwhile, you’re silently dreading the mountain of favors you’ve signed up for — a list that only seems to get longer as the day wears on.
You’ve got a love/hate relationship with being helpful, and no matter how many times you try to break up with the word “yes,” saying “no” just doesn’t come naturally to you.
3. YOU’RE EITHER SPEWING EMOTIONS OUT OF NOWHERE OR UNLOADING THEM ONTO DISTANT STRANGERS.
This might seem paradoxical, but it’s not, if you really think about it.
You want to make those closest to you happy, which means you’re reluctant to open up when you’re struggling — so you only do so when you’re on the brink of totally breaking down, because you’ve held it all in for far too long.
On the other hand, distance makes it easier to have feelings, too.
Which is why people we’ve just met can suddenly become as intimate as a best friend in a single conversation (and why I became a blogger, let’s be real).
A kind stranger in a bar? Sure, I’ll tell you all about my trauma. Oh, here’s a Twitter thread about the worst thing that ever happened to me. Here’s a frightening Facebook SOS— I mean, status.
We need an outlet for our emotions, but having emotions can be sooo off-putting, right? So we unload them onto people we aren’t yet invested in, that we won’t see again, or where a safe distance (like on social media) is in place.
That way, if someone bails on us for being messy or “too much” — otherwise known as being human — it stings less, and the stakes don’t feel as high.
4. YOU FEEL GUILTY WHEN YOU’RE ANGRY AT OTHER PEOPLE.
You might make a lot of excuses for the lousy behavior of other people, defaulting to self-blame. You might get angry, only to feel like an Actual Monster for having feelings at all five minutes later. You might even feel like you’re not “allowed” to be upset with other people.
I did this just recently when I was almost hit by a car, and immediately went to a place of wondering if I’d simply misunderstood what happened.
It’s pretty hard to “misunderstand” someone hitting the gas pedal when you’re crossing in front of their car, but I was convinced that somehow, some way, it had to be my fault.
If you struggle to get mad at people, opting instead to blame yourself or justify someone’s cruddy behavior, you’re actually fawning — because you’re pushing your feelings down, and rewriting the story, all in an effort to appease the other person involved.
5. YOU FEEL RESPONSIBLE FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S REACTIONS.
Whenever I recommend a restaurant or a book to someone, there’s a moment or two of intense panic. “What if they hate it?” I wonder. “What if it’s not as good as I remember?”
Sometimes I just let other people make decisions on where we go and what we do together, because if something goes awry, it won’t be because I “failed” to make a good choice.
I once felt guilty because a friend of mine spent thirty minutes looking for parking near the cafe I chose to meet them at. As if I somehow control whether or not a parking space is available.
It’s a little nuts if you think about it, right? Because you can’t arrange someone else’s tastebuds, magically know their book preferences, or anticipate whether or not that art exhibit you want to see is actually worth going to.
Yet I take a ridiculous amount of responsibility for whether or not people are having a good time — so much so that I forget that I’m supposed to be enjoying myself, too.
This is just another sneaky manifestation of the “fawn” response in action (and a dash of codependency added in there, for good measure).
We’re trying to anticipate someone else’s happiness, because deep down, we feel responsible for it — and are trying everything in our power to ensure that the people we care about aren’t disappointed.
6. YOU FIND YOURSELF COMPROMISING YOUR VALUES.
This can be difficult to notice at first. You might think of yourself as being agreeable, good at compromise, easy to get along with. But if you pay attention to the conversations you’re having, you might notice you’re a little too agreeable — to the point of validating viewpoints that you don’t really, fully agree with.
Sometimes it’s benign things, like saying you don’t have a preference for where you get dinner when you actually do. Other times it’s a deeper issue, like validating a perspective or behavior that you don’t agree with.
“Sure, the sexism in that movie really only bothered me a little bit, but you’re so right, the cinematography was top-notch.” “Oh yeah, she probably isn’t being a good friend to you, I can see why you sent that angry text.”
If you find yourself sitting on the fence as not to upset anyone, you’re likely fawning to some degree — and it might be time to self-reflect on whether or not you feel okay continuing to do so.
7. YOU SOMETIMES DISSOCIATE IN SOCIAL SITUATIONS.
Fawning often requires that we shut down emotionally. The less we have distinct feelings of our own, the easier it is to adapt to and accommodate the emotions of other people.
Sometimes this can lead to dissociating, where we disconnect emotionally. This can show up as daydreaming, spacing out, withdrawing, or even “going blank” when we’re overwhelmed in social situations.
This is also why fawn types can relate so much to other trauma responses, like flight or freeze.
If we feel that “fawning” is failing us in an argument, that it won’t work with a particular person, or that we just don’t know how to please someone, we might check out emotionally, or rely on other “escapist” mechanisms so that we no longer have to engage.
We’re more prone to anything that involves dissociation because we’re already distancing ourselves from our own emotions for the sake of others.
I think I need to put “Fawning Isn’t Fun” on a t-shirt or something, because it’s true: It sucks.
It can be painful to constantly silence yourself and push your emotions away, all while working overtime to anticipate the emotions of other people.
A number of people have asked of fawning, “Isn’t this manipulative?” But I think that misses the point. It’s disempowering, it stems from pain, and guilt is simply not an effective way of motivating people to unpack their trauma and show up differently for the people they care about.
But hopefully, if you start by noticing these patterns in your life, and have the opportunity to work with an awesome therapist, you can begin to reorient yourself toward a more authentic, fulfilling way of connecting with others.
LOOKING FOR MORE?
If you’re looking for more about fawning and how to challenge it, in addition to reading Pete’s book and the articles I’ve published around this, I also put together a zine for my patrons on Patreon that offers some actionable advice!
The zine includes writing prompts and guidance on how to notice this mechanism as it relates to your own life. And it’s really pretty, so if you’re a design nerd like me, you’ll probably appreciate it.
A lot of you have asked if you could chip in to support my work. Supporting me on Patreon is the best way to ensure that I can keep creating free mental health resources, so hop on over if you’re interested!
Either way, please know that I’m right there with you in this messy, complicated journey. It does get easier, though — I can promise you that.
And for what it’s worth, I’m proud of every one of you for taking steps to show up differently. It’s tough work, but you deserve to feel whole and seen in every relationship you have.
You work so hard to offer that compassion to others — why not offer that to yourself?
Sam Dylan Finch is the blogger behind Let’s Queer Things Up!, where he writes about mental health, body positivity, and LGBTQ+ identity. He’s also the Editor of mental health and chronic conditions at Healthline.