With the expansion of mental health initiatives and awareness, many philosophies and terms related to psychology are being used by the general public. But there are a lot of myths created because of the layman definitions. Below are some common psychology myths which need to be busted.
Psychology Myths and Misconceptions
1. You are either left or right-brained
We often hear that a creative person is right-brained while the analytical one is right-brained. The side which is dominant decide whether you would be creative or logical.
Reality:- Researches show that there are no dominant sides of the brain. Both the sides are equally used as there are different areas in the brain related to different abilities, so both the sides are highly interconnected. Due to experiences and lifestyle, some sections can become stronger because of the adaptation.
2. Opposites attract and make a better bond.
We often hear that people who are opposites attract. People often follow this myth and end up choosing a partner who is opposite to them in some sense to make a balanced relationship.
Reality: – Researches show that this is not true. We tend to make better long-term relationships with people who are similar to us. It often results in better understanding, similar interests and better communication. Since communication is the key to relationships, being similar helps the partner to step into each other shoes easily and understand the conflicts and needs better.
3. Venting out your aggression can help overcome the anger.
We know that suppressing emotions is harmful but sometimes venting is not good either. People shout and rant to vent it all out.
Reality: – Many types of research in psychology indicate that venting anger can have an opposite impact. It makes the situation worst as it reinforces the already built up anger and hampers bonds with others. It can create anxiety about self-control and also hamper bonds with other people. So next time when you get angry, remove yourself from the situation, take deep breaths and relax. Channelize it constructively by doing some physical exercises or through art therapy.
4. OCD disorder is just related to organizing things and washing hands
Many of us have a misconception that obsessive-compulsive disorder is related to organizing things, finding symmetry and washing hands repeatedly.
Reality: – OCD is characterized by intrusive disturbing thoughts which push people into following time-consuming rituals to calm down. It can involve intrusive sexual thoughts and images which provokes anxiety and the individual tries to ward them off by doing certain rituals.
5. Bipolar Disorder is just about mood swings and is seasonal.
Many people believe that an individual with bipolar disorder has mood swings mostly happiness and sadness. Half of the year they feel happy and half the year they are depressed.
Reality:- this is not true. The diagnostic criteria for bipolar outlines various symptoms such as highs of mania and lows of depression that last for weeks and months, and are not changed quickly. So the condition is far more serious than popular ‘mood swings’ media portrayal.
6. Children don’t experience emotional problems and psychological issues
Many people believe that children do not experience issues related to mental health as they don’t have to face the atrocities of life just as teenagers and adults do.
Reality:- Many mental health surveys indicate that very young children show signs of emotional issues, such as loneliness, sadness, irritability which could be a product of nature and nurture, involving social, psychological and biological factors. Unfortunately, we don’t give a lot of attention to young children’s emotional needs and less than 20% of them get diagnosed and get help. Mental health support in the initial stages can help children healthily go through the developmental stages.
7. The best approach to generate good ideas is to ‘brainstorm’ in the group
We often believe that brainstorming ideas in a group of people work best. As it is common sense that many brains will be working together to generate better ideas.
Reality:- A variety of studies suggest that it is not true. The ideas generated by this means lead to poorer ideas. It is often dubbed as group productivity illusion by various psychologists. When we are in a group the pressure is certainly not on to only us, so we become less aware and interested that we fail to generate new and better ideas, whereas when we work alone, we can focus on one thing at a time and come up with a meaningful idea.
8. Acting hard to get is a good way to attract someone.
When a person displays hard to get behaviour, the other person becomes interested and tries to impress and acknowledges the uniqueness.
Reality:- When one acts on hard to get, it pushes a lot of potential partners away as it makes the other person feels for granted. People tend to get attracted to someone receptive towards their emotional needs and not someone who needs to be impressed.
9. People who tend to be happy-go-lucky experience fewer bad moods.
We often tend to believe that people who are always happy and smiling, are happy in their life and are better able to regulate their emotions.
Reality:- Good and Bad moods are independent of each other. There are no concrete research data regarding their connection. One may also be appearing happy because of ‘toxic positivity’. And not being able to experience sad/difficult emotions could be a sign of an emotional concern.
10. The best way to memorize something is to repeat it several times
We often believe that rote memorisation is one of the most successful ways to memorise something.
Reality:- The researches indicate that merely repeating things over and over again is not a good way to memorize, instead, understanding something by their meaning can help in better retention of information.
Above are a few myths we often hear in our day to day life. So, it becomes important to recheck them and then forward it to someone. Responsibility lies in our hands to pass on the correct information by questioning it in the first place.
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