• An Intolerance of Uncertainty is Linked to Anxiety and Depression. Here’s How to Get Better at Tolerating It by K. Wong

An Intolerance of Uncertainty is Linked to Anxiety and Depression. Here’s How to Get Better at Tolerating It by K. Wong

I find some of what follows applicable to religious thought not just to mental health (anxiety, depression).

Many Christians, those of other faiths, and even many atheists, act completely certain about topics such as religion, salvation, the after-life, or if a deity (or deities) exist.

This following page reminds me a little bit of Pete Enns’ work on the topic of certainty in Christianity:

The Sin of Certainty by Pete Enns

“The controversial evangelical Bible scholar and author of The Bible Tells Me So explains how Christians mistake “certainty” and “correct belief” for faith when what God really desires is trust and intimacy.”

I’ve become more comfortable with uncertainty over the last few years and find myself rather put-off by people who claim to understand everything perfectly, who act as though they understand why everything happens, to claim to know definitely that a God does not exist, and so forth.

Being at that level of certainty can make a person arrogant or closed-off to considering other views, or to considering that maybe their opinions or understanding of some topic or another may be incorrect.

An Intolerance of Uncertainty is Linked to Anxiety and Depression. Here’s How to Get Better at Tolerating It

Excerpts:

If you’ve ever taken a philosophy class, you’ve probably heard of the Socratic paradox: “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”

It advocates for the benefits of uncertainty, a point of view that happens to be backed by modern psychological science, too. Namely, uncertainty “improves our decisions, promotes empathy, and boosts creativity,” says Jamie Holmes, a Future Tense Fellow at New America and author of the book, Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing.

Likewise, a 2014 study suggests that uncertainty can also be motivating. A little uncertainty is good for you.

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• ‘Trail to Zero’ Horseback Ride Raises Awareness for Veteran Suicides, Provides Therapeutic Relief

‘Trail to Zero’ Horseback Ride Raises Awareness for Veteran Suicides, Provides Therapeutic Relief

BraveHearts’ ‘Trail to Zero’ Horseback Ride around the Big Apple Aims to Make a Dent in the Veterans Suicide Rate 

‘Trail to Zero’ Horseback Ride Raises Awareness for Veteran Suicides, Provides Therapeutic Relief

By Alexandria Hein | Fox News
September 2018

Military veterans and their family members mounted horses on Saturday for the second annual “Trail to Zero” ride through Manhattan in order to raise awareness for the high suicide rate in their community.

The ride, which was sponsored by the nonprofit BraveHearts, also intended to teach veterans how to ride horses as a form of therapy.

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• Stereotype Threat, Girls, Women, Text Anxiety, and Choosing Careers

“Stereotype Threat” is someone mentioned only briefly in my past related post, “Are Schools or Pedagogical Systems Designed to Favor Girls Over Boys? No, Not By and Large“.

I wanted to use this post to include links to studies and articles about this topic.

Sexism, gender bias, and gender stereotypes – including Stereotype Threat – can and do play a role in why girls and women may under-perform in certain subjects, shy away from others, and influence which careers they enter.

If Women Assume Fake Names, They Do Better on Math Tests

Assuming a false name helped women perform better on math tests

There’s a long standing myth that men are better at math than women. Women know this myth, and if you remind them of it before a test, they tend to do worse than they would have otherwsie.

This is called “stereotype threat,” and it happens in the real world all the time.

One team of researchers was interested in whether or not they could reverse this drop in performance by having women assume fake identities.

What they found was that assuming a false name did help women perform better.

Here’s what happened when the researchers gave women fake names. Women who took the test under a false name—male or female—performed significantly better than women who took the test with their own name at the top. Men were completely unaffected by the name on the top of their paper.

Teacher bias may help discourage girls from math, study finds

by Linda Carroll / Mar.10.2015

Despite all the talk about encouraging girls in math and science, many teachers still harbor unconscious biases that dissuade girls from going into these fields, a new study suggests.

Israeli researchers found a gender bias in math grades given to girls and boys at the elementary school level, according to the report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Our results suggest that teachers themselves are part of the problem,” said the study’s lead author, Edith Sand, an economist at the Bank of Israel and an instructor at the Tel-Aviv University’s Berglas School of Economics. “They are discouraging girls and encouraging boys to get to a higher level of math and science. So there’s a gender gap in the teachers’ perceptions of their students.”

  Sand discovered the gender bias by comparing the results of tests scored by teachers who knew the children and their names, to those graded by outside scorers who weren’t told anything about the identity of the test takers.

What she saw was striking. When teachers knew the children’s names and identities, they graded the girls lower in math than the outside grader, while scoring the boys higher. As a test, the researchers checked to see if the same kind of bias was occurring in other school subjects—it wasn’t.

To see if there was any long term fallout from the biased grading, the researchers followed the children all the way through high school. They found that girls who had been downgraded in elementary school were less likely to sign up for advanced math and science courses in high school.

The researchers suspect that the bias is unconscious. “I am sure they are completely unaware of it,” Sand said.

This isn’t the first study to show that girls’ interest in math tends to drop off as they get older, but it may well be the first showing that teacher bias could be part of the problem, said Patrick Tolan, a professor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and director of Youth-Nex, the UVA Center to Promote Effective Youth Development.

Are Women Worse at Math? It’s Time to Stop Asking

…. In my case, I had been subconsciously primed with words related to femininity (like pink, lipstick, and doll) [during the psychological test]. Some subjects in the study were primed with neutral words instead.

In studies like these, as in the calculus one, women who see feminine words subsequently do worse on the math test than those who don’t.

Researchers have even found that women taking math tests under stereotype threat show activity in regions of the brain associated with the processing of negative social information — we get anxious.

…Is it true? Are women innately worse at math?

A lot of researchers have tried to definitively answer this question, generating huge amounts of controversy in the meantime. The problem is that when it comes to women and men’s performance in math, there are no control groups.

Cultural stereotypes about gender and mathematical ability are pervasive and it’s extremely difficult to separate performance gaps based on these stereotypes from performance gaps based on ‘innate’ talent.

…Notably, one widely documented study on stereotype threat found that when Asian-American women were reminded of their Asian identities their math performance improved, while reminders of their femininity had the opposite effect.

The upshot of all this is that even if there are innate mathematical abilities, their significance pales in comparison to the effects that culture has on mathematical performance.

And certainly, given the weight of evidence for stereotyping effects, innate mathematical differences cannot be used, as some do, to justify gender gaps in technical fields. It’s time to stop obsessively trying to find differences between men and women and to focus that energy on breaking down the cultural norms that keep girls out of math.

Ladies of Science – Responding to “The Stereotype Threat”

Snippet:

While a lot has been done to combat the explicit stereotyping of women in STEM, implicit biases persist, even in individuals who actively reject stereotypes.

Mahzarin Banaji, a professor of social ethics at Harvard University, has developed a virtual laboratory for exploring unconscious beliefs about gender and science stereotypes.

Nearly half a million people from around the world have taken the test over the course of the past 16 years and nearly 70 percent readily associate “male” with science and “female” with arts. [Editor’s note: Banaji’s test is available online. Find out about your own implicit biases here.]

Stereotype Threat and Women’s Math Performance

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• So Funny, It Doesn’t Hurt – Can Improv Be A Form of Therapy? Some Psychologists Think So.

So Funny, It Doesn’t Hurt 
Can Improv Be A Form of Therapy? Some Psychologists Think So.

… For some, the benefits can be even more significant: Researchers and clinical psychologists alike have begun to pay attention to improv, conducting studies or incorporate it into work with their patients.

The improv stage, in theory, is a space free of judgment or fear of failure, making it an ideal environment for people who struggle with low self-esteem, social anxiety, or other types of anxiety disorders.

While not a substitute for therapy, some psychologists believe improv can be an effective complement, in part because of the way it mirrors the patient/therapist dynamic….

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• The Insidious Effects of Verbal Abuse in the Workplace by C. Romm

The Insidious Effects of Verbal Abuse in the Workplace by C. Romm

….The physical and emotional effects of verbal and emotional abuse at work — whether it comes from a boss or a colleague — can linger for a long time. The Cut talked to experts on workplace abuse about how to recognize it, the toll it takes on workers, and why it so often flies under the radar.

It’s not always so easily identified.
Explosive outbursts are pretty obviously problematic, but abuse in the office often takes a sneakier form, explains Loraleigh Keashly, a professor of communication at Wayne State University who studies conflict resolution.

In a 1996 study titled “Emotional Abuse in the Workplace,” Keashly and her colleagues defined it as “hostile verbal and nonverbal behaviors that are not explicitly tied to sexual or racial content yet are directed at gaining compliance from others” — a definition that included yelling and screaming, but also things name-calling, gossip, interrupting, ignoring someone, and withholding information.

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• Study: Tea Can Reduce Stress by 25%

Study: Tea Can Reduce Stress by 25%

A cup of tea really can help reduce stress at times of crisis, claim scientists (2009)

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent

Putting the kettle on at times of crisis really can help claim scientists who found that tea-making reduces stress levels by up to a quarter.

The study, by psychologist Dr Malcolm Cross at City University London, confirms what millions of tea-lovers have long believed – that if you are upset or anxious, it pays to make a brew.

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• Why Victims of Shaming Blame Themselves Rather Than Holding Their Cruel Tormentors Accountable – The School of Life

Why Victims of Shaming Blame Themselves Rather Than Holding Their Cruel Tormentors Accountable – The School of Life

Why Victims of Shaming Blame Themselves Rather Than Holding Their Cruel Tormentors Accountable

In a gently consoling animation, the consistently insightful School of Life, explains how victims of shaming are more likely to turn that shame on themselves.

They essentially allow their own self-worth and self-esteem to be lowered by those who shame them, instead of turning it back on their cruel tormentors who more than likely, carry shame within themselves.

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