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Types of Psychology

Written by Melisa Shafiee

Psychology. To a general audience, words like “therapy,” “mental disorders,” or “the brain” may come to mind. While these three words certainly connect to psychology in some way, it is essential to know that psychology is a more extensive field than it seems. Believe it or not, some types of psychology involve crime, sports, and even technology. This article will dive deep into ten different, fascinating types of psychology, and introduce you all to fields that you may not have known existed. Whether you are interested in pursuing a career in psychology, or are curious to learn more about the variety of existing fields, this article is one that your brain will appreciate. 

Behavioral Psychology

Why do we reward ourselves after doing something positive? Or, why do we often replicate the behaviors of our parents or relatives? Behavioral psychology explores the answers to these questions, and focuses on how our mind controls the behaviors that we do. The goal of behavioral psychologists is to predict the behaviors and habits of humans, as well as treating patients with behavioral disorders, such as ADHD or OCD. Behavioral psychologists also explore how we learn common behaviors and habits, which occurs through processes such as classical conditioning and operant conditioning. One of the most notable contributions to behavioral psychology is Albert Bandura’s Bobo Doll experiment, in which he proved that children model adults’ acts of aggression, which influences their behavior. 

Clinical Psychology

For those interested in diagnosing and treating psychological disorders, clinical psychology is likely to be most appealing. Clinical psychologists work with patients and conduct tests to discover what mental disorder they may be experiencing. They will then create a treatment plan to cure the patient as proper as possible. Clinical psychologists work firsthand with patients with various disorders, such as BPD or major depressive disorder. If learning about psychological disorders is intriguing to you, then this may be a suitable path.

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology goes deep into the mind, and studies how we process, remember, and communicate information. Cognitive psychologists have various duties, such as researching the brain, conducting experiments, or treating patients with cognitive disorders. Cognitive psychologists may also test intelligence, and investigate how we “know” information. Another interesting aspect of cognitive psychology is that it sometimes focuses on states of consciousness, and even our dreams. If you want to learn why we think the way we do, or if you are passionate about neurology, cognitive psychology could definitely be a field of interest. 

Counseling Psychology

Counseling psychology focuses on treating patients who are in a difficult mental state. It is most similar to the “therapy” that we often hear of. Unlike clinical psychology, people who see a counseling psychologist do not need to have a mental disorder. Counseling psychologists work with and listen to patients to help them overcome their mental challenges, and will recommend a plan for the patient to relieve their stress and improve their sense of self. Counseling psychologists may specialize in marriage, grief, or helping youth improve their mental health. There is unfortunately still a stigma over the concept of counseling in some cultures. However, the work of counseling psychologists has been proven to work numerous times,  and they help create a healthier society each day. 

Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychologists investigate how we develop and change as we become older. They study characteristics of people at each stage of life, from infancy to elderhood. Not only do developmental psychologists learn how our minds change over time, but they also learn how our body and emotions change as well. Though a lot of the work of developmental psychologists involves studying data or conducting experiments, they may also treat patients with developmental delays or disorders. A specific idea pertaining to developmental psychology is a critical period, meaning that children have a certain amount of time in their life to learn how to fluently speak a language, or they may never learn how to speak one at all. 

Forensic Psychology

If you have fallen in love with true crime podcasts over quarantine, forensic psychology may be a fantastic career field to explore. Forensic psychologists are well-educated on the legal system, criminology, and psychology, and their work requires knowledge of all three fields. Forensic psychologists may question criminals to discover their true motivations, conduct research before a trial, or even work with law professionals to teach them how to investigate a crime scene. It is important for forensic psychologists to know how to read facial expressions, as non-verbal cues can reveal extraordinary details of a criminal. 

Health Psychology

Health psychologists play a significant role both in psychology and in the medical. Their work mainly pertains to how biological, psychological, and social factors influence our health, specifically how we become sick. They also study psychology’s role in creating behavioral medicine. On the direct level, health psychologists help people make healthier choices that benefit both their bodies and their daily lives. They may help guide patients with addiction or eating disorders on their path to recovery, and change their lives for the better. A notable health psychologist is Kelly Brownell, whose work has contributed to the actions made against obesity, such as the implementation of taxes over high-calorie foods and drinks. 

Personality Psychology

Personality psychologists focus on how our traits and characteristics make us unique. They study how people differentiate from each other by using various theories, including the Big 5 personality factors, which include extraversion and conscientiousness. Personality psychologists also discover how biological, psychological, and social factors all influence our personality, as our genes, our mind, and society all play a massive role. These psychologists may work mostly on research, but they also can help treat patients with personality disorders. Many of us have heard of Sigmund Freud, who created the notable psychodynamic theory in which our personality is influenced by our unconscious. If you are interested in learning about how individuals are the way they are, then personality psychology may be most appealing for you. 

Social Psychology

Social psychologists primarily focus on how society and social factors influence our actions, behaviors, and personalities. Social psychology is commonly confused with sociology, and it is important to know that social psychology focuses on society’s impact on an individual, while sociology focuses on societal patterns as a whole. Social psychologists may work directly with patients to improve their attitudes, decision-making, and understanding of society. Social psychologists also research societal influence over humans by observing prejudice and stereotypes, and specifically focus on how these factors impact each person. Social psychologists must have a deep understanding of society, and an even deeper understanding of its weight on the human mind. 

Sports Psychology

Wait, sports and psychology? Is that even real? Well, it is! Sports psychologists work with athletes to help them improve their performance during matches. They specifically study how sports influence our minds, and how our mind influences our performance in sports. Sports psychologists help athletes improve their performance in all aspects, from recovering from injuries to collaborating with a team. Psychology as a larger impact on sports than many of us may imagine: the next time you are watching a March Madness basketball game, think about the role a sports psychologist has made into the performance of your favorite team. 

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Human Growth and Development

Written by Simran Johal

Prenatal development is the process in which we see a baby undergo a process of growth and development within the womb fertilization until birth. There are three main stages in prenatal development: Germinal Stage, Embryonic Stage and the Fetal Stage. Let’s look into the Germinal Stage. 

    The way a plant seed germinates in soil, a sperm cell germinates amongst an egg. During this stage, the organism begins cell division and growth. It’s about 14 days in length and lasts from conception to the implantation of the zygote. The zygote is the fancy way of saying a fertilized egg. Differentiation of the cells begins to occur. This is when all the cells necessary for the placenta, umbilical etc. will begin to differentiate from the embryo. It estimates that about 60% of natural conceptions fail to implant in the uterus. 

    The Embryonic Stage is a process required in order to create an embryo. It begins once an organism is implanted in the uterine wall and stays attached until birth. It lasts from the third week to the eighth week of prenatal development after the initial conception. During this stage, cells will continue differentiating and at roughly 22 days after impregnation, the brain begins to slightly form (in the form of tubes) which is the very first step of brain development, and also the spinal column where cells enclose the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding it. There are two major directions in which growth occurs for the Embryonic Stage. The first being Cephalocaudal Development. This is where a gradual change in the head size to the body size occurs. Then the second, which is when, the muscular controls of the arms relative to the hands and fingers grow. The head develops in the fourth week, during this stage, and a pulse begins. In the early stages of Embryonic development, gills and tails are apparent (due to evolution). In this stage, the mother doesn’t usually know that she is pregnant. It’s during this period that the major structures of the body are beginning to form. The embryo is approximately 1 inch long in length and weighs about 4 grams at the end of this period. The embryo can move and respond to touch at this time. A rough sequence of development during the Germinal stage is as follows.

    During week three, the heart, brain, blood cells, spinal cord, circulatory system and digestive system begin to form. During week 4, the arm and leg buds (limbs), facial structures and bones begin to develop. The heart continues to develop. As does the brain and nervous tissue. The heart begins to beat. During week 5, the eyes, kidney nose, lungs continue to develop. The heart, brain, nervous tissue and digestive tract begin development. During the sixth week, digits, feet and hands begin to develop. The brain, heart and circulatory systems keep on developing. In the seventh week, hair follicles, nipples and sex organs begin to develop. In the eighth, and final week of the Embryonic Stage, facial features become more distinct, internal organs become well-developed, the brain can signal for muscles to move, hear development is completed and sex organs begin to form outside the body. Next, we move to the fetal stage. 

    The fetal stage begins at the ninth week and continues until birth. This is where the organism is referred to as a fetus. Majors structures are beginning to develop and by the twelfth week, the fetus has all its body parts )including external genitalia). In the following weeks, the fetus will develop hair, nails, teeth and the excretory and digestive systems will continue to develop. At the end of the week 12, the fetus weighs roughly 28 grams and is roughly 3 inches. A rough sequence of development during the Fetal stage is as follows.

    From weeks 9-12, the fetus is roughly 8cm in length and we can see the beginnings of teeth start to appear. Features such as the face, neck, eyelids, limbs, digits, and genitals are well formed. The beginnings of teeth appear, and red blood cells begin to produce in the liver. The fetus is able to make a tiny fist. During weeks 13-15, the fetus reaches roughly 25cm in length. Super fine hair begins to develop on the head, we see structures such as the lungs, sweat glands, muscles, and bones continue to develop, the fetus is able to swallow. At weeks 16-20, the fetus reaches roughly 20cm in length. Fine hair begins to cover all skin surfaces and fat begins to develop under the skin. Features such as fingers and toenails, eyebrows and eyelashes appear. The fetus becomes more active, and the mother can sometimes begin to feel kicks at this stage. From the weeks 21-24, the fetus reaches roughly 28.5 cm in length and begins to weigh approximately 0.7 kg. Hair grows longer on the head, the eyebrows and eyelashes finish forming. The lungs continue to extensively develop and the eyes finish developing. In the weeks 25-28, The fetus approaches roughly 38cm in length and weighs approximately 1.2kg. The next few weeks mark a period of rapid brain and nervous system development. The fetus gains control of other movements (opening and closing eyelids). The lungs have developed significantly so that the air breathing is possible. Weeks 29-32, the fetus reaches roughly 38/43 cm in length and weighs approximately 2kg. Under the skin, fat becomes more defined. The lungs remain immature but breathing movements do begin. The fetus’s bones are developed but have not yet hardened. In the weeks 33-36, the fetus reaches roughly 41/48cm in length and weighs 2.6-3.0kg. Body fat continues to increase under the skin. Fine hair begins to disappear, and fingernails are fully grown. The fetus has gained a high amount of control over body functions. Finally, from weeks 36-38, the fetus approaches, 48-53 in length. The first fine hair all over the body has mostly disappeared and is replaced with thicker hair on the head. Fingernails have grown past the tips of the fingers. In a healthy fetus, all organ systems are functioning. 

    There are indeed mental health issues that can occur prior to birth. Schizophrenia is thought to be genetic, consequently it occurs in our genetic makeup before we’re born. People whose mothers were undernourished while pregnant had a significantly increased risk of major affective disorders, such as mania and depression; sometimes severe enough to require hospitalization. Exposure to stress during pregnancy can cause things like autism, depressions. Anxiety and mood disorders. 

    Infancy and Toddlerhood is the type of growth occurring in children from the ages of zero to thirty-six, this includes emotional, behavioural,physical and mental growth. Culture, environment socioeconomic status or genetic factors can influence things such as when a child will begin to walk, crawl or talk. In the early 20th century, child development scholars began to understand that children weren’t just childre but actual individuals with their own unique personalities and distinct needs. The majority of infants are alert and beginning to act just hours after a normal birth, even though their body systems are immature. The sense of smell and taste are also evidently established. Infants/Toddlers will turn away from unpleasant smells and sometimes express a preference for sweet tastes as opposed to something that is more bitter tasting. Between two and three months, newborn reflexes begin to disappear. They cry less and begin to engage in social smiling. Infants entertain themselves with their own features (fingers and toes). At four months old, vision improves, infants pay attention to bright objects, preferring primary colours (particularly red). One study showed that infants were shown both symmetrical and asymmetrical faces expressed a preference for the symmetry of faces that have been identified as “attractive” by adults. However, between the ages of five and eight months, infant preferences were for asymmetrical faces. 

    Parents’ relationships with their children play a vital role in the mental health of infants and toddlers. Indications of mental health issues amongst infants or toddlers could be visible through their problems with sleeping and/or feeding or, if they over-respond or under-respond to the things around them. It can be difficult to diagnose an infant because you can’t explicitly tell what they feel or think. Normal development looks different in children, how do you know if your child’s behaviour is anything that should cause concern? A doctor can work to see what else may be causing or adding to the infant’s problems. This can take a long time, but it’s important as a diagnosis will help connect with treatment options and take actions early. 

    During early childhood, healthy development provides good building blocks for educational achievement, productivity, and helps them become a responsible ordinary citizen in their community and successful parenting of their children. During early childhood, children need nutrition, protection and stimulation for successful and healthy brain development. The earliest years are when babies’ brains form new connections. Poverty is such an important and common factor as to whether or not children receive the stimulation and nutrition they need. “250 million children under five in low-and middle-income countries risk not reaching their development potential because of extreme poverty and stunting.” The most disadvantaged children are less likely to have access to the things needed for a healthy development, for example, neglect and abuse, extreme stress: these kinds of things can block a healthy development. There is minimal public understanding of the importance of a child’s first years and little demand for policies, programs and funding. Here are some of the key facts regarding human growth and development in early childhood. 

    Lack of nutrition in early childhood leads to stunting, which globally affects nearly one-in-four children younger than five. Risks associated with poverty – such as undernutrition and poor sanitation – can lead to developmental delays and a lack of progress in school. Silent discipline is widespread in many countries, and nearly 7% of children between two and four were yelled at or screamed at in the past month. 300 million children younger than five have been exposed to societal violence. For a child in a low, or middle, income country, poor early development could mean they earn around one-quarter less in income, as an adult. For a country, poor and early childhood development could mean economic loss; in India, the loss is about twice the gross domestic product spent on health. 

    So what’s the solution to all of this? Interventions at the right time can sushion all of this development, break intergenerational cycles of inequity and provide a fair start in life. For babies born into poverty or deprivation, intervening early can reverse harm because that is when the brain is developing rapidly. 

    By middle childhood, children can dress themselves, play games such as catch and potentially, hopefully, tie their own shoes etc. It is important to make sure that children have independence from family becomes more important as children are brought into contact with the larger world. At this time, physical, social and mental skills develop quickly and thus, friendships become more important. It is eally important for children to develop confidence in all areas of life. Children might start to think more about the future and understand more about their place in the world. They’ll pay more attention to things such as friendship and want to be liked and accepted by friends. They also learn better ways to describe experiences and talk about thoughts and feelings, they become more empathetic and show more concern for others. 

    What should parents be doing when their child is approaching middle childhood? They can do things such as; showing more affection for your children, recognizing their accomplishments, help your child develop a sense of responsibility (i.e. chores), talk to your child about school, friends and the things he or she looks forward to in the near or far future, help them set achievable goals, make clear rules and stick to them (be clear about what behaviour is okay and not okay), do fun things as a family, get involved with their school, continue reading to them, use discipline to guide and protect your child rather than punishment to lower their self esteem, praise your child for good behaviour, support your child taking on new challenges and encourage your child to join school and community groups, such as a team sports, or to take advantage of volunteer opportunities, children in this age group might start to form stronger “more complex friendships and peer relationships. It becomes more emotionally important to have friends, especially of the same sex”. Please do keep in mind that many children cognitively and physically developing may experience mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, eating disorders and, you should be careful as to how you approach certain situations with your child as you may have no idea what they’re going through. 

    During adolescence, children begin to develop the capacity for abstract and logical thought. They have an enhanced awareness of themselves and ability to reflect empathetically onto their actions. Self awareness often turns into self consciousness and for adolescents, there is potentially a preoccupation with physical appearance, attractiveness and a heightened sensitivity to differences from peers: not always but sometimes. Right and wrongs for adolescents is fixed and absolute. Older adolescents, often question standards of behaviour and may reject traditions. The people in this age group find schoolwork that is more complex, they’re able to identify areas of interest as well as relative strengths and weaknesses. This is a period of time in which many people in this age group begin to consider career options. Many adolescents begin to engage in risky behaviours such as fast driving, experimenting sexually, risky sexual practices, illegal activities, theft, alcohol and drug use. 

    The areas of the brain that control emotions develop and mature. Although adolescents, do learn to gradually control/suppress inappropriate thoughts and actions and replace them with goal-oriented behaviours. The emotional aspect of this growth is often very trying, often with the patience of parents, teachers and other adults/authoritarians. Communication, even within stable families, can be difficult and is worsened when families are divided or parents have emotional problems of their own. 

    Family is at the center of social life for children. During the time period of adolescence, the peer group begins to replace the family as the child’s primary social focus. Peer groups are often established because of distinctions in dress, appearance, attitudes, hobbies. Adolescents who find themselves without a peer group may develop intense feelings of being different and alienated. Gang membership is more common when the home and social environment are unable to counterbalance the dysfunctional demands of peer groups. 

    Doctors should screen all adolescents for mental health disorders such as: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Substance abuse typically begins during adolescence, this isn’t to marginalize anyone, it is simply a statistic. More than 70% of adolescents in the United States try alcohol before they graduate high school. Somes statistics show that adolescents who start drinking alcohol at a young age are more likely to develop an alcohol disorder as an adult. For example, adolescents who start drinking at age 13 are 5 times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder than those who start drinking at 21. Almost 50% of US adolescents try cigarettes, over 40% try electronic cigarettes, and more than 40% try marijuana while they are in high school. Use of other drugs is much less common, although misuse of prescription drugs, including drugs for pain and stimulants, is on the rise.

Our psychological and physical development go hand in hand and for one to thrive or even survive the other must do the same. We need to take care of ourselves as well as we do physically, mentally and vice versa. Be a support system for loved ones.

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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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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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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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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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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. 

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Black Mental Health

*trigger warning: suicide, bigotry, & race-based violence*

Overview

While Black and African-American mental health conditions aren’t seen in a significantly larger frequency than their White counterparts, studies have shown that the racism, oppression, and overall dehumanization faced by many Black Americans pay a large role when it comes to their psychological well-being. Furthermore, there is also systematic racism present in many mental health treatment options/resources. Added to the mixture is the heightened stigma in the Black/African-American community. In this post, we will be discussing all three of these factors and how society combats this issue.

Prevalence 

  • African American females, grades 9-12, were 70 percent more likely to attempt suicide in 2017, as compared to non-Hispanic white females of the same age.
  • A report from the U.S. Surgeon General found that from 1980 – 1995, the suicide rate among African Americans ages 10 to 14 increased 233 percent, as compared to 120 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
  • In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for African Americans, ages 15 to 24.
  • Poverty level affects mental health status. African Americans living below the poverty level, as compared to those over twice the poverty level, are twice as likely to report psychological distress.
  • Suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts are also rising among Black and African American young adults. While still lower than the overall U.S. population aged 18-25, 9.5 percent (439,000) of Black and African American 18-25-year-olds had serious thoughts of suicide in 2018, compared to 6 percent (277,000) in 2008. 3.6 percent (166,000) made a plan in 2018, compared to 2.1 percent (96,000) in 2008, and 2.4 percent (111,000) made an attempt in 2018, compared to 1.5 percent (70,000) in 2008.

*stats taken directly from HHS.gov*

Racism and Mental Health

African Americans still struggle with the implications of the forced removal and displacement from the continent of Africa. It is their displacement in America, and the implications of the African worldview that makes us culturally and psychologically different from our white counterparts. Comparative scientific studies have been used to justify the beliefs of the inferiority and incompetence of the Black race. Because scientific colonialism was used to empower racism and enforce it systematically, forms of racism still exist today and have a grand effect on the psychological well being of African Americans. Buffering methods of racial socialization, racial identity, and public regard will serve as determinants of the levels of psychological distress and mental health issues within the African American community.

The amount of perceived racial discrimination is what triggers symptoms of psychological distress, i.e:

  • Anger, depression confusion and tension were related positively to feeling the need to conform and inversely related to internalization
  • Somatization, anxiety disorder, obsessive- compulsive disorders, and depression among children
  • Low self-esteem and low levels of life satisfaction.

Stigma

Mental illness is a growing problem in America as a whole, but it is exponentially worse in the African American community. Due to lack of understanding, health care provider bias and socioeconomic status, several African-Americans are not receiving the mental health service they deserve.

  • 63 percent of African Americans believe that depression and other mental conditions are a personal weakness, this is significantly higher than the overall survey average of 54 percent.
  • According to Raymond DePaulo, Jr. M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, African-American populations do not have higher rates of depression in the U.S. However, the statistics may be skewed because African Americans are much less likely to report their symptoms of depression.
  • According to Additude, “Evidence shows that people of color — Black and Latino in particular — are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, even though they show symptoms at the same rate as white people. And if they are diagnosed, they aren’t as likely to receive treatment — even though many studies show that it can dramatically help kids and adults manage symptoms.”

Treatment & Lack of Adequate Resources

In a national comorbidity Study, only 16 percent of African Americans with a diagnosable mood disorder saw a mental health specialist, and fewer than one-third consulted a health care provider of any kind. After entering care, African Americans are more likely than whites to terminate prematurely (Sue et al., 1994). In a 1979 study, many black delinquent children referred for psychiatric evaluation to clinics, private psychiatrists and psychologists, and mental hospitals, were dismissed as characterologically impaired in spite of what appeared to the researchers to be clear evidence of psychotic or organic disorders. African American men are more likely to receive a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, when expressing symptoms related to mood disorders or PTSD compared to White men.

All in All

In the African American community, many people misunderstand what a mental health condition is and don’t talk about this topic. This lack of knowledge leads many to believe that a mental health condition is a personal weakness or some sort of punishment from God. While mental illness doesn’t discriminate, many treatment methods do. Historically, African Americans have been and continue to be negatively affected by prejudice and discrimination in the healthcare system, and that doesn’t differ from the mental health system as well. 

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Mental Health Stigma in Asian Communities

When it comes to mental health issues, Asian Americans are often silent. Asian Americans may feel like there’s an inescapable storm cloud of shame that lurks over the concept of mental illness, which implies weakness or worst. With this being said, Asian Americans may not necessarily openly discuss their emotions in the medical office setting. The mental health of Asian Americans are difficult to determine because they express somatic symptoms of distress rather than mental symptoms. Asian teachings/traditions discourage open displays of emotion because they want to avoid the exposure of personal weakness and maintain social harmony.

According to the National Latino and Asian American Study, Asian Americans are three times less likely to seek mental health services than white Americans. Asian Americans feel like they cannot reach out, therefore there’s an underlying fear among the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community that getting mental health treatment means you’re crazy. Furthermore, seeking out outside the immediate family causes conflicts with their cultural value of interdependence.

Some Asian Americans are less likely to utilize mental health services out of fear of stigma. If you admit you need help for your mental health, parents and other family members might experience fear or shame. They may assume that your condition is a result of their poor parenting.

Common sources of stress that affect Asian American’s overall mental health

  • Family obligations based on strong traditional and cultural values
  • Difficulty in balancing two different cultures and developing and bicultural sense of self
  • Parental pressure to success in academics
  • Pressures to live up to the “model minority” stereotype
  • Discrimination due to racal or cultural background
  • Discussing mental health issues is considered taboo in many Asian cultures and as a result Asian Americans tend to dismiss, neglect or deny their symptoms.

Studies have shown that Asian Americans who seek mental health services are more severely ill than white Americans who use the same service. This means that Asian Americans are more reluctant to seek mental health services until their condition is unmanageable. Their families also discourage them from seeking these services because they do not want to look bad to other Asians in the community.

In order for us to show the Asian American community mental health is important, we need to destroy these incorrect beliefs:

  • “I must be successful and cannot show signs of weakness.”
  • “It’s a burden to share my emotions.”
  • “I’m ungrateful for all I have.”
  • “It’s disrespectful for my spiritual beliefs.”
  • “I don’t know how to talk about mental health with my relatives.”
  • “I’ve tried therapy before, and I didn’t find it helpful.”

It’s also important to break the barrier by:

  • Have pamphlets written in various Asian languages explaing the types of mental illness
  • Ask the patient if something is bothering/worrying/stressing them
  • Discuss all mental health issues privately due to them not wanting to express having a mental illness to their family or friend with them
  • Explain to them that mental illness is not seen as showing weakness
  • Have a translator available if they are unable to communicate with the healthcare provider
  • Explain various treatment methods for each illness so that they do not have to be cautious of Western medical methods

The mental health stigma in Asian communities is heightened due to high emphasis on family honor, purity; mental illness is shameful, untreatable, and a weakness. Many also believe that admission of mental illness results in negative social and economical impacts on suffering and their family and that those with mental health disorders are dangerous, unpredictable, and should be avoided, as if having a mental illness is a choice.