Posts Tagged ‘violence’

6 lessons in happiness from one of the happiest nations in the world

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Natalie Matushenko writes:

I share what I have learned about being happy over the past six years in the hope that it will help others reflect on the changes we can all make to be happier in our lives.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

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Do You Want To Raise A Kind Child? Here’s How

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

We as parents know from experience that in the big picture of life, kindness and happiness are closely linked. Kids, however, do not have the life experience to see this big picture. In their life with friends or at school, retaliating against the kid who teased them often seems like the better choice. The more we can explain and model the inherent benefits of kindness to both others and themselves, the more this dynamic will be clear to them.

This is another area where research is our friend. Numerous studies have shown that even among middle schoolers, those who practice kindness are more popular, happier and less likely to be bullied.

More.

A real struggle for the soul of America is going on. I hope that we can remember to value the qualities that have truly made us great, a country that others look up to because we value truth and justice. Rearing kids to have good values, to be kind, and emphasizing it in our own lives, is crucial. Without human decency the country rips apart into a Mad Mac world. That is not the America that most of us signed up for. TRW

The Real Causes Of Depression Have Been Discovered, And They’re Not What You Think

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Johann Hari, author most recently of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, writes:

The more I investigated depression and anxiety, the more I found that, far from being caused by a spontaneously malfunctioning brain, depression and anxiety are mostly being caused by events in our lives. If you find your work meaningless and you feel you have no control over it, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you are lonely and feel that you can’t rely on the people around you to support you, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you think life is all about buying things and climbing up the ladder, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you think your future will be insecure, you are far more likely to become depressed. I started to find a whole blast of scientific evidence that depression and anxiety are not caused in our skulls, but by the way many of us are being made to live. There are real biological factors, like your genes, that can make you significantly more sensitive to these causes, but they are not the primary drivers.

And that led me to the scientific evidence that we have to try to solve our depression and anxiety crises in a very different way (alongside chemical anti-depressants, which should of course remain on the table).

To do that, we need to stop seeing depression and anxiety as an irrational pathology, or a weird misfiring of brain chemicals. They are terribly painful – but they make sense. Your pain is not an irrational spasm. It is a response to what is happening to you. To deal with depression, you need to deal with its underlying causes. On my long journey, I learned about seven different kinds of anti-depressants – ones that are about stripping out the causes, rather than blunting the symptoms. Releasing your shame is only the start.

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MY TIMELY NOVEL (CREATIVE NONFICTION), READING THE SIGNS: A PARANORMAL LOVE STORY

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

MY NOVEL–
READING THE SIGNS: A PARANORMAL LOVE STORY

Ted Jones, campus chaplain and English Professor in downtown Denver, doesn’t need more problems. His life has been full of them. More than a few of the clergy seem to think of the church as a sex club, and those who administer the English Department are vipers. Yet, at the beseeching of the spirit of an old woman who appears floating near the stained glass window of St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, Ted soon becomes involved with Sharon, the deceased woman’s grown granddaughter.

Damaged though she is, Sharon responds, trying to return the steadfast love that Ted offers. After her grandmother died, she lost that capacity in herself and couldn’t find it in any of the people who professed to love her.

Although Sharon and Ted’s trials are multiple, their love forms the crux of the novel. Such love reaches beyond time and space as we normally conceive them, to involve intersecting planes of existence that touch both past and future.

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While fiction, and centrally a love story, it is essentially true. My experiences teaching at CU Denver and the Episcopal Cathedral stick very close to the facts. In light of the current #MeToo movement it is most timely.

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The novel ends with a vision of meeting Sharon on the fields of eternity:

For a moment, my earthly sight blurred with tears, I glimpsed Sharon and me. We stood on fields of gold, there, where chronos meets kairos, and earthly time rolls into eternity.

Link to Amazon Reading the Signs page. Here you can examine the cover and read some pages of the book.

Signed copies are also available from me. See WRITING page of this site.

Surviving the holidays after we’ve broken up with our mothers.

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

This article is by Justin Haley Phillips and centers on a woman’s view, but I know from personal experience that men sometimes have to break up with their mothers too. If a parent is so toxic that you can no longer have contact, then you must distance yourself, female or male.
–Thomas Ramey Watson

Phillips writes:

If someone hasn’t experienced a toxic relationship with a parent, their first thought is generally, “But she’s your mother!”

As though giving birth renders a woman infallible…
As though “a mother’s love” is guaranteed selfless and pristine…
As though we should sacrifice our mental and emotional (and perhaps physical) health on the altar of the doting daughter…

Mothers are people, too, and while I love mine dearly, there simply came a time when I needed to set myself apart from her in order to grow.

It was not an easy decision to make.

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Who Gets to Choose Which Childhood Experiences Are ‘Appropriate’?

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Fom Christina Berchini’s thoughtful article:

Hard as some parents and guardians might try to shield their children from life’s difficulties and cruelties, other students bring adult issues to our classrooms. I certainly did. My students certainly did. An “appropriate” text, then, is also a text that honors this reality. Students who see their experiences ― however difficult ― reflected in the books they are asked to read might be provided with a coping mechanism through literature.

For example, the well-known young adult novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson addresses the issue of teenage rape ― a problem that Anderson’s supporters argue needs to be discussed. Children and teenagers lucky enough to live blissful lives ― the kind of lives my colleague assumed to be the rule, and not the exception ― are also served well by texts that illustrate the real trials and tribulations of childhood and adolescence. Such texts help to build empathetic classroom communities with a more complex understanding of the world, whether or not students have personally experienced such complexities.

The Fundamentalist Christian Chokehold On America

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

The fundamentalist chokehold on American politics seeks to destroy the religious and cultural plurality on which the country, and the Declaration of Independence, was based. These theological divisions – which pit believers against non-believers, and those who believe correctly against those who don’t – are a major contributor to America’s sharply divided politics. When someone believes he or she holds absolute truth, there can be no compromise, no middle ground, and no discussion.

Fundamentalism – Christian, Islam, or any other religious ideology – is the antithesis of progression. Fundamentalism’s dangerous anti-science stance threatens the world’s environment, reduces the efficacy of American education, and leaves citizens unprepared for life in a global economy. Fundamentalism is shrouded in ignorance, backed by authoritarianism, and places an enormous amount of trust in individual leaders. To free us of the religious chokehold, citizens must recognize, and actively vote against the powerful political machine of the Fundamentalist Christian right.

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PTSD May Have A Physical, Not Just Psychological, Effect On The Brain

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition triggered by witnessing or living through a traumatic event, is linked to a host of emotional side effects, including anxiety, flashbacks and nightmares.

Now, new research indicates PTSD might physically change the brain, too.

Researchers at University of California San Diego Health took brain scans of 89 former or current military members with mild traumatic brain injuries, and used a symptom scale to identify 29 of those individuals as having significant PTSD. After measuring the participants’ brains, the researchers found individuals with PTSD had a larger amygdala, which is the region of the brain associated with controlling emotions, including fear.

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The Brains Of Psychopaths May Be Wired Differently Than Yours Or Mine

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Better understanding of how psychopaths’ brains work could pave the way for better treatments. In particular, approaches to addressing other disorders characterized by impulsive decision-making might be worth a look.

For example, the ventral striatum is also overactive when people with substance use disorder are exposed to drug stimuli. Strategies aimed at changing their behavior could potentially be applied to psychopaths as well, Buckholtz said.

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10 Weird Signs You’re Stressed Out

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Stress manifests in a multitude of ways. Some of them are emotional symptoms, like moodiness and irritability, and others may mask themselves as physical issues.

The problem with this physiological phenomenon is that you may simply chalk these issues up as something harmless. Not only that, data shows stress is continually on the rise, making the problem more of a byproduct of everyday life rather than a health complication that needs to be controlled. But there are major consequences if you don’t address your stress: It can lead to heart problems, sleep disturbances, depressive symptoms and more.

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Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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