Do You Feel Shame about Being Single?

If find yourself single, are you ok with that or distressed by it? Do you feel judged by others — or perhaps judge yourself for your current status?

Growing up in our society, it’s hard to avoid the message that being married is required for happiness. We may feel pressured to believe that if we’re not in a partnership, there’s something wrong with us — that it’s shameful to be single.

But is being single so horrible? Are married or partnered folks really happier than the single people among us? 

In a fifteen year study of 24,000 people living in Germany, researchers found that marriage offered a boost to life satisfaction, but the increase was tiny — one-tenth of one point on a ten-point scale. And that difference was likely due to the initial effects of marriage. 

The lead author of the study, Dr. Richard E. Lucas of Michigan State University, concluded that most people were no more satisfied with life after marriage than they were prior to marriage.

Comparing life satisfaction between those who are married or partnered versus those who are single is not easy to do. Studies offer varying results. One study suggests that happy singles are more likely to marry and that there are wide differences in the benefits of marriage for different couples.

I’ve often seen clients who are unhappy with their single life. I’ve often observed that some of that dissatisfaction comes from the loneliness of being single or the fear of being single forever (when one doesn’t want to be). But an often overlooked part of their dissatisfaction is due to the shame experienced around it — the shame that stems from social norms and self-inflicted shame.

The Buddhist parable of the two arrows offers a useful parallel. The first arrow is the

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Can appealing to teenagers’ vanity improve sun-protective behaviors? – Harvard Health Blog

As the summer warmth lures us outside, parents may be struggling to get their teenagers to follow sun protection guidelines. It can be challenging to catch the attention of younger people, for whom health concerns such as skin cancer feel like a lifetime away. One promising strategy for educating teens about sun-protective behavior is to appeal to their vanity and meet them where they are — on their smartphones.

Mobile app reveals possible effects of UV exposure

A recent study in JAMA Dermatology looked at the impact of using a face-aging mobile application on sun-protective behaviors in a group of Brazilian high school students. The face-aging mobile app used in the study, called Sunface, allows the user to take a selfie and shows what they might look like in five, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years, based on three levels of exposure the user selects: sun protection, no sun protection, and weekly tanning.

The face-aging mobile app modifies selfies by adding skin changes from chronic ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure, such as from the sun or tanning beds. Signs of photoaging (premature aging of the skin from chronic sun exposure) include brown spots, increased facial wrinkles, uneven skin pigmentation, enlarged or broken blood vessels, and actinic keratoses (gritty rough spots that are precursors to skin cancer). While the accuracy of the face-aging app algorithm is unclear, it creates a reasonable facsimile of the effects of chronic sun exposure.

Study finds teens may be motivated by vanity

The JAMA Dermatology study authors divided the high school students into two categories. One group of students was shown the effects that UV exposure could have on their future faces via the app. The app also provided information about sun protection. The control group did not receive any intervention or sun protection education. At the

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Eye Tracking Evidence Shows that Social Anxiety Changes the Picture

Social anxiety involves worry or fear that you will be judged, embarrassed, or humiliated in social situations and often leads to people avoiding or feeling distress in certain social environments. At the same time, research shows that social anxiety is not just how an individual consciously experiences or reacts to a scenario — it can also affect automatic functions, those that operate outside our conscious awareness. For example, how individuals view things or people in a given environment may operate differently in people with social anxiety. Understanding differences in how people process visual images, particularly those involving facial expressions, can provide insight into the kinds of information individuals with social anxiety are gathering from their environment.

Using eye-tracking technologies, researchers can examine the quality and frequency of eye movements when individuals are viewing images of faces. In an eye-tracking study, participants wear a device that detects the position of the pupils and the reflection in the cornea in both eyes simultaneously. This allows researchers to measure things like what people first look at or how long they focus on different aspects of a visual scene. 

A study conducted by Liang, Tsai, and Hsu (2017) used eye-tracking technology to examine how individuals with social anxiety engage with perceived social threats, in this case, images of angry faces. Some past evidence suggests that people with social anxiety will initially focus on unpleasant stimuli and then move attention away from those threats, known as the vigilance-avoidance hypothesis. Other research suggests there is delayed disengagement, meaning that people with social anxiety take longer to turn their attention away from threatening stimuli than those without social anxiety. To explore these possibilities, the researchers had participants with and without social anxiety look at an image containing five faces with a happy, angry, sad, and neutral facial

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I can’t tolerate CPAP, what can I do? – Harvard Health Blog

Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, is the most common treatment prescribed for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). CPAP involves wearing a mask that fits into the nostrils, underneath or over the nose, or over the nose and mouth, through which pressurized air is delivered via tubing from a machine to keep the upper airway open during sleep. CPAP is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) as the initial treatment for moderate or severe OSA, and in mild cases of OSA when associated with insomnia, disrupted sleep, or excessive daytime sleepiness. When used consistently, and when treatment is effective, CPAP improves daytime sleepiness, quality of life, and it can have positive impacts on cardiac and metabolic health.

The effectiveness of CPAP depends on using the device correctly and consistently, since OSA is a chronic disease that requires long-term treatment. Most sleep doctors, myself included, recommend that patients with sleep apnea use their treatment whenever they sleep, in order to derive optimal benefit. While there are many patients who love their CPAP machines and report the treatment to be life-changing, and are unable to sleep without CPAP, there are others who learn to accept and tolerate CPAP because they appreciate either the functional benefits (such as better mood and less daytime sleepiness) or medical improvements they get from using the device. However, many patients struggle with CPAP.

CPAP is not easy and there are common complaints

Despite the many potential benefits, CPAP adherence estimates from clinical data and insurance groups suggest that about 50% of CPAP users either do not reach minimum adherence criteria or discontinue the treatment. Each patient is unique and may have individual struggles with CPAP; however, there tend to be similar themes among users. Some of the common complaints I hear from patients who have

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