psychology

MICHAEL DWYER / AP

On this Thursday, March 26, episode of Sundial:

COVID-19 is impacting all aspects of our daily lives like our physical health, financial stability and mental health.

Childhood trauma causes serious health repercussions throughout life and is a public health issue that calls for concerted prevention efforts. That's the takeaway of a report published Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, stimulant medications like Ritalin or Adderall are usually the first line of treatment.

Good news for the cheery: A Boston study published this month suggests people who tend to be optimistic are likelier than others to live to be 85 years old or more.

The notion that you can smile your way to happiness is an enduring one.

Back in the 1800s, Charles Darwin was among the first to come up with what modern scientists further developed into the "facial feedback hypothesis." That's the idea that smiling can make you happier and frowning can make you sadder or angrier — that changing your facial expression can intensify or even transform your mood.

When Sterling Witt was a teenager in Missouri, he was diagnosed with scoliosis. Before long, the curvature of his spine started causing chronic pain.

It was "this low-grade kind of menacing pain that ran through my spine and mostly my lower back and my upper right shoulder blade and then even into my neck a little bit," Witt says.

The pain was bad. But the feeling of helplessness it produced in him was even worse.

"I felt like I was being attacked by this invisible enemy," Witt says. "It was nothing that I asked for, and I didn't even know how to battle it."

Almost everyone gossips.

And a new study finds that people spend about 52 minutes per day, on average, talking to someone about someone else who is not present.

But here's the surprise: Despite the assumption that most gossip is trash talk, the study finds that the vast majority of gossip is nonjudgmental chitchat.

Feel like you're living under a rain cloud? Life not going your way? Lots of us have a bit of Eeyore's angst and gloom.

But here's the good news (sorry to be so cheery): You can be taught to have a more positive attitude. And — if you work at it — a positive outlook can lead to less anxiety and depression.

Our thoughts and fears, movements and sensations all arise from the electrical blips of billions of neurons in our brain. Streams of electricity flow through neural circuits to govern these actions of the brain and body, and some scientists think that many neurological and psychiatric disorders may result from dysfunctional circuits.

The scene could have come from a novel: an unlocked door, a screaming maid, and an "unobtrusive minor aristocrat" lying in bed with his throat cut.

Over the past three years, I've had one major goal in my personal life: To stop being so angry.

Anger has been my emotional currency. I grew up in an angry home. Door slamming and phone throwing were basic means of communication.

I brought these skills to my 20-year marriage. "Why are you yelling?" my husband would say.

"I'm not," I'd retort. Oh wait. On second thought: "You're right. I am yelling."

A new bill would allow psychologists in Florida to prescribe medication. If passed, Florida would be the sixth state to make the change. 

Airman 1st Class Stephany Miller / Courtesy U.S. Air Force

Ah, the inevitable sign that summer break is coming to an end: back-to-school advertisements. As beneficial as they are for a parent's wallet, they may be triggering anxiety in their children as they prepare to return to school. 

"For children, as it pertains to school, it's normal to feel scared about something that is coming new," said  Miami-based psychologist Lina Acosta Sandaal,  founder of Stop Parenting Alone, an organization dedicated to sharing information about child development with parents. 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Sun Sentinel reporter Megan O’Matz recently reported on new public information that the Broward Sheriff's office delayed the entrance of fire department medics into Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school during the February Parkland shooting.

Andrew Pollack is a school safety activist, a founder of Americans for Children’s Lives and School Safety and father of Meadow Pollack, one of the 17 victims from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Dr. Sandra Calvert is the Director of the Children’s Digital Media Center and a child psychologist at Georgetown University. She was part of the American Psychological Association in 2015 where she explored the impact of violent video games on children’s brains.

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