Showing posts with label Psychology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Psychology. Show all posts

August 20, 2019

Shopping Vs Psychiatrist

This sign had a pretty good point:
"Shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist."

Plus it's more fun and you get to take the junk home that you buy.

For many, shopping truly is a form of mental/stress relief--almost like medicine. 

Unfortunately, if you think about it, things don't really make a person happy...rather people do and doing good does. 

But industry wants you to think a lot more superficially and materialistically than that. 

Hence the notion that if you take your daily dose of shopping, maybe you can skip the shrink! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 18, 2018

Memory Comes In 3's

So it seems like the human mind can fundamentally only remember things in threes.

Whether it's a joke about serving 3 meals: Frozen, Microwave, and Take-out. 

Or Even washing your hair: Wash, Rinse, Repeat. 

How about what to do when there is an:

Active Shooter: Run, Hide, Fight

Fire: Stop, Drop, Roll

Earthquake: Drop, Cover, Hold On

G-d forbid there should be 4 or more steps to do something, and mankind would be beyond his/her mental limitations and at a virtual standstill. 

So read, remember, and use this appropriately--that's the 3 things to do now with this post. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 3, 2018

We All Have Our Moods

Thought this was a funny comic strip in the office. 
Today I'm feeling {choose your poison}...

While I'm sure that we'd like to be happy all the time, it's not realistic to think that will actually be probable or even possible.

Sure, everyone puts on the big smile.

But behind the smile is often many other feelings 

As one colleague said to me:

"People are complex!"

Isn't that true?

Anyway, don't beat yourself for feeling what you feel--it's okay to be relaxing, excited, angry, sad, stressed or whatever.

Of course, that doesn't excuse letting it get the best of you and bad behavior.

We're adults, not children with temper tantrums.

Certainly, though, we are all human, and all feelings are fine. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 20, 2018

When It Turns In

A friend told me something interesting about anxiety and depression...

Depression is anxiety turned inward. 

When people feel anxious and that they don't have control over their situation that make them feel in a sense helpless, and then the anxiety "has no where to go," it becomes depression. 

I guess it make sense that if you feel that you can't really do anything to make things better--and no matter how hard you try--then you feel somewhat helpless/hopeless and get depressed

Perhaps it's almost like a frustration at your own inability to change things you feel you need to change. 

That is why a person's feeling some sense of control over their environment and life is so important. 

When things are looking down, it helps to try and do something to take back control over what feels like spiraling uncontrollable events and circumstances.  

Of course, only G-d really has control over what ultimately happens. 

But we need to do our part to try to make things better. 

Just taking that first (and second and third) step is freeing. 

I'm pretty sure that an element of this is that you can tell yourself that you "did everything you could" so in effect there is a lifting of guilt about the situation, but at the same time there is also a genuine feeling that you are here for a purpose and perhaps have made a difference in this world. 

Some people feel big and important, but the reality is that we are all so small in a very big world and universe where suffering and loss can strike (G-d forbid) at any moment. 

Man is but a speck of dust in the realm of things. 

But at the same time, our speck is filled with a soul of the living G-d. 

So we must do what we can to be a good influence and impact. 

Whatever it is, it is what we can do. 

If everyone--7.6 billion of us out there---does their part that can make a difference. 

Don't let life's anxieties become your depression.

Look for what you can contribute--do it!--try your best to make a difference and make the world better.

It's what you're here for and what you can positively do.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 22, 2015

Self-Aware Graffiti Artist

So got to hand it to this graffiti artist. 

He/she is quite introspective. 

They wrote on this pole in D.C. "Writes his problems away!"

Thus, it's not just any old graffiti that often desecrates public or private property, but in this case it is an emotional and psychological catharsis for the artist.  

Sure when you write, you can express yourself and your feelings--you can think things through and work them out in your head. 

Also, you can share of yourself with others and influence them too. 

On the lamp pole, bus stop, or building wall--ah, not the best place to work these things out. 

But on paper or the computer, if you have something important to say, get it off your chest--go for it--and you can feel better too! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 11, 2015

A Doll For Every Worry


Some kids put their baby teeth under their pillow for the tooth fairy.

But in Guatemala they make Worry Dolls that children can put under their pillows, so they can be released from their worries and sleep better. 

If those were my worry dolls, I wouldn't put them under my pillow and have a lumpy sleep and wake up to them once again, but rather I would throw them out the window, so hopefully they would be gone for good. 

Man, if only we could really get rid of our worries and problems that easily--I think they call it transference! ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 24, 2014

Psychotherapy, In The Beginning

Wow, I love this early photo of psychotherapy.

The girl is lying on some pillows on 2 chairs. 

The Freudian doctor leans over the girl and is yanking on his goatee listening intently...and analyzing!

A man, that I assume is the girls dad is in the background, hovering protectively and hoping she is feeling better soon. 

The mind, like the body, unfortunately can get sick. 

And we need to take care of ourselves and seek help to get better. 

Fear not the competent doctor who really cares and sincerely wants to help (and is not just in it as a pure business).

Pray that G-d guides him to heal you and give you strength in body and peace of mind. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 4, 2012

2 Heads Are Better Than 1


My daughter brought this incredible video to my attention--conjoined twins Abby & Brittany--age 22--share a body from the waist down.

They have 2 heads and necks, 3 lungs, 2 hearts, 2 gallbladders, 2 stomachs, 1 liver, 1 large intestine, 1 small intestine, 2 left kidneys and 1 right, 1 pelvis, 1 pair of ovaries, 1 uterus, 1 bladder, 1 vagina, and 1 urethra. 

The video asks, what happens if:

- 1 gets sick?
- 1 dies?
- Who is the biological mother, if they have a child?
- How do they handle boyfriends?

I understand that 1 controls the left side of the body and 1 the right side--leaves you to imagine the unbelievable coordination issues to do everyday activities like walk, drive, type, swim, and so on that we take for granted.

Yet, despite their life challenges, they are actually staring in their own reality TV show on The Learning Channel (TLC), which premiered on August 28.

Here is a link for more information about these incredible women. 

Some of the things that I think about when I watch Abby & Brittany--are not the physical, but more the emotional, psychological, and spiritual issues, such as:

- Do they ever feel lonely?
- How do they handle the need for privacy?
- Are they introverts or extraverts or one of each?
- What are their personalities like?
- Do they like each other?
- Do they fight often and how do they resolve conflict with each other?
- Do they like/dislike similar things?
- Do they share the same religious beliefs?
- Do they feel responsible for each others actions (like if one hits someone or says something hurtful to another)?
- Do they believe in an afterlife?
- Do they intuitively share thoughts, dreams, ambitions (or only when they articulate these to the each other)?
- Do they consider their condition a random occurrence, a "freak act" of nature, a test, a punishment, or something else?

I imagine that they are hugely inspirational and am looking forward to hopefully watch the show tonight at 10 pm with my daughter and learn and marvel how they do it!

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June 10, 2012

A Technologist's Personal Rorschach Test

So I gave myself a little Rorschach test. 

This was from a outdoor mural at school that I really liked. 

I let my mind freely associate and had some fun too. 

I could've gone on with this, but wanted to keep it clean. 

Hope you like the mural and creativity. 

If you had to do this exercise, I'd be curious to see what you came up with.
 
Have a good week!

Andy

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April 2, 2012

Mind Readers and The Psychology of Excess

Animal_house
Seeing a number of senior officials in the last year "ousted," I find it sort of scary the risks and travails that executive leadership can entail.

There are so many good, hardworking people at GSA making progress for the Government in terms of property management, contract management, fleet management, and more, that it was a huge shock to many today, when GSA leadership including the Administrator, were ousted for what White House Chief of Staff called "excessive spending, questionable dealings with contractors, and disregard for taxpayer dollars." 

This at a time when the nation is struggling to reduce the national deficit now at $15.6 trillion and avoid another debt ratings cut from the three credit report agencies that would potentially drive interest up and cause even more damage to the nation's economy.

Of course, the GSA is not the only example, just last year, we had the unfortunate "muffin mini-scandal" as reported by Bloomberg BusinessWeek (29 September 2011), where the Government was alleged to have paid $16.80 apiece for muffins.

What causes this psychology of excess where taxpayers end up footing the bill for extravagant items and events? 

1) Hubris--Are there people who feel they are so high and mighty, they just have all the trimmings of office coming to them and theirs?

2) Neglect--Do some executives rise too far and fast, and maybe things get out of control?

3) Misguided--Is it possible that some may actually really think that hiring a mind reader on the taxpayer dime is a good idea?

4) Accident--At times, oversights, mistakes, and accidents happen, and while we may prefer they didn't, they are a learning opportunities.

5) All of the above--Perhaps it is some combination of all the prior four?

It reminds me of something my father taught me that "G-d does not let any flower grow into the sky."

This means that no matter how good we are or how far we go in our careers and in life, we remain mortal and infirm, and subject to human imperfections. 

That's why it's never a good idea to tout your own infallibility.  Just Last Thursday, the GSA Administrator, as reported by Government Executive Magazine, told a conference "Why us? Because we're the expert shoppers. We're the folks you want on your team when budgets are tight, you're making purchases, and there's no room for error..."

Obviously, I assume there was no intent to brag, but we all say things like this at one time or another, and it's good to reflect and stop ourselves from going too far. 

This is not about the GSA or any other agency or organization in particular, but rather a lesson in humility for all of us. 

This unfortunate incident should not obscure the good work, done every day, at all levels, by every Federal agency.  

(Source Photo: here)

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September 3, 2010

Revenge of the Introverts

I am an introvert.

Does this mean I am among a minority of the population that is shy, anti-social, “snooty,” or worse?

Many people have misperceptions like these, which is why Psychology Today’s current issue has a feature story on the realities vs. the myths of introverts. Actually half of the people you meet on any given day are introverts.

According to the story, introverts are:

Collectors of thoughts…(and) solitude is the place where the collection is curated…to make sense of the present and the future.”

Most of us don’t realize that there are many introverts, because “perceptual biases lead us all to overestimate the number of extraverts among us.” (Basically you extraverts take up a lot of attention :-).)

To me, being an introvert is extremely helpful in my professional role because it enables me to accomplish some very important goals:

- I can apply my thinking to large and complex issues. Because I gravitate to working in a quiet (i.e. professional) environment, I am able to focus on studying issues, coming up with solutions, and seeing the impact of incremental improvements. (This will be TMI for some, but when I was a kid I had to study with noise reducing headphones on to get that absolute quiet to concentrate totally.)

- I like to develop meaningful relationships through all types of outreach, but especially when interacting one-on-one with people. As opposed to meaningless cocktail party chatter – “Hello, How are you today?” “Fine. And how are you?” “Fine.” Help, get me out of here!

- I get my energy from introspection and reflecting; therefore, I tend to be alert to areas where I may be making a mistake and I try to correct those early. In short, “I am my own biggest critic.”

So while it may be more fun to be an extrovert—“the life of the party”—and “the party’s going on all the time”—I like being an introvert and spending enough time thinking to make the doing in my life that much more meaningful and rewarding.

[Note: Lest you think that I hold a grudge against extraverts, not at all—you all are some of my best buds and frequently inspire me with your creativity and drive!]


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September 4, 2009

Internet Addiction—The Real Thing

Yes, people talk about having an Internet addiction and chuckle. But this is becoming the real thing!

AP (3 September 2009) reports that ReSTART, the first U.S. residential treatment center for Internet addiction opened near Redmond (home of Microsoft).

The center offers a 45-day program costing $14,000 to treat pathological computer use.

This includes “obsessive use of video games, texting, Facebook, eBay, Twitter” and more.

So far only one patient is in treatment, but more are sure to be coming.

“There are many such treatment centers in China, South Korea, and Taiwan—where Internet addiction is taken very seriously—and many psychiatric experts say it is clear that Internet addiction is real and harmful.

How does using the Internet or computer harm people?

The effects of addiction are no joke. They range from loss of a job or marriage to car accidents for those who can’t stop texting while driving. Some people have did after playing video games for days without a break, generally stemming from a blood clot associated with being sedentary.”

Experts are debating whether to include Internet Addiction in the next version of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders 2012.

“’Internet addicts’ are folks who have severe depression, anxiety, disorders, or social symptoms that make it hard for them to live a full, balanced life and deal face-to-face with other people.”

What are the warning signs (according to AP)?

  • Preoccupied thinking about computers and the Internet
  • Using it longer than intended
  • Using it for increasing amounts of time
  • Repeatedly making unsuccessful efforts to control use
  • Jeopardizing relationships, school or work to spend time online
  • Lying to cover the extent of use
  • Using it to escape problems or feelings of depressions

I suppose everything can be taken to an extreme even computer use. In which case, even highly useful, productive, and transformative information technology can be misused and abused.

Oddly enough, we seem to be feeding the addiction like a glutton—there is an almost endless array of new computer gadgets and applications giving almost endless reason to get online and soak up all the information, social media, e-commerce, and entertainment available. It’s all very alluring and compelling.

Seems pretty easy for people to go of the deep end with this.

So when was the last time you stayed off the Internet for more than 24 hours? How many of you are compulsively checking email, Blackberrys, Facebook, Twitter, IM, texting, and surfing the net? I would even throw in compulsively on the cell phone—yap, yap, yap.

Will there come a time when people reject this 24/7/365 e-lifestyle and push for greater online moderation?

Looking at other types of addictions, at one time people smoked like chimneys and then the realization of the negative side effects led to people putting on the nicotine patches or otherwise going cold turkey, either kicking the habit or greatly cutting back.

The same occurred with a period in society of heavy drinking/alcoholism followed by prohibition and then a more moderate acceptance of social drinking.

It seems that the addiction line gets crossed when people can no longer control their behavior and it results in them hurting themselves or others.

The problem is that we don’t have very good foresight with any of this and we only tend to see the negative consequences of overuse/abuse only after some time—that the empirical nature of science.

So will we wait for a higher prevalence of socio/psychological disorders from Internet addiction, greater numbers of burnt out workers, higher divorce rates, more child neglect, further accidents because people can’t stop their darn texting while driving OR will we be able to foresee the unintended, but certain effects of doing too much of a good, Internet thing?


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November 25, 2007

Implicit Requirements and Enterprise Architecture

With electonic contact lists in Microsoft Outlook on the computer and on organizer programs on cellphones and other electronic gizmos, why would anyone still keep a physical Rolodex anymore?

The Wall Street Journal, 24-25 November 2007, reports that "some executives are still spinning their rotary card files...more than 20 years after the digital revolution that forecasted the paperless office, the 'rotary card file'--best known by the market-leading brand name Rolodex--continues to turn."

The article continues, "as millions of social-network users display their connectedness on their Facebook pages, a surprisingly robust group of people maintain their networks on small white cards. Most of these devotees also rely on BlackBerrys and other computer-based address books."

This infatuation with physical Rolodex files extends to models like the 6000-card wheel that are no longer even on the market. Other executives keep as many as 8 or 9 Rolodex wheels on their much needed desk space. Why?

The article states that "part of the card system's appeal has always been that it displays the size of one's business network for the world to see." Yet, social-networking sites like LinkedIn also display the number of contacts a person has, so what's the difference from a physical Rolodex file--what need is the technology not fulfilling with users?

From a User-centric EA perspective, it seems that people have a fundamental need with their contacts to not only be able to maintain them in an organized fashion and to demonstrate the size of their network (to show their value to the organization), but also to feel important and accomplished and to be able "to wear" this like a mark or medal of distinction, in this case by laying it out their Rolodex files prominently on their desks for all to behold.

In EA, when we design technology solutions, we need to keep in mind that there are functional requirements like the organizing of personal and professional contacts, but there are also human, psychological requirements that may never actually come out in a JAD session. These are unstated or implicit requirements and architects need to plan technology to meet both the explicit and implicit needs of users.

A little like Sherlock Holmes and a little bit like a psychologist, an architect must explore user needs beyond the surface if they are to successfully align new technologies with end-user and organizational requirements.
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