Professor Mayo discusses our familial and psychological responses
This simple act can be free, yet rewarding beyond measure
Calm and cool-down communication
Insight from Dr. Nicolle Mayo
Tactfully and sensitively addressing weight issues with loved ones
Dr. Mayo discusses the cautions & benefits of Facebook
Developing your emotional IQ and improving your relationships
Learning to do it in a clear, simple, and accurate way
hat is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of your experience of COVID-19?
If it’s connected to anything related to SCARY, UNCERTAIN, ISOLATING, EERIE, DEPRESSING, LOSS, CHAOTIC, or VULNERABLE you are feeling what a lot of people are feeling right now. This is an extremely strange situation with a lot of unknowns. As human beings, we don’t do very well with ambiguity. In fact, ambiguity tends to fuel FEAR, one of the other words that might be occupying your mind.
Giving our time, efforts, and resources to others mutually benefits the giver and receiver; nothing new here, but the impact on mortality and lifelong satisfaction is really significant according to The Social Psychology of Generosity review of data on giving (Collett & Morrissey, 2007). When we give, we reduce mortality that might otherwise be compromised due to the constant stress we experience on a daily basis, which is ultimately also connected to a lot of chronic diseases many of us suffer from.
We all experience escalation, though some of us are more prone to fight and others to flight when we hit our emotional climax. Knowing our own fight, flight, and freeze response gives us more control. The more we know about what escalates us, how our body emotionally, physically, and cognitively responds sets us up for successfully getting through those challenging moments. With this awareness, we can then practice strategies to de-escalate ourselves.
The ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study conducted in 1995 developed in response to doctors investigating why obese adults who lose weight end up dropping out of their weight loss program and putting all of their weight back on. Interested in examining any particular causes, the results of this study presented some surprising and incredibly helpful information based on the impact of how childhood background plays a role.
Nearly 40% of adults and almost 20% of children are obese in the United States according to the American Medical Association. This is a sizable increase from years past that has incredible ramifications on America’s health, mental health, healthcare, and mortality rates. It’s no secret. Doctor’s offices, mental health clinics, schools and a number of organizations are cracking down on educating kids and adults about this issue, as both a preventative and intervention strategy to reduce obesity rates.
Facebook is a powerful entity. It’s transformed how people connect, shop, sell, and job hunt. This is great and so convenient! Advertisers can individualize their marketing based on online activity. What we want and need is at our fingertips, all in one spot, making Facebook all the more enticing. But, this is where addiction begins.
I have been in a lot of situations where I expressed something vulnerable to someone and felt regretful afterwards because of their response to me. Have you ever felt that way? Sometimes we expect more validation and support when we take that risk to be vulnerable, but we’re left disappointed when others ignore, minimize, or trivialize our experiences. Often, these reactions from people prevent us from being vulnerable again in the future. We don’t want to be hurt again.
Articulating our emotions to others can be difficult, especially when it feels vulnerable and we fear critique, rejection, or don’t want to hurt others. Emotional expression, however, is vital to our relationships; therefore, learning to do it in a clear, simple, and accurate way promotes authenticity and reduces confusion.
As a new mom, I have had a lot more intense ups and downs lately. I expect a lot of myself, as I am sure many mothers do. Even looking beyond motherhood, generally many of us have high expectations of ourselves. We allow little room for error. We expect perfection. We expect too much of others, and are let down easily. We have a difficult time handling life when we let people close to us down.
If you’ve seen the motion picture, Inside Out, you may have noticed how this movie depicts emotions as fickle, ever changing parts of us that are affected by our current, past, and even future circumstances. Not only that, but our emotions play off of each other in both positive and negative ways. Inside Out not only provides a great example of how important emotions are in our lives by telling us what is going on inside us at any given moment, but it depicts some of the more core and vulnerable emotions, joy, fear, sadness, disgust, and anger.
In 2016, a team of researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study brain changes during pregnancy (Hoekzema, Barba-Muller, Pzzobon, Picado, Lucco, Garcia-Garcia, …Vilarroya, 2016). They compared MRI images taken of women before their pregnancy and after giving birth, finding that pregnancy shrinks the brain’s gray matter. Gray matter is the pinkish-gray tissue containing cell bodies needed for messages to travel through the brain and body.
Mental health should be a priority for moms. Unfortunately, a lot of time and sacrifice goes into taking care of kiddos, leaving mom fatigued and stressed to the max. Not only that, but a mom’s body chemistry literally changes, from the time she conceives to after birth, which can wreak havoc on her mental health. This time period is often when we see the rise in certain mental health disorders.
Nature has some wonderful benefits for us to enjoy. It relaxes our brains and reduces the chances for developing mental and physical health issues, while also decreasing mortality rates. Nature rejuvenates us, increases brain capacity, and sharpens our performance. With so many benefits, though, general statistics are showing that we are spending more time separated from nature than with it. Why is that?
According to reports documented on the SPCC (Society for the Positive Care of Children), 28% of students between the ages of 12-18 experience this during the school year. Approximately, 30% of young people admit to doing this. 70% say they have witnessed this in their school. The majority of these instances take place at school. On average, across a 39 states survey, 7.2% of students admit to not going to school due to concerns about this issue, or suffer extreme anxiety and depression if they go to school anyway. Other general side effects from this issue include: truancy, headaches, stomach pains, reduced appetite, shame, irritability, and aggression.
Child abuse is all too common, with reports coming in every 10 seconds nationwide. It takes place at every socioeconomic level, across all ethnic and cultural lines, within all regions, and all levels of education. Child abuse does not discriminate. Fortunately it is 100% preventable. In order to reduce child abuse, spreading awareness and education are key. This not only aims to reduce child abuse, but can also reduce the cycle in which 30% of abused and neglected children go on to abuse their own children.
Music has been such a powerful influence on all ages for as long as many of us can remember. Historical accounts frequently cite the power of music in times of celebration, tragedy, solace, and entertainment. It has profound effects on the body, mind, and soul in both positive and negative ways. It is important for us to make note of these ways, so that we can incorporate the healing power of music into our lives, rather than perpetuate our negative thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors with music that confirms these things.
Communication is a necessity. It’s how we connect with others, share information, learn, educate, show affection. The majority of our communication is nonverbal, but this does not minimize the significance of verbal communication. When we talk with others, what we say, how we say it, and even how we listen, are integral to connecting with others. Thus, we need to be intentional about doing it well.
After the Christmas holiday, many of us have to practice more frugality to recover from gift giving…but just because we have to be frugal, doesn’t mean we have to stop giving gifts to others. In fact, there is a gift that can be even more powerful than all of the gifts we gave during Christmas and it’s free! It’s been researched extensively and has a number of health benefits. Let’s see if you can guess this gift based on the studies conducted on it.
Dr. Lee Williams, a marriage and family therapist and professor at the University of San Diego, developed a list of seven crucial components that could help alleviate depression. These seven components, also known as the seven p’s, not only provide a guide for how to reduce depression, but for how to live a balanced life. These seven p’s give us additional accountability for cultivating relationships, implementing our own self-care, and being a positive influence to ourselves, then others.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects the brain in a variety of ways. First plaques and tangles, cells that destroy and kill our own brain cells, attack our hippocampus. This is where we hold a lot of memories, specifically tied to emotions. When this area is attacked, we typically forget short-term information, like where we put our keys, what we just read, appointments we made.
“Fit for Life” is a kid’s summer program that developed in 1997, through grant funding, with a mission to reach out to local kids under 18. This program, originally positioned in Wellsboro, Mansfield, and Westfield, operates as a collaborative effort between the Tioga County Partnership for Community Health and the Northern Tioga County School District Summer Feeding Program to provide kids a healthy lunch, and physical activity, with games, crafts, and educational workshops.
While some people would beg to differ, research indicates that addiction is a disease. The Hijacking of the Brain, presented by Carl Dawson, M.S., MUC, LPC, Q-SAC, addresses this controversy, among others, when talking about how stimulants, sedative-hypnotics, opioids, hallucinogens, depressants, and other drugs affect our body and brain. Articulate and genuinely honest, Carl Dawson provided exceptional research that addressed addiction as a disease that we, as a community, should be responsible for fighting against.
Emotional intelligence has been highly underrated as a needed intelligence in the past, though it is quickly gaining ground as a crucial part of connecting with others, increased productivity, better teamwork collaboration, success, and mental health. It can be developed through reading, self-reflection, lots of practice, and consistent role models. Five core components make up emotional intelligence.
Stress is an inevitable, daily encounter we have as a result of work and family life. A little is healthy, but a lot can have significant impacts on our bodies, emotions, and thoughts. It is so important that we have outlets to cope best with stress. If we don’t, our body succumbs to its negative effects according to The American Institute of Stress (2017), often accounting for things like, depression, anxiety, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, immune system disturbances, viral disorders ranging from the common cold and herpes to AIDS and certain cancers, as well as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Sleep is wildly under-rated in the U.S. We sacrifice sleep at the expense of work, fun, and the demanding pressures of daily living. Sleep, however, should be taken more seriously as a necessity that contributes to our optimal functioning. Sleep allows our body to recover from the wear and tear of stress, physically, mentally, and psychologically. Without it, we suffer. We forget. We can’t learn. We cannot operate productively, or creatively. We risk developing physical illness, and are more prone to injury. Lack of sleep decreases life quality and longevity.
Although we hear the words “introvert” and “extrovert” thrown around as ways to describe ourselves on the temperament/ personality spectrum, there is still more to be understood about these opposing traits.
Statistics reported by Forbes and other media forums show that out of 40% of Americans that make New Year’s resolutions, less than 10% actually succeed in keeping them. A problem? Perhaps for those who want to seriously make some positive life changes, this information has implications for general goal setting, motivation, and completion.
Gaming on the TV, cell phone, or computer has a number of advantages and disadvantages as cited by many research studies. Depending on the type of game and how much time is dedicated to playing the game can dictate whether our brains are stimulated or desensitized. Studies highlight the importance of monitoring game usage because of the effects gaming has on its players.
This year marked the 3rd annual Psychology Alumni Day that the Mansfield University psychology club hosted. This event was the original idea of a former psychology student, Barbara Gall, now a graduated alum, who developed this event as part of her senior capstone project. The project was received so well that the MU psychology club decided to continue the tradition of this event.
Gaming, whether playing games on a phone, computer, or TV, has a certain tenor to it for those young and old. There are those who think gaming is a “waste of time”, “fascinating”, “weird”, “challenging”, “artistic”, “relaxing”, “a good distraction”, “addicting”, “insightful”, or “problematic”. These are a few of the descriptors people use when they hear the word “gaming”. We all make different associations to this word, depending on how we interpret and experience it. Some love it, some hate it, and some don’t really have any opinion.
The brain is a complex organ in our bodies that underlies all of our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. It holds the answer to why we become addicted or overly dependent to our cell phones. Although the answer is much more complicated than what this feature and article are presenting, understanding the basics of our brain’s inner-workings is important to developing a better idea as to how this all works. Dopamine is one of over 100 neurotransmitters, or chemical impulses, that directs our body to respond in some way. It plays a role in our ability to move, remember, experience pleasure, behave a certain way, think, hold our attention, sleep, control mood, and learn. Specifically related to behavior addictions, dopamine mediates pleasure in the brain. It’s released when we experience satisfaction in something and fuels our pleasure-seeking drives.
Cell phones are a necessity for many of us. We use them for everything, business purposes, to look up information, call, text, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, listen to books, music, and play Pokemon Go. With all of these conveniences, can cell phones really be that dangerous? Well, if you develop a dependence on them, they can.
Laughter is really under-rated when it comes to our physical and mental health. Many people know that it feels good to laugh and improves our mood in the moment, but what about long-term benefits? Medical doctors and psychology researchers, alike, have done significant research on the healing powers of laughter. One medical doctor you may already be familiar with, Dr. Hunter Campbell, the original “Patch Adams”, inspired the movie in 1998. He even came to speak at Mansfield University a couple of years ago! He and others have found that the very movement of our diaphragm frees up muscular tensions within the body, mobilizing the voice and breathing.
Research! Research is a foundational part of Mansfield University’s Psychology Program. Students have ample opportunity to hone in on their research skills in courses including Research Methods, Health Psychology, Learning and Cognition, Advanced Social Psychology, and Senior Seminar. Each of these courses introduces concepts of the scientific method to students’ repertoires, so they have the opportunity to gain experience in understanding, reviewing, conducting, analyzing, and presenting their own research.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are dangerous in any relationship. Criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling are all patterns many of us are skilled at using because they protect us from getting hurt in our relationships; they are tools we use to deflect the real issues behind the conflict. Unfortunately, research conducted by Dr. John Gottman and colleagues have found significant detriment in utilizing any and all of these Horsemen in everyday relationships.
Because relationships are such a crucial part of our lives, it is important that we give them the attention they need to not only survive, but to be maintained in a healthy manner. Whether these relationships are based in romantic, family, or friendship, there are a number of lessons we can all learn about how to value, prioritize, and connect best with others closest to us. Although this feature primarily focused on a couple relationship, take a few moments to absorb the important elements Dr. John Gottman, a well-known marriage researcher, has discussed in his examination of relationship dynamics and how you can apply these to ANY of your relationships.
Positive psychology, a newer field in psychology, evolved from significant research conducted by Martin Seligman and his colleagues. It examines how individuals prosper in the face of adversity (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). As a result, positive psychology has shifted the focus from individual problems and mental disease to positive emotions and personal strengths in psychology. In fact, much can be said about how optimism, compassion, forgiveness, hope, joy, love, and resilience contribute to optimal well-being in life, increasing creativity, productivity, success and health.
The holidays may be pleasant for some, but they also bring significant stress and anxiety to many others. Often this stress and anxiety is associated with a number of things including family expectations, toxic relatives, chaotic plans, and unhappy memories associated with the holidays. If this were not enough, holiday stress also increases the likelihood of sickness because of a compromised immune system and cold weather.
Forensic psychology is a fascinating field in which psychologists specializing in clinical, counseling, developmental, school, or other fields examine and provide expertise in areas of the judicial system. Although TV shows, like CSI, involve criminal profiling or working at crime scenes, neither of these areas are a primary focus in forensic psychology. In fact, many forensic psychologists assist in conducting mental state examinations, child custody and family law, violence risk assessment, social science research, police training, and interrogation tactics.
We all have good days and bad days, though we may not always be aware of what dictates our mood, stress, and anxiety levels in a given day. A number of factors impact our mood and anxiety daily, like job stress, marital expectations, family pressures, academic overload, and economic stress to name a few. Although these daily strains can impact mood in a negative way, we learn to cope with many stressors in our everyday lives.
Mental health is an important issue, like medical health, yet much of society does not view these two fields in the same way. In terms of maintaining our physical health, most of us think about going to the doctor when we feel sick in order to be diagnosed and treated. Some of us even take preventative action and live lifestyles that reduce physical maladies. Not nearly as many people take the same precautions or interventions seriously when it comes to mental health.
In many cases, people confuse mental health providers and the differences among psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and many others. Though this is common and natural for those who do not fully understand the psychology profession, it can be helpful to differentiate between various providers, especially when it comes to seeking mental health.
The Mansfield University Psychology Department supports and hosts “MU Psych Central”, a feature dedicated to sharing psychological research with Tioga County that is relevant and applicable to daily life.
From getting her Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Dr. Nicolle Mayo shares her expertise on navigating life from a psychological lens. Habits, arguments, and trauma accumulate over the years – leaving people hurt and longing for answers. Not only does Dr. Mayo discuss these topics, but she also helps her audience navigate through difficult situations and learn how to overcome any obstacles life may bring.
From recipes for feeling good to childhood trauma to Covid-19 impacts, Dr. Nicolle Mayo covers it all and is passionate about helping others navigate through life and coming out stronger. In her program, she shares her wisdom from teaching in a university, becoming a mother, and maneuvering through life itself.