The Galatea effect is named after Greek mythological story of Pygmalion and Galatea. It is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy whereby an individual’s actual performance or completion of a task is affected by his or her belief and trust in his or her abilities and potential for success. When an individual holds a belief and has confidence that he or she will be able to perform good, this self-belief in turn leads to actual success. What happens is that expectations themselves work as self-fulfilling prophecies. Just like in the Pygmalion effect, where a teacher’s high expectations from his or her pupil leads to high performance, the Galatea effect impacts individuals’ ability to finish a task, meet deadlines and also their ability to work as a team.
Wishing that the New Year be a messenger of joy, happiness, peace, smile, and good tidings for you and your family. Happy New Year!
Is it possible that the propensity to choose human beings over animals when it comes to saving either of the two develops later in children? According to a recent study by Matti Wilks and colleagues published in Psychological Science, the answer to the above question is, yes. Two pre-registered studies on children aged between 5 to 9 and adults (N = 622) showed that children had a weaker propensity to prioritize humans over animals than adults. In the studies, subjects were presented with dilemmas of moral decision-making, where a number of human beings were pitted against a number of animals (either dogs or pigs), and were asked to decide who should you save. It was found that in both studies children exhibited a weaker propensity, as compared to adults, to prioritize the humans over safety of dogs as much as saving 100 dogs and 10 pigs over 1 human. This shows that children considered the life of a dog as important as the life of a human. However, almost every adult chose to save the life of one human over 100 dogs or pigs. According to the authors, their findings reveal that the idea that humans are more valuable than animals is acquired much late in the development process and could be a result of social learning.
Wilks, M., Caviola, L., Kahan, G. et. al. (2020). “Children Prioritize Humans Over Animals Less than Adults Do.” Psychological Science.
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New research finds a sense of “mattering” may matter more than other factors.
When we think of a crisis, we imagine a situation that is serious and urgent, imperative to address without delay. It can also be considered a turning point, such that life will never be the same again. The decisions made during a crisis will likely affect the nature and quality of life for the future. Some crises, like natural disasters or traumatic accidents, are dramatic upheavals accompanied by intense emotions. Others may be more insidious, arriving and intensifying more gradually.
In sudden events, the realization that life will change dramatically comes soon after urgent needs are met and the imminent threats have resolved. But the impact of crises that develop more gradually is often not obvious and, in some cases, is only fully appreciated with time. During either type of crisis, threats to health or safety awaken and clarify what is most important and what gives meaning to our lives.
Unfortunately, a pronounced sense of meaninglessness seems to exist among young people. In a recent survey of a representative national sample of 1,700 Americans, a majority (59%) of adults 65 years and older strongly agreed that their life has meaning, in contrast to only 36% of those 18 to 29 years old.
Are an increasing number of young adults experiencing lives empty of essential meaning? Research suggests that a sense that one’s life is meaningful is correlated with healthier behaviors, such as exercise and better diet, greater life satisfaction, and a lower incidence of depression. Conversely, a sense of emptiness of purpose or value in life has been associated with unfavorable indicators such as depression, anxiety, and suicide. The association of depression and suicidal ideation with weak assurance of meaning in life suggests that many people are experiencing a crisis of meaning.
In The Rebel, Albert Camus argued: “If we believe in nothing, if nothing has any meaning and if we can affirm no values whatsoever, then everything is possible and nothing has any importance.”
Recent research has shed light on what constitutes a person’s sense of meaning in life (Costin & Vignoles, 2020). One prominent theory views meaning in life as comprised of three facets: coherence, purpose, and mattering.
- Coherence refers to making sense of one’s experiences or the world at large. A high sense of coherence is the feeling that there is order to the world or that what happens to us makes sense.
- Purpose refers to the belief that one’s life is justified by a life aim that can be pursued and a vision of how life ought to be.
- Mattering refers to the experiences of value and worth that transcend superficial passing situations and events. Mattering means feeling that one’s behaviors make a difference and that life is worth living. More importantly, mattering refers to a person’s feeling that they matter.
The research suggests that of the three dimensions, a sense of mattering is most predictive of overall meaningfulness in life. Although further research is needed, preliminary work suggests that mattering is enhanced by rising above petty things and exclusive self-interest. Understanding our role in the broader social landscape can yield insight into the significance of our life and of our self.
Appreciating the impact we have on others, especially on those to whom we will one day pass the torch, strengthens our recognition that we and our lives matter. Most parents understand what matters most when they see their child’s spontaneous expressions of joy, need, fear, and love. What matters is even more evident in their child’s rapid growth toward independence.
The significance of one’s life is affirmed when we ponder the legacy we will leave behind in those who have been affected by us—by how we have interacted with them, by who we are, and by how we have lived and loved. The anguish we once felt over pricey purchases or fashion choices fades in the face of a loved one’s life-threatening illness or life-changing injury. Arguments over homework or practicing for music lessons become trivial when a child’s life or wellbeing is threatened.
We don’t need to wait for a crisis to know what really matters. We can remind ourselves of what really counts before we ever find ourselves in the midst of one.
The most valuable gift we can give to one another is the conviction that they matter. As noted nearly 2,000 years ago, faith, hope, and love endure, but the greatest of these is love. Faith in the coherence of life even when we can’t understand it and hope in fulfilling our purpose in life are important to our psychological wellbeing. But ultimately, feeling that one’s life is worth living flows from having been loved and from loving another. During the most difficult times, the most life-sustaining resource we can extend to another is the affirmation that they are loved.
Costin, V., & Vignoles, V. L. (2020). Meaning is about mattering: Evaluating coherence, purpose, and existential meaning as precursors of meaning in life judgments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 118, 864-884.
Ekins, E. (2019). Poll: Who finds the most meaning in their lives? Cato Institute.
Kleiman, E. M., & Beaver, J. K. (2013). A meaningful life is worth living: Meaning in life as a suicide resiliency factor. Psychiatry Research, 210, 934-939.
People with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), previously known as extremely picky eating, fail to eat enough food to maintain their daily energy requirements. Common challenges faced by ARFID patients include difficulty in digesting food; avoidance of specific types of food textures, colors, and smells; eating at an abnormally slow pace, or having a general lack of appetite.
Orthorexia Nervosa is another eating disorder which includes unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food, and placing oneself on seriously restricted diets, which may lead to serious nutritional deficiencies and can harm daily life of an individual. Unlike other eating disorders, orthorexia typically focuses on the quality of food quality, rather than the quantity. Individuals with orthorexia are hardly focused on losing weight, unlike individuals with anorexia and bulimia. They have rather an excessive fixation with the food “purity,” and are obsessed with the advantages of healthy eating.
The importance of mental wellbeing and health can never be overstated. In fact, mental health and wellbeing is as important as physical health or we can say is more important than physical health. A healthy mind builds a healthy body. According to World Health Organization (WHO) “Mental health is defined as a state of wellbeing in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” Here are six ways to achieve or boost mental wellbeing. You can incorporate these techniques in your daily routine.
Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness daily. Mindfulness is a state of being in the present and accepting and paying attention to bodily sensations, thoughts, and feelings that come to your mind without being judgemental towards them. Make mindfulness a daily part of your routine.
Physical activity: Make some kind of physical activity a part of your daily routine. Physical activity has proven to be beneficial for your overall health. Do whatever you enjoy the most; be it dance, some kind of sport, exercise, cycling, running, or brisk-walk.
Stay curious: Curiosity is the key to all kinds of inventions that we see around us. Curiosity keeps the brain healthy. Observe things around you, try to notice anything unusual, focus your attention on everything that you observe, try to find why and how things are as they are. It will help you observe your feelings and thoughts as well as will help you manage them more effectively and in a healthy way.
Meet people: Invest your time and effort in building social connections with people around you. Socialize as much as possible. Man is a social animal; he needs to be surrounded by people if not all the time. Having social connections makes your life more enriching and will be a source of happiness. Socialize with people you work with, your neighbors, relatives, etc.
Be kind: Be kind to others around you. Kindness costs nothing but fills you with a sense of positivity and happiness that is everlasting. Help others. Make it a part of your daily activity to help at least one person daily be it a friend or stranger. You can even enroll yourself in some community service as well. You will be amazed by the effects of being kind to others.
Learn something new: Your brain is just like any other muscle in your body. It needs exercise to stay active and healthy. One way to keep your brain healthy is to make sure you never stop learning. Try something new, may be a new dish, engage in some hobbies, or enroll yourself in some course. Read biographies, learn new instruments or whatever you enjoy. You will gain confidence by learning new things.
Binge Eating Disorder, commonly known as BED, is an eating disorder characterized by frequent and recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food but without subsequent purging episodes, such as vomiting. Although it can be severe and life-threatening, it is a treatable disorder. Individual suffering from BED may feel the inability to stop eating even if they want to. It is sometimes also described as Compulsive Eating. The individual suffering from it eats large amounts of food often very quickly and to the point where a person feels uneasily full in a short period of time. These episodes of binge eating are characteristically categorized as happening, on an average, a minimum of, twice per week, for a duration of six months.
A confident child is a successful adult of tomorrow, who is better able to deal with the challenges of life and better able to bounce back from failures. Confidence is something that comes from within—it is something related to how you feel about yourself; and not that you can put on. A child who is confident is comfortable in his or her own skin and knows his/her self-worth. A confident child is always open to learning and gaining new experiences and is at ease in interacting with others, and is thus able to form good personal relationships as well. It is true that children should learn to face failures as failures build resilience, but the downside of it is that too many failures can hit the confidence-level of your child negatively; success definitely helps build more confidence. So as a parent, it is very important to provide ample opportunities where a child can experience success while dealing with challenges. This, however, can only happen when parents know how to provide appropriate support to their child, without being overprotective. A healthy self-confidence can, hence, be achieved only when the child experiences adequate success and when he or she knows how to handle failures. The best thing about confidence is that, it is not static or permanent; it can develop and grow, and parents can play a pivotal role in helping kids become more confident. Here are few ways that can help you build confidence in your child.
1. Believe in your child: Confidence is all about having belief in oneself, in one’s ability to accomplish things. A child who has a strong belief in his or her abilities is more likely to succeed in challenging situations and success, as we know, in turn, raises self-confidence. But this self-belief does not arise on its own, it is the result of having faith, as a parent, in your child’s abilities. So start by showing faith in your child, as this will in turn help your child gain healthy self-belief.
2. Assign responsibilities: Another way to help your child gain confidence is by giving them responsibilities like helping you in daily chores or taking care of pets etc. This, in turn, increases a child’s sense of self-worth, which in turn affects his or her self-confidence. When a child is given a responsibility, he or she feels needed and important. This sense of positive self-worth enhances the confidence level of your child.
3. Start coaching: Instead of being a controlling parent start being a coach to your child. Your job as a parent is to provide ample opportunities for learning, growing and developing. Start working with your child as a coach rather than as an in-charge doing things for your child yourself. You need to stop being a controlling parent and give some space to your child to let him/her learn on his/her own. Your approach should be like that of a sports coach, who only trains the player and does not play himself on the player’s behalf.
4. Be open to your child’s opinions: As a good parent, you must learn to accept and respect your child’s opinions. This gives a strong message to the child that his/her thoughts, ideas, and beliefs matter and have value. This also conveys that their views are respected. Involve your child in simple decision-making activities, like deciding on the location of your next family vacation or involving them in deciding house rules. And remember to respect their opinion no matter how absurd they might sound at first. You can always reason with them. This will also give your child a sense of power.
5. Encourage: As a parent you should always encourage your child to try new things and take on new challenges. This will help your child to master new skills which will, in turn, enhance his or her confidence. So, healthy parenting means providing opportunities where your child can learn new things and skills.
6. Appreciate your child: Whether your child succeeds or fails at an attempt, keep appreciating the efforts. The child should never feel ashamed of his attempts. When you start appreciating the efforts, your child will feel motivated to try again even if he or she fails in his earlier attempts. Your criticism will only discourage your child to try after a failure. So to raise a confident child it is important for a parent to focus on encouraging and appreciating the efforts.
7. Set achievable goals: As mentioned earlier, success helps build confidence and failures affect confidence negatively. So in order to raise a confident child, it is important to set goals that are achievable for the child. This is even more critical when your child tries something new. Success will help your child try and learn new things in future.
8. Don’t rescue but work with them: Sometimes parents are faced with situations where they are faced with the dilemma of whether to come forward and rescue their child from the failures that are imminent or to let him face them on his own. Well, studies have shown that children of the parents who let them face the consequences or failures as learning experience feel unworthy of love; they consider themselves as failures and often feel that their parents don’t care about them. On the other hand, the parents who come forward to save their children from facing the failures or consequences, raise kids who always avoid or run from challenges. Thus, the best thing you can do as a parent is to work with your children, not for them. Help them organize their ideas and plans, but the execution of such plans should be left to them.
9. Keep your worries to yourself: When a child feels that his parents are worried, he/she tends to interpret this worry as his/her parents’ lack of confidence in their abilities. This parental worry is often perceived as lack of faith on parents’ part. Thus, it is important for you as a parent to keep your worries to yourself.
10. Take interest: Be interested in the activities of your kids. Your genuine interest in what they do will make them feel worthy. Asking them about what they are doing is a good way to show interest. Your positive attention to your child’s activities will have a lasting impact on his or her confidence-level.
1. I’m using passion in the fullest sense of the word: a deep, fervent emotion; a state of intense desire; an enthusiastic ardor for something or someone.
2. Creativity is not merely the innocent spontaneity of our youth and childhood; it must also be married to the passion of the adult human being, which is a passion to live beyond one’s death.
3. I think that in order to be successful, women have to figure out what they’re passionate about first. No matter what you aspire to, you’ve got to love what you do in order to be successful at it.
4. Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.
5. Pursue your passion, and everything else will fall into place. This is not being romantic. This is the highest order of pragmatism.
6. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.
7. I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.
8. Be spectacularly great at what you do. Wear your passion on your sleeve and hold your heart in the palm of your hand. And work hard. Really hard.
—Robin S. Sharma
9. Believe in your heart that you’re meant to live a life full of passion, purpose, magic, and miracles.
—Robin S. Sharma
10. The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last.
11. A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.
—Vincent Van Gogh
12. If you have a strong purpose in life, you don’t have to be pushed. Your passion will drive you there.
—Roy T. Bennett
The concept of ‘nudge’ was first made popular by two American researchers Richard Thaler (economist) and Cass Sunstein (legal scholar) in the book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2008). Nudge is a concept from behavioral science, behavioral economics, and political theory, which suggests that decision making and behavior of an individual or group can be influenced by positive reinforcement and indirect suggestion. It is different from other methods of eliciting compliance like, education, enforcement or legislature.
The principle of nudge increases the probability that a given person will make a certain choice, or will behave in a certain manner, by modifying the environment so that unconscious or automatic processes of cognition get triggered to elicit support for the desired result.
It is believed that there is often a gap between the intention and behavior of an individual, in other words both are not always in alignment, which is termed as value-action gap. And that people have a tendency to often take actions that probably are not favorable to them, despite being aware that such actions are not in their best interest. Thus, nudges are aimed at influencing such choices, but at the same time, the power to choose still remains with the individual. In this senses, nudges are quite helpful as humans don’t always think and take decisions in a logical manner and most of these decisions are often unconscious, without weighing the costs and benefits of these decisions and choices. So in an attempt to bring positive change in the behavior of individuals, tapping on these instinctive styles of thinking is required. This is what nudge does.
A lot of British and American politicians have been influenced by nudge. Numerous nudge units exist around the world at both national level (UK, Germany, Japan and others) and international level (e.g., World Bank, United Nations, and the European Commission). Nudge theory has application in various fields, like government, healthcare, and business.
As a codependent, it is tough to end a toxic relationship. However, many codependents falter while dealing with the aftermath and being alone. Learn how you can navigate yourself through…Podcast: The Love Hangover. Why Codependents Get Stuck — Dr Nicholas Jenner
3 cogent reasons couples therapy is often successful in transforming intimacy.
The heightened emotional bond of marriage in particular puts partners continually at risk for conflict. Murray, Bellavia, and Rose (2003) concluded, “The experience of slights and hurts at the hand of a partner is inevitable. After all, conflicts of interest routinely surface, and even ambiguous behaviors, if sufficiently scrutinized, might seem to reveal a partner’s irritation, disappointment, or disinterest in oneself” (p. 128).
When conflict does occur, partners are often stuck in ruts of retort and resentment. Aggression and withdrawal in the midst of conflict are patterns of conditioned defense, covering up primary emotions, with primal cravings for understanding and support buried beneath. Knee-jerk reactions nearly inevitably result in perceptions of judgment, misunderstanding, and rejection, which diminish respect and increase disconnection. On the other hand, messages of understanding breed respect and connection.
Ontario psychotherapist Malcolm MacFarlane analogized, “I use [an] image of two magnets with the same poles facing each other to describe the sense of contact, energy, and anxiety that we experience when we enter the sphere of conflict with another person. Many people disengage from this sphere of conflict either by avoiding and backing off or by attacking, escalating, and then disconnecting. … The ideal is to learn to stay in the sphere of conflict while being authentic and working through the conflict” (personal communication, June 25, 2016).
Our emotions and thinking are inextricably tied to one another and together generate perception. When we perceive misunderstanding, under-appreciation, judgment, or rejection, our defenses go up. As walls rise, we have increasing difficulty hearing one another, by which I really mean understanding one another. Empathy is a precursor to mutuality.
Couples who do not experience mutuality usually channel feelings of sadness, fear, or shame through self-protective or coercive behaviors. When such interactions evolve into patterns, couples often experience a loss of trust or heightening of fear, which buries the deeper emotions even further.
There is an alternative to overt rage. When either afraid of one’s own anger or when emotion can be buried no further, logic—facts or even beliefs—may provide concealment. Logic is yet another superficial, secondary, reactive, and protective layer of defense for the rawer, primary, underlying emotions within—of which sadness, fear, and shame are prime examples.
The good news?
1. Couples nearly always already possess the resources they need for a positive relationship.
These resources involve increasing safety, empathy, and responsiveness. There are no magic facts that heal relationships. Intimacy is embodied, not encoded. Insight is often necessary but never sufficient in and of itself to bring about change. To recondition marital soil so intimacy may grow, expressions of vulnerability and understanding must increase, and reflexive, knee-jerk reactions must decrease. When highly committed to the relationship and highly motivated to see positive changes in it, partners are often quite adept in pivoting toward constructive and healing changes.
Healing is a function of growth. Growth, and thereby healing, occurs as two people lay down their defenses and connect in safe and constructive ways around the unresolved emotion, being careful to honor the unique emotional process of the one they love without stepping on and triggering emotional landmines. Couples therapy can lay the groundwork for this.
2. Changes must be experienced to be sustained, and therapy provides space for this to occur.
You can choose to keep on explaining what you already believe or risk stepping into a new terrain by exploring together how, rather than why, each of you feels hurt and anger. I’m referring to a shift between defending, criticizing, or debating facts to connecting on a more vulnerable and emotional level.
When one partner aggressively asserts resentments or withdraws in an emotional paralysis, the other partner may react in due pattern, understanding may be thwarted, and a cold distance remains. During this sort of interaction, partners typically feel—and this is where the mutuality ends—misunderstood and unsupported.
Where there is hurt, there must be—and let’s be clear that in some cases this requires great preparation and even facilitation—a coming together and a facing together of the underlying pain. Such pain generally involves sadness, fear, shame, or all three. Respect and connection do not occur at the secondary reactive level of emotion, through explosions, attacks, and retreats, and neither do growth and healing.
It is never easy to communicate vulnerably and honestly through the tremble of raw emotion. Couples have an opportunity to begin to experience a restructuring of their patterns of interaction and their experience of intimacy. When one chooses to communicate nondefensively upon feeling misunderstood or unsupported, the resulting mutual experience tends to be feeling mutual respect and emotional togetherness.
3. We are capable of increasing our capacities for emotional management and self-direction.
Many couples struggle to manage intense reactive emotions they feel in the midst of conflict. We are not necessarily determined by our impulses. If you and your partner find yourselves in a tailspin of disconnection, make a decision today to lean into a new paradigm marked by respect and understanding and driven by intentionality. This is challenging work, and you may benefit from the facilitation a therapist can provide. Over the course of therapy, partners are capable of consolidating new positions, attitudes, and cycles of attachment behavior and experiencing conflict in a more satisfying, growth-oriented way.
And with the surge of COVID-19 came the surge in use of telehealth for therapy, including for couples therapy. Couples now have even greater options for accessing good therapists, and less excuses.
Murray, S. L., Bellavia, G. M., & Rose, P. (2003). Once hurt, twice hurtful: How perceived regard regulates daily marital interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(1), 126-147.
One of the most common requests from my psychology coaching clients is to help them find healthier ways of expressing their emotions. For Example: Anger That said, it’s not as simple as becoming “more calm” or “less explosive”. The first step in transformation and lasting change is assessment. The Kübler-Ross Model provides insight: BELOW THE […]Anger is a sign that something needs to change. — Thriving Under Pressure