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.”