Here are some names for feelings that you may not be aware of, or you may be aware of them but not know the name:
The realization that every person that passes you by has a life as complex as your own.
The wistfulness of used book stores. I've totally been there.
The awareness of your own heartbeat.
A conversation in which people talk, but no one is listening.
The effort to care less about things.
The awareness of how small your perspective is.
The frustration of being stuck in one body that can only be in one place at one time.
A state of exhaustion inspired by senseless acts of violence.
A hypothetical conversation you play out in your head.
A sadness that you will never see how history plays out.
This was originally published on Liberal America on March 31, 2017.
There are many ways people are coping with the era of President Donald Trump. One way is to stay optimistic; a Zen master gave his own perspective on the issue.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen master, said this in his new book, At Home in the World:
“Mindfulness must be engaged. Once we see that something needs to be done, we must take action. Seeing and action go together. Otherwise, what is the point in seeing?”
“… Nonviolence is not a set of techniques that you can learn with your intellect. Nonviolent action arises from the compassion, lucidity and understanding you have within.”
He also said this about activism:
“If we don’t maintain a balance between our work and the nourishment we need, we won’t be very successful. The practice of walking meditation, mindful breathing, allowing our body and mind to rest, and getting in touch with the refreshing and healing elements inside and around us is crucial for our survival.”
Thich Nhat Hanh is a 90-year-old Vietnamese monk. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. called him “an Apostle of peace and non-violence.” He is considered a peace activist, and he is also a poet.
He was born in Central Vietnam in 1926. He was an activist involved in the movement to renew Vietnamese Buddhism. In the 1960s, he came to the United States taught Comparative Religion at Princeton University.
He founded the Engaged Buddhism movement. It’s a way of linking classic Buddhist teachings with social and political activism. The current Dalai Lama has also voiced the need for Buddhists to get involved in politics.
We all need to join the fight against President Donald Trump. We need to peacefully protest his awful policies. We can all learn something from this Zen master and peaceful protesting philosophies. This Zen master has a lot to teach all of us.
This was originally published on Liberal America on March 31, 2017.
Many people who are not Christians are having trouble finding a counselor or therapist here in the South. There are many counseling centers here that say they are Christian, so it’s kind of hard to feel welcome when you are not a Christian yourself.
Leigh Drexler of South Carolina said this about her struggles:
“My family has always directed their point of view at me, but it has been a million times worse than normal. Every time we’re in a conversation, it’s either about the election or religion..I knew there would be Christian counselors here, but I didn’t think that was all I was going to find.”
I’m lucky in that my treatment team is okay with my lack of faith. Struggling with a mental illness or just with life itself can be difficult. For a counselor or therapist, discriminating against or refusing to see non-Christians is just wrong.
Here in the United States, the number of religious people has been going down over the last few years. According to a Pew Research poll, the number of non-religious people jumped from 16 to 22 percent between 2007 and 2014.
Conversely, many Christian counselors feel that they have to hide it. There is a kind of struggle between the disciplines of psychology and theology. However, there has been a rise in Christian therapy practices in the last few years. Some Christians in the South won’t go to a counselor or therapist who is not a Christian. So, there is discrimination on both sides of the issue.
It just seems strange to me.
Honestly, religion shouldn’t be this big of an issue with trying to find help. If you need spiritual guidance, go to a clergy person. Therapy should be about treating your mental illness. I just feel like there shouldn’t be discrimination. Mental illnesses are painful enough without religious discrimination surrounding treatment.
This was originally published on Liberal America on March 30, 2017.
Do you ever wonder how to tell if someone is lying to you? A Former FBI agent and a former CIA agent weighed in on the topic.
The first sign the FBI agent gave was that someone would twist the context of their statements. If they won’t answer a simple yes or no question, then you know something is up.
Another sign is if they begin their explanation with “Well…” That is a sign that they are about to give an answer that they think you are not expecting. Also, if someone can’t simply tell you, “I’m telling the truth,” then that is not a good sign. They may say, “I’m an honest person,” but they won’t be able to simply say they are telling the truth.
These signs may not be 100-percent accurate, but they do help.
According to the Muse article:
“These methods do not detect deception with 100% certainty, but they do provide a strong indicator to determine if someone is being truthful or not. If a person answers questions directly, you can have confidence that the answer is truthful and that the person will not be aware that you have tested their veracity, thus preserving the integrity of ongoing relationships.”
The CIA agent gave six signs to tell if someone is lying to you. The first is if they pause a lot or delay while they are talking. Another sign is that they will give conflicting verbal and non-verbal behaviors. What they’re saying may not match their body language.
The person may try to hide their mouth or eyes when they know they aren’t telling truth. Additionally, they may clear their throat a lot. They may also fidget or touch their face a lot. They may also play with their hair or do other similar grooming-type gestures.
Here are some more signs to look out for when trying to tell if someone is lying or telling the truth.
This was originally published on Liberal America on January 31, 2017.
Just two weeks ago, America made a huge orange blunder by swearing in President Donald Trump. His inauguration sparked many protests and caused a lot of division in this country. If you are having a hard time, here are a few ways to stay positive during this tumultuous era:
1. If You’re Going To Debate, Do It Wisely
Political debates rarely go well, but be careful if you are going to engage people. Don’t debate with someone who won’t listen. The rabid Trump supporters are just going to go along with everything he says.
2. Read Some Fiction
Get involved in a great story. It’s a great way to escape your woes. If you don’t read, then start. If you do read, maybe try a different genre. Go a bit out of your comfort zone and try something new.
3. Do Something To Make You Feel Like A Kid
Go outside and blow bubbles. Get ice cream with sprinkles. Go play with your dog.
4. Take Action When You Can
Get involved with something in your community. Pick a pet cause and get yourself out there. If you are financially able to, then you can donate to your favorite cause.
Make a list every day. What are you grateful for? Keep reminding yourself of that. It doesn’t have to be very specific. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. It can be little things that you use or do every day that you are grateful for.
6. Call Your Representatives
If you have issues you are concerned about call your representatives (local, state, and/or federal). They may or may not help, but it will make you feel better to air out your grievances.
Now that computers are essential in everything we do, we have jobs that can be done entirely online. Working from home can be a great experience. It can be a great thing to do if you can work effectively. You need to have concentration skills to keep on your work, and you need to manage your time effectively. This is especially true if you are working on multiple projects/jobs.
Should you work at home?
Many people fantasize about being able to work from home. When you are stuck in the office grind, working from home can seem easy. You just think you can hang out in your pajamas with your family. Working at home is still working, and it can be very hard work. You need to have plenty of discipline to stay on task. Also, the line between work and home gets blurred.
Working from home is definitely not for everyone. If you are the type of person that needs someone else to keep you on track, you may have trouble when you are working alone. This is not a bad thing, but some people need that push to get things done. Do some hard self-evaluation before committing to working in a home office; if you do this now, you can increase your productivity when you do start working.
Here are some tips to help you increase your productivity in your work at home career:
Make a list of things you need to do each day. Even if you have other things going on, make sure that you write down what you need to do each day. Do that and stick to your plan.
This may not seem necessary, but keep yourself in a routine of getting up, getting showered, and getting dressed as if you were going to an office. This is especially true if your work requires you to use a webcam. Doing this can help put you in the work frame of mind. If you are sitting around in your pajamas, you will feel sluggish and lazy.
Make a system for family members. Put up a sign on your door saying that you can't be disturbed. You can try using a piece of construction paper. Put up a red light when you can't be disturbed, put on a green light when it's ok for your family to come in. Also, don't have friends over if you need to work. It may be tempting to just hang out with friends for a short break, but if you do that too much you can't get your work done.
Enjoy The Flexibility
Sometimes, you just need to take a break. Even for a few minutes. Try taking your computer to a cafe for a change of scenery. Play with your pets a few minutes. Occasionally, eat a meal at an actual table instead of your desk. I'm guilty of this myself.
Set Up Your Space
If you are lucky enough to have a separate room to work in, take the time and customize it. Splurge on a good comfortable chair, a headset if you make lots of calls. Keep it nice, but free from distractions.
Set up a specific working schedule to help you stay productive. Make sure your boss and coworkers know, so they can know when to call. It also helps keep you from working all night. When you are done for the day, you can step back out of the office. When you are working at home, it's easy to become a workoholic. You need to have a signal to signify the end of your work day, since you don't have that separation of coming home from the office.
Don't Volunteer Too Much
This is an easy pit to fall into. Your family may think that you have all the time in the world if you are working at home. You may be asked to run a lot of errands. Be careful not to do this too much. Point out to your family that you do have a job, even though you don't have a building to go to work in.
Bottom line: If you have what it takes, go for your dreams. Once you get all of these things figured out, you can be successful while working from home.
What Is A Moral Disagreement?
A moral dispute is a conflict that challenges your morals. The features are:
Irresolvable Moral Disagreements
In a moral disagreement, they affirm and deny the same things. Each party's stance contradicts the other person. It is such a big disagreement that it cannot be resolve. You have to compromise to reach a conclusion. It's not necessarily resolving the issue, but it can stop any roadblocks in your life or situation.
Some people think that all moral disputes are irresolvable because moral beliefs are not simply true or false. Opinions can be part true and part false. Picking apart someone's beliefs is not that simple. These things are subjective. They are based on many factors including someone's upbringing and environment and desires and emotions.
What Are Cultural Differences?
A cultural difference is bigger than an individual moral dilemma. This invokes the beliefs of your ancestors and your country. Cultural beliefs are things that are passed on via tradition. Not everyone agrees with everything their culture tells them to, but it is a strong factor in someone's upbringing. We learn to talk from our family members. We learn to think and reason by going to local schools. Every school is different. Everyone has different experiences. These things can lead to disagreements with people the same way that moral dilemmas can.
Some of these differences include over generalizations about someone's culture. For example many people think that Hispanic people need more personal space and less eye contact. They supposedly touch people more. They are more likely to hug someone. These generalizations can get offensive and dangerous. You can't expect every person to act the exact same way as someone else in the same demographics.
Our beliefs are shaped by many things. Our education, social standing, religion, personality, belief structure, past experiences, affection shown from family in the home, and a myriad of other things. All of this determines our behavior.
Solving Moral Dilemmas
You must remember what matters the most to you. There are a few different philosophies to solve this problem. Consequentialists emphasize the consequences of our actions. Deontological theories focus on the actions we perform. Virtue theories focus on the character of the person performing.
One example of a moral dilemma is trying to decide if you are going to tell a lie. The consequentialists will ask themselves what the positive and negative consequences of your actions are. Deontologists will ask if the moral rules are relevant. The virtuous person would wonder what a person with a good character would do in their situation. Many people today emphasize emotions over rationality. This depends on the subject. Emotions are relevant, but it is important to keep facts and rational arguments in mind.
Solving Cultural Differences
This can get very complicated. We must remember to treat people as individuals. They are not just a person of a certain ethnicity or nationality. We are all people. People take their opinions based on these things. A woman may take a difference stance on something because she is a woman. Cultural backgrounds do affect how people act.
One way to avoid conflict is to learn more about someone's culture. Ask them questions. Get to know them the way you would anyone else. This can prevent many conflicts. Learn more about the individual. Learning about other lifestyles will make you more tolerant and aware of people around you.
If you are a bookworm, you may have gotten way too attached to a particular character. A good book can put you in the characters' shoes. You laugh with them. You cry with them. Yes, I've cried over book characters. Can that attachment help with your grief?
When we lose a loved one, we often think of the best memories we had with them. Dr. Janina Scarlet wrote an interesting article on the subject for Psychology Today.
She talked about receiving news of the death of a friend's sister. She grew up with that friend, and she compared going to his house to Harry Potter going to the Weasleys' house.
Harry Potter makes friends with Ron Weasley and finds parental figures in Ron's parents. Scarlet said this about her friend's house:
"I felt understood, accepted, fully and unconditionally. My own family never understood mental health and I was often judged and criticized for feeling depressed or anxious. At Roger's house, we talked about our feelings, we hugged, we played board games and video games. We were allowed to be perfectly imperfect and magically human. Like Harry, I too often wished that I could just stay with my friend's family forever."
Connecting with a story or a character can help with grief. Reading a story of loss can show us ways to deal with a personal loss. Books are powerful things, and they can take you into a whole new world.
This was originally published on Off The Main Page on February 28, 2017.
We have heard the term before: resting bitch face. Urban Dictionary defines it as:
“… A person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to.”
I have this problem myself. Living with schizoaffective disorder, I often have a flat affect, which can make me look angry when I’m not. I often hear things like “Are you okay?” or “Are you mad?” when I’m really not.
Some people turn it into a sexist thing, unfortunately. During the election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was often told to “smile more.” Many men were saying that about her everytime she gave speeches. At least I’m in good company.
Scientists have actually discovered this is real. Scientists Abbe Macbeth and Jason Rogers from Noldus Information Technology used facial recognition software to analyze facial expressions. They put in some neutral faces, then compared emotional faces to those neutral ones.
“… We’ve all heard the anecdotal evidence of people being told to smile more … there’s something that is unconsciously showing up on people’s faces when people think they are just being neutral.”