More evidence that pets benefit mental health

New research examines how interacting with pets affects cortisol levels among college students.

Pet owners have long known — or rather, felt — that spending time with their beloved animal companion lowers stress and improves mood.

An extensive review that Medical News Today reported on included several testimonials from people living with mental health conditions who vouched for the emotional comfort and psychological benefits that their pets brought them.

Full story at Medical News Today

What causes irritability?

When a person feels irritable, small things that would not usually bother them can make them feel annoyed or agitated. The resulting tension can make a person more sensitive to stressful situations.

Irritability is a common emotion. Many factors can cause or contribute to irritability, including life stress, a lack of sleep, low blood sugar levels, and hormonal changes.

Extreme irritability, or feeling irritable for an extended period, can sometimes indicate an underlying condition, such as an infection or diabetes. It may also be a sign of a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression.

Full story at Medical News Today

Is procrastination friend or foe to health and creativity?

Many of us are familiar with the act of procrastinating — putting off tasks until, or past, their deadline. Why do people procrastinate? Does it only bring them disadvantages, or does it also have some benefits? We investigate in this Spotlight feature.

Procrastination typically gets a bad name as a habit that impacts productivity and holds people back from fulfilling their potential.

Some researchers define procrastination as “a form of self-regulation failure […] characterized by the needless delay of things one intends to do despite the expectation of negative consequences.”

Full story at Medical News Today

Can scientists learn to remove bad memories?

Traumatic memories can severely affect a person’s quality of life when they become intrusive thoughts that lead to anxiety and continue to cause distress. For this reason, scientists are now looking into ways of weakening such memories and lessening their impact.

People who experience traumatic events may find their memories haunt them for a long time after the experience occurred.

Exposure to trauma can trigger numerous mental and emotional problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders, for example, phobias.

Full story at Medical News Today

Transcendental meditation can help treat PTSD

Working with a cohort of young people with symptoms of PTSD and depression, researchers found that practicing transcendental meditation can help reduce or even reverse these symptoms.

Studies have shown that meditation practices can have a significant, positive effect on mental health and how well our bodies respond to stress.

Existing research has also found that different types of meditation can even help boost a person’s emotional intelligence.

Interest in meditation’s potential as a tool for coping with various mental health symptoms has risen in recent years, and now, a new study suggests that one type of meditation — called transcendental meditation — can successfully counteract PTSD and lower depression.

Full story at Medical News Today