Psychology Around the Net: March 21, 2020

This week’s Psychology Around the Net updates you on the 2020 World Happiness Result, new research on how mindfulness skills and anxiety symptoms intertwine, how the interior of your home (or any room, really) impacts you psychologically, and more.

(NOTE: You’ve probably noticed there’s hasn’t been a major presence of coronavirus-related topics in Psychology Around the Net. That’s because our amazing Psych Central writers and editors have done a wonderful job of providing you with original content as well as national and global news updates. Just head to our home page and scroll through the posts and articles as they’re published, or type “coronavirus” in any search box on the website.)

Smile? The Results From the 2020 World Happiness Report Are In: I won’t ruin it for you, but it won’t be much of a surprise if you’ve been familiar with the list for the past couple of years (okay, big hint!).

Starbucks Expands Mental Health Benefits, Offers Therapy To All U.S. Workers: Starbucks has announced its latest efforts to help employees with an ever-growing mental health crisis. Starting April 6, 2020, Starbucks employees and their eligible family members will get 20 in-person or video mental health sessions, access to a wide provider network, and the ability to schedule appointments online — all for free. This is in partnership with Lyra Health.

8 Great Ways to Find Positives Even During Times of Negativity: Despite what’s happening across the globe — and there’s a lot happening — there are ways to achieve and maintain a stable, optimistic mindset. Here are some ideas for finding positives in your every day life.

Not Finding New Goals Post-Retirement Associated With Greater Cognitive Decline: New research suggests goal disengagement after retirement can put middle-aged and older adults at a greater risk for cognitive decline. The study showed that women especially tend to disengage from tough tasks and goals after they retire. Says the study’s lead author Jeremy Hamm: “This study raises questions about how individual differences in motivation and gender may play a role in cognitive declines and points to the potential importance of continuing to engage in mentally stimulating activities in retirement. This may be a significant challenge for people who have a tendency to let go of goals when they encounter initial obstacles and setbacks.”

Psychology of Space: How Interiors Impact our Behavior? Because so many of us are spending a lot of time inside our homes these days and probably for some weeks to come, why not take a look at how we interact with the proportions, colors, lighting, acoustics, and materials of the rooms we spend the most time in, i.e. our environmental psychology or space psychology.

The Ability to Regulate Your Attention May Help Protect Against Anxiety Symptoms: Researchers at Emmanuel College in Boston surveyed 286 undergraduate students on depression, anxiety, stress, mindfulness, and attentional control. The results showed that having greater mindfulness skills could indirectly predict fewer symptoms of anxiety. Attentional control, the “ability to direct, focus, and shift attention voluntarily,” is something that can be learned and improved, meaning the study could have a big place in clinical practice. Still, the study lacked a significant diversity of participant characteristics, so we’ll see.

Photo by raquel raclette on Unsplash.

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