One thing that makes humans different from other animals is the ability to commit to a loved one. However, this ability sometimes makes us worried and obsessed: an unpleasant relationship can harm us both physically and psychologically. This entry hopes to help those who are in a difficult relationship and to encourage those who are too afraid to pursue intimate relationships.
Here are some blog posts that state common relationship problems and provide suggestions on how to solve them. This article discusses 4 things that can hurt relationships, 3 things that prevent these things, and the best predictor of how good a relationship is. “Negativity feeds on itself and makes the conversation stay negative…One of the most powerful things is to say ‘Hey, this isn’t all your fault, I know that part of this is me. Let’s talk about what’s me and what’s you.’ Accepting responsibility is huge for repair.”
This blog lists several common relationship problems, such as communication problem, and gives a list of possible solutions to each problem. It also points out that we need to face these problems and try to solve them, instead of avoiding them. “Don’t think that things would be better with someone else. Unless you address problems, the same lack of skills that get in the way now will still be there and still cause problems no matter what relationship you’re in.”
This post talks about relationship stress: what causes it and the consequences it can bring. It teaches the reader how to analyze the stress, so that we can find the right way to deal with it. It also encourages us not to give up and to do what we can so that we can have a satisfying relationship and happy self. “Nothing lasts forever in life – not the good times and not the bad times. I know that you can work towards resolving the issues and keep chipping away at the stress in your relationship.”
For those who are not in a relationship but are too afraid to pursue one, this video might help. Even though it is a little bit dated (Tinder has been around for a while now), it talks about why dating apps are so popular. It concludes that optimism is a key to resilience. When being rejected appears to be not that big of a deal, people are more optimistic, and thus are more likely to overcome this adversity. Therefore, start with something that can make us more optimistic, and then we will become more confident. Then, we can pursue the ideal relationship without hesitation.
We all wish that life could be smooth and always full of joy. Unfortunately, adversities can hit unexpectedly, testing our resources and our ability to cope. Rather than letting these challenges drag our lives down, we can build resilience to help us recover more quickly. I came across a study in which three groups of survivors were interviewed: workers in the civil rights movement, survivors of childhood cancer, and children of parents with affective disorders. Although in totally different environments, these survivors exhibited similar behaviors that can help build resilience:
1. Find a community. A sense of belonging is one of the most basic human needs. A healthy person cannot live without companionship. Therefore, the right kind of relationships become especially important in the face of adversity. The first and most obvious thing that the three groups of survivors had in common was that they all had productive relationships with other group members. Finding community members who are going through the same troubles can be extremely helpful. The community members can support each other, both strategically and psychologically.
2. Be realistic. Negative thoughts can be dangerous to a victim suffering from adversity. Unrealistic negative thoughts can make us anxious and unproductive. It is important to stay realistic and use our critical-thinking skills. For example, the childhood cancer survivors understood the realistic chance of cancer happening again; this allowed them to avoid wasting energy in worry and helped them do the right things to prevent relapses.
3. Know your skills. In addition to the right attitude, proper understanding of ourselves is also important. In the face of disasters, we need to know clearly what tools we have. If we know what skills we have, what help we can get, and what tools we can use, we can make good decisions about how to use these resources to cope. To start this process, assess your resilience so that you better understand your strengths confronting adversity. Also, check out our resource page to find out what help is out there.
4. Take action. Finally, after having the right help, attitude, and knowledge, we need to take action against adversity. It does not help resolve problems if we just sit there and think; we need to do something to change the situation or figure out how to adjust to it. It does not take much to turn thoughts into actions if we have already accomplished the 3 steps above. Once you have taken action, you can reevaluate the situation and figure out what needs to happen next.
These lessons from survivors can help you meet your own challenges with greater resilience.
Graduation is one of the happiest moments in life. After years spent in school, we can finally walk into the society and make use of what we have learned. However, after all the preparation and the glory of commencement, the real problem comes: searching for a job. Given such a complicated job market, it can be difficult for those who are fresh out of college to find an ideal job. If you’re a graduate still looking for a job, read on!
This story, whose author is a recent graduate from NYU, describes the frustration the author faced after college while finding her first job, and some of the actions she took to find it. She offers some very practical advice to graduates. “I made a plan. When I have a plan, when I know when my next move is, when I can predict—although no one can predict the future—but when I feel like I can expect what is coming I can function a lot better.”
This article gives specific advice on dealing with job-search stress after graduation. It also suggests ways to use technology, such as social media and social apps, in the search process. “Many college alumni struggle with their first job search because they may not have learned career management strategies in college. Remember, if you want your job search to succeed, use technology and other modern strategies to help—and keep a positive attitude!”
Other aspects of post-graduation life can be stressful, too. This blog defines Post Commencement Stress Disorder (PCSD), and suggests ways to cope. “This reaction is entirely normal and presently common, especially because of the uncertain job market. Take control of your emotions, allow yourself to feel blue, but then work your way out of your blues by focusing on your positive factors, including pride in what you’ve achieved.”
This post also gives advice on dealing with uncertainty after graduation. ” ‘What am I doing with my life?’ The answer may not be easy, but if you stay calm, believe in yourself, and follow your goals, you will eventually succeed. This is the beginning of a beautiful chapter of your lives.”
And this website talks about dealing with graduation stress by focusing on health. It gives suggestions on how to increase health so that you can stay healthy and positive. “A healthy, well-rested body is one that is better able to fight stress. ”
Most people dedicate a substantial part of their lives to a career. Jobs can be so important to us that they almost completely define who we are. Because we spend so much time and effort on our jobs, we can experience overload, stress, and burnout. Here are some resources that may be helpful if you are experiencing these things.
This article provides a very detailed list of what to do when experiencing work burnout. In addition to telling us how to behave, it suggests simple exercises we can follow. For example: “Instead of being harsh and critical of yourself, try pumping yourself up. Encouraging thoughts will help motivate you to achieve and ultimately train you to inspire others.” Nothing is more helpful than an optimistic attitude.”
This blog starts with a story of a worker suffering from job burnout and follows with tips on how to deal with burnout. “If you face an unrealistic workload or some other persistent problem in your workplace, discuss your situation with your employer…Reassure your employer of your commitment to your work, and explain what you are willing to do; but be clear and firm about what you are not able to do.” The hardest thing for us to do is often to learn how to say “No.” However, if we try to do an unrealistically high level of work, we may place an unbearable level of pressure on ourselves.
This post gives a detailed explanation of work overload and how a task list can help. It also provides an example of good task list and explains how it works. “Once you develop the ability to quickly evaluate your time and the value of things in your life, you may find task lists indispensable. With task lists you will always live in comfort of doing things optimally: at work and privately at home.”
This blog discusses what causes overload, offers stories of dealing with it, and makes suggestions on how to solve it. Suggestions are made for both employees and administrators so the problem can be solved in both ways. “When you come right down to it, perhaps we can’t prevent ‘Mr. Overload’ from coming to our offices altogether. But we can learn to work with him more consciously and intelligently.”
Traffic can be the most frustrating thing in everyday life. We are stuck in a tiny space, we can’t move the car, and we have to pay close attention to other cars. Severe commuting stress can also harm our health both physically and psychologically. Although we can try to avoid traffic by planning ahead and leaving early, sometimes we don’t have a choice. Instead, we have to focus on staying patient and managing our own attitude. Here are some resources on how to prevent and alleviate traffic stress:
This article lists 6 ways to stay calm in traffic and not be stressed out. “Traffic, whether during a daily work commute or encountered unexpectedly while trying to get somewhere, can take a toll on you emotionally. Stress associated with driving in traffic is challenging to tackle as you are captive inside your car until you can meander through the mess.”
This post recommends some little silly things we can do to make traffic easier to overcome. I like it because we can reduce multiple kinds of stress by doing these–these suggestions not only lessen the traffic stress, but can also allow us to relax and forgot about the stress caused by other daily hassles. The author argues that traffic doesn’t have to be a huge source of stress as long as we have the right attitude and try hard to make ourselves happy. So why not try doing these silly movements next time when you are stuck in traffic?
If you are tired of reading text, this news post contains a video explaining how traffic stress can be bad to our health and ways to deal with it. “If you get caught in a traffic jam, it is what it is. Don’t get upset about it. Listen to your (audio) book, listen to the radio.”
Listening to music is another good way to deal with traffic stress. This station plays classical music that can slow your mind down and smoothly swipe the stress away. If you like more exciting music, this playlist is perfect for you to listen on the road or in traffic.
A while back, the obituaries page in my newspaper had two stories on it.
One was about Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member of the family who was the basis for “The Sound of Music.” They escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938, and went on to perform music throughout Europe and America, eventually opening a ski lodge in Stowe, VT. Her New York Times obituary relates that in addition to touring with the family choir, she worked as a lay missionary in Papua New Guinea. She adopted a son, Kikuli Mwanukuzi, after meeting him there, and eventually moved back to Vermont to be close to family. Her brother said “She was a lovely woman who was one of the few truly good people. There wasn’t a mean or miserable bone in her body.”
The other was about Alice Herz-Sommer, believed to be the oldest Holocaust survivor, who died at age 110. Her story of surviving two years in a Nazi prison camp was documented in “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life,” which won the 2014 Oscar for best short documentary. An accomplished pianist who particularly loved the works of Chopin, her music kept her alive–both emotionally and literally–during her internment in Theresienstadt until its liberation in 1945, and served as a source of solace for many of her fellow prisoners. (Read more of her story here.) She is remembered for her optimism and bright spirit, and her ability to live life with very little bitterness despite the losses she suffered.
The juxtaposition of these pieces was a vivid reminder to me of the ways in which music serves as a force to lift the human spirit and help us become more resilient–to sustain our energy through many kinds of adversity. For those who sing or play an instrument, music serves as a way to express a wide range of emotions that cannot always be put into words. For those who compose, music is a vehicle for telling stories that enable others to share the sense of loss, grief, anger, and other difficult emotions, but also to create a sense of movement toward hope and victory. And for those who simply listen, music is a way of discovering kindred spirits, gaining courage to move through challenging times, calming the soul, and celebrating triumph over the forces of loss, sadness, and darkness.
Over time, I’ve started collecting songs that speak to me of resilience. Here’s one (Ready for the Storm: written by Dougie Maclean, performed by Deanta) that I shared with a friend when she was going through turbulent times in her personal life–she told me later that it was a very powerful force in helping her sustain her energy during a major transition. What songs are in your personal resilience music collection?
1. Practice calming yourself down.
Your brain reacts quickly when you perceive danger or threat. It moves into “fight or flight” mode, which makes it difficult to respond thoughtfully to the challenges you face. You can tell your brain everything is ok by taking deep breaths and consciously relaxing your muscles. Practicing these calming techniques regularly makes it easier to apply them when you are stressed.
2. Strengthen physical well-being.
You use mental, physical, and emotional energy to deal with challenging situations. If your physical energy is depleted, it can drain your mental and emotional energy as well. Caring for your physical body by eating well, drinking enough water, exercising, breathing deeply, and getting enough rest will increase your ability to master many kinds of challenges.
3. Nurture emotional well-being.
Emotional strength helps you deal with disruptive events. Increasing your level of self-awareness and seeking support for issues such as depression, stress, or anxiety will help you build a stronger emotional foundation.
4. Cultivate a sense of meaning and purpose.
People who feel connected to something larger than themselves are better able to sustain their energy during times of trouble. Take time to reflect on what larger picture you are part of, whether your meaning comes from family, community, faith, or some other source such as work or volunteer efforts.
5. Broaden your expectations.
The narrower and more rigid your expectations about what should happen, the more likely you are to experience disruption. See if you can loosen your mental constraints a bit, and recognize that there are many possible ways a situation might turn out. This will make it easier for you to laugh at the unexpected and figure out how to “go with the flow.”
6. Treat small challenges as practice.
Think of the world as your “resilience gym,” with each small challenge you face representing an exercise that can build your ability to deal with the unexpected. Over time, you can greatly increase your skill at dealing calmly with disruptions, setbacks, and losses.
7. Build your community.
Weathering storms is much easier when you have others to call on for practical assistance, emotional support, and useful skills and perspectives. Getting to know the people around you, finding social activities that interest you, and taking the time to reach out to friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers is the first step in creating strong connections that you can call on when needed.
8. Inspire yourself with stories of resilience.
Resilience role models are all around us. Look for examples of people who have faced significant adversity and come out stronger on the other side. You will find them in the newspaper, in books, and in the people you meet every day. As you hear these stories, you will learn more about the mindsets that are helpful in dealing with challenges, and gain confidence in your own ability to bounce back.
9. Learn how you respond to disruption.
Each person has unique predispositions when dealing with challenges. Some reach out for support, others retreat into solitude. Some move into action, others become reflective. Some become angry, some become depressed, some become hopeful. See if you can step back and objectively observe what you do when you encounter problems. Pay attention to what works well and what doesn’t. Then, over time, you can try different responses to strengthen your effectiveness.
10. Ask others for feedback.
Sometimes others can help us see ourselves more clearly than we could do alone. Think about finding one or two people who know you well, and asking them for any insights they can share on how you typically respond when your expectations are disrupted, and for examples of times when you have responded more or less effectively. You may be able to identify patterns that are worth further exploration.