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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

Dear Dr Douglas Prasher, You are my Hero

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A friend of mine who is a scientist shared with me about Douglas Prasher’s story. When I was a little kid, I consider the following careers very cool / glamorous / glorious : pilot, adventurers (e.g. Columbus, Everest), scientists, astronauts, … and many others.

However, my friend said that being scientists is not all glorious, there is no guarantee that one can meet one’s basic survival needs (according to the Maslow’s hierarchy) of food, clothes, shelter / home, even after one has done high quality work that deserves Nobel Prize like what happened to Douglas Prasher.

In brief, the Nobel Prize I am referring to is for the discovery and engineering of fluorescent proteins – molecules that can glow in the dark. Sound so fun!

The fluorescent proteins are powerful research tools and have become the foundation of a multimillion-dollar industry.

Prasher was not included among the Nobel laureates, as only 3 individuals can share a single Nobel Prize. “The glow of the GFP gene may have illuminated biology, but Prasher has remained in the shadows.” The humble ^ Laureate Martin Chalfie credited Prasher’s contribution:
“(Douglas Prasher’s) work was critical and essential for the work we did in our lab. They could’ve easily given the prize to Douglas and the other two and left me out.”

^ To share the best of the best to you dearest readers, I have carefully studied Nobel Laureates and summarize their strengths that worth emulating.

My friend J, who is also a scientist and used to work 7 days a week from 9 am to 11 pm daily, shared with me that there are sadly numerous unacknowledged contributions in science. She told me that a lady called Rosalind Franklin also deserves a Nobel Prize but she died too early. J told me that she cried reading the story of Prasher.

To quote discovermagazine, the vanishing act of Douglas Prasher “provides a glimpse into what it takes to flourish in modern-day science, where mentorship, networking, and the ability to secure funding can be as important as talent and intelligence.”

Dear aspiring scientists (especially graduate students), I hope that my sharing provide you with additional perspective. One of a leader of a science research institute sadly told me (in a chance encounter in a public transport) that in the past only the rich can do scientific research because they do not have to trade their time to earn a living. These people were for example the landlord who receive passive income ; they have the time (one of the most priceless commodity in the universe), the brain energy & physical energy to carry out scientific experiments.

He also shared with me about his personal experience, he was previously trained as a medical doctor (a career that may guarantee a better earning), but later switched to become a scientist. Few years down the road after he has children, he woke up in the middle of night sweating and worrying on how to finance his mortgage. The good news is his children are now grown-up.

Dear aspiring scientists, your professors and successful scientists you meet would rarely tell you such stories because they need workers. Graduate students are very cheap to the extent that they are free to the professors. You will rarely meet unsuccessful scientists because they are no longer around in the labs / meetings / conferences to warn you / to be naysayers for you who will eventually become successful scientists. Do not give up on your chosen career easily. After all, scientists will meet countless failures (positive people prefer to refer a failure as a learning experience) because they are at the frontier of discovery and innovation. You really need perseverance in the pursuit of science, science needs you, our world need you ; but one must not neglect what is entrusted to him by the Universe / the Creator / God, e.g. young children to feed, nurture, take care.

Dear aspiring scientists, do not be disheartened by what I share here because if you are really passionate about science, you want and you should give it your best, until you really meet dead ends. You can be like Douglas Prasher, to be humble and willing to take other kinds of jobs, including being a bus driver at $8.50 an hour. I respect bus drivers, they provide essential service to many people, and I personally rely on them often. I view them as my everyday heroes who courier me safely from a place to another. But to be honest, one who had worked as a scientist must have to endure the words of their past colleagues on becoming a bus driver. If you master the art of endurance, are willing to work hard and have integrity in life, no matter what you do / your career / job, you will have inner happiness, which is much more important than prestige (e.g. awards) / glamor. If you want to be successful in a particular career, perseverance * and resourcefulness ^ are essential.

* “Doug doesn’t have the ‘Goddammit, you’re not going to stop me’ attitude,” Ward says.”
^ “It was the kind of resourcefulness that Prasher seemed to lack.”

After all, there are many things that Prasher can be happy and grateful about: his supportive wife, his children, his home-grown vegetables & finally a return to science.

Dear my readers, all careers are similar in the chance of success; they just vary in the steepness of the climb. My kind friend shared that the climbing field for being successful scientists started relatively easy for students who have done well academically / with exceptional scholastic ability, but become very very steep toward the higher place(s).

Final reflection:
Let the (use) value that we bring to ourselves and others through our work / pursuit / career / vocation shine itself.
Do not pursue recognition / award as a goal because it is beyond our control.
Even one of the most deserving Nobel Prize winner – Gandhi, never receive it.

Dear Dr Douglas Prasher, thank you very much! You are my Hero!

Related:
http://discovermagazine.com/2011/apr/30-how-bad-luck-networking-cost-prasher-nobel
http://galette86.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/the-inspiring-story-of-douglas-prasher/
http://www.bio.purdue.edu/lab/leung/blog/?tag=douglas-prasher

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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.

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Written by blueroselady

March 23, 2013 at 11:20 am

How to endure the unendurable?

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These are examples of events are challenging us:
the death of loved ones
failing ill (severe illnesses)
failed relationships e.g. divorce, being written off by friends that one treasures
bankruptcy / loss
failures / defeats / major disappointments
labor / giving birth
wars / riots
natural disasters

Who has never experienced at least one of those events?
The answer is nobody.

We must equip ourselves with the ability to endure the unendurable.
How to master the art of endurance?

Prayer. Believe that God is always with us.
Positive affirmations. Believe that the mother nature is taking care of us, the entire universe is protecting us through the law of divine protection.

Use the power of subconscious mind, especially the passing over and visualization techniques. When I was a kid, I learned to focus on the scenery picture in my dentist’s room, to distract my mind from the pain of my tooth being extracted. I imagine I visited the place with hilly green pasture and snow-capped mountains at the back. Indeed, before I was 30 years old, I have been to Switzerland (a place that seems fit to the scenery) thrice.

Relax and release all your burdens to the invincible (God, mother nature, universe).
Concentrate / focus on your breathing. Use alternate one-nostril technique.
Listen to soothing music.
Read inspiring words.
Meditate / self-hypnotize.

See the big picture in space and time. In X amount of time, we will experience less pain. Time heals. All things are passing.

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.
For delivery, I will think of how my mother lovingly brought me to the world. If she can, so can I.

Master the art of detachment.

Learn a lesson, especially for sufferings and pains from failed relationships or failures in school or work. By enduring our pains, we progress to the next level of our lives; from a child to an adult, people may experience the pain of growing up; from a single woman to a mother, women will experience the pain of birth.

Understand that things are complementing. If we do not know what ugliness is, we will never appreciate what beauty is. If we have never experienced pain, we will not appreciate our pleasure or joy.

Remember that if you are willing to endure more pain than the person next to you, winning will be your only option. Mentor MR told me (when i I was in teen struggling on my own without my parents) 吃得苦中苦,方为人上人.

Related:
How to manage disappointment and anger?
How to play the game of life?
How to overcome fear?
Subconscious mind
How to endure the pain of moving out of comfort zone?

Written by blueroselady

November 4, 2012 at 11:01 am

Thick face, black heart

with 2 comments

Normally, we do not want to be perceived as a person with thick face or black heart.
However, when Chu Chin-Ning cites Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln as the highest level practionists of thick face and black heart, I am curious to find out what thick face and black heart really mean according to the book entitled Thick face, black heart.

According to Mahatma Gandhi, nonviolence is an extremely active force.
It has no room for cowardice or even weakness.
Not to be coward means one needs thick face.
Not to be weak means one needs black heart.

The author argues that when you want to be kind, you must also have black heart (a protective shield) / be ruthless.
Have you ever felt that it is easier to be compassionate to the nameless and faceless needy people (think of donating to charity, disaster victims) than to those who are special to us?
Through experience, our kindness / compassion / generosity is often abused.
They act as if we owe them.
The more we give, the more we should give.
It is human nature to abuse those who support and love us most.
For example, children abuses their parents or vice versa, husband abuses wife.
A proposed solution is to be kind / compassionate with a protective shield.

See also my mind map.

Written by blueroselady

October 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm