Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

Sleep & Dreams: Goofy Skits

Friday, March 13th, 2020

sleep-and-dreams

In this next psychology episode, my daughter and I will explain all the most important aspects of sleep and dreams. Everyone needs a good 8 hours of sleep per night. When you undersleep or oversleep, you will experience drowsiness during the day. We explain why this happens in the following video:

What happens when sleep is interrupted?

In the video, Fuzz and Pavlov’s dog are roommates, and they have different sleep schedules. When Pavlov’s dog hears a bell and eats, he interrupts the sleep of Fuzz, who is sound asleep. Fuzz tries to get back to sleep, but the bell rings again, and he wakes up. This happens over and over again.

When someone is continuously interrupted in their sleep, they are never able to get into the more restorative deeper sleep, so the person will feel groggy the next day. Deep sleep and REM sleep are the stages of sleep that help our bodies to recuperate during the night.

What are the stages of sleep?

We need a 90-minute cycle of sleep to feel fully rested, and we go through these 90-minute cycles throughout the night. These are the stages of sleep:

  • Stage 1: Light Sleep (about 5 minutes) This is the lightest form of sleep, where you can hear people talking, but your heartbeat and breathing starts slowing down.
  • Stage 2: Intermediate Sleep (about 25 minutes) You can still wake up easily from this sleep because you are not in deep sleep yet. Your muscles relax, your temperature drops, and your eye movements stop.
  • Stage 3: Deep Sleep (from 30 minutes to an hour) This is one of the stages where it is difficult to wake up. Your brain waves are slower, as well as your heartbeat and breathing. You can’t feel refreshed if you never have deep sleep.
  • REM Sleep (from 10 minutes to an hour) Your eyes move rapidly (REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement) from side to side during the dream stage of sleep, which is also restorative. Brain activity is similar to wakefulness, but you have temporary muscle paralysis to prevent you from acting out your dreams.

sleep-cycles

Why is oversleeping bad?

In the video, Pavlov’s dog had been sleeping the entire day. Why? Well, our bodies produce melatonin when we sleep, so the more we sleep, the more melatonin our body produces, causing us to become more and more sleepy. This is why oversleeping is actually unhealthy. I’ve also noticed that my muscles feel sore when I oversleep. The stiffness is due to the fact that a body needs to move to feel healthy.

Do our dreams ever mean anything?

Most dreams mean nothing—our brain is just processing random things that have happened in our lives. But according to Scripture, God sometimes communicates to us through dreams. (We are told that dreams from God will increase in the last days. Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17). Dreams from God are often symbolic, like the statue in the book of Daniel representing four kingdoms, and the skinny cows in the book of Genesis that represented seven years of famine for Egypt.

Recently I had a set of three symbolic dreams, all in the same night. All three had the same message:

A Dream in Three Scenes

Scene 1: I look up into the night sky and see the magnificence of God in the Milky Way galaxy, but nobody is looking up. I’m in a courtyard full of people, surrounded by light pollution, and nobody even bothers to look up because when they glance up, they can’t see anything because their eyes aren’t adjusted. They don’t understand they need to GAZE up for a long time and step away from the light pollution in order to see the magnificence of God.

Scene 2: I’m hungry. I’m in a busy London restaurant area, and strangers are wanting to chat about frivolous things. I’m so hungry I might faint. I order food at a counter, and I’m given a plate with too little food on it (one bite of meat, one of vegetable, and one of potatoes), and I am not given utensils. I search and search for basic utensils, but no one cares, not even the people who work there. I realize my food must be cold by then, and I look around and can’t find my food. People keep trying to chat about frivolous things.

Scene 3: I’m crossing a busy London street, and suddenly two of my kids are with me. I know that when I set my foot in the crosswalk, the speeding cars will stop for me, and they did. But I hear a loud cry from behind me. It sounds like my son is on the other side of the street, and I can’t see him because of all the traffic. By this time my daughter is too far ahead for me to take her hand, and she thinks I’m right behind her, so she keeps walking across, but I turn around because all I can hear is the cry of my son. I realize he’s much younger than I thought. I’m standing there with dangerous fast-moving traffic, separated from both my kids, and my son’s screams have stopped and I panic and wake up in a shock.

These dreams are one and the same: The things that matter most get lost in the midst of worthless things that distract our attention.

If you are enjoying our psychology series, why not teach your own high school students psychology with the {affiliate link} psychology course we are using by 7 Sisters Homeschool? We like its no-nonsense approach, and the fact that you can get through the material at your own pace, with no fluff bogging you down.

Have you ever had a symbolic dream that helped you to understand something about your life? If so, please comment below.

If you don’t want to miss a single episode in our psychology series, sign up for our once-a-month newsletter below.

What Do We Know About Personality?

Friday, February 14th, 2020

what-do-we-know-about-personality

What do we know about personality? Your personality is the combination of unique behaviors and attitudes that make you who you are. It’s more than just whether you are introverted or extroverted. Yes, personality is your temperament, but it’s shaped by experiences and interests. In order to feel completely alive as a person, you should ask yourself what your strengths are so that you can become the best person that you were created to be.

Theories of Personality: Useful or Not?

In this psychology episode, Rachel and I will summarize various theories of personality that we have studied so far, and then we will ask ourselves if those theories are useful. Finally, we will describe various personality traits that make Rachel who she is:

Freud, for example, believed that your personality results from what is in your subconscious. Skinner declared that personality is based on what you learn. Maslow said that personality had everything to do with fulfilling one’s needs.

Let’s see if any of these theories is useful or helpful. In the video Rachel just gave a general yes or no, as to whether these theories help us to understand what makes up our personality. Now I would like to ponder in a deeper way, what we can learn about ourselves through these famous personality theories.

Random thoughts about Freud’s theory of personality

If you subconsciously want the approval of other people, you might act in a way that will cause those people to think positively of you, instead of being yourself. If this is the case, you will probably be miserable because you will be saying yes to everyone to not disappoint them, and you will end up burned out and not living the life God wants you to live. You will be living other people’s lives (and enduring their criticism), not having time or energy to do what God has called you to do.

In this case, maybe you have a subconscious fear of never being loved. Maybe it was shaped through past experiences of being abandoned or hurt by what someone said about you. So now you hide who you truly are, not understanding that revealing your authentic self is what causes people to truly connect with you.

personality-psychology

Random thoughts about Skinner’s theory of personality

If personality is based on what you learn, my ability to teach is due not to my inborn capacity to explain things in an understandable way to people. Instead, studying to be a teacher, along with learning through trial and error what works and what doesn’t work in the classroom, has caused me to hone my skill as a teacher. Because hands-on learning worked the best, that’s how I ended up homeschooling my kids, which led to this unit studies website.

The more you learn about something, the more knowledgeable you are about it, and the more passionate you are about the topic. You become better and better at something, which makes you more valuable in helping others with that topic. This is why we should continue learning throughout our lives, and not stop learning when we graduate from school.

Random thoughts about Maslow’s theory of personality

To become fulfilled as a person, you really need to figure out before God why He put you on this earth… what you are good at. What is your contribution to others? What are your interests and strengths? You can take several online personality tests to find out many of these things. My daughter Rachel and I took several personality tests, including a spiritual gifts inventory. All of these are listed in the teacher’s guide of our {affiliate link} psychology course by 7 Sisters Homeschool.

If you don’t want to miss a single episode in our psychology series, sign up for our once-a-month newsletter below.

Maslow’s Human Needs and Motivation

Monday, January 27th, 2020

human-needs-and-motivation

Maslow created a pyramid of basic human needs, where you have to get your most basic needs met before you are able to thrive. People in many cultures live on the bottom of the pyramid, without enough food and clean water. They are not able to get to the higher levels of fulfillment because they are always striving for the bare necessities.

Let’s take a look at the basic needs we have as human beings, and then we can talk about what we can do to advance to the higher levels of the pyramid to have more satisfaction in our lives.

Maslow’s Human Needs and Motivation

Maslow’s Needs:
A Summary by Rachel Evans

The process is simple: the bottom of the pyramid must be fulfilled before the next tier can be unlocked and used. Follow this pattern on up to the top, and you have a pyramid of things you need to gain self-actualization! Let’s begin.

From lowest tier to highest:

Psychological needs: You don’t have much freedom to do anything until you have your basic needs met, such as food, water, and the fact you’re not freezing to death every night.

Safety and Security: Having a steady place to live can do a lot for your mind’s health. And knowing you’re in a secure neighborhood helps greatly.

Love and Belonging: Knowing that you have good friends and family can serve as a great comfort when things don’t go as planned.

Self-esteem: This is being comfortable with who you are, and feeling good about how others see you.

Self-actualization: Being fulfilled in what you do with your life.

You’d be surprised at how many people are missing self-actualization.

maslows-needs

How can we go up the pyramid for a more fulfilled life?
by Susan Evans

First we need to learn how to manage our finances so that we are not living paycheck to paycheck. Whether that means not eating out, cancelling cable, or downsizing to a smaller house or apartment, there is always something we can do to better ourselves and not squander what little we have.

We can ask the Lord what He would have us do to earn some extra cash, or show us items in our house that we can sell to pay off debt. And we can ask God to help us stop being greedy to buy more objects just to go into more debt. Dave Ramsey is good at teaching all this.

Once you have money saved up, you know that you will have a roof over your head, and that you will have enough food to make it through each month. Then you can think about safety and security. If you feel safe in your own home and in your relationships, and if you don’t feel like you are under attack all the time, you are able to relax. It’s hard to relax when you don’t feel safe. Do what you need to do to feel safe in the place where you live.

Once you have safe relationships and live in a relatively safe environment, you can move on to love and belonging. Spend quality time talking with people instead of just watching television or being on social media. Real life people can be an encouragement and can give you a hug when days are hard.

You can find a group of like-minded people, either in a church, a mom’s group, a homeschool group, or a hobby group so that you feel a sense of belonging. Of course, you can feel that in your own home, too.

You need to be comfortable with who you are, to understand your own strengths and weaknesses, and be able to to accept yourself and others for who they are, with all their flaws. Learning forgiveness is key, especially to prevent bitterness in relationships that are closest to you.

And last but not least, you should live out your calling. Ask God why He put you on this earth, find out what you are good at, and do what makes you thrive. When you are involved in helping others in some way to make this world a better place, you have a deep sense of fulfillment in your life.

Final tip: Don’t focus on what you are lacking. Be thankful for what you do have, and work towards a safer, more fulfilled life.

In case you are wondering what curriculum we are using for psychology, we are studying {affiliate link} Introduction to Psychology by 7 Sisters Homeschool. We are learning the basics of psychology while dramatizing what we learn in a fun way.

If you don’t want to miss any episodes from our psychology series, sign up for our monthly newsletter below!

Goofy Skits: Nonverbal Communication

Friday, January 17th, 2020

nonverbal-communication-facial-expressions

Having lived in different cultures (Guatemala, England, and the USA), I have come to realize that nonverbal communication is vital to understand. Sometimes what a person is saying with words is not the same as what they are saying with their body language. I wrote a short poem about nonverbal communication with Guatemalans, since the British and Americans have a more reasonable sense of personal space:

Teen Girl Facing Nonverbal Conflicting Cues
Guatemalan teen boy
standing too close for comfort
diving in for a kiss on the cheek at church
a complete stranger
she holds back a slap
telling herself this is only cultural
or is it?

Yes, this actually happened to me! Not just once, but nearly every week, since I lived in a different culture. Now that I am in the United States, I am surprised at how far away people stand from each other, even when they are married. It seems cold…

Goofy Skits: Nonverbal Communication

Today my daughter and I will show you the basic types of nonverbal communication.

Communication: The World of Expression
by Rachel Evans

Often we forget just how complicated communication is. Simply put, there’s always a balance of expressions and positions in conversation, and when the balance is off, we notice. This is the same even without talking. Mainly, there are three non-verbal cues that balance into a normal chat.

1. Distance: If you have ever been in a conversation and suddenly feel the need to take a step back, the person you were talking to was probably too close while chatting. Perhaps they have a different-sized personal bubble than you.

distance-personal-space

2. Gesture: You can tell a lot about someone’s mood by the movements they make. The easiest to read are facial expressions. Most facial expressions stay the same around the world, with some cultures being more expressive than others.

Body position is equally important. Leaning forward shows interest, while crossing arms usually shows disinterest in talking or the desire to have an argument.

body-position

3. Eye Contact: This is different depending on where you look in the world. Americans find long eye contact awkward and uncomfortable. Native Americans prefer a person to look at the ground while speaking, especially if the person is of a lower rank or status.

nonverbal-communication-eye-contact

Paralanguage is equally important. This consists of variations of speech, like stresses on certain words, loudness, pitch, and rhythm. A sentence can have many different meanings depending on how the speaker says it.

Overall, communication is a complicated thing that most of us have expertise in identifying without even knowing it.


Now that my daughter’s portion is done, I challenged myself to write a poem about nonverbal communication in marriage. Here it is:

A Marriage Healed

A turned back
Shutting me out of your life
No more open heart
Gone away inwardly

When will things change
Get back the sparkle in your eyes
To connect and be together
Unified as one

Heartbreak persists
Arms hanging limp
Drooped shoulders
Trudging through the day

Until healing comes
Breaking forth as the morning rays
Warming not your back, but your face
At last we are one

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This episode was all about identifying the basic types of nonverbal communication.

To apply what we have learned, describe in the comments: What are some ways that you may have misread nonverbal communication in your interaction with others, especially those of different cultures?

In case you are wondering what curriculum we are using for psychology, we are studying {affiliate link} Introduction to Psychology by 7 Sisters Homeschool. We are learning the basics of psychology while dramatizing what we learn in a fun way.

Coming up next… What is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and how can we get these needs met to be fulfilled as human beings? (Sign up for our monthly newsletter below if you don’t want to miss a single episode.)