Archives for Emotions and Feelings

Emotions and Feelings

It’s Best to Face Your Fears and Let Your Kids Face Their Fears, Too (Day Ten: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. -Pema Chodron

Is there anything more painful than watching your child suffer? But when we shield our kids from the lumps Life dishes out, we rob them of the critical growing-up experiences that will make them into strong, brave, confident adults later.
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Emotions and Feelings

The Basic Physical Stuff is Amazingly Important (Day Nine: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Sleep is the best meditation. -Dalai Lama
These are the simplest pieces of wisdom in this whole collection, and they are amazingly powerful.

Oh, how I wish I could relive those days in my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s (days?...actually years) of chronic weariness, when I was heroically trying to “do it all” and muddling through on way too little sleep.
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Emotions and Feelings

Day Four: Memory is not accurate. Nope, not even yours. (Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Our memories can seem so vivid and realistic, it’s hard to believe they’re not literally true! But memory doesn’t work like a video camera.

For one thing, due to our limited powers of attention (see Day One) we never get the whole story to begin with. Then, every time we recall an event our minds edit and interpret and embellish, like a fish story.

And we do an especially inaccurate job on emotionally loaded events; we freight those memories with so much emotional baggage that they become personal fairy tales more than actual recollections.
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Emotions and Feelings

Day Two: Emotions affect reasoning. (Twelve Days of Wisdom)

People use words as weapons, to defend themselves. It is common for people to attack with anger when they are afraid and to become insulting when they are hurt or jealous.  -Dr. Shirley Glass

When we are anxious or angry we can’t think straight. This means we ought to avoid taking action or having heavy conversations while immersed in these mood states.

The emotions of fear and anger trigger our internal fight-or-flight mechanism, which sends epinephrine (adrenalin) gushing through our bloodstream. Our heart races, our blood pressure shoots up, our platelets ready themselves to clot in case we are injured...and our higher-level thinking skills shut down. After all, it doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to run from a saber-toothed tiger.
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Education

Is Your Student “Pumped Up,” or “Deflated”?

Last week I wrote about the demonstrably positive effects of longer-term studying. Kids who begin studying several days before a test and who study consistently and to the point of mastery get high grades.

This seems like a no-brainer, right? So why don't more kids do it?

One reason is that fear and anxiety hamper people's ability to think straight and organize themselves. (We talk a lot about executive function issues in kids, but these are problems all people of all ages experience)

As part of his 
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Emotions and Feelings

Helping Your Student Face Test-Prep Fear

I've been a test-prep coach for decades, tutoring students for the SSAT, ISEE, SAT, and ACT, and of course I'm very comfortable with the material by now.

Last month, my own daughter was getting ready to take the LSAT (the law school entrance exam), so I tried a few practice LSAT sections myself...and, guess what?

I found them stunningly, amazingly difficult! And, I made TONS of mistakes!

For example, on my first reading passage, I answered the eight questions, and got SIX of them wrong!!! 

This was an excellent experience for me, because I felt something I've lost touch with: I felt a sinking, dizzying fear of this difficult material.
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Emotions and Feelings

I’ve Told My Kid 1000 Times!!!

Why don't kids take our good advice? Why don't they do the things we suggest, things that would obviously help them?

Why don't they listen to us?

Along with academic tutoring and test preparation, I teach study skills: how to study for a biology test, how to write a term paper, how to learn vocabulary words.

Parents are eager for these lessons, and also jaded.

He knows this stuff already.
Her teachers repeated this over and over all last year.
I've already told him a thousand times!!!
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Emotions and Feelings

My Oh-So-Simple Approach to Stress Relief

Get rid of the thing that is causing the stress.

Does this sound unrealistic? Impossible?

When my kids were growing up,  we had a big house with an acre of lawn and an in-ground swimming pool. We enjoyed the space and made good use of the pool. Even so, that big spread was a lot to afford and a lot take care of.

I spent a lot of stressful hours, many of them sleepless early-morning ones, fretting over maintenance issues and bills. Paying the cleaning lady, the lawn guy and the pool guy meant I had to work more hours. Letting those folks go and doing the work myself meant spending tons of time doing chores I did not enjoy and couldn't keep up with.
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Emotions and Feelings

How Quickly Do You Process Your Emotions?

There's a dead dog lying in the middle of the road, and we both see it.

As if jolted by a cattle prod, my highly sensitive companion rears in her seat and wails. Ooooooohhhh Nooooooooo!!!! She trembles and her eyes well up.

Meanwhile, I just keep on driving. I'd been deep in our conversation, and the meaning of that inert, furry heap in the center of the roadway hasn't  yet registered in me.

So by now we've driven right past the dog and quite a distance beyond, and I still haven't said a word or even slowed down, and my friend is choking on tears.

We're easily a quarter of a mile away when I mutter We need to go back.

I turn the car around and return to where the dog still lies, and I pull over and step out and look both ways before walking out and dragging the dog's body to the curb.
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