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Taming the Tiger Within: advices from Thich Nhat Hanh to diffuse anger, conquer fear and cultivate love.

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Recognize & embrace your anger when it manifests itself.
Care for it with tenderness rather than suppressing it.

Many of us begin a relationship with great love,
very intense love.
So intense that we believe that,
without our partner,
we cannot survive.
Yet if we do not practice mindfulness,
it takes only one or two years for our love to be transformed into hatred.
Then, in our partner’s presence we have the opposite feeling,
we feel terrible.
It becomes impossible to live together anymore,
so divorce is the only way.
Love has been transformed into hatred;
our flower has become garbage.

If you see elements of garbage in you,
such as fear, despair, and hatred, don’t panic.
As a good organic gardener,
a good practitioner,
you can face this:
"I recognize that there is garbage in me.
I am going to transform this garbage into nourishing compost that can make love reappear."

Mindfulness means to be present,
to be aware of what is going on.
This energy is very crucial for the practice.
The energy of mindfulness is like a big brother or big sister,
holding a young one in her arms,
taking good care of the suffering child,
which is our anger, despair, or jealousy.

When you say something unkind,
when you do something in retaliation,
your anger increases.
You make the other person suffer,
and they try hard to say or do something back to make you suffer,
and get relief from their suffering.
That is how conflict escalates.

If it is your partner who is angry, just listen.
Listen and do not react.
Do your best to practice compassionate listening.
Do not listen for the purpose of judging, criticizing, or analyzing.
Listen only to help the other person express himself and
find some relief from his suffering.

If we are able to touch our ground of no birth and no death,
we will have no fear.
That is the base of our true happiness.

Written by blueroselady

January 2, 2014 at 3:32 pm

5 calming tips to overcome anger

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It is OK for you to experience frustration / anger.
You are not alone.
We all experience frustration / anger in our lives.

Anger is not always bad,
anger helps us to assert our rights.

Anger, like other negative emotions and also positive emotions,
are normal and appropriate
under particular circumstances in space and time
(dynamic spatio-temporal context).

However,
when anger is prolonged / intense / unacknowledged,
it may lead to diseases,
which we do not want.

To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson,
“For every minute you remain angry

you give up 60 seconds of peace of mind.

Negative emotions such as anger / frustration / resentment,
can be extremely destructive,
because these destabilizing emotions blur our vision,
disable us from rational and clear thinking,
and rapidly drag us down to regrettable paths of lives.
There is truth in the saying that
Anger Is One Letter Short of Danger.

It is all right to feel anger
but it is not all right
to express anger violently
or with cruel words.

Anger shows on our face,
can impair our potential to live a happy life.

Angry outbursts / aggression can become a bad habit;
the more one allows anger to take control,
the deeper the brain pathways are carved & reinforced,
because of brain plasticity.
Simply put,
Anger begets anger.

When people are stress / angry,
their body releases stress hormones
like cortisol & adrenaline,
that intensify the amygdala’s sense of danger,
& shut down the calming function of the prefrontal cortex.

We want calmer, more effective & more resourceful ways
to handle our emotions,
especially angry feelings.

We want to prevent ourselves
from getting stuck in deeper problems,
such as depression & anxiety,
in the long run.

Thích Nhất Hạnh / tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ views that
either expressing or suppressing anger
is an end of 2 extremes.
Expressing anger harms those around you,
destroys your relationship with others.
Suppressing anger harms yourself & your health.
Instead, choose to acknowledge our emotions.
Choose calmer & more soothing ways to attend to anger.

Melissa Costello shares that
anger can be a cover up for deep hurt & pain.
In 10 Mindful Minutes,
Goldie Hawn & Wendy Holden also shares that
anger can be due to fear.

The good news is
we can learn techniques
to overcome & deal with
our pain & fear.

Our brain is plastic,
we can train our mind
to be positive.

We can be creative
or learn from creative people
in dealing with our negative emotions.

Roger Weissberg of Yale University
contributed a technique using the traffic signal imagery^
to help people to deal with difficult emotions.

^ Children may prefer we call it traffic signal game,
instead of the traffic signal technique.

How to use the traffic signal technique?
You can get some paper & color pencils / crayons
to draw a picture of traffic signal.

Alternatively,
you can visualize traffic signal in your mind
When you are feeling negative emotions such as anger,
use the traffic signals to help you
to drive & steer your emotions safely.

Red = stop. Breathe mindfully / do some mindful breathing.
Yellow = consider all possible / thinkable / reasonable ways to respond.
In this yellow light stage, we activate our prefrontal cortex.
Green = Respond mindfully.

The traffic signal technique works because
according to Paul Ekman,
we begin feeling a strong emotion much faster
than we are aware of it.

When we use the traffic signal technique,
we allows ourselves to stop and think.
The technique lengthens the time between
the impulse / stimulus and response (either reaction or action)
as soon as
we realize and recognize
our difficult / negative feelings.

According to Victor Frankl,
between our stimulus and response
we have the freedom and power
to choose our response:
the most positive, mindful, meaningful response.
Through frequent practices
of the traffic signal technique,
we can build solid emotional resilience.

Last, but not least,
we can memorize some affirmations & scriptures.
They act as a short-cut
to quickly calm ourselves down
in the intense moment of strong negative feelings.

Examples of affirmations:
# The anger of today is the remorse of tomorrow
# If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. Chinese Proverb.
# People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing

Examples of scriptures:
# Proverbs 16:32 : “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that controls his temper than he who conquers a city”
# Proverbs 22:24,25 : “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered”
# Exodus 2:11-15 : In a sudden burst of anger Moses killed an Egyptian and had to flee for his life! It then took him 40 years of patiently, humbly tending sheep in the wilderness, with time to listen to the Voice of God instead of his own impulses, before he was ready for the slow, la­borious, patient work of delivering the Hebrews from Egypt.

To summarize
@~@ Remember that anger++ = Danger
@~@ Neither express or suppress anger, but acknowledge it
@~@ Traffic signal technique
@~@ Remember that you can choose your response
@~@ Memorize affirmations / scriptures

How to deal with anger? 15 effective tips

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Many times, as human beings,
we get angry because of the mistakes / misunderstanding caused by ourselves and people closest to us,
e.g.
our family members (spouse, children),
our bosses and subordinates,
our colleagues,
our clients.

Imagine a spouse who does not border to help you / who only knows how to nag and nag,
after you work hard and endure stress / fatigue / insult from the morning until night;
Imagine an in-law who only knows to blame you after you expend sweat, tears, and blood taking care of your home / spouse / children (fortunately my parents-in-law are very nice);
Imagine bosses who only know to instruct, take all the credit;
Imagine subordinates who do things wrongly even though you explain many times;
Imagine clients who refuse to pay their debts to you after you deliver the products,
or whose expertise is to complain and complain.

Anger is not always bad,
anger helps us to assert our rights.

Anger, like other negative emotions and also positive emotions,
are normal and appropriate under particular dynamic spatiotemporal context / circumstances in space and time.

However,
when anger is prolonged / intense / unacknowledged,
it may lead to diseases,
which we do not want.

Then,
how to deal with anger?

1. The ART of ENDURANCE, use THICK FACE BLACK HEART.
Some people may think that being thick face is to be shameless,
because the general perception of thick face can be exemplified by an adult child refuses to work but asks money from retired parents.
Thick face that I mean here means that we must be able to endure humiliation / insult / injustice / physical & emotional pain / stress that cause our anger.
Honestly, this is not easy but not impossible.

Black heart here does not mean being ruthless to others,
but be determined enough on ourselves so that we can endure hardship and protect the weak.
Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi are among the finest example of practitioners of thick face black heart.

2. Neither express nor suppress anger.
Both are at the end of 2 extremes.
Expressing anger harms those around you, your relationship with others.
Suppressing anger harms yourself, your health.
Then, what should you do?
ACKNOWLEDGE our emotions, I think this is a piece of advice that I learned from Thích Nhất Hạnh / tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ.

3. Realize that we are the MASTER of our EMOTION.
We have control of our own emotion,
instead of letting our emotion enslave us.
We can practice self-control,
our mind can win over our emotion.

4. IMAGINE / VISUALIZE that your problems / pains are over. Visualize your trespasser as a little baby / child. It is hard to be angry at little children.
Ask yourself, will things / people that cause your anger matter in X amount of time (e.g. 1 year, 5 years time)?
You may not bump into the person again.
You may have moved to better places / positions.

5. Use the ART of DETACHMENT.
We can care / love others, but we have to be detached from our care / love.
We can continue to care, give best advices, but separate our feeling from the outcome of our efforts.
If they do not want to listen to our advice / to receive our kindness,
we just accept their response,
no need to feel bad about it.
Do not attach our happiness to others,
i.e. do not let our happiness be dependent on others (including their thought / words / actions).

6. LEARN from difficulties / crisis.
Believe that opportunities arise out of our difficulties.
There are always things to be learned from every situation.
There are things worth fighting,
there are things that are better ignored,
e.g. the rudeness of rude salesperson / customers, the ruthless bosses.

7. Use POSITIVE THINKING. Reframe our PERSPECTIVEs. There is no failure, there is only feedback.
Be aware that our trespasser(s) may cause unhappiness transiently, but they cannot rob away our capacity to generate inner happiness (including peace of mind, wealth).

8. LOWER / have NO EXPECTATIONS.
Accept things and other people as they are.
It is hard to change other people.
To change a person may be harder than to move a mountain.
Instead of wasting time to change others,
it is better to improve ourselves.

9. Use TALKing therapy,
but you have to find a listener,
who will listen without giving advice
(sometimes when we are angry we may perceive their well-meant advice as something negative).
Do not talk to every person you meet,
because not all people can give you empathy and sympathy in every situation / circumstances,
they may perceive you as a whiner / complain king,
we may end up transferring our pain / anger to other people.
Choose whom to TALK to carefully & wisely.
Many times, I TALK to God,
because God can take our anger / frustration.
Sometimes, I TALK to my wise mentors.
They are my role models,
and I would imagine what they would do if they were in my situation.

10. Use WRITING therapy.
This is what I exactly do now. I wrote this post because I was angry, and I want to find solutions on how to deal with anger.
Then, I think that my tips / strategies may be useful to others and decide to share them with the world.
When you write, do not worry about writing style / grammar.
You can make yourself your audience.
Keep your writing in journal / diary or
you can throw / tear away,
like cleansing / declutter your problem.

11. REST & SLEEP.
Take a power nap.
When we suffer from lack of sleep, we may become cranky.

12. MEDITATE / PRAYER.
Prayer is powerful.
Prayer = talking to God.
God can patiently listen without giving comments.
God can embrace our anger.

13. BREATHing exercise.
Imagine a balloon expanding & contracting in your lower abdomen.
Siberian North Rail Road for Stop, Notice, Reflect and Respond.
Stop to take a deep breath. Taking a deep breath can really calm our minds.
Reflect why you are angry from a 3rd person perspective (neither victim nor offender).
Respond. You always have control / choice in how you are going to respond. Be the master of your emotion, instead of letting your emotion winning over you.

14. EXERCISE e.g. yoga / qigong 气功 / jogging / hiking / swimming.
Physical activity can release emotion,
because our mind, body, and soul are inter-connected.
QiGong can help us to keep a focused mind, good posture, and help us to relax.

15. Use palm-size thermometer.
When we are angry,
blood is diverted from our extreme parts of bodies to vital organs,
our fingers turn cold.
Count to ten.
1 … 2 … 3 …. 4 …. 5 … 6 … 7 … 8 … 9 … 10 …
Focus on calming down until our fingers become warm.
PS: I learned this tips from Oprah Winfrey, thank you!
See also my green old A4 notebook page 32, 129.

If you find my writings are helpful to you, please donate to me by clicking here.

Written by blueroselady

March 23, 2013 at 11:20 am

How to manage disappointment and anger?

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The 1st Tuesday of Oct 2012 was a day when Blueroselady felt angry. She is rarely angre for most time.

She woke up very early to meet her boss, only to be told 10 minutes prior to the meeting that the meeting was going to be postponed.

With a thick face, she had to fight for a seat in the crowded public transport.

She had to share credits for a project with someone who contributed none.

She had to buy an iPhone 5 with contract for someone because his parents asked for help. Givent that the parents are semi retiree who live frugally, Blueroselady is disappointed that the son who just started college is going to pay a monthly bill that can pays for Blueroselady’s 3 month expenditure on mobile phone bill.

Looking back now, they all are trivial matters.

Often, when we are disappointed and angry, we are overwhelmed by the emotion that prevents us from thinking rationally. If this happens, how can we better manage our disappointment and anger?

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. Chinese proverb

Here are the strategies:

When you are angry, avoid reacting immediately (e.g. speaking, arguing, confronting, shouting), unless there are immediate dangers. Calm our minds and organize our thoughts 1st, so that we do not end up hurting / making others angry, and hence continuing the viscious cycle.

Siberian North Rail Road for Stop, Notice, Reflect and Respond.
Stop to take a deep breath. Taking a deep breath can really calm our minds.
Reflect why you are angry from a 3rd person perspective (neither victim nor offender).
Respond. You always have control / choice in how you are going to respond. Be the master of your emotion, instead of letting your emotion winning over you.

Love yourself. Make this top priority. Because you love yourself, you cherish your health, and you can command your mind to tell your feeling: ok, enough of anger.

Sufficient rest / sleep. Our health deserves the best care. This is part of loving ourselves.

Master the art of endurance. The character for ren in Chinese consists of a knife on top of a heart. Yes, it is painful to have a knife cutting our heart, but the result is endurance, resilience, and perseverance.

Learn a lesson. There are always things to be learned from every situation. There are things worth fighting, there are things that are better left (e.g. rude salespeople / customer services).

See the big picture in space and time. Ask yourself, will things / people that cause your anger matter in X amount of time (e.g. 1 year, 5 years time)? You may not bump into the person again. You may have moved to better places / positions. CNC told me that the best revenge is not revenge but by achieving success.

Visualize them as a little baby / child. It is hard to be angry at little children. This technique was learned from a kind lady LH.

Think of our role models. What are our role models going to do in such situation? Bring the matters to our daily counselor meeting, ask for their opinions.

Detach ourselves. We can care / love others, but we have to be detached from our care / love. In Blueroselady’s example, the character and spending habit of the son causes her pain (hence disappointment and anger) because she cares about the family. She can continue to care, give her best advices, but separate her feeling from the outcome of her efforts. How? by having low or no expectations.

Lower / have no expectations. Accept things and other people as they are. It is hard to change other people. Instead of wasting time to change others, it is better to improve ourselves.

See also the philosophy of life.

Written by blueroselady

October 5, 2012 at 8:17 am

Conversations with strangers

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What is your favourite breakfast cereal?
What legacy do you hope to leave when you are gone?
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
If you weren’t a [insert current profession here], what would you do instead?
Looking back on the vacations you’ve taken, which location is your favourite destination?

Below are obviously not table or party conversations.
Anyway, I just list it here:
What do you want to do long term?

Do you want to be a scientist?

Do you want to be a CEO? Do

you want to run your own business?

Do you want to raise children and carve out time to pursue business interests on the side?

Steven Covey: begin with the end in mind.

Written by blueroselady

December 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Posted in career, choice

Tagged with , , , ,

Scientists are dangerous …

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Guardian article (June 24th, 2010):
Survey suggests half of EU citizens believe scientists are ‘dangerous’

According to a Eurobarometer survey, a majority of people don’t trust scientists. The only way to reverse this trend is for academics to step up their efforts to communicate with the public, writes Eoin Lettice

Despite World Cup and Wimbledon fever, a survey published this week suggests that more Europeans are interested in scientific discoveries and technological developments than are interested in sport. According to the latest Eurobarometer survey for the European Commission, 80% are interested in science and technology whereas 65% are interested in sport.

However, the same survey found that 57% think scientists should be doing more to communicate their work to the general public and 66% believe governments should do more to interest young people in scientific issues.

Europeans overwhelmingly recognise the benefits of science, but many also express fears about risks from new technologies and the power that knowledge gives to scientists.

An alarming 58% of respondents across the European Union agreed that:

“We can no longer trust scientists to tell the truth about controversial scientific and technological issues because they depend more and more on money from industry.”

The figure falls to 49% for UK respondents. Given the tough news delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the budget on Wednesday and likely cuts in R&D funding to be announced in the autumn spending review, industry might well be expected to step into the breach and provide more cash.

This raises the question: will the British and wider European public be happy about more money from big business paying for scientific research? This survey suggests the answer is no, but at the same time the public is hardly likely to demand higher taxes to pay for purely government-sponsored science.

Worrying too is the finding that 53% of European respondents (46% of UK respondents) agree with the statement that, because of their knowledge, scientists “have a power that makes them dangerous”. Not potentially dangerous, notice, but dangerous. When you take into account the 23% who didn’t know or who neither agreed or disagreed, the survey suggests that just 24% of EU citizens believe that scientists are not dangerous.

Some consolation can be taken from the fact that in the equivalent Eurobarometer survey in 2005, 59% of EU respondents (58% in the UK) thought scientists were dangerous.

According to the latest survey, a majority believe that scientists do not put enough effort into informing the public about new developments in science and technology (57% of EU respondents and 56% of UK respondents).

The majority of EU citizens (63% of respondents) feel that scientists working in university or government laboratories are best qualified to explain scientific and technological developments. Just 32% believe that scientists working in industry are best placed and a mere 16% of respondents (14% in the UK) that newspaper journalists are best equipped to discuss such developments.

Compared with 2005, there has been a noticeable shift towards trusting scientists in academia or the public services to explain science and technology (up 19 percentage points in the UK) and away from newspaper journalists (down 9 percentage points in the UK).

Commenting on the findings, EU research, innovation and science commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said:

“The success of the Europe 2020 strategy depends on cutting-edge science to keep Europe competitive. In turn, that means ordinary Europeans need to back science and keep the pressure up on government and on industry to invest in it. These results show a very high awareness of the importance of science. But they also show that both politicians – like me – and scientists themselves need to explain better what we are doing and why.”

Overall, the survey shows that European citizens are optimistic about the benefits of science and technology for the economy. Some 75% of respondents agree or tend to agree that thanks to science and technology there will be more opportunities for future generations.

However, there has been a shift towards greater scepticism about science’s impact on people’s lives compared with the 2005 survey. For example, when presented with the statement “Science and technology make our lives healthier, easier and more comfortable”, 78% of EU respondents agreed in 2005, whereas 66% agreed in 2010.

On the evidence of this survey, this scepticism can only be reduced if more scientists, in particular those in academia, make a greater effort to communicate their work to the general public.

As Peter Fiske wrote in Nature earlier this year:

“Scientists must communicate about their work – to other scientists, sponsors of their research and the general public … searching for opportunities to give talks and lectures – and seeking audiences that are outside one’s immediate sphere of scientific influence.

“Many scientists are incredulous at how little the general public knows about science and technology, but scientists do little to address the gap in understanding. Most think that their successes in the lab are manifestly evident, making education about the value of their work unnecessary. Few ever communicate with their elected officials. With the public footing most of the bill, this misguided belief seems naive and undermines those who campaign for more funding.

“Excellent work is a prerequisite for career progress, but is not sufficient by itself. Broadcasting one’s accomplishments and exercising the ‘active voice’ in all aspects of one’s work is the best way to earn notice, gain recognition and make the public at large aware of the value of the scientific enterprise.

Eoin Lettice is a lecturer in the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences at University College Cork, Ireland. He also writes the Communicate Science blog where the original version of this article appears

Written by blueroselady

June 29, 2010 at 12:14 am

How to survive a sandstorm or a dust storm? 10 caring tips

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  1. Seek shelter, minimize outdoor activities.
  2. Hydrate yourself.
  3. Get to higher ground.
  4. Wait out the storm. Don’t try to move through the storm; it’s much too dangerous.
  5. Avoid driving if possible, exit highway, turn off the engine (or you will get all that fine debris in your air filter).
  6. Cover you nose and mouth with a mask / a respirator / a dampened cloth around your nose and mouth to filter out dust and sand particles.
  7. Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to the inside of your nostrils to prevent drying of your mucous membranes.
  8. If you don’t have goggles, shield your face with your arm as you move, then wrap a piece of cloth tightly around your head to protect your eyes and ears.
  9. Wear sunglasses and gloves along with long-sleeved shirts/pants and a brimmed hat
  10. Shield yourself from flying objects

References:
http://www.masala.com/5-survival-tips-during-the-sandstorm-in-dubai-192182.html
http://www.outsideonline.com/1958756/what-should-i-do-if-i-get-caught-sandstorm
http://www.wikihow.com/Survive-a-Dust-Storm-or-Sandstorm

20150607

Written by blueroselady

June 7, 2015 at 6:44 am

Posted in health

Tagged with ,

Tips from various magazines

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@~@
To reduce commute time:
www.workshifting.com

Personally, commute time can be used for doing other useful stuff.
Relax (when the public transports are not too crowded).
Listen to voice notes of inspirations and ideas.
Read: study materials, news, facebook.
Plan.

@~@
According to Sally Poon (a dietician from Hong Kong Nutrition Association),
food of eating out are high in SALT, FAT & SUGAR,
which increases the risk of obesity, heart disease & hypertension.
Yes, we know all these but many times we choose to satisfy our

Minimize fried food.
Avoid preserved meat, e.g. salami.

For pasta e.g. spaghetti: red sauce (tomato-based) is healthier than white sauce.

@~@
"The more time a person spends on the job, the more conflict there is likely to be between work and family."
Do you agree with this statement?

@~@ Things that I must do:
# live my life to the fullest.
# appreciate what I have.

@~@
Short-listed things that I find interesting to do:
# Learn copywriting. Learn writing to sell a strategic idea.
# read The happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (since January 2012)
# make DIY flash cards. First picture that I found: polar bear of Churchill, Canada. Remember that the cuddly-looking polar bear (thanks to its shaggy fur) can be dangerous. My friend J was given a polar bear soft toy as the first birthday gift from his man, and his man can be cuddly yet dangerous like polar bear!
# attend a Nobel Prize banquet @ Stockholm (since March 2012).
# eat Vosges Haut-Chocolat (chocolate with unlikely flavors like curry, taleggio, and wasabi), partly because Katrina Markoff is an inspiring entrepreneur!
# FIND TIME TO DO NOTHING. BREATHE. An advice by Tim Park, the author of Teach us to Sit Still: A Sceptic’s Search for Health and Healing.
# Remove dust! Dust can cause your TV, computer, laptop to overheat and reduce its life span. When you do house chores of vacuum cleaning, empty the dust bag when it is half-full. With a fuller dust bag, the machine has to work harder and risks overheating.
# To extend the lifespan of your mobile phone, use its appropriate charger, simply because the voltage is different. Do not charge your phone overnight.
# commit to 30-day challenge of writing a book. Thank you Matt Cutts.
# refuse to let work compromise what my body needs: nutritious, regular meals, 7-8 hours of sleep, 3×10-minute exercise.
# hit the road less traveled with a backpack like Paige Chua. She went for her first solo trip to Beijing & Inner Mongolia in 2007. Interesting reflection: city dwellers seek a simple life when travel, but rural dwellers (e.g. of Inner Mongolia) aspire to move to cities (e.g. Beijing).

Quotes that I like:
# "No one shoots you if you’ve got a smile on your face." ~ Alan Wicker, travel journalist.
# "When I visit somewhere new, I always absorb it first as a human being, then photography it as my hobby and then consider if it’s interesting enough to share with other people through Twitter, Facebook or my blog." ~ Ben Southall, Winner of Best Job in the World (2009), caretaker of Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
# "Don’t forget that frequent business travellers are often the most frequent leisure travellers." www.businesstraveller.asia
Blueroselady: The next time someone (e.g. CV) tells you and me that he is busy travelling on business trips, he is likely to include sightseeing and leisure activities too!

Written by blueroselady

January 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm

30 revealing ideas from social psychology that can help us to appreciate people and our lives

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Below are interesting points (sometimes with some of personal thoughts & reflections) that I have learned from a course on social psychology taught by Professor Scott Plous of Wesleyan College.

@~@ Know yourself. Seach inside yourself.
LaoZi : "He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is enlightened."
Benjamin Franklin : "There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self"
Daniel Gilbert : "We seem to know less about the worlds inside our heads that about the world our heads are inside."

@~@ People often MISWANT.
Blueroselady :
How to overcome the challenge that we are remarkably bad at predicting of what will make us happy?
This question is very important because many of life’s big decisions involve predicting our future feelings.
Examples of life’s big decisions : marriage, career / profession, migration, vacation.
Funny real-life example : a friend J told me that her husband fluctuates between praising-in-the-form of question and complaining:
(1) "why a such a smart woman like you wanted to marry a jerk and stayed on?"
(2) "It’s a nightmare to be with you for the rest of your life, I was enticed by your physical attractions"

@~@ Most people are too preoccupied with themselves to notice our shortcomings (e.g. your pimple, your spiky hair because of having no time to comb your hair because of waking up late).

@~@ "Research has found that audiences can’t pick up on your anxiety as well as you might expect …
Other people are noticing less than you might suppose."
Blueroselady: The next time you have to deliver a public talk / give a company presentation / make a sales pitch, do not worry. Just do it!

@~@ Susan Andersen & Serena Chen, 2002: In our varied relationships, we have varying selves.

@~@ Much of our behavior is not consciously controlled but automatic and unself-conscious.
Blueroselady: Be mindful. We can choose to practice mindfulness.
Mindful breathing… Mindful eating… Mindful doing…

@~@ self-schema vs possible selves
self-schema = beliefs about self that organize & guide the procession of self-relevant information.
possible selves = images of what we dream of or dread becoming in the future.
self-schema strongly affect how we see / perceive, remember, evaluate other people & ourselves.

@~@ major negative events vs minor irritations
major negative events activate our psychological defense.
minor irritations do not activate our psychological immunity.

@~@ Role playing becomes reality.
As we enact a new role, e.g. college student, parent. salesperson, we initially feel self-conscious.
Progressively, the role playing becomes reality.
This reminds me on the message that Amy Cuddy wants us to remember in her TED talk on body language.
Fake it till you make it.
Fake it till you become it.

@~@ How do we decide if we are rich, smart, or tall?
The answer is social comparison (Festinger, 1954) in affluence, status, achievement.
Blueroselady: Many things in life (that I know of) are relative, particularly those that are measurable.
A reader’s question: "I have made a living comparing data in my job / career. Comparing has become my second nature. How can I stop comparing in life?"
Blueroselady suggestions:
# Gratitude exercises.
# Detachment exercises : Detach your emotions from the outcome of your comparisons. I hear you, it is easy to say, but challenging to do, that is why detachment is an art; for the sake of our happiness, we must practice the art of detachment.
# Mindfulness exercises : Remember that (1) social comparisons can decrease our life satisfaction. (2) 人比人气死人 (3) "There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self."
# Kindness exercises : Be kind & compassionate to yourself, leave behind comparisons with others.
# Affirmations e.g. It is better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else.

@~@ Children whom other people label as as gifted, hardworking or helpful tend to incorporate such ideas into their self-concepts & behavior.

@~@ Self-reliance
Self-reliant individual is celebrated in Western literature, e.g. The Iliad, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

@~@ Classifying / pigeonholing / labeling cultures as solely individualist or collectivist oversimplifies.
The oversimplification is because within any culture, individualism varies from person to person (Oyserman et al, 2002).
Blueroselady: Remember not to do hasty generalization.

@~@ Interdependent self
# has a greater sense of belonging.
# is defined by social connections with family, colleagues, loyal friends.
# has many selves: self-with-parents, self-at-work, self-with-friends.
# disapproves egotism, whereas independent self disapproves conformity.
# e.g. collectivistic Asian & Third World cultures.
# persists more on tasks when they are failing because wants to meet others’ expectations (e.g Japanese)
# prioritizes WE over ME

@~@ "So far, most of psychology has been produced by psychologists in middle-class White American settings studying middle-class White American respondents."
However, there are ways of life beyond the one that each of us knows best.
Blueroselady: In other space & time context (e.g. sociocultural context), there can be different ideas & practices about how to live a meaningful life.

@~@ Tips: eat before shopping.
Gilbert & Wilson (2000) showed that hungry shoppers do more impulse buying

@~@ Why is your friend’s success can be more threatening that that of strangers?
According to Zuckerman & Jost (2001), you feel that your self-esteem is threatened.
How do people react to self-esteem threat?
High self-esteem people blame others or try harder next time.
Low self-esteem people blame themselves or give up.
According to Roy Baumeister, folks with high self-esteem are more likely to be obnoxious, to interrupt, & to talk at people rather than to talk with people.
Bonus: It is useful for parents to know that
# among sibling relationships, the threat to self-esteem is greates for an older chld with a highly capable younger brother / sister.
# many people could not escape their tough childhoods, which is a cause of low self-esteem.

@~@ Secure self-esteem
# is rooted more in feeling good about who one is than in grades, looks, affluence / money, others’ approval.
# is essential for long-term well-being.
# Blueroselady views secure self-esteem neither as high nor low self-esteem, but self-esteem in equilibrium / in balance.

@~@ self-esteem vs self-efficacy
self-esteem = if you like yourself overall
Self-efficacy = if you believe you can do something

@~@ How to be less intimated (by others) & less gullible?
# remember that personal testimonies are powerfully persuasive but they may also be wrong.

@~@ Self-serving bias?
# attribute positive outcomes to oneself (e.g. own managerial skill)
# attribute negative outcomes to other factors (e.g. a down economy)

@~@ Examples of self-serving bias
# Group members’ estimates of how much they contribute to a join task typically sum to more than 100%. For instance, husband & wife are members of a group.
# most business people see themselves as more ethical than the average business people.
# Pronin & Ross (2006) reported that we see ourselves as objective & everyone else as biased. No wonder we fight!

@~@ Feedback is best when it is TRUE & SPECIFIC.
Specific feedback e.g. You are good at maths.
General feedback e.g. You are great.
To encourage someone (e.g. children, mentees, students, subordinates), remember that specific feedback is more effective than general feedback.

@~@ To improve performance, give self-efficacy feedback instead of self-esteem feedback.
e.g. of self-efficacy feedback : You tried really hard.
e.g. of self-esteem feedback : You are really smart.

@~@ When to listen to criticism & not to listen?
David Dunning’s gentle rule: "if two people independently give you the same piece of negative feedback, you should at least consider the possibility that it might be true"

@~@ Terror management theory by Jeff Greenberg: the reality of our own death motivates us to gain recognition from our work & values, but not everyone can achieve such recognition.

@~@ Competence + perseverance = success

@~@ Success requires enough optimism to sustain hope and enough pessimism to motivate concern.

@~@ According to Jule Norem (2000), defensive pessimism can sometimes save us from the perils of unrealistic optimism.
Blueroselady: Negative emotions such as anger and pessimism are not entirely bad, we just need healthy ways to deal with them.
Tips: Whenever you feel angry, remember that the person you are hurting is yourself.

@~@ Tyranny of freedom? too many choices can lead to paralysis.
According to Barry Schwartz, individualistic modern cultures have an excess of freedom which leads to the tyranny of freedom.
# Choice may enhance regret.
# People have expressed greater satisfaction with irrevocable choices than with reversible choices. This is because when people can undo their decisions they tend to consider both the positive & negative features of the decisions they had made. When they could not undo their decisions, people tend to concentrate on the positive features & ignore the negative features. For example, people expressed more satisfaction with their marriages several decades ago when marriage was more irrevocable.

@~@ Love causes marriage, but marriage would also causes love.
Blueroselady: This hypothesis may explain why arranged marriages (in some cultures) have successfully worked and survived.

@~@ The 5:1 ratio of positive:negative activities
To sustain important relationships such as marriage and parental relationships, ensure that you strive to increase the ratio of positive to negative activities by at least 5 fold.
e.g. of positive activities : holding hands, giving a hug, lending a listening ear.
e.g. of negative activities : arguing, complaining.

More
# Book: Social Psychology. Chapter 2. DG Myers. 2012.
# Notes at the end of email

Written by blueroselady

December 26, 2013 at 3:55 am

Happiness exercise: Describe yourself in positive ways

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Happiness means differently to different people.
To some people,
happiness means a combination of the followings:# Finding love & happily married
# Having children, grandchildren, great grandchildren
# Good health
# Be financially well-off
# Enjoying a successful career
# Ability to maintain work-life harmony
# Happy relationships with extended family (ie. parents, grandparents, siblings, nephews, etc)
# Fulfilling friendships
# Making a difference to the world. You laugh … yes, many people, including me, set their dreams so high (and hence raising the standards of attaining their happiness).

To sum up, happiness is fundamentally related to health, wealth, and children.

Since happiness is related to so wide and diverse areas of our lives, how can we work on each area of importance to us? How to prioritize?
I believe in exercises / practice. It takes 10,000 hours of practice to give birth to a real talent.
Sincerely, I want you to master the art and science of happiness,
so that you can choose to be happy
even in the face of difficult circumstances and being overwhelmed by negative emotions.

In my designed series of happiness exercises, I would share numerous effective and tested exercise to enjoy happiness in your life.

Today exercise is to describe yourself in positive ways. Write to yourself. List your favorite attributes, your achievements, your roles, your love, and anything elseo about you.

Herein, I do the exercise on myself (in the autumn of 2013)

I am …
# a mother
# a daughter
# a wife
# a student of Coursera, edX
# a researcher
# a storyteller
# an author
# an ex-artist

I love …
# people who love me & whom I love.
You can never replace anyone because everyone is made up of such beautiful specific details.” Before Sunset (2004)
# food (especially healthy affordable food and desserts)
# simplicity
# diversity
# reading (and writing) and hence books
# gardens & parks in spring & summer, in early mornings & late afternoons
# philosophy of life
# giving smiles, talks in front of groups
# learning diverse things. I believe in the “See one, Do one, Teach one” model.
# dreams
# personal development, making a syllabus for life / bucket list / life planning
# entrepreneurship + unconventional work
# (and honestly sometimes fear) change / dynamics.
The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” Isaac Asimov

I used to love …
# travel
# photography
# fireworks
# movies
But now they are not on top of my priorities.

People who have inspired me (non-exhaustively) include:
# Anthony Robbins
# Cayden Chang
# Chris Guillebeau
# Danah Zohar
# Dale Carnegie
# Dong Mingzhu 董明珠
# Goldie Hawn
# Jean Maalouf
# Jessie Louise Yancey-Siegel, affectionately known as Weezie
# Josh Kaufmann
# Joseph Murphy
# Leo Babauta
# Leong Kaiwen
# Louise Hay
# Luciano Passuello
# Michael Ellsberg
# Napoleon Hill
# Robert Cialdini
# Tahir
# Thich Nhat Hanh
# Tim Ferriss
These people are my brothers / sisters, my mentors, my dearest friends.

Things that I want to have / have more / give more to others:
@~@ Happiness
@~@ Health
@~@ Optimism & Hope
@~@ Gratitude
@~@ Kindness e.g. smile
@~@ Empathy e.g. a listening ear
@~@ Wealth
@~@ Wisdom
@~@ Courage e.g. to make new friends

Things that I want to remove / reduce :
@~@ Fear
@~@ Sadness
@~@ Anger
@~@ Envy / Jealousy
@~@ Clutters
@~@ Disappointment

Written by blueroselady

October 2, 2013 at 11:20 am