"Do you let worrying take control over you, or do you take control over worrying?"
There is a Chinese expression, “That the birds of worry and care fly above your head, this you cannot change. But that they build their nests in your hair, this you can prevent.”
Worry can fly over you; or you can let worry build a nest in your mind. You can choose whether you allow worry to be a momentary emotion; or, whether you decide to let worry become your lifestyle. We cannot control circumstances; but we can control our reactions to them. Worrying is something you can decide not to have “nest” in your psychology...Read more
"Be proactive in ways to protect your family from the reach of the workplace bully."
Workplace bullying is psychologically abusive and intimidating behavior. Supervisors tend to be the most common workplace bullies. Bullying can be expressed directly in the form of verbal aggression and unreasonable demands, or expressed indirectly by sabotage, or rumor mongering. The impact on the worker is hardly negligible, spanning from psychological symptoms (such as clinical depression, stress, anxiety) to medical conditions (including headaches, and cardiovascular strain that can increase the risk for a heart attack).
The stressed parent leads to a stressed family unit. Beyond the employee there is a set of hidden victims: the family members of the bullied worker who carries the psychological/medical effects home...Read more
"By clinging to what divides us from others, we only hurt ourselves."
The Yup’ik of Southwestern Alaska have lived for generations in the subarctic tundra. Winter months are bone-chillingly cold and shrouded in darkness relieved but for a few meager hours by the sun’s dusky light. Yet, paradoxically, the very harshness of the environment has been the push for compassionate Yup’ik lessons for living. These lessons underscore the inter-relatedness between people, and between humans and their environment, as well as the importance of respect..
One such story is that of the boy who went to live with the seals. This boy is sent by his elders, or a shaman, to live under the sea with seals. The purpose is for the boy to learn and respect the seals’ sacrifice and their perspective of humans, who through underwater windows see the human world...Read more
Relationships are anything but simple. It’s obvious why. Whenever your needs and expectations bump up against the other person’s needs and expectations, there’s friction. Sometimes it feels like a smooth fit but it sure can be a rocky ride. This is especially true for certain women who are emotionally anorexic. These women experience the classic “no-win” cycle of psychological deprivation and invisibility of their genuine or “true” self... Read more
Are you the type of person who always says “yes” when others ask you to do something? If so, why? Sure we all say “yes” to requests made by others; but, if you always or almost always say “yes,” that may reflect something about you, especially if you really wanted to say “no”...
...We all say “yes” to doing things we may not want to do, don’t have the time to do, or may not feel competent doing. BUT, we say “yes” and do it anyway. A problem arises when we start experiencing negative reactions. These reactions may be directed toward the person making the request and/or ourselves for having said “yes”...Read more
Today, many women find themselves to be "jugglers.” They feel pressured by everyday responsibilities; paying bills, grocery shopping, shepherding children around, and meeting work demands and deadlines. They are sandwiched between childcare and eldercare obligations. "Helpful Hannah” is a pattern that emerges in women who try to be "everything to everyone at all times.” This "overdoing” leads into a state of psychological starvation. Why? Because they are consuming what is labeled a diet of "high fat” or negative emotions (worry, anger, guilt, exhaustion) that comes from putting oneself in second place and neglecting one’s own needs. They have moved from being a person to a "thing” in their relationships. They have so over-identified with "doing” that they have stopped "being”... Read more
"Bullying in the workplace is more common than you may think. It can have very serious consequences for both the employee and the employer."
...Wait. Adults at work don’t bully one another. That’s playground behavior. Right? Wrong! In fact, it is estimated that 65 million workers are impacted by workplace bullying. The Workplace Bullying Institute estimated that in 2014, a whopping 27% of U.S. workers were experiencing currently or had previously experienced bullying at work.
What is bullying? Generally, it’s psychologically abusive behavior intended to intimidate, humiliate, or demean one or more one individuals over time. One person or a group of people can engage in bullying. Bullying behaviors can be verbal or physical, and carry the risk of having severe, long-term consequences for the recipient of the bullying. It is readily identifiable when blatant—angry outbursts or physical intimidation directed at co-workers or subordinates. But bullying can also go well-beyond overt behavior...Read more
"Shoba Sreenivasan, PhD and Linda Weinberger, PhD, compare poor nutritional choices to negative emotional experiences, and point out that because emotions are things one consumes, positive emotional experiences (good nutrition) are fundamental to healing from chronic physical pain."
(The article appears only in the print or digital copy of the September/October 2016 issue of the magazine. A print copy can be ordered online for $6.95, or may be found at newsstands and check-out lines at stores such as Whole Foods. A digital copy can be downloaded for $4.00.)
Click on the graphic below to see selected pages from the printed magazine pertaining to the "Chronic Pain" article, including the Editor's Note and the 4-page article itself.
In addition to reading the article at the above link, you can view the magazine spread here. (Click on the right or left side to turn the pages. May not work without certain browser plug-ins.)
...Our female colleagues and friends agree that our worst bosses have been Machiavellian Marys. Many tales are told of how Machiavellian Mary created friction, pitted co-workers against each other, promoted dissension and an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust. These stories reveal how Machiavellian Mary lowered morale, caused employee strife, damaged productivity, contributed to EEO actions and lawsuits, and jeopardized solvency.
Yet, Machiavellian Marys continue to be prominent in leadership positions of power across sectors. Why? Frankly, they succeed because both men and women believe in the myth of the “Iron Lady” as characteristics that are admirable because they promote the “bottom line.” We may unconsciously assign nurturant styles to the roles of subordinates to be led, but not to be leaders. We may think that women who are able to move up “the leadership ladder,” did so because they could be ruthless; or if that is not palatable, we may soften the adjective to “realistic” or “has business sense.” Such a woman plays the game skillfully.... Read more
...Because we don’t think to monitor our consumption of emotions as we might food, we unthinkingly consume a diet so high in negative emotions (high fat), that there’s no room left for positive emotions (low fat).
What should we do? In order to get rid of junk emotions, we have to be mindful of the emotions we are consuming; we have to deliberately restrict our diet of high fat emotions.
Here are 5 ways to get rid of junk emotions. ...
... 2. Increase your consumption of low-fat emotions. Low-fat emotions are positive and increase your energy. Examples: joy, optimism, love, patience. Low-fat emotions should dominate your psychological intake. Low-fat (or positive) emotions energize you. They open up your world, both in terms of your inner self and the doors to opportunity.
3. Keep a count of your junk emotional calories....Read more
Many of us unconsciously believe that women in leadership roles should be like men — whether we will admit this or not. Certainly, this view has gained support in research of successful leaders: those females who have characteristics traditionally attributed to males (i.e., competitive, ambitious, assertive, task versus interpersonally orientated, secure in holding power and authority over others) will be perceived as more effective than women who do not have these traits. In fact, some studies suggest that professional women who are nurturing and cooperative (what are called “stereotypic feminine traits”) will be perceived in the “dog-eat-dog” man’s world as incompetent.
When looking to hire women for leadership positions, the conclusion for those in the public or private sector (whether driven by our own gut instincts or by social psychological research) is that to be perceived as competent, women in authority have to be assertive, perhaps even ruthless in their decisions, and autocratic in their style. Otherwise no one will listen. We call this type of woman Machiavellian Mary. She plays well in the “male” game of pyramidal hierarchies. She knows how to be pleasing to those on top and how to control and step on and over those below...Read more
"We may think we our doing our mothers a favor by listening to them, but the gift is ours."
...My parents were both in the Holocaust and lost most of their closest relatives. Despite my mother’s history, she was a positive and joyful person. She spoke of how important her family was to her and how you had to fight for what you wanted.
When I left for college, my mother had a hard time coping with the “empty nest.” A few months after my departure, she sent me a newspaper clipping from an advice column that said, “Healthy birds fly away.” She was telling me that she had accomplished exactly what she was meant to do; she was proud of herself and me...Read more
"If we thought about our emotions as products we consume, just as we do food, how would this change our life and our health?"
...Here are 5 ways to get rid of junk emotions.
1. Lower your consumption of high-fat emotions. High-fat emotions are negative and energy draining; they suck the fun and creativity out of your life and are bad for you. Examples: guilt, resentment, anger, envy, jealousy, frustration. High fat (or negative) emotions create and maintain a cycle of pessimism and low-energy. They are fatiguing and close the door to creativity and joy.
2. Increase your consumption of low-fat emotions...Read more
"Cut empty-calorie emotions out of your diet and awaken the feminine divine"
Imagine if emotions were labeled like food. Would it encourage you to reach for heart-healthy happiness more often? Would it stop you from binging on the empty calories and toxic ingredients found in guilt and resentment?
That’s the premise behind “Psychological Nutrition,” a new book by clinical psychologists Shoba Sreenivasan, Ph.D., and Linda E. Weinberger, Ph.D. ...
Epoch Times talked to the authors of “Psychological Nutrition” about the cost of consuming too much junk emotion and how monitoring your daily emotional intake can lead to a happier, more fulfilled life. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Epoch Times: What inspired the idea of nutritional labels for emotions?
Dr. Linda E. Weinberger: Today people are very concerned about their diet. They’re very concerned about whether it’s high in fat or fiber, low in sodium, and yet we’re not as attuned to our psychological nutritional intake. We really don’t assess whether our interactions with people are good for us or not, or whether if engaging in certain situations is going to help us psychologically or not. So we thought this would be a way of introducing this concept... Read more
The Yupik, an indigenous people of Alaska, had the tradition of passing down wisdom from elders to the young. They called these stories “wise words.” The wise words were shared as stories both profound and potent. The Yupik placed value on elder wisdom. We may not always recognize when such valuable wisdom comes from our own mothers, but this Mother’s Day remember that listening is one of the greatest gifts of all... Read more
Two doctors show how comparing emotions to food can work in your favor.
By viewing relationships as food products, you may be saving yourself from consuming too much "junk."
You know junk food when you see it: It’s high in calories and low in nutritional benefit. A diet of junk food ends up in lethargy, being overweight, and medical issues (such as diabetes and heart disease).
But did you know there are junk emotions too?
As clinical psychologists, we wondered what would happen if we started to consider our emotions from the perspective that they are ingredients that you feed yourself. We developed the concept of psychological nutrition, not about food, but about how to assess and monitor the emotions that you consume.... Read more
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’ve had my share of challenges.
As hard as it has been to see the light beyond the tunnel, I am living proof that there is some.
Every scar has helped me grow. I know everyone says that but I truly mean it. I had no idea I was capable of pulling my life up off the ground (with the help of my faith and friends) and actually actually helping others do the same.
The struggles have given me such gratitude for every person, opportunity and gift in my life.
So, of course when I hear about two people who wrote a book to help people overcome the emotional JUNK (and that’s exactly what it is) in their life, I had to share it with you!
Meet Shoba Sreenivasan, Ph.D. and Linda E. Weinberger, Ph.D. They both work in the field of clinical psychology. They noticed a pattern with clients: people were constantly stressing themselves out with negative emotions. They discovered that poor health corresponds to negative emotions as well.
Just like junk food (which I’m obsessed with … Insert a Cheese Puffs here), junk emotions can drain your energy and leave you sick to your stomach.
My junk food emotion is definitely fear. What’s yours? Tell me in the comments, pretty please.
Here are 5 Ways to Get Rid of Junk Emotions... Read more
Though women are inclined towards cooperation, ironically, however, once in positions of power, one may look to competition models to guide us. We think that to move up “the ladder,” it requires one to be ruthless; or since that is not palatable, we soften the adjective to “realistic” or “politically aware.” In fact, all the nice adjectives are just candy coating on the true nature of this syndrome. This type of mentality has an identifiable pattern: a process of scheming, conniving and ingratiating to those you are important to one’s gains and stepping on those who are not. Once up the ladder: the goal is to rid yourself of all your enemies.
We call this type of woman Machiavellian Mary. She plays well in the “male” game of pyramidal hierarchies. She knows how to be pleasing to those on top and how to control and step on and over those below...Read more
"Are you suppressing your sense of being to the wants and desires of your partner? If so, you are at risk of 'psychological starvation.' We call this emotional anorexia."
...It’s important to recognize that to be loving and giving is healthy; but, to love and give at the cost of one’s psychological invisibility is clearly unhealthy. Anyone who submerges their needs to be valued, loved, appreciated, and complimented, and who suppresses their sense of being to the wants and desires of their partners, is going to risk “psychological starvation.” We call this emotional anorexia...
...Here are some signs that you are in emotional anorexia in an intimate relationship:
Sign 1: You try to avoid conflict by giving in to what the other person wants (again); you stop making demands (again); yet, you feel simmering resentfulness.
Sign 2: Soon, all you feel is deep irritation that results in an explosion of volcanic anger...Read more
Many of us unconsciously believe that women in leadership roles should be like men – whether we will admit this or not. When looking to hire women for leadership positions, the conclusion for those in the public or private sector (whether driven by our own gut instincts or by social psychological research) is that to be perceived as competent, women in authority have to be assertive, perhaps even ruthless in their decisions, and autocratic in their style. Otherwise no one will listen. ... Read more (Note: requires free subscription)
...Certainly, this view has gained support in research of successful leaders: those females who have characteristics traditionally attributed to males (i.e., competitive, ambitious, assertive, task versus interpersonally orientated, secure in holding power and authority over others) will be perceived as more effective than women who do not have these traits. In fact, some studies suggest that professional women who are nurturing and cooperative (what are called “stereotypic feminine traits”) will be perceived in the “dog-eat-dog” man’s world as incompetent...
...We call this type of woman Machiavellian Mary. She plays well in the “male” game of pyramidal hierarchies. She knows how to be pleasing to those on top and how to control and step on and over those below...Read more
"Reframing pain management as the management of emotional, or psychological nutrition may be a chronic opioid alternative."
A patient in chronic pain wants their pain gone. Perhaps this is easier said than done. Pain management is complex and has no certain or easy solutions. Surgery may not improve, or may even exacerbate, the pain (e.g., as in low back pain). Non-opioid pharmacological treatments may also prove less than satisfactory. Chronic pain causes emotional pain; which, ironically, can result in heightening the patient’s sensitivity to their physical pain...
The use of opioids may lessen pain in the short-term, but long-term use remains problematic. For example, it may produce a chronic pain state, may potentiate abuse, and may deepen depression. Moreover, the side-effects of opioids alone, or in combination with other drugs (prescribed or illicit), or if misused by persons with co-morbid conditions (e.g., sleep apnea), can range anywhere from sedation to respiratory suppression to liver damage to death.
Thus, alternate strategies to opioids for pain management have been developed...Read more
...So, how do you stop filling your spirit with unhealthy baggage that'll weigh you down and replace it with uplifting, joyful feelings? Here are five strategies to start:
1. Try to stay away from energy-draining emotions.
They perpetuate a cycle of pessimism and fatigue and close the door to creativity and joy. The main ones to watch out for are guilt, resentment, anger, envy, jealousy, and frustration. Notice when any of these emotions starts to creep in, take a deep breath, and release them.
2. Actively invite positive emotions to replace the negative ones you're rejecting.
Joy, optimism, and love increase your energy and sense of capability. They open up your world, both in terms of your inner self and the doors to opportunity....Read more
High fat (or negative) emotions are draining; they can heighten the perception of pain.
Low fat (or positive) emotions are energizing; they can decrease the perception of pain.
High stress-low reward experiences lead to a diet heavy in high fat (negative emotions) and lead to psychological undernourishment. Alternatively, low-stress, high-reward diets are rich in positive emotions and can lead to a psychologically nourishing state.
Any physician who cares for patients with chronic pain knows that analgesia—by any means necessary—is the patient’s primary desire. This clinical outcome is often difficult to achieve, especially for chronic pain patients. Over the long term, pain and emotion become intertwined (Figure 1).
Management of chronic pain is almost always complex. There are no certain or easy solutions. Physicians come to feel that they have exhausted all the clinical options. The changing views on the use of opioids both show that opioids are not suited for management of chronic pain and they further limit physicians’ options. Surgery may not improve, or may even exacerbate a pain syndrome—take low back pain an example. Nonopioid pharmacologic treatments may also not be satisfactory.
Chronic physical pain causes emotional pain; which, ironically, can lead to hyperalgesia... Read more
You know junk food when you see it—high in calories, low in nutritional benefit. A diet of junk food ends up in lethargy, being overweight, medical issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and lowers your energy.
But did you know there are junk emotions too? ... Read more
Each of us has unique creative potential; giving life to that passion is what we call Big Dreaming. Yet, big dreams—those ideas and passions that ignite one’s soul—are often dismissed as grandiose thinking.
Why is this? Many times it is because we get lured by the comfort zone of mediocrity. Big dreaming means changing our beliefs, actions, and sense of self. But change is difficult.
• Change means venturing into unchartered territory.
• Change is risky.
• Change is scary.
• Change may result in failure.
• Change may result in experiencing disappointment...Read more
Written by clinical psychologists Drs. Shoba Sreenivasan and Linda E. Weinberger, Psychological Nutrition provide tips for maintaining a “diet” of positive emotions. The book describes emotions as products consumed and challenges readers to break free from negative emotional narratives....
...The authors suggest keeping a notebook to monitor emotions. There's plenty of apps to do that like Mood Meter, which for 99 cents in ITunes, is a bargain, is colorful with prompts for moving away from negative thoughts into more placid and positive ones.
I found myself breezing through the pages to find the most useful nuggets which I've shared here. Something to think about! Read more
"Through the media's portrayal of beauty, we have accepted the idea that older women are 'expired products,' but this myth is not only poisonous, it's flat out wrong."
For women, whether we admit it or not, two potent mythical figures that course through our psychology, that of the maiden (or, in modern terms, the sexy chick) and the crone (or, the old lady). We know the maiden well: she’s the beautiful young princess.
But who is a crone? A crone is typically an older woman, and in some folklore she is evil (e.g., the witch). Or, at the benign level, she is grandmotherly and asexual. Certainly, she’s not a sexy chick.
This destructive image, in turn, unconsciously affects a woman’s perception of her attractiveness as she grows older. Beyond the psychological forces, these elements continue and further promote this negative viewpoint...Read more
Shoba Sreenivasan, Ph.D. and Linda E. Weinberger, Ph.D. ... say that, “If digital communication becomes the predominant way of interacting with others, we may risk losing the ability to ‘read’ subtle facial expressions in communication, to recognize psychological boundaries, and to understand through seeing and experiencing how our communications impact others. More profoundly, if digital communication becomes the main mode of relating, it may lead to rendering face-to-face interpersonal interactions alien and uncomfortable, and therefore avoided.”...Read more
Guest post from Shoba Sreenivasan & Linda E. Weinberger:
A particularly virulent female leadership style is what we label, “Machiavellian Mary” to denote a superficially agreeable, yet ruthless, self-focused, and false individual. Machiavellian Mary is admired for playing well in the “male” game of pyramidal hierarchies: pleasing to those on top and controlling, micro-managing and authoritarian to those below.
In fact, Machiavellian Mary not just toxic to those below her, but to the businesses that promote her to a leadership position:
- She kills buy-in from key stakeholders: the employees who are the face of the business.
- Her authoritarian style torpedoes an environment that nourishes new ideas.
- Hers is a “top-down” communication style, one that promotes a culture of fear.
- She is an obstacle to change...Read more
...We believe an approach that centers on one’s emotional nutritional intake can also help patients manage chronic physical pain. We explore this in terms of psychological nutrition. For example, the more a person focuses on their pain, the greater the sensation. This in turn leads to psychologically non-nutritious (high fat) emotions, such as stress, fear, frustration, helplessness and depression.
By consuming these non-nutritious emotions, the patient is less able or motivated to follow the prescribed treatment. Consequently, the pain and medical condition can worsen. On the other hand, if the patient consumes a diet rich in nutritious (low fat) emotions – such as optimism, calmness, hopefulness and confidence – their sensation of pain could well be relieved and less apparent to them; thus, making them more inclined to follow their medical regimen...Read more
...In order to be mindful of your high and low fat emotional intake, you will have to undertake an assessment process in the form of diary. Many of us hear the word “diary,” and we groan, “Oh my God, another obligation!” Let’s face it, we’re all busy. But, we’re also interested in becoming and staying healthy.
Psychological Nutrition simplifies this to a 7-Day Snapshot.
We test-drove it on ourselves just to make sure it really was doable. And it is.
The 7- Day Snapshot means taking one period of 7 days, and for each day recording your emotional reactions, the triggers, and the values (positive or negative)... Read more