Currently viewing the tag: "neurosis"
I glance around, staring at the framed pictures that fill this temporary home. Every place I have been, memorialized forever on glossy paper. Through the prism of a camera lens, I have seen the beauty of the world. Monuments created by humans stand in competition with art sculpted by nature. Each image serves as a reminder that a light shines through so many people, and yet, no matter how far I run, I cannot seem to escape my shadow. –Sejal Badani, Trail of Broken Wings

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the backstory of your protagonist, paying particular attention to his or her shadow self.

Journaling Prompt: What do you know about your shadow self? Write about it.

Art Prompt: My Shadow

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about their shadow and how they can accept the disowned parts of their personality.

Photo Credit: Travis Isaacs on Flickr

…researchers assessed each individual’s homelessness, inpatient mental-health treatment, psychological symptoms of mental illness, substance use and as victims or perpetrators of violence. The researchers evaluated all of these items as both indicators and outcomes — i.e., as both causes and effects.

“We found that all of these indicators mattered, but often in different ways,” says Sarah Desmarais, an associate professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of the paper. “For example, drug use was a leading indicator of committing violence, while alcohol use was a leading indicator of being a victim of violence.”

However, the researchers also found that one particular category of psychological symptoms was also closely associated with violence: affective symptoms.

“By affect, we mean symptoms including anxiety, depressive symptoms and poor impulse control,” Desmarais says. “The more pronounced affective symptoms were, the more likely someone was to both commit violence and be a victim of violence…

…on average, the researchers found that one event in which a person was a victim of violence triggered seven other effects, such as psychological symptoms, homelessness and becoming perpetrators of violence. Those seven effects, on average, triggered an additional 39 additional effects.

“It’s a complex series of interactions that spirals over time, exacerbating substance use, mental-health problems and violent behavior,” Van Dorn says. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a protagonist with poor impulse control and high anxiety.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the state of your mental health and how it affects your behavior.

Art Prompt: Mental Illness and Violence

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell  your audience about the complicated relationship between mental illness and violence.

Photo Credit: Alvaro Tapia on Flickr

I would fight the world for you, but I’m damned if I can figure out how to save you from yourself. –Barrayar by Louise MacMaster Bujold

Fiction Writing Prompt: How does your protagonist need to be saved from him or herself?

Journaling Prompt: How do you need to be saved from yourself? What advice would you give to yourself?

Art Prompt: Save me from myself!

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about a time when no one could save you from yourself.

Photo Credit: ja’s ink on paper on Flickr

crazy-chef

…anyone who willingly turns their life upside down by becoming a cook is totally insane to begin with. So many chefs that I have met are dyslexic and totally not school people or intellectuals. That could be symbolic of the kind of lifestyle that they choose to live. They all drink a lot, do a lot of drugs, drink a shitload of coffee and espresso. They don’t sleep much, and obviously don’t have much of a life outside the kitchen. A cook’s friend is a cook, there isn’t much time for a non-cook friend or girlfriend. And time really isn’t the issue so much as it’s a lifestyle and a culture that is very hard to understand or identify with unless you are on the inside. Cooks hang out with cooks because there is nobody else awake, hungry and totally wired at 2 am on a Tuesday. –Jennifer Topper, 29 Jobs and a Million Lies

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story with a chef as a protagonist.

Journaling Prompt: What personality traits do you have that make you perfect for your job?

Art Prompt: Crazy Chef

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how different personalities are attracted to different careers. Give them resources to find their perfect career. 

Photo Credit: Joe Benjamin on Flickr

Monday confidence

Washington State University researcher Joyce Ehrlinger has found that a person’s tendency to be overconfident increases if he or she thinks intelligence is fixed and unchangeable.

Such people tend to maintain their overconfidence by concentrating on the easy parts of tasks while spending as little time as possible on the hard parts of tasks, said Ehrlinger, a WSU assistant professor of psychology. But people who hold a growth mindset–meaning they think intelligence is a changeable quality–spend more time on the challenging parts of tasks, she said. Consequently, their levels of confidence are more in line with their abilities.

Ehrlinger’s research, conducted with Ainsley Mitchum of Florida State University and Carol Dweck of Stanford University, appears in the March edition of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

“A little bit of overconfidence can be helpful,” said Ehrlinger, “but larger amounts of overconfidence can lead people to make bad decisions and to miss out on opportunities to learn.” The researchers note that overconfidence is a documented problem for drivers, motorcyclists, bungee jumpers, doctors and lawyers. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Add to your character sketch. Does your character have a growth or fixed mindselt? What areas is he/she overconfident in?

Journaling Prompt: When are you overconfident?
Art Prompt: Overconfident

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about growth vs. fixed mindset and how that affect their confidence.

Photo Credit: Chris & Karen Highland on Flickr

toddler tantrum

In their second and third years of life, then, boys decisively will turn away from their mother. They de-identify with what she is. But their pulling away, their protective shield, may involve a number of anti-female defenses. And so it may be that the price males pay for de-identification is a disdain, a contempt, sometimes even a hatred for women, a disowning of the “feminine” parts of themselves and an enduring fear of intimacy because it undermines the separation upon which their male identity has been founded.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a man whose protective shield blocks him from having any meaningful relationships.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a man you know who can’t identify with the feminine aspects of his being. How does that affect his relationships?

Art Prompt: De-Identification with Mom

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience why de-identification with your parents is important and give them strategies for making sure that they have a healthy relationship with all aspects of themselves.

Photo Credit: Jessica Lucia on Flickr

Man in the mirror

A man’s identity was once largely drawn from work, family and perhaps sport. Today, men are given the task of designing and maintaining an identity from a multitude of alternatives offered by products they can buy and images they are shown in the media. The supposed reward for all this is social and psychological well-being. As many marketers would have it, “look good, feel good”.

But this shift has brought the kind of pressure to conform to a certain image and body shape that was previously directed at almost solely at women. Recent adverts for Protein World weight-loss products that featured a highly toned, bikini-clad modelwere criticised as an attempt to exploit women’s body insecurities and shame them into buying the products. These were accompanied by similarly revealing but largely unnoticed ads for men. While these don’t carry the same sexist legacy of women’s objectification, they do replicate some of the same body shaming issues. –Matthew Hall

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story with a male protagonist who is struggling with body shame.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about your body? Has it changed over time? How do you deal with any shame about your body?

Art Prompt: Males and Body Shame

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about body shaming in our culture and give them tools to develop a more healthy relationship with their bodies.

Photo Credit: jesuscm on Flickr

Anxiety

Here is how a lot of people think who are socially anxious:

  • If I am anxious, then people will see my anxiety.
  • If people see you are anxious, then they will think you are a loser.
  • I should always appear in control and confident.
  • I have to get the approval of everyone.
  • If I don’t, it means I am defective or inferior.
  • It’s terrible not to have people’s approval.
  • There is a right way—a perfect way—to do things socially.
  • I should always do things the perfect way when around other people

And, people who are socially anxious often engage in “safety behaviors” which are superstitious behaviors that they think make them more secure and less likely to unravel in public. Typical safety behavior beliefs are the following:

  • If I hold a glass really tightly, then my hand won’t tremble.
  • If I talk really fast, people won’t think I’m a loser and have nothing to say.
  • If I have a few drinks, I can function better.
  • If I prepare my talk and read it, then I won’t lose track.
  • If I wear a jacket, they won’t see I am sweating.

Robert L. Leahy, PhD


Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a character suffering from social anxiety. Include inner monologue.

Journaling Prompt: What anxious thoughts run through your mind? How do you respond to them?

Art Prompt: Social anxiety

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about social anxiety and provide strategies for coping with their inner thoughts.

Photo Credit: Mariana Zanatta on Flickr

Silence, Censor, Restraint

Dissonance makes a person stop thinking “What can this person do for me?” and start wondering, “What is this person planning to do to me?” It also keeps you and another person from connecting—or, from a neurological point of view, achieving mirror neuron empathy—because you’re not sending the message you think you’re sending. –Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston M.D.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write internal dialogue for one of your character that exhibits dissonance. Show the conflict it creates.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you experience dissonance.

Art Prompt: Dissonance

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the psychological phenomenon of dissonance and how it creates conflicts in relationships.

Photo Credit: Kayla Sawyer on Flickr

repetition

There is in human nature a compulsion to repeat… It compels us to do again and again what we’ve done before, to attempt to restore an earlier state of being. It impels us to transfer the past – our ancient longings, our defenses against those longings – on to the present. –Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst

Fiction Writing Prompt: What is your protagonist compelled to repeat? How does this feed the conflict in your story?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a pattern that recurs in your life and what you are seeking to accomplish through it.

Art Prompt: Repetition compulsion

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the repetition compulsion, either with a humorous or dramatic personal story.

Photo Credit: mari moon on Flickr