Psychology in the News ...

Scientists Detect Genetic Link Between Blood Test Results And Some Mental Disorders   Science Alert - April 8, 2022
Mental health disorders including depression, schizophrenia, and anorexia show links to biological markers detected in routine blood tests, according to our new study of genetic, biochemical and psychiatric data from almost a million people.

'Switching off' specific brain cells protects against stress   Medical Express - March 18, 2021
It is well known that long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious psychiatric problems. However, the precise mechanisms underpinning the stress response have remained elusive. Recent advances in microscopic imaging by researchers from Japan have led to the exciting discovery of a small group of brain cells that control stress-induced responses. These cells could be the key to understanding the origin of stress-related mental disorders.

Anxiety and PTSD linked to increased myelin in brain's gray matter   Medical Express - January 6, 2022
A recent study links anxiety behavior in rats, as well as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans, to increased myelin - a substance that expedites communication between neurons in areas of the brain associated with emotions and memory.

Brain Signals Associated With OCD Discovered by Scientists For First Time   Science Alert - January 4, 2022
Scientists have been able to observe brain activity linked with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in more detail than ever before - and if these neural signals can be identified, it opens up the possibility of being able to change them as well. OCD can affect up to two in every 100 adults, and while various behavioral treatments and drugs are available, it's estimated that 25-40 percent of those with OCD don't get any sustained benefits from them. The disorder can involve intrusive thoughts and compulsive behavior, affecting daily life and causing distress.

Adaptive brain response to stress - and its absence - in people with depression   Medical Express - June 9, 2021
A new study identifies a novel biomarker indicating resilience to chronic stress. This biomarker is largely absent in people suffering from major depressive disorder, and this absence is further associated with pessimism in daily life.

Researchers have shown that a build-up of cellular 'trash' in the brain can actually cause neurodegeneration, and even death   Medical Express - November 19, 2020
Researchers at Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have recently shown that a build-up of cellular 'trash' in the brain can actually cause neurodegeneration, and even death.

Fatigued by The News? You Might Have 'Epistemic Exhaustion' or knowledge related exhaustion   Science Alert - November 19, 2020
An endless flow of information is coming at us constantly: It might be an article a friend shared on Facebook with a sensational headline or wrong information about the spread of the coronavirus. It could even be a call from a relative wanting to talk about a political issue. For many, this year has been full of uncertainty. In particular, the coronavirus pandemic has generated uncertainty about health, about best practices and about the future. At the same time, Americans have faced uncertainty about the US presidential election: first due to delayed results and now over questions about a peaceful transition of power.

Here's Why Narcissists Never Really Learn From Their Mistakes   Science Alert - August 15, 2020
Sometimes even those with narcissistic tendencies don't like looking in the mirror. New research has found that people who excessively approve of themselves are unwilling to reflect on their mistakes. When something unforeseen and unfortunate happens, a narcissist appears less inclined to ask, "What could I have done differently?" and more inclined to throw up their hands and cry, "No one could have seen this coming!" At first, this might sound like a humble statement for a narcissist. It's certainly more modest than claiming you knew it all along (a concept known as hindsight bias). But when someone's predictions have been clearly proved wrong, the researchers behind the latest study suggest narcissists go into self-protection mode and start blaming it on the unpredictability of the universe.

Psychologists show that embedding primes in a person's speech can influence people's decision   Medical Express - July 27, 2020

In both psychology and magic circles, primes are known as actions or words that unconsciously influence the thinking of another person One example is a policeman interrogating a witness tapping his ring while inquiring about jewelry a suspect might have been wearing. It is a technique magicians have used for years. They prime a person or audience by giving them subtle verbal or physical clues to get them to choose a number during a guessing trick, or a card during a card trick. In this new effort, the researchers tested the practice to see if it actually works.

8 Ways Procrastination and Depression are Linked. Procrastination is a very common aspect of depression.   Psychology Today - September 30, 2019
1. When people are depressed they often lose interest in activities they normally enjoy. This can lead to procrastination about even fun activities. Even if the person thinks they might like to attend an event, they may hesitate about committing due to fear they won't feel up to it when the time rolls around.

2. People who deal with stress by putting problems in their ‘too hard basket’ are more vulnerable to getting depressed. There is a huge chicken and egg relationship here. If you ruminate about problems rather than tackling them head-on, it can contribute to worsening depression, but depression can also make people feel frozen.

What's So Important about Psychiatric Diagnosis? Getting the right treatment means first getting the right diagnosis.   Psychology Today - September 30, 2019

Researcher decodes the brain to help patients with mental illnesses   Medical Express - August 16, 2019
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness in a given year. Severe mental illnesses cause the brain to have trouble dealing with cognitively effortful states, like focusing attention over long periods of time, discriminating between two things that are difficult to tell apart, and responding quickly to information that is coming in fast.

It's all about depression
Broken heart syndrome linked with cancer   Medical Express - July 17, 2019
Broken heart syndrome, also called takotsubo syndrome, occurs when the heart's main pumping chamber temporarily enlarges and doesn't pump well. Although the syndrome may feel like a heart attack, with chest pain and shortness of breath, there is no heart muscle damage and no blockage in the coronary arteries feeding the heart. Broken heart syndrome can be triggered by emotional or physical stress, but this international study of patients from 26 centers provides the strongest association yet between the syndrome and cancer.

Individuals who attempt suicide carry an increased genetic liability for depression, regardless of their psychiatric disorder they are affected by   Medical Express - June 5, 2019
Suicide is a worldwide public health problem with more than 800,000 deaths due to suicide each year. Suicide and suicide attempts have an emotional toll on families and friends of those who died, as well as on attempt survivors.

Burnout is an official medical diagnosis, World Health Organization says   CNN - May 28, 2019
It's a feeling of extreme work stress that's long been embedded in the cultural lexicon, and now it might be codified in your medical records as well. Burnout is now a legitimate medical diagnosis, according to the International Classification of Diseases, or the ICD-11, the World Health Organization's handbook that guides medical providers in diagnosing diseases. Burnout now appears in the ICD-11's section on problems related to employment or unemployment. According to the handbook, doctors can diagnose someone with burnout if they meet the following symptoms:

1. feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

2. increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job

3. reduced professional efficacy

Video Game Addiction Becomes Official Mental Disorder in Controversial Decision by WHO   Live Science - May 28, 2019
Video games can be highly engrossing, but can some people become addicted to gaming? The World Health Organization (WHO) says yes. Recently, the WHO officially recognized "gaming disorder" as a mental health condition adding the disorder to the International Classification of Diseases, or the ICD-11, the organization's official diagnostic manual, according to CBS News. Simply playing a lot of video games isn't enough to count as a disorder. Rather, the disorder occurs when gaming interferes with people's daily lives. According to the WHO, gaming disorder is a "pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior" in which people lose control of their gaming behavior, give priority to gaming over other interests and activities, and continue gaming despite negative consequences, such as impairments in their family relationships, social lives, work duties or other areas.

Does Your Life Have Purpose? The Answer Could Affect How Long You Live   Live Science - May 24, 2019
A new study suggests that purposeful living is linked to decreased risk of early death in those older than age 50

Depression in 20s linked to memory loss in 50s, psychologists find   Medical Express - March 21, 2019
A new large-scale longitudinal study carried out by University of Sussex psychologists has found a clear link between episodes of depression and anxiety experienced by adults in their twenties, thirties and forties, with a decrease in memory function by the time they are in their fifties.

Study firms up diet and depression link   Medical Express - October 10, 2018
Does fast food contribute to depression? Can a healthy diet combat mental illness? In an unusual experiment, James Cook University researchers in Australia have found that among Torres Strait Islander people the amount of fish and processed food eaten is related to depression.

Scientists show change in beliefs associated with dopamine in brain   Medical Express - October 10, 2018
For the first time, scientists have been able to image brain activity when people change their short-term beliefs, and to relate this brain activity to dopamine function in humans. UK scientists monitored brain activity when people changed simple beliefs about the causes of their perceptions, but the results may have important implications for understanding how the brain supports the formation of more general beliefs.

People Across the Globe Feeling More Sad, Stressed and in Pain Than Ever   Live Science - September 12, 2018
The world isn't feeling so hot - emotionally, that is. A new survey of people's daily emotions found that, worldwide, reports of negative emotions - including sadness, worry and stress - have increased over the last decade, reaching a record high in 2017. What's more, reports of positive emotions dipped slightly in 2017 compared with the previous year, according to the survey, from Gallup, the analytics and advice company.

FDA approves brain stimulation device for OCD   Medical Express - August 17, 2018
Transcranial magnetic stimulation uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. The FDA approved it as a treatment for major depression in 2008 and for treating pain associated with certain migraines in 2013. Transcranial magnetic stimulation has shown its potential to help patients suffering from depression and headaches. No serious reactions to treatment with the device were reported, according to the FDA.

Schizophrenia Is a Mystery, But This Discovery Might Change Things   Seeker - March 17, 2018
Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that has been fascinating scientists for hundreds of years because it is not yet understood. However, we may have finally found the root of this devastating disorder, it starts when the brain is forming in the womb. Schizophrenia causes people to hallucinate, have a distorted view of reality, and experience extremely disordered thinking. Brain function can be so badly affected that it’s disabling.

Why Are So Many People So Unhappy?   Live Science - January 25, 2018
The problem is that much of what determines happiness is outside of our control. Some of us are genetically predisposed to see the world through rose-colored glasses, while others have a generally negative outlook. Bad things happen, to us and in the world. People can be unkind, and jobs can be tedious.

Gene Location for Paranoia Found   Live Science - January 17, 2018
Our genes shape the way we look and how our bodies work, and looking at specific genes or snippets of DNA can offer scientists a glimpse of the control panels for many different physical traits. But researchers are still piecing together the relationship between genes and behavior, and indeed, little is known about how certain types of genes can influence human psychology. Recently, a rare disorder known as Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) gave scientists an unprecedented opportunity to pinpoint the location of certain genetic activity associated with paranoia, a mental condition that frequently occurs in people with PWS. Many traits found in people with PWS including paranoia - are associated with anomalies in two genes on a single chromosome. In a new study, scientists investigated the genetic makeup of people with the syndrome, noting which individuals exhibited more signs of paranoid behavior and looking for patterns in gene expression, which is the activation of information coded in a gene, to shape a particular trait.

Scientists Surprised to Find No Two Neurons Are Genetically Alike   Scientific American - May 3, 2017
The genetic makeup of any given brain cell differs from all others. That realization may provide clues to a range of psychiatric diseases. The past few decades have seen intensive efforts to find the genetic roots of neurological disorders, from schizophrenia to autism. But the genes singled out so far have provided only sketchy clues. Even the most important genetic risk factors identified for autism, for example, may only account for a few percent of all cases.

In my experience as a therapist, people who suffer from PTSD were genetically predisposed to mental illness before the traumatic event happened.

First molecular genetic evidence of PTSD heritability discovered   Science Daily - April 25, 2017
The report extends previous findings that showed that there is some shared genetic overlap between PTSD and other mental disorders such as schizophrenia. It also finds that genetic risk for PTSD is strongest among women. many people exposed to even extreme traumatic events do not develop PTSD. Why is that? We believe that genetic variation is an important factor contributing to this risk or resilience

Wiring of the 'little brain' linked to multiple forms of mental illness   Medical Express - April 11, 2017
Having a single mental illness like anxiety, depression or schizophrenia is hard enough on its own. But studies consistently show that up to half of people with one mental illness also experience one or more additional forms of mental illness at the same time. The high numbers of patients who suffer from multiple forms of mental illness has many researchers shifting focus away from studying individual disorders and instead hunting for common mechanisms or risk factors that might cause all types of mental disorders. Read more at:

Why Breathing Deeply Helps You Calm Down   Live Science - March 31, 2017
Deep breaths can settle your nerves, and now scientists have discovered the neural pathway in the brain that controls this process. In an experiment on mice, scientists identified a circuit of neurons - a tiny cluster of a mere 350 nerve cells, among millions in the mouse brain - that regulate the connection between breathing and the higher-order brain activity that affects how calmly or worked up the mice behaved. When the scientists removed these cells, they found that the mice still breathed normally, but they were uncharacteristically calm. This discovery may someday lead to therapies to help people who have anxiety, stress and panic attacks

Do Schizophrenia and Autism Share the Same Root?   Scientific American - March 22, 2017
New research suggests the two conditions may be different outcomes of one genetic syndrome. In children with a deletion on chromosome 22, having autism does not boost the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life, according to a new study1. The children in the study have 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, which is linked to a 25-fold increase in the risk of developing a psychotic condition such as schizophrenia. A deletion in the region is also associated with an increased risk of autism. Some researchers have suggested that the relatively high autism prevalence in this population is the result of misdiagnoses of early signs of schizophrenia.

Patients with OCD have difficulty learning when a stimulus is safe   Medical Express - March 6, 2017
People who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are poorer at learning about the safety of a stimulus than healthy volunteers, which may contribute to their struggles to overcome compulsive behavior. OCD is a disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive, irrational behaviors, for example an obsession with cleanliness leading to repetitive hand washing, or a fear that something terrible will happen if they don't check the door dozens of times, making leaving the house extremely difficult.

Fractal edges shown to be key to imagery seen in Rorschach inkblots   Science Daily - February 14, 2017
Researchers have unlocked the mystery of why people have seen so many different images in Rorschach inkblots. The image associations are induced by fractal characteristics at the edges of the blots and depend on the scaling parameters of the patterns, says researcher. Fractals are objects with irregular curves or shapes and are recognizable building blocks of nature. Trees, clouds, rivers, galaxies, lungs and neurons are fractals. The new discovery isn't about improving inkblots for psychological assessments -- their use became controversial and mostly set aside in the last 20 years. It does, however, have implications for Taylor's efforts to design a fractal based retinal implant and for potentially improving materials used for camouflage.

Study reveals what happens when depression, anxiety coincide with minor injury   Medical Express - January 4, 2017
When someone breaks a leg or fractures a rib, injuries considered relatively minor, providers often don't look beyond what's initially required to help that person heal. Research revealed that someone who arrives in the emergency department needing help for a minor injury and who also expresses symptoms of depression and anxiety at that time will likely experience poorer work performance and increased health-related time in bed 12 months out.

Personality traits and psychiatric disorders linked to specific genomic locations   Medical Express - December 8, 2017
Five psychological factors are commonly used to measure individual differences in personality:

Extraversion (versus introversion) reflects talkativeness, assertiveness and a high activity level

Neuroticism (versus emotional stability) reflects negative affect, such as anxiety and depression

Agreeableness (versus antagonism) measures cooperativeness and compassion

Conscientiousness (versus undependability) indicates diligence and self-discipline

Openness to experience (versus being closed to experience) suggests intellectual curiosity and creativity

Scientists find new genetic roots of schizophrenia   Science Daily - October 20, 2017
Using a recently developed technology for analyzing DNA, scientists have found dozens of genes and two major biological pathways that are likely involved in the development of the disorder but had not been uncovered in previous genetic studies of schizophrenia. The work provides important new information about how schizophrenia originates and points the way to more detailed studies -- and possibly better treatments in the future. Schizophrenia is a chronic, disabling mental illness whose symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions and cognitive problems. The illness afflicts about 1 percent of the human population.

Scientists Can Make People Hallucinate Using Flickering Image   Live Science - October 17, 2017
How can we measure the mind? When you ask someone what they're thinking about, what they tell you is not necessarily the truth. This doesn't mean they're lying. It means many environmental, social and personal influences can change what someone tells us. If I put on a white lab coat, suit or t-shirt and ask you a bunch of questions, what I wear will change what you say. This was demonstrated in the famous Milgrim experiments in the 1960s, which showed the power of perceived authority to control others' behavior. People want to be liked, or give a certain impression. This is commonly referred to as impression management and is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome in scientific research. Neuroscientists have made notable advances in measuring the anatomy of the brain and its regions at different scales. But they've made few big advances in measuring the mind, which is what people think, feel and experience. The mind is notoriously difficult to measure; but it needs to be done as it will aid development of new treatments for mental and neurological disorders.

What's really going on in PTSD brains? Experts suggest new theory   Medical Express - October 7, 2017
All experts in the field now agree that PTSD indeed has its roots in very real, physical processes within the brain - and not in some sort of psychological "weakness". But no clear consensus has emerged about what exactly has gone "wrong" in the brain. The bottom line, they say, is that people with PTSD appear to suffer from disrupted context processing. That's a core brain function that allows people and animals to recognize that a particular stimulus may require different responses depending on the context in which it is encountered. It's what allows us to call upon the "right" emotional or physical response to the current encounter.

Do these genes make me lonely? Study finds loneliness is a heritable trait   Medical Express - September 20, 2017
Loneliness is linked to poor physical and mental health, and is an even more accurate predictor of early death than obesity. The heritability of loneliness has been examined before, in twins and other studies of both children and adults. From these, researchers estimated that 37 to 55 percent of loneliness is determined by genetics.The researchers also determined that loneliness tends to be co-inherited with neuroticism (long-term negative emotional state) and a scale of depressive symptoms. Weaker evidence suggested links between heritable loneliness and schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. In contrast to previous studies, the researchers did not find loneliness to be associated with variations in specific candidate genes, such as those that encode dopamine or oxytocin.

The Science of Boredom   Live Science - September 20, 2017
Though boredom is as familiar a feeling as excitement or fear, science has only begun to understand what makes people bored. Recently, six scientists who emerged after living for a year in isolation on the Mauna Loa volcano as part of the HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) experiment, which simulated the isolation that future space travelers might experience traveling to and living on Mars, said that boredom was their biggest challenge. Boredom "has been understudied until fairly recently, but it''s worth studying because human experience has consequences for how we interact with each our and our environment.

Is Your 'Self' Just an Illusion?   Live Science - September 8, 2017
Are "you" just an illusion, a mix of experiences and "stuff" in the universe? What is a "self," anyway? What does it mean to be a self? What are the requirements of selfhood? The nature of self is one of philosophy's perennial and persistent questions. Self is easy to describe, yet maddening to decipher. Part philosophy of the mind, part biology of the brain, it combines two elusive ideas: the philosophy of continuity (how things persist through time) and the biopsychology of psychic unity (how the brain makes us feel singular). I see; I hear; I feel. How do separate perceptions bind together into a continuing, coherent whole? How do sentient properties congeal as "me"?

The mind body connection begins at the soul level -> then spirals down to the physical mind where it is processed by the emotional body -> then is played out by the physical body. It's all about one's DNA programming for experience.

New insights into how the mind influences the body   Medical Express - August 17, 2017
Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have identified the neural networks that connect the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla, which is responsible for the body's rapid response in stressful situations. Specifically, the findings shed new light on how stress, depression and other mental states can alter organ function, and show that there is a real anatomical basis for psychosomatic illness. The research also provides a concrete neural substrate that may help explain why meditation and certain exercises such as yoga and Pilates can be so helpful in modulating the body's responses to physical, mental and emotional stress.

Common brain changes found in children with autism, ADHD and OCD   Science Daily - July 27, 2017
A team of scientists has found similarities in brain impairments in children with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. The study involved brain imaging of white matter in 200 children. Many of the behaviors that contribute to impairment in autism, ADHD, and OCD, such as attention problems or social difficulties, occur across these conditions, and differ in severity from person to person. The researchers found that the brain's white matter structure was associated with a spectrum of behavioral symptoms present across these diagnoses. Children with greater brain impairment also had higher impairments in functioning in daily life, regardless of their diagnosis.

Anxiety, Depression, or Both?   Scientific American - May 22, 2017
Anxiety and depression are both challenging disorders - to make matters worse, they occur together up to 50% of the time. Depression and anxiety are fundamentally different - depression is based in hopelessness and helplessness, while anxiety is steeped in fear of the uncertain. But even though they're different, they overlap in many ways. Here are five big similarities:
#1: Irritability.
#2: Problems sleeping.
#3: Difficulty concentrating.
#4: Restlessness.
#5: No fun.

What Happens in Our Brains When We Hallucinate?   Discovery - March 14, 2017
Voices in your head? Visions of things that aren't there? You don't have to have schizophrenia or take LSD to have a hallucination, and they don't always have to be scary either. It turns out that many everyday high functioning people occasionally do have what technically is a hallucination. Researchers recently found that nearly 1 in 20 of the general population report hearing or seeing things - when fully awake - that others don't. So what is a hallucination? It's a 'false perception' of reality and it can occur with a whole range of senses, but the most common ones are visual and auditory hallucinations. Normally our brain is good at distinguishing between a sound or image that is occurring in the outside world, and one that is just a product of our mind. But occasionally something can go awry. One major theory is that hallucinations are caused when something goes wrong in the relationship between the brain's frontal lobe and the sensory cortex. (View the pictures.)

One reason is to understand and work out their own issues. Another - people with emotional problems find it boring to live with someone who is balanced and peaceful. What they don't realize is the amount of work they put into a dysfunctional relationships is overwhelming to the body, mind, and soul --> burnout.

Disordered Pairs: People More Likely to Find a Mate with a Similar Psychiatric Condition   Scientific American - March 2, 2017
New research provides evidence that partners are more similar in psychiatric status than chance would predict. The idea that 'opposites attract' may seem to hold true often enough, but it is definitely not the whole story: When it comes to choosing a partner, people actually tend to pair up with those similar to them - in qualities ranging from height and weight to education, income and personality.

7 Ways To Make Therapy More Affordable   Huffington Post - January 25, 2017
Depending on where you live and what kind of insurance you have, the price can be upwards of $80 to $200 for one 45- to 60-minute session. But here's the truth: Therapy doesn't have to expensive in order to work. There are multiple options to get the help and treatment you deserve -- and getting that help is crucial.
1. Try sliding scale therapy.
2. Look into university counseling centers.
3. Research free therapy options.
4. Look into participating in research studies.
5. Go to a community-based organization.
6. Try group therapy.
7. Look into an online program.

You Are Not Alone: A Conversation About OCD   Huffington Post - January 25, 2017
Do you hide your worrisome thoughts from others so they don't think poorly of you? Or, do you share them to relieve the intense anxiety you feel and others try to talk you out of them which you know can't work? Do you do things you do compulsively knowing they just relieve anxiety but don't make a lot of sense? Do you try to hide them so no one thinks you're crazy? (You're not.)

Brief Psychotic Breaks Remain a Mystery   Live Science - January 17, 2017
Not all psychotic episodes signal the beginning of a long-term mental health disorder like schizophrenia. In fact, when patients experience one of these short-term breaks with reality, it's not precisely clear how the individuals should be diagnosed. Now, a new study finds there are no significant differences in the prognosis for patients who have four different types of brief psychotic episodes. (Such episodes may involve hallucinations or delusions, or less severe symptoms such as disorientation, disorganized thinking or speech that doesn't make sense.) The new findings, based on a review of research covering 11,133 patients, highlight how little is understood about how psychosis may progress, the researchers said.

Light Therapy Is More Effective Than Prozac In Major Depression   Epoch Times - December 23, 2015
Bright light therapy has a proven track record of success in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), commonly referred to as the winter blues. A new study from the University of British Columbia shows that this simple and safe therapy is effective for non-seasonal major depression. In fact, researchers showed light therapy was much more effective than fluoxetine (Prozac).

5 Ways to Create Happier, More Meaningful Days   Huffington Post - November 27, 2015
1. Focus on less and do more.
2. Choose your food wisely.
3. Move more.
4. Sleep.
5. Cultivate relationships.

The search for happiness: Using MRI to find where happiness happens   Science Daily - November 20, 2015
Researchers have mapped out using MRI where happiness emerges in the brain. The study paves the way for measuring happiness objectively - and also provides insights on a neurologically based way of being happy. Exercising, meditating, scouring self-help books... we go out of our way to be happy, but do we really know what happiness is?

9 Sneaky Causes Of Depression   Huffington Post - November 12, 2015
For some people, sub-zero temperatures aren't the only difficult side effect of winter. Approximately 10 million Americans also experience seasonal affective disorder, a depression-related mental health condition that waxes and wanes depending on the time of year. 1. Chronic illness
2. Smoking
3. Excessive social media use
4. Your neighborhood
5. Diet
6. Too much sitting
7. A lack of sleep
8. Brain inflammation
9. Not putting your needs first

Relationship between sympathy, helping others could provide clues to development of altruism   Science Daily - September 29, 2015
Developmental psychologists long have debated whether individuals volunteer and help others because they are sympathetic or whether they are sympathetic because they are prosocial. Now, new research helps clarify some of the confusion, which could lead to better interventions to promote positive behaviors in adolescents and clues as to what makes some individuals altruistic.

10 Things Emotionally-Intelligent People Do Not Do   Huffington Post - September 10, 2015
Emotional intelligence is probably the most powerful yet undervalued trait in our society. We believe in rooting our everyday functions in logic and reason, yet we come to the same conclusions after long periods of contemplation as we do in the blink of an eye. Our leaders sorely overlook the human element of our socio-political issues and I need not cite the divorce rate for you to believe that we're not choosing the right partners (nor do we have the capacity to sustain intimate relationships for long periods of time).
1. They don't assume that the way they think and feel about a situation is the way it is in reality, nor how it will turn out in the end.
2. Their emotional base points are not external.
3. They don't assume to know what it is that will make them truly happy.
4. They don't think that being fearful is a sign they are on the wrong path.
5. They know that happiness is a choice, but they don't feel the need to make it all the time.
6. They don't allow their thoughts to be chosen for them.
7. They recognize that infallible composure is not emotional intelligence.
8. They know that a feeling will not kill them.
9. They don't just become close friends with anyone.
10. They don't confuse a bad feeling for a bad life.