These occasional posts will showcase a variety of article links which have caught my interest. They’re in no particular order, but loosely grouped together for ease of reading. (Author twitter accounts included where found.)

Scientists say your “mind” isn’t confined to your brain, or even your body by Olivia Goldhill (@OliviaGoldhill)

The most immediately shocking element of this definition is that our mind extends beyond our physical selves. In other words, our mind is not simply our perception of experiences, but those experiences themselves. Siegel argues that it’s impossible to completely disentangle our subjective view of the world from our interactions.

Niceness and kindness by Miri (@sondosia)

While setting boundaries can hurt people’s feelings and is therefore not exactly a “nice” thing to do, it is a fundamentally kind thing to do–not just for yourself, but for them. When you set a boundary with someone, you are giving them important information that they need. You are helping them figure out how to maintain a healthy relationship with you. You are trusting them and letting them get to know you better. You are relieving any anxiety they might’ve had about whether or not they were crossing your boundaries–now they know for sure, and can avoid doing it in the future.

Cats and consent by gryphon

Maybe the cat is really not interested in interacting with you at all. That doesn’t mean you’re doing anything “wrong”. Because you can’t control the cat’s choices, remember? (Why not? Because cats are not machines where a specific input results in a specific output.)

“Does my butt look big in this?” Some more thoughts on honesty in communication by Franklin Veaux (@franklinveaux)

Honesty is just as important in the questions we ask as in the answers we offer. Dishonest questions are just as harmful as dishonest answers. Indeed, they might be even more harmful, because they set the other person up for failure.

I don’t believe they’re always a deliberate setup. It can be difficult to tease out all the threads woven into the way we communicate. Sometimes, we ask questions that we believe are honest, but then become upset when the answer doesn’t validate us. Sometimes, we tell ourselves we want an honest opinion while secretly longing for the answer that feels best.

They have to be monsters by Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror)

It’s easy to practice empathy when you limit it to people that are easy to empathize with – the downtrodden, the undeserving victims. But it is another matter entirely to empathize with those that hate, harangue, and intentionally make other people’s lives miserable. If you can do this, you are a far better person than me. I struggle with it. But my hat is off to you. There’s no better way to teach empathy than to practice it, in the most difficult situations.

What it really means to hold space for someone by Heather Plett (@heatherplett)

It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.

Expert sex therapists have stopped labeling sex addiction as a disorder. Here’s why by Debra W. Soh (@debra_soh)

In other words, while the group’s position doesn’t deny that out-of-control sexual behavior is real, or that it can cause serious distress, impairment and harm to an individual, based on the available research and the opinions of many expert AASECT therapists, it does not believe that operating from a sex addiction-therapeutic model is helpful.  

SSC journal club: mental disorders as networks by Scott Alexander (@slatestarcodex)

Why are we calling sleep disturbance a “symptom” of depression, but anxiety a “comorbid condition” with depression? If we’re trying to cluster symptoms together to identify conditions, how come “sleep” is grouped with a bunch of other symptoms in the depression cluster, but “anxiety” gets to be a cluster of its own? Are there really two conditions called “depression” and “anxiety”, or just one big condition that has various symptoms including low mood, sleep disturbance, and anxiety, and some people get some of the symptoms and other people get others?

10 extremely precise words for emotions you didn’t even know you had by Melissa Dahl (@melissadahl)

The odd thing about writing a book about discrete emotions you never knew existed is that you start to experience them — or is it that you were already experiencing them, and it’s just that now you know the name? Either way, Smith tells Science of Us that, while writing her book, she found herself batting away offers of help from others because she didn’t want to put them out. That is, she was feeling greng jai, a Thai term (that’s sometimes spelled kreng jai in translation) for “the feeling of being reluctant to accept another’s offer of help because of the bother it would cause them.”

How to help someone with depression by Steven Skoczen (@skoczen)

Here’s why – by simply sitting, asking, and listening, you are giving a person who feels fundamentally disempowered by a weird thing happening to their brain a sense of control back. Treat their life like their car. Only drive when you’ve been asked to.

NZ Content – The best and worst toilets in Auckland in which to have a panic attack by Lucy Gable

In any country, in any city I am able to identify a decent toilet in a moment’s notice. This is my superpower, finding toilets. If someone out there is adept at crafting stretchy superhero outfits, mine should be pool-table green with a big black “Vacant” toilet sign on the front. Please and thank you. But however lightheartedly I frame it, I must concede that my toilet-detecting abilities are a shit trade-off for a life filled with panic attacks.

NZ Content – The contradiction of living with both anxiety and depression by Carla Robinson (@carlalouise01)

This is what living with depression and anxiety is like. It’s both caring and not caring whether or not the T-Rex eats you. (I really feel as though I’ve pushed this metaphor further than it can go, but it sounded nice in my head.) Remember this before you judge someone, questioning their motives, their mental illnesses and their invisible ones.

How do I transition from a nuclear to an open family? by Louisa Leontiades (@AskLouloria)

Why might your partner choose someone you cannot get along with? Because we seek relationships as different mirrors and a relationship with a person who brings out the best in your partner, might not bring out the best in you. They also might make you feel great; you might have a beautifully complementary metamour (and I hope you do). But your partner will evolve into a different person because that’s what happens when we develop different relationships.

The Five Love Languages Expanded by jr (@thespanofmyhips)

There is a substantial, harmful, and potentially relationship-ending difference between mismatched love languages that result in feeling not-loved-enough or inadequately-loved (e.g. I need words of affirmation, you give physical touch) and the betrayal of unattended-to power differentials. This is the betrayal of your partner/friend/family member not acting in solidarity and belief where your lived experiences of oppression are concerned. This is the betrayal of unrecognized and highly unequal performance of emotional labour. This is the betrayal of stagnation while your partner goes to therapy, reads self-help books, ups their self-care game, all in the hopes of salvaging your relationship.

Sexuality and identity: more than labels by Hong Jiang

But the question then is, why are we creating all these new labels? What’s the point in calling yourself gay, asexual or demisexual?

It’s because we want to find a way to express who we are. A message that is constantly perpetuated by society and the media is the idea that acceptance includes revealing who you really are, and standing out is how we fit in. But isn’t it because of these very facts, that the idea of a label is unsatisfactory?

We’re unique, and uniqueness can’t be categorised.

Creative commons image from Pixabay.