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Our minds are fascinating places, like a mansion full of pathways and tunnels leading to areas we never could predict. On one end, that's exciting, knowing we'll always be allowed to explore how our minds work. On the other, it's terrifying to never fully comprehend the things we could do. Thankfully, we have people who study the mind willing to take to the internet to tell us all about it.

Reddit user, u/WaterPide, wanted to know:

Therapists of reddit, what are some interesting psychological facts about humans?

Your Heart Beats Either Way

Our subconscious doesn't know the difference between our heart racing out of attraction vs fear.

So basically if you're going on a first date with someone you really like then ride some rollercoasters with them and they will find you more attractive.


They Know Where The Good Stuff Is

A drug dealer's sales go through the roof if word gets out one of his customers overdosed. It's the craziest thing I know about addiction.


Are you being serious?


As a heart attack.

I work mainly with children and families in horrible circumstances often stemming from addiction. This is absolutely true, and it has actually led to mass overdoses, as drug dealers gain much more business once people spread the word that dealer's drug caused an overdose. People think the drug itself is potent enough for their tolerance when in reality the drug they believe they are taking has actually been cut with something deadly such as fentanyl.


Don't Make Any Decisions Until After College

The frontal Cortex is still developing until we are 25 years old.


The frontal cortex is also responsible for our willpower and decisions made based on our long-term pleasure. Do you know a correlation?


Remind Yourself You're Okay

The more senses you can engage in an anxiety reduction strategy, the better it will work.

Like the poster mentioned earlier, your brain does not differentiate why it is ramping the nervous system up. So you have to send it the clear message that this is a safe moment to not be hyperaroused.


Tell Them How To Find Their Own Help

Motivational Interviewing exists for a reason.

I constantly run across comments on Reddit that say things like "If your therapist isn't telling you to get out of this relationship NOW, then you need a new therapist!" But humans have a tendency to dig their heels in when told to do something they feel ambivalent about. There are ways to help people realize what's going to be best for them that DON'T involve giving straight advice. In fact I'd say giving straight advice can be one of the least effective methods for a lot of people/issues. And these people in our office probably have a dozen friends ALREADY giving them that advice, and they're still not acting on it.

I'm a clinical psychologist.


Don't Look Here. Look Over HERE.

psychiatric nurse here.

redirection is a hell of a skill.

for example, we had a patient screaming at us and peacocking, just ready to fight someone. he had glasses on his head and i mentioned i liked them. he said "i need them to read books". i asked him about the books he read and we had a whole discussion about that and he completely forgot what he was angry about. learning about it in school i was super skeptical, but seeing it work and using it often is incredible. sometimes a small distraction from our feelings is all we need.


Our Mind Is Locked In The Melodies

Although there is no way to bring back the memories, playing music to dementia sufferers can bring back the feelings. The study was prompted when a dementia sufferer started crying happy tears to a song. He told the care staff that he had no idea why but he felt really happy. His wife later identified the song as the one she walked down the aisle to on her wedding day.


Not All Sadness Is The Same

Your sadness has different symptoms depending on the trigger.

Getting broken up with or losing a loved one often manifests as crying/seeking social support.

Pursuing a goal and failing at achieving it can cause reclusive behavior, feeling very tired, wanting to be alone - in theory to stop you from endeavoring on another fruitless mission.


We're Committed To A Fault

Something that makes me wonder how we survived as a species and then answers my question at the same time:

People will adhere to what they believe to be true over what they know to be true. Politics, religion, anxiety, depression, staying with an abuser are all examples. Even when they are able to state what they know, their beliefs interfere and that cognitive dissonance will resolve closer to their belief. As a therapist, it's my job to help them know what they know and slowly alter their beliefs to be more consistent with what they know. Too quick of a change strengthens the belief system. It amazes me every time a patient has an epiphany and then almost immediately reverts.


It's Not Who Is About To Go In, But Rather Who Is About To Leave

There is a fairly common misconception that people in severe depressive states are the most likely to commit suicide.

The data shows that suicide is most common in people coming out of a major depression who are in a manic state. Often this time period is one where the depressed individual appears to be "getting better". I want more people to know this so they can catch the red flags many people miss when a friend or family member kills themselves.


Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

Some years ago, I had to advise a college friend to stop chasing the girl he was interested in at the time. She'd already turned him down. Explicitly. At least two or three times.

He wouldn't take no for an answer and didn't see anything wrong with his behavior.

Perhaps he'd seen too many movies where the guy eventually breaks through the girl's defenses and essentially coerces her into going out with him?

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Parents make mistakes. We want to believe that parents are doing there very best to raise their kids, but sometimes they do more harm than good.

Research into childhood trauma didn't actually begin until the 1970s, so we don't have as much knowledge about our mental health as adults as we might like.

However, a study that followed 1,420 from 1992 to 2015 found conclusive results about childhood trauma:

"'It is a myth to believe that childhood trauma is a rare experience that only affects few,' the researchers say."
"Rather, their population sample suggests, 'it is a normative experience—it affects the majority of children at some point.'"
"A surprising 60 percent of those in the study were exposed to at least one trauma by age 16. Over 30 percent were exposed to multiple traumatic events."

Not all of the things our parents do that were not so helpful technically classify as trauma, but it definitely has an effect on us as we get older.

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Ann on Unsplash

Breaking up is something that never gets easier.

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On the outside, so many professions and careers look glamorous, financially enticing, and fun.

Often we sit back in our own lives and wallow in our dead-end jobs with that "wish I could do that for a living mentality!"

But if you look a little closer or, much like Dorothy Gale in OZ, just wait for a Toto to push the curtain back, you'll see that a lot more is going on behind the scenes.

And the shenanigans we don't see, make all that fun... evaporate.

So many careers and high power industries are built on a foundation of lies, backstabbing, and stress. And not in that fun "Dynasty" way.

That quiet, dead-end gig may not be so bad after all.

Redditor MethodicallyDeep wanted hear all the tea about certain careers, by asking:

What is a secret in your industry that should be talked about?
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