30 November 2013

New Evernote Windows Features

Evernote is my brain, I use it for everything. I have even taught a college continuing education course on it, called ‘Going Paperless’. Here is a nice diagram of some of the latest changes to windows desktop version (click to enlarge):

Vaccines & Autism

The other side of the argument

29 November 2013

The rate of students using protection

I know this is a little out of the norm of topics I post about, but I found the results posted in this article very intriguing.

  • Only 51% of college students surveyed admitted to using a condom.
  • Of those that used a condom, 54% were motivated to use it as birth control, 38% were motivated to use it as birth control and STI prevention, and only 6% used it for STI prevention.
  • 56% of the participants were not concerned about getting an STI.
  • Even though 62% of participants thought they had an excellent or very good sexual knowledge, 74% of participants scored 5/10 or lower on sexual health related quiz.

Happy Friday! #TGIF

27 November 2013

A Dad’s Twitter Response To Bullying

This is probably one of my favourite ways to counter cyber bullying that I have seen. The girl in this story probably can be related to so many teenage girls out there who are anonymously bullied. I believe this also fits in the category of not responding with anger and parading to the principal’s, and instead doing something creative to let your child know that you love them.

25 November 2013

Bring Back Home Ec!

As the #SaveHomeEc movement grows in Manitoba, there was a great article written in the Boston Globe about the need to bring back Home Economics courses into schools.

23 November 2013

Non-Medical Stomach Pains Treated with Talk Therapy

Medical stomach pains, such as acid reflux and celiac disease can be treated through medical means. However, those cases that have no medical explanation, most likely due to anxiety, can be treated through talk therapy. The article showed that CBT has a 60% success rate.

22 November 2013

Add some good bacteria to improve mental health

It is because of this study covered on the CBC that I have been recommending to people to eat yogurt. Some bacteria found in yogurt produces a happy signal (GABA) that can counteract depressive symptoms. So start adding some yogurt to your day.

20 November 2013

Early dating more likely to have problematic behaviours. Or is it the other way?

While I do appreciate correlational studies, it is sometimes frustrating to see them broadcast as a causation. I do wonder if this is the case with a recent study that connected early dating with problematic behaviours. Could it be that problematic behaviours cause people to date early? Typically problematic behaviour issues are connected to an environmental concern (usually at home or school), and therefore couldn’t those who aren’t finding love in their home or school environment search for it by dating early? I think so. So let’s just be aware that there may be other factors at play.

19 November 2013

Social media can be early indicator of suicide ideation

Teens may have difficulty expressing their feelings about suicide to their parents, but it appears easier to express online. Hence that recent research has found that posts on Twitter and Facebook can be early signs and predictors of a teenager considering suicide. It would be great to see social media used a prevention tool.

18 November 2013

Who Knew Kids Could Make You Happy?

I did! But I also know they are one of life’s greatest challenges, but also one of life’s greatest joys. And recent research from the Pew Research Center shows this because they finally asked how parents felt about their duties.

15 November 2013

Shifting to look at ‘what is right’ instead of ‘what is wrong’

Sometimes when we think of counselling or therapy, we think of Sigmund Freud, one of the founders of psychotherapy. One of Freud’s original beliefs is that something is wrong with a person when they come to therapy, and they need to figure out what is wrong and fix it.

This perspective continues to this day, that a counsellor needs to assist in helping a client fix things. However, there is a new approach that asks a different question. That is, what is right? What are your strengths? And how can we build upon those strengths?

This is often called positive psychology. Positive psychology has five beliefs, or pillars, that hold up and point to well-being.

First is positive emotions. Positive emotions are those feelings, or things that are a resource to and in your life. Then there are negative emotions, those feelings and things that are a load or burden to life. The goal is to have more positive emotions, or resources, than negative emotions or load.

Second is engagement. Being engaged in your community, church group, school, or reading club is correlated with being healthier and cheerful and with an increase in alertness. I can remember times as a scout that I did not want to go out and volunteer, but always after completing the service I felt great.

Third is positive relationships. Often, depending on upbringing, it is difficult to tell actual positive relationships from negative ones. John Gottman, the guy who can predict if a marriage will be successful or not, has established a litmus-type test to see if a relationship is positive or not. He found that couples that said at least five positive things to each other for every one negative comment had a positive relationship. That just goes to show how sharp a negative comment is, that it takes five positives to overcome it.

Fourth is meaning. Kelly McConigal in her TED talk Make stress your friend said this about meaning: “Chasing meaning is better for your health, then trying to avoid discomfort…. Go after what creates meaning in your life, and trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.”

Fifth is positive accomplishment. These can be large or small, such as putting the load of laundry that has been washed three times in the dryer, to finishing a class. When our self-efficacy, the ‘belief that we can succeed’ part of our self-esteem, is high we are more likely to set goals, expend effort to reach them, persist at attaining them, and bounce back when the goal needs adjusting.

An example of applying positive psychology would be like this. Think of a time when you overcame a great challenge in your life and succeeded. Then think of which strengths you used to succeed. Then consider how those strengths can be used with a challenge you are facing now.

And that’s how we can begin to start looking at what is right with us, and building on that, instead of focusing on the negative.

09 November 2013

02 November 2013

Removing Shame from the Classroom

I have to admit I am a bandwagon, Brene Brown fan. Ever since her TEDTalk, I have been a fan.