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Analysis and Comment (20)

Friend or foe: what do you see? Friend or foe: what do you see? Kquedquest

Trauma makes us shun kindness when we need it most

It seems intuitive that many of us would fear and avoid emotions such as anger and anxiety. But some people fear positive emotions such as happiness and contentment, and of accepting the compassion, kindness…
That’ll be 42 broken bones and still skiiing. That’ll be 42 broken bones and still skiiing. Mike Egerton/PA

The fear factor: coping with anxiety at altitude

The nature of competitive sport involves athletes putting themselves in high-pressure situations in which they are being constantly appraised, and Sochi is no different. So it is unsurprising that the…
For managers, the challenge is in trying to motivate and engage stressed staff. For managers, the challenge is in trying to motivate and engage stressed staff. Image from shutterstock.com

Managing stress and mental illness in the workplace

Common mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety disorders, are the second leading cause of disability in Australia and affect around 20% of the working age population at any one moment…
Addressing contrary patterns of thinking, or cognitive biases, could help ameliorate negative feelings. Addressing contrary patterns of thinking, or cognitive biases, could help ameliorate negative feelings. Mira Manns

Feeling anxious? There could soon be an app for that

Cognitive bias modification is a new approach to treating emotional problems. It holds considerable promise for the remote delivery of mental health interventions. The story of how this new approach came…
For people with depression or anxiety, finding an effective medication can be a difficult task. For people with depression or anxiety, finding an effective medication can be a difficult task. Eddi van W.

Some antidepressants work better than others – now we know why

Three million Australians are currently living with depression or anxiety, and antidepressants are now the third most commonly prescribed class of medication in Australia, after antibiotics and cholesterol-lowering…
That dude doesn’t look like a squid. That dude doesn’t look like a squid. Fathzer

Surfing on prescription helps kids at breaking point

The NHS is funding a pilot programme that prescribes surfing lessons for young people with depression and low self-esteem. Based in Dorset, the Wave Project is open to people aged between eight and 21…
The trillions of bacteria in your gut can affect your brain – psychologically and physically. The trillions of bacteria in your gut can affect your brain – psychologically and physically. Helga Weber

Navel gazing: healthy gut bacteria can help you stress less

Striking new evidence indicates that the gut microbiome, the ecological community of microorganisms that share our body, has a huge effect on brain function – much larger than we thought. It has long been…
Don’t listen to that little devil on your shoulder. Don’t listen to that little devil on your shoulder. Evan Agostini/AP

Feel like a fraud? You might have imposter syndrome

To many people, the actress Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, has it all. Talent, beauty, brains, and major acting roles at a young age. Yet Emma – like many people, be…
Extreme anxiety is debilitating. Extreme anxiety is debilitating. Porschelinn

For some people, anxiety and phobias are taken to extremes

Anxiety is a common experience. It is entirely normal to feel anxious in certain circumstances or when imagining possible misfortunes. However, for some people it gets out of hand and severely affects…
Emotional fallout: undervalued, paid less and under pressure to look good. Emotional fallout: undervalued, paid less and under pressure to look good. Christine Cassis

Women suffer more from mental illness but it suits us to ignore it

Martin Baggaley pulled no punches last week in his assessment of the dire state of mental health. The Medical Director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust said the system was in crisis, inefficient…
Time for another holiday. Time for another holiday. Compscigrad

Explainer: how do you die from overwork?

The end of the summer holidays mean office workers will be firmly back to the daily grind of attending meetings, sending emails, organising diaries and paperwork, and overtime. But after a number of cases…
Recent studies show psychedelics can have a positive effect on a range of mental health issues. Recent studies show psychedelics can have a positive effect on a range of mental health issues. Shutterstock

Shroom to grow: Australia’s missing psychedelic science

A recent Norwegian study on psychedelic drugs and psychological well-being not only highlighted fewer mental health issues among users of these drugs but also underscored the reinvigoration of scientific…
Stressful times for mum increase the risk of later problems for her baby. Stressful times for mum increase the risk of later problems for her baby. Flickr/Roberto Carlos Pecino

Effects of prenatal stress can affect children into adulthood

If we want to understand child development, we need to start before birth. We have known for decades that health depends on an interaction between our genes and our environment. But we’ve also come to…
Questions have arisen over the cause of Victoria Azarenka’s extended break during her semi-final match. Questions have arisen over the cause of Victoria Azarenka’s extended break during her semi-final match. AAP/Joe Castro

Panic stations: Azarenka’s ‘extended break’ and the science of choking

A controversial extended medical break taken by tennis world number one Victoria Azarenka after losing five match points in her match against Sloane Stephens has raised the issue of “choking” in sport…
What makes a fear a phobia? What makes a fear a phobia? jasonbolonski/Flickr.

Explainer: what are phobias?

A life without fear sounds idyllic but it would be no paradise. Fear protects us from present danger, alerts us to future threat, sharpens our minds and blunts our selfishness. Friedrich Nietzsche once…
Trichotillomania, where individuals pull out their hair, has long been considered a mental disorder, but where does it fit in the DSM-5? Trichotillomania, where individuals pull out their hair, has long been considered a mental disorder, but where does it fit in the DSM-5? Tigresblanco

Don’t pull your hair out over trichotillomania

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. Trichotillomania is a psychological…
Long-term meditators have larger sections of the brain responsible for regulating emotion. Long-term meditators have larger sections of the brain responsible for regulating emotion. Tezatrataz/Phra Ajan Jerapunyo Abbot of Watkungtaphao

Beyond spirituality: the role of meditation in mental health

Meditation has traditionally been associated with Eastern mysticism but science is beginning to show that cultivating a “heightened” state of consciousness can have a major impact on our brain, the way…
Depression and anxiety are separate disorders despite their frequent co-occurrence. Depression and anxiety are separate disorders despite their frequent co-occurrence. fancylittleme.com.au

Telling the difference between depression and anxiety disorders

Mental health disorders have a major impact on our ability to function in the home and at work. A third of the population will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, and a fifth will experience…
Almost a third of professional musicians regularly take medication to manage their performance anxiety. Almost a third of professional musicians regularly take medication to manage their performance anxiety. Flickr/kronik

All right on the night? Music performance anxiety is more common than you think

“One of the most exhilarating experiences I know of is performing in public, especially when there is a magnificent piano under my fingers, great music in my head, and the feeling that there are no technical…

Research and News (7)

Research Briefs (16)

Most musicians suffer pain: study

Australia’s orchestral musicians are suffering for their art, according to new research. Psychologists found that 84% of…