This course aims to equip overwhelmed moms with the right tools and resources to prepare them to bounce back easily in the face of stressful situations. You will be able to shift your mindset from negative to positive, balance your emotions and help build new habits, so that you will find inner calm, be more present, live a more peaceful life and set an example of resilience for your children and your family.
It’s a self-paced course with life-time access. The course can be completed in as little as 8 weeks. The Resilience Journey is a personal development program that will give you full awareness of what is going in your mind (thinking) and in your heart (feeling), we reconnect both aspect and integrate them into a self-care plan.
But hey, this is not easy, and you’ll have to be committed and ready to change, so that this program can be put into action. And by commitment we mean 1 hour per week. This program can be completed as quickly as 8 weeks. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be stressful situations, because stress is part of our life, but you will be able to handle them without being much affected.
Overwhelm and frustration from little things ending up in shouting to your children, resulting in moms guilt, that would disappear.You would set an example for the whole family about how it is possible to respond in healthy ways to challenges and stressful times. And THAT is empowerment at its best.
Maybe you’re talking with your spouse. Or friend. Or brother. Or colleague. Whoever it is, you know that no matter how carefully you say something, the words won’t get through. They’re just so damn defensive.
You want to scream stuff like, “It’s not a personal attack!” or “I’m just trying to have a conversation!” Mostly, you want to ask, “Can you just stop being so defensive?”
Here’s the thing: No, they probably can’t. It’s right there in the word. They’re defending. “It implies there’s a threat,” says Ellen Hendriksen, clinical psychologist and author of How to Be Yourself. It could be you, but just as likely your words are triggering something deep-seated.
Once their fears are ignited, all focus is danger related. It’s hard for the defensive person to get out of that mode. And saying something like, “Don’t get so defensive,” is about as effective as saying “Relax” to someone panicking.
So what can you do when talking to someone who always gets defensive? Turn up your empathy and turn down your assumptions, because you’re most likely going into the interaction hot. You’re bracing for that person to feel threatened and that ends up threatening you.
“Then we have two reptilian brains talking to each other,” says Laura Silberstein-Tirch, licensed psychologist and author of How to Be Nice to Yourself. That means both of you are down to three options: fight, flight or freeze. “It’s a limited repertoire.”
You want to open that up. You can open that up. It means going in with a different attitude, almost a blank slate, where what’s happened in the past doesn’t matter, and instead of continuing to pull on a rope, and trying to “win” the discussion, you drop it. As Silberstein-Tirch says.“Our hands are free, and we have the freedom to choose how to respond.”
How To Break Through Someone’s Defenses
There’s no one thing to say to talk to a defensive person, but it’s like any successful communication. Hendriksen says to stay in the first person – “you” ups the threat level – and focus on specific acts rather than making things eternal character traits. Example: “That presentation wasn’t at your usual level” is taken better than “You’re not really good at public speaking, are you?” You can also pepper in ways to make any criticism a show of confidence, with something like, “I’m saying this because I know you can handle it and because you’re really smart.”
“Turn it into faith in them,” Hendriken says. But nothing is magic. Defensive people can turn the most benign comment into an attack, and there’s also something called sensitization. It’s like when hot coffee burns your tongue. Everything else, no matter how cool, will set it off, says Hendriksen. Your words, regardless of how thoughtful, can do that.
In those times, acknowledge the reality. It could be, “This might not be the right time. When would be better?” Or be even more direct with, “It seems what I’m saying isn’t working. How would you approach this problem?” In either of these scenarios, you’re out of the struggle, and giving responsibility to the other person to provide some insight and help with the solution.
“It allows them to show their cards a little more,” Silberstein-Tirch says.
Consider saying, “I notice when we talk about your mother, things go off. What can we do about it?” Here, you’re not talking about the issue, but talking about talking about the issue, and that one step removed makes it easier for the other person to engage. Rather than bumping heads, you’re now teaming up on the problem, which in couples therapy is called unified detachment, Hendriksen says.
But what also helps is to come into the conversation clean, like it’s the first time. You stay away from lines like, “I know you’re gonna get defensive,” a preface that has never caused someone to exhale. Instead, you want what Silberstein-Tirch calls “beginner’s brain.”
It means being present for the conversation that’s about to happen. It’s impossible to do this every time, but if you can foresee a difficult interaction, deep breathing can help slow you down. So can noticing three things you see, hear, and feel, in that order. “It grounds you in the here and now,” she says.
It all sounds doable and probably helpful, but also like a bit much, especially for someone else’s triggers. Really, it’s not your problem.
Maybe so, and if you had to run through these options all the time with a person, it would be too much. But if it only happens occasionally with someone you care about or need to keep working with, then it might be more beneficial to swallow some ego and take into account what matters the most in the long-term. “It’s the difference between being right or being effective,” Hendriksen says. “Do you choose being right or the relationship?”
“Abnormal Psychology”(PDF). Pearson International Schools.Barlow D (2012). Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach. Belmont, CA, USA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. ISBN978-1-111-34362-0.Bridges JW (1930). “What is abnormal psychology?”.SStanghellini G (June 2013).
Sometimes a frustrating problem turns out to be a solution when viewed from a different perspective.
Every operator on our team brought their paperwork to my workstation at the end of a job. Every operator in the plant brought their paperwork to those respective workstations. Except for Mike — and since it was my job to collect all the paperwork and turn it in to production control, I had to make the 30-yard walk to the head of the line six or eight times a day.
And it irritated the (crap) out of me. One day I was grumbling to another operator. “I don’t know why Mike can’t walk his paperwork down like everyone else,” I said. He shook his head. “Why do you care?” he said. “You walk up that way four or five times a day anyway. Just grab whatever’s there on your way by.” He was right.
I wanted Mike’s paperwork at the end of the job, because it satisfied my need for order and consistency, but I certainly didn’t need it. The urgency I felt was self-imposed. So I just decided I would grab his paperwork whenever I went by. And my frustration instantly disappeared.
Reduce Your Frustration
That’s a perfect example of cognitive reframing, In simple terms, reframing means viewing a situation or a problem from a different perspective. In my case, all it took was to look at the situation from Mike’s perspective. He saw me walk by four or five times a day. Why should he take time away from a job changeover to bring me his paperwork? His time was better spent getting us up and running on the next job.
In fact, every operator’s time on our crew was better spent that way. So I started collecting everyone’s paperwork, which ultimately saved us about a minute per job changeover. (Saving a minute doesn’t sound like much, but we were already so efficient that one simple change reduced our changeover time by nearly 8 percent.)
How serious is this problem? Am I getting worked up over nothing? In my case, Mike’s paperwork was definitely a non-issue.
Can I change something about how I view the problem that would completely change how I feel about it? Viewing the problem from a different perspective — not as an irritating behavior, but as a way to improve productivity — eliminated my frustration.
How can I handle this problem differently so I can direct my emotional energy to bigger, more important issues? I sought compliance with “this is how we do things around here,” so I wanted Mike to change. But I didn’t need him to change. What I needed, what we all needed, was to be more productive, and that’s where I needed to direct my energy.
Try it. Instead of dwelling on what you want, focus on what you need. Maybe that will mean picking up someone else’s slack in the service of greater good. Maybe that will mean overlooking an otherwise outstanding employee’s occasional quirks.
Reduce Your Anxiety
Or maybe, if you need to feel less stressed and more confident — and who doesn’t? — that will mean viewing the world a little differently. A few years ago, I was talking to Duff McKagan (OK, I’m name-dropping, but in my defense the Guns ‘N Roses bass player is a pretty great name to drop) about an upcoming TEDx Talk.
“I’m comfortable speaking to crowds,” I said, “but something about the TED style, format, and audience makes me nervous.” “Remember,” he said, “people want to see you do well. They want to see you kick ass.”Reframing the situation by realizing the audience would be on my side? I instantly felt more confident.
Say you’re anxious about a pitch meeting. You’re afraid potential investors will tear your presentation apart. That perspective — that fear — makes you see the people in the room as potential enemies. In fact, the opposite is true. Investors constantly search for great ideas, great ventures, or great companies. They need to invest in great people.
That means they’re on your side — not just out of the goodness of their hearts, but because your success could be their success. Which is why realizing that we’re all in this together, in almost every way, could be the best reframing approach of all.
Indecision can seem like a wholly undesirable trait. But research shows it might actually lead to smarter judgements. In the TV series The Good Place, the character Chidi Anagonye is defined by his inability to make even the simplest of decisions – from choosing what to eat, to proclaiming love for his soulmate. The very idea of making a choice often results in a serious stomach-ache. He is stuck in continued ‘analysis paralysis’.
We meet Chidi in the afterlife, and learn that his indecisiveness was the cause of his death. While standing in the street, endlessly equivocating on which bar to visit with his best friend, an air-conditioning unit from the apartment above falls on his head, killing him instantly.
“You know the sound that a fork makes in the garbage disposal? That’s the sound my brain makes all the time,” he says in one episode. And besides making himself unhappy, Chidi’s lack of confidence in his own judgements drives the people around him crazy.
If that sounds like an exaggerated version of you, then you are not alone: indecisiveness is a common trait. While some people come to very quick judgements, others struggle to weigh up the options – and may even try to avoid making a choice at all.
As Chidi shows, indecisiveness can be linked to problems like anxiety, yet recent research suggests that it can also have an upside – it protects us from common cognitive errors like confirmation bias, so that when the person does finally come to a judgement, it is generally wiser than those who jumped to a conclusion too quickly. The trick is to learn when to wait, and when to break through the inertia while it’s holding you back.
The enemy of good
Psychologists have various tools to measure indecisiveness. One of the most common questionnaires – the Frost Indecisiveness Scale – asks participants to rate a series of statements on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). They include:
I try to put off making decisions
I have a hard time planning my free time
I often worry about making the wrong choice
It seems that deciding on the most trivial thing takes me a long time
Using this scale, psychologists have shown that indecisiveness is often a product of perfectionism. Perfectionists are scared of the shame or regret that may come with making the wrong choice – and so they put off making decisions until they feel certain they are doing the right thing. (And in some cases, of course, they simply never reach that level of confidence.)
The frustration this brings can be a barrier to happiness; in general, the higher someone scores on the scale above, the lower they will score on measures of life satisfaction, according to a study by Eric Rassin, a professor of psychology at Erasmus University, in the Netherlands. They are less likely to endorse statements such as “the conditions of my life are excellent”, for example, or “if I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing”.
Jumping to conclusions
From these results, indecisiveness would seem like a wholly undesirable trait. Recent research, however, suggests that the struggle to come to a quick conclusion – as uncomfortable as it may be – can also have an upside, since it protects people from some important cognitive biases.
Evidence for these benefits comes from a recent paper by Jana-Maria Hohnsbehn, a doctoral researcher, and Iris Schneider, a professor of social psychology, at the TU Dresden (Technische Universität Dresden).
Rather than using the Frost Indecisiveness Scale, Hohnsbehn and Schneider focused on a measure of “trait ambivalence”, which looks more specifically at the thoughts and feelings underlying someone’s judgement and decision-making (or lack thereof). For example, people are asked to rate statements such as:
My thoughts are often contradictory
I often feel torn between two sides of an issue
Sometimes when I think about a topic, it almost feels like I am physically switching from side to side
“If these statements resonate with us, then we are probably high in trait ambivalence,” says Hohnsbehn.
As you might expect, those high in trait ambivalence take a longer time to make decisions. But Hohnsbehn and Schneider found that they are also less prone to bias when coming to their judgements.
For example, in one experiment, she asked her participants to read a series of scenarios, such as:
You meet a person, and you would like to find out whether he/she is an introvert or extrovert. You guess that the person is an extrovert. Which of the following two questions would you ask?
Do you like spending time at home alone?
Do you like going to parties?
Many people pick the second question, but this is a sign of confirmation bias – you are only looking for the information that agrees with your assumption, rather than looking for evidence that you may be wrong. Hohnsbehn and her colleagues found that people with high trait ambivalence were less likely to do this. Instead, they chose to interrogate their assumption, in order to make sure they had the information they needed to come to a correct answer.
For another experiment, the participants read about an employee, Mr Müller, who was seeking to get his contract renewed. After making a preliminary decision about whether to allow Mr Müller to continue in the role, the participants were given some additional statements, which were ostensibly from industry experts about Mr Müller. Some of these statements agreed with the participants’ initial decisions, while others disagreed.
The participants’ task was to rate the credibility and importance of each one. Hohnsbehn and Schneider found that the people scoring high on ambivalence tended to be more open-minded to the statements that disagreed with their initial point of view, and rated them more highly for their credibility and importance – whereas those who showed little trait ambivalence were more likely to discount them.
These findings are important, since confirmation bias is one of our most common cognitive errors, preventing us from analysing evidence rationally in everything from our personal relationships to our political views. Trait ambivalence helps protect us from this kind of oversimplistic thinking – and may also help us with other forms, too.
Studies by Schneider, for instance, suggest that people with high trait ambivalence are also less prone to “correspondence bias”, which is a tendency to ignore the context of someone’s behaviour and to instead attribute any failures and successes directly to the person themselves. To give a straightforward example: if someone slips over, correspondence bias might lead us to conclude that they are inherently clumsy (an internal factor), rather than recognising the slipperiness of the floor (an external factor).
Correspondence bias might also lead us to assume that someone struggling in their education simply lacks intelligence, rather than considering the strains of their financial difficulties or their responsibilities within the family. People with high trait ambivalence are more likely to recognise those other factors than people who form quick and confident judgements.
Action over inaction
Hohnsbehn’s research should be good news if you’ve ever felt impatient with your inability to come to a quick decision. “The general experience of being ambivalent needs to be embraced,” she suggests. “It can give us necessary pause, signalling to us that things are complex and that we need more time to engage in more careful thought about our decision.”
It is only when this becomes excessive that we face problems. “As with most things, there is a balance that needs to be struck,” adds Hohnsbehn. That might explain why indecisive people often score lower on those measures of life satisfaction – their ambivalence, when facing important choices, has become overwhelming.
One simple step might be to set a time limit for your final decision so that you do not spend too much time ruminating on the different options without actually gaining any new insights. Depending on the type of problem you are facing, Hohnsbehn suggests you might even consider turning it into a series of tasks – such as devoting two hours to the search for new information, for example, before spending a certain amount of time deliberating.
If you still feel paralysed, you might find inspiration in a study by Steven Levitt, an economist at the University of Chicago, which examined people’s overall happiness after making important life changes.
Levitt, who is a co-author of the book Freakonomics, set up a website where people described various dilemmas they were facing in their lives – from getting a tattoo to moving house, returning to education or quitting their jobs. The participants were then asked to flip a coin, the outcome of which would tell them whether or not to make the change.
Following up with the participants over the following months, Levitt found many people had taken the plunge; if the coin toss had told them to take action, they were more likely to make the life change. And they reported being significantly happier than those who had simply carried on as before (regardless of whether the coin had told them to or not), without quitting, moving or getting that tattoo.
We can guess that, before the study, most of these participants had already been thinking carefully about the situation at hand, but their worries about making the wrong choice had prevented them from taking the plunge. The coin had simply acted as a small nudge to finally overcome their ambivalence.
The moral of the study, then, is not that we should make all decisions on the whim of a tossed coin. It is that breaking through your hesitancy and doubt will leave you happier than you might imagine. “A good rule of thumb in decision making is, whenever you cannot decide what you should do, choose the action that represents a change, rather than continuing the status quo,” concluded Levitt.
Like Chidi in The Good Place, we can weigh up all the pros and cons of every situation – and that ambivalence will help us to make wiser choices. Once that ambivalent thinking has served its purpose, however, you must learn to cast it aside – safe in the knowledge that any decision is often better than making no choice at all.
Small retailers shop for dry fruits in a wholesale market, in New Delhi, Oct. 10, 2022. A record drop in the rupee -- on top of higher raw material and shipping costs - has made the nuts much costlier for Indian consumers. Manish Swarup—AP
The cost of living in Cairo has soared so much that security guard Mustafa Gamal had to send his wife and year-old daughter to live with his parents in a village 70 miles south of the Egyptian capital to save money. Gamal, 28, stayed behind, working two jobs, sharing an apartment with other young people and eliminating meat from his diet. “The prices of everything have been doubled,” he said. “There was no alternative.”
Around the world, people are sharing Gamal’s pain and frustration. An auto parts dealer in Nairobi, a seller of baby clothes in Istanbul and a wine importer in Manchester, England, have the same complaint: A surging U.S. dollar makes their local currencies weaker, contributing to skyrocketing prices for everyday goods and services. This is compounding financial distress at a time when families are already facing food and energy crunches tied to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The dollar is up 18% this year and last month hit a 20-year high, according to the benchmark ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of key currencies.
The reasons for the dollar’s rise are no mystery. To combat soaring U.S. inflation, the Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark short-term interest rate five times this year and is signaling more hikes are likely. That has led to higher rates on a wide range of U.S. government and corporate bonds, luring investors and driving up the U.S. currency.
Most other currencies are much weaker by comparison, especially in poor countries. The Indian rupee has dropped nearly 10% this year against the dollar, the Egyptian pound 20%, the Turkish lira an astounding 28%.
Celal Kaleli, 60, sells infant clothing and diaper bags in Istanbul. Because he needs more lira to buy imported zippers and liners priced in dollars, he has to raise prices for the Turkish customers who struggle to pay him in the much-diminished local currency.
“We’re waiting for the new year,” he said. “We’ll look into our finances, and we’ll downsize accordingly. There’s nothing else we can do.”
Ordinarily, countries could get some benefit from falling currencies because it makes their products cheaper and more competitive overseas. But at the moment, any gain from higher exports is muted because economic growth is sputtering almost everywhere.
A rising dollar is causing pain overseas in a number of ways:
— It makes other countries’ imports more expensive, adding to existing inflationary pressures.
— It squeezes companies, consumers and governments that borrowed in dollars. That’s because more local currency is needed to convert into dollars when making loan payments.
Put simply: “The dollar’s appreciation is bad news for the global economy,’’ says Capital Economics’ Ariane Curtis. “It is another reason why we expect the global economy to fall into recession next year.’’
In a gritty neighborhood of Nairobi known for fixing cars and selling auto parts, businesses are struggling and customers unhappy. With the Kenyan shilling down 6% this year, the cost of fuel and imported spare parts is soaring so much that some people are choosing to ditch their cars and take public transportation.
“This has been the worst,” said Michael Gachie, purchasing manager with Shamas Auto Parts. “Customers are complaining a lot.’’
Gyrating currencies have caused economic pain around the world many times before. During the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, for instance, Indonesian companies borrowed heavily in dollars during boom times — then were wiped out when the Indonesian rupiah crashed against the dollar. A few years earlier, a plunging peso delivered similar pain to Mexican businesses and consumers.
The soaring dollar in 2022 is uniquely painful, however. It is adding to global inflationary pressures at a time when prices were already soaring. Disruptions to energy and agriculture markets caused by the Ukraine war magnified supply constraints stemming from the COVID-19 recession and recovery.
In Manila, Raymond Manaog, 29, who drives the colorful Philippine mini-bus known as a jeepney, complains that inflation — and especially the rising price of diesel — is forcing him to work more to get by.
“What we have to do to earn enough for our daily expenses,” he said. “If before we traveled our routes five times, now we do it six times.”
In the Indian capital New Delhi, Ravindra Mehta has thrived for decades as a broker for American almond and pistachio exporters. But a record drop in the rupee — on top of higher raw material and shipping costs — has made the nuts much costlier for Indian consumers.
In August, India imported 400 containers of almonds, down from 1,250 containers a year earlier, Mehta said.“If the consumer is not buying, it affects the entire supply chain, including people like me,’’ he said.
Kingsland Drinks, one of the United Kingdom’s biggest wine bottlers, was already getting squeezed by higher costs for shipping containers, bottles, caps and energy. Now, the rocketing dollar is driving up the price of the wine it buys from vineyards in the United States — and even from Chile and Argentina, which like many countries rely on the dollar for global trade.
Kingsland has offset some of its currency costs by taking out contracts to buy dollars at a fixed price. But at some point, “those hedges run out and you have to reflect the reality of a weaker sterling against the U.S. dollar,” said Ed Baker, the company’s managing director.
Translation: Soon customers will just have to pay more for their wine.
The surge in the value of the US dollar against other major currencies under the impact of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike is raising concerns about its effect both on the financial system and the global economy.
According to an index compiled by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the dollar has risen 13 percent this year against a basket of currencies. But the movement is even more marked in relation to other major currencies.
So far this year the dollar has risen 17 percent against the pound, sending the British currency to its lowest point since 1985.
The Japanese yen has fallen to its lowest against the dollar in 24 years, amid expectations that its precipitous slide will go further, prompting hints from the government that official intervention may be necessary. The euro is now trading at below parity against the US currency for the first time since its launch in 1999.
Warnings about the continued dollar surge are being sounded in the financial press. Over the weekend the Financial Times (FT) published an editorial comment under the headline “Currency shifts add to global woes.”
It said that in the midst of an energy crisis and the highest inflation in four decades the “global economy is also being rattled by big realignments in exchange rates.” Under conditions of war in the Ukraine, the European energy crisis and concerns over how some emerging markets will manage high oil and food prices, there was a move to seek security in US assets, which are regarded as “the least unsafe option.”
The surging US dollar, which is fueling price hikes in the rest of the world via imported goods, is one of the factors driving interest rate hikes by central banks, particularly in Europe.
For so-called emerging market economies in addition to rising food and energy prices, the rise in the dollar increases the burden of dollar-denominated debt and threatens to spark capital outflows. According to the International Monetary Fund, around 20 emerging markets have debt now trading at “distressed” levels. This proportion can be expected to rise.
The WSJ noted that because the dollar is at the centre of world financial markets its rise can have unforeseen consequences. Investors and policy makers, it said, were being forced to “consider history’s unkind lessons…….to be continued