Responding To Microaggressions In The Classroom

The term “microaggression” was coined in 1970 to name relatively slight, subtle, and often unintentional offenses that cause harm (Pierce, 1970). Since then, a substantial body of research on microaggressions has demonstrated their prevalence and harmful effects (Boysen, 2012; Solorzan, et. al., 2010; Suárez-Orozco, et. al., 2015; Sue, 2010).

Whether an observer, the target, or the unintentional perpetrator of microaggressions, faculty often don’t know how to respond to them in the moment. We may feel frozen (if the observer) or defensive (if the target or perpetrator). How we respond can shift the communication climate from supportive to defensive, which can have an adverse effect on student learning and comfort (Dallimore, et al, 2005; Souza, et al, 2010).

Despite the feelings of paralysis or reactivity that tend to emerge in response to microaggressions in the classroom, certain practices can be implemented to increase the likelihood of maintaining a supportive climate. The following communication framework is offered as one of many possible response strategies to help faculty feel better equipped to effectively respond when a microaggression occurs.

I developed this framework (first introduced in Chueng, Ganote, & Souza, 2016) as an interactive response one could take to a microaggression by a student in the classroom. The acronym and steps below provide a guide on how to take ACTION rather than feeling frozen when faced with a microaggression.

Ask clarifying questions to assist with understanding intentions.

“I want to make sure that I understand what you were saying.  Were you saying that…?”

Come from curiosity not judgment.

  • Listen actively and openly to their response.
  • If they disagree with your paraphrase and clarify a different meaning, you could end the conversation. If you suspect they are trying to “cover their tracks,” you may consider making a statement about the initial comment to encourage learning.

I’m glad to hear I misunderstood you, because, as you know, such comments can be…”

  • If they agree with your paraphrase, explore their intent behind making the comment.

Can you tell me what you were you hoping to communicate with that comment?”

“Can you please help me understand what you meant by that?

Tell what you observed as problematic in a factual manner.

“I noticed that . . .”

Impact exploration: ask for, and/or state, the potential impact of such a statement or action on others.

“What do you think people think when they hear that type of comment?”

“As you know, everything speaks. What message do you think such a comment sends?”

“What impact do you think that comment could have on …”

Own your own thoughts and feelings around the impact.

“When I hear your comment I think/feel…”

“Many people might take that comment to mean…”

“In my experience, that comment can perpetuate negative stereotypes and assumptions about… I would like to think that is not your intent.”

Next steps: Request appropriate action be taken.

“Our class is a learning community, and such comments make it difficult for us to focus on learning because people feel offended. So I am going to ask you to refrain from stating your thoughts in that manner in the future. Can you do that please?”

“I encourage you to revisit your view on X as we discuss these issues more in class.”

“I’d appreciate it if you’d consider using a different term because it is inconsistent with our course agreement regarding X…”

When practiced, the ACTION framework can be a tool that is quickly retrieved out of your mental toolbox to organize your thoughts and unpack the microaggression in a way that addresses the situation and cools down tension.

When students make comments that are microaggressive in the classroom, doing nothing is a damaging option (Souza, Vizenor, Sherlip, & Raser, 2016). Instead, we can engage thoughtfully and purposively in strategies that maintain a positive climate that is conducive to learning and models the skills needed in responding to microaggressions in any context (Souza, 2016).

By:

Source: Responding to Microaggressions in the Classroom: Taking ACTION

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Related contents:

“Neurobiology of Escalated Aggression and Violence”. Journal of Neuroscience. 27 (44): 11803–11806. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3500-07.2007. ISSN 0270-6474. PMC 2667097. PMID 17978016.Buss, A. H. (1961). The psychology of aggression. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.Wahl, Klaus (2020).

The Radical Right. Biopsychosocial Roots and International Variations. London: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 47. ISBN 978-3-030-25130-7. OCLC 1126278982.Wahl, Klaus (2013).

Aggression und Gewalt. Ein biologischer, psychologischer und sozialwissenschaftlicher Überblick. Heidelberg: Spektrum Akademischer Verlag. p. 2. ISBN 978-3-8274-3120-2. OCLC 471933605.

Aggression: Its causes, consequences, and control. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.McEllistrem, Joseph E. (2004). “Affective and predatory violence: A bimodal classification system of human aggression and violence”. Aggression and Violent Behavior. 10 (1): 1–30. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2003.06.002.

Relational Aggression Among Students Principal Leadership, October, copyright the National Association of Secondary School Principals

“International Court May Define Aggression as Crime”. The New York Times.Nathaniel Snow

Violence and Aggression in Sports: An In-Depth Look (Part One) (Part 2Part 3) Bleacher Report, 23 March 2010

Journal of Psychiatric Research. 41 (6): 488–92. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2006.04.009. PMID 16765987.Barbara Krahé (11 February 2013).

The Social Psychology of Aggression: 2nd Edition. Psychology Press. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-136-17772-9.Elizabeth Kande Englander (30 January 2003).

Understanding Violence. Psychology Press. pp. 55–86. SBN 978-1-135-65676-8.Merriam-Webster: Aggression Retrieved 10 January 2012

Online Etymology Dictionary: Aggression Retrieved 10 January 2012Stearns, D. C. (2003).

Anger and aggression. Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood: In History and Society. Paula S. Fass (Ed.). Macmillan Reference Books

Developmental Origins of Aggression, 2005, The Guilford Press.

“Numerical assessment affects aggression and competitive ability: A team-fighting strategy for the ant Formica xerophila”. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 273 (1602): 2737–42. doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.3626. JSTOR 25223670. PMC 1635503. PMID 17015327.

Lethal intergroup aggression leads to territorial expansion in wild chimpanzees”. Current Biology. 20 (12): R507–8. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2010.04.021. PMID 20620900. S2CID 6493161.Issa, F. A.; Adamson, D. J.; Edwards, D. H. (1999).

Dominance hierarchy formation in juvenile crayfish procambarus clarkii”. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 202 (24): 3497–506. doi:10.1242/jeb.202.24.3497. PMID 10574728.

“Individual Variation in Social Aggression and the Probability of Inheritance: Theory and a Field Test” (PDF). The American Naturalist. 167 (6): 837–52. doi:10.1086/503445. hdl:10871/26263. PMID 16615035. S2CID 12094679.

Aggression and Peacefulness in Humans and Other Primates ISBN 0-19-507119-0

Evolution and the psychology of intergroup conflict: The male warrior hypothesis”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 367 (1589): 670–9. doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0301. JSTOR 41433544. PMC 3260849. PMID 22271783.uss, D.M. (2005).

The murderer next door: Why the mind Is designed to kill. New York: Penguin Press.

“The evolution of aggression”. In Schaller, M.; Simpson, J. A.; Kenrick, D. T. (eds.). Evolution and Social Psychology. New York: Psychology Press. pp. 263–86.Briffa, Mark (2010).

“Territoriality and Aggression”. Nature Education Knowledge. 3 (10): 81.Archer, John (2009).

Does sexual selection explain human sex differences in aggression?” (PDF). Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 32 (3–4): 249–66, discussion 266–311. doi:10.1017/S0140525X09990951. PMID 19691899.

The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, edited by David M. Buss, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005. Chapter 21 by Anne Campbell.[page needed]Zuk, M. “

Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can’t Learn about Sex from Animals.” University of California Press, 2002[page needed]

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Should You Buy BWX Technologies Stock At Around $55?

BWX Technologies stock (NYSE: BWXT XT ), a supplier of nuclear components and fuel, has seen a 9% rise this year, significantly outperforming the broader S&P500 index, down 23%. However, in the longer term, BWXT stock, with -13% returns from levels seen in late 2017, has underperformed the S&P 500 index, up around 37%. Despite the rise this year, BWXT stock has more room for growth, as discussed below.

This 13% fall for BWXT stock since late 2017 can primarily be attributed to 1. a 38% decline in the company’s P/S ratio to 2.2x trailing revenues currently, compared to 3.6x in 2017, partly offset by 2. BWX Technologies’ revenue rising 29% to $2.2 billion over the last twelve months, compared to $1.7 billion in 2017, and 2. an 8% fall in its total shares outstanding to 91.4 million. The increase in revenue and a fall in shares outstanding has meant that BWX Technologies’ revenue per share rose 40% to $23.80 over the last twelve months, vs. $16.99 in 2017.

Of late, defense stocks, including BWXT, have benefited from rising geopolitical tensions, considering the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. The ongoing war has also caused crude oil prices to surge to over $90 per barrel, compared to a $68 average in 2021, broadly helping nuclear energy stocks.

BWX reports its revenue under three segments – Nuclear Operations Group, Nuclear Power Group, and Nuclear Services Group. Note that BWX derives around 75% of its revenue from the U.S. government contracts, including designing and manufacturing nuclear components for the U.S. Navy and the Department of Energy.

BWX divested its U.S.-based commercial nuclear services business, weighing on its Nuclear Services Group segment revenues in 2021. However, higher volumes of in-plant inspection, maintenance, and modification services aided the revenues of the Nuclear Power Group.

Not only BWX Technologies’ revenue growth has been robust, but its operating margin has also been stable, even during the pandemic. The operating margins rose from 19.0% in 2017 to 20.9% in 2019 before falling to 19.5% over the last twelve months. Our BWX Technologies Operating Income dashboard has more details.

From a valuation point of view, BWXT stock looks like it has more room for growth. The company is expected to post revenue of $2.3 billion in 2022 (per the consensus estimates). Assuming the current share count of 91.4 million (reported for Q2 2022), we arrive at the expected revenue per share of $24.73 for the full year.

At its current levels, BWXT stock is trading at 2.1x forward expected revenues, compared to the last three-year average of 2.7x. Given the Russia-Ukraine conflict and an anticipated rise in defense spending, an upward revision in trading multiple for BWXT makes sense. Moreover, BWXT is trading at a lower multiple when compared to its historical average, implying that the stock is likely to see higher levels going forward.

While BWXT stock looks like it can gain more, it is helpful to see how BWX Technologies’ Peers fare on metrics that matter. You will find other valuable comparisons for companies across industries at Peer Comparisons.

Furthermore, the Covid-19 crisis has created many pricing discontinuities, which can offer attractive trading opportunities. For example, you’ll be surprised at how counter-intuitive the stock valuation is for TeleTech vs. Amerco.

What if you’re looking for a more balanced portfolio instead? Our high-quality portfolio and multi-strategy portfolio have beaten the market consistently since the end of 2016.

Invest with Trefis Market Beating Portfolios

See all Trefis Price Estimates

Led by MIT engineers and Wall Street analysts, Trefis (through its dashboards platform dashboards.trefis.com) helps you understand how a

Source: Should You Buy BWX Technologies Stock At Around $55?

.

Critics by Zacks Equity Research

Investors with an interest in Electronics – Miscellaneous Components stocks have likely encountered both Kyocera (KYOCY) and BWX Technologies (BWXT). But which of these two companies is the best option for those looking for undervalued stocks? Let’s take a closer look.

Everyone has their own methods for finding great value opportunities, but our model includes pairing an impressive grade in the Value category of our Style Scores system with a strong Zacks Rank. The proven Zacks Rank puts an emphasis on earnings estimates and estimate revisions, while our Style Scores work to identify stocks with specific traits.

Kyocera has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy), while BWX Technologies has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold) right now. Investors should feel comfortable knowing that KYOCY likely has seen a stronger improvement to its earnings outlook than BWXT has recently. But this is just one factor that value investors are interested in.

Value investors also tend to look at a number of traditional, tried-and-true figures to help them find stocks that they believe are undervalued at their current share price levels. The Style Score Value grade factors in a variety of key fundamental metrics, including the popular P/E ratio, P/S ratio, earnings yield, cash flow per share, and a number of other key stats that are commonly used by value investors.

KYOCY currently has a forward P/E ratio of 14.66, while BWXT has a forward P/E of 16.14. We also note that KYOCY has a PEG ratio of 1.67. This figure is similar to the commonly-used P/E ratio, with the PEG ratio also factoring in a company’s expected earnings growth rate. BWXT currently has a PEG ratio of 2.47.

Another notable valuation metric for KYOCY is its P/B ratio of 0.75. The P/B is a method of comparing a stock’s market value to its book value, which is defined as total assets minus total liabilities. By comparison, BWXT has a P/B of 6.71.

Based on these metrics and many more, KYOCY holds a Value grade of B, while BWXT has a Value grade of C. KYOCY has seen stronger estimate revision activity and sports more attractive valuation metrics than BWXT, so it seems like value investors will conclude that KYOCY is the superior option right now.

Related News:

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Sustainable Payments The Next Frontier

In providing the fuel and rails for the modern economy, the potential for payments to impact on sustainability cannot be underestimated. As rapid, global digitization continues to transform all aspects of our lives, payments are pivotal: almost every digital activity relies on a payment system.

As a result, there is a responsibility incumbent on payment providers in funding and increasing awareness to sustainability.

Amongst both businesses and consumers, there is also a greater awareness of the role of sustainable finance, which is playing an increasingly critical part in influencing investment decisions. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) initiatives undertaken by payments can play a huge role in influencing these decisions.

Why is a sustainable payments industry important?

Firstly, necessity. The pandemic has significantly changed the structure of the economy, causing a decline of physical cash and digitizing businesses – all contributing to the reduction of reliance on carbon emitting processes.

The second reason is consumers. Regardless of industry, consumers are increasingly choosing businesses that share their environmental goals.

Consumers are also influencing investor pressure. Businesses are now looking to invest in environmentally friendly ways: two out of three French and German retail investors say they will invest in sustainable ways even if there is cost involved2. This is also visible in the green bond market, in 2022 green bond issuance has increased 49% year-on-year, with the market set to hit $1 trillion globally in 20213.

The third reason is regulatory. Increase in regulations, especially within Europe, is driving transparency in this space, with change being brought about thanks to the Paris agreement, COP 26 and other targeted regulations.

Challenges in the sustainable payments industry

  • Greenwashing
    Different standards, definitions and regulations can cause confusion and allow ‘greenwashing’. Incoming regulations will force industry standards and transparency, but rising focus on greenwashing is driving financial institutions to take a more cautious to ESG-linked products and solutions.
  • Geopolitical tensions
    World events can have a ‘butterfly effect’, increasing cost of living. This can result in challenges such as an impact on consumer demand, and the likelihood of consumers choosing green options when faced with financial insecurity.
  • Unintended consequences
    If not managed carefully, sustainable financing could cause unforeseen negative effects on society, such as job losses as a result of cutting finance to fossil fuel industries. Other unintended consequences for green initiatives should also be considered, for example by-products of electric cars including toxic and non-recyclable batteries.

How is J.P. Morgan making payments environmentally sustainable?

The payments scope is wide – stretching across every conceivable industry. As a common denominator between these industries, we have undertaken a program of workshops and client meetings to  recognize and support ESG needs, which vary considerably between industries. Environmental efforts are  concentrated for technology, media and telecoms as well as consumer and retail, diversified industries and natural resources. However, healthcare, utilities and public sector, alongside Financial Institutions, are targeting their focus on social and governance concerns.

Our approach to ESG management includes having robust governance systems, risk management and controls at a firmwide level. Equally important for us in J.P. Morgan is the social aspect –  investing in our employees and cultivating a diverse and inclusive work environment, and working to strengthen the communities in which we live and work.  At J.P. Morgan, we are advancing sustainable solutions for our clients and within our operations in several ways:

  • Minimizing the environmental impacts of our physical operations
  • Maintain carbon neutral operations since 2020
  • Transition J.P. Morgan’s fleet to electric vehicles by 2025
  • 100% paper purchased from renewable sources and reduce office paper by 90%
  • Working with organizations to advance sustainable development

Financing positive ‘green’ solutions. We are aiming to finance and facilitate more than $2.5 trillion over 10 years to advance climate action and sustainable development, including $1 trillion for green initiatives.

Last year, J.P. Morgan released the 2030 emission reduction targets for the Oil & Gas, Electric Power, and Auto Manufacturing financing portfolios4. In addition, we have expanded our financing restrictions on activities such as oil and gas development in the Arctic.

Specific to payments, we are developing financial solutions that drive action on climate change and generate other positive environmental impacts. In sustainable Supply Chain Finance in particular, our compelling alliance with Taulia and Ecovadis provides a sustainable SCF program that assesses sustainability of suppliers and offers tired pricing based on rating.

Based on our conversations with multi-national corporates in Europe, it is clear that sustainability sits at the heart of their corporate strategy for the future.

Every company has become a climate company in its own right, as we all work towards a common goal of limiting the impact of climate change. At J.P. Morgan, we would like to reiterate our commitment to supporting our clients, communities and colleagues by working towards a new frontier of sustainable payments where we not only invest in our platforms but in our planet.

Source: Earth Day 2022 – Sustainable Payments | J.P. Morgan

Related contents:

Hellenic Bank: Green loans and social practices for a sustainable futureRich countries must do their part in fixing climate change – UK Premier The New Times

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Malaysia forwards three proposals to boost international cooperation Malay Mail

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US-China Trade Tensions Threaten Europe’s Biggest Tech Company

Plenty of places claim they are Europe’s answer to Silicon Valley: Stockholm boasts the most unicorns per capita, and London is the continent’s VC hub. But only the small Dutch town of Veldhoven—whose population numbers 45,000—is home to the closest thing Europe has to a big tech giant.

From its unassuming base near the Belgian border, ASML, a company that builds the machines that make semiconductor chips, has mushroomed to become a critical cog in the global technology industry. At the end of 2021, it was named Europe’s largest public tech company by market cap, boosted by the pandemic demand for devices and the global chip shortage.

Spun out from Dutch electronics giant Philips in 1984, ASML enables other companies to make semiconductor chips—the technological brains in phones, cars, computers, and smart homes. Experts describe ASML as a bottleneck:

The company claims it has between 80 and 85 percent share of the total market for lithography systems that make semiconductors. When it comes to the most advanced type of chipmaking lithography machine, known as extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), that market share surges to 100 percent.

But despite ASML’s recent momentum, there is one area of uncertainty on the horizon. As a result of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, the company has been blocked from selling its most advanced machines to China.

Although the country currently only sells 7.6 percent of the world’s chips, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association, this number is growing fast and chips are one of seven technologies Beijing has targeted for development. Attempts to block China from the global supply chain has created concern that the country will rush to develop its own version of ASML, threatening the Dutch company’s outsized influence over the semiconductor market.

Thanks to the gamble ASML took in the 1990s to pursue the development of EUV technology, which uses tiny rays of light to carve patterns on the silicon pieces that form semiconductor chips, the company’s dominance in this area is currently unchallenged. ASML estimates its most advanced technology is so complex, it would take at least 15 years for others to replicate.

“Several of the companies that were competitive [in the 1990s] decided not to take the risk investing in EUV because it seemed like it would be so difficult, so expensive and possibly never work,” says Chris Miller, assistant professor of international history at Tufts University, who is writing a book on the geopolitical history of the computer chip.

As a result of that bet, ASML’s valuation has swollen to over $300 billion and its share price has more than doubled since the start of 2020. Speculation is mounting that it could become Europe’s first company to be valued above $1 trillion.

The shift to EUV was long and expensive. The company had to persuade its customers — including Intel, Samsung and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company—to buy stakes in the company so there was enough money to fund the research. By the time it was able to launch its first commercial EUV machines in 2017, the process had cost $9 billion.

But the payoff was huge. It is now the only company able to supply EUV machines, which make the most advanced type of chips found in newer phones and games consoles, to industry giants like TSMC or Intel. As of September 2021, the company had sold 125 EUV machines. That might not sound like much, but there aren’t a lot of companies that are capable of manufacturing the most advanced type of chips using these machines and ASML sells them for more than $100 million each.

But a political maelstrom could hit ASML’s growth plans. The company’s breakthrough in EUVs coincided with another event: Donald Trump’s arrival in the White House. In 2018, when ASML received an order for an EUV machine from a Chinese customer, reported to be the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation or SMIC, the Trump administration lobbied the Dutch government to block ASML from fulfilling it.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Charles Kupperman, Trump’s national security advisor at the time, told Dutch diplomats in 2019 that ASML machines wouldn’t work without American components and the White House had the authority to restrict those parts being exported to the Netherlands. ASML’s EUV machines contain lasers made by San Diego based Cymer.

The Biden administration has shown no sign of changing tack and the Dutch government has yet to grant ASML the licence to sell its machinery to China. “Because we don’t have that permit, we’re not able to ship EUVs into China,” says ASML chief finance officer Roger Dassen, who says the company strongly supports a “global chip making ecosystem”.

The company declined to comment on the potential value of the market in China if it was allowed to sell EUV machines there. However the country is still a major market for ASML’s older products and Dassen said at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference in November that it expects around €2 billion ($2.6 billion) in sales to China in both 2021 and 2022.

Whether restrictions on ASML’s exports to China will be expanded to cover more of the company’s products remains uncertain, says Paul Triolo, managing director for global technology policy at consultancy Eurasia Group.

He believes the US is concerned that advanced chips could end up in Chinese military technology but he says there has never been an open discussion about the national security gain versus the impacts on the semiconductor industry. “The industry is frustrated,” he adds. “[They] want the justification to be clearly articulated so they understand what their obligations are.”

In April 2021, a report by the semiconductor industry association and Boston Consulting Group warned that export rules have encouraged China to develop its own alternative chip machinery manufacturers. Shanghai Micro Electronics Equipment is one company being positioned as Beijing’s alternative to ASML.

This is a concern for ASML, according to CEO Peter Wenninck, who in an interview with Politico said that “in 15 years’ time they’ll be able to do it all by themselves — and their market [for European suppliers] will be gone.” But Dassen claims that if the company is locked out of one part of the world, the other part of the world would still need chips. “At ASML, we don’t really care what chips are being made as long as they are being made,” he says.

The main concern is the risk of being dethroned—whether that’s by a Chinese competitor or one from elsewhere. In the case of ASML, it’s “whether they really have focused on the right technology and if there might be some disruptive technologies which they haven’t foreseen,” says Henk Volberda, professor of strategy and innovation at the University of Amsterdam’s business school, who believes a potential disruptor for the company could be photonics.

“With this technology it is possible to produce chips that work on light (photonics) instead of electricity (electrons),” he says. To guard against future competitors, ASML says it is heavily investing in innovation. In 2021, the company said it spent 13.7 percent of sales on research and development, with that number expected to go up to 14 percent in 2022.

But the critical nature of R&D in the industry is exactly what makes the US-China trade tensions such a threat, according to Triolo. “If the US tries to expand controls and target companies that are potential customers of ASML to a broader degree, that could really cut off the China market more seriously,” he says.

ASML can’t sell its most advanced machines to China, but it can sell its other technology there. Around 30 percent of ASML’s sales came from China in 2020. An escalation of trade tensions could therefore hit revenues and undermine the company’s ability to carry out R&D in an industry where it is incredibly costly to play catch up, Triolo says.

“Is there enough of a market in other countries for them to continue to compete and derive that R&D benefit from the revenue?” he asks. “The jury’s still out on that.”

By:

Morgan Meaker is a senior writer at WIRED covering European business. Before that, she was a technology reporter at The Telegraph and also worked for Dutch magazine De Correspondent. In 2019 she won Technology Journalist of the Year at the Words by Women Awards. She was born in Scotland, lives in London, and is a graduate of City University’s International Journalism MA program.

Source: US-China Trade Tensions Threaten Europe’s Biggest Tech Company | WIRED

.More Great WIRED Stories

How To Adopt The Japanese Approach To Accepting Life’s Challenges, “Ukeireru”

Life since the coronavirus pandemic has been a lot to swallow. But in terms of how to cope and carry on, the best first step may indeed be accepting the realities we’ve faced, however difficult or grim.

In Japan, the concept of acceptance is fundamental to the traditional culture. There are many Japanese words that translate to “acceptance” – “ukeireru” is just one of the more current choices, but people may refer to the concept using others. Regardless of word choice, psychologists say acceptance is a value that can go far in helping us manage stressors big and small, from coping with a Wi-Fi outage to living through a global pandemic.

“Sometimes it’s necessary to accept who you are, what you do, and what society does to you,” explains Masato Ishida, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Okinawan Studies at University of Hawai`i at Manoa. It’s not the same thing as resignation, he adds. Rather, it’s more so accepting the current situation in order to make peace with it and either make the best of it or move on.

Shigenori Nagatomo, Ph.D., a professor of religion at Temple University specializing in East Asian Buddhism research, uses the English word “harmony” to describe how acceptance or ukeireru is part of Japanese culture. “Human beings are understood to be ‘beings in nature.’ Hence the importance of establishing harmony with it and with everything else in the world,” he says.

A lot of people in Japan have an aim-high, work-hard attitude, which makes it tough to accept anything less than perfect, Ishida explains. So this underlying way of acceptance helps in those times when everything doesn’t go according to plan.

How to embrace “ukeireru” in your own life:

Ukeireru goes beyond self-acceptance. It’s about accepting the realities that surround you, too – your relationships, your roles in the communities you’re a part of, and the situations you face – rather than fighting them, according to Ishida.

What’s more, psychology research tells us being more accepting of our own thoughts and emotions without judging them promotes improved mental health and helps us better cope with the stressors we do face. Scott Haas, Ph.D., a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based psychologist, wrote a book on the topic of ukeireru after studying Japanese culture (Why Be Happy? The Japanese Way of Acceptance). He explains that by practicing acceptance, you make space in your life to move on from negative or unpleasant situations. For example: To find motivation to get a new job, you first have to accept you’re ready to move on from your current role — or, to start grieving the loss of a loved one, you have to accept they’ve passed away, Haas explains.

Acceptance is much different from resignation, which is when you submit to something you’re facing and give up in terms of making a change for the better, or getting out of that situation. Its also isn’t necessarily something you block out a half hour in your calendar to practice. Rather, it’s a mindset to guide your thinking day after day. Ishida describes it as a “slow-cook philosophy,” meaning the more you bake it into how you interact with people and the world, the more naturally you’ll find yourself using it in response to stressful and negative situations.

So how do you get started? Here are some tips:

Make time to connect with nature.

When it comes to accepting reality, the very ground we stand on is a good place to start, Haas says. Get a houseplant. Go for a walk. Spend more time outdoors! It will help you establish that harmony with nature that Nagatomo is talking about, which is fundamental to acceptance.

Recognize what’s actually stressing you out when you’re feeling wound up.

It’s going to be tough to accept situations if you’re misinterpreting what’s upsetting you, or what stressors you’re actually facing, Haas says. Are you arguing more with someone in your household because they’re behaving differently – or because you’re both stressed about the hardships brought on by the pandemic, for example? Are you really stressed about your dry cleaning not being ready – or because you have a big work deadline that week that’s putting you on edge outside of working hours, too?

“It doesn’t always feel obvious when you’re experiencing it,” Haas says. But oftentimes the problem isn’t you or the other person (in whatever situation you’re stressed about), it’s some underlying problem that’s ramping up tension. Try to practice connecting more with the root issue and not burying it with timely stressors.

Remind yourself that every situation is temporary.

We tend to feel stressed when we feel trapped, Haas says. And one way to make any situation immediately less stressful is to remind yourself that it’s temporary – and whatever unpleasantness or burden you’re feeling won’t last forever, he explains.

Practice mindfulness or meditation.

Take time to do things that help ground you in the present moment. Take time to do things that help you tune into your thoughts and feelings over the noise of whatever outside stressors you’re facing. Mindfulness and meditation practices can help you do this, Haas says – so can journaling, going for a walk by yourself, or listening to music. “Anything that helps you remove yourself from a situation to create space away from the stress can help enormously,” Haas says.

Make incremental changes.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t expect it to. Whatever new situation you find yourself in that you’re trying to accept and adapt to, do so by making small, incremental changes to your routine, Haas says.

For example, don’t compare a new significant other to your past relationships; but instead work to appreciate each trait that makes this person who they are. This kind of mindset can be applied elsewhere, too: Focus on making one new friendship at a time after moving to a new place, familiarize yourself with each process at a new job gradually, or learn to move with your body after a major injury (you won’t wake up on day one feeling back to normal!). It takes time for something new to become familiar, feel routine and truly meaningful to you.

Don’t be afraid to abandon routines that aren’t working for you.

And when it comes to adopting those new routines, be flexible. If something isn’t working, figure out something else to do, Haas says. For example, a lot of people picked up new hobbies (like baking bread, doing needle point, or birding) or habits to help them get through 2020 and the pandemic. If those routines are no longer making you happy, helping you find joy in the present moment, or no longer feel worthwhile in 2021 and beyond, move on and try something else, Haas says.

Be kind — to others and to yourself.

Remember, it’s okay to feel fear, sadness, or anxiety about all the uncertainty we’re experiencing right now. Rather than beat yourself up for those feelings or try to fight them, be kind and compassionate toward yourself. It’s part of acceptance, Haas says. You have to be okay with feeling the way you do. And then you can go ahead and figure out how you can make yourself feel better.

If your feelings of anxiety or sadness have become unmanageable, it’s important to seek out help immediately. Professionals at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a national nonprofit with local chapters in each state, can assist you in finding the appropriate resources to manage your anxiety at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org.

By: Sarah DiGiulio

Sarah DiGiulio is a New York City-based writer and editor who covers psychology, mental health, fitness, sleep, and other health and wellness topics.

Source: How to Adopt the Japanese Approach to Accepting Life’s Challenges, “Ukeireru”

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