Science of the Spirit
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Heart - Black

Study: Bullying as a child has a worse effect on mental health than parental abuse

© Unknown
The severe effect on adult mental health of an experience suffered by one in five children.

Bullying as a child has a worse effect on adult mental health than parental abuse, new research shows.

The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry found very severe outcomes for bullied children (Lereya et al., 2015).

Professor Dieter Wolke from Warwick's Department of Psychology and Warwick Medical School, who led the research, said:
"The mental health outcomes we were looking for included anxiety, depression or suicidal tendencies.

Our results showed those who were bullied were more likely to suffer from mental health problems than those who were maltreated.

Being both bullied and maltreated also increased the risk of overall mental health problems, anxiety and depression in both groups."
While both abuse and bullying are known to cause mental health problems later on, this is the first study to compare them.

Comment: Far from being a 'rite of passage', the suffering that children undergo from their peers has long-term negative consequences:


Frog

Children's knowledge of nature is dwindling, UK study finds

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© Alamy

Just over a third of children said they go to explore nature and wildlife on a weekly basis
Research shows younger generations are getting less and less clued up about nature with knowledge of basic facts declining

Britain's knowledge of nature is dwindling to worrying new levels with younger generations now less clued up than ever, according to a new study.

Nearly double the number of parents aged over 51 (49 per cent) said nature was one of the most important things to teach children, compared to just one in three aged under 30.

And the naivety of younger adults revealed just six in ten (58 per cent) 25 to 30 year olds knew a vixen was a female fox - a fact nearly all parents over 51 (96 per cent) knew.

In fact, one in six (17 per cent) of the younger generation of parents believed female foxes were called "sows" - the name for a female pig.

Light Saber

Brave poet describes seeing his rapist under Facebook's people you may know tab

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© Youtube/screengrab
Kevin Kantor performing 'People you may know'
Facebook's 'People You May Know' is often just a conglomeration of porn stars and shirtless folks who think they're a porn star - and occasionally Shelley Long (true story). But occasionally Facebook's algorithm is far more pointedly insidious.

Such was the case for spoken word poet Kevin Kantor, who found himself staring at a picture of his rapist, a feeling he described as "the closest to a crime scene I've ever been."

On stage in front of thousands for this year's College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, Kantor delivered his gut-wrenching prose in a cathartic act of bravery.

"Every day I write a poem titled 'Tomorrow,' it is a hand-written list of the people I know that love me. And I make sure to put my own name at the top."

Comment: Powerful performance. It's hard to imagine seeing your rapist appear as a potential new 'friend' on facebook, Kevin's work brings the experience much closer to home.


2 + 2 = 4

Who is delusional? The answer is: We all are

"Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you" - Carl Jung

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Still from "What Dreams may Come"
Within the mental health profession, clinicians and researchers who value a system of categorical illnesses and individual defects too often proclaim that the major feature delineating "real psychosis" from other "disorders" is the presence of delusions. Two recent articles in the New York Times exemplified for me how skewed this assertion is. It also led to a greater awareness, more specifically, of how problematic it is to view so-called delusions as meaningless indicators of disease . . . for we all experience delusion. How one experiences the self, the world, and relationships (usually based on our relationships with our caregivers) determines the level with which one must cling to seemingly irrational ideas in order to maintain a sense of order and meaning in the world. Let me explain . . .

Magic Wand

Communication from the future: Is it already here?

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Did you know that there was a study conducted to see if someone from the future was here present in our time? Yes, it's true! Astrophysicists - Robert Nemiroff and Teresa Wilson at Michigan Tech University did just that as reported in 2014. They figured that if someone from the future traveled back to our time, there may be trace evidence. Someone may have done internet searches of future events. The search dates would have been prior to the events and would stand out that way. Enough of them traced to one user would reveal a pattern of advanced knowledge.

After exhausting their funds, the results of that study remained inconclusive. However, in response to a question posted on one website asking: "Do you believe communication through time would be possible?" I replied that "I believe it has already happened." Only because I believe that our near future thinkers will be quantum computers with artificial intelligence. I believe that not only would they be able to figure it out, but man has figured it out already.

Comment: For more on an ongoing experiment in superluminal communication see: The Cassiopaea Experiment Transcripts 1994 (Volume 1)


Family

Mindfulness cognitive therapy works just as well as medication in treating chronic depression


Klia Bassing (L), director of Visit Yourself at Work, a mindfulness meditation center, leads a meditation session at the American Psychological Association (AFP)
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be just as effective as anti-depressants in helping prevent people with chronic depression from relapsing, scientists said on Tuesday.

Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness, affecting more than 350 million people worldwide. It is ranked by the World Health Organization as the leading cause of disability globally.

Treatment usually involves either medication, some form of psychotherapy or a combination of both. Yet many patients fail to get better and suffer recurring bouts of illness.

MBCT was developed to help such people by teaching them skills to recognize and respond constructively to thoughts and feelings associated with relapse, aiming to prevent a downward spiral into depression.

Comment: Since anti-depressant medications bring numerous unpleasant side effects, and studies have found that these drugs provide little or no benefit over the effect of a placebo, this study is good news for those who would welcome an alternate solution.


Heart - Black

The lack of gentle platonic touch in men's lives is a killer

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In preparing to write about the lack of gentle touch in men's lives, I right away thought, "I feel confident I can do platonic touch, but I don't necessarily trust other men to do it. Some guy will do something creepy. They always do." Quickly on the heels of that thought, I wondered "Wait a minute, why do I distrust men in particular?" The little voice in my head didn't say, "I don't necessarily trust people to not be creepy", it said, "I don't trust men."

In American culture, we believe that men can never be entirely trusted in the realm of the physical. We collectively suspect that, given the opportunity, men will collapse into the sexual at a moment's notice. That men don't know how to physically connect otherwise. That men can't control themselves. That men are dogs.

There is no corresponding narrative about women.

Comment: Hugging as form of social support protects people from getting sick
The physiological benefits of hugging


Magnify

Why do we murder the beautiful friendships of boys?

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© BDC
It's completely normal, and healthy, for boys to love one another so why do we make it so taboo?
An epidemic of loneliness is killing millions of American men. Here's why.

On a cold February night a few weeks ago, Professor and researcher Niobe Way presented findings from her book Deep Secrets here in New York. (Her book is available on Amazon.) She was hosted by Partnership With Children, a groundbreaking organization doing powerful interventions with at risk children in the New York's Public Schools. Both Way and Partnership With Children's work have produced reams of hard statistical data proving that emotional support directly impacts every metric of academic performance. And, as it turns out, every other part of our lives as well.

That night, as my wife Saliha and I made our way down the snow-blown streets towards Fifth Avenue, I was feeling the somber weight of the third month of dark Northeast winter, wondering how many days remained until Spring would come. "It's February. Don't kid yourself," the answer came back. My charming and lovely wife was to take me to dinner after Way's presentation. It was my birthday.

Comment: Researchers shed new light on connection between brain and loneliness
Social isolation affects DNA


Handcuffs

Breaking the chain of shame and quieting the voice that says you suck

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Shame is the most powerful master emotion. It's the fear that we're not good enough." Brene Brown.


When Jake began therapy, he came to his sessions on time and immaculately dressed. As he spoke, he would whisk away imaginary lint while sitting ramrod straight. He described his friends as somehow beneath him and was frequently angry toward his co-workers for being incompetent. But as we teased out his thoughts, it emerged that he was even more intensely critical of himself.

After some time we were able to define his psychological state as shame, because his sense of himself was that he was to blame and it was because he was deficient. This feeling of inadequacy caused him to compensate for his deficiency by trying to be perfect, and when that failed (as it always did), it led to self-criticism, which triggered anxiety and depression.

Comment: The Key to Overcoming Shame is Making Connections


Wolf

Tail-waggers and their people share hormonal bond through mutual gazing

© FRED THORNHILL/Reuters
A cross country skier watches as the sun rises with a dog, on a snow covered lake in the Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario in this March 10, 2015 file photo.
Dogs are called "man's best friend" - women's, too - and scientists say the bond between people and their pooches may be deeper than you might think.

Researchers in Japan said on Thursday oxytocin, a hormone that among other things helps reinforce bonds between parents and their babies, increases in humans and their dogs when they interact, particularly when looking into one another's eyes.

They described a series of experiments that suggest that people and their canine companions have mutually developed this instinctual bonding mechanism in the thousands of years since dogs were first domesticated.

Sometimes called the "love hormone," oxytocin is made in a brain structure called the hypothalamus and secreted from the pituitary gland. It is involved in emotional bonding, maternal behavior, child birth, breast-feeding, sexual arousal and other functions.

"Oxytocin has many positive impacts on human physiology and psychology," said Takefumi Kikusui, a veterinary medicine professor at Japan's Azabu University, whose research was published in the journal Science.

In one experiment, dogs were put in a room with their owners. The researchers tracked their interaction and measured oxytocin levels through urine samples. People whose dogs had the most eye contact with them - a mutual gaze - registered the largest increases in oxytocin levels. The dogs also had an oxytocin spike correlating with that of their owner.

Comment: "The dog's agenda is simple, fathomable, overt: I want. "I want to go out, come in, eat something, lie here, play with that, kiss you. There are no ulterior motives with a dog, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges if a request is denied." - Caroline Knapp