Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Are You Too Happy?

posted by Linda Mintle

Happiness is a good thing, right?

Sometimes, not so much! A Yale researcher compares too much happiness to too much food. When you overdo it, problems erupt! Too much happiness makes you a high risk taker. And with high risk can come excessive alcohol  and drug use, binge eating and ignoring threats.

Happiness researcher Edward Diener looked at lots of people over the years who reported being very happy. He and his colleagues found these people to have lower incomes and drop out of school earlier than those who were moderately happy in their younger years. Dierner thinks that when people don’t experience sadness or anxiety often, they aren’t motivated to do better. The emotion of feeling sad actually helps us think in more systematic ways.

In other studies, very happy people have been shown to engage in stereotypic thinking. And trying to make yourself happy doesn’t seem to work either. Psychologist Iris Mauss tells us the more you pursue happiness, the more disappointed you could be.

The bottom line here is don’t make pursuing happiness your life goal all the time. A balance of three positive emotions for every one is what is needed according to those studying happiness.

So don’t worry, be happy, at least in moderation!

Does Your Personality Make You Ripe for an Affair?

posted by Linda Mintle

Ricky knew his behavior would probably ruin his marriage, but he continued in an on-line relationship with a woman he met in a chat room several months ago. Although Ricky represents a growing number of people who have affairs on-line, is there something about Ricky’s personality that makes him more susceptible to an affair?

The answer is YES!

*Researchers studied the personalities of of 214 newlyweds (107 couples) to see if there were traits that made them more likely to be unfaithful. They found that a person’s personality matters.

Specifically, spouses who have partners who are not agreeable and not dependable, have lower marital satisfaction that can lead to an affair. And these two characteristics also share another trait–impulsivity. The thinking is that the impulsivity then translates to sexual affairs. So if a partner is not reliable, not dependable and impulsive, the risk of acting out is higher when it comes to sexual encounters.

Additionally, the researchers wondered if highly impulsive partners do more to elicit sexual responses from other people.

So when you are looking for a mate, you might want to consider these aspects of his or her personality when dating. And if you are married to someone with these personality traits, it might help to work on these behaviors and boost marital satisfaction. And certainly, a person of strong faith always has the power of the Holy Spirit to help overcome any temptation.

 

*Shackelford, T. K., Besser, A. and Goeta. A. Personality, marital satisfaction and probability of marital infidelity, Journal of Individual Differences research, Vol, 6, No.1, pp. 13-25, 2008

Depression Is Not Just in Your Head!

posted by Linda Mintle

Could it be that depression is an obvious symptom of deeper problems within the physical body?

Researchers are asking this question as they look at stress and depression in new ways.

Long-term depression, it appears, changes chromosomes the same way that aging does! So researchers are study the cellular changes of people who have suffered long-term depression.

This look at cellular changes is important because long-term depression seems to bring on more serious forms of physical illness that are often seen in older people (e.g., dementia, stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc). The phenomena is known as “accelerated aging” and is now being studied at Duke University, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and other academic institutions.

The idea is that as we age, the end of our chromosomes (called “telomeres”) shrink. Research suggests that depression also shrinks this part of the chromosome. In other words, depression makes the cells age prematurely, putting people at risk for diseases usually associated with aging.

Important questions are: 1) How much of a person’s life experience versus genetics is involved in age-related diseases? 2) Can the physical impact of depression be reversed? 3) Why do some people do worse than others when it comes to physical problems and depression? 4) Are there factors that protect certain people?

One study at UCSF found the personality trait of pessimism related to changes at the cellular level.

Now before you become more stressed thinking about the damage you could be doing to your physical body if you are depressed, researchers believe it takes years for these physical changes to occur.

So get help now in order to prevent more physical problems later. And be optimistic, depression is treatable!

Is It Normal for Children to Lie?

posted by Linda Mintle

I write for a parenting magazine and this is a question I frequently get asked, “Is it normal for children to lie?”

While the answer is YES, that doesn’t mean it’s OK to lie. It is not, and parents have to deal with this behavior.

Proverbs 6:16-19 says, Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath,  a troublemaker in the family.

Children begin to lie around the age of two. The reasons they lie vary with developmental age. For example, two to three-year-olds often lie to avoid getting in trouble. Four to seven-year-olds usually lie to avoid punishment or hurting others. Teens can lie to keep their parents from really know what is going on in their lives. Other reasons for lying include not feeling safe and wanting special attention.

Interestingly, when researchers at the University of Virginia studied lying in adults, they noted that most adults lie once a day. So the message from parents can be that you do not always have to be truthful. Therefore, make sure you are not setting an example of lying yourself.

Researchers also tell us that harsh punishment for lying doesn’t work well with children. A better approach is to address the lying, give the child a chance to come clean and then give a consequence. Basically, you want to create an atmosphere in your home where truth is valued. So next time that adorable little child looks at you and tells you a lie say, “We all do things we shouldn’t at times, but it is not OK to lie about them. I need the truth now.  Here is a chance to tell the truth. And the consequence will be lighter if you come clean.“

Parents we have to lead by example in this area and then teach our children that lying is wrong.

If lying becomes a persistent pattern, it can indicate other problems such as conduct disorders and should be evaluated by a mental health professional.

 

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