Archives for September, 2011
The family can be a source of true joy and love. Family relationships offer us unconditional support and are important for every member of the family unit. Positive, healthy relationships are built on foundations of trust, respect, love and understanding. These relationships can also be expanded and family bonds can be strengthened to keep relationships healthy for the long haul. Families that come together and share positive experiences build strong family relationships. They cultivate a strong family bond by experiencing positive emotions and uniting through common family goals. Here are some areas where families can come together and build a strong bond.
Many people take the impact their work has on their life for granted. Have you ever known someone who simply hated their job? How did this impact the rest of their life? Our job can have a crossover effect into our life outside of work. The emotional impact our job has will ultimately affect our relationships, our health, and our overall well-being and happiness. Whether we are passionate about what we do or are simply going through the motions and looking forward to the end of each day, our work effects many areas of our life for better or worse. We spend immense amount of our waking time working and engaging in our vocation. In today's work climate people are expected to do more work in less time. People may hold multiple jobs and work at unusual hours. Also, people are working longer into old age and retiring later.
Think of a time you experienced difficulties and felt overwhelmed or burdened with your situation. How did your view of life and existence change? When we go through a demanding and trying time, it can be tough to cope and stay self-assured. Going through emotionally demanding experiences like loss and trauma often leads to negative emotions such as grief, anger, fear and shame. It can be difficult to overcome this negativity and work through the pain when there is no apparent reason for what occurred. If we don't work to heal and reproach our negative perspective, it becomes very difficult to move beyond the anger and grief that engulfs our day to day life. One way we can begin to work through the stains of our loss and trauma is to find meaning and purpose within the experience.
Often times we take things for granted. We focus on what we lack and forget about all the things we have. Our lack of appreciation can come in many forms. We may wish we made more money, were in better physical shape, or were smarter. These areas where we perceive lack can be consuming and really steal our joy and satisfaction with life. When things aren't going well and we're dissatisfied, we tend to focus on all the things we wish we had or what we wish was different. When things are going well on the other hand, we are satisfied with life and it's easier to notice things we appreciate. In this sense, we may be able to experience a positive feedback loop by cultivating gratitude in order to experience greater satisfaction, and by doing so can more easily focus on what we are grateful for and appreciate.
I came across a very inspiring video that offers insight into an important topic of positive psychology. You can watch the video below. In this recent TED talk, author, ecologist, teacher, and Zen Buddhism priest Joan Halifax shares the virtues of compassion and empathy, and how these traits are necessary for our existence and a fruitful future. Compassion is how we connect with others in times of grief and despair. It allows us to take action and have the strength to alter others' suffering. It also supports us in being resilient and persevering through difficult times. Compassion allows us to make our community a better place. It connects us to others' pain in a way where we want to make a positive difference in their lives. Compassion can benefit almost any relationship, though there are many areas where a compassionate nature can be utilized most constructively. If you work in a social services field or are a teacher, compassion can help you maintain the strength to encourage others as you benevolently serve them.
If you have ever had a problem with excessive anxiety you know how debilitating it can be. When anxiety is serious it can really steal our joy and impact our ability to live a full and meaningful life. We may be genetically predisposed to anxiety, though most often anxiety is caused by our thinking, particularly excessive worrying. There might be feelings of fear and dread, and apprehensive expectations and thoughts about the future. Someone with anxiety may tend to assume the worst is going to happen and constantly focus on all the things they "must," "should," and "need" to do. If this is something you struggle with, here are some strategies to help you overcome excessive worry and anxiety.
As the anniversary of the 9-11 attack approaches, it most likely brings up some difficult memories. It may stir remembrance of worries for your safety or fears about what was taking place. I'm sure you remember where you were when the first building was hit. If you weren't frightened by the sight of the first plane exploding into the side of the North Tower, the second tower was hit moments later and solidified that the occurrence was more than an unfortunate coincidence. Though, as much as fear and worry emerge when revisiting this moment in our memory, we can't neglect the level of courage and hope that also pervaded throughout this disaster. Courage helps us face our fears and confront them. Courage was seen at all levels and in every sense of the word. Not only were the fire fighters and emergency responders courageously saving lives and appeasing trauma, but general civilians, journalists, and many people who may have never stuck their neck out before this moment were driven to be there for others and do their part to minimize distress and loss of life.
I was speaking with a close friend recently who was having difficulty accepting where she was in her career. She didn't feel things were coming together as quickly as she would've liked and started to second guess if she was following the right path. This was all based on the idea that progress was coming too slowly and not as naturally as she expected. She started to discount her ability and even view her apparent skills and talents to be nonexistent. Even when receiving complements, she would be unable to accept them internally. This is a clear example of having a "fixed mindset," or the belief that personal talents, skills, and characteristics are unchangeable. When you run into problems do you assume it's because you don't have the skill and competence needed?