I had a long day today. I went to yoga even though I wanted to sleep in. I re-learned my hypotheses for the research questions I’ll begin testing tomorrow and fixed the bugs in my experiments. I went to my research fundamentals class and then to my social psych class. Social psych was actually the highlight of my day. I presented on an article regarding insecure attachment styles and how they relate to loneliness and depression in first-year college students.
I learned that there are two underlying mechanisms for insecure attachment: anxious and avoidant. When someone is anxious about attachment (especially in the college setting) he or she often over-exaggerates interactions and judgments about interpersonal relationships. This leads to peers rejecting the anxious person because he or she is hyperactive or intense. If this kind of interaction begins to fall into a pattern of behavior the person’s fears are confirmed and the underlying belief that he or she is sub-par is deepened. This leads to intensification of the behavior and a decrease in social self-efficacy. People with avoidant attachment either believe that other people are awful and not worth interacting with or that other people will see that they themselves are awful and reject them in public ways. When people have underlying avoidant attachment issues they often have a high level of discomfort and difficulty sharing personal details about themselves with others. People need to share intimate information with each other in order to establish strong friendships. Without a certain level of comfort with self-disclosure or a strong background of social self-efficacy, both avoidant and anxious attachment insecurities (respectively) lead to loneliness and also to depression.
Today in yoga class we worked on balance positions. Balancing in complicated poses takes more strength, concentration, and flexibility than I thought! According to the instructor, the theme one focuses on during one’s daily practice is supposed to flow throughout one’s daily life and put a positive spin on thoughts, actions, and decisions. I found that the balance focus I’d achieved this morning revisited me while I was walking to class and stressing out about all the work I have to get done before fall break. It felt like everything was piling up: stats projects, work in the lab, finishing stats labs, and studying for my stats midterm. All of a sudden what I needed to do became clear to me and relief flooded over me. It’s always a relief to find a plan and to set balanced expectations for yourself.
We all have problems, and many of us have ambivalences in our lives that we have trouble negotiating on our own. My childhood problem was general anxiety that manifested in a severe nervous stomach. For others its blindness to a toxic relationship, a lack of self-confidence that prevents them from maintaining healthy behaviors, performance anxiety, or a debilitating fear of failure. My point is that today’s article discussion and yoga session opened my eyes and forced me to remember that people go through life dealing with their own unique set of problems. In grad school and in life it’s easy to group people together and forget about their individual circumstances. We all have to find a way to balance our inner monologues regarding our struggles with everyday life. I’ve discovered that yoga really helps me with that, but I hope also to be the kind of psychologist that can help other people navigate their lives.
Tonight I am thankful for the ability to share my thoughts and experiences with anyone who clicks to my blog. Even if my day wasn’t fascinating, I still learned something about our human condition and about my own habits. Learning is growing, and growing is important!
Happy Day 36!