By Katherine Schreiber When we talk about climate change, we tend to think about its effects on our environment — melting polar ice caps, extreme swings in weather, more frequent droughts, flooding, and higher incidences of natural disasters. But what about the effect on our moods, thoughts, and feelings? A new report written by the American Psychological Association, Climate for Health, and ecoAmerica argues that our mental wellbeing is just as vulnerable to global warming as is our earth. Take, for example, the after effects of natural disasters, which the authors of the report argue have the most immediate impact on mental health “in the form of the trauma and shock.” Such trauma and shock arise in response to losing personal property or livelihood, losing a loved one, or experiencing personal injury. “Terror, anger, shock and other intense negative emotions that can dominate people's initial response may eventually subside, only … [Read more...] about How Climate Change Affects Mental Health
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Source: pixabay It’s a virtual truism that you really don’t know another person until you see them under stress. As a personologist who has studied personality and personality disorders and as a psychotraumatologist who has studied disasters for over 30 years, I would agree with that conclusion (Millon & Everly, 1985; Everly & Lating, 2013). Disasters and other adverse life events can be highly stressful. They tend to bring out the best in people and the worst. It is certainly not too great of a leap to understand that adverse life events can have a profound effect upon relationships. The problem is the lack of agreement upon just how adversity, and especially disasters, affect relationships. Let me offer a potential reconciliation. AUTHORITIES DO NOT AGREE If you were to read the scholarly reviews and expert opinions on the effects of disasters upon relationships you would discover a wide variety of conclusions. All experts seem to agree that disasters and other … [Read more...] about Relationships Under Stress
Traumatic events are not necessarily traumatizing. In fact, traumatic events are usually not traumatizing. Most people suffer no enduring psychological consequences from them, even after events as horrific as the 9/11 terrorist attacks or a mass shooting. After decades of confusion about our capacity to cope with acute stress, we now know—based on study after study—that people have a robust and likely inherent capacity to cope effectively with trauma. The Complex and Sometimes Paradoxical Effects of Trauma My purpose here is not to review the evidence for resilience to trauma (an idea pioneered by the psychologist George Bonanno and reviewed here). Instead, I want to suggest a perhaps more radical idea: That trauma can—sometimes and for some people—have beneficial effects. Yes, beneficial effects. Source: Malerie Willens My colleagues, Heather Littleton and Amie Grills, and I had an extremely rare opportunity to test this possibility in a study … [Read more...] about Can Trauma Improve Our Psychological Health?
Source: Kelly Bulkeley A new study suggests that people who are experienced meditators have dreams that differ in at least two interesting ways from non-meditators. The study was conducted by Elizaveta Solomonova, Tore Nielsen, and their colleagues at the Dream and Nightmare Laboratory at the Université de Montréal. Their findings shed new light on the interactions between meditation and dreaming consciousness. The results appear in the latest issue of the journal Dreaming (volume 28, number 2, pp. 99-121). Twenty-two people (11 male, 11 female) with training in Vipassana meditation were given a procedural learning task, and then slept for a daytime nap in the laboratory. Their dreams at sleep onset and upon awakening were gathered, and they were given a follow-up test on the procedural learning task. The same protocol was used with a control group of 20 people (ten male, ten female) who were not active meditators. The researchers found many more … [Read more...] about Meditation and Dreaming
"I began to realize that I was driving rapidly down a winding road on the side of a steep hill. Everything was bright and crystal clear. To the side was a high cliff with no guardrail. I became deeply alarmed when I realized that I didn’t know how to drive. I was only 15 and had not yet started drivers’ education! What was I doing driving and in such a dangerous place? As I increasingly realized the nightmare-like nature of my experience, I began to grasp that I was dreaming. Somehow knowing this allowed me to relax and even begin to 'direct' the dream. The car seemed to be staying close to the road without much help from me. I had the thought that I wished there was someone who could help me. Suddenly my mother was in the car driving and I was safely in the passenger-side seat. As I became increasingly comfortable I awoke. Instead of feeling like I had come out of a nightmare, I actually felt strong and was looking forward to driving classes. I also wanted to be able to … [Read more...] about Is Conscious Dreaming Real?