In our search to find well-being (the balance of compassion and thought) we discovered the magic of meditation, the wonderful benefits of prayer, and the healthy infusion of mind, body, and spirit through the consumption of tea. Throughout these discoveries, we have come across various writings, videos, and artistic presentations which further this pursuit. To be of further service to you, we have compiled an assortment of these works which you may find beneficial. Please enjoy as we have.
“Wherever you go, go with all of your heart.”
Confucius, 551 BC – 478 BC
‘It’s All About Perception’ + 7 Other Lessons From My Month In An Ashram
I have to admit it: I felt scared as I sat in the airport waiting for my flight to New Delhi, India. For the coming month, I’d stay in an ashram in the Himalayas while completing my yoga teacher training.
Two years earlier, I’d been the biggest skeptic about spirituality, and now I was headed straight for the source of it. Life’s funny sometimes, no?
I knew the experience would be mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging. In the end, it was all of those things. But it was also exciting, mind-opening, and perspective-changing. Here are a few of the lessons I took away from my month in the ashram.
1. We must allow experiences to complete themselves.
All experiences must complete themselves. Children are especially good at completing their experiences. If someone steals a toy, a child might cry for a bit, but then move on to another one pretty quickly. As we grow older, we tend to shut down when difficult and negative feelings show up. Allow yourself to feel everything, to fully complete your experiences so that you can let go and move on.
Don’t hide from the darkest part of yourself. Choose to face it so that you can let it go.
2. Facing yourself is the only path to freedom.
To look at your insecurities, flaws and scars takes courage. Gosh, I avoided them for years. In today’s demanding, hyper-connected, busy society, it’s easy to stay distracted. But, if we don’t sit with difficult feelings, we can’t fully accept them. If we can’t accept them, we can’t fully release them. Don’t hide from the darkest part of yourself. Choose to face it so that you can let it go.
3. We’re much more powerful than we think.
You’ve heard it before: Your thoughts create your reality. During my time at the ashram, I noticed just how powerful our words and feelings really are. A few people in our group were negative from the start, having a hard time adapting and staying open-minded. All of them got sick in one way or another after just a few days. A coincidence? I don’t think so.
4. Your body is your subconscious.
In yoga, the body is seen as the crudest layer of the mind. That means the body is a reflection of your subconscious. Notice different areas of your body and how they reflect on a healthy or unhealthy state. Be grateful for the messages you receive so that you can make any necessary changes.
5. Negative emotions are messages.
When you think about something and you immediately don’t feel good, trust that your higher self (your soul, the divine, or whatever you want to call it) is looking at it from a different perspective. If you’re thinking “I’m not good enough,” you won’t feel good. That’s because your higher self is thinking that you’re the most adorable person ever. So when you experience negative emotions, ask yourself how you can look at that situation differently.
6. It’s all about perception.
Events are always neutral. It’s you and I who put labels on them. In the ashram, some labeled meditation as hard and difficult, so it became hard and difficult for them. Others labeled it as a time to learn and expand, so this became their experience. Make sure to label your journey based on what you want more of.
7. Life’s about finding balance.
When I was in the ashram, I was able to practice yoga daily, keep a sattvic diet, and do one hour of meditation per day. When I came home, I tried to keep the same routine. But, that didn’t work. Instead of helping me, my strict schedule just stressed me out. I came to accept that what worked in the Himalayas wasn’t going to work at home. As I pushed myself less, I was able to maintain my balance and turn “shoulds” into “wants.”
8. Everything is connected.
We’re all connected. During one meditation, I remember hearing a fly buzzing around my head. This would usually annoy me, but this time it was different. I felt a deep connection to the little fly and I was truly honored that he had chosen to fly around me. I think it was my first sneak peek into how everything actually is connected.
To learn more about how to find your spiritual calling, check out my free guide.
Emotional Intelligence From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
||t has been suggested that Reuven Bar-On be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since November 2016.|
Emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goal(s). Although the term first appeared in a 1964 paper by Michael Beldoch, it gained popularity in the 1995 book by that title, written by the author, psychologist, and science journalist Daniel Goleman. Since this time Goleman’s 1995 theory has been criticized within the scientific community.
There are currently several models of EI. Goleman’s original model may now be considered a mixed model that combines what have subsequently been modeled separately as ability EI and trait EI. Goleman defined EI as the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance. The trait model was developed by Konstantin Vasily Petrides in 2001. It “encompasses behavioral dispositions and self perceived abilities and is measured through self report”. The ability model, developed by Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 2004, focuses on the individual’s ability to process emotional information and use it to navigate the social environment.
Studies have shown that people with high EI have greater mental health, job performance, and leadership skills although no causal relationships have been shown and such findings are likely to be attributable to general intelligence and specific personality traits rather than emotional intelligence as a construct. For example, Goleman indicated that EI accounted for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ. Other research finds that the effect of EI on leadership and managerial performance is non-significant when ability and personality are controlled for, and that general intelligence correlates very closely with leadership. Markers of EI and methods of developing it have become more widely coveted in the past decade. In addition, studies have begun to provide evidence to help characterize the neural mechanisms of emotional intelligence.
Criticisms have centered on whether EI is a real intelligence and whether it has incremental validity over IQ and the Big Five personality traits. Review finds that, in most studies, poor research methodology has exaggerated the significance of EI.[
The term “emotional intelligence” seems first to have appeared in a 1964 paper by Michael Beldoch, and in the 1966 paper by B. Leuner entitled Emotional intelligence and emancipation which appeared in the psychotherapeutic journal: Practice of child psychology and child psychiatry.
In 1983, Howard Gardner‘s Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences introduced the idea that traditional types of intelligence, such as IQ, fail to fully explain cognitive ability. He introduced the idea of multiple intelligences which included both interpersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people) and intrapersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations).
The first published use of the term ‘EQ’ (Emotional Quotient) is an article by Keith Beasley in 1987 in the British Mensa magazine.[non-primary source needed][verification needed]
However, the term became widely known with the publication of Goleman‘s book: Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ (1995). It is to this book’s best-selling status that the term can attribute its popularity. Goleman has followed up with several further popular publications of a similar theme that reinforce use of the term. To date, tests measuring EI have not replaced IQ tests as a standard metric of intelligence. Emotional Intelligence has also received criticism on its role in leadership and business success.
The distinction between trait emotional intelligence and ability emotional intelligence was introduced in 2000.
Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. Emotional intelligence also reflects abilities to join intelligence, empathy and emotions to enhance thought and understanding of interpersonal dynamics. However, substantial disagreement exists regarding the definition of EI, with respect to both terminology and operationalizations. Currently, there are three main models of EI:
Different models of EI have led to the development of various instruments for the assessment of the construct. While some of these measures may overlap, most researchers agree that they tap different constructs.
Specific ability models address the ways in which emotions facilitate thought and understanding. For example, emotions may interact with thinking and allow people to be better decision makers (Lyubomirsky et al. 2005). A person who is more responsive emotionally to crucial issues will attend to the more crucial aspects of his or her life. Aspects of emotional facilitation factor is to also know how to include or exclude emotions from thought depending on context and situation. This is also related to emotional reasoning and understanding in response to the people, environment and circumstances one encounters in his or her day-to-day life.
Salovey and Mayer’s conception of EI strives to define EI within the confines of the standard criteria for a new intelligence. Following their continuing research, their initial definition of EI was revised to “The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth.” However, after pursuing further research, their definition of EI evolved into “the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions, to enhance thinking. It includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.” 
The ability-based model views emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment. The model proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional processing to a wider cognition. This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviors. The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities:
- Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one’s own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
- Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
- Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
- Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.
The ability EI model has been criticized in the research for lacking face and predictive validity in the workplace. However, in terms of construct validity, ability EI tests have great advantage over self-report scales of EI because they compare individual maximal performance to standard performance scales and do not rely on individuals’ endorsement of descriptive statements about themselves.
The current measure of Mayer and Salovey’s model of EI, the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) is based on a series of emotion-based problem-solving items. Consistent with the model’s claim of EI as a type of intelligence, the test is modeled on ability-based IQ tests. By testing a person’s abilities on each of the four branches of emotional intelligence, it generates scores for each of the branches as well as a total score.
Central to the four-branch model is the idea that EI requires attunement to social norms. Therefore, the MSCEIT is scored in a consensus fashion, with higher scores indicating higher overlap between an individual’s answers and those provided by a worldwide sample of respondents. The MSCEIT can also be expert-scored, so that the amount of overlap is calculated between an individual’s answers and those provided by a group of 21 emotion researchers.
Although promoted as an ability test, the MSCEIT is unlike standard IQ tests in that its items do not have objectively correct responses. Among other challenges, the consensus scoring criterion means that it is impossible to create items (questions) that only a minority of respondents can solve, because, by definition, responses are deemed emotionally “intelligent” only if the majority of the sample has endorsed them. This and other similar problems have led some cognitive ability experts to question the definition of EI as a genuine intelligence.
In a study by Føllesdal, the MSCEIT test results of 111 business leaders were compared with how their employees described their leader. It was found that there were no correlations between a leader’s test results and how he or she was rated by the employees, with regard to empathy, ability to motivate, and leader effectiveness. Føllesdal also criticized the Canadian company Multi-Health Systems, which administers the MSCEIT test. The test contains 141 questions but it was found after publishing the test that 19 of these did not give the expected answers. This has led Multi-Health Systems to remove answers to these 19 questions before scoring but without stating this officially.
Various other specific measures have also been used to assess ability in emotional intelligence. These measures include:
- Diagnostic Analysis of Non-verbal Accuracy – The Adult Facial version includes 24 photographs of equal amount of happy,sad, angry, and fearful facial expressions of both high and low intensities which are balanced by gender. The tasks of the participants is to answer which of the four emotions is present in the given stimuli.
- Japanese and Caucasian Brief Affect Recognition test – Participants try to identify 56 faces of Caucasian and Japanese individuals expressing seven emotions such happiness, contempt, disgust, sadness, anger, surprise, and fear, which may also trail off for 0.2 seconds to a different emotion.
- Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale – Participants reads 26 social scenes and answers their anticipated feelings and continuum of low to high emotional awareness.
The model introduced by Daniel Goleman focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. Goleman’s model outlines five main EI constructs (for more details see “What Makes A Leader” by Daniel Goleman, best of Harvard Business Review 1998):
- Self-awareness – the ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
- Self-regulation – involves controlling or redirecting one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
- Social skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction
- Empathy – considering other people’s feelings especially when making decision
- Motivation – being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.
Goleman includes a set of emotional competencies within each construct of EI. Emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance. Goleman posits that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies. Goleman’s model of EI has been criticized in the research literature as mere “pop psychology” (Mayer, Roberts, & Barsade, 2008).
Two measurement tools are based on the Goleman model:
- The Emotional Competency Inventory (ECI), which was created in 1999, and the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI), a newer edition of the ECI was developed in 2007. The Emotional and Social Competency – University Edition (ESCI-U) is also available. These tools developed by Goleman and Boyatzis provide a behavioral measure of the Emotional and Social competencies.
- The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal, which was created in 2001 and which can be taken as a self-report or 360-degree assessment.
Konstantinos Vasilis Petrides (“K. V. Petrides”) proposed a conceptual distinction between the ability based model and a trait based model of EI and has been developing the latter over many years in numerous publications. Trait EI is “a constellation of emotional self-perceptions located at the lower levels of personality.” In lay terms, trait EI refers to an individual’s self-perceptions of their emotional abilities. This definition of EI encompasses behavioral dispositions and self-perceived abilities and is measured by self report, as opposed to the ability based model which refers to actual abilities, which have proven highly resistant to scientific measurement. Trait EI should be investigated within a personality framework. An alternative label for the same construct is trait emotional self-efficacy.
The trait EI model is general and subsumes the Goleman model discussed above. The conceptualization of EI as a personality trait leads to a construct that lies outside the taxonomy of human cognitive ability. This is an important distinction in as much as it bears directly on the operationalization of the construct and the theories and hypotheses that are formulated about it.
There are many self-report measures of EI, including the EQ-i, the Swinburne University Emotional Intelligence Test (SUEIT), and the Schutte EI model. None of these assess intelligence, abilities, or skills (as their authors often claim), but rather, they are limited measures of trait emotional intelligence. One of the more comprehensive and widely researched measures of this construct is the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue), which was specifically designed to measure the construct comprehensively and is available in many languages.
The TEIQue provides an operationalization for the model of Petrides and colleagues, that conceptualizes EI in terms of personality. The test encompasses 15 subscales organized under four factors: well-being, self-control, emotionality, and sociability. The psychometric properties of the TEIQue were investigated in a study on a French-speaking population, where it was reported that TEIQue scores were globally normally distributed and reliable.
The researchers also found TEIQue scores were unrelated to nonverbal reasoning (Raven’s matrices), which they interpreted as support for the personality trait view of EI (as opposed to a form of intelligence). As expected, TEIQue scores were positively related to some of the Big Five personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness) as well as inversely related to others (alexithymia, neuroticism). A number of quantitative genetic studies have been carried out within the trait EI model, which have revealed significant genetic effects and heritabilities for all trait EI scores. Two recent studies (one a meta-analysis) involving direct comparisons of multiple EI tests yielded very favorable results for the TEIQue.
A review published in the journal of Annual Psychology found that higher emotional intelligence is positively correlated with:
- Better social relations for children – Among children and teens, emotional intelligence positively correlates with good social interactions, relationships and negatively correlates with deviance from social norms, anti-social behavior measured both in and out of school as reported by children themselves, their own family members as well as their teachers.
- Better social relations for adults – High emotional intelligence among adults is correlated with better self-perception of social ability and more successful interpersonal relationships while less interpersonal aggression and problems.
- Highly emotionally intelligent individuals are perceived more positively by others – Other individuals perceive those with high EI to be more pleasant,socially skilled and empathic to be around.
- Better family and intimate relationships – High EI is correlated with better relationships with the family and intimate partners on many aspects.
- Better academic achievement – Emotional intelligence is correlated with greater achievement in academics as reported by teachers but generally not higher grades once the factor of IQ is taken into account.
- Better social relations during work performance and in negotiations – Higher emotional intelligence is correlated with better social dynamics at work as well as better negotiating ability.
- Better psychological well-being.- Emotional intelligence is positively correlated with higher life satisfaction, self-esteem and lower levels of insecurity or depression. It is also negatively correlated with poor health choices and behavior.
Criticisms of theoretical foundation
Cannot be recognized as form of intelligence
Goleman’s early work has been criticized for assuming from the beginning that EI is a type of intelligence or cognitive ability. Eysenck (2000) writes that Goleman’s description of EI contains unsubstantiated assumptions about intelligence in general, and that it even runs contrary to what researchers have come to expect when studying types of intelligence:
“[Goleman] exemplifies more clearly than most the fundamental absurdity of the tendency to class almost any type of behavior as an ‘intelligence’… If these five ‘abilities’ define ’emotional intelligence’, we would expect some evidence that they are highly correlated; Goleman admits that they might be quite uncorrelated, and in any case if we cannot measure them, how do we know they are related? So the whole theory is built on quicksand: there is no sound scientific basis.”
Similarly, Locke (2005) claims that the concept of EI is in itself a misinterpretation of the intelligence construct, and he offers an alternative interpretation: it is not another form or type of intelligence, but intelligence—the ability to grasp abstractions—applied to a particular life domain: emotions. He suggests the concept should be re-labeled and referred to as a skill.
The essence of this criticism is that scientific inquiry depends on valid and consistent construct utilization, and that before the introduction of the term EI, psychologists had established theoretical distinctions between factors such as abilities and achievements, skills and habits, attitudes and values, and personality traits and emotional states.Thus, some scholars believe that the term EI merges and conflates such accepted concepts and definitions.
Confusing skills with moral qualities
Adam Grant warned of the common but mistaken perception of EI as a desirable moral quality rather than a skill, Grant asserting that a well-developed EI is not only an instrumental tool for accomplishing goals, but has a dark side as a weapon for manipulating others by robbing them of their capacity to reason.
Has little predictive value
Landy (2005) claimed that the few incremental validity studies conducted on EI have shown that it adds little or nothing to the explanation or prediction of some common outcomes (most notably academic and work success). Landy suggested that the reason why some studies have found a small increase in predictive validity is a methodologicalfallacy, namely, that alternative explanations have not been completely considered:
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Remedies For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects millions of people around the world in countless different ways, but fortunately, there are a number of home remedies for PTSD, which include the use of holy basil, chamomile, green tea, stinging nettle, valerian, aromatherapy, kava root, skullcap, and dong quai, as well as behavioral remedies, such as social engagement, avoiding reminders of the event, and reducing emotional arousal.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Although many people have heard of post-traumatic stress disorder, not everyone fully understands it, and the emotional repercussions of the disorder can be hard to comprehend unless you have experienced it personally. Post-traumatic stress disorder (commonly called PTSD) is a mental disorder that develops in many people following a traumatic event, such as a physical assault, armed conflict, rape, accidents or natural disasters. The disorder is characterized by intense bouts of anxiety, vivid recollections of the event, social reclusion, and other disturbing thoughts, feelings, and dreams. These PTSD episodes can vary in duration, intensity, and longevity, but are often connected to high emotional arousal or reminders/recollections of the PTSD-causing event.
Not all traumatic events cause PTSD, and the condition is not always permanent, sometimes lasting for only a few weeks, whereas more serious disorders can last for years, or even for life. About 10% of people will suffer from PTSD at some point in their life, and these numbers are particularly high during wartime and in the presence of large-scale natural disasters. It appears that children are less likely to suffer from PTSD for long periods of time if they are under the age of 10, although sexual assault and abuse of children often have lifelong effects. The most common treatment for PTSD is in the form of counseling or medication, such as SSRIs, and while these treatments can be effective in some situations, they can also cause dependency. Therefore, home remedies (both natural and behavioral) have become popular alternatives, and have shown a great deal of success. Let’s take a more in-depth look at some of these remedies for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Remedies For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Green Tea: Although Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental disorder, it can have significant effects on the body, including the immune system and hormonal balance. Green tea is an important immune system booster, and also has soothing qualities that can reduce nervous distress and mental anxiety. Adding green tea extract or regular cups of tea to your diet is an effective way to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.
Kava Root: If you’re looking for strong relaxant agents, which are important for people suffering from panic attacks or nervous episodes as a result of PTSD, kava root can be ideal. It is a powerful, natural muscle relaxant that comes in many forms, including teas, tinctures, and capsules, and has no known side effects. Use of kava is banned/restricted in many countries, so consult your health specialist before use.
Skullcap: For generations, skullcap has been used in traditional medicine practices to soothe nervous disorders. It has powerful effects on the nervous system and can ease distressing mental states and improve mood, thus preventing the spirals of anxiety and concern so common with PTSD.
Social Engagement: It is natural for those suffering from PTSD to shut themselves away from the world at large, either due to the fear of further trauma, or an unwillingness to engage with others. This can lead to depression and even more severe symptoms of PTSD, but actively engaging in social situations and communicating with others can be an effective and enjoyable strategy to lessen the effects of this disorder.
Dong Quai: As mentioned, there are numerous physical symptoms of Post-traumatic distress disorder that may arise, including overactive adrenal glands and an overly sensitive nervous system. The ancient Chinese herb of dong quai can effectively regulate the adrenal glands, preventing panic and high-anxiety moments, while keeping the nervous system healthy.
Chamomile: One of the most easily accessible remedies for PTSD is in the form of chamomile tea, which has been used for thousands of years to settle and soothe upset nerves; if you are feeling a “bad” day coming on, the natural compounds of chamomile can quickly relax the nerves and dispel negative thoughts.
Stinging Nettle: This herb is widely used in the natural treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, as it can regulate the adrenal gland to reduce the production of adrenaline. This is the hormone that is released during stressful or anxiety-inducing situations, and for those suffering from PTSD, the gland can be overactive, resulting in unnecessary flight-or-flight sensations that exacerbate the condition.
Avoiding Reminders: While some say that returning to the scene of trauma can lessen the mental stress of PTSD, frequent reminders of your experience, such as watching war movies obsessively after suffering from “shell shock”, can be very damaging and make the condition even worse. Living a normal life with PTSD is much easier if you try to distance yourself from regular contact with traumatic memories.
Counseling: Although talking about traumatic or painful events can be difficult, bottling up those emotions can be equally dangerous, allowing them to grow to even more intense dimensions in your mind. By speaking to a trained counselor, or even sharing your experience with trusted friends and loved ones, can help to reduce the power that the event holds over you, and forms a support network for your troubled mind.
Valerian: One of the most effective sedatives in any herbal medicine cabinet is valerian, which is important for the treatment of PTSD. Many sufferers experience insomnia, nightmares, and other restless conditions when they attempt to sleep, so a powerful sleep aid can ensure healthy, restful sleep, and dispel the negative thoughts and obsessive behavior that may accompany this disorder.
Aromatherapy: There are hundreds of different essential oils and volatile compounds that can be used in aromatherapy, many of which have soothing, anxiolytic, and sedative effects, providing a peaceful, calming experience. If you are suffering from a particularly bad day or a panic/anxiety attack, aromatherapy is a simple and effective home remedy.
Exercise: There are many natural ways to flood the body with positive endorphins and compounds, but exercise might be the easiest. The energetic rush and endorphin release following a strenuous workout can lower stress hormone levels, and also make it easier to relax and sleep, as a great deal of nervous energy is expended in the workout. Go for a job, play a pick-up game of basketball, or do some high-intensity weightlifting to eliminate those negative thoughts and feelings building up as a result of PTSD.
Reducing Emotional Arousal: Highly volatile emotional situations, such as fights, romantic entanglements, physical accidents and stressful events/gatherings can cause PTSD flashbacks or highly charged mental states. This can bring about severe anxiety, and should try to be avoided whenever possible. Remaining calm and collected is crucial to the natural treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
A Final Word of Warning: Post-traumatic stress disorder can vary widely in terms of severity and mental side effects. If you are suffering from extreme depression, or dangerous thoughts towards yourself or others, consult a counselor or a medical professional immediately, who will be able to guide you towards a healthy solution or outlet for your condition.
Give Drink to the Thirsty
“Giving drink to the thirsty.” This act of mercy had a special resonance in Mother Teresa’s life. Jesus’s words from the Cross, “I thirst” (Jn 19:28), succinctly summed up her call to quench the infinite thirst of Jesus on the Cross for love and souls. Encounter with the thirsty was then a reminder of that call and an always fresh invitation to respond first to the immediate need of the poor person in front of her, but also in a mystical way to satiate the thirst of Jesus, who was through this person-in the “distressing disguise of the poor”-asking her to “give me to drink”(Jn 4:7).
Always attentive to the needs of the poor, especially their basic physical needs, Mother Teresa took practical and necessary steps to help them. Supplying drinking water with the help of civic authorities of charitable associations wherever there was a shortage was one of her many efforts among the poor.
Yet she did not remain focused only there. She took the experience of thirst a step further, realizing that many people were thirsting ‘for kindness, for compassion, for delicate love.” She endeavored to offer some tangible expression of kindness, compassion, and love to meet this basis human need and encourage her followers to do the same.
Whatever the concrete reason that someone experiences either real physical thirst (a lack of water, the scarcity of means to reach it, an inability to take it, or the destitution of those dying on the streets) or human thirst for love, giving drink to the thirsty, as a work of mercy, definitely demands our attention. Following Mother Teresa’s example, we are challenged to recognize the thirsty around us, and to do all in our power to satiate their thirst, endeavoring like her to give drink to those who thirst for water but “not only for water, but knowledge, peace, truth, justice, and love.”
Mother Teresa said, “When Jesus was dying on the Cross, He cried, “I thirst.” We are to quench the thirst of Jesus for souls, for love, for kindness, for compassion, for delicate love. By each action done to the sick and dying, I quench the thirst of Jesus for love of that person-by my giving God’s love in me to that particular person, by caring for the unwanted, the unloved, the lonely, and … all the poor people. This is how I quench the thirst of Jesus for others by giving His love in action to them.”
“When He was dying on the Cross, Jesus said, “I thirst.” Jesus is thirsting for our love, and this is the test of everyone, poor and rich alike. We all thirst for the love of others-that they go out of their way to avoid harming us and do good to us. This in the meaning of true love-to give until it hurts.”
“A Call to Mercy” is available in hardback, paperback, and Kindle form through Amazon.
Mother Teresa once said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
We believe the spirit that connects each of us as human beings as well contributes to our health and well-being is found in the heart. It is through service to others, meditation, prayer, and fasting that we grow the love and compassion it contains.
It is our continuing effort to outline and express information, ideas, and techniques that will assist each of us in this process. As we have read in many of our offerings, tea contributes to this effort.
How To Take Care Of Yourself When You’re Someone Else’s Caregiver
There are many reasons we agree to take on the ultimate role reversal of caring for a parent. Feelings of guilt, obligation, responsibility, and love can be a part of the equation. Suddenly, you’re juggling too many balls as a parent, spouse, employee, friend, and caregiver. There is little room left for you in this scenario.
Your mom and dad will always be your parents, regardless of your age. Past relationships with your parents and siblings will influence your interactions as their caregiver. Spend some time reflecting on the labels you had growing up in your family. These memories may be good and bad. Were you the good kid or the troublemaker? How do you see yourself today as an adult member of your family? How will it affect your ability to be a member of the caregiving team for your parent?
Include this in your thinking as you carve out your role as your parent’s caregiver. If there was past or current conflict, you may want to add additional members to your caregiving team. There may be family, friends, or health care professionals from whom your parent might be more open to getting the necessary assistance.
There is almost a biological instinct to want to take care of an ailing parent who has been your lifelong caregiver. When you become a caregiver, it can shape your entire identity because it often consumes your time and energy in myriad ways. You must be proactive about preserving areas of your life that offer you personal rewards. Identify what makes you feel good about yourself apart from your role as caregiver. With that in mind, here are some lessons and related tips I learned as a caregiver and medical social worker to help you on this journey:
1. Allow yourself to feel the loss.
You are witnessing your parent’s diminishing mental and physical health as their caregiver. The parent you knew is no longer there. It’s important to allow yourself to grieve this loss. If your parent was abusive, there may be anger about assuming a caregiver role for someone who did not take care of you. A common mistake caregivers make is ignoring their feelings, which causes additional burdens of burnout, anger, and stress.
Identify someone you trust who you can talk with while you are a caregiver. You need to honestly discuss how your role as a caregiver is affecting you emotionally and physically. Choose people whom you can talk to candidly. If nobody can fill this role, consider seeing a clergy member or health care professional specializing in grief and loss. This is a significant way of maintaining your identity, acknowledging your humanity, your abilities, and limitations. An objective outside perspective is important.
2. Ask for help when you need it.
When my father became seriously ill it became apparent that I, my siblings, and a companion were not enough. My dad had multiple hospitalizations resulting from falls and other problems. We knew he wanted to stay at home, but an alternative decision had to be made. He needed 24-hour care in a skilled nursing program to stay safe. There were many sleepless nights getting crisis phone calls before I allowed myself to admit this. I was struggling in an emotional and physical fog and functioning on a marginal level before I allowed myself to consider this. Be honest and forgiving with yourself when tough decisions must be made.
Caregiving can take an enormous toll. Your loved one may not get all the help they need despite your best efforts. There is no shame in getting additional help like companions, respite care, assisted living, or a nursing home. Consult your parent’s doctor, a hospital social worker, or local geriatric specialist to determine the level, type, and amount of additional care that is needed.
3. Revisit your original role.
I needed my dad to be my father and he needed to be my parent even when he was ill. I asked him for advice on raising my dog and being a parent. He loved studying the economy and politics. I would intentionally get his financial advice. The familiarity of assuming our original roles brought us both a measure of comfort and was a bonding experience for us.
Allow your parent to be a parent whenever possible. Create these moments. If they can’t parent now, reminisce with them about meaningful times in the past when they fulfilled that role for you. Talk about how that felt. Photographs can help with people who have memory issues.
Caregiving can involve intimate activities like bathing and dressing. It may feel uncomfortable for both of you engaging in these tasks. Find nonfamily members to help with these jobs. Respect your privacy and theirs in these situations. Talk with your parent about potential areas of discomfort. Work together in creating a plan that can help manage these awkward circumstances.
Don’t ask yourself to do the impossible. Recognize what you can and cannot sacrifice and control. Regularly engage in other positive relationships. Create ongoing time for activities that you can enjoy guilt-free. Give yourself permission to put your needs first in spending time with people who nurture you. Be patient with yourself. Caregiving can be overwhelming. It can also be rewarding if safeguards are in place to ensure your well-being.
Here’s how one schoolteacher takes time each week to look out for the lonely.
RimDream/ShutterstockA few weeks ago, I went into my son Chase’s class for tutoring. I’d e-mailed Chase’s teacher one evening and said, “Chase keeps telling me that this stuff you’re sending home is math—but I’m not sure I believe him. Help, please.” She e-mailed right back and said, “No problem! I can tutor Chase after school anytime.” And I said, “No, not him. Me. He gets it. Help me.”
And that’s how I ended up standing at a chalkboard in an empty fifth-grade classroom while Chase’s teacher sat behind me, using a soothing voice to try to help me understand the “new way we teach long division.” Luckily for me, I didn’t have to unlearn much because I’d never really understood the “old way we taught long division.” It took me a solid hour to complete one problem, but I could tell that Chase’s teacher liked me anyway. She used to work with NASA, so obviously we have a whole lot in common.
Afterward, we sat for a few minutes and talked about teaching children and what a sacred trust and responsibility it is. We agreed that subjects like math and reading are not the most important things that are learned in a classroom. We talked about shaping little hearts to become contributors to a larger community—and we discussed our mutual dream that those communities might be made up of individuals who are kind and brave above all.
And then she told me this.
Every Friday afternoon, she asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student who they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.
And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, she takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her, and studies them. She looks for patterns.
Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
Who can’t think of anyone to request?
Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
Who had a million friends last week and none this week?
You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down—right away—who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.
As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children, I think this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students. It is like mining for gold—the gold being those children who need a little help, who need adults to step in and teach them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts. And it’s a bully deterrent because every teacher knows that bullying usually happens outside her eyeshot and that often kids being bullied are too intimidated to share. But, as she said, the truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets of paper.
As Chase’s teacher explained this simple, ingenious idea, I stared at her with my mouth hanging open. “How long have you been using this system?” I said.
Ever since Columbine, she said. Every single Friday afternoon since Columbine. Good Lord.
This brilliant woman watched Columbine knowing that all violence begins with disconnection. All outward violence begins as inner loneliness. Who are our next mass shooters and how do we stop them? She watched that tragedy knowing that children who aren’t being noticed may eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.
And so she decided to start fighting violence early and often in the world within her reach. What Chase’s teacher is doing when she sits in her empty classroom studying those lists written with shaky 11-year-old hands is saving lives. I am convinced of it.
And what this mathematician has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything—even love, even belonging—has a pattern to it. She finds the patterns, and through those lists she breaks the codes of disconnection. Then she gets lonely kids the help they need. It’s math to her. It’s math.
All is love—even math. Amazing.
What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day, and altering the trajectory of our world.
Find out more about reaction to this powerful article from Editor-in-Chief, Bruce Kelley.