Tag Archives: Emotion

Greater self-acceptance improves emotional well-being

Self-acceptance is defined as “an individual’s acceptance of all of his/her attributes, positive or negative.” It includes body acceptance, self-protection from negative criticism, and believing in one’s capacities………CLICK &  SEE

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people have low self-acceptance. There can be many reasons for this, but one widely accepted theory is that because we develop our self-esteem, in part, from others appreciating us, people with low self-acceptance may have had parents who lacked empathy during their childhood. Consequently, in their adult lives, they may need much stronger affirmation from others than most people do. In other words, ordinary levels of approval do not “move the needle” on their self-esteem.

Some people with low self-acceptance try to bolster it by accomplishing great things. But this only helps your self-esteem for a while. That’s because achievement is a poor substitute for intimacy. In addition, these people are often under the impression that “taking it” when suffering is the main reflection of their value. It’s hard for them to believe in genuine caring, and when it does come their way, they are suspicious of it.

Of course, self-acceptance (or lack thereof) does not exist in a vacuum — it actually has profound effects on your physical and psychological health. For that reason, it is worth understanding what these effects are, and what you can do about it.
The emotional and physical consequences of low self-acceptance:-

Without self-acceptance, your psychological well-being can suffer, and often, beneficial interventions are less helpful for you than for others with higher self-acceptance.

For example, practicing mindfulness can help many people reduce the impact of stress. But when you cannot accept yourself, it becomes less effective. Also, if you have a physical illness such as rheumatoid arthritis, not accepting yourself can make you more anxious about your body. In this context, your automatic negative thoughts increase.

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

English: Managing emotions – Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition, if you feel negatively about yourself, the brain regions that help you control emotions and stress have less gray matter than someone with a greater degree of self-acceptance — that is, these regions actually have less tissue to “work with.” This lack of gray matter may also appear in regions of the brainstem that process stress and anxiety. Stress signals from these latter regions, in turn, disrupt the emotional control regions. So, poor self-acceptance may disrupt emotional control in two ways: directly, by disrupting the brain regions that control it, and also indirectly, by increasing stress signals in your brain that subsequently disrupt these regions.
How to bolster your self-acceptance:-

There are three ways to increase self-acceptance:

1.self-regulation
2.self-awareness
3.self-transcendence.

Self-regulation involves suppressing negative emotions such as self-hatred, refocusing on the positive aspects of yourself, and reframing negative situations so that you see the opportunities in them. For example, looking for ways in which negative criticism can help you grow constitutes reframing.

However, self-control may be less powerful than we think. The lack of self-acceptance can be deeply unconscious — that is, it can exist at a level beyond our conscious control. Also, when you do not accept or forgive yourself, “you” are still split from “yourself” — you do not feel “together.” Both of these parts — the one that needs to forgive, and the one that needs to be forgiven — are at odds with each other. In this situation, self-transcendence can be helpful.

When you are “self-transcendent,” you rely less on things outside of yourself to define you. Instead, you turn to an unforced sense of connectedness with the world. You can achieve this by contributing to work, family, or the community at large. The goal is to seek unity with some system in a way that is heartfelt and authentic. Any of the methods I’ve described in this post may also contribute to self-transcendence.

Fortunately, just like self-acceptance, self-transcendence also engenders physical changes in the brain. It has been associated with increased serotonin transporter availability in the brainstem. As mentioned earlier, this same region impacts self-acceptance. Transcendental meditation is another potential tool to consider for self-transcendence. It decreases cortisol and reduces your stress response.

Meditation as a path to self-acceptance:-

Self-acceptance can also be achieved by two other kinds of meditation: mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation.

Mindful attention to emotions involves not “judging,” but observing, your emotions when they arise. This can lower your brain’s emotional response to anxiety and distress. It effectively “calms down” your amygdala.

Having more compassion toward yourself appears to be helpful in increasing self-acceptance. Loving-kindness meditation can help you achieve this state by changing the activity in regions of the brain that perceive and process emotions. For example, people previously numb to praise may be able to become more accepting of it. It is also associated with greater connectivity within the brain. This makes sense, as lack of self-acceptance has been associated with excessive right-hemisphere activity in the brain. Loving-kindness meditation provides a potential way to correct this imbalance.

Find the ways to self-acceptance that work:-

 Not all of these methods work for everyone. And while double-blind placebo-controlled trials remain the scientific gold standard to assess whether each intervention “works,” they are limited too. They tell us little about what will work for an individual — an individual is, by definition, uniquely different from everyone, including study participants. So, it is most important to do what works for you. Self-acceptance is key to a healthy emotional and psychological life. Start exploring what works for you today.

Resources: Copied from Harvard Health Publications
Harvard Medical School

Advertisements

Anger

Definition:
Anger is an emotional response related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been threatened. Often it indicates when one’s basic boundaries are violated. Some have a learned tendency to react to anger through retaliation. Anger may be utilized effectively when utilized to set boundaries or escape from dangerous situations. Sheila Videbeck describes anger as a normal emotion that involves a strong uncomfortable and emotional response to a perceived provocation. Raymond Novaco of UC Irvine, who since 1975 has published a plethora of literature on the subject, stratified anger into three modalities: cognitive (appraisals), somatic-affective (tension and agitations), and behavioral (withdrawal and antagonism). William DeFoore, an anger-management writer, described anger as a pressure cooker: we can only apply pressure against our anger for a certain amount of time until it explodes.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Modern psychologists view anger as a primary, natural, and mature emotion experienced by virtually all humans at times, and as something that has functional value for survival. Anger can mobilize psychological resources for corrective action. Uncontrolled anger can, however, negatively affect personal or social well-being. While many philosophers and writers have warned against the spontaneous and uncontrolled fits of anger, there has been disagreement over the intrinsic value of anger. The issue of dealing with anger has been written about since the times of the earliest philosophers, but modern psychologists, in contrast to earlier writers, have also pointed out the possible harmful effects of suppressing anger. Displays of anger can be used as a manipulation strategy for social influence.

Effects of anger:
Anger occurs in an area of the brain called the amygdala. In a quarter of a second it releases the chemicals arginine-vasopressin, dopamine, noradrenalin, and corticotropin-releasing hormone and lowers serotonin levels. These chemicals make our bodies ready for a “fight or flight” reaction. The heart rate and blood pressure go up, pupils dilate and sweating occurs. Almost immediately, the blood supply to the frontal lobe of the brain increases. It reacts, releasing other chemicals like serotonin. As its levels rise, reason sets in and higher functions take over. Angry reactions are suppressed.

Symptoms:
There are two types of anger : Passive anger and Aggressive anger. These two types of anger have some characteristic symptoms:

Passive anger:  Passive anger can be expressed in the following ways:

*Dispassion, such as giving someone the cold shoulder or a fake smile, looking unconcerned or “sitting on the fence” while others sort things out, dampening feelings with substance abuse, overreacting, oversleeping, not responding to another’s anger, frigidity, indulging in sexual practices that depress spontaneity and make objects of participants, giving inordinate amounts of time to machines, objects or intellectual pursuits, talking of frustrations but showing no feeling.

*Evasiveness, such as turning one’s back in a crisis, avoiding conflict, not arguing back, becoming phobic.

*Defeatism, such as setting yourself and others up for failure, choosing unreliable people to depend on, being accident prone, underachieving, sexual impotence, expressing frustration at insignificant things but ignoring serious ones.

*Obsessive behavior, such as needing to be inordinately clean and tidy, making a habit of constantly checking things, over-dieting or overeating, demanding that all jobs be done perfectly.

*Psychological manipulation, such as provoking people to aggression and then patronizing them, provoking aggression but staying on the sidelines, emotional blackmail, false tearfulness, feigning illness, sabotaging relationships, using sexual provocation, using a third party to convey negative feelings, withholding money or resources.

*Secretive behavior, such as stockpiling resentments that are expressed behind people’s backs, giving the silent treatment or under the breath mutterings, avoiding eye contact, putting people down, gossiping, anonymous complaints, poison pen letters, stealing, and conning.

*Self-blame, such as apologizing too often, being overly critical, inviting criticism.

Aggressive anger:  The symptoms of aggressive anger are:

*Bullying, such as threatening people directly, persecuting, pushing or shoving, using power to oppress, shouting, driving someone off the road, playing on people’s weaknesses.

*Destructiveness, such as destroying objects as in vandalism, harming animals, destroying a relationship, reckless driving, substance abuse.

*Grandiosity, such as showing off, expressing mistrust, not delegating, being a sore loser, wanting center stage all the time, not listening, talking over people’s heads, expecting kiss and make-up sessions to solve problems.

*Hurtfulness, such as physical violence, including sexual abuse and rape, verbal abuse, biased or vulgar jokes, breaking confidence, using foul language, ignoring people’s feelings, willfully discriminating, blaming, punishing people for unwarranted deeds, labeling others.

*Manic behavior, such as speaking too fast, walking too fast, working too much and expecting others to fit in, driving too fast, reckless spending.

*Selfishness, such as ignoring others’ needs, not responding to requests for help, queue jumping.

*Threats, such as frightening people by saying how one could harm them, their property or their prospects, finger pointing, fist shaking, wearing clothes or symbols associated with violent behaviour, tailgating, excessively blowing a car horn, slamming doors.

*Unjust blaming, such as accusing other people for one’s own mistakes, blaming people for your own feelings, making general accusations.
Unpredictability, such as explosive rages over minor frustrations, attacking indiscriminately, dispensing unjust punishment, inflicting harm on others for the sake of it, using alcohol and drugs, illogical arguments.

*Vengeance, such as being over-punitive, refusing to forgive and forget, bringing up hurtful memories from the past.

People can “feel the heat” as anger builds up in the body. Three responses are possible at this point. The emotion can be vented out, suppressed or attempts can be made to calm down. Expressing anger to a superior or an authority figure may not be the wisest path.

Suppression of anger, especially if the aggravation is continuous and long term, can have negative effects. The blood pressure can go up, it can precipitate a stroke or heart attack and it can result in overeating and obesity with its attendant problems or depression.

Causes :
People feel angry when they sense that they or someone they care about has been offended, when they are certain about the nature and cause of the angering event, when they are certain someone else is responsible, and when they feel they can still influence the situation or cope with it. For instance, if a person’s car is damaged, they will feel angry if someone else did it (e.g. another driver rear-ended it), but will feel sadness instead if it was caused by situational forces (e.g. a hailstorm) or guilt and shame if they were personally responsible (e.g. he crashed into a wall out of momentary carelessness).

Usually, those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of “what has happened to them” and in most cases the described provocations occur immediately before the anger experience. Such explanations confirm the illusion that anger has a discrete external cause. The angry person usually finds the cause of their anger in an intentional, personal, and controllable aspect of another person’s behavior. This explanation, however, is based on the intuitions of the angry person who experiences a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability as a result of their emotion. Anger can be of multicausal origin, some of which may be remote events, but people rarely find more than one cause for their anger. According to Novaco, “Anger experiences are embedded or nested within an environmental-temporal context. Disturbances that may not have involved anger at the outset leave residues that are not readily recognized but that operate as a lingering backdrop for focal provocations (of anger).” According to Encyclopædia Britannica, an internal infection can cause pain which in turn can activate anger.

Anger makes people think more optimistically. Dangers seem smaller, actions seem less risky, ventures seem more likely to succeed, and unfortunate events seem less likely. Angry people are more likely to make risky decisions, and make more optimistic risk assessments. In one study, test subjects primed to feel angry felt less likely to suffer heart disease, and more likely to receive a pay raise, compared to fearful people.  This tendency can manifest in retrospective thinking as well: in a 2005 study, angry subjects said they thought the risks of terrorism in the year following 9/11 in retrospect were low, compared to what the fearful and neutral subjects thought.

In inter-group relationships, anger makes people think in more negative and prejudiced terms about outsiders. Anger makes people less trusting, and slower to attribute good qualities to outsiders.

When a group is in conflict with a rival group, it will feel more anger if it is the politically stronger group and less anger when it is the weaker.

Unlike other negative emotions like sadness and fear, angry people are more likely to demonstrate correspondence bias – the tendency to blame a person’s behavior more on his nature than on his circumstances. They tend to rely more on stereotypes, and pay less attention to details and more attention to the superficial. In this regard, anger is unlike other “negative” emotions such as sadness and fear, which promote analytical thinking.

An angry person tends to anticipate other events that might cause him anger. She/he will tend to rate anger-causing events (e.g. being sold a faulty car) as more likely than sad events (e.g. a good friend moving away).

A person who is angry tends to place more blame on another person for his misery. This can create a feedback, as this extra blame can make the angry man angrier still, so he in turn places yet more blame on the other person.

When people are in a certain emotional state, they tend to pay more attention to, or remember, things that are charged with the same emotion; so it is with anger. For instance, if you are trying to persuade someone that a tax increase is necessary, if the person is currently feeling angry you would do better to use an argument that elicits anger (“more criminals will escape justice”) than, say, an argument that elicits sadness (“there will be fewer welfare benefits for disabled children”). Also, unlike other negative emotions, which focus attention on all negative events, anger only focuses attention on anger-causing events.

Anger can make a person more desiring of an object to which his anger is tied. In a 2010 Dutch study, test subjects were primed to feel anger or fear by being shown an image of an angry or fearful face, and then were shown an image of a random object. When subjects were made to feel angry, they expressed more desire to possess that object than subjects who had been primed to feel fear.

To control anger:
Seneca addresses the question of mastering anger in three parts: 1. how to avoid becoming angry in the first place 2. how to cease being angry and 3. how to deal with anger in others.

Calming techniques have to be learnt, as they do not come naturally. As soon as you feel your heart pounding in anger, count mentally to 10 before retorting verbally or physically. This gives time for the frontal lobe to counter the amygdala. At the same time take a few deep breaths. Sometimes a word like peace or shanti repeated mentally several times can help with control. Yoga and meditation are time-tested ancient techniques.

When intense anger takes over, you can either leave the scene (probably an appropriate and safe response), or respond with physical or verbal aggression. If serotonin levels are low, unreasonable anger and aggression take over.

Standing before a mirror and looking at yourselves, may reduce the anger  and sometimes taking a shower also reduces anger.

Logic defeats anger. Considering and analysing occurrences can often defuse anger. Listening to the other person, thinking things through, walking in the other man’s shoes, are all practical ways to tackle the problem of anger.

Regular aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, running, cycling or swimming for 40 minutes or more a day has profound effects on physical and psychological make up. Chemicals are released from the muscles and these elevate serotonin levels. Anger does occur in people who exercise regularly, but the chemicals released by the body tend to put a “brake” on violent, irrational anger.

Cognitive behavioral affective therapy for anger:
A new integrative approach to anger treatment has been formulated by Ephrem Fernandez (2010) Termed CBAT, for cognitive behavioral affective therapy, this treatment goes beyond conventional relaxation and reappraisal by adding cognitive and behavioral techniques and supplementing them with affective techniques to deal with the feeling of anger. The techniques are sequenced contingently in three phases of treatment: prevention, intervention, and postvention. In this way, people can be trained to deal with the onset of anger, its progression, and the residual features of anger.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anger
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1140714/jsp/knowhow/story_18611110.jsp

Dance Therapy

Dance therapy, also referred to as Movement therapy, is the psychotherapeuticemotional, cognitive, social, behavioural and physical conditions, essentially a combination of creative arts and therapy. The belief is that movement and dance can encourage the healing of the body and mind. The therapy explores the nature of all movement with the idea that body and mind are interconnected. The therapy is based on the notion that everything in the universe is in constant motion and the basic unit of motion is through our own bodies.

CLICK & SEE

Societies around the world have used the therapy since the beginning of time to express feelings, promote fertility, and to create personal well being. This type of therapy is still practiced widely throughout the world and is an essential part of many traditions, although these cultures may not identify the activity as a therapy.

The therapy is used in clinical settings as well. Certified therapists often provide the therapy after achieving a master’s level of training in aiding physical, mental, behavioral and emotional healing. It is also used among psychotherapists with a variety of clients including the elderly, and abused or autistic children and adults.

There are numerous approaches to the therapy; some emphasize awareness to inner sensations and ease of bodily movement, while others are used to express deep emotional issues. Some therapies use specific sequence movements, which correlate with gravity, and others use spontaneous movement, which is believed to promote healing of the body or mind.

The therapy with an Eastern influence began as a spiritual movement and included self-defense practices. Yoga, Taichi and Qigong, were taught among Taoist monks with an emphasis on meditation and specific breathing patterns. A key component of the discipline was to focus attention inward. These practices are still widely practiced today and are believed to promote increased health and longevity.

Many traditional Western movement therapies focus on physical healing and strength and were patterned after sports and physical therapies. This type of therapy is also used to aid in healing and avoiding injury, and was mainly created by dancers and choreographers. Pilates, a method popular with a broad range of people, is done on the floor or with specialized equipment. It focuses on developing a strong inner core and physical strength as well as balance.

The physical benefits to the therapy include increased muscle tone, joint strength, increased coordination and flexibility, enhanced circulation, cardiovascular benefits and the prevention of injuries. The mental benefits include peace of mind, increased self-awareness, improved overall attitude and increased self-esteem.

It is a complete body workout which can burn more calories than walking, swimming or riding a bicycle besides correcting the posture. So if you want to shake your blues away and lose a few kilos then check into a dance class

Dance can be emotionally therapeutic too. In many forms of meditation dance is used to bring about a peaceful mental state and to usher in positive energy. Dancing makes you feel good, is a worthwhile hobby and also easy on the pocket.  So go ahead, dance your blues away.

Continuum Movement blends a range of subtle intrinsic movements with dynamic expression and a rich variety of breaths and sounds, to awaken the experience of the Mystery of the Body.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No Wrong Response

Experiences Shape Your Reactions:-


Our individual reactions to events are shaped by what we ourselves have experienced in our own lives.

Our view of the universe is largely determined by our experiences. It is when we are caught off guard by the spontaneity of existence that we are most apt to respond authentically, even when our feelings do not correspond with those of the multitude. Events that arouse strong emotions with us or are surprising in nature can be disquieting, for it often is in their aftermath that we discover how profoundly our histories have shaped us. The differences that divide us from our peers are highlighted in our reactions when these diverge from the mainstream, and this can be highly upsetting because it forces us to confront the uniqueness of our lives.

When our response to unexpected news or startling ideas is not the same as that of the people around us, we may feel driven by a desire to dismiss our feelings as irrational or incorrect. But reactions themselves are neither right, nor wrong. The forces that sculpted the patterns that to a large extent dictate our development are not the same forces that shaped the development of our relatives, friends, colleagues, or neighbors. There is no reason to believe that one person’s reaction to a particular event is somehow more valid than another’s. How we respond to the constant changes taking place in the world around us is a product of our history, a testament to our individuality, and a part of the healing process that allows us to address key elements of our past in a context we can grasp in the present.

Life’s pivotal events can provide you with a way to define yourself as a unique and matchless being, but you must put aside the judgments that might otherwise prevent you from gaining insight into your distinct mode of interpreting the world. Try to internalize your feelings without categorizing or evaluating them. When you feel unsure of the legitimacy of your reactions, remember that cultural, sociological, spiritual, and familial differences can cause two people to interpret a single event in widely dissimilar ways. Examining your responses outside of the context provided by others can show you that your emotional complexity is something to be valued, for it has made you who you are today.

Source : Daily Om

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

In Search of Unqualified Happiness

If Only
Since most of our experiences are rooted in cause and effect, we naturally want to justify our contentment. We envision grand circumstances, stating that if only we could achieve this goal or obtain that possession, we would finally be in a position to attain happiness. As a result, satisfaction is always just out of reach and the very notion of grabbing hold of it seems like nothing more than a pipe dream. But the truth is that sincere contentment and fulfillment are never wholly the result of external events or situations. Though life’s joyful moments can ignite the spark of contentment within us, that spark is fueled by serenity long established in our souls. When we forget this, it is easy to become stuck in “if only” patterns of thought. If we concentrate on the natural serenity that exists within us, however, we can move forward unimpeded by disappointment.

The circumstances you live through each day have the potential to bring both joy and despair into your life. Relying on the reactions they awaken within you to create an emotional foundation means living on a roller coaster of feeling whose course is determined by chance. Though you may yearn for the object of your desire—be it a new job, financial health, a spouse, or some other symbol of success—you have within you the power to be happy without it. Letting go of your “if only” thinking patterns can be as easy as recognizing that inward emptiness cannot be dispelled with outer world solutions. Try creating a list of your “if only”s. Then literally and figuratively let go of the items on the list by tearing it up or burning it. This simple action can help set in motion the intention to set you free, enabling you to make a fresh and balanced start in the present, unencumbered by regrets and unfulfilled desires.

There will likely be periods in your life in which you find yourself tempted to seek a magic formula for fulfillment that is centered upon a single goal or achievement. But the ingredients that come together to form the seeds of happiness that can sustain your spirit throughout the triumphs and trials of existence come from within rather than from without. When your search for satisfaction is focused on your soul, you will never fail to find the joy you seek.

Source: Daily Om

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]