Emotion

Defense Mechanism: How Does Your Body React To Things That Do Not Happen As You Wish

to Sigmund Freud in the psychoanalytic theory, a defense mechanism is a tactic developed by the ego against anxiety.1 Security mechanisms are thought to guard the mind against feelings and thoughts that are too difficult for the conscious mind to cope with.

Also, Wikipedia defines a defense mechanism as an unconscious emotional mechanism that reduces stress as a result of unacceptable or potentially damaging stimuli.2 Sigmund Freud was one of the first proponents of this construct. However, defense mechanisms may bring about healthy or unhealthy consequences with regards to the circumstances and frequency in which the device is used.

While all these mechanisms can be harmful, they can also be very useful and allows us to function normally. The greatest problems occur when defense mechanisms are overused to avoid dealing with problems.

You might have perhaps heard people speak about immunity processors with which we protect ourselves from things that people no longer want to think about or deal with. The term got its start in psychoanalytic therapy, but it has slowly proved helpful in day-to-day language. Think of the last time you referenced to someone as being “in denial” or alleged someone of “rationalizing”. Both of these illustrations label a type of defense mechanism.

I want to analyze below each type of defense mechanism as well as other immunity processes defined by psychologists.

Displacement: express the anger towards other people that are less threatening

Displacement defense mechanism involves getting feelings, frustrations, and impulses on people or objects that are less threatening. Displaced aggression is a common sort of this defense mechanism. Rather than express our angriness in manners that could lead to negative effects (like arguing with the boss), we instead express our anger towards a person or object that position’s no threat (such as our spouse, children, or pets).

For example, this frequently occurs with family members, where we often see the father getting angry at the mother. The mother then takes her anger to her kid, the son in change yells at his little sister, the little sis kicks the dog, and your dog bites the kitten.

Sublimation: transform unhelpful emotions into healthy actions

This is a mechanism that…

Telltale Signs You’ve Been Suffering from Burnout for a Long Time

Psychology

“Burnout” is a physical, mental and emotional state of diminished energy, quality, and general appreciation of life. It is unequivocally universal, can predispose to anxiety and depression, and affects many on one level or another in our fast paced, highly demanding and arguably mentally overstimulated society.

Though we live in an era of readily available inspiration and abundance, many of us find that time escapes our control and that our physical, mental and emotional demands are at an all time high. This can trap us into a pattern of constant internal struggle, where we are driven by the sole motive of “keeping up” to prevent what we personally percieve to be avoidable and difficult consequences.

Burnout is conceptualized as a general feeling of exhaustion and inability to cope due to prolonged stress. It tends to manifest with a multitude of symptoms which include:

The symptoms of burnout can occur independently, but also in the context of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

Understanding the concept of burnout in itself, is a powerful start to heal its effects. Stress being the core issue, approaching the symptoms with self-criticism can exacerbate and prolong them further – recovering from burnout requires self-compassion, self-devotion and most importantly, self-reflection.

A combination of lifestyle measures, mindset changes and self-education can help you work through burnout and evolve through it and help you re-emerg with improved energy levels, motivation and a sense of control. Below is a list of considerations to make and tips to follow when dealing with burnout.

First, you need to change your mindset.

Reflect and take a closer look of your life.

“The ability to honestly and quietly reflect on one’s life is one of the most powerful tools for personal growth.” (Richard Carlson)

Tracing back to the origins of your burnout may require a re-analysis of your passions,…

Why You Shouldn’t Aim at Being an Optimistic Person

There is no disputing that it is important to be positive. But what most people won’t tell you about is the importance of negative emotions.

I knew a guy who was potentially the most optimistic person anyone could meet. His resilience was like no other. I shall always recall the time when someone we knew had suffered a miscarriage. He said cheerily to her, “That’s not really bad news because it means you can still get pregnant again!”

It seemed as though he was incapable of feeling anything negative. Nothing would upset him–not even tragedies where people died. Then one day, something happened–one small event triggered something within him. Suddenly, all of those years of emotions that he suppressed surfaced all at once. It resulted in him having to take several months off work as he fell into a deep depression.

Resilience is part of being optimistic, but it doesn’t mean that they are both the same thing. And although trying to be optimistic is good, there are times when it could have an adverse effect.

Studies: one of the biggest contributors to psychological issues is emotional avoidance

It is human instinct to want to abstain from things that make us feel hurt. But repressing emotions such as sorrow leads to long-term issues such as depression or anxiety. For instance, if a loved one passed away, you should not give yourself a time limit to rush through the stages of grief. 1

Many studies have proven that one of biggest contributors to psychological issues…

This Skill Is Not Taught in School, But It Hugely Affects Our Success in Life

makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success. These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

What Are Analytical Skills?

According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., former veteran of the CIA, “thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”1

Analytical skill can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools.2 It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information. Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

• Visualization – Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. On a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

• Critical Thinking – Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions. As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

• Computing – Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations. In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

• Problem-Solving – Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

• Resource Management – Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand. For example, professionals with a tight schedule is must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world. Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how manage company resources, including cash and manpower.

Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation. For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can…

Why You Sometimes Get a Lump in the Back of Your Throat When Sad and Why We Cry

Julia C. asks: Why do you get a lump in your throat when you are sad?

sad dog

If, like me, you’ve been subjected to watching The Notebook with your spouse, you might have experienced an uncomfortable lump in your throat. As you attempt to breath heavy and avoid crying like a little kid who has just skinned her knee, you might wonder, what causes the feeling of a lump in your throat? For that matter, why do we cry when we’re sad?

The lump in your throat has a rather easy explanation compared to crying when emotionally upset. Known as the globus sensation, the feeling is the result of a battle between the opposing forces of muscles attached to your glottis (the opening between your vocal cords). It tends to present itself when sad, or when you swallow or hold your breath to avoid crying.

There are only two autonomic nervous systems in the body, sympathetic and parasympathetic- sympathetic being your fight or flight nervous system, and the opposing parasympathetic being stimulated by resting and relaxing (your feed or breed nervous system). When you begin feeling upset, or have any stressful experience, your body stimulates its sympathetic nervous system via the HPA axis. This axis involves a connection between your hypothalamus, pituitary gland and your adrenal glands. It will release hormones in to your blood stream causing things like increased heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. It will then sense it needs more oxygen to maintain that experience. It’s your sympathetic nervous system at work when you try to avoid breaking down and it feels like you’ve swallowed a golf ball.

Your body responds to this sympathetic drive by opening your glottis via the posterior crioaryteniod and thyroarytenoid muscles. The result gives a larger opening for oxygen to enter your lungs. When you attempt to swallow, or hold your breath to avoid sobbing, your lateral cricoarytenoid, aryepiglottic, and thyroepiglottic muscles constrict, struggling to close off your glottis. These opposing forces cause the sensation of a giant lump in your throat.

lacrimal-gland

Crying, or more specifically shedding tears, in response to an emotional stimulus is a much more complex issue.

To begin with, tears are produced by the almond shaped lacrimal glands situated on the outside portion of your orbit. Depending on the type of stimulus, the glands will produce three different tears. The first kind are basal tears. They get released every time you blink, serving to lubricate the eye and keep it free from dust or drying out.

The second type are reflex tears. They…

The Secret to Being Mentally Strong? Remove These 10 Errors from Your Mind

You may think thoughts are inconsequential – coming and going in a sometimes meaningful or meaningless way. But the thoughts we have and the way we think are more substantial than you may realise.

Getting into patterns of thought and creating different beliefs essentially shape our lives and our outlook on ourselves, how we perceive others and the world around us.

We can choose to think positive or negative thoughts on any given subject but, as humans, our tendency is to go straight to the negative which can have a detrimental effect on our mental strength.

Fixing Common Thinking Errors Can Bring You Lifelong Benefits

Making a conscious effort to notice our negative thought patterns and stopping them, takes great habit but it’s not impossible. It can be hard to undo a lifetime of thinking. But if you do find your thoughts are erring on the side of negative ask yourself, you should ask yourself: are they really benefiting me?

Here I’ll be going through 10 thinking errors and why they aren’t serving you. See if you identify with any of them and make today the day you start thinking differently.

10 Most Common Thinking Errors You Should Get Rid of

We create core negative beliefs through overgeneralising but the reason we do this is because it’s easy to fall into the trap. If we failed badly at something then we apply that belief to every time we attempt that thing again and more. Say you were in a relationship where the other person cheated on you or treated you badly – overgeneralising would be to believe all men (or women) cheat or that you’ll always be treated badly in relationships.

Don’t push the outcome of one contained situation onto other areas of your life.

Have you found that if one thing goes badly in your day that’s all you can focus on? We tend to choose to ignore and filter out any positives even though they massively outweigh that one negative.

Try and make a habit of picking out and focusing on all the positive aspects of the day whether it was your smooth commute to work, your partner bringing you a cup of morning coffee, the delicious lunch you had – decide to look at these things and conclude that positivity is all around you. Don’t ruin a day by focusing on a single negative.

It’s natural to feel like the world revolves around us but sometimes our thinking can cause us to only see things from our perspective and how we feel about a situation. If someone at work is short with you, you suddenly assume you’ve done something wrong. If your friend doesn’t text back straight away, then she must be angry at you for some reason.

But most of the time it’s nothing…

Why It Is a Lie That Time Heals All Wounds

It is difficult losing someone you love, whether it is caused by a death or from a breakup. You may battle with various emotions or reactions, which is a normal for the different stages of grief.

You have seen people who, after breaking up, give the impression that they have moved on. Sometimes, they seem to do it almost immediately. You see the photos on social media of them drunk at party and surrounded by hoards of people having “fun”. Or there may be cryptic status updates with quotes from anyone from Buddha to Adele.

Yet what is not on display are the nights they spend crying, asking for other people’s advice and obsessing. It may take weeks, months or even years before they can finally move on.

In fact, there are seven stages of grief according to the Kubler-Ross cycle:1

  • Shock – Feeling numb with disbelief protects you emotionally from being overwhelmed.
  • Denial – Once the shock wears off, you can’t believe this is happening and everything feels surreal.
  • Anger – The next stage will give way to feeling angry and even lashing out at others.
  • Bargaining – You feel very confused and as a result, you look for desperate ways out of this anguish that you feel.
  • Depression – A period of sadness takes over and you may be reflective of what was lost. You may feel lonely or in despair.
  • Testing – The reality is starting to sink in and you may go through experimenting with things to do that may help you to move on.
  • Acceptance – In the final stage, you will have accepted the situation and started to move forward.

It’s never easy to get through all these stages, but reaching the last stage of grief is essential for everyone to live on. Everyone will experience the stages of grief differently because the relationships we have are different and the way we handle emotions is not the same.

For someone mourning over a death, acceptance does not mean you are okay with the loss.

It is more that you have accepted the reality that they are no longer here. Even…

A Disorder That Many Famous People Have and Makes Them So Different from the Others

People with Schizoid Personality Disorder are typically detached from social relationships for long periods of time. They have difficulty expressing their emotions, have a minimal desire for intimacy, and will avoid close relationships with others at all costs. Albert Einstein and Bill Gates are two well-known individuals who had Schizoid Personality Disorder.

The Common Symptoms

  • Neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family
  • Almost always chooses solitary activities
  • Has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person
  • Takes pleasure in few, if any, activities
  • Lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
  • Appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others
  • Shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affect (emotion)

The Causes

What causes Schizoid Personality Disorder is unknown, however genetic and environmental factors, specifically in early childhood could possibly play a part in the development of the disorder.

If a person has a parent or another close relative who has schizophrenia or another similar mental illness, they may be at a greater risk of developing schizoid personality disorder.

When a parent repeatedly ignores the emotional needs of a child who is sensitive, they run the risk of causing long-term damage to that child’s social and emotional development, which can lead to the development of schizoid personality disorder later on.

If a person exhibits behavioral patterns and symptoms of this personality disorder, a doctor will do an evaluation. This includes getting their medical history and possibly a physical exam.

Unfortunately, lab tests that can be done…

Common Things That People Only Regret After They Break Up

Thinking of breaking up with your partner? Going through a breakup? Looking for some relationship advice? Here it is: Breakups can cause a whirlwind of emotions.

It’s Like Riding an Emotional Roller Coaster

There’s that sense of relief mixed with a touch of sadness. That new found freedom tainted by the nagging feeling that something is missing. And the worst of all? The regret. That doubting, remorseful notion that you have somehow made a mistake.

It’s Hard to Deal with Tons of Regrets

Regret can be hard to deal with. Sometimes, you regret wasting time on a failed relationship. You start thinking about all the things you could have done and counting all the wasted hours spent arguing.

Other times, you regret making the decision to end the relationship. You start remembering the good times and wishing it had all gone differently. You wonder if you’ve just made the biggest mistake of your life.

Guess what? You didn’t. Feeling any sort of regret after a breakup is normal and you are not alone.

It’s far too easy to look back on a relationship and reminisce about all the good times and everything you miss. When you’re regretting how everything ended it’s even easier to forget the bad moments.

The best bit of relationship advice for you right now is this: The bad moments happened, that’s why you broke up. Remember this the next time you start thinking, “If only…”

Sometimes you just completely regret the relationship. Not because you miss the other person, but because you feel like you’ve made a terrible mistake in your life.

Learning to recognize your regret is an important step in getting over your ex. Sound relationship advice let’s us know that once you…

Apart From “Get Well Soon”, What Else Can You Say to People Who’re Sick?

What do you say to your colleague or loved ones when they are sick without sounding awkward? Saying the right words to someone when they are sick can be a difficult thing to do depending on your relationship with them. It can be a very tricky situation whether your relationship with them is professional or personal.

Any time I get a word that someone close to me is sick, the first words that comes to mind – and eventually out of my mouth – is “get well soon”. It sounds cliché and lacks that sincere feel. It sounds too common. Not special.

I always wonder if there’s a better way to say that which I want to say without sounding odd – or even worse – to a sick friend. It can be embarrassing to utter the same words to different persons when they are sick.

We have different emotional connections with different persons. It will be great to be able to express how much we miss them with the right words especially when they are down.

If you are one of those who have the terrible habit of saying the wrong things when someone is sick, you’re not alone. Almost everyone has experienced this before, and a lot of other people are still going to experience it.

The reason is that we’re never prepared for the worst – especially when someone is sick. We just don’t want to think about it. And when it comes, we are thrown off our guard.

Some people are so good with words that they always have the right things to say even during awkward times. These people always comes off as the cool ones. But, why can’t we all be the cool? Why can’t we all come out as being sensitive?

This is a problem that needs to be solved. I found practical solutions to this. No, I wouldn’t go on listing things to say. That is too rigid as we’re are all unique.

Rather, I’ll…