Posts Tagged Personality development

How to Get Over a Breakup


How to Get Over a Breakup

By NATHAN FEILES

Relationship breakups are tough. They are emotionally exhausting, and can be incapacitating at times. For some who begin to dwell in regret and sadness, breakups can even spiral into depression. Even the breakups that make the most logical sense are still emotionally painful. And in fact, it is the emotional — not logical — part of ourselves that causes us to dwell in these relationships that we may logically know are not healthy for us.

While a grieving period is expected after a breakup, as breakups are a form of loss, it can be easy to get caught in an emotionally harmful pattern if we don’t actively push ourselves forward in our lives.

So how do we emotionally get through a breakup and also move forward in an emotionally healthy manner?

7 Tips for Getting Over a Breakup

1. Make plans.

How to Get Over a Breakup

Social interaction is one of the keys to moving forward after a breakup. Isolation often leads to being consumed by emotions and thoughts that exacerbate our sadness and upset. Schedule plans in advance to see friends or family at least a few times during the week and weekends, especially if you live alone, and be sure to follow through with them. If you feel you don’t want to be around anyone, which can be common after a breakup, this is the time to act opposite of the urge. Push yourself to interact with people and prevent a pattern of loneliness and depression.

2. Be aware of the rebound.

Breakups often are a time of intense emotional vulnerability. We are seeking stability. When we feel we can’t internally create it, it is quite possible to engage in unhealthy new relationships that cover up healthy relationship grieving.

While at first the replacement relationship brings a sense of euphoria, the unresolved emotions from the previous relationship often return, creating a more complicated and confusing emotional environment. If you find yourself falling into a new and exciting relationship too soon, you could be experiencing a rebound.

3. Participate in hobbies.

Hobbies are a positive way to keep from dwelling in sadness and forming negative patterns. Whether it’s doing a puzzle, going to museums, gardening, bowling, reading, or whatever it is you enjoy doing, allow yourself to create time and space for them. Be sure to include social hobbies as well as individual ones.

4. Keep up daily self-care routines.

It is also important to remember to take care of your daily needs when dealing with a breakup. Go to the gym, jog, swim, walk, cook, etc. Some may feel less motivated to grocery shop, prepare meals, eat, or shower after a breakup. These may require some extra effort at times, but push yourself to continue your daily routines as before.

5. Don’t overwork.

Some might say that throwing yourself into work is a great distraction from a breakup. However, overworking often is an emotionally avoidant behavior. Overworking may allow us to avoid sadness or loneliness because we are busy; however, it creates an imbalance in our lives as well as a negative pattern that can be tough to break. (Decreasing the work to regain more personal time later becomes difficult.) Work as you would normally work, and reserve those other hours in the day for self-care, hobbies, and social plans that you’ll hopefully be continuing or increasing into your week.

6. Set a daily time limit for grieving.

Each person grieves a loss differently. There is no actual time limit for grieving. However, there is a difference between healthy grieving and dwelling in regret and sorrow. Some could spend months consumed by guilt and sadness if we allow ourselves to.

As we move forward, it is still important to acknowledge our pain and other emotions we may feel as the result of a significant breakup. Set a time each day that you will allow yourself to reflect, feel, and process your relationship loss. Setting a timer is helpful for this. I would recommend no more than 20-30 minutes a day, and have an activity scheduled to immediately follow this time.

7. Seek professional help.

Some people feel ashamed and embarrassed that a breakup is consuming or impacting them, especially when the ex-partner is considered “not worth it.” But breakups are painful! We put time, effort, hope, emotion, and much more into our relationships.

Seeing a therapist to process the residual emotions and thoughts is a healthy way to deal with a breakup, especially if you’re feeling guilt, regret or starting to dwell in sadness.Breakups are rarely going to be easy; however, with healthy tools and motivation, we can heal.

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Women happier in relationships when men feel their pain


Love Hurts (Incubus song)

Love Hurts (Incubus song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The study involved a diverse sample of couples and found that men’s and women’s perceptions of their significant other’s empathy, and their abilities to tell when the other is happy or upset, are linked to relationship satisfaction in distinctive ways, according to the article published online in the Journal of Family Psychology.

“It could be that for women, seeing that their male partner is upset reflects some degree of the man’s investment and emotional engagement in the relationship, even during difficult times. This is consistent with what is known about the dissatisfaction women often experience when their male partner becomes emotionally withdrawn and disengaged in response to conflict,” said the study’s lead author, Shiri Cohen, PhD, of Harvard Medical School.

Researchers recruited 156 heterosexual couples for the experiment. Of those, 102 came from the Boston area and were younger, urban, ethnically and economically diverse and in a committed but not necessarily married relationship. In an effort to find couples who varied in the ways they resolved conflicts and controlled their emotions, they also looked for couples with a history of domestic violence and/or childhood sexual abuse. The remaining participants, from Bryn Mawr, Pa., were older, suburban and middle-class married couples with strong ties to the community. In all, 71 percent of couples were white, 56 percent were married and their average length of relationship was three-and-a-half years.

Each participant was asked to describe an incident with his or her partner over the past couple of months that was particularly frustrating, disappointing or upsetting. The researchers’ audio recorded the participant making a one- to two-sentence statement summarizing the incident and reaction and then brought the couples together and played each participant’s statements. The couples were told to try to come to a better understanding together of what had happened and were given approximately 10 minutes to discuss it while the researchers videotaped them. Following the discussions, the participants viewed the videotape and simultaneously rated their negative and positive emotions throughout, using an electronic rating device. The device had a knob that moved across an 11-point scale that ranged from “very negative” to “neutral” to “very positive.”

Using these ratings, the researchers selected six 30-second clips from the videotape that had the highest rated negative or positive emotions by each partner. The researchers showed the clips to the participants and had them complete questionnaires about their feelings during each segment as well as their perceptions of their partner’s feelings and effort to understand them during the discussion. They also measured the participants’ overall satisfaction with their relationships and whether each partner considered his or her partner’s efforts to be empathetic.

Relationship satisfaction was directly related to men’s ability to read their female partner’s positive emotions correctly. However, contrary to the researchers’ expectations, women who correctly understood that their partners were upset during the videotaped incident were much more likely to be satisfied with their relationship than if they correctly understood that their partner was happy. Also, when men understood that their female partner was angry or upset, the women reported being happier, though the men were not. The authors suggest that being empathetic to a partner’s negative emotions may feel threatening to the relationship for men but not for women.

The findings also show that the more men and women try to be empathetic to their partner’s feelings, the happier they are. The authors suggest that this research should encourage couples to better appreciate and communicate one another’s efforts to be empathetic.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 154,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

via Women happier in relationships when men feel their pain.

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New Discoveries About the Anger


English: Emotions associated with anger

English: Emotions associated with anger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New Discoveries About the Experience of Anger

Younger people, those with children and less-educated individuals are more likely to experience anger, according to new UofT research that examines one of the most common negative emotions in society.

Drawing upon national survey data of more than 1,000 Americans aged 18 and older, Professor Scott Schieman from the Sociology Department at the University of Toronto has published new findings about the experience of anger. In a chapter in the forthcoming International Handbook of Anger, to be released in January 2010, Schieman documents the basic social patterns and contexts of anger. His main findings include:

Younger people experience more frequent anger than older adults. This is mainly due to the fact that younger people are more likely to feel time pressures, economic hardship, and interpersonal conflict in the workplace (three core stressors that elevate anger levels);

Feeling rushed for time is the strongest predictor of anger, especially the “low-grade” forms like feeling annoyed;

Having children in the household is associated with angry feelings and behaviour (i.e., yelling) and these patterns are stronger among women compared to men;

Compared to people with fewer years of education, the well-educated are less likely to experience anger, and when they do, they are more likely to act proactively (e.g., trying to change the situation or talking it over);

Individuals who experience more financial strain tend to report higher levels of anger. This relationship is much stronger among women and younger adults.

“The sociological analysis of anger can shed light on the ways that the conditions of society influence emotional inequality,” says Schieman. “Why do some people seem to experience more anger than others? And what does this say about social inequality and its impact in our everyday lives?”

The International Handbook of Anger is edited by Michael Potegal, Gerhard Stemmler and Charles Spielberger.

via New discoveries about the experience of anger.

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Positive Thinking Reduces Depression in Girls


Positive Thinking Reduces Depression in Girls | Psych Central News

Positive Thinking Reduces Depression in Girls
By TRACI PEDERSEN Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 29, 2012
In a new preliminary study by Stanford researchers, daughters of depressed mothers were able to witness their own stress levels go down on a real-time brain scan as they switched from negative thoughts to happy ones.

The girls, ages 10 to 14, were the focus of the study based on previous findings that girls born from depressed mothers, or from mothers who have experienced depression, have a higher risk of the illness.

Depressed people have more intense responses to negative experiences, including increased heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol (stress hormone) production. By observing the girls’ brain activity when they were shown upsetting pictures — such as an accident — and measuring the stress response with a graph, the researchers could then ask the girls to try to lower the graph by thinking of positive thoughts like playing with pets.

Happy and amazed, the girls found out that they were able to decrease the level with their own thoughts.

Another study task included looking at two faces on a computer screen: one negative and one positive.  The girls were then asked to move a dot toward the positive face and click on it.  Then another pair of images appeared and the same situation was repeated over and over. The game taught the depression-prone girls to choose the more positive option when presented with a choice.

The Stanford research could help these girls learn to prevent depression. A followup period after the tests seemed to suggest the potential for depression prevention. After putting the girls through some tests to bring on stress, they did not react as strongly.

The research could offer new insights into how people who are genetically predisposed to depression can prevent depression, or perhaps reduce its severity, through the use of cognitive techniques.

Source:  Stanford University

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Mortality Awareness Can Lead to Living Better Life


Mortality Awareness Can Lead to Living Better Life

By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor

Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on April 20, 2012

A new study suggests that thinking of death, or acknowledging human frailty, can help re-prioritize goals and values.

Researchers discovered that even non-conscious thinking about death — say walking by a cemetery — could prompt positive changes and promote helping others.

Many have felt that thinking about death is destructive and dangerous. Some have even speculated that the negative thoughts could lead to disruptive behaviors ranging from prejudice to greed and violence.

Many of these beliefs were associated with terror management theory (TMT), which posits that we uphold certain cultural beliefs to manage our feelings of mortality. But researchers now believe that the potential benefits of death awareness have not been explored.

“This tendency for TMT research to primarily deal with negative attitudes and harmful behaviors has become so deeply entrenched in our field that some have recently suggested that death awareness is simply a bleak force of social destruction,” said Kenneth Vail, doctoral student and lead author of the new study in the online edition of Personality and Social Psychology Review.

“There has been very little integrative understanding of how subtle, day-to-day, death awareness might be capable of motivating attitudes and behaviors that can minimize harm to oneself and others, and can promote well-being.”

Vail and colleagues constructed a new model of how to think about our own mortality. In their research they performed an extensive review of recent studies on the topic.

During this examination they found numerous examples of experiments, both in the lab and field, that suggest a positive side to natural reminders about mortality.

For example, Vail points to a study by Matthew Gailliot and colleagues in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2008 that tested how just being physically near a cemetery affects how willing people are to help a stranger.

“Researchers hypothesized that if the cultural value of helping was made important to people, then the heightened awareness of death would motivate an increase in helping behaviors,” Vail said.

The researchers observed people who were either passing through a cemetery or were one block away, out of sight of the cemetery.

Actors at each location talked near the participants about either the value of helping others or a control topic, and then some moments later, another actor dropped her notebook. The researchers then tested in each condition how many people helped the stranger.

“When the value of helping was made salient, the number of participants who helped the second confederate with her notebook was 40 percent greater at the cemetery than a block away from the cemetery,” Vail said.

“Other field experiments and tightly controlled laboratory experiments have replicated these and similar findings, showing that the awareness of death can motivate increased expressions of tolerance, egalitarianism, compassion, empathy and pacifism.”

For example, a 2010 study revealed how increased death awareness can motivate sustainable behaviors when pro-environmental norms are made salient.

Also, a 2009 study showed how an increased awareness of death can motivate American and Iranian religious fundamentalists to display peaceful compassion toward members of other groups when religious texts make such values more important.

Researchers also discovered that thinking about death can promote better health. Recent studies have shown that when reminded of death people may opt for better health choices, such as using more sunscreen, smoking less, or increasing levels of exercise.

A 2011 study by D.P. Cooper and co-authors found that death reminders increased intentions to perform breast self-exams when women were exposed to information that linked the behavior to self-empowerment.

One major implication of this body of work, Vail said, is that we should “turn attention and research efforts toward better understanding of how the motivations triggered by death awareness can actually improve people’s lives, rather than how it can cause malady and social strife.”

According to the authors: “The dance with death can be a delicate but potentially elegant stride toward living the good life.”

Source: Society for Personality and Social Psychology

via Mortality Awareness Can Lead to Living Better Life | Psych Central News.

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