“We make contact with other human beings either by projecting ourselves into their world or by introjecting them into our world. We either put ourselves into the shoes of another, or we take them into our inner sense of things. A variety of psychic actions are continually taking place at a deep level, beneath the threshold of awareness, and either they can be of a sort that messes things up for us or they can be creative both for ourselves and for the people with whom we are in close contact. The ego, if you like to call it that, is active, and it does things like identifying with, projecting, introjecting, splitting, or coalescing. Instead, you could say that choices take place at a deep level.”
Narcissism: A New Theory by Neville Symington; page 13
by Susana Mejia
Most Angelinos love rain the most when it stops because Mother Nature indulges Southern California with sunny winters. We are ill-equipped for the rain. I am not limiting this “we” to California’s inhabitants—even our roads and drainage systems are inept:
Photo Courtesy of The Daily Green
Personally, I enjoy rainy days. Maybe it’s because of how surprisingly emotional rain is—it sharpens my thoughts and evokes harbored feelings I’m generally unaware of.
But not many people do. Regardless, no one has special downpour-controlling powers. So what’s the point of making a big fuss? While everyone is rushing to his or her next destination, stressing over wet hair, I invite you to take some time to absorb the falling droplets.
And if that doesn’t help you, consider the day following a storm. Look forward to bright and crisp days!
by Susana Mejia
The first week of Spring Quarter has come to an end, meaning this is probably the best time to rationally discuss stress. Had I waited until Week Four, this post would’ve discussed midterms and the death of my hopes and dreams. Alas, the quarter is young, I have found ways to deal with my stress, and I don’t mind sharing!
Stress is good in small doses. It’s fight or flight. It’s necessary to help us meet our goals. However, too much stress can have detrimental effects on our physical, mental, and behavioral health.
Our body warns us when it feels overwhelmed in much the same way the “Check Engine” light on our car’s dashboard signals it needs maintenance. Knowing how to identify stress plays a key role in helping us deal with it. The repercussions of stress will not go away simply because we choose to ignore them (believe me, that burning car up there is my first car, Cruella).
Some of these signs are physical and easier to identify, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, trouble sleeping, increased heart rate, and nail biting. Additionally, there are behavioral aspects, like overeating or loss of appetite and social isolation. Others are less concrete, ranging from anxiety and depression to irritability and fatigue.
Once you’ve realized that you’re stressed, what happens next? You either sink or you swim. If you don’t know how to swim, don’t fret. We have floaties for you:
Managing Your Stress
- Identify your stressors
- Seek help (whether from a friend, coworker, or professional)
- Practice relaxation techniques
- Manage your time wisely (get a planner)
- Acquire healthy habits (limit junk food and stimulants such as alcohol, nicotine, and sugar)
- Set realistic goals (gain perspective)
- Have an outlet
by Susana Mejia
A few days ago, while on Alcatraz Island, the person who keeps trying to domesticate me found a wallet with $280. Upon finding the owner’s school ID, he discovered the wallet belonged to a 12-year old international student. Knowing that this young girl was probably distraught, he was determined to return it to her with the full sum of money. To make the story short, the girl’s instructor eventually contacted him and he returned the wallet back on the mainland. Amidst shy smiles, the young girl expressed whole-hearted gratitude. This situation, aside from making me really proud of him, inspired me to consider acts of kindness.
Growing up, we were taught about heroes such as the Good Samaritan and philosophies like the Golden Rule and Karma. In practice, doing the good makes you feel good, but why? It is difficult to provide a single reason, but in many cases, feeling good comes from knowing you are a part of something larger than yourself.
As Dr. Richard Ryan of the University of Rochester has pointed out, “A lot of times we think that happiness comes about because you get things for yourself, it turns out that in a paradoxical way, giving gets you more…” Read the rest of this entry »
by Bryce Erich
I am an addict. My addiction? Exercise. If you do an internet search for “exercise addiction” you will find page after page of descriptions and checklists and warning signs for this affliction. After reading many of them, I can confidently say that I suffer from this malady. If I have extra time in my day, I work out. I would rather go to the gym than try a new restaurant or go to a movie. I have often sacrificed doing activities with friends in order to ensure that I get my time in the gym. I have engaged in intensive exercise with serious injuries before having a doctor’s clearance. Casual friends have told me that they think I work out more than what they consider to be normal. I meet so very many of the criteria for this addiction!
Of course, I am not so sure. I work out an average of 8-9 hours per week. That’s about an hour and a half workout, Monday through Friday. This is really a significant decline in how much I have worked out for the vast majority of my life. I have been an athlete all of my life. As an NCAA collegiate athlete my exercise schedule consisted of workouts at 6am, followed by morning and afternoon practices. Five days a week. Basically, I was exercising intensively for 5-6 hours every DAY. Since college I have held international certifications in fitness and sports nutrition and have worked as a personal trainer spending countless hours exercising to perfect routines for clients. Given my lifestyle, does anyone reading this feel that calling me an exercise addict is appropriate? I don’t think so either.
The astute among you will say, “Well, your exercise is not maladaptive, therefore you don’t meet the criteria.” Perhaps that is true, however, many websites warning about exercise addiction do away with the maladaptive specifier and go with the “positive addiction” terminology. My point with this extended exposition is this: popular beliefs have made “addictions” out of everything and instead of medical professionals correcting this trend, they have made the problem worse by cashing in on the marketing and entertainment value of “addictive medicine”.
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by Susana E. Mejia
I am hiding in the bathroom—tears & sweat stain my four year-old face. Inside, my biological mother is sitting in the bathtub holding my younger sister as I guard the locked bathroom door. Outside, her boyfriend for the month is drunk & is threatening our safety. The lodging of a knife into the bathroom door breaks a momentary silence & I thank God, if he’s out there, it missed me.
The episode does not end until police arrive. Fast-forward one year, I am peeking outside our apartment’s door anticipating my biological mother’s arrival because it is late & I am home alone. When I finally spot her, she launches towards me with inexplicable disdain. Not many seconds later, I am bleeding on the floor.
At the age of six, I was adopted into the Mejia household & they noted the difficulties I underwent early in my childhood. Initially, I struggled to acclimate into a new family & felt uncomfortable referring to Mr. and Mrs. Mejia as “mom & dad.” Eventually, I accepted my new family & noted the positive change of scenery they brought to my life. Unfortunately, though I was comfortable in my loving home, I frequently suffered peculiar fears: I was scared of the dark, being in bathrooms alone, & becoming like my biological mother, among other things. I felt weak & understood at a young age that while my parents could try to help me, nothing would change until I, myself, chose not to let fear run my life. Read the rest of this entry »
By Naj Alikhan
When John Ioannidis started combing through the findings of his colleague’s research, he expected to be spending his time validating what had already become popular knowledge. It was supposed to be a simple task of reevaluating the data that doctors use everyday to help diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments. Like most of us, he expected research methods to be consistently held to a high standard. Yet, his analysis brought him to a shocking conclusion: researchers come up with the wrong findings most of the time.
As a meta-researcher, someone who studies the credibility of medical research, Ioannidis has made a career out of analyzing research data for inconsistencies in the scientific method. Both of Ioannidis’ parents were physician-researchers and he was a math prodigy in high school. Later, he too entered into medicine, combining his understanding of statistical analysis with medical research. You might say that there was never a better man to answer the question “Can any medical research be trusted?”
We can all think of at least of few times medical research has been heralded, then refuted, then, in some cases, heralded again. Do antioxidants prevent cancer? Which types? How effective are anti-depressants really? And we mustn’t forget the hormone replacement therapy debacle. Despite these embarrassments, we all still depend on the objective and rigorously acquired data of medical research. But should we?
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