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Psychology

5 ways to build lasting self-esteem

Reading:

Everyone is in favor of high self-esteem — but cultivating it can be surprisingly tough. Psychologist Guy Winch explains why — and describes smart ways we can help build ourselves up.

Many of us recognize the value of improving our feelings of self-worth. When our self-esteem is higher, we not only feel better about ourselves, we are more resilient as well. Brain scan studies demonstrate that when our self-esteem is higher, we are likely to experience common emotional wounds such as rejection and failure as less painful, and bounce back from them more quickly. When our self-esteem is higher, we are also less vulnerable to anxiety; we release less cortisol into our bloodstream when under stress, and it is less likely to linger in our system.

Morality, Empathy and Altruism

Morality

  1. What qualities make a person high-minded?
  2. Do we need religion to be people of good morals? Are we indebted to religion for the existence of morality?
  3. The vision of morality is different in various cultures. Why is it so?
  4. Is it necessary to create universal moral values? If so, what should they be like?
  5. Should people all over the world reach common ground about answers for the most important questions of human life?

Self-Identification

Personal Identity

  1. What views have you changed during your lifetime? How and why did you change them? Think about:
  • religious worldview;
  • political views;
  • attitude to bad habits;
  • attitude to money;
  • attitude to time;
  • views about relationships;
  • views about marriage and family;
  • views about friendship;
  • preference in music, books, movies.

Intelligence (revised)

  1. What is intelligence?
  2. What makes a person intelligent?
  3. Should a person read a lot to be intelligent?
  4. Do you need higher education to be intelligent?
  5. Should an intelligent person have high morality?
  6. Is being intelligent means being able to think critically?
  7. Does intelligence make people more attractive?
  8. Who is the most intelligent person around your way?
  9. Who is the most intelligent person among famous people? Why do you think so?

Personality (revised)

Questions for discussion:

  1. What shapes our personality: our genes or the environment where we grow up? Justify your opinion, give the examples.
  2. Do you think you can change a major characteristic of your personality if you try? If so, what would you change?
  3. Do you think it’s possible to change any aspect of your personality?
  4. What personality traits do you consider important in a good friend / a boss / a partner?

How to make separation (divorce) less painful?

Reading:

Seeing your parents divorce is hard for any child, young or old. After all, the family unit as they know it may be changing overnight. By giving them the right emotional and mental support you can help them emerge stronger from the experience. Here’s what you need to know. When you and your spouse separate, it has emotional and mental fallout for your kids too. Children experience a sense of loss, anxiety, fear of abandonment, anger, and even guilt that they may somehow be responsible. From stranger anxiety to irritability and anxiety in smaller kids to slipping grades and behavioral issues in teens, every age group handles divorce differently. It isn’t going to be easy, but, fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to make it less painful. Start with some simple but effective steps that’ll help you approach the situation better. 

Teenagers: Why do they rebel? (revised)

Teenagers say what REALLY annoys them about their mothers

Singing in the car, trying to be one of the gang and Facebook friend requests: Teenagers give their (toe-curling) views on what REALLY annoys them about their mothers

  • Joe Lawrence, 17, from London, is sick of his mother Julia singing in the car
  • Olivia Becci, 17, from London, wants her mother Anna-Maria to stop trying to be one of the girl gang when her friends come over to her house 
  • Seth Daker, 18, from Ripponden, West Yorkshire, wants his mother Nicky to stop sending him friend requests on social media including Facebook and Twitter

Is Empathy Overrated?

Reading: While it may result in tremendous good, empathy can also be narrow, biased and surprisingly insensitive, argues psychology professor Paul Bloom.

Does empathy make the world a better place? It certainly looks like it. After all, empathy drives people to treat others’ suffering as if it were their own, which then motivates action to make the suffering go away. I see the bullied teenager and might be tempted initially to join in with his tormentors, out of sadism or boredom or a desire to dominate or be popular, but then I empathize — I feel his pain, I feel what it’s like to be bullied — so I don’t add to his suffering. Maybe I even rise to his defense. Empathy is like a spotlight directing attention and aid to where it’s needed.

Positive Thinking: Is it something we all need to learn?

Why pessimists have a reason to be cheerful

Whatever explains Japan’s chart-topping life expectancy, it isn’t being really chipper all the time

For critics of positive thinking like me, as well as for plain old curmudgeons (also like me, to be fair), it’s an awkward truth that an optimistic outlook does seem to lead to a healthier life. Scientists, with their annoying fixation on facts, have published study after study suggesting that an upbeat attitude protects you from cancer, heart disease and stroke. In one big analysis of American women, the most optimistic were 29% less likely to die, during a six-year follow-up, than the least; in another, involving men too, people with positive views of ageing ended up living longer.

Is psychological health as important as physical?

Bosses should be sent on mental health courses to stop employees becoming stressed and depressed, claims major study as expert reveals tips to make you happier at work

  • Employees reported 18% less sick days if their manager went on the course
  • Hectic workloads can often lead to poor mental health - resulting in sick days
  • The world-first University of New South Wales research is dubbed 'promising'

Jealousy, Prejudice and Discrimination

Reading: Jealousy, Prejudice, and Short People

Short people tend to be more prone to feelings of inferiority and jealousy, a recent study concluded. The researchers polled more than 500 Dutch and Spanish of both sexes in an effort to determine which characteristics made people uneasy with romantic competitors. They discovered a number of universalities, realizing that men and women viewed money, strength, looks, and charm as threatening. However, feelings of unease and nervousness diminished the taller a person's stature. Jealousy was exacerbated in short people.

Downshifting: a new way to get happier?

Reading:

Originally the term "downshifting" referred to changing down a gear, in a manual geared car, to slow the car in addition to using the brakes.
 
In recent usage, the term is used to mean the gradual process of changing your life so it is simpler, quieter, balanced, and much less stressful.  
 
What is a downshifter?  
 
Downshifters are people who adopt long-term voluntary simplicity in their life. They accept less money through fewer hours worked in order to have time for the important things in life. Downshifters also place emphasis on consuming less in order to reduce their ecological footprint.  

Speaking multiple languages can give you multiple personalities

Reading: 

The idea that language affects the way we look at the world is hardly new. But could your personality actually change depending on which language you're speaking? That's the idea put forward by a new psychological study.

Euthanasia

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is the difference between euthanasia and suicide?
  2. Is there a difference between euthanasia and murder?
  3. Does a family member or a doctor have the right to turn off a life support machine?
  4. How long should doctors keep someone alive who is brain dead?

Psychological Boundaries

Reading:

Boundaries define where we end and other people begin, both physically and emotionally. Psychologically, they define a space we see as our own, separate from other people. When we are in love or feel very close to another person through friendship, collaboration, or special circumstances, boundaries may get blurred, as we see ourselves not as separate from them. However, even then boundaries continue to be an important piece of our emotional health.

Is envy eating us alive?

Reading:

Is Envy Eating Us alive?

Have you ever been in the situation of seeing someone you perceive as an equal succeed beyond their – and your – wildest dreams? Have you ever struggled to understand how they did it, given that they are, according to you, no more talented or skilled than you? If the answer to these questions is yes, you have likely struggled with the painful feeling of envy.

The problem of choice

Reading:

Should Governments Nudge Us to Make Good Choices?

Our decisions are constantly shaped by subtle changes in our environment. Even choices that feel deliberate and conscious can be swayed by cues that we may not even notice, such as social norms or the setting of a default option. Behavioral scientists use the phrase “choice architecture” to describe the ways in which the environment influences how we decide.

Introverts and extraverts

  1. Are introversion and extraversion inherited qualities?
  2. In what age does the type of personality peep?
  3. Is it possible to be an extravert and introvert simultaneously? Can we get more introverted or extraverted if we want?
  4. What are the qualities that determine an introvert?
  5. What are the qualities that determine an extravert?
  6. What type of personality could you attribute yourself to and why?
  7. Can you determine personality type of any person by his behavior?

Mood, Feelings and Emotion

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you express how you feel or do you keep it in?
  2. What makes you happy?
  3. What is one of your happiest memories?
  4. Can money buy you happiness?
  5. Do you like to watch comedies?

Cheating

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is your definition of cheating?
  2. Have you ever cheated?
  3. Why do you think that people cheat?
  4. Have you ever cheated in an exam?

Professional Identity

Choosing a profession

  1. What is your profession? What personality traits one should have to get it?
  2. What influenced your career choice? By what criteria did you make a choice?
  3. What kind of talents does a person need to be a professional in your field of work?
  4. What are your talents? How do you utilize your potential at work? Which of your talents do you develop just for yourself as a hobby (if you have one)?

Pride

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is pride?
  2. Are you proud of your country?
  3. Do you feel more pride in yourself or in others?
  4. Are you proud of your heritage?
  5. Do you think you were always a source of great pride for your parents?

Body Language

Questions for discussion:

  1. Why do you think body language is important?
  2. How do you use body language in your daily life?
  3. How does body language help you to communicate?
  4. How does your native culture use body language?
  5. What kind of body language do you use at school, University and work place?

Middlelife Crisis (Revisited)

Questions for discussion:

  1. What is the definition of midlife crisis?
  2. Di you have your midlife crisis?
  3. Do you think everyone has a midlife crisis?
  4. What can you do to minimize midlife crisis?

Uniqueness

Vocabulary: 

Unique –not typical; unusual 
Characteristic – a distinguishing quality, attribute, or trait 
Extraordinary – very unusual, remarkable 
Exceptional -unusually excellent; superior
Astonish - to fill with surprise or wonder; amaze 
 

Feelings that drive us crazy

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you get annoyed when other people display bad manners? Could you give some examples?
  2. Do you get annoyed when someone cuts in front of you when you are waiting in line?
  3. Do you get angry when politicians make promises they can't keep?
  4. Do you get annoyed when you watch the news on TV and see all the terrible things happening in the world?
  5. Does it annoy you when shop assistants try to sell you things you don't need?

Сhildhood. Are we similar to our parents?

1. How are you similar to your parents? How are you different?

2. Were your parents super protective?At what age could you go
places by yourself? Did your parents always tell you what to do?

3. Did you play outside? What did you like to play? How long did you
play outside a day? Could you play outside all year long?

4. Did you play on the streets? Was it dangerous to play in the streets? What kind of things did you do in the streets? Did you ever have an accident while playing in the streets? What happened?

Is marriage an identity crisis?

In 1921, Stone's example inspired the journalist Ruth Hale to found the
Lucy Stone League, an American organization supporting women's rights
to keep and use their maiden names. Mentored by Helena Normanton, and
open to both women and men, the 'Lucy Stoners' challenged in federal
court any government edict that would not recognise a married woman by
the name she chose to use. Their slogan was "My name is my identity
and must not be lost." During the 1920s they succeeded in getting real

Superstitions

Reading: Most people in the world have similar superstitions. Here are some of them:

How Successful People Stay Calm

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.

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