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Who Do You Think You Are? What Does Your Avatar Say About You?

When using social virtual reality, we hide behind avatars. But is it really hiding or is it a way to express our new digital selves?

A new Trinity College Dublin study suggests it is both – experimenting with one’s avatar can be a creative act of self-representation, but also one of conformity or escapism.

“Any experimenting is dictated by the limits of technology, an app, the involved community, or the user themselves, but it still represents a way to feel better or safer in digital worlds that now replace more and more physical-world activities,” says Trinity’s Dr Kata Szita, who led the research.

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How the Lesser Known "Good Stress" Improves Brain Function

Inflation. COVID-19. International wars. Global uncertainty. These are just some of the issues that are creating stress for people worldwide. In fact, almost 70% of adults in the US say they’ve experienced extreme stress since the start of the pandemic.

Chronic stress can cause severe physical, mental, and emotional problems. Numerous scientific findings detail the negative impact of stress.

But did you know there are types of stress that can be good for you?

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U.S. adults should get routine anxiety screening, panel says

U.S. doctors should regularly screen all adults under 65 for anxiety, an influential health guidelines group proposed Tuesday.

It’s the first time the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended anxiety screening in primary care for adults without symptoms. The proposal is open for public comment until Oct. 17, but the group usually affirms its draft guidance.

The recommendations are based on a review that began before the Covid-19 pandemic, evaluating studies showing potential benefits and risks from screening. 

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Nearly one in 10 in the US reports having depression

Increases in depression without commensurate increases in treatment are widespread, reports a study conducted at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and City University of New York. In 2020, past 12?month depression was prevalent among nearly 1 in 10 Americans and almost 1 in 5 adolescents and young adults. The findings will be published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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