Switch to Accessible Site
family of three walking on beach at sunset. mother, father, teen son

Current Newsletter

Body Language...
Have you ever wondered...?

Eyes and Emotion

Your emotional eye responses, such as tearing up, can elicit a similar reaction in another person. Research has shown that prolonged eye contact can actually increase another person's heart rate and speed of breathing. In extreme cases, acceleration in breathing and change in heart rate can leave a person hyperventilating or with a "fluttery" feeling, not unlike the feeling of falling in love. No coincidence, really, since one of the behaviors of the early stages of love is direct and prolonged eye contact.

In Eastern cultures, direct eye contact can be a sign of disrespect, especially when someone deemed superior.
In Western cultures prolonged eye contact is seen a sign of respect.

Women typically hold eye contact longer than men. The more intimate the conversation, the longer the direct eye contact. Men talking to men prefer less direct eye contact. With increase heart rate as mentioned above with direct eye contact, there may be a false sense of confrontation, aggression or not being safe. If you have a hard time building rapport with a man, try standing side by side--both of you facing forward--looking and talking out into a foreground or down to the ground in an "aw-shucks, just two guys kicking dirt" position.

We have an unconscious awareness of how others are breathing. It evolved in ancient times when we needed to be aware of other people's emotional states for our survival. When we observe someone else, we unconsciously make a mental note of how that person is breathing. When you are breathing rapidly, others wonder if you are okay. It also keeps the fight-flight chemicals in a constant state of release. The human body constantly feels as though it is under some kind of threat. Since breathing patterns are contagious, take care not to let yourself be affected by another person's high, shallow, or rapid breathing.

Our breathing patterns and emotions are intertwined. Our emotions can cause us to breath low and comfortably or shallow or rapidly. Conversely, our breathing pattern can change our emotional state. Do a little experiment. Quickly sniff (short rapid inhales, through the nose) 10 times. What are you feeling now? Most people feel a twinge of anxiety or anxiousness. That is the beginning of fight or fright response. Slower abdominal breathing has the opposite bodily response.

Excerpted from
What Your Body Says (and how to master the message) by Sharon Sayler

Subscribe to RSS RSS Feed

NEXT ISSUE: What is Bipolar?

Past Newsletters

August 2010
June 2010
January 2010
December 2009
October 2009
August 2009

Newsletter - August 2010

Hello everyone!

Many of you have a little Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) yourselves or painfully are in relationships with spouses or bosses who have it.

Over the years, I have seen many couples where one person screws that lid on the salt so tightly it would take a pair of pliers to open it and the other person lost the lid sometime last week and will never be able to find another.

It is also apparent when money is discussed. The OCD personality is seen as 'tight' and cannot fathom how other people spend money so foolishly. The OCD personality has a great need for control in the relationship. Through love and chemistry, they find themselves and the battle and complaints begin.

It is rare that two OCD people find each other and start a relationship. It is apparent that the OCD personality partly knows they need to loosen up and the disorganized messy person knows they need to straighten up. Remember....what attracts you eventually repels you.

People with mild OCD make great organizers, personal assistants, and do well in any occupation that requires a great grasp of details. Here in this section, I have detailed information on the diagnosis of OCD personality disorder from Synopsis of Psychiatry Behavioral Sciences Clinical Psychiatry Seventh Edition by Kaplan and Sadock.

What is Obsessive Compulsive Behavior?

This behavior is characterized by emotional constriction, orderliness, perseverance, stubbornness, and indecisiveness. The essential feature of this behavior is perfectionism and inflexibility.

OCD behaviorThis behavior is more common in men than in women and is diagnosed most often in oldest children. People often have backgrounds characterized by harsh discipline. Freud attributes it to difficulties around the age 2. These individuals have probems with spontaneity. Their mood is usually serious. Their answers to questions are usually detailed.

People who have this disorder have:
  1. Preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost.

  2. Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion

  3. Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships.

  4. Overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics or values.

  5. Is unable to discard worn-out worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value.

  6. Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things.

  7. Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes.

  8. Shows rigidity an stubbornness.
They tend to alienate people, are unable to compromise, and insist that others submit to their needs. They are, however, eager to please those whom they see as more powerful than themselves and carry out their wishes in an authoritarian manner. Because of their fear of making a mistake, they are indecisive and ruminate about making decisions. Anything that threatens to upset the routine of the person with this disorder can precipitate a great deal of anxiety.

This problem can be treated with behavioral therapy as well as medications such as Klonopen. Drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Lexopro are also drugs of choice in treatment.

Latest mental health and general health news

College students exhibiting more severe mental illness:
Recent studies presented at the 118th meeting of the American Psychological Association revealed that mental illness among college students is more common now than a decade ago. More young people are arriving on campus with pre-existing conditions and a willingness to seek help for emotional distress.
Bond with dad may play a role in whether men 'stress out':
Father-son relationships are incredibly powerful. When they are healthy, its hugely protective for boys. Material presented by Melanie Mallers, assistant professor at California State at Fullerton.

Being perfectionistic can take a toll of health:
New research reveals that the disorder of perfectionism can bring both profits and perils. Studies show that the personality trait of perfectionism is linked to poor physical health and an increased risk of very serious health problems. Perfectionism beyond a certain threshold can backfire and become an impediment (Prem Fry, psychology professor at Trinity Western University in Canada.

Menstrual Pain Associated With Brain Changes:
Painful periods can change the structure of the brain. New research suggests that when compared to women who do not suffer from cramping, the brains of women who suffer from menstrual cramps are reshaped, with some areas larger and some areas smaller. "Our results demonstrate that abnormal (gray matter) changes are present in Primary dysmenorrhea patients even in the absence of pain. This shows that not only sustained pain, but cyclic occurring menstrual pain can result in longer lasting central (brain) changes (Dr. Jen-Chuen Hsieh, of the National Yang-Ming University in Taipei.

NEXT ISSUE: What is bipolar?