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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in emotions

This blog describes how to handle anger in the most constructive way.

Alice worked as an accountant for a large corporation and thoroughly enjoyed her job. However, when a new person was hired to replace the department supervisor who was retiring, Alice's job situation took a downturn. Not only was the new supervisor impatient when his demands weren't met, he would vent his anger by ranting and raving. After several weeks of working under these tyrannical conditions, Alice began to have trouble sleeping and experienced nightmares. In an attempt to address the situation she went to the human resource department of the comapny and explained what was occurring. When she was asked if she had spoken to the supervisor about her dilemma, she replied no and stated her reluctance was due to fear. At that point the counselor suggested she read about anger and suggested several books. Alice checked Grow Up Your Ego out from the library and discovered a section on assertiveness in the sixth chapter on emotions. In fact she learned a great deal about emotions including how natural and important they are along with appropriate ways to express them without harming herself or others. After practicing an assertiveness message prior to going to work, she went to the supervisor's office and forthrightly told him she was experiencing considerable frustration when he lost his temper and requested that when he had a problem with her performance that he do so in a calm way. Much to her surprise the next time he needed to speak with her about something she had done incorrectly, he called her into the office, left the door open and in a poised, quiet way explained the problem and asked for her suggestions as to how the difficulty could be corrected. When she gave her input they reached an agreement as to how the situation could be resolved. Relieved she left his office and at the same time felt concern he would resort to his old ways. Such was not the case for in ensuing instances the supervisor maintained his demeanor and in fact a feeling of mutual respect began to develop between the two. Needless to say, the learning Alice acquired regarding emotions inluding anger not noly kept her from quitting her job, but also improved her relationships with family and friends. She now recommends the book to others.

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As mentioned elsewhere on this website, my writings feature a holistic perspective. I’ve included many mental and emotional exercises in Grow Up Your Ego, but today I’m thinking about the numerous ways we can exercise our bodies. While we all know that walking is a low impact and simple exercise, we tend to forget the profound health benefits it provides. According to the Mayo Clinic, walking lowers blood pressure, helps manage weight, lowers bad cholesterol, reduces the risk or manages Type II diabetes, and improves one’s mood. To obtain maximum health benefits, one should walk 30 to 60 minutes a day most days of the week. It’s best to warm up by walking slowly the first five minutes. Walking slowly the last five minutes of the walk is recommended as well. If you aren’t a regular walker, at first only walk as far as is comfortable, for example 5 to 10 minutes. Then gradually build up to 15 minutes, and so on. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of walking is that it can be done with others, which includes walking with one’s children. When I’m walking the trails close to where I live, I frequently observe parents who either have infants cradled in back packs or who are pushing them in strollers.

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Water workouts also are relatively simple and can be very enjoyable. According to a study published in the April 2012 American Journal of Cardiology, three or four days a week of swimming laps for 15 to 45 minutes leads to significant improvement of vascular function. Did you know that, in addition to reducing stress and the risk of cardiovascular disease, swimming burns about the same number of calories as jogging, with less stress on your joints?

Overall, research concludes that regular exercise routines contribute to healthier lives, reduced stress, and improved interactions with others—which by extension includes a more positively energized approach in relating to infants and children.

Your submitted comments posted here would be of help to everyone. Share your experiences with consistent daily/weekly exercise and the affirmative effects on yours relationships. Tell us what helps you stick with the commitment to regular routines, or what obstacles stand in your way.

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What about discipline? How can parents effectively handle unacceptable and even perilous behaviors that children sometimes demonstrate? For example, when parents forbid a toddler to run out in the street, play with knives, or turn the knob on the stove, Mom and Dad shout or they physically remove the child from imminent disaster. The child feels shame. But wait. Aren’t we supposed to keep children from feeling shame?

Surprisingly enough, research suggests that the disciplining experience when properly handled helps the frontal lobe of the brain develop an internal adaptation to negativity. Just as the child can call on a positive memory to self-soothe, he can bring to mind the memory of Mom’s reaction to forbidden behaviors. He can then curb his impulsive behaviors by anticipating his caregivers’ reactions to them. This is a necessary move toward social adaptation–it’s time for the toddler to learn the world is not always his oyster. Not only are there dangers out there, other people have needs and feelings as well.

But this is only half of the story. When researchers speak about the proper handling of shaming experiences, they have something very specific in mind. Stretching of the brain into an adaptive pattern means that soon after feeling shame the child has a reconnecting experience with his caretaker. Here’s how it works: the caretaker reinitiates eye contact and engaging behaviors after a misattunement, temper tantrum, or other disrupting event. These repeated “reunion experiences” of talking, hugging, and soothing ease the overwhelming isolation surrounding shame and allow reconnection. In other words, the child learns that while risky activities and emotional fracases, may result in disconnection, the disconnection is not permanent. The links he had with others are supple, allowing for the humanness of emotion and frailties of behavior.

Tagged in: emotions reunion shame
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Posted by on in General Topics

When I was a child growing up in a Catholic family, I was very confused about the relationship between emotions and spirituality. I knew that attending mass every Sunday was meant to be spiritual, but going to confession on Saturday afternoon was another matter. Recounting my wrongdoings to the priest through the latticed window in the dimly lit confessional and being given five Hail Mary prayers to recite as penance didn’t sit well with me.

What were my wrongdoings? What did I confess?  Such misdemeanors as “I got mad at my sister three times.” “I had impure (i.e. sexual) thoughts twenty times.” The sense of dread prior to my admissions was followed by a very brief period of relief when I left the confessional. The problem was I know I would be back the next week with the same items to confess.

This situation was compounded by how my family with their German background kept emotional reactions and discussions completely under wraps. I had no idea that feeling anger and sexual energy are part of our humanness. It wasn’t until graduate school that I learned differently—that when we acknowledge our feeling states and make appropriate choices on how to express their energy we are both advancing our holistic wellbeing and walking right into spiritual territory.

The more I researched this topic the more I realized I had to write about the relationship between emotions and spirituality in words anyone could understand. Grow Up Your Ego: Ten Scientifically Validated Stages to Emotional and Spiritual Maturity is the holistic result. And that’s what this blog is all about: holistic healing of mind, body, spirit, and soul. What are your thoughts about the ego being too big or would be best gotten rid of?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Super User says #
    Barbara’s words rang true for me as well. I’m anxious to hear more about helping the ego work in my favor, rather than against me.
  • Super User says #
    You’re at the right place to learn more! Ongoing blogs on this site will not only explain the scientific importance of the ego in
  • Super User says #
    I always thought of the ego as something I needed to get rid of. I’m looking forward to learning more factual information about it
  • Super User says #
    Yes, as you continue to read these blogs you will learn ways to help your ego work in your favor and thus improve relationships bo

The answer to both questions is no.  Behavioral research now shows that the ego not only is real but is also responsible for two very important jobs. It keeps us alive and gives us a sense of self. Just as we physically grow up, our egos have to grow up as well. When the growing doesn’t happen, the ego unable to cope with life’s contingencies, resorts to detrimental behaviors and emotional mayhem. On the other hand, scientific data solidly indicates that as the ego emotionally matures, spirituality emerges as its natural companion.

Nonetheless, the mythical ego is often viewed as a spiritual culprit. Early on in my clinical practice I was surprised by the number of clients who came to my office confused about feeling depressed after months and even years devoted to one spiritual practice or another. I had naively figured that those who pursued such paths had built in constitutions suited to the task. Even more distressing were those who came after the downfall of a guru. Burned by the aftermath of a leader gone wrong, too often the client’s focus turned to “getting rid of ego.” Reactions of feeling bummed out, disappointed, or angry were considered ego bound and did not pave the way to enlightenment.

This is not to argue with the way in which Eastern philosophies speak about the ego or refer to its demise. This is about what psychological theory and research from the Western perspective have to say about this important facet of our psyche that shows itself from the moment of our births. And the purpose of this blog is to show how solid investment in ego growth can change your life for the better including having loving relationships that support your individuality. Being spiritual is not equivalent to a monk-like sacrificial existence.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Super User says #
    Excellent question! #1 The more you learn about growing up your ego and apply what you know to yourself, the more you will advance
  • Super User says #
    What can parents do to help children develop a healthy sense of self?
  • Super User says #
    It has been a lifelong habit to believe that when things get tough, such as distress in relationships, people’s egos can take over

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