Managing mental well being is critical in times of uncertainty and unpredictability. One common coping mechanism is to connect in-person with friends or family because isolation can negatively impact those experiencing depression and anxiety.
Amid concerns over COVID-19, however, that recommendation conflicts with health and safety instructions on social distancing. Dr. Tonya Hansel and Dr. Maurya Glaude, licensed clinicians and researchers at the Tulane University School of Work, have the following suggestions to prevent increased at-home time from negatively affecting a person’s mental health.
Set up a routine and workspace dedicated to work. Use sticky notes, calendars, journals or other office supplies to help you stay organized and remember what you need to accomplish.
Email, message or call your colleagues or classmates. This will not only allow you to connect for mental well-being but also allow you to gain clarity and understanding about a particular assignment.
Recharge with fresh air, exercise and entertainment. This could include taking a midday walk or bike ride around your neighborhood, going on a nature hike or enjoying a snack on your porch. Allow more sunlight into your work space.
Maintain running, walking or cycling routines but bring your own water, avoid drinking out of public fountains and keep approximately 6 feet from others as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Use the time you save from commuting to do extra things around your house, such as spring cleaning, cooking or gardening. Or create a piece of art or do craft projects with your children.
Feel free to allow small indulgences. Giving yourself or your children a little extra screen time is a way of practicing self-care.
Use technology — Facetime, Google Hangouts, Zoom or the phone — to keep up with friends and family and support one another.
Technion student develops system that interprets sarcasm on Twitter, and translates it into sarcasm-free language
Researchers in the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management have developed a system for interpreting sarcastic statements in social media. The system, developed by graduate student Lotam Peled, under the guidance of Assistant Professor Roi Reichart, is called Sarcasm SIGN (sarcasm Sentimental Interpretation GeNerator).
“There are a lot of systems designed to identify sarcasm, but this is the first that is able to interpret sarcasm in written text,” said Peled. “We hope in the future, it will help people with autism and Asperger’s, who have difficulty interpreting sarcasm, irony and humor.”
Based on machine translation, the new system turns sarcastic sentences into honest (non-sarcastic) ones. It will, for example, turn a sarcastic sentence such as, “The new ‘Fast and Furious’ movie is awesome. #sarcasm” into the honest sentence, “The new Fast and Furious movie is terrible.”
Despite the vast development in this field, and the successes of sentiment analysis applications on “social media intelligence,” existing applications do not know how to interpret sarcasm, where the writer writes the opposite of what (s)he actually means.
In order to teach the system to produce accurate interpretations, the researchers compiled a database of 3,000 sarcastic tweets that were tagged with #sarcasm, where each tweet was interpreted into a non-sarcastic expression by five human experts. In addition, the system was trained to identify words with strong sarcastic sentiments – for example, the word “best” in the tweet, “best day ever” – and to replace them with strong words that reveal the true meaning of the text. The system was examined by a number of (human) judges, who gave its interpretations high scores of fluency and adequacy, agreeing that in most cases it produced a semantically and linguistically correct sentence.
Automatic identification and analysis of sentiment in text is a very complex challenge being explored by many researchers around the world because of its commercial potential and scientific importance. Sentiment identification could be used in social, commercial, and other applications to improve communication between people and computers, and between social media users.
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology. The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a vital component of Cornell Tech, and a model for graduate applied science education that is expected to transform New York City’s economy.
American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion—more than $2 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its network of supporters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.
Social media users who post a high percentage of selfies have lower perceived likability
“A new Baylor University study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture looks at the value that outside observers place on social media cues (followers, likes, etc.) and measures the perceived likability of the people whose profiles were viewed. “
Maybe you think your Facebook posts are hilarious. Or you might think that Instagram selfie of you at the beach is picture-perfect. And that clever Tweet? You nailed it! But what do other people – your “friends,” “followers” and anyone else who might stumble across your profile – think of you based on your social media presence? Do they really like you?
A new Baylor University study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture
looks at the value that outside observers place on social media cues
(followers, likes, number of selfies, etc.) and measures the perceived
likability of the people whose profiles were viewed. The experimental
study generated 873 decision responses from 72 experienced social media
users who were asked to look at differing social media profiles and
posts and then assess the likeability of the social media user.
are many studies of individuals’ self-perception through social media
use. We are turning that around and looking at the audience’s
perspective,” said the study’s lead author, Steven W. Bradley, Ph.D., associate professor of entrepreneurship in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.
study shows that “perceived likability” – a combination of perceived
friendliness, relevance, empathy and realness – differed among men and
women. Individual cue patterns confirmed several commonly held
assumptions while combinations of social cues produced more intriguing
findings, Bradley said. Researchers found:
Social media users
who amass a larger number of friends and garner high numbers of likes
on their posts have a higher perceived likability
Social media users who are considered physically attractive have higher perceived likability
Social media users who post a high percentage of selfies – photos featuring only themselves – have lower perceived likability
Males tend to value attractiveness more than females in assessing likability
Females tend to base perceived likability on numbers of followers, likes and percentage of selfies
the number of followers and likes are twice as important as
attractiveness in predicting likeability, Bradley said. Alternatively,
social media users with a higher percentage of selfies are considered
1.5 times less likeable by outside observers.
that users who were rated “low in attractiveness” gained more
likability points, per se, if they had a large number of followers and
likes. When social media users are viewed as “higher in attractiveness,”
a change in the followers and likes from low to high increases
perceived likeability by 20 percent. In contrast, for social media users
who are perceived as lower in attractiveness, the difference in rated
likeability between low and high followers and likes is 64 percent.
other words, numbers of followers and likes may be used by an observer
to ‘make up’ for more obvious indicators like attractiveness when
assessing likability,” the researchers wrote. “Most observers suggest
that attractive people are likable due to associated attributes like
social ease and confidence. A less attractive person with a high number
of followers and likes suggest that other features – perhaps
friendliness, relevance, empathy and realness – are the source of their
social network, which also increase perceptions of likability.”
for selfies? The researchers found that observers use their experience
with cues regarding selfies to evaluate whether an authentic or
manufactured self is presented.
“Too many selfies suggest the page owner is overly narcissistic and not a good friend candidate,” said study co-author James A. Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.
Likability diminished even when other social media status cues of followers or attractiveness were high.
hypothesized and found that a high percentage of selfies is a cue that
may indicate less reciprocity and group benefit, focusing
narcissistically on oneself relative to others,” the researchers wrote.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT HANKAMER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
University’s Hankamer School of Business provides a rigorous academic
experience, consisting of classroom and hands-on learning, guided by
Christian commitment and a global perspective. Recognized nationally for
several programs, including Entrepreneurship and Accounting, the school
offers 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate areas of study. Visit
http://www.baylor.edu/businessand follow on Twitter at
ITHACA, N.Y. – Female Instagram influencers – whose livelihoods depend on their ability to build and maintain a prominent social media following – endure criticism and harassment both for being too real and for seeming too fake, according to a new study from Cornell University.
This leaves women on Instagram caught in an “authenticity bind” – the nature of social media compels them to share details from their personal lives, but these details make them vulnerable to abuse or charges that they’ve ‘curated’ or faked their online personas. “Across social networks, content creators are compelled to be authentic and ‘real’ but in ways that are quite narrowly defined,”said Brooke Erin Duffy, assistant professor of communication and co-author of the study. “If they’re deemed too real, if they express inner thoughts that seem too personal or intimate, they may face criticism. But if they aren’t considered real enough, if audiences view them as highly curated or excessively performative, or so aspirational that they are unrelatable, they experience blowback. Essentially a woman on social media, especially one with a large following, can’t win.”
Research has found harassment on Instagram can be common, particularly among those with a significant social media presence. And abuse is more prevalent – and potentially more harmful – for women and people from marginalized communities. Yet few controls and restrictions exist on Instagram, leaving harassment victims particularly helpless when the success of their businesses depends on social media prominence, Duffy said. For the study, Duffy and co-author Emily Hund of the University of Pennsylvania interviewed 25 professional or aspiring female Instagrammers in the areas of fashion, beauty and lifestyle. They found the women tended to censor themselves in anticipation of criticism. Women also said they noticed viewers were more engaged with posts confiding personal or private information about their lives, but they also said they felt reluctant to share anything “that’s not elevated and inspirational/aspirational.”
Duffy said she hopes the study calls attention to the lack of safeguards for female Instagram influencers, whose challenges are often disdained by a skeptical public. The study, “Gendered Visibility on Social Media: Navigating Instagram’s Authenticity Bind,” was published in the International Journal of Communication. For more information, see this Cornell Chronicle story. Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews supporting full HD, ISDN and web-based platforms.
Charlie Brown might have said it best as he opined to his pal, Linus: “Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.”
Yes, the holiday season can foster moments of great joy, but it can also at times be a source of distress.
you’re worried about purchasing the right mix of decorations to create
the perfect atmosphere for a Thanksgiving meal, or finding a way to
connect with family members who live on the opposite coast, the holidays
can be tricky to navigate.
difficult to tear ourselves away from constant messages of what they’re
doing and what we’re, in turn, not doing,” Paul said.
pies bake, and grocery stores line their shelves with
peppermint-flavored treats, Paul explained the sources of holiday blues
that can sometimes affect us, and shared some practical ways to greet
this time of year.
What causes holiday stress?
are a number of things about the holidays that can potentially be
sources of distress. For each person it’s going to be different, but
there are some general themes that we can reliably predict.
Loss of a loved one:
If someone has lost a loved one, that loss can be made all the more
poignant, and experienced more deeply, around the holidays. The holidays
generally represent a time where family and friends get together, and
enjoy each other’s company, so having lost someone can create distress.
In our culture, the holidays represent a focus on having gifts and
possessions. There is marketing around how the Thanksgiving table
‘should’ be set, and how the holiday decorations inside and outside of
our homes ‘should’ appear. However, not everyone has the means to make
extra purchases, setting the stage for comparing and judging others or
ourselves negatively for ‘failing’ to keep up.
Hustle and bustle:
Rushing to make sure I have the right groceries, the perfect gift for
that someone special, and the best decorations, is magnified during the
holidays. It’s difficult to find a balance around celebrating in a way
that’s meaningful, and not getting caught up in a long to-do list.
Unrealistic Expectations: If
your circumstances don’t match the cultural ideal of a Norman Rockwell
painting, your mind tends to go to a place of judgment. And with
judgment comes shame. You start thinking, ‘What’s wrong with me that I
can’t have it the way they do?’
How does social media contribute to holiday stress?
media is supposed to help us connect. But the unintended consequences
of social media include increased stress, isolation, and a decreased
sense of belonging. It’s had this weird, paradoxical effect of giving us
this ongoing, never-ending opportunity to look in the mirror and
compare ourselves to others. We’re constantly bombarded through our
phones, with young people being particularly vulnerable to the pressures
of social media.
As an adolescent, you’re figuring out who you
are and where you fit in. It’s a time when friendships are very
important and meaningful, and you begin to build relationships outside
of your family. Today, teens are also being asked to manage these social
media messages about what is cool and not cool, and you can’t get away
from it. You could escape it 40 years ago. You could go home and take a
break from whatever drama was going on at school, or what a classmate
wore to class and what you didn’t.
As human beings, we naturally
want to find where we feel in, instead of out, where we belong and feel
connected. The holidays add another layer of that, with strong messages
that circulate around us for months in advance.
What are some tips that can help people cope with these and other holiday stressors?
Determine your values:
Step back and think intentionally about what you want the holidays to
represent. Who do you want to be in relation to the holidays? What kind
of values do you want to connect to? Once you make that determination,
you can behave in accordance with those values.
Act on your values:
Behaving in ways that are consistent with your values is more important
than making comparisons or judgments. Thanksgiving, for example, is all
about being thankful for what you have. And there are lots of
activities around Thanksgiving that wouldn’t require spending a ton of
money. Maybe on that day, you can take a walk in nature in order to
contemplate or spend time appreciating what you have. If you’re missing
family members, why not do a Friendsgiving? Enjoy food and company and
embrace the fact that you’re a ragtag team of people spending time
together. Or, go out and volunteer. If you’re feeling that you’re not
receiving, why not do the opposite and do some giving?
Avoid compare and despair: Have
self-compassion. You can compare, but you don’t have to add in the
layer of judgment. If someone’s reality is different than yours, that’s
OK! Stop “shoulding” all over yourself, and stop using damaging or
punishing language. Instead of saying, ‘I should do this,’ or ‘I must do
that,’ you could try, ‘I preferably should.’ Be mindful of your own
mental chatter and the automatic tendency to go toward punishing
Make connections: Focus on creating
space for belonging or acceptance. Find places where you can receive
support, but also give support in return. Reach out to others. Think
about worth, value, and appreciation versus the enemies of comparison,
judgment, shaming, blaming, and pushing people away.
Take an inventory of what your individual sources of stress are because
it’s different for everybody. Ask yourself: If I could change one or
two things to feel better, what would they be? Do some active problem
solving. If you lost a loved one, for example, celebrate that person’s
life, or change up what might have been a holiday routine with that
person. Make room for it to not be a happy time — it’s OK if it’s not a
Seek help: If you’re really
feeling that you can’t cope with the stressors around you, it’s
perfectly reasonable to reach out to others, or even a mental health
professional. Sometimes we get muddled in our own brains, and an outside
perspective from a trusted mental health practitioner can help provide
you with clarity and relief.
About The PRACTICE
PRACTICE is a UNLV mental health clinic that offers counseling and
other services to campus and community members. Faculty experts in
clinical and school psychology and mental health counseling train and
supervise advanced graduate students in high-quality mental and
behavioral health care. Faculty and student clinicians work together to
provide evidence-based care, drawing upon the most up-to-date research
and knowledge available.