Relationships and Arguing: Knowing isn't half the battle

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Relationships and Arguing: Knowing isn't half the battle

Sometimes I feel like no matter what I do, I just can’t do anything right. I try my hardest but sometimes I fail.

What do you do when your hardest isn’t good enough?

As someone with a masters in psychology you’d think I have all the answers when it comes to relationships. But the truth is, just because I can diagnose a problem, and I know clinical approaches. It doesn’t make it any easier to deal with them and sometimes it makes them worse. 

Same Argument Different Day 

In my marriage (14 years and counting) I feel we get stuck arguing about the same thing in different ways. Most of our arguments are  about how much time I spend engaged with the family. I know I can be a space case, but I do try my best to use mindfulness  techniques(focus on what people are saying, stay off my phone, show appreciation to the people around me), to stay present. 

Stubbornly set in my routine

Psychologists Stephenie and Elisha Goldstein, talk about how to apply mindfulness to the family in their works. But, even though I know these techniques, and I apply them. I still fall into the trap of being set in my routine (waking up, marital arts training ,running ,working out and going to work).

On the other hand,  having a routine is another important part of mindfulness and Zen. I love my routine, it helps me manage my stress (running a business, being an Expat in Japan, being the main income provider etc.). The problem arises when my routine is broken by a stressful event (sickness, injury, family emergency). 

Trying to do it all and failing 

While exercising, working out until your muscles fail is considered a good thing. But maybe that philosophy should stay in the gym. Sometimes I don’t  seem to know when to just focus on the issue that is throwing me off my game. If something comes up I try to take care of what I’m asked to do, while at the same time doing what I usually do. This drives my wife nuts and leads me to overloading my schedule (routine failure if you will). 

Wife: Why don’t you just skip the routine? Do you have to work out Monday through Friday? One day off won’t kill you. 

She’s right, but if I don’t go through with it I feel like shit. But if I do go through it, it makes me feel like a “bad father” that neglected the family (I wish I can be at two places at once). 

Sacrifice, Sacrifice and Sacrifice some more

A study in the Journal of Happiness found that the more social support (sacrifice) a partner reported giving to their spouse, the higher the couple would rank when it came to marital satisfaction. 

But, if  this is done to often it can lead to resentment. I don’t resent my partner, but I know she resents my work out schedule. We get to this point where we both feel we are sacrificing too much. I feel I sacrificed everything (career in psychology, friends & family in California) to support her here in Japan. She feels that she sacrificed everything (career as a preschool teacher in California, friends) to come back to Japan, to support her aging parents. 

Being a Zen master 

Knowing about Zen doesn’t make you a Zen master (and even Zen masters get divorced). Meaning that if you get caught up thinking that your impervious to relationship issues, that’s when things can get really ugly. There’s a zen proverb:

A fool that thinks he is wise is the biggest fool. 

This is why it’s important to stay modest and know when I’m over intellectualizing a problem. At this point staying calm and addressing it is the only thing I can do. Couples argue and it’s actually part of a healthy relationship. It’s the couples that no longer argue or communicate that are at a high risk for a divorce, because  they are dealing with their disagreements by not talking about them (which leads to the resentment I was talking about earlier). 

Although being a Zen master won’t prevent you from having arguments, having a healthy set of coping strategies is better than going in blind. My degree in psychology allows me to see what is happening, but I still need to work on what to do after the fact. 

What coping strategies do you use to handle arguments with your partner? Feel free to share in the comments section below!

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology/Editor) 

Have a story about relationships that you would like to share? Feel free to contact me to have it published on my site! 

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Revisiting Fukushima: Concerns about radiation years later

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Revisiting Fukushima: Concerns about radiation years later

The disaster in Fukushima has been on everybody's mind in Japan.Once a year the news is flooded with reminders of what happened and what is being done about it. Only problem with this is that in America, everyone is more concerned with ratings and what not, so the American News media has not reported much on the subject. 

However, Japan has, so have reputable international journalist companies such as Reuters. I have a friend, that use to work for Reuters, and one of the reasons he quit, was because he wanted to report everything he felt was important. But the only problem with this was that main stream news (popular news), seemed to get peoples attention more than groundbreaking stories. In other words, it wasn't that they were not reporting about the situation, it was that people were not reading about it. People drive what news media feeds them and vice versa. As you also know this leads to people focusing on irrelevant news. 

Two Extreme Opinions

With so much news flying around, some websites have enjoyed blowing things up to get peoples attention. Which is why if you Google Fukushima radiation , you will find two extremes. 

1- We're all going to die and the government in hiding this from everyone. 

2- There is absolutely nothing wrong and everyone in Fukushima and Japan are just fine, please come to Japan for the Olympics 

Both approaches in my opinion are wrong. Me, as well as other Expats, and local Japanese scientists, have been following this and have found some reputable sources to give us insight in what is really going on. 

Asahi Shinbun

Personally, I like the Asahi Shinbun (Newspaper). It's a Japanese journalist firm that has nothing to do with the government and has done some whistle blowing in the past .It is translated into English and I feel it does a good job of not sugar coating things. 

To address the news about the Robots being destroyed recently here is an article about it from the above source:

Robots destroyed by radiation while examining the damage caused.


It goes into detail about how their is still a lot of work to do when it comes to the clean up itself.

Here is another article that goes over how some high school students measured the area and found hotspots as well inhabitable areas after the fact. 

Highschool Students check for themselves in Fukushima

 

My neighbor went out and bought a radiation reader because he too, did not trust the governments readings. He found that there was sustainable levels of radiation in my area (mind you I live very far away from Fukushima). But the fluctuations in radiation can be explained by global warming.

People forget that there is a lot of radiation coming in from space and the sun. A radiation reader reads radiation period. This explains why my friends radiation reader would spike after it rained. Since the atmosphere absorbs solar radiation, it pours from the sky into the water table.Which is why if you measure the water (anywhere), you can find traces of radiation that are not harmful. 

It should also be noted that this has been happening for a long time and some people suggest that this why when people started living longer, we suddenly saw more incidents of cancer. Cancer is a genetic weakness. Some people can smoke all their lives and never get lung cancer. Some people smoke and quit in a year and get lung cancer. The same argument can be made for radiation. Here is an article that explains solar and space radiation. 

Solar Spikes and Radiation Risks

 

Scientists revisit Fukushima to investigate 

In May of 2016, a group of scientist felt the government was hiding something so they went out on their own, with their own equipment, with their own money, to do something about it.

  • They found a few hot spots and also some areas that were deemed safe to rein-habit.

  • They also found three prefectures, that had agriculture, that did not want to let them in, out of fear of losing money for selling contaminated food.

For me the solution to this is easy. I don't eat food from the prefectures, that didn't allow scientists to test their crops from Fukushima. Since I don't live near Fukushima, and the Ocean Current in my area drifted all the contaminated water to the Eastern Pacific Ocean, towards California, I'm safe and believe it or not you are too. Why?

A team of scientists (both American and Japanese) measured the radiation  that drifted towards the U.S. and Canada,  they found that the half life of the main isotopes was 8 days and it dissolved because of the salinity of the ocean. In other words the U.S. is safe from radiation from Fukushima as well.  

Here is the article about the Japanese scientists in Fukushima, click on the above hyper link (under main isotopes) to read about the study done by the international team. 

Scientists revisit Fukushima in 2016

 

The relationship between radiation and health

The final point, is to try to keep in mind, how radiation effects health in general. Although radiation is harmful it is not as dangerous as people think (there are more dangerous cancerogenous in our environment). This article explains all the different types of radiation and how it effects humans DNA and genetic dispositions. 

Nuclear Radiation and Health Effects

www.world-nuclear.org

Nuclear Radiation and Health Effects (Updated July 2016)

Looking towards the future

With all of this in mind as an Expat and as a Scientist, I know about the risks of being exposed to radiation. Even if the conspiracy theorists are correct, there is not much, me as an individual, can do. If it is a worldwide catastrophe, statistically speaking, it would be pretty amazing if we were the last generation of humans on the planet. Think of the chances. Some scientists predict that considering the distance of the Sun to our planet, we are actually premature in our own existence and life would be 1,000 times more likely a millennia or so from now. 

So the fact that we made it this far (in my opinion ) is amazing, and I live everyday with this in mind. 

Social Gelo with Angelo 

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology) 

 

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Conspiracy Theories: Where do you draw the line?

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Conspiracy Theories: Where do you draw the line?

I will openly admit that I used to be big on conspiracy theories. On September 11, 2001, (I was 18) the twin towers came crashing down on national television. In the middle of the chaos, I thought to myself:

“This has to be an inside job”

As crazy as this might sound (to some of you), several polls have revealed that 1/3 of Americans, agreed with the 18-year-old version of me.

 

Now you might be asking yourself, why do I keep referring to this in the past tense? What changed from then to now?

 

Looking for a fight

At the time I was in a different place in life.  I thought I didn't have time to go to college and I hated people that sold out to “the man”. I felt that college was a brainwashing institute, designed to get you to trust the government. It was a tool to control you!

Being an outspoken liberal, I argued with my friends that went to college. If I could prove them wrong, I could prove that they weren’t that smart, and college couldn't help them from losing an argument.

 

The reality was that a part of me hated my job and really wanted to go back to school. I dropped out of college one class short of being A.S.E. certified as an automotive mechanic, to work in the family business (automotive repair shop). It paid well because I was essentially self-employed. We were successful, but I hated what I did. I was not happy working on cars and towing them 24/7 (I never did repos only road side assistance).

 

My Japanese wife had a completely different life experience. She had traveled around the world and had settled down in the U.S. after finishing her degree in child development. She never complained about her job as a pre-school teacher. So she was really confused as to why I was complaining all the time. She asked a question that would change my life:

 

“If you hate what you do, why don't you do something else?”

 

I don’t why I had such a huge fear of starting all over again. But I knew I wanted to travel and experience new things. My current job was not going to support that life style. After looking at different jobs available overseas, ESL teaching was the easiest option (outside of the military). The only problem was that in order to satisfy the visa requirements, I needed to have at least bachelor’s degree (in any subject).

 

Going back to school

It wasn’t easy going back to school after 5 years of not writing an essay. I was older than most of my classmates and couldn't relate to spring break vacations in Cancun. With no classmates to distract me, I dove into the reading assignments.  The thirst for knowledge seemed insatiable.  It wasn’t long until I declared a double major in Social Science and Psychology, with in emphasis in counseling and research.  

 

The years flew while studying about the human brain and society. It was fascinating learning how to apply the scientific method, to psychological research with human subjects (I know people hate the word subjects, I prefer participants)(Brown, & Ghiselli, 1955).

 

At times, psychology can be a bit terrifying; especially when you learn how easy people can be manipulated to do horrible things by their environment (Haney, & Zimbardo, 1998). Psychology also has a dark history, in the 1960’s, the deinstitutionalization movement  (see video) helped stop the involuntary admittance of patients, that were being forcibly admitted into asylums, for unethical practices such as gay conversion therapy (Bachrach, & Lamb, 1982).

 

The way oppression operated became an interesting topic for me. This was why eventually I conducted research studies on racism for my senior undergraduate thesis. The 8 years I spent studying, ultimately ended with my Masters in Science in Psychology, as well as two B.S. degrees in Social Science and Counseling.

 

I never would have thought I would go past the basic requirements needed, to teach ESL in Japan, but I did, because I fell in love with science and learning.

 

What did any of that have to do with conspiracies?!

 

Don’t worry this isn’t a click bait article. The relationship between the two topics is that the entire time I spent studying, I never stopped questioning everyone (professors, colleagues), about where they got their information. As a researcher I discovered that:

“There’s lies, there’s damn lies and then there’s statistics”

Not surprisingly if you look at history you’ll find that conspiracies can and do happen. The deinstitutionalization movement, Watergate, the Tuskegee experiments and the Bay of Pigs, are all proven conspiracies (Clarke, 1979;Kornbluh, 1998;Olson, 2003; Thomas, & Quinn, 1991).

 

However, one thing they all have in common is the simplicity to their discoveries. Although the organizations involved tried to hide the truth, somehow, sooner or later, people found out. In many of the cases, such as with the deinstitutionalization movement, it wasn’t so much a conspiracy, as much as misguided values and application of unethical practices.

Fear Addiction

The reason people love conspiracies is because they play with a primordial part of your brain. In the Big Picture Science podcast: “Fear Itself” , researchers from the Setti Institute, interview several social scientists, from different fields to explain how this works. To sum it up, conspiracy theories satisfy our want for complicated events to have complicated solutions (Brotherton, 2015). Only problem is that sometimes, complicated events have simple answers.

 

Paranoid Schizoid Personality Type

The latest version the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders has proposed that mental disorders are on a spectrum, rather than a set category. This means that anyone can sit on the spectrum of a disorder, without ever being diagnosed. However, this doesn’t mean it does not effect how they see the world.

 

On the spectrum of Paranoid Schizoid Personality Type, the person can be susceptible to delusions of persecution.  This disorder can influence these individuals to believe in conspiracy theories that have no scientific evidence. As long as these individuals do not present a threat to others or themselves, they can live out their lives without ever being diagnosed.

 

Taking the Blue Pill

After learning what I have about the human brain, I realized a few things about myself:

 

First: When I was young I  was projecting my fears of being uneducated, by arguing with my friends who were in college.

 

Second: My love of conspiracy theories was fueled by my up bringing as a Jehovah’s Witness (at the time a doomsday cult).

 

Third: I am on the spectrum of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

 

For me, the last realization was really scary. But at the same time, having insight into how your mind works, gives you the power to not be a victim of your own thinking (Hamilton, & Roper, 2006).  

 

This is why I don’t dive into conspiracy theories anymore. After all, once it is said and done, how does knowledge of a conspiracy theory (proven or unproven) help me take care of my family?

 

Truth is following a conspiracy theory, feeds the primordial part of my brain, which is addicted to anxiety and fear. For me personally, I would rather live without those things. How about you?

 

Social Gelo with Angelo

 

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)

References

Bachrach, L. L., & Lamb, H. R. (1982). Conceptual issues in the evaluation of the deinstitutionalization movement. Innovative approaches to mental health evaluation, 149-161.

Brown, C. W., & Ghiselli, E. E. (1955). Scientific method in psychology.

Brotherton, R. (2015). Suspicious minds: Why we believe conspiracy theories. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Clarke, G. J. (1979). In defense of deinstitutionalization. The Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly. Health and Society, 461-479.

 

Haney, C., & Zimbardo, P. (1998). The past and future of US prison policy: Twenty-five years after the Stanford Prison Experiment. American Psychologist, 53(7), 709.

 

Hamilton, B., & Roper, C. (2006). Troubling ‘insight’: power and possibilities in mental health care. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 13(4), 416-422.

 

Kornbluh, P. (Ed.). (1998). Bay of Pigs declassified: The secret CIA report on the invasion of Cuba. New Press.

 

Olson, K. W. (2003). Watergate: the presidential scandal that shook America (pp. 168-75). Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

 

Thomas, S. B., & Quinn, S. C. (1991). The Tuskegee Syphilis Study, 1932 to 1972: implications for HIV education and AIDS risk education programs in the black community. American journal of public health, 81(11), 1498-1505.

 

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Check the WikiLeaks! Is WikiLeaks a reliable source for information?

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Check the WikiLeaks! Is WikiLeaks a reliable source for information?

Americans have lost faith in journalism.  Although some feel that this is related to recent political events, polls have actually found that Americans faith in journalism has been steadily dropping since 1972.

Not surprisingly Americans have reached a historical low when it comes to their trust in mainstream media. Because of this people have began turning to Internet sources to find “the truth”.

Too many truths

Unfortunately there are an abundant amount of sources on the Internet. Many people have a difficult time separating what they want to believe and the truth (Dutton, & Reisdorf, 2016).

Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as confirmatory bias. Confirmatory bias occurs in research when a researcher gathers data that confirms their hypothesis and ignores any data that refutes their hypothesis. Because of this, researchers are trained in the scientific method, to try to avoid biased research from being published. Further safe guards are put into place by having other professionals in the field review the research (peer review process) before the study is conducted.

 

Even with all of these safe guards in place, bias research still ends up being released (Woo, O'Boyle,& Spector, 2016).

 

If this phenomenon occurs amongst trained professionals what would be the effects on someone with no background in social science?

This was the question that was investigated by Villarole et al (2016). The study found that when people are presented with information they agree with first, it leads to confirmation bias in their arguments.

Wikileaks and the new face of journalism

It should be noted that Wikileaks played a substantial role in Americans distrust in Clinton and selecting Trump as POTUS.  Not to say that Clinton didn't serve her own role by her actions. But it was interesting how Trump played on Americans distrust of the government and media, to make himself look like a politician the people could trust.

Does this mean that Wikileaks has an agenda and cannot be trusted?

This question is very difficult to answer. Wikileaks is an organization that provides information. By definition it is considered a type of journalism. However, academia does not consider Wikileaks as a valid source of information, because it is not peer reviewed before being published (Malkan, 2016;O’Loughlin, 2016;Ruby et al, 2016).

This doesn’t mean that Wikileaks does not have reliable information. For instance, there were some government files about the conflict in Afghanistan, which were released to the New York Times by Wikileaks. The documents were brought to the White House for verification and it was found that those particular files were authentic. 

 

However, in other cases Wikileaks has shown to look more like the cover of Weekly World News (bat boy , alien invasion stories). Because of this some people doubt the legitimacy of the information itself. Although Wikileaks tries their best to ensure that the information is from verified sources, there are still those who doubt some of the information published.

 

What are people’s thoughts?

To get an idea of what people thought on this subject. There was a small poll conducted on the Social Gelo Facebook Account (Gelo Topics) that asked the question:

Do you feel Wikileaks is a reliable source for information? Why or Why not?

Out of the 32 respondents 92% felt that Wikileaks was more reliable than other forms of Media.  

 

Distrust in the Main Stream Media

One of the themes that showed up was an overall distrust in mainstream media with 25% of the respondents mentioning that they trust Wikileaks more than any other media outlet.  This was an interesting point because Wikileaks has actually sent their findings to be published by Le Monde, El Pais, The Guardian and Der Spiegel.The Guardian has also been known for sending some of their findings to the New York Times. 

This is one way that Wikileaks can further credit their information, because it allows other professionals in the field to review it (a type of peer review if you will).

 

They have never had to retract an article

Many of the respondents (32%) argued that Wikileaks was a valid source because they have never had to retract an article. There was a small problem with this argument because it is a type of circular reasoning. As one of the antagonists  (8%) pointed out:

“In 40 years, The National Enquirer has only had to retract two stories. That doesn’t make one (it) a reliable source of information”

 

Only as reliable as their sources

Although the majority of respondents trusted Wikileaks, 8% felt that the information was only as reliable as it’s source. As it was mentioned earlier in this article Wikileaks does verify the source of the information, but the accuracy of that information is another story.

 

Since anyone can submit any information to Wikileaks, if and when Wikileaks finds pertinent information regarding a government cover up, they will hand over the information to media sources to publish. At this point the media sources (journalists) verify the information sent.  Wikileaks does not send their files on Aliens to any sources (most likely because they know the information is reliable but not valid).

 

Conclusion

Wikileaks is a database and like all databases has information available to the public. But it is up to the public to discern what information is valid. In social science this dilemma comes up in our discussions about the differences between reliability and validity (Silverman, 2016). 

My Thoughts 

Researchers are not fixed on their beliefs (at least theoretically they shouldn’t be). This is why although I may have my own beliefs about Wikileaks, I let the evidence guide me to a conclusion.

To be honest, when I started this research inquiry I was more cynical about Wikileaks. After reviewing the data I have changed my mind about the validity of some of the information provided by Wikileaks. This is the difference between using the scientific method and theology.

Considering the amount of conspiracy theorists feeding on information available on the Internet, it may be wise to air to caution and always verify the validity of anything you find.

Limitations

The data presented does not go without limitations. There were only 32 respondents and since statistical significance can only be established with at least 50 respondents (some argue more), the findings from this poll are interesting but not valid (irnagl, 2016).

 

The respondents were collected using a type of snowball sample (Facebook responses to other respondents), which is another issue because the gold standard for research is random selection (more variety of people from different backgrounds) from any given population (Patten, 2016).  Therefore the results cannot be generalized to a larger population.  

This was more of a qualitative study than a quantitative one (Padget, 2016).

 

Special Thanks

I want to thank all my Facebook “Friends” who participated in this poll. I will be doing a podcast on this soon. Stay tuned!

 

Social Gelo with Angelo

 

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)

 

References

Dirnagl, U. (2016). Statistics in Experimental Stroke Research: From Sample Size Calculation to Data Description and Significance Testing. Rodent Models of Stroke, 301-315.

Dutton, W. H., & Reisdorf, B. C. (2016). Cultural Divides and Digital Inequalities: Attitudes Shaping Internet and Social Media Divides.

Malkan, S. (2016). Standing up for transparency. Nature biotechnology, 34(1), 23.

O'Loughlin, J. (2016). The Perils of Self-Censorship in Academic Research in a WikiLeaks World. Journal of Global Security Studies, 1(4), 337-345.

Patten, M. L. (2016). Understanding research methods: An overview of the essentials. Routledge.

Padgett, D. K. (2016). Qualitative methods in social work research (Vol. 36). Sage Publications.

Ruby, F., Goggin, G., & Keane, J. (2016). “Comparative Silence” Still? Journalism, academia, and the Five Eyes of Edward Snowden. Digital Journalism, 1-15.

Silverman, D. (Ed.). (2016). Qualitative research. Sage.

Villarroel, C., Felton, M., & Garcia-Mila, M. (2016). Arguing against confirmation bias: The effect of argumentative discourse goals on the use of disconfirming evidence in written argument. International Journal of Educational Research, 79, 167-179.

Woo, S. E., O'Boyle, E. H., & Spector, P. E. (2016). Best practices in developing, conducting, and evaluating inductive research.

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Years from Japan: 2017 Plans for Social Gelo with Angelo

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Happy New Years from Japan: 2017 Plans for Social Gelo with Angelo

Hi everyone! First of all I want to thank all of my followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook for making my podcast so successful! When I started this project I was hoping to keep my writing skills in tact and my research background going by running this thing called Social Gelo!

New Years in Japan

I'm a simple dude and usually do the same thing every year for New Years. In Japan there is a lot to do on New Years day so I don't really party the night before. Besides I'm not a young person (Japanese saying, ages 18 - 25, typically single) and I'm married with kids. So I tend to do what ever my family has planned. My family and I had some Sake with Osechi(Traditional Japanese New Years Food) and tomorrow I will probably visit the local shrine and temple to pray. If you're interested in what I do during New Years here is a video of what I did last year (which is the same thing I do every year) .

 

Plans for 2017

After all the drama of the 2016 election I decided that I will try not to focus on American politics. I understand that politics is a big part of a social structure but I feel that I was repeating myself a little too much. I also hate being like everyone else and I felt that my articles and podcasts were similar to the shit I see on Buzzfeed, only Buzzfeed  has a lot more money so they do a better job of it. 

More Psychology 

With that in mind this year you can look forward to more things about psychology and individual mental/physical health. I'm diving into the research and trying to provide things that will help my followers better themselves.

Yes, reading about how racism affects people is great, but I get the feeling there will be plenty of other people taking about social injustices this year. Rather than harping on the same things, I feel that talking about other subjects will bring more diversity to the internet and social media as well. Don't get me wrong, if something big happens, you bet your ass I'm going to write about it. Just not every week. 

Martial Arts 

I'm also turing my focus to MMA. Last year I won my first Semi-Pro Kick Boxing Bout. This year I want to do the same in the cage. This will take a tremendous amount of focus and effort but once I set my mind to it, I do it! So stay tuned for a few more things about marital arts as well!

New Years Resolution 

I believe that last year was the year of the troll.Therefore I will not longer be wasting time and giving internet trolls another year. My new motto and New Years resolution is :

Stupid people are everywhere. It's not my job to change that!

That being said I'm going to try not to let the stupid things people say irritate me and lead me to writing a article to help teach them. They don't read research articles anyways. If they did, then they wouldn't be stupid. So instead of feeding the trolls I'm going to let it go!

Thanks again everyone for following me! 

Happy New Years! I hope all of you have a wonderful 2017!

 

Social Gelo with Angelo 

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)

 

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Fighting the Blues: 5 Steps to being happy

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Fighting the Blues: 5 Steps to being happy

Feeling down? Here are 5 steps to help you cheer up!

 

 

1 – Breathe

Now I know this sounds like some New Age mumbo jumbo. But scientists have found that 20 minutes of deep breathing can help relax you and bring down your blood pressure (Brook, et al, 2015;Modesti, et al, 2015;Drozdz , et al, 2016). Guided breathing is quick and easy to do, plus it doesn't require a lot of time or space. 

For a quick guide on helpful breathing exercises for beginners check out this site:

Guided Breathing Exercises

 

2 – Exercise

Now if your like me, sitting and breathing for 10 minutes or more sounds boring. This is why exercise is a great way to achieve the same physiological changes while burning some calories. You don’t have to be a cross fit fanatic to benefit from some moderate movement. In fact studies have found that 30 minutes of walking can help your brain attain a state of flow, which has the same benefits as guided breathing (Doyle, et al, 2016).

If you're up for more of a challenge, try running for 30 minutes and follow it with 30 minutes of calisthenics or weight training.

3 – Eat well 

We all know how a bad diet can affect your body. But did you know that a diet full of high fat and cholesterol could affect how well you perform tasks?

In a study conducted by Gullimen et al, (2016) it was found that participants that reported restricting their diets and following a diet routine, reported having higher energy levels through out the day. In turn the participants reported feeling better about their work days as well.

Other studies have a found a relationship between bad nutrition and depression (Needham, et al, 2015; Rahe, & Berger, 2016). It’s no wonder that if you eat fast food everyday it can make you feel crappy at the end of the week.

You don’t have to be a health nut to eat healthy. Meal prepping is a great way to ensure you avoid fast food and is easy on the budget as well.  Me personally I like going grocery shopping with my wife on Saturdays and planning what we will eat together through out the week. I try to limit red meat to two meals a week (I usually eat two steaks a week). This leaves the rest of my meals consisting of chicken and fish.

For great tips on how to meal prep for a family check out this link!

Meal Prepping

4 – Let go of negative thoughts

This can be a tough one. In psychology rumination is when people repeat negative thoughts in their heads. Sometimes it’s an argument or something negative that someone said. Other times it’s a negative event (political outcome, loss of a game from a favorite sports team). Whatever the case is, we become the bullies of our own minds when we don't let these things go.

Studies have found that when people problem solve (engage in an activity, solve a puzzle or play a video game) it can help stop the rumination cycle (Bijttebier et al, 2015; Kinnunen et al, 2016). 

For more information on how to stop rumination check out his link

Stopping Rumination

5 - Talk to a friend

You don’t have to talk to a licensed counselor (although it does help) to get some help when you’re stressed. Previous research has found that, having a strong network and social support, can help alleviate stress and prevent risk factors associated with illness (Wills, & Ainette, 2012).

Humans are social creatures, so it shouldn't be surprising that we need to reach out and talk to others sometimes.

Life goes on

Life does not go in a perfect line. If you have been lucky enough to get by this long with no hard times, then good for you! But if not, remember that you are not alone in your struggles.

In Zen they talk about letting in the good with the bad and avoid seeing life as a series of dichotomous events (good and evil).  As a social scientist I find myself writing about negative events all the time, so I use many of the steps mentioned above to keep my head up.

Just because bad things happen in the world, doesn’t mean we have to let them consume our daily lives.

 

Stay healthy and live strong!

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology) 

References

Bijttebier, P., Raes, F., Vasey, M. W., Bastin, M., & Ehring, T. W. (2015). Assessment of Repetitive Negative Thinking in Children: the Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire–Child Version (PTQ-C). Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 37(1), 164-170.

Brook, Robert D., Elizabeth A. Jackson, Paolo Giorgini, and Cheri L. McGowan. "When and how to recommend ‘alternative approaches’ in the management of high blood pressure." The American journal of medicine 128, no. 6 (2015): 567-570.

Doyle, J. P., Filo, K., Lock, D., Funk, D. C., & McDonald, H. (2016). Exploring PERMA in spectator sport: Applying positive psychology to examine the individual-level benefits of sport consumption. Sport Management Review.

Drozdz, T., Bilo, G., Debicka-Dabrowska, D., Klocek, M., Malfatto, G., Kielbasa, G., ... & Kawecka-Jaszcz, K. (2016). Blood pressure changes in patients with chronic heart failure undergoing slow breathing training. Blood pressure, 25(1), 4-10.

Guillemin, I., Marrel, A., Arnould, B., Capuron, L., Dupuy, A., Ginon, E., ... & Urdapilleta, I. (2016). How French subjects describe well-being from food and eating habits? Development, item reduction and scoring definition of the Well-Being related to Food Questionnaire (Well-BFQ©). Appetite, 96, 333-346.

Kawecka-Jaszcz, K. (2016). Blood pressure changes in patients with chronic heart failure undergoing slow breathing training. Blood pressure, 25(1), 4-10.

Kinnunen, U., Feldt, T., de Bloom, J., Sianoja, M., Korpela, K., & Geurts, S. (2016). Linking Boundary Crossing from Work to Nonwork to Work-Related Rumination across Time: A Variable-and Person-Oriented Approach.

Modesti, P. A., Ferrari, A., Bazzini, C., & Boddi, M. (2015). Time sequence of autonomic changes induced by daily slow-breathing sessions. Clinical Autonomic Research, 25(2), 95-104.

Rahe, C., & Berger, K. (2016). Nutrition and Depression: Current Evidence on the Association of Dietary Patterns with Depression and Its Subtypes. In Cardiovascular Diseases and Depression (pp. 279-304). Springer International Publishing.

Wills, T. A., & Ainette, M. G. (2012). 20 Social Networks and Social Support. Handbook of health psychology, 465.

 

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Trump Election: The race factor

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Trump Election: The race factor

White supremacy is complex. It is not as simple as saying that there are bigots in the U.S. and that these are the people that put Trump into power (although they did help). White supremacy is complex because you don’t have to be white or a bigot to support it.

 

Internalized Racism

Internalized racism is when a person of color internalizes the racial stereotypes they experience in society and replicate them (fit the stereotype given by society) (Jones, 2000). Psychologists refer to this as a self-fulfilling prophecy (Willard, & Madon, 2016). Once a person of color has taken in the dominant narrative that they are violent or lazy they may choose to refuse this. However, this narrative may affect them to feel hopeless in their efforts. This is what leads some of them to adhere to the stereotypes they are presented with.

 

A good example of this was when Trump said that Mexico was sending there worse to the U.S.  He then went on to call Mexican Immigrants rapists and drug runners. As offensive as this may sound some Mexican Americans voted for him.  Although in general Trump had the lowest amount of minority votes in 40 years, it still means that some minorities internalized the racism he portrayed and helped perpetuate it.

 

Now I don’t want to give Trump that much credit. Racism was living strong, way before he ran for office. But his racist comments threw fuel on the racial fire if you will.  While visiting California from Japan, I had a few people (mostly white folk) tell me that:

 “Since minorities voted for Trump it must mean that this election wasn’t about race”

The concept of internalized racism explains this phenomenon. Also in social science statistics, we don’t draw conclusions from anything less then 60%, otherwise this is not statistically significant (Falk, 1986). You can imagine my frustration explaining this to people that have never studied statistics (especially those that looked at a few websites and said they did research before the election).

 

How is the racial climate in California?

 

Well from my perspective things could have been worse. But this didn’t mean that they were all that great. I heard many narratives that verified my concerns about racial tensions. One of my friends (Black Male) related to me that since Trump was elected he has been called the N word a handful of times in the past two weeks. I also heard stories of fistfights breaking out between Trump Supporters and people of color over racial slurs. There was also an increase in hate crimes that were committed in San Diego after the election. So even though San Diego takes pride in being progressive, things were still a bit tense to say the least. I can only imagine how things are going in the red states down the middle.

 

 Before I came out to California I posted on Facebook that I didn’t want to talk about politics to anyone (especially if they voted for Trump).  I did pretty good and walked away whenever white folks start ranting and raving that America wanted change. I didn’t engage. I listened and remembered, which is why I wrote this article.

 

The reason I didn’t engage is because it would take hours to explain how race played a large role in this election. I find it interesting that I had no problem talking to Bernie supporters (I voted third party but that didn’t seem to bother them). But the few people that are in my circle that supported the outcome were too angry to reason with. It’s funny that they were angry even after their candidate won.

 

After some further questions I discovered that most of them didn't even vote. They were just voicing their opinions about a process they didn't take part in. However, this is not surprising considering the fact that 57% of eligible voters did not participate in this election.

Previous Studies and Relative Topics 

Another observation I made was how most people of color in my circle stopped talking about politics around Trump Voters (which I will coin as people who voted for Trump and unconsciously   supported white supremacy). I have yet to meet “out of the closet” Trump Supporters (which I will coin as the racists that wear the hats and are spewing racial slurs about president Obama). But it was interesting that the friends I have, that voted for Trump, wanted me to make this distinction, they would tell me:

“ I’m not a Trump supporter but ……(insert slightly racist comment here)”

I find this interesting because it reminded me of the comments that were made in a racial relations study in 2006 (Bonilla-Silva, 2006). Only exception was that the participants in that study said racist instead of Trump supporters.

 

At the end of the day my friends and I would wait for the Trump Voters to leave the room, then, when we felt safe, started talking about our fears of a Trump presidency. As one Tweet I read put it:

“I understand that not all of the people that voted for Trump are racist. But you did decide that racist statements are not a deal breaker for you.”

Looking Ahead 

Under these circumstances I have chosen to keep a watchful eye over this administration. It is still too early to tell (but the writing on the wall is definitely there).  As I have been posting lately:

“I’m hoping for the best and preparing for the worse” 

For all my friends that are directly affected by this election I stand in solidarity with you. Brace yourselves because winter is coming.

 

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)

 

References

Bonilla-Silva, E. (2006). Racism without racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in the United States. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

 

Falk, R. (1986). Misconceptions of statistical significance. Journal of structural learning.

 

Jones, C. P. (2000). Levels of racism: a theoretic framework and a gardener's tale. American journal of public health, 90(8), 1212.

 

Willard, J., & Madon, S. (2016). UNDERSTANDING THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECIES AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS. Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Expectancies, 117.

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Trump Amerikkka : Go back to your country

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Trump Amerikkka : Go back to your country

Usually for my articles I include references to academic articles. I do this to show my readers where I'm getting my data from so you can make conclusions based on the evidence. But for this article it is not needed.

The reason I don't need to show you evidence of a Trump Amerikkka is because one look at the Internet or the news will show you what I'm talking about. Hate crimes followed by pleas for peace. However it's difficult to be peaceful when the leader of the KKK openly showed his support for Trump and instigated the hate that followed.

"I'm not racist I just wanted an end to the corruption"

Their were 2 other 3rd party candidates that would have ended the corruption and imagine the look on the establishment if Jill Stein (Green Party)or Garry Johnson ( Libertarian Party) would have won. But this wasn't about corruption it was about you feeling like a winner.

Unfortunately your win meant others would have to suffer bigotry and hate crimes. But since no one you know is effected it's a price you don't mind others paying.

Let's play with the idea that in the back of your mind you don't have stereotypes towards others not of your race or ethnicity. When you voted did you stop and think that their were legitimate racists voting for him ?

"You're spreading hate"

This was the same slogan you used for Obama. But Obama isn't president now so who's saying "white power" and calling black people n----rs across Amerikkka.

Meanwhile the conservative media is feeding you videos of innocent old people being beat up. While the liberal media is showing you videos of the KKK and other white supremacy groups hurting people of color and members of the LGBTQ (Lesbian Transgendered, Gay, Lesbian, Questioning) community. As well as  being Muslim woman being targeted and assaulted for wearing a Hijab. 

I'm not burning any cars to protest. But why are you so quick to get angry at the reaction Trump started?

I'm not the one who ran for president calling Mexicans rapists and Illegal immigrants. I'm not the one who wants to register Muslims like Hitler did to Jews during the Holocaust. So tell me who is really spreading the hate?

"But I'm a minority and I voted for him"

People are shocked that blatant racism still exists in Amerikkka but not us. If you're a person of color you knew this as a fact. Which makes it even more interesting that you voted for someone who clearly didn't have your interests in mind.

Maybe you wanted to believe that everyone would calm down once it was over. But the truth is your fear played right into Trump's hands.

I know because I suspect some members of my Puerto Rican family may have voted for him because of how much they hated Obama and their Neo-Conservative values. Even though they saw the video of Trump calling Puerto Ricans his least favorite Mexican.

They must have felt it was just him putting on a show. Sticks and stones I guess. But it does not excuse them from  being a part of perpetuating bigotry and xenophobia. 

If you have family that voted for him stop making excuses for them. I'm not making any excuses for my family members that voted him. They know better than to even bring it up around me. I even stopped following some of them on Facebook because of their racist posts about our first Black President.

Their will be no hugs for them during Thanksgiving and I am prepared to walk out if they bring it up. Imagine if you were gay. If your family is really conservative, these may be the same people that would disown you. But let me guess your ok with that because you had to imagine being part of a community you don't belong to. It's a good thing your not gay or muslim. 

"We're all in the same plane"

Well you are but I'm not. I've been using a different airline for a while now. If race isn't enough, climate change should be. It should concern you that Trump plans to defund clean energy and pump up oil production. 

But aside from all of that, I don't wish for a failed Trump presidency. I hope he'll do his job as a president and unite the people. I also hope you helps poor communities in the South as well as the inner cities. I hope he comes through with terms for how long someone can sit in congress. As  well as reinvest into America's infrastructure. 

But all of these things could have been done with out the racist,homophobic and xenophobic rhetoric. 

I don't understand the root for the bad guy philosophy because I have never rooted for a bad guy. 

"Go back to your country"

When I finished my research study on racism as an undergraduate I was upset about how many of my peers in Southern California ( a progressive state) were covertly racist. I decided that I would move out of the country because I foresaw a Trump Amerikkka and decided not to be a part of it.

Although Japan has its issues with racism, I'll never have to worry about the type of violence I'm witnessing in the U.S. now. This is why I'm still not sure if I'll ever move back.

For those of you who will see me soon keep this in mind while you talk to me. I'll let it go that your ignorant and partially responsible for perpetuating hate. But please spare me the excuses if you voted for him. 

 

I'm proud to be an American but the rest of you Amerkkkan's need to understand it's 2016 and we are not giving up on the America we believe in that is inclusive of every race, ethnicity regardless of their immigration status, sexual orientation or religion. 

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer ( M.S. Psychology)

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2016 Election: No matter who wins here is some food for thought

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2016 Election: No matter who wins here is some food for thought

Victor Frankl (1985) was an Austrian Neurologist that survived the holocaust and is one of  the founders of existential psychology. Existential Psychology is based on the idea that we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it. This has never been a better time to reflect on this (Frankl, 2005).

Racism

Before Trump there was racism in the U.S. While Clinton was president racism, racial profiling and the war on drugs was in full swing. Even after we elected our first black president, thousands of immigrants were mistreated and deported without due process (Wadhia, 2014).

So tell me. What’s the difference?

Racism is a part of the U.S like guns, Christianity and apple pie. Maybe if your white you never noticed (and even some white folk have realized it). Trump getting to where here is, while making racist statements, is proof of how racist the U.S. is and will always be.

Iraq and the Invasion of the Middle East

After 9/11 Americans decided that they would kill well over 4 million people to feel better about 2,996 Americans lives lost in the terrorist attacks. Of course it’s not fair to count 4 million Muslim lives, because that number reflect the tally that started before the attacks, during the original invasion of Iraq, by Bush Sr. and later ended by George W. Bush.  Not to mention the number is still rising with our on going occupation of the Middle East.

Not that republicans are to blame, after all both political parties approved to invade the entire Middle East based on false information. Even Hillary Clinton voted to go to war in Iraq.  As mentioned in the link to above, Collin Powel knew the information was false, the CIA recently declassifies these files, and Americans still don’t seem to care. Even if they did how do you reverse a 20 + year invasion?

Perspective

The 2016 election reminds me of a story I read in Dainin Katagiri’s (1988) book Returning to Silence:

Once there was a Buddha who lived in a village that was always at the brink of war against a large empire. Although the village was small, the King of the empire was angered because the Chief of the small village promised to marry his daughter to him and took back his word.

The King decided to march on the village. The Buddha sat under a tree meditating at the entrance of the village, waiting for the king to pass. As the King passed he asked the Buddha “Are you not going to try to stop me?” The King was worried because many of his soldiers respected the Buddha and did not want his own men to revolt. The Buddha replied, “ what is will be is and there is nothing I can do to change that”. The King was moved by the Buddha’s acceptance and decided to withdraw.

 Several weeks later the Chief betrayed the King again. In a wrath the King destroyed the village and enslaved any survivors. The Buddha sat under the tree and wept for his people while meditating.

Perspective is everything. Although you may find peace within yourself this does not mean the world is at peace. The world, politics, people, these things remain the same. You can try to influence them. But in the end you may end up just like the Buddha.

Finding peace doesn’t guarantee peace.  So your perspective is all you have when confronted with these overwhelming situations. The Buddha could not stop the King, but it did not stop the Buddha from continuing with his practice.

Recovering

The damage has already been done. Me personally I’ve chosen to delete all negative stimuli from my life. This includes old friends and family. Life is too short to be arguing all the time. There are plenty of people who are positive and help build me. I have chosen to give these people more of my time.  I will continue my practice and my training.

4 years from now a new leader will come and things may change or remain the same. But I will not let that change how I live my life. I survived Bush and I will survive this as well.

 

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)

References

 

Frankl, V. E. (1985). Man's search for meaning. Simon and Schuster.

Frankl, V. (2005). On the theory and therapy of mental disorders: an introduction to logotherapy and existential analysis. Routledge.

Katagiri D. (1988). Returning to Silence. Shambhala Dragon Editions

Wadhia, S. S. (2014). The Rise of Speed Deportation and the Role of Discretion. Columbia Journal of Race and Law (Volume, 5 Issue 1).

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Social Inequality: Why am I biased about it?

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Social Inequality: Why am I biased about it?

On one of my podcasts I once shared about a time that I interrupted a room full of college students arguing about welfare and poverty with the following statement:

“All of you are arguing about people that are not present in this room, whether you’re for welfare or against it, you are all speaking for people you know nothing about”

 

My flaw as a Social Scientist and Researcher

As a researcher I was taught to remove myself from the data and be an observer not a participant. This was done in order to remove researcher bias. After all if I have a biased opinion, it could alter my findings when analyzing my research.  My problem in the above situation is that I have personally experienced poverty.

 

My flaw as a researcher is that my mother had to be on welfare after she separated from my father to make ends meet. This stigma is something I never admitted to anyone until I wrote this article.

From riches to rags

It happened so fast, the move from middle class to poverty. My mother left my father and in an instant was living out of her car. There were several factors to this and my mother being mentally ill did not help (Anakwenze, & Zuberi, 2013;Harris, 1993). But the fact was clear. I had to help my mother and through this, experienced what it was like to be homeless for two weeks.  The experience changed my perception about society and how people treat you when belong to the underclass.

 

 

We were lucky

My mother was lucky enough to get government assistance within two months. She was also lucky that my father gave her money to survive while the government aid was being processed.

But the experience made me think about those single mothers that were not so lucky. In the two months that it took my mom to get a job and receive government assistance, another family would have gone into debt. This is why, when in college I wasn’t surprised to hear that 80% of government aid recipients were single mothers  (Broussard, Joseph & Thompson, 2012).

The fall from grace

Even though we were lucky, my mother never could work her way back into the middle class. My father paid child support and eventually she remarried. But all the while, she stayed below the poverty line while working several jobs, to make ends meet.

My father was a business owner and entrepreneur but this didn’t save him either. Cancer struck when he was in his mid 50’s. In just 2 years of chemotherapy treatment, he went from upper middle class to below the poverty line. 75% percent of the money he saved running a mechanic shop was gone.

 

He hated the idea of government aid. He strongly opposed my mom for taking a “hand out” after they divorced. But he had nothing left. With the doctors giving him 1 year to live he filed for social security.  It was tough on him, but what was even tougher was that he felt his work philosophy betrayed him. He told me he wished he would have taken more time off to spend with us. He also told me that seeing his end drawing near, made him realize that the things he valued the most, weren’t the possessions he had, but the relationship he had with us. He died 2 weeks before Christmas on December 8th, 2009. 

 

I was lucky and did some smart real estate investments, took a high-risk loan, that worked out and kept a roof over our heads.  But while I was going through this, most people in similar situations across the U.S.  lost their homes.

 

The 1% and other rants

 

While all of this was happening I was also studying to get my degree in psychology and sociology. It probably is not surprising to you as the reader, why I gravitated to theories written by Webber and Marx.  Even though I also read books written by Adam Smith and the other founding fathers of the Unites States of America. They just didn't resonate with what I was observing from the society I lived in.  

 

Now I know some of you are already calling me names like “socialist” and “communist”. But after many years I realize that both of these systems failed when implemented because  Marx, Webber and Smith underestimated how powerful greed can really be. 

 

Even if you take the money from the rich it somehow never ends up going back to the poor, yet find its way to other people who don’t deserve it that later become rich. This is the why communism didn't work for Czechoslovakia or any of the other countries that tried to implement it to supposedly fix social inequality (Hirst, 2014;Korbel, 2015).

But you can see why during the “occupy wall street movement” I was really excited to see some of the sheep open their eyes. I also caught a glimmer of hope, for those not as lucky as me, when Senator Bernie Sanders started talking about the same concepts during his campaign.

Now I am not writing this to convince you of anything. You can save your angry rants. I know I can’t convince you that the top 1% are controlling 48% of the wealth in the U.S. and that this pattern is repeating itself across the globe.  But do know that it is being well documented, and maybe 100 years in the future people will look back and laugh at the way we are running things now.

 

My Advice to Trolls

 

Although I admit I’m biased, my perception has been shaped by my experiences and my education. I went to school and I studied these subjects from several perspectives. After looking at both sides of the argument and analyzing data published by Professors that were peer reviewed, I came to the above mentioned conclusions.

So my advice to those of you who troll me on Twitter and Facebook:

·      Don’t waste your time sending me a YouTube Video or Blog to argue with me

·      Read a book for a change, that was peer reviewed and contains real data

·      Draw your own conclusions from the data, not opinion, not even mine

 

Perhaps the disturbing thing is how the common people will defend greed without doing any real research (beyond Internet blogs and Podcasts). This is why I decided to make my blog and podcast. Not so you can reference it, but for you to look into the books and published papers I report about. 

Speaking of which, here are some books about Capitalism, Communism and Socialism that I recommend. Feel free to click on the links and buy them from Amazon: 

The Communist Manifesto by Engels and Marx

Economy and Society by Max Weber

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

The Price of Inequality by Joseph E. Stiglitz

 

I recommend you read them because many people refer to concepts that were formulated by these people, but they have never read any of their work. The last book is a modern interpretation of how these concepts have shaped the current state of the economy in the U.S. and the factors that lead to the last recession (Stiglitz, 2012).

Keep in mind I have read these books on this subject and many more in my studies, over the last 15 years. So please spare me your “Devils Advocate” thoughts. 

"Don’t trust me read about it"

 

 

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)

 

 

References

Anakwenze, U., & Zuberi, D. (2013). Mental health and poverty in the inner city. Health & social work, hlt013.

 

Broussard, C. A., Joseph, A. L., & Thompson, M. (2012). Stressors and coping strategies used by single mothers living in poverty. Affilia, 27(2), 190-204.

 

Harris, K. M. (1993). Work and welfare among single mothers in poverty. American Journal of Sociology, 317-352.

 

Hirst, P. (2014). 6 Problems and Advances in the Theory of Ideology. Ideology.

 

Korbel, J. (2015). The Communist Subversion of Czechoslovakia, 1938-1948: The Failure of Co-existence. Princeton University Press.

 

Stiglitz, J. E. (2012). The price of inequality: How today's divided society endangers our future. WW Norton & Company.

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Racism : A thin line between love and hate

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Racism : A thin line between love and hate

There is a strange thing occurring in modern day racial relations. Everyone understands that racism exists but they get frustrated and angry when people of color bring it up.

Beyonce: I love her I hate her

Take for example Beyoncé's half time performance where she wore a black panthers uniform that outraged Fox news. Many people jumped on the bandwagon saying they hated Beyoncé for fanning the flames of racism in America. 

But a few days later continued to post videos of white folk dancing to her music at weddings. Apparently some people are not as offended watching others dance to her music. 

Frustration 

People hate when someone talks about racism because they know it is occurring but don't know how to stop it. This why they get angry when anybody brings it up. 

The data can no longer be denied but people will close their eyes and hope it goes away. 

Some will blame the victims in order to feel as if they brought this upon themselves. But what it comes down to is the rest of the world is watching and it is pretty obvious. 

The U.S. does and always has had issues with racism and discrimination

Are they really racist? 

I have to question if some people are really racist or just intoxicated by hate. After all the dopamine and adrenaline rush of hate is pretty addicting

I've heard people talk about how much they hate and resent Mexicans then after a few Coronas head over to the local taco shop and order their favorite Carne Asada burrito. 

I find it interesting that if they really hated the race so much. Why not boycott their products? 

Perhaps it's a struggle that they struggle with everyday. Hating and being addicted to hate. 

As a psychology major I find it fascinating how they project this concept. It's the reason I continue to write about it well after Grad School. 

The defense 

In their defense they are trying their best to fix it. Well some are. Also compared to the history of racism they have come a long way in a short amount of time. 

However only time will tell if the issue will ever truly be resolved. 

Social Gelo with Angelo 

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology) 

Comment

ADD & ADHD: Does everyone have it?

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ADD & ADHD: Does everyone have it?

Anyone who knows even a little about psychology knows about Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or as it is now officially called ADHD.  In fact in 2011 the CDC went as far as saying that there was an epidemic of ADD/ADHD with 11% of children in the U.S. having it. This means that 6.4 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD and 4.2 million children are taking psychostimulants.

Is there really an epidemic?

The truth is that ADHD is actually very difficult to diagnose.  Since most parents cannot afford proper psychological treatment for their children, psychologists are given a short period of time to come up with an answer. But this actually does not mean that kids are being misdiagnosed. In a study conducted by Sciutto and Esisenberg (2007) when evaluating prevalence studies and diagnosis, there was not enough evidence found to justify and over diagnosis.  However, this does not stop the mainstream media from claiming that ADHD is being over diagnosed. 

Kids Popping Pills

What worries the public is that kids are being given medication at a young age. This is something that concerns psychologists as well. Some have felt that if the criteria were changed this would change the prevalence of diagnosis. However, previous research has found that there was not difference in prevalence (4% - 11%) when comparing revisions made to the diagnostic manual (Thomas et al, 2015). 

This means that year after year the same percentages of kids are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. However, several research studies have found that with proper treatment, these kids can lead normal lives (Cortese et al, 2013; Faraone,  & Buitelaar, 2010; Pringsheim, & Steeves, 2011; Vaughan, & Kratochvil, 2012). 

Is it the kids or society?

Although there is a stigma against kids taking medication to treat ADD/ADHD, there is not sufficient research for grounds to prove the patients are not being helped by the medication. There is also not enough empirical evidence to prove that ADD/ADHD are being over diagnosed. Although the number of diagnosis has gone up, this follows the rate of population growth and the percentages themselves have remained constant (Thomas, et al, 2015). 

In general the pubic has become distrustful of treatment because of big pharmaceutical companies.  Personally I remain a bit skeptical. But at the moment science does not support the claim that ADD/ADHD is being over diagnosed. To be honest when I started doing the research for this article I believed ADD/ADHD were over diagnosed. But as a scientist, I have to follow the research. The beauty of science is that nothing is set in stone. Future peer reviewed studies (not YouTube or Wikipidia or even my blog), may prove otherwise,if they do, I would be more than happy to change my opinion. 

My own experiences with ADD/ADHD 

As a child I was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. However, I was not given any medication because it was not severe. I was taught techniques to identify when my ADD/ADHD was effecting my concentration and this was able to help me manage it. But I know that there is not cookie cutter approach to treatment.

 I’ve also talked to many people who had severe ADD/ADHD. They reported that there was a big difference between their focus and grades when using medication, when compared to being undiagnosed.

Although it may bother some people morally that a child is taking pills to treat their disorder, if other types of treatment have failed, it may be a viable answer. In my opinion, being hard on parents who have to make this decision is not fair to them, or their children.

For those of you reading this that are outraged.....

Perhaps take comfort in knowing that if your child does not have severe ADD/ADHD, you were lucky enough not to have to go through this yourself. 

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)

References 

Cortese, S., Holtmann, M., Banaschewski, T., Buitelaar, J., Coghill, D., Danckaerts, M., ... & Sergeant, J. (2013). Practitioner review: current best practice in the management of adverse events during treatment with ADHD medications in children and adolescents. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54(3), 227-246.

Faraone, S. V., & Buitelaar, J. (2010). Comparing the efficacy of stimulants for ADHD in children and adolescents using meta-analysis. European child & adolescent psychiatry, 19(4), 353-364.

Pringsheim, T., & Steeves, T. (2011). Pharmacological treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children with comorbid tic disorders. The Cochrane Library.

Sciutto, M. J., & Eisenberg, M. (2007). Evaluating the evidence for and against the overdiagnosis of ADHD. Journal of attention disorders, 11(2), 106-113.

Thomas, R., Sanders, S., Doust, J., Beller, E., & Glasziou, P. (2015). Prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 135(4), e994-e1001.

Vaughan, B., & Kratochvil, C. J. (2012). Pharmacotherapy of pediatric attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America, 21(4), 941-955.

 

Comment

U.S. Justice System: Is lady justice really blind?

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U.S. Justice System: Is lady justice really blind?

Recently there has been a lot of attention on law enforcement and police brutality. While I do want to talk about these issues and even further complications of the history of how the police in the U.S.  came to be the military complex that it is today. I would like to take a moment to analyze the justice system itself because I think both sides can agree (Police and Civilians) that the justice system is not working properly. 

How is the justice system supposed to work?

In a just society, the police bring in suspects and they are given a fair trial by a jury of their peers. This is the basic premise of the justice system.

You are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

This last statement is so important to basic human rights, that even the United Nations adopted it in their Declaration of Human Rights Principles, article eleven, section one (Pennington, 2003). 

What happens when a suspect is shot and killed before

receiving a fair trial?

Well for starters it reverses the basic human rights principle to:

“Guilty until proven innocent”

 This in itself is a human rights violation.  Not to mention you have to ask yourself:

Does the punishment fit the crime?

When you look at the recent shooting in Tulsa.  A man was tased, shot and killed. The officers made a similar claim that has been used many cases before this one , which was he did not comply with their demands and resisted arrest (Whichard, & Felson, 2016).

Looking at this at face value. Let’s say he did resist arrest.

 The man was suspected of being under the influence of a narcotic.

But even if all of this was true does this justify the death

penalty?

Another problem with this is that the dead suspects character is now on trial, not the crime he was accused of committing. Even the U.S. Marine Corp, does not train their soldiers to shoot to kill, when engaging the enemy on the battlefield .This indicates a serious issue with how police officers are being trained when engaging civilians.

Compliancy is Rewarded

The justice system is built so that compliancy is rewarded. If you are a criminal and have money, you can get away with the crime. Perfect examples of this can be seen with David Becker and Brock Turner.

In both cases the criminals (not suspects) pleaded guilty to charges of rape and both were set free with minimal to no jail time.  

Don't forget Dylan Roof  who was taken out to eat by the police, after shooting 9 people at a church prayer group in Charleston, North Carolina. 

The message to real criminals is clear. If you commit a crime stay calm, don’t resist arrest and chances are you will be given privileges that are not awarded to suspects who panic. You might even be acquitted of all charges if you have enough money. 

The Factor of Race

Notice I did not mention race in any of the articles mentioned. The reason I didn't mention it was because I wanted to use the same colorblind logic, that spurs many people’s assumptions of the justice system.  But one look at the articles and you will find that race is a factor in these cases. Arguably perhaps not the only a factor, but definitely an important one.

Studies have found that when race is included as a factor, Whites serve less time for the same offenses when compared to African Americans and Hispanics (Kutateladze, & Lawson, 2016;Mustard, 2001).

Another observation I’ve made is that when these things happen, people of color immediately post the articles and videos on Facebook. While many of my friends that identify as white don’t catch on until a few days later.

When they do, a large percentage of them post anti-black lives matter posts, along with blue lives matter slogans. But this is not going to fix the justice system:

What happens when this is not longer a racial issue?

What happens when justice becomes truly blind and everyone starts to become the victims and taken their rights to a fair trial?

What if these are signs of a Gestapo style police force that is on the rise?

 

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)

 

References 

Kutateladze, B. L., & Lawson, V. Z. (2016). THE UNDERBELLY OF THE BEAST: MISDEMEANOR PRACTICE IN THE ERA OF BROKEN WINDOWS AND SATURATION POLICING: How Bad Arrests Lead to Bad Prosecution: Exploring the Impact of Prior Arrests on Plea Bargaining. Cardozo L. Rev., 37, 973-1127.

 

 

Mustard, D. B. (2001). Racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in sentencing: Evidence from the US federal courts. Journal of Law and Economics, 44(1), 285-314.

 

Pennington, K. (2003). Innocent until proven guilty: The origins of a legal maxim. Jurist63, 106.

 

Whichard, C., & Felson, R. B. (2016). Are Suspects Who Resist Arrest Defiant, Desperate, or Disoriented?. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 0022427816632571.

 

Comment

9/11: We can never forget

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9/11: We can never forget

Do you remember the Maine? Probably not. The reason is that it was a battle ship that sunk in 1898 .Historians still  debate if it was due to an accident or terrorists, but that didn't stop the U.S. from using  propaganda that led to the Spanish-American War. There slogan was: 

"Remember the Main" (click on for more info)

Sound Familiar? 

How was 9/11 different? 

For starters we had solid evidence that terrorists attacked the twin towers. We also really wanted to blame Saddam Hussein for all of it. Especially since President Bush was looking for any excuse to go back and finish what his daddy started. 

How was it the same?

We had no solid evidence for the occupation of Iraq that followed.  At first their were claims of weapons of mass destruction.  But no weapons were never found nor discovered by anyone. There was also no connection between the terrorists attacks and Saddam Hussein. Even President Bush admitted that he was wrong about his allegations

2016 and we're not allowed to forget 

Now we have been occupying the Middle East fighting an ideology for over 25 years.  So it's kind of ironic that the slogan is "never forget"  because the truth is we've been reminded every day since the first plane collided into the first of the Twin Towers

Not to show any disrespect towards the 4,000 men and women that lost their lives in the attack.  Also much respect for the members of law enforcement and emergency workers that risked their lives to save those they could.  But lives are still being lost because of this one event. 

Since our occupation of the Middle East over 1.3 million  lives have been lost. 

So please remember the lives lost on 9/11 but I ask of you this:

What are we going to do about the future lives lost over an ambiguous war on a concept?

 

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology) 

Comment

Kaepernick: Americas Distraction

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Kaepernick: Americas Distraction

I honestly didn't want to write about Kaepernick and here is a list of other things I wanted to write about that I felt were more important: 

1- We have been occupying the Middle East since 2003 and the war on terror seems never ending. See link -(here) 

2- North Korea launched a ballistic missile into Japanese (a U.S. ally that can drag us into another war) air space and we still don't why. See link - (here)

3-  California is suffering a drought due to the direct effects of climate change yet Nestle is still stealing water from our reserves and selling it in the name of capitalism. See link (here)

4- Racism and police brutality divided Americans right before an election that can determine WWIII or further occupation of the Middle East or both. See link (here)

5- The Pentagon lost 6.5 trillion dollars

let me say that again

6.5 trillion dollars lost!

 and they don't know where they don't know what they spent it on. See link (here)

Why I'm upset about Kaepernick

Considering other news you must forgive me for not caring about what some American football player did before a game that is over hyped and overpaid.

However, I'm upset that this is somehow a patriotic battle and Americans (all of us White, Brown, Black and Yellow) are arguing about who is and who isn't an American. While people who stand for every national anthem, loose 6.3 trillion dollars and not one person seems to bat an eye about it, because they are too busy arguing about a fucking football game!  

Did I miss the patriotic contest? 

Wake the fuck up people!

If you were born in America you are an American. If you immigrated to America you are an American. That's the beauty of America. But the ugly part of America is everyone reminding every other American that they are American and who is more American. While so called patriotic American rape the constitutional principals it was founded on.  

Quite literally in Brock Tuners case.See link (here)

Of course this issue is not new. During WWII Japanese Americans were reminded that they were not considered American when they were put into internment camps.  See link (here)

But it's 2016!

It is time to set a new precedent in America and start holding our government accountable for its blunders, not the individuals who are trying to get attention for themselves on national television. 

Things are not going to change if we just sit on our couches and smartphones consuming the information they are pumping into our sheep like brains. 

Learn, read and educate yourself. If you see something you like on Wikipedia look into the reading the book it was quoted from in the reference section. 

If not you will be subject to being a puppet of the U.S. media and politics for the rest of your life. 

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology) 

Comment

Simply Rich: A book review of Republican and Religious Rhetoric

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Simply Rich: A book review of Republican and Religious Rhetoric

Simply Rich was written by the co-founder of Amway Richard De Vos. Now you might be asking why and how I ended up reading this book. A friend recommended it to me because of a rant I went on about owning your own business and being self employed. I honestly had no idea it was related to Amway. But I gave it a chance and read it. Nothing against my friend or Amway, but I definitely didn't agree with about 85% of what I read and heres why.

A false sense of America 

The ideology was simple. If you are a Christian, conservative, who believes in the old America ( you know the Christian one) than you too can be rich, with some hard work and effort. 

Honestly I agree that running and owning a business takes a sense of independence and hard work. But I didn't agree with the integration of religion and business ideology that he spewed over and over again through out his book.

There was also this sense that America used to be great, right after WWII, but somehow things have gotten so bad now. As he put it "People are just not proud to be American!"  I'm guessing he never had to be on the receiving end of discrimination and racism people of color fought for during the same time period. 

I'm just not sure how you can be patriotic yet hate what America has become. This seems very Un- American to me. 

The Religious Political Rant got louder 

The book opened up about how Christians are better than everyone else in his opinion. He made this clear when he talked about how he tried going to a regular school but just felt that his Christian school mates grew up better because of their faith. This was the reason he decided to re-enroll into his Christian High School after dropping out. 

I let that slide. But it was interesting that I knew he was a Republican before he announced it and started hammering away with it towards the end. 

I'm an independent. But in the end he was exactly the kind of Republican I thought he would be. Fears of socialism as well as a hate for communist countries. Eventhough he admitted that communist countries make him the most profits for his company. 

In the end I felt he used Christianity as an excuse for success. In his defense he did mention that he separated Christian sermons from Amway meetings. Which was the least he could do, considering that his book did not do so. 

The book was very repetitive. He's rich because he's chose the Christian Faith, is a Republican and is an American. It left a stale taste and I will not judge all of my Republican friends on his scale because that would be generalizing. Unlike him, I try to avoid this type of critical thinking error. 

However, I feel that his type of old fashioned thinking about politics and religion needs to die out with his generation. In order for things to get better( and yes believe it or not they are better) we need to progress towards new ways of thinking. Not revert to old ways that didn't work. It didn't work then and it won't start magically working now.

As far as his defense about not taxing the rich because then they wouldn't be able to donate large sums of money to good causes (like Christian Churches). How about this proposition. We don't tax the top 10% that hold 90% of Americas wealth and power more. Instead we tax the Churches they helped make rich. No! Why? 

Social Gelo with Angelo 

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)

Comment

Abnormal Psychology: Hoarding, Prevalence and Treatment

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Abnormal Psychology: Hoarding, Prevalence and Treatment

You may have seen the American television show hoarders and thought to yourself how can someone live like this. For those of you who haven’t seen the TV show here is a YouTube link to see what I’m referring to.

Hoarding

Hoarding is prevalent in 2-4% of the U.S. population and has been found to be comorbid(connected to) other mental disorders (Claes et al, 2016). Hoarding is closely related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) with an estimated 42% reporting a compulsion to hoard (Storch & Lewin, 2016). But OCD is not the only disorder that hoarding is comorbid with.

Hoarding has also been observed with people who are diagnosed with depression, general anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and people with impulse control issues (Shaw et al, 2015). Since the hoarder usually ends up collecting waste along with the object they hoard, many times their homes cause heath issues to the hoarder as well as the people around them. This has made hoarding a public concern. 

 

Treatment

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be the most effective way to treat hoarding (Williams & Viscusi, 2016 ). But since hoarding affects the entire family, CBT is most effective when the family becomes involved with controlling the hoarders impulse to hoard. In several cases, hoarders are enabled by their families. This is because in some cases the hoarder is hoarding to mask a bigger issue within themselves.

Hoarding and Bereavement

The onset of hoarding because of family problems is especially true if hoarding is due to the loss of a loved one (Ayers & Dozier, 2015). In my case this is what happened to me after my father passed away.

I just didn't want to throw away anything that reminded me of him.

I started collecting things around the house and even collecting things that reminded me of him. At one point my wife intervened and said we should remodel the house. I grabbed all of the things that were not functioning and threw them away. I did keep a few things, like his two classic cars, but other than that everything else was sold or thrown out. It was hard but the relief it brought was worth it. I also went to grievance counseling and the combination of professional help along with my wife’s support got me through it. 

Tips

If you or someone you know is having an issue with hoarding here are some tips that you can do that may help. 

I can not point out enough the need to work with a professional who has experience working with hoarders and is a licensed psychologist in your state or province.  

Best of luck and know that your not alone in your fight

against hoarding!

 

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)