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All About Forensic Psychology

Written by Alicia Mathew

When most people think about Psychology, they often forget forensic Psychology, no matter how complex and interesting it is under the surface. Forensic Psychology is a field of Psychology that combines law with psychological analyses. 

Lately, forensic Psychology has become extremely popular, mainly because of certain television series that highlight aspects of forensic Psychology, such as, “Criminal Minds”. However, this show fails to truly present the intricacies of this field.

Forensic Psychology is defined as the application of psychological specialties to legal issues. It is performed through the application of the aforementioned specialties in legal affairs. Forensic, from the Latin word, forensic, meaning “of the market place or form, public” (Merriam-Webster), most nearly means the application of different scientific methods and ideas from various fields to criminal matters. The median salary for this profession is $79,010.

Psychology, the study of the mind and behavior, is crucial to law and the criminal court. Forensic Psychology, the combination and application of these two topics, is used for everything from conducting psychological evaluations to preventing crimes. Similar to other fields of psychology, forensic Psychology also contains subspecialties. Some of these include correctional psychology, military psychology, and juvenile psychology. All of these specialties are under the term, “Forensic Psychology”, since they all revolve around using psychological methods as they apply to the justice system. 

During their working hours, forensic psychologists perform various duties. Even though some of these duties might not resemble those of the fast-paced and exciting crime dramas that are based on this field, the profession is exciting and fun nonetheless. These psychologists often work with individuals such as attorneys, judges, and other professionals in the legal area. They attempt to understand and explain certain psychological aspects that have an impact on a criminal case, and many of these psychologists are asked to testify as an expert witness during the case. Other responsibilities include evaluating criminals for mental status and competency, teaching in programs for forensic Psychology, evaluating witnesses and jurors, and evaluating individuals during child custody cases.

To become a forensic psychologist, one must complete a reasonable amount of coursework after high school. However, a doctoral degree is necessary to evaluate patients. Certain programs may waive the requirement for a bachelor’s degree in psychology in exchange for a certain amount of psychology and science classes. After schooling, one must go through the licensing process, which, in the majority of cases, includes a required standardized test. 

Regarding the work environment for professionals in this area, forensic psychologists are normally allotted flexible working hours. They also have the option to start what is known as a “private practice”, or a business that is created to allow medical professionals to self-employ and practice their profession. To perform their job correctly and to become an asset to their work environment, forensic psychologists need to have certain character traits, such as good communication skills, objectivity, compassion, and critical thinking skills. 

All in all, forensic psychology is a relatively new psychological specialty, but a specialty that is becoming more and more prevalent in the media. Forensic psychology is fascinating and rewarding for those who have an interest in both law, and psychology and is a wonderful career path for those who are seriously considering it. 

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Perspective

The Hidden Figures of Mental Health

Written by Alice Palioura

It is undeniable that male psychologists have had major contributions in the mental health system, but, unfortunately, the importance of the work that women psychologists offered to shape it from its early years is usually overlooked rather than recognized. Many of them faced discrimination, couldn’t even vote or have their own office at the time, but still managed to alter the mental health system under these unfavorable conditions.

   A good example of an underestimated psychologist is Anna Freud. Everyone’s aware of her father, Sigmund Freud, but how many actually know about her efforts? The truth is that Anna not only expanded her father’s ideas and played a huge role in child psychotherapy, but also became one of the greatest psychoanalysts in the world.

   Another important figure, often described as one of the founders of neuropsychology, is Brenda Milner, currently at 102 years old. She led the way for a better understanding of the brain structure and memory and worked with the famous patient H.M. for over 30 years following his experimental surgery where portions of his brain were removed to ease his epilepsy.

  Mamie Phipps Clark, the first African American woman to earn a Phd in psychology, revealed the harmful effects of racism in children through the “Clark doll test”, which was used on the historic 1954 American supreme court case Brown v. Board of education. She also provided support to Americans of color and homeless black girls and overall improved the terms of mental health care about people of color. Similarly, Reiko True, a Japanese American psychologist born in 1933 strived to upgrade mental health services for Asian-Americans and other minorities.

  Moreover, a pioneer at child psychoanalysis was Melanie Klein, most known for her never before applied techniques such as play therapy that assisted children’s treatment. She also was one of the founders of object relations theory that shaped psychoanalysis.

 As an active member of the women’s suffrage party, educator and psychologist, Leta Stetter Hollingworth left her mark on the psychology of women and gifted children, especially the nature of gifted girls and women. Likewise, Helen Thompson Wooley, born in 1874, made contributions in the educational division but most importantly she was the first to research sex differences scientifically.

  Although women were once the minority in the mental health system, the tables have turned. Now they make up more than half the members of APA (American Psychological Association), replenishing those who were excluded all the previous years because of their sex.

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Perspective

CS7: Inside Out

Written by Melisa Shafiee

When we think back to our favorite childhood movies, we remember extravagant stories with comedy and adventure. However, there is one movie that sticks out from the rest as it not only shares an exciting story, but it also emphasizes an important message on mental health. It may also have been our first exposure to the emotions joy, sadness, anger, disgust, and fear, and even the topic of growing up. This movie is none other than Inside Out. 

Inside Out tells the story of Riley, who has difficulty adjusting to the new town she has moved in. She is constantly missing her friends and becoming distant from her family. It is prevalent that Riley, a young girl, is experiencing signs of depression and anxiety, as is shown by her attempting to run away from home. Throughout the movie, we are introduced to Riley’s main five emotions: The optimistic emotion of Joy, the gloomy emotion of Sadness, the fiery emotion of Anger, the contempt emotion of Disgust, and the panicky emotion of Fear. Much of Riley’s life has been dominated by Joy. However, as Riley experiences hardships in her new town, we see how emotions such as Sadness, Anger, and Fear, result in her to behave the way she does. At one point, Sadness begins to take over the other emotions, and she justifies by saying she simply cannot help it. The movie helps explain that we may sometimes feel sad out of the blue, and that is completely acceptable. In a world where we are constantly encouraged to be happy, it can be difficult to explain why one is sad- especially where there is no explanation. Inside Out maintains the theme of how it is okay to not be okay, and how it is acceptable for a child to feel sad at times. 

Inside Out further emphasizes the importances of our other, more disliked emotions such as Fear, Anger, Sadness. The movie conveys the message of how life would not be the same if we felt Joy all the time, and how our other emotions are just as necessary. Of course, no one wants to feel fearful all the time, but fear is essential as it holds us back from making impulsive and dangerous decisions. This is evident in Inside Out when Fear is described as the character that keeps Riley safe by making her think before her actions. The importance of Anger is also portrayed when Riley stands up for herself in her classroom. One of the most notable scenes of the movie is towards the end, where Riley recalls a memory of her cuddling with her family, disappointed after losing a hockey game. Though Joy tries to make this memory seem happier since it is her job, Sadness steps in and wisely mentions the importance of this sad memory. The sadness that Riley helped bond her with her family, and it served as a motivating learning experience for the future. When I first watched Inside Out, I remember being confused by this scene, wondering why a memory that sad should even exist. But, my mother reminded me that we need sadness in our lives because they help us grow as individuals. Since then, I have learned to cherish my sad memories, and use them as inspiration for growing stronger. Certainly, all of these emotions can be harmful if felt continuously, but Inside Out shows that we would not function the same without them. A curious child who watches the movie will become more familiar with each of their emotions, and learn why they are all important. 

Finally, it is important to mention the role childhood imaginary friends have in Inside Out. During one of the exciting journeys in the movie, we meet the character Bing Bong, who was Riley’s imaginary friend as a child. Bing Bong is a symbol of Riley’s purity and innocence from her childhood, but as Riley grows more mature, we see Bing Bong’s importance begin to fade away. Eventually, Bing Bong accepts that Riley has to move on from him to grow as an individual, and he becomes a distant memory. In this sentimental scene, we see the importance of maturity and moving on, though it may be difficult. Children are no stranger to having all sorts of imaginary friends, but it is important for them to learn to face reality as they grow older. Inside Out shows that it is difficult for children to not cling on to their past and experience the real world on their own, and the movie normalizes this idea. Children navigating the world on their own can be a challenging time mentally, but Inside Out demonstrates the importance of doing so because it fosters their future growth. The transition to adolescence involves losing friends, both real and imaginary, but it also involves gaining knowledge and our sense of identity. 

Inside Out gives us insight to common mental challenges that children experience as they grow older, from accepting their emotions to becoming mature individuals. It does what many other childrens’ movies fail to do, and that is to introduce children to the topic of mental health. Inside Out has complex characters, exciting adventures, and real world challenges, all wrapped up into one beautiful movie. Big or small, Inside Out’s message can touch us all. 

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Perspective

CS6: American Psycho

Written by Simran Johal

Patrick Bateman

  • Handsome perfectionist who enjoyed the aristocratic social life and social scene. 
  • He had to control every aspect of his life:
    • His cuticles 
    • His business cards 
    • His somewhat ritualistic sex routine 
  • His behaviour in the film, In my opinion, indicated an extreme case of OCD as he indicated “ritualized, repetitive behaviour that you[he] feel compelled to perform: your[his] obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior is irrational.

*NOTE: Always wants to be the best in everything he does. Could his father having a drastic amount of money have something to do with the fact that he notices every small detail and demands perfection for things to go his way? 

What it means to have extreme OCD

  • If you suffer from OCD, your obsessive and compulsive thoughts/behaviors become so consuming that they interfere with your daily life 
  • It’s an anxiety disorder that is characterized by unwanted and uncontrollable thoughts, as well as repetitive behaviours that you feel compelled to perform.
  • OCD causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. 
  • You can try to avoid situations that trigger or worsen your symptoms or self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. 
  • It can seem like there’s no end to escaping your obsessions and compulsions, there are tons of different things you can do to regain control of your thoughts and actions. 

Given the symptoms listed above and the behaviours surrounding Patrick Bateman as a character my analysis of the film is that a person who ranks very highly on the societal ladder is struggling with mental health issues, OCD, with a twist. Towards the end we see him confessing to his crimes because he doesn’t want to keep doing this. To me, this shows direct correlation with a severe case of OCD. 

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Study

High School Courses for Psychology

Written by Alicia Mathew

Picking high school courses is a daunting task, especially for the rising freshmen and sophomores. Those who choose psychology as their field of study have a sea of different classes and electives offered by their school in regards to their major, however, only some of these classes are truly useful for a path in psychology. 

To begin, AP Psychology is an excellent class for an individual with plans to pursue psychology. AP, or “Advanced Placement” Psychology is offered by the CollegeBoard. IB psychology is also an option, however, the system is different for that specific class. There are no required prerequisites for this class and it is taught on a college level. This class also has a final exam, and college credit in psychology will be awarded to those who pass this exam. The score to earn credit depends on the college that the student is applying to, however, this class is an excellent choice for those who are hoping to lessen their financial burden or open their schedules up for more advanced classes. Since this class is equivalent to an introductory psychology class in most colleges, it frees up a class so the student can learn more specialized and advanced material. This class connects psychology to real-world scenarios, teaches students to understand and interpret data, is an excellent introductory class for students who are unsure about Psychology, and offers research studies for students to grow their knowledge in this area. Overall, this class is a wonderful choice for all learners with an interest in Psychology. 

Continuing along, Statistics is also an excellent class for those who want to pursue a career in Psychology. Although it may seem counterintuitive, Statistics is a crucial element for research, which is an extremely important concept in Psychology. In Psychology, research is key, and statistics will help one understand how to properly conduct and interpret research. This class, as well as Algebra, will also help with the understanding of variables, graphs, probability, etcetera. CollegeBoard offers an AP Statistics course, which also involves a final test that offers college credit at certain colleges depending on scores. 

Social sciences are also crucial for those who have an interest in Psychology. These classes include government, economics, history, geography, and sociology, among others. These courses help with general knowledge, as well as certain aspects in Psychology such as social psychology and behavioral psychology. Also, some of these classes are offered as AP and IB courses. Biology is also extremely important with regards to Psychology. This is mainly because biology allows psychologists to better understand the relationship between psychology and the physiology behind certain psychological concepts. Biology is offered as both an AP course and an IB course, but the availability of those courses depends on the specific high school. 

Biology, social sciences, AP psychology, and statistics are all crucial classes for individuals who are planning on pursuing a future in psychology. For those who are interested in psychology and deciding their high school classes, these classes are extremely helpful and provide a strong foundation for a more enlightening future. 

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Interview

Caroline Wolff.

I see that you’re a chronic illness advocate. Could you tell us what got you interested in the subject?

As someone who was born with a very rare chronic illness (Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction, or CIP), I’ve personally faced a lot of stigma throughout my life. CIP is an intestinal motility disorder, meaning my intestines are extremely uncoordinated due to a disconnect between my nervous system and my digestive tract. I’ve been on an all-liquid diet for my whole life and I receive all of my nutrition through two feeding tubes. After I was born, my doctors told my parents that I would likely die before turning 1 year old, but now I’m about to turn 20! They said I would never walk, and now I’m a dancer! I go to college, I have amazing friends, and I live a fulfilling and independent life despite my complications. Therefore, I want nothing more than to spread the message that chronically-ill people are entirely competent individuals who deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else.

What facts or misconceptions do you believe are important about chronic illnesses? 

There are way too many misconceptions and stigmas for me to even discuss here, but I can go over some of the ones that i found most important to address and oppose:

  • I’ve faced a lot of accusations about “faking being sick” from people who don’t know me. The reason for this is because CIP is what is called an “invisible illness”. There are no major physical signs of CIP, except for my feeding tubes which are both hidden under my clothes. There are many, many people in the world who have invisible illnesses and probably face the exact same accusations. It’s wrong to boil down chronic illness to something that can be detected by looking at someone. It’s wrong for there to even be a standard of what disabilities or chronic illnesses are “supposed to look like”. Just because someone isn’t in a wheelchair or exhibiting some other visible indicator, that doesn’t mean they aren’t chronically ill. In fact, I can guarantee you that most of us are faking being well so that we can keep up with the rapid pace of life!
  • Just because chronically-ill people do things differently or maybe might not be able to do everything you can do, that doesn’t mean we need or deserve pity! Whenever I tell people about my chronic illness, the most common reaction is deep sadness. I want people to know that just because our lives are different from yours, that doesn’t mean our lives are sad! Sure, we may have parts of life that are less than ideal, but we have plenty of good things in our lives as well.
  • Some people ask extremely invasive questions that are, quite frankly, none of their business. I want to first make it clear: I have absolutely no issue with educating people. I’m actually happy to do so! The problem when it gets taken a step too far. Some of my own personal examples are things like, “Can I see your tubes?” or “Is your CIP the reason why you’re so short?”. Instead, ask politely-framed questions that will help you become more aware of the condition, and don’t pry if the person you’re asking appears uncomfortable or asks you to stop.
  • Chronically-ill people are not fragile! We are very strong and competent people who just want to be treated like everyone else. I appreciate polite concern, of course, but people should not feel the need to hover over someone just because they are chronically-ill. Chronically-ill people do not want to be defined by their illness, but rather, they want to be given room to make their own decisions and show off their own potential.
  • It is wrong to call a chronically-ill person lazy just because they express that they are tired or struggling. In reality, chronically-ill and disabled people are the farthest thing from lazy, having to navigate a world that was not built for them. We power through major pain, fatigue, and other symptoms every day so that we can live life alongside everyone else!
  • Finally, I think it’s important to notice and call out insane double standards for chronically-ill and disabled people. For example, when we choose to express our sexuality, we are reduced to a fetish. When we are successful, it’s because we “got it handed to us”. It’s absolutely ridiculous! People with chronic illnesses and disabilities are no less of a person because of it; we work hard, we have fun, we achieve greatness, we have sex lives and friendships. We are human!!

I also learned that you are an aspiring author and poet. What are some practices you recommend doing when faced with writer’s block?

Yes! I love to write more than anything else in the world. Poetry is a huge coping mechanism for me, a way for me to take heartbreak and struggle and make it into art. Fiction writing is a way for me to create and tell stories that are not only important to me, but that I hope will resonate with others in a big way.

One of the things I love to do to get my creative juices flowing is to go out in public and just experience things. Go to a park and sit on a bench. Take note of the scenery. Look around and absorb the atmosphere. Be observant everywhere you go: school, work, the grocery store. Everywhere. I think writing what you know and writing with the senses are two really great practices, and this method combines both. I love to pull from personal experiences, whether that’s in the past or present (or hopes for the future), big or small. I also recommend bringing a notebook, tablet, computer, or something else you can use to jot down ideas with you everywhere. This way, when you get inspiration, you can just run with it without running the risk of forgetting anything!! Remember to trust the process and don’t force creativity; the best ideas come naturally.

Do you believe in reading therapy? Furthermore, has reading and/or writing helped you with your own mental health in the past? If so, why do you believe that it helped?

Yes, I do! One of my primary forms of self-care is reading for fun. Reading helps me to distance myself from my stresses and problems for a little while by joining a fictional world. Sometimes, learning can even help you learn something new about life/yourself or make you feel less alone by introducing you to a character or plot line that you relate to. Writing, as I mentioned earlier, has been crucial in maintaining my mental health. Creative writing has helped me by giving me an outlet to channel my thoughts and feelings into something beautiful, creative and long-lasting; something that I am proud of and that can be shared with the world and potentially help others.

What would you say to your younger self?

In the shortest terms, I would tell her that it gets better. I know that sounds vague, but I think that I needed to hear that more than anything. My CIP had such detrimental effects on my mental health as I grew up. I was isolated from peer groups a lot, which caused me to develop bad social anxiety. My tubes and scars altered my body shape and resulted in body dysmorphia. I also struggled with depression in middle school and early high school due to social isolation, bullying, and a belief that my life would never be “normal” or “like everyone else’s”. I felt like I would never find friends or happiness, but now, I have. 

How has the pandemic affected you mentally?

During the summer months of 2020, practically all of my mental health problems came back in full swing. I started feeling more anxious in social situations because I fell out of practice with socializing, not being able to see and talk to people at school every day. I felt extremely depressed and unmotivated most days since all I was doing was sitting at home. I also experienced a lack of physical activity because I wasn’t able to walk around and work out as much, which led to a relapse in my fixation on my body. Most of these things, thankfully, have gone by the wayside since I’ve been in school again. Bottom line: this pandemic has been so rough on everyone, and we need to remember to be kind to one another.

What are the most beautiful things about life to you?

Another difficult question, because I think there’s so many things about life that are beautiful and worthwhile. Some things that make my life worthwhile and beautiful are: poetry, books, random acts of kindness, music, art, meeting someone and having an immediate connection, deep and passionate conversations with someone you love, rainy mornings (light rain, not scary rain!), pets/animals, hugs, the feel of a warm blanket, long car rides at night, spontaneous side trips, trying new things. The short answer: all the little things and little moments… Those are always the most significant.

What does mental health mean to YOU?

To me, mental health is not about having the most perfect life. It’s about knowing how to cope and continue living life to the fullest even in the darkest of times. It’s about always knowing your worth, your beauty, and all of your good qualities even when other people (or just life in general) tries to tear you down.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell Revive’s audience?

First of all, THANK YOU for taking the time to read my story and for listening to what I have to say! It’s been a true pleasure. I also just want to remind you that you are worthy, you are loved, and you are beautiful even if it doesn’t feel that way right now. Remember to be kind and patient with others. And finally, remember that I am proud of you for being you and for getting up and living life despite all of your circumstances. I promise your struggle will be worth it in the end. Life is worth it.


Check out Caroline!

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Study

The History of Yoga

In recent years, yoga has gained popularity, became a trend, and has helped many worldwide. While most of the original poses have been altered to fit modern society, yoga has still shown to be effective, especially when helping people with their mental health. Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices and it’s important to acknowledge the history behind it because it’s so much more than sitting criss-cross-applesauce, closing your eyes, and saying “OM”. In this post, we will be talking about the history of yoga, how it helps from a psychological perspective, and why you should think about trying the practice out for yourself. 

What is yoga?

Let’s start with what yoga even is and get the basic gist of the discipline. Yoga is a practice that encompasses breathing technique, postures, strengthening exercises, and meditation. The different types of yoga are Hatha, Lyengar, Kundalini, Bikram, Ananda, Vivnoya, and Anusara. The most popular in the US is Hatha Yoga. Yoga emphasizes a spiritual connection between the mind and body. Yoga was first created over 5000 or more years ago in India. The word “yoga” originates from the word “yuj” in Sanskrit meaning “unite”. Yoga was a Hindu practice created to control the senses and the mind. It was made to create peace, rejuvenate the body, and prolong life.

Yoga’s Transition to the West

Swami Vivekananda introduced yoga to North America in 1893 at the World Parliaments of Religion in Chicago. In 1920 Paramahansa Yogananda visited Boston and introduced yoga to the liberals religions conference he was attending. He wrote “The Autobiography of Yogi” which helped bring yoga to North America. By 1961, yoga began to air on television networks bringing it into the public eye. Yoga became very popular as a form of exercise and path of enlightenment all across North America in 1990

What is OM?

OM is a mantra or vibration that is said to be the sound of the universe. It is to remind us that the entire universe is moving. People who do yoga often chant OM because it is the basic sound of the universe. By chanting it they are symbolically and physically connecting themselves with nature. It also is a form of meditation. The sound slows down the nervous system and calms the mind. 

Many people aren’t sure how to pronounce “OM”, so we’ll teach you. It consists of four syllables A, U, M and the silent syllable. The first syllable is pronounced awe, coming from the throat. The second syllable is pronounced oo with the sound gradually rolling out of your mouth. The third syllable is pronounced as long held mmm with your front teeth gentle touching. The fourth syllable is the silent syllable, it is the deep silence of the infinite.

Psychological Benefits

  • Decreases stress
  • Recognizes self-acceptance 
  • Reduces anxiety 
  • Eliminates hostility 
  • Calms you down
  • Supports concentration 
  • Improves mood
  • Elevates attention-driven skills
  • Lowers overall risks of developing a mental illness
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Study

The Stages of a Romantic Relationship

A romantic relationship consists of all genders and all devotions of love. The closest relationship you ever develop with another human being will be a romantic one, perhaps resulting in long-term dating or even marriage. While many of us assume that obtaining a long-term relationship is just by dating and then falling in love, there are many stages you have to beat to reach the point in which your relationship is completely healthy. We don’t like to point out the bad times, but it’s important to realize that not everything is going to be perfect. There will be lows; instances where you question the bond, feel as if you lost that flame, etc. We often mistake those instances for being “toxic” when in reality they’re completely normal. A healthy relationship does go through an unhealthy period. Your bond with your significant other will be tested many times and if you do make it to the surface after getting plunged in deep water, you will be able to fall in actual love, not just misread infatuation. With all this said, here are the five basic stages of a romantic relationship.

1st Stage: Attraction 

This can be in the form of lust, but most commonly it’s in the form of friendship. It’s usually when you meet someone for the first time, somehow start talking, feel a connection, and develop a friendship. This friendship then turns into a crush and this is usually the frustrating stage because you often aren’t sure if the other person feels the same way or not. This stage is all about connection and feeling chemistry between both of you. 

2nd Stage: Dating

This is when you take that leap of faith and start seeing the person, crossing that friendly line with them. This is usually when you get closer, start getting intimate, and initiate romance. This is usually where infatuation and the “honeymoon period” starts. Everything feels perfect and you start loving the IDEA of the other person. 

3rd Stage: Disappointment 

This stage is when the most breakups happen. You start feeling stuck and feel as if you’re losing feelings, when in reality you’re learning to balance them so infatuation can transition into love. It’s the most confusing stage because that excitement of being in a relationship slowly fades away. You may even start getting bored. You start realizing just how different both of you are and that satisfaction reduces. This is all normal and healthy. Feeling stuck, arguing, and even being bored is healthy in a relationship, believe it or not. If you are a strong couple, you’d work through the differences and learn to accept the other’s imperfections, but if you’re not, this could lead to a dead end. Remember that a rainbow always comes after it rains. 

4th Stage: Stability

If the couple can work through the deep water and reach the surface, they will get to experience the satisfaction of this stage. This is the maturing stage. You now have history together. The fantasy of stage one is completely gone but you feel even more connected to your significant other. They become one of your best friends and the relationship starts feeling easy, free-flowing, and natural. Everything is comfortable with the other; you can trust them to stick by your side because you made it through stage 3 together. However, this is also the stage where most cheating occurs because you start longing for the euphoria and high of stage 1 again. The high of chasing someone and being with them all the time. You still may feel a little confused and may question your commitment, but little do you know that you’re just a little away from loving your partner. The infatuation and obsession has almost completely faded away and you’re this close to obtaining love.

5th Stage: Commitment 

You finally start accepting the relationship, flaws and all. You stop missing stage one because now you can’t imagine loving someone else, somebody other than your partner. You start imagining a future together and feel confident that the future plans can come true because you are a strong couple. External factors, such as distance, family, etc, have a hard time tearing you apart. You have respect for yourself and your partner and more than anything else, they’re your best friend and loving them feels easy, almost natural. 

Obviously, these stages can differ between relationships and they’re all about time. If two people are great for each other but meet at the wrong time in their lives, it won’t ever work out. If two people are unable to put their differences aside and find common ground in their relationship, it won’t ever work out. Just like a video game, relationships have levels, or in this case stages. If you can’t make it to the next stage, you’ll reach a dead end. Fortunately, there is no such thing as a “permanent breakup”. If it’s meant to be, you’ll always find a way back to each other — and that’s scientifically proven by the law of attraction (manifestation). If it’s not meant to be, it won’t be. It’s simple. Relax and let fate play it out. 

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Study

The Truth Behind Racism

What is racism?

By the Merriam Webster Dictionary, “racism” is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, in other words, its prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race. But why has it been such a struggle for us over the past decades? Why does racism even exist?

Racism can be seen as a global situation, and it’s more than just what color someone’s skin is, it’s what they have and how differently they respond or act from what you think it should be. Most believe that racism springs off from the factor of someone being fearful of the unknown and prideful; everybody thinks their way is the best and the unknowns might force their lifestyle to something that you’ve believed your whole life and most people wouldn’t come to admit that they’ve done something wrong. People naturally have the tendency to think that they have to be right, so the other must be wrong and racism against who, what and why which turns into criticism towards all those different features that you would inherit. 

How has it Impacted us over the years?

Racism has always been present, but at a point in time, it has shown it’s full potential, and it has led us through many tough times, from segregation to Jim Crow laws. It has taught us many values, fairness, the importance of being humble and not being afraid to discover and unravel the new and the different, while still keeping in mind that everyone is usually good at heart and that hatred is taught. 

Over the course of time, racism has largely decreased. We’ve put a heap of effort to conquer the main challenge it has given us so far. Through many bills and laws, through time and adaptation, we’ve become one, but still it’s still there. It’s not as widely practiced and we’ve been accepting one another as they are but it’s still visible and there in society and unfortunately it may never be completely gone, well why is that?

The Psychology Behind It

There are a lot of factors that go hand in hand when it comes to racism, but by all means, we’re born with it hardwired in our brain, a little flaw that we all have, from it being very subtle to it being very strong willed so in other words; it’s human nature. It can be because we’re afraid of the different and the new, or because we just like the feeling of being superior and looking down on others. Maybe at first, people were misguided about how it should be with slaves and all, but it was used as an advantage and was widely practiced in this nation because it was so useful towards the oppressor. Our minds naturally also describe someone by using stereotypes, we see a person and categorize them to the group they seem most similar with because of a specific trait. Categorizing can be an essential but can also backfire into stereotyping because of the negatives people point out about others, but without categorizing we’d be a mess, lost, and don’t know who’s with who, what’s with what, but because of this, we’re able to process information more quickly and efficiently. The fear factor and superiority also go hand in hand. If someone’s afraid of another, they wouldn’t want to show weakness, you see someone too different, and you’d just make the first “brave” move and take control, demand, and advantage of someone based on their physical traits.

Even though none of us are born with hatred and it is taught either by bad parenting, environmental factors, whatnot, we all have a little part in us that is selfish. This part is enlarged in many people while it’s maintained to be little in others. The only way this part can grow is by having bad morals, being judgy, and/or being plain ignorant. The more people travel and get exposed to different cultures, the more people open their mind up to love instead of hate, the more people realize that at the end of the day we are all flesh and blood, that is when our world will change for the better. Racism has never brought in good results and has only really led to the downfalls of nations. Life’s too short to hate on other people based on their skin color or features. Don’t let the small, tiny part in you enlarge because then you’d only become a menace to society.

Being a racist is embarrassing. Let’s normalize being loving instead of hating, because that hatred frankly isn’t gonna get nobody nowhere except in bad situations. 

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The Psychology Behind Romance

Love is one of the most profound emotions we experience as humans. It’s bigger than us, meaning, though we can invite it into our lives, we do not have the control over the how, when and where love starts to express itself. Although people say, “your love is usually in the most unexpected person” poetically, it is often the case. You may feel sexually attracted to someone else but may fall in love with someone you would never even think about feeling attracted to. Love goes beyond physical characteristics and sticks to emotions. There is a scientific difference between romantic love, sexual lust, and emotional infatuation. While we all feel love differently and it’s difficult to even differentiate these three when we have crossed that friendship line in our minds, there are psychological components that play a role in these emotions and can help you tell each apart. 

Let’s start with discussing what lust and the initial attraction even is. Lust is defined as intense sexual desire or appetite. It’s a passionate or overmastering desire or craving for someone, usually in the sexual sense. This often gets misidentified as “love at first sight”. If you look at someone and get sexual or physical symptoms, that is usually lust. You are attracted to someone based on their physical characteristics. This is sometimes the first stage of romance, however studies do show that the majority of people don’t feel the intense lustful attraction towards someone they will later fall in love with at first sight. Nine times out of ten, lust is short-lived and doesn’t lead to love. 

Next is infatuation. This gets confused with love a lot. Infatuation is really close to what love is, but it’s really just loving the idea of someone rather than actually loving someone. This is very common in teenage and young-adult relationships and is often mistook for love. Infatuation stems from the idealization of a person, from painting a false image of your partner and praising it, and really just turning their imperfections into perfections. Infatuation is dangerous and can lead to obsessions and toxic relationships, however is often considered the “honeymoon stage” of a relationship, where everything seems perfect. This is the stage you start getting to know each other, start gaining intense feelings, and getting scared to lose them. 

The best way to differentiate infatuation and love is by asking yourself, “if your partner says that they aren’t happy and want to break up, would you let them go or manipulate them to stay?” If you chose the latter then it’s just infatuation and it hurts, that’s for sure, but it’ll heal with time. However, if you said that you would let them go, that’s love because when you love someone, you would do whatever it takes to make them happy, even if that means letting them go. 

Lastly, let’s get to talking about love. If you truly love someone, you would stay in the dark times and help them. You wouldn’t pretend that they’re perfect but rather accept their imperfections. You wouldn’t be in it for the looks, money, or any of the shallow things; You would truly appreciate their existence and who they are at the core. You would feel like time flies with them and they would make you happy just by being with you. Your heart will still race even months or years into the relationship because they still have that effect on you. You would be curious to learn even the little details about their life and little things would remind you of them. Seeing or hearing their name would make you smile. Even if you choose to take a break or break up for good, you know it’s love if you have a hard time hating them even if they mistreated you. Love is when they’re out of your sight but on your mind anyway. Lastly, the telltale sign of love, even after a breakup or divorce, is if you think about them at the lowest points in your life. For example, if you just got into a car accident and they’re the first ones on your mind, that’s love because psychologically speaking, love is healing. If you think about that one person in times of distress and for even a few seconds you feel euphoric and as if your problems have vanished, that’s love. That person acts like a distraction and healing agent for you. That person is the light in your life even if they’re not in your life anymore. While this post is focused on romantic love, love is light even in friendships, family, and any relationship in general. 

Now that we’ve differentiated the three, let’s discuss the actual psychology behind love and the entire process of falling. Obviously, this differs from person to person but this is how it usually goes. 

Believe it or not, it doesn’t take much for two people to fall in love. It can get initiated from mere eye contact even. Studies have proven that falling in love is like taking drugs; it causes a similar high. This is because both hard drugs such as cocaine and love release chemicals in our bodies that evoke a sense of euphoria. Ironically, cuddling acts as a natural painkiller. When you hug or cuddle someone you have feelings for, oxytocin, a so-called love hormone, is released and has better effects than any medication. 

Let’s rewind a bit and start from attraction. Studies have shown that two people at the same or similar level of attractiveness are more likely to end up together. Have you ever seen couples who could go for being siblings? Yup, that’s completely normal. Straying away from looks, opposites do attract. If your personalities and mannerisms are too similar, you’re frankly better off as friends. Usually polar opposites make long-lasting lovers. 

After getting attracted to each other, intimacy usually comes along. Studies have proven that holding hands with someone you have intense feelings for relieves stress. That’s why usually during pregnancy labor, many choose to hold their partner’s hand so they can calm down, rather than holding a random nurse’s hand. Kissing also acts like a pain killer and sets the mood for the activities that usually come next, such as making out and sex. 

Lastly, there are different kinds of loves, even in the romance context. Relationships usually start off with alluring love and then slowly become committed love. What many people don’t know, however, is that love is made up of three different components. Love is made out of passion, intimacy, and commitment. Knowing this fact makes it all that more easier to recognize whether you have or have not fallen.