Psychology

Shifting Goal Posts

Posted on May 29, 2012. Filed under: Editorial, Lifestyles, Psychology |


English: AFL goal posts

English: AFL goal posts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alok Sachindra Bhattacharya

You achieved the dreams you had before. Now new dreams arises for you to achieve
  • Life is dynamic not static ever
    Goal posts keep shifting on reaching them.

    Life is not the same as you saw it earlier,
    Here too the needs change as time goes by
    Like hunger gets satisfied once you had your feed
    That’s the goal post you had to reach and reached
    Now you get ready for your next feed, new goal post

    Prepare for new needs with changing times
    New goal posts will have to be set and achieved
    That’s the life we all are ordained to live
    Needs like life is dynamic not static as some tend to believe

    Happiness is a state of mind
    Highly unstable, susceptible to change at any moment of time
    Never lay back saying I achieved all
    Which you have not as there is no end to that
    The human needs are all encompassing
    Material, psychological, mental. and emotional

  • ALOK
    17 04 12

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Obstacles to Practice: Time Management

Posted on March 19, 2012. Filed under: Lifestyles, Psychology |


by Dr. Arnie Kozak | 10:23am Monday March 19, 2012

Today, I’ll look at the obstacle of time management in more detail. Time Management is not just about time, it’s about energy too. The present moment works when an openness of time coincides with good available energy. There are many moments where I have the time but I don’t have the energy and vice versa. It often seems that I have a blossoming of energy just around the time I have to be doing something else. We’ll explore energy in a different post.

Time management may require engineering–or a reengineering of your habits to support practice. My students often complain they don’t have enough time to practice. Everyone has the time to practice because if you are breathing then you can be practicing (and if you are not breathing, time management is the least of your concerns). What do you do when you wake up on the morning? Chances are you engage in a number of rituals. You brush your teeth, take a shower, get dressed, walk the dog, feed the cat, et cetera.

Mindfulness practice could be no more of a big deal than brushing your teeth. It’s just something you do as you start your day. Perhaps your morning practice is just ten or twenty minutes. Perhaps it’s just a three minute breathing space — one minute bringing awareness to what is happening now within and without, one minute focusing on the breath and then expanding that awareness to the whole body in the final minute. Just three minutes. You can repeat that brief practice throughout your day.

If you are particularly pressed for time, as many of you are, then you can make your other habits the focus of practice. Mindfully attend to brushing your teeth, taking your shower, and getting dressed. Give these activities your full attention. Resist the tendency to go on auto-pilot where that time will be used for planning your day. Let the future be in the future. Have confidence that you can deal with that future moment when it is the present moment. Attend to what is happening now. Every activity in your day can become a meditation when you make a choice to give it your attention.

My cat is stalking a chipmunk. Suddenly, he went into a crouch and oriented himself to the stone wall where the chipmunks live. He started doing what looks like a walking meditation: Deliberate, slow movements. The difference between his attention and the attention that you’d strike with walking meditation is that he has a particular goal in mind–capturing the chipmunk.

If walking practice is your primary activity, you would not be as goal-directed as my cat. You can walk without any particular destination–just back and forth on your living room rug. You may not have the time to just do slow-walking. You can, however, piggy-back practice onto the normal walking activities of your day. When you are out moving in the world and have a destination, like getting to work, you can permit that goal but make your primary focus the process of walking. Since you walk everyday, walking practice can be a great time saver. Walking practice undermines the mind’s resistance of “no time” to practice.

You can do commuting practice too, whether you drive or take public transportation. Mindful driving means no radio, no eating, no fantasy–just the sites, sounds, and feelings of driving. Actually paying attention to driving–what a concept! (And I imagine a safer one).

Even on the busiest of days, by the time you get to work you may have engaged with quite a bit of informal practice. Based on my typical morning I can get nearly two hours of practice before I get to work: grooming rituals (fifteen minutes), mindful coffee and  eating of breakfast (ten minutes), mindful yoga (thirty minutes), and mindful driving to town (twenty minutes). What does your morning look like?

Waking up earlier is another option. I don’t have any scientific studies to reference, but anecdotal wisdom suggests that we can exchange minutes of sleep for minutes of practice. Wake up and sit. See how you feel. Notice how starting your day with mindfulness affects the arc of your day. Early morning is a traditional time to practice. The world is asleep (or it used to be so before the 24-hour society, but it is still relatively quiet) and more importantly, your children may be asleep. Practicing before the hustle an bustle of the day gets in full swing can help to start your day off on a less frenetic note.

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/mindfulnessmatters/#ixzz1pZy1Vs2l

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It Doesn’t Interest Me

Posted on October 31, 2011. Filed under: Lifestyles, Psychology |


~ It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain; I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness, and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes, without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithful and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.~

—Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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Living Through Loss

Posted on May 18, 2011. Filed under: Medical, Psychology |


Usually words can’t comfort the grieving. Just being there in silence or listening is comforting. Nothing can change what has happened but being with the bereaved is the best we can do. The bereaved need companions who will truly listen and perhaps do some of the small, everyday things that need doing–mowing the lawn, changing the oil in the car, preparing a meal– any number of things.

Grieving is normal and unavoidable–it is a part of life, and it takes time. We don’t get over it, we get through it. Going through grief is a series of stages: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance, which is the first step. You must come to terms with your loss and accept that it is real and permanent.

The stages of grief are not necessarily in this order, but it usually takes one or two years, or sometimes 4, 5 or more years for a person to work through the loss of a child or spouse, as well as a divorce. The loss of a job, home, health, all require a significant amount of time to work through. There is no time frame. We can’t control the process and this makes us feel vulnerable and sensitive to outside stimuli. It needs to takes its natural course because if we try to deny our grief and keep our emotions bottled up inside, this can lead to chronic depression or physical illness.

Recent research indicates that some kind of ceremonial farewell is helpful in aiding the bereaved to adjust to the death of someone close. We must acknowledge publicly and formally that something significant has happened or we may find more difficulty in the grieving process. During the grieving process, it’s normal to cry, lose your appetite, and withdraw socially. Eventually instead of living moment-to-moment with our deep feeling of sadness, we will experience these feelings intermittently. Then we can think about getting back to work, resuming our social life, doing our routine daily tasks again, such as cleaning house, paying the bills, caring for the children–even if we sometimes have to ask for help from a friend or relative.

It’s a good idea to keep a journal of one’s thoughts and feelings, or write letters to the one who has died, or write a story of your memories, or write poetry. Grief can be expressed through painting or sculpture, or by participating in whatever you are proficient in doing. Perhaps sewing or woodworking–perhaps starting a project that will help others. Spend time outdoors in a park or at the seashore. Being in touch with nature can be both healing and restorative. It’s important to retain our friendships because feelings of alienation and abandonment are part of the grieving process.

The best method of fighting these feelings is to look for others to console. The person who has gone through the loss of a loved one is uniquely qualified and best able to understand others going through the same pain. Spending time with people who have undergone a similar loss can be very therapeutic. You discover how natural your emotions are that you go through during the grieving process. You can receive moral support and learn from the experiences and the ideas of others. Support groups are not for everyone but many people swear by them.

Taking care of your health is an important part of getting through your loss. Some physical problems, such as insomnia, loss of appetite, muscle tenseness, are to be expected. Avoid becoming overly tired, get enough rest and sleep, eat nutritious meals, find support, hope and comfort from something you have faith in or are interested in, and life will be better. Avoid making major decisions and changes in your life, as routine and familiarity with your surroundings give you a feeling of stability and permanence when you feel in chaos.

The scriptures state; A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance. The time of weeping and mourning will be over. When we are able to form new relationships, perhaps love again, we are on the road to recovery. You can pick up the pieces and go on, the wound heals but the scar remains.

Margot B

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Wronging the Crow — A Teaching of History and of our own Lives

Posted on May 3, 2011. Filed under: Lifestyles, Psychology |


by Luc Majno on Monday, May 2, 2011 at 7:24pm
 
A young boy had a problem with angerand was always judging everyone, and being mean

to all his friends, and could not understand or even bear

to be alone, and never understood why all his ‘friends’

always left him out of all of their activities, cast him out!

He went to see his mother about this

who, in turn, said that she could not help him

but she knew who could, the Old Man at the end of the Village,

in the White tent, over there…

When the Young One arrives at the tent, he is distressed and angry,

resentful and anxious, knowing it all full well, and being completely

conscious of all this, all the time…  He advanced on the Old One,

who is smiling at him already, as if he had already sized him up, in the less than

thirty seconds he had been in his tent…

“Let me tell you a story”, said the Old and Wise One,

to which the Young One’s eyes rolled.  He knew he would

remain there for a while!  He hadn’t even said a word!!

“Son”, he says in a shaking voice, “every time you speak or do anything in anger

you make a hole in that person’s heart, no matter who they are.  And you can never

take anything back, for it has already left your heart and been spoken and thrust out.

The Old Crow Spirit no longer sees me, He does not even look at me anymore.

I have lost him through my own arrogance, and now, I have to live this error out,

for the rest of my days, and there is nothing I can do about it.  Nothing.

You see, when I was young, I knew little.  And still, I am old now, and I know very little.  But back then, when I was a whipper-snapper,

I would act and speak like sparks and flames, coming out of a fire, not realizing what I was doing.

The Crow, I told everyone, is mean and cruel!  Look at him, everyone!  Look and see for yourselves, the cruelty of this animal, stealing from little ones,

diving down at them, and attacking them without mercy, over and over…  It hurts my heart to see this!  And every time the Crow would fly by me,

and do this spectacle, I think once a year, I would curse and wave my fists at him amd scream at him out loud:

You mean being!  Shame be brought on you! Cursed shall you be all your Life from your actions!  Never to be pardoned!!  Never!”

To me, he was diving down on the other little birds, and (others told me that) he was stealing other birds’ eggs…   What a horrible life to live! This had to STOP!

One day, the Crow managed his own trick.  After hearing me year after year, say those cruel and punishing things at him, he decided to show me Truth.

He showed me his ancient ritual as I stared on…

You see, Brother Crow was always Teaching others, especially the Young, how to dive for prey and how to survive, and nothing could be more Honorable.

Crow was serving as an example to all, preparing the Young, preparing the Youth, his species’ own survival!  Nothing could be more exemplary!

Suddenly, the roles had changed, and there was nothing I could do. I had become the VICTIM of my own Judgment…

You see, I had a Choice then, as you do now, my son, the Choice was given to me then to do Good and not Evil by hearsay…

I chose to be mean and to believe without living and learning.  Now, I am a living example of my own beliefs and actions back then…  A curse was put on me…

Exactly the same curse I put out there, into the Universe.  One that said:

“You mean being!  Shame be brought on you!  Cursed shall you be all your Life from your actions!  Never to be pardoned!!  Never!”

A big Silence came over the White tent

The boy looked pale, as if he had seen a ghost

He ran out of the tent and the Old One sat there

laughing and smiling…

 

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spirituality – The Offender

Posted on May 1, 2011. Filed under: Lifestyles, Psychology |


Ah, spirituality

the Offender that comes in

like a tidal wave

disturbing the calm of normal life

the calm of normal ignorance

the normal of the lack of connection

Ah, spirituality

anxiety and fears’ opposite

coming to light a room

that prefers darkness

the blind leading the blind

in the dark, how safe we are

no remorse, no responsability, it seems

No truth to deal with

no past to regret or to face

spirituality comes in there

and rips all of that apart

all of todays’ workings

all the hard work at the job

all the shadows that like to think they live well

some day soon it will come

the day that the innermost Sun will shine

and Truth will come over all

willingly or unwillingly

and we will put, not a ‘capital’ on our finances,

but a ‘capital letter’ on the word

spirituality.

Submitted by Luc Majno
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Damn Dirty Apes! The Evolution of Prejudice as Scientists See the Beginnings of Racism in Monkeys

Posted on April 20, 2011. Filed under: Editorial, Psychology, Social Media |


Posted by Chauncey DeVega on @ 11:12 am

Article printed from speakeasy: http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy
URL to article: http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2011/04/15/damn-dirty-apes-the-evolution-of-prejudice-as-scientists-see-the-beginnings-of-racism-in-monkeys/

Psychologists have long known that many people are prejudiced towards others based on group affiliations, be they racial, ethnic, religious, or even political. However, we know far less about why people are prone to prejudice in the first place. New research, using monkeys, suggests that the roots lie deep in our evolutionary past.

Are we just naked apes?

Social psychologists have apparently taken a large step towards uncovering the origins of human prejudice by administering the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to monkeys. And yes, I did just write that sentence.

I am a fan of the IAT and find myself in agreement with a growing literature which suggests that it is a powerful tool for mapping the subconscious origins of human prejudice. However, I am suspicious of how the IAT applies to our monkey cousins. Moreover, while sociobiology offers some compelling insights into the evolutionary origins of human behavior, I am skeptical that it can richly illuminate the complex–and quite modern–system we have come to describe as “racism.” Ultimately, I am not prepared to call Dr. Grewal’s findings piss poor social science…but this monkey racism business veers damn close to the proverbial open fetid urinal of ideas.

There is a deep tendency to normalize the worst of our species’ behavior. The barbarism of war, the viciousness of pogroms and death camps, and the general capacity for humankind to be quite thoroughly rotten, demands some explanation. It simply cannot be that there is a banality of evil unique to the human psyche which exists as the dark flip side of self-awareness. Rather, there must be some biological explanation, some clue that locates these impulses in the deepest recesses of human evolution. By implication, if one discovers these wellsprings, behavior can be explained. We must be cautious here: the urge to explain is often quite problematic because it is one step away from excuse making and the rationalizing away of responsibility.

A narrative that naturalizes race prejudice is problematic in any number of ways. Primarily, it flattens what is a complicated phenomenon (racism)and conflates it with something all together different but nonetheless related (prejudice). Adding a further complication to this puzzle is how a sense of group position, hierarchy, ethnocentrism, as well as in-group vs. out-group identification are certainly integral for a full understanding the “house that race built,” but in and of themselves only give a partial picture of a complex set of social and political forces.

These variables are necessary and perhaps even sufficient conditions for racism. However, they do no constitute racism in and of themselves. Racism is a recent invention born of the 16 and 17th centuries. In the light of the Colonial and Imperial projects, white supremacy provided a way of rationalizing a project of global usurpation and wealth transfer from the prosperous parts of the world to a resource poor Europe. To make the racial contract real involved the generation of philosophical, scientific, moral, ethical, religious, and political “truths” that normalized European dominance of the world as the natural order of things.

Stated differently, “white” Europeans, those formerly Irish, Italian, British, French, and others had to come to America where they killed indigenous people and enslaved black folks in order to become White. To do so effectively, they had to create regimes of knowledge that made these endeavors both “right” and “necessary” in their eyes.

[Keeping in mind that racism and prejudice are different things, how do we reconcile the following problematics: If “prejudice” and “racism” are so “natural” why did it take so long for Europeans to codify the former and transform it into the latter? Where was this “naturalized” racism in other populations at other times across history?]

Social systems assign values to different types of people(s) and personhood(s). By implication, racism was made by man and can be undone by man. There is nothing natural about it. And while I am sucker for any monkey related news items, the premise that monkeys can tell us anything new or insightful about “racism” leaves me a bit cold.

Some choice excerpts from Scientific American’s, “The Evolution of Prejudice”:

Mahajan and her team also devised a method for figuring out whether the monkeys harbor negative feelings towards outsiders. They created a monkey-friendly version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT). For humans, the IAT is a computer-based task that measures unconscious biases by determining how quickly we associate different words (e.g. “good” and “bad”) with specific groups (e.g. faces of either African-Americans or European-Americans). If a person is quicker to associate “bad” with African-American faces compared to European-American faces, this suggests that he or she harbors an implicit bias against African-Americans.

For the rhesus monkeys, the researchers paired the photos of insider andoutsider monkeys with either good things, such as fruits, or bad things, such as spiders. When an insider face was paired with fruit, or an outsider face was paired with a spider, the monkeys quickly lost interest. But when an insider face was paired with a spider, the monkeys looked longer at the photographs. Presumably, the monkeys found it confusing when something good was paired with something bad. This suggests that monkeys not only distinguish between insiders and outsiders, they associate insiders with good things and outsiders with bad things.

Overall, the results support an evolutionary basis for prejudice…the behavior of the rhesus monkeys implies that our basic tendency to see the world in terms of “us” and “them” has ancient origins…

Editor and founder of the blog We Are Respectable Negroes which has been featured by the NY Times, the Utne Reader, and The Atlantic Monthly. Writing under a pseudonym, Chauncey DeVega’s essays on race, popular culture, and politics have appeared in various books, as well as on such sites as the Washington Post’s The Root and Popmatters.

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Relationships: The Importance of Positive Talk

Posted on March 21, 2011. Filed under: Lifestyles, Psychology |


“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist ” ~ Indira Gandhi

When there are struggles in a relationship, a lot of time is often spent talking about what is wrong, or what we are upset about. There may be blame, criticism and judgment, which usually results in arguments, and if the negative talk continues things may spiral out of control.

Firing criticism back and forth does no more to change things than when countries bomb each other saying they are “fighting for peace.” In fact, a lot of damage is done, which may be remembered for years down the road, continuing to affect the relationship between the two.

It is much better for couples if they can focus on what they want to create, rather than what is wrong. Of course reference may have to be made to what is upsetting, but the focus should then quickly switch to what it is that could make things better.

When there are ongoing issues and conflict between a couple they often stop listening to each other, and no longer feel like being kind or loving. It is like a plant that is struggling to survive, and then water, light and nutrition are withdrawn. It does not stand a chance.

All couples have issues at some time or another, so it is important to have some agreements about how difficulties will be discussed. A good beginning is to affirm caring for the other, and positive intent in dealing with the problem.
Couples should agree to avoid blame, criticism, judgment and put-downs. It is important to try to focus on the issue at hand, without bringing in too much of the past. Do not compare your partner to others. Telling her she is just like her mother levels two criticisms with one blow. Asking why he cannot be like your friend’s husband is devastating: he will always think you are comparing him to “Mr. Perfect,” and that he will never measure up.

Relationship issues can be delicate, and past hurts can get in the way of present solutions, so be careful what you say.

(For information on ordering our brand new “ Relationship Healing ” CD, see below. It is great to listen to together, but is also helpful if even just one listens.)

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

CDs You May be Interested In:
Communication in Relationships
Conflict Resolution in Relationships
Trust and Fidelity
Relationship Landmines
Relationship Healing

 

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Our Response to Uncontrollable Issues of Life

Posted on March 21, 2011. Filed under: Health, Lifestyles, Psychology |


Weather is a great teacher.  It is something over which we have absolutely no control and we know it.  There are many, many things over which we have no control, but we are less likely to think about them, or admit to our powerlessness.  Our attitudes towards the weather may be indicative of our attitudes and responses to some of the deeper uncontrollable issues of life.

If we have learned to savor the good days when they are here, and make alternate plans for the others, then we are flexible and adaptable.  If we make plans which depend upon good weather, and set them in stone, then we will be frustrated and let down when the whether does not co-operate.  If we then brood and feel sorry for ourselves, ruminating over what might have been, then we are just plain masochistic.

A wise Buddhist philosopher said that life is very easy for those who have no preferences.  If we do not get attached to certain outcomes, then we are not setting ourselves up for disappointment.  So, we can be rigid, or we can be flexible, and the quality of our lives will vary according to which stance we choose.

There is still one more option.  It is the one, which leads to a blissful life. This option is the one that values and celebrates all outcomes, recognizing that happy or sad, joyful or sorrowful, winning or losing – all are part of the vibrant tapestry of life.

Avid readers recognize a good story as one which reveals the depth of its characters as they evolve in relationship to the circumstances of their lives.  The best stories involve challenges and complexities in the lives of the characters, and they do not all have happy endings.  Good fiction imitates real life, and so we can expect our lives to be filled with a full spectrum of life experiences.  That’s how it is, so we need to make the most of it.

We may not have control over all the circumstances of our lives, but we can find ways to create happiness and hope, then our experience of life day to day is enhanced.  Every morning, upon awakening, we can realize we have been given two precious gifts: this day, and each other.  What we make of it is up to us.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.  For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit http://www.gwen.ca

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How to Stop Absorbing Other People’s Emotions

Posted on March 12, 2011. Filed under: Health, Psychology |


Emotions such as fear, anger, frustration, and immobility are energies. And you can potentially “catch” these energies from people without realizing it. If you tend to be an emotional sponge, it’s vital to know how to avoid taking on an individual’s negative emotions, or even how to deflect the free-floating negativities in crowds. Another twist is that chronic anxiety, depression, or stress can turn you into an emotional sponge by wearing down your defenses. Suddenly, you become hyper-attuned to others, especially suffering with similar pain. That’s how empathy works; we zero in on hot-button issues that are unresolved in ourselves.

From an energetic standpoint, negative emotions can originate from several sources: what you’re feeling may be your own; it may be someone else’s; or it may be a combination. Here is how to tell the difference and strategically bolster your positive emotions so you don’t shoulder negativity that doesn’t belong to you.

Steps

Identify whether you’re susceptible. The person most likely to be overwhelmed by negative energies surrounding you is an “empath”, someone who acts as an “emotional sponge”. Signs that you might be an empath include:[1]

Brain Test™

Developed by Neuroscientists Improve Memory and Attention
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People call you “hyper-sensitive”, “overly sensitive“, etc., and they don’t mean it as a compliment!
You sense fear, anxiety, and stress from other people and draw this into your body, resolving them as your own physical pain and symptoms. It doesn’t have to be people you don’t know or don’t like; you’re also impacted by friends, family, and colleagues.
You quickly feel exhausted, drained, and unhappy in the presence of crowds.
Noise, smells, and excessive talking can set off your nerves and anxiety.
You need to be alone to recharge your energy.
You’re less likely to intellectualize what you’re feeling. Your feelings are easily hurt.
You’re naturally giving, generous, spiritually inclined, and a good listener.
You tend to ensure that you’ve got an escape plan, so that you can get away fast, such as bringing your own car to events, etc.
The intimacy of close relationships can feel like suffocation or loss of your own self.

Seek the source. First, ask yourself whether the feeling is your own or someone else’s. It could be both. If the emotion such as fear or anger is yours, gently confront what’s causing it on your own or with professional help. If not, try to pinpoint the obvious generator.

For instance, if you’ve just watched a comedy, yet you came home from the movie theater feeling blue, you may have incorporated the depression of the people sitting beside you; in close proximity, energy fields overlap.
The same is true with going to a mall or a packed concert. If crowded places upset or overwhelm you, it may well be because you’re absorbing all the negative energy around you.
Give yourself some distance
Give yourself some distance
Distance yourself from the suspected source, where possible. Move at least twenty feet away; see if you feel relief. Don’t err on the side of not wanting to offend strangers. In a public place, don’t hesitate to change seats if you feel a sense of depression imposing on you.
  • 4
    Center yourself by concentrating on your breath. Doing this connects you to your essence. For a few minutes, keep exhaling negativity, inhaling calm. This helps to ground yourself and purify fear or other difficult emotions. Visualize negativity as gray fog lifting from your body, and hope as golden light entering. This can yield quick results.

    Flush out the harm. Negative emotions such as fear frequently lodge in your emotional center at the solar plexus (celiac plexus).

    Place your palm on your solar plexus as you keep sending loving-kindness to that area to flush stress out.
    For longstanding depression or anxiety, use this method daily to strengthen this center. It’s comforting and it builds a sense of safety and optimism as it becomes a ritual.
    6
    Shield yourself. A handy form of protection many people use, including healers with trying patients, involves visualizing an envelope of white light (or any color you feel imparts power) around your entire body. Think of it as a shield that blocks out negativity or physical discomfort but allows what’s positive to filter in.
    7
    A reading and napping nook
    A reading and napping nook
    Manage the emotional overload. You don’t need to be beholden to your ability to absorb other’s emotions; turn the curse into a gift by practicing strategies that can free you: Learn to recognize people who can bring you down. People who are particularly difficult for emotional empaths include criticizer, the victim, the narcissist, and the controller. Judith Orloff terms these people “emotional vampires”.[2] When you know how to spot these behaviors, you can protect yourself against them, including removing yourself from their presence, and telling yourself that “I respect the person you are within even though I don’t like what you’re doing”.[3]
    Eat a high protein meal before entering stressful situations such as being part of a crowd. When in a crowd, find places of refuge, such as sitting on the edges, or standing apart.[4]
    Ensure that you don’t have to rely on other people to get you out of difficult situations. Bring your own car or know how to get home easily when needed.[5] Have sufficient funds to be able to make alternate arrangements if you start feeling overwhelmed.
    Set time limits. Knowing how much you can stand and obeying that limit is vital to ensure your mental well-being. Also set kind but meaningful boundaries with others who overwhelm you; don’t stand around listening to them talking for two hours when you can only cope with half an hour.
    Have your own private place in a home shared with others.[6] Ask others to respect your downtime during which you can rejuvenate. This is especially important to prevent you from taking on your partner’s feelings too much.[7] A study, man cave, sewing room, reading nook, etc., all offer your own space.
    Practice meditation and mindfulness.
  • 8
    Relax with a pet
    Relax with a pet
    Look for positive people and situations. Call a friend who sees the good in others. Spend time with a colleague who affirms the bright side of things. Listen to hopeful people. Hear the faith they have in themselves and others. Also relish hopeful words, songs, and art forms. Hope is contagious and it will lift your mood. Cultivate positive emotions that boost your inner strength. If you’re surrounded by peace and love, you’ll flourish as strongly as negative emotions cause you to wilt.[8] Respecting your own needs through healthy self love will increase your ability to respect others.
    Learn to use compassion as a way to defend yourself against overwhelming emotions. Compassion allows you to be empathetic to the plight of other people but also requires that you are compassionate toward yourself. This means that you don’t need to feel guilty about seeking respite from being overwhelmed; doing so ensures that you can be more engaged with others in the long run, rather than less so. It also means that you keep yourself whole by not immersing yourself in the world of negative people.
    This video gives you tips on how to tell if you are an empath and how to protect yourself from absorbing other people’s emotions.

    Tips

    Keep practicing these strategies. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you’re on emotional overload. With strategies to cope, you can have quicker retorts to stressful situations, feel safer, and your sensitivities can blossom.
    Aches, pains, confusion, and feeling overwhelmed after being amid a crowd are all signs that you’ve absorbed negative emotions from other people and your body is trying to protect you.
    Some people will respond to the absorption of negative emotions with panic attacks, depression, food binges, and undiagnosable physical symptoms.[9]
    It is possible that if you’re suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, that you’re suffering from emotional overload.[10]

    Warnings

    Don’t expect everyone to respect your needs. Some people never will. But the most powerful word is “no”. You don’t have to comply with their wishes; taking care of yourself comes first, then you’re better able to care for others.
    Recognize that most or all of the signs that you may be ‘empathic’ will apply to co-dependency as well; especially if you have a problem saying “no” to people. While it is much less attractive to view yourself as co-dependent, rather than ‘empathic’, it is probably more to the point; and easily treatable, thus allowing you to respect your own needs, and vastly diminishing or eliminating the symptoms described above.

    Sources and Citations

    http://www.judithorloff.com/free-articles.htm – Original source of this parts of this article. Shared with permission

    1. Judith Orloff, MD, Are you an empath?, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-orloff-md/are-you-an-emotional-empa_b_697483.html
    2. Barrbara Stahura, Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life , http://www.drjudithorloff.com/Free-Articles/Liberate-Yourself-From-Negative-Emotions.htm
    3. Barbara Stahura, Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life , http://www.drjudithorloff.com/Free-Articles/Liberate-Yourself-From-Negative-Emotions.htm
    4. Judith Orloff, MD, Are you an empath?, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-orloff-md/are-you-an-emotional-empa_b_697483.html Judith Orloff, MD, Are you an empath?, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-orloff-md/are-you-an-emotional-empa_b_697483.html
    5. Judith Orloff, MD, Are you an empath?, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-orloff-md/are-you-an-emotional-empa_b_697483.html
    6. Judith Orloff, Relationship Secrets for Highly Empathic People, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-orloff-md/relationship-advice-relat_b_628549.html
    7. Judith Orloff, MD, Are you an empath?, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-orloff-md/are-you-an-emotional-empa_b_697483.html
    8. Dr Judith Orloff, How to Stop Absorbing Other People’s Negative Emotions, http://spiritlibrary.com/dr-judith-orloff/how-to-stop-absorbing-other-people-s-negative-emotions
    9. Psychiatrist Judith Orloff on coping with emotional overload, http://highlysensitive.org/60/psychiatrist-judith-orloff-on-coping-with-emotional-overload/

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