The positive side of negative emotions

Hello my friends!

Emotions can influence behavior, but they have other implications, as well. One important function of emotion is to provide information (Schwarz & Clore, 1983). Emotion regulation is driven by epistemic motives when people are motivated to experience emotions to attain certain information. Emotions provide information about oneself and about the world. People are motivated to attain two different types of information about themselves. First, given the need for positive self-regard, people seek out information that enhances their self-images (Rogers, 1951). Second, given the need for consistency and predictability, people seek out information that verifies their self-images (Seann, 1987). When emotional experiences reflect negatively on themselves, people may be motivated to avoid these experiences.

Emotional acceptance refers to the willingness and ability to accept and experience the negative emotion, to acknowledge and absorb it. Acceptance offers several advantages. By accepting your emotions, you are accepting the truth of your situation.

We’re living in a “cultural age that’s decidedly pro-positivity,” MacLellan writes, which makes the “pressure to suppress or camouflage negative feelings” all the more pronounced. In the West (especially in the U.S.) “happiness and positivity are seen as virtues,” MacLellan notes. Anger, fear, resentment, frustration, and anxiety are emotional states that many people experience regularly but try to avoid. And this is understandable—they are designed to make us uncomfortable. These negative emotional states can create extra stress in your body and your mind, which is uncomfortable but also can lead to health issues if the stress becomes chronic or overwhelming. Managing negative emotions means not allowing them to overrun us; we can keep them under control without denying that we are feeling them. A study on emotional acceptance, from the University of California, Berkeley, found that putting pressure on yourself to feel upbeat when you are actually feeling downtrodden or dejected can take a psychological toll. The latest UC Berkeley study reaffirms the benefits of this explanatory style. The researchers found that accepting negative emotions or thoughts in the moment helps individuals avoid catastrophizing or dwelling on temporary negative mental experiences. Research has suggested that acceptance  whether it is embracing our good and bad attributes, or accepting the way we look – is associated with better psychological well-being.

Prof. Ford and team sought to determine how acceptance of negative emotions – such as sadness, disappointment, and anger – might influence psychological health. Accepting negative emotions without judging or trying to change them helps people cope more effectively with various types of stress. Negative emotions serve a purpose and have a positive intention. As Ford explains, “acceptance involves not trying to change how we are feeling, but staying in touch with your feelings and taking them for what they are.”

Iris Mauss, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and director of the Emotion and Emotion Regulation Lab said: “We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health. Maybe if you have an accepting attitude toward negative emotions, you’re not giving them as much attention. And perhaps, if you’re constantly judging your emotions, the negativity can pile up.”
The researchers found that subjects who reported trying to avoid negative emotions in response to bad experiences were more likely to have symptoms of mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, 6 months later, compared with those who embraced their negative emotions.

Dr. Ronald Siegel, another psychologist with Harvard Medical School, he discusses proven strategies for cultivating mindfulness and self compassion. He share this insight:
“When we are hurting, when we notice that we’ve had a disappointment, we’ve had a failure, something hasn’t turned out well, which [it] inevitably will. Inevitably, we’ll have these moment of defeat, that we can just be nice to ourselves and give ourselves a hug, feel the feeling of vulnerability, feel the feeling of failure, and trust that that’s okay too, that it’s just part of the cycle and we don’t have to identify with that or believe in it. Because as it turns out, none of us are so great and none of us are so terrible.”

There are several strategies that have been explored and recommended as a means to accepting and processing negative emotions:

Observe your emotions. Remember, you are not your emotions, you are the watcher of your emotions (Tolle, 2010).

Label the emotion you are experiencing.

Acceptance increases your own self-compassion and tolerance for frustration (by Practicing Mindfulness). Feeling with non-judgment and non reaction is healing and a necessary part of the self-growth process.

Re-appraise and re-frame.

Choose your action.

Thank you for reading.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

Feeling Down and Overwhelmed by Life’s Challenges? 19 Steps to End Worrying.

 

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“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” —Albert Einstein.

Hello my friends!

Worry is a form of thinking.  How we worry can either be constructive or destructive. Worrying is feeling uneasy or being overly concerned about a situation or problem. With excessive worrying, your mind and body go into overdrive as you constantly focus on “what might happen.” Sometimes, a little worry or anxiety is helpful. It can help you get ready for an upcoming situation. But excessive worry or ongoing fear or anxiety is harmful when it becomes so irrational that you can’t focus on reality or think clearly.

Chronic worry and emotional stress can trigger a host of health problems. The fight or flight response causes the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones can cause physical reactions such as:
Difficulty swallowing
Dizziness
Dry mouth
Fast heartbeat
Fatigue
Headaches
Inability to concentrate
Irritability
Muscle aches
Muscle tension
Nausea
Shortness of breath.

There are 19 steps you can do to stop the pattern of excess worry and live a happier life.

1.Identify your stress situations and what you’re worried about.

2. Make time for Faith. “ The simplicity of our life of contemplation makes us see the face of God in everything, everyone, and everywhere, all the time”. Mother Teresa.

3. Challenge Your Beliefs About Worry.

What is the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen? If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
Is the thought helpful? How will worrying about it help me and how will it hurt me?
What would I say to a friend who had this worry?

4. Practice Realistic Thinking.

5. Write down your worries.

6. Setting aside a certain amount of time (10-15 minutes) each day to consider worries and avoiding thinking about them at other times in the day.

7. Make your worries boring. If there is a specific worry that bothers you often, you can try to make it boring, so your brain will return to it less often. Do this by repeating it in your head again and again for several minutes.

8. Interrupt negative thought loops and replace them with positive ones.

9. Think of how to solve the problem. Knowing what to do if a dreaded event does occur can help reduce the anxiety that develops from an imagined scenario.

10. Think about social influences. Emotions can be contagious. If you spend a lot of time with other worriers, or people who make you anxious, you may want to reconsider how much time you are spending with those people.

11. Accept the Things You Cannot Change.

12. Embrace uncertainty.

13. Try not to isolate yourself. Develop deep relations.

14. Get moving.

15. Take a yoga or tai chi class.

16. Try deep breathing.

17. Meditate.

18. Stay focused on the present.

19. Practice progressive muscle relaxation.

And always remember:

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” —Walter Hagen.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would Christmas be without love?

Hello my friends!

Why can’t we all just love each other? Why do we hate things that are different?

It doesn’t matter who you are, your skin color, sexuality and gender don’t matter. In the end we are all the same!

No matter how different we are, we are bound to each other by love. And where there is love ,nothing else matters! ❤️ 

 

Love always,

Vassiliki  xxxx

2 tips to stop negative thinking

Hello my friends!

What are the typical ways in which you respond to the triggers you experience? When faced with a difficult situation, emotion, or decision, do you get caught up in thoughts that seem to seize control of your mind—for example, anxious, fearful or angry thoughts?

1. The key to changing your negative thoughts is to understand how you think now (and the problems that result) and then use strategies to change thoughts or make them have less effect.

Here is a more detailed explanation of the A-B-Cs of the systematic-thought-evaluation process, which lies at the core of CBT:

A—activating event: This refers to the objective situation or external stimulus—the event, occurrence, or specific incident— that triggers a cognitive response in the first place.

B—cognitive response: This refers to how you interpret and come to some conclusion—thoughts often manifested in the form of self-talk—about that event. This necessarily is a reflection of your personal belief system and the particular habit patterns of thought you have adopted and use instinctively every day.

C—emotional reaction: This refers to the distressing feelings that the thoughts in B automatically generate.

Research shows that you can rewire your brain to your advantage. This will lessen the possibility of ever experiencing a serious depression, or, should you have a relapse from a current situation, the odds are favorable it will be less intense and of shorter duration. It also shows you can rewire your brain to recover from traumatic brain injuries of various kinds. This ongoing research falls under the promising new science called neuro-plasticity. Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – is the ability of the brain to modify its connections or re-wire itself. Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood or recover from brain injury.

In Stronger, George S. Everly Jr., Douglas A. Strouse, and Dennis K. McCormack compare humans undergoing stress and experiencing resilience to a rubber ball: In order to make it bounce back, you must put it under great pressure. The greater the pressure, the higher the ball will bounce back. Now to be clear, it’s not the pressure itself that causes the ball to bounce, but the construction and attributes of the ball under pressure. It’s what the ball is made of that really matters. The pressure serves as a catalyst for the rebound. We are like that rubber ball. Our character and attributes—our mental and emotional construction—determine how quickly and easily we will bounce back when challenges apply pressure to our life. And, yes, we can bounce back. Research on resiliency concludes that each person has an innate capacity for resiliency, a self-righting tendency. This capacity operates best when we have resiliency-building conditions in our life, but everyone, even those who grew up with hardships or who have dealt with prolonged or recurring stress, can harness their ability to bounce back.

One strategy that can help improve your outlook is to remind yourself of other challenges you’ve already faced and overcome. Writing down what you’ve learned about yourself from previous, difficult experiences, for example, how you’ve grown or what you’ve accomplished since, or perhaps even because of, a life crisis will empower you with belief that you can triumph in the face of adversity.  Thought diaries help you to identify your negative thinking styles and gain better understanding of how your thoughts (and not the situations you are in) cause your emotional reactions.

2. Learning to manage emotions and choose your thoughts through techniques such as yoga or meditation or by practicing mindfulness will empower you to maintain the perspective that you can survive or overcome. Research from Prof. Mark Williams from Oxford University showed that when difficulties arise in life many of us tend to get caught up in excessive unhelpful thinking. Sometimes people try to stop constant unhelpful thinking but we don’t have to try to stop our thoughts. A more effective way to ease all that internal noise, Prof. Williams teaches, is to pay attention to our direct sensory experience. In this way there’s simply little to no room left in our attention for all that excessive thinking. Coming to our senses calms the mind and grounds us in the present moment. To do this simply redirect your attention out of the thoughts in your head and bring your focus to your sense perceptions. Whether you’re in your home, at the office, in the park or on a subway, notice everything around you. Use your senses to their fullest. Don’t get into a mental dialogue about the things you see, just be aware of what you’re experiencing in this moment. Be aware of the sounds, the scents or the sensation of the air on your skin.

Please visit my new website, e-shop:

http://www.mandaladotsforpleasantthoughts.com

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My hope is that my new website is uplifting – a place you can come to and feel relaxed, calm and enlightened.
This website is about you and your emotional wellbeing – a place for peace and happiness.

All my mandala stones, wooden pebbles and bookmarks are stress relieving because they can be used as a focus for meditation. They always have a circular nature and offer balancing symmetrical elements and images symbolizing harmony and completion. These mandala stones, pebbles and bookmarks will help promote mindfulness, focus attention and emotional wellbeing.

Select a mandala stone, a mandala wooden pebble or a mandala wooden disc that appeal to you. Focus on the mandala and let it absorb all of your attention and RELAX. Take a few moments to breath deeply. Meditate on the circle and connect with your inner self.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

Teacher Stress

Hello my friends!

The National Union of Teachers (UK) indicates the ways in which stress manifests itself:

“The effects of stress can be manifested in many different ways including physical effects such as raised heart rate, headache, dizziness, palpitations, skin rashes, aching neck and shoulders and lowering of resistance to infection. Over a long period stress may contribute to chronic health problems such as heart disease and stomach ulcers. Various psychological and behavioural changes affecting work performance and interpersonal relationships may also be noticed by stressed individuals’ colleagues, including inability to concentrate, overworking, irritability or aggression, becoming withdrawn or unsociable, or reluctance to accept constructive criticism and advice”.

The main causes of stress in the workplace:

Balancing multiple demands

Work overload

Lack of time

Inadequate resources

Inadequate administrative support

Inclusive classes

Student misbehaviour

On-going changes

Inadequate professional development

Teaching unions are warning of an “epidemic of stress” as research revealed that 3.750 teachers were signed off on long term sick leave last year because of pressure of work, anxiety and mental illness (The Guardian, 2018).

Dr Mary Bousted joint general secretary of the National Education Union, warned of an “epidemic stress”: “Teachers work more unpaid overtime than any other profession. Classroom teachers routinely work 55 hours or over a week. School leaders routinely work over 60 hours a week”. She added that schools had been bombarded with constant changes to the curriculum and assessment regimes. “It has been a relentless policy onslaught which has left teachers rocking from stress and exhaustion” (Guardian, 2018).

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said the onus was on employers to support staff. “In small doses, stress can be a good thing, helping us focus and meet deadlines”, she said. “But prolonged exposure to stress, day in, day out, can lead to serious physical and mental health problems”.

What can be done to reduce teacher stress?

School leaders can help reduce teacher stress by cultivating working conditions that support teachers. The working conditions that lead to the most job satisfaction involve administrative and collegial support. Schools can also help reduce teacher stress by promoting effective teacher-student interactions. One way to accomplish this is by using strategies that reward positive student behaviours. Teachers in schools with that utilize positive strategies on a schoolwide basis to support behavior experience significantly lower levels of burnout. A comprehensive self-care plan may help teachers identify signs of stress and improve their stress management skills (The Conversation).

Are you stressed out? Do you feel trapped by your schedule? Do you feel exhausted? Are you constantly involved in power struggles with some students? Is there a lack of encouragement or practical support from colleagues?
This complete teacher emotional resilience course will show you exactly:
●How to enhance your self-awareness.
●How to dissolve negative emotions and irrational thinking patterns.
●How does self -talk affect your emotions.
●How to better manage stress and avoid burn out.
●How to manage your anger so you can relieve inner stress and experience more peace, better relationships and better health.

●How to manage your time.

Teacher Emotional Resilience Course includes:
– 6 videos
– 31 power point presentations with powerful relaxation techniques that teach you step by step how to relax in 5 or 10 minutes
– self-awareness questions
– emotional resilience and mindfulness exercises, worksheets
– certificate of completion.
Who is the Target Audience?
Anyone feeling stressed and overwhelmed at school or at home. Teacher Emotional Resilience Course is suitable for all school staff, teachers, teaching assistants, special needs teachers, school volunteers.
Live more peacefully by enrolling today!

Enroll in Course

https://teacher-emotional-resilience.thinkific.com

Best wishes,

Vassiliki Plomaritou

MA(Ed), BA (Hons), Adv.D.Sp.Ed., PGCert.Sp.Ed., Adv.D.C.S., CertCBT, S.A.C.Cert.

 

The Effective Teacher

Hello my friends!

I just finished a wonderful book: 12 characteristics of an effective teacher by Robert J. Walker. Inspirational Stories of Teachers Who inspired Others to Become Teachers. I would like to share with you an amazing story which made me cry!

I love you by Angela Rembert.

“The teacher who had the most profound positive effect on my life was my sixth grade teacher, Mrs Beatrice Marsh at North Birmingham Elementary School. She possessed several characteristics that made her the epitome of an effective classroom teacher. Each morning she would begin her class with a personal experience about her education. She had the ability to create an atmosphere in her classroom that made her students eager to learn.

I often reflect on the words Mrs Marsh would say to us at the end of each school day, ” If nobody has told you I love you today…I do!” Those words made the difference in my attitude and my determination to make the teacher I idolized proud”.

What a wonderful story!

Love always,

Vassiliki  xxxx

Stress Resilience

Hello my friends,

“The book of joy” is a wonderful, uplifting and inspirational book by two special people Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. I want to share with you the following excerpt:

“Psychologist Elissa Epel is one of the leading researchers on stress, and she explained to me how stress is supposed to work. Our stress response evolved to save us from attack or danger, like a hungry lion or a falling avalanche. Cortisol and adrenalin course into our blood. This causes our pupils to dilate so we can see more clearly, our heart and breathing to speed up so we can respond faster, and the blood to divert from our organs to our large muscles so we can fight or flee. This stress response evolved as a rare and temporary experience, but for many in our modern world, it is constantly activated. Epel and her colleague, Nobel Prize–winning molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, have found that constant stress actually wears down our telomeres, the caps on our DNA that protect our cells from illness and aging. It is not just stress but our thought patterns in general that impact our telomeres, which has led Epel and Blackburn to conclude that our cells are actually “listening to our thoughts.” The problem is not the existence of stressors, which cannot be avoided; stress is simply the brain’s way of signaling that something is important. The problem—or perhaps the opportunity—is how we respond to this stress. Epel and Blackburn explain that it is not the stress alone that damages our telomeres. It is our response to the stress that is most important. They encourage us to develop stress resilience. This involves turning what is called “threat stress,” or the perception that a stressful event is a threat that will harm us, into what is called “challenge stress,” or the perception that a stressful event is a challenge that will help us grow.

The remedy they offer is quite straightforward. One simply notices the fight-or-flight stress response in one’s body—the beating heart, the pulsing blood or tingling feeling in our hands and face, the rapid breathing—then remembers that these are natural responses to stress and that our body is just preparing to rise to the challenge”.

Love always,

Vassiliki  xxxx