Whole Life Magazine

December 2018 / January 2019

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December 2018/January 2019 11 healthy living By Laura G. Owens It's no surprise that chat rooms are passionate online communities, and unfortunately, nasty communal bully pits. But before you jump all over the trolls (or worse, you're the troll) consider the ripple effect of negative vs. positive words. A study out of UC Davis found that negative messages in chat rooms will bite you far longer than positive messages that provoke good vibes. The difference is pretty significant. Nice words ripple back after just two seconds but the positive messages from others in chat rooms only last for a minute. On the other hand, one instance of negativity perpetuates a stream of negativity for up to 8 minutes. So, unless you're a glutton for verbal punishment, think twice before you go low. In the study, researchers measured the tone of the words using a sentiment analysis toolkit. "This work," the report published in Behavior Research Methods concluded, "can expand the scope of social-influence-based public health policies and ultimately help young people respond maturely to social influences, whether positive or negative, online or offline." Moreover, knowing how negative vs. positive messages persist and snowball helps chat room admins know when to step in and for how long. So, use your nice words. Especially online where anonymity tends to dehumanize others. Be nice not only because it's nice, but because your words will either feed the beasts (for far longer than you expect) or soothe the savage souls. What kind of influencer do you want to be? Ever hang on to a relationship even though you were miserable? You might be surprised at one of the reasons why. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that when people consider ending a relationship, they not only think about their own feelings, they often consider how much their partner wants and (needs) the relationship to continue. Earlier studies found that the amount of time, resources, availability of other partners, and fear of being alone are also factors. But what's interesting in those instances is deciding whether to stay or go was based on self-interest. The current study found more altruistic reasons for sticking it out. "When people perceived that the partner was highly committed to the relationship, they were less likely to initiate a breakup," said Samantha Joel, lead author. "This is true even for people who weren't really committed to the relationship themselves or who were personally unsatisfied with the relationship. Generally, we don't want to hurt our partners and we care about what they want." What researchers don't know is how accurate people's perceptions are of their partner's actual commitment. If someone decides to stay based on their partner's presumed strong commitment, this turns out be a good decision. Otherwise, they just end up prolonging a bad relationship. POSITIVE VS. NEGATIVE CHAT ROOM MESSAGES CREATE DIFFERENT RIPPLE EFFECT WHY WE (SOMETIMES) STAY IN UNHAPPY RELATIONSHIPS MINDFULNESS-BASED COGNITIVE THERAPY REDUCES DEPRESSION RELAPSE Rock Body YOUR As many as four out of five people with depression relapse at some point in their life. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may offer help for people who experience repeated bouts. MBCT is designed to teach people how to recognize and respond constructively to thoughts and feelings associated with depression. It includes guided mindfulness practices, group discussion, and other cognitive behavioral exercises to help people avoid a downward spiral. Researchers in a 2016 meta-analysis out of the University of Oxford found that people who received MBCT were 31% less likely to relapse during the 60-week follow-up compared with those who did not receive MBCT. "While MBCT is not a panacea," says lead author, Willem Kuyken, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, "it does clearly offer those with a substantial history of depression a new approach to learning skills to stay well in the long-term. It offers people a safe and empowering treatment choice alongside other mainstay approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and maintenance antidepressants."

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