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Posts Tagged ‘wellbeing’

How to Deal with Grief in Everyday Life

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Have you ever felt empty due to sudden loss? If that has ever happened to you, you may have been experiencing grief. The grief that you experience can come not only from someone’s passing but also from a range of losses such as heartbreak from a romantic relationship, the resignation of close colleagues, and even loss of financial stability. The grief might come with mixed emotions; you might feel thankful but jealous, powerful but lonely, or sad but grateful. These changes will plunge your life into an emotional roller-coaster, however, even though those painful changes, there are chances to grow. 

The difficulty of dealing with grief

One of the reasons why grief is such a complicated emotion is because people are trained to achieve things in life. During childhood, people often strive for their parents’ approval. As they enter school, studying hard becomes a motivation to receive recognition. In their formative years, teenagers try to be physically appealing to gain acceptance. 

This pattern goes on until adulthood. People have gained so much knowledge on how to gain certain things but are left helpless in the face of loss. Lack of knowledge about how to cope with grief also affects how people respond to others who are grieving, which leads to the second reason. 

Society has not been able to give suitable feedback to grief. Grief is not only an emotional experience; it can also negatively affect a person’s physical health. As an attempt to overcome this, society tends to focus on pushing the unpleasantness away quickly by suggesting you get busy or simply forget about it. Of course, it is not that easy to push grief away since a human’s brain and body are made to think and feel. 

To push the grief away is like pushing a part of yourself away. Therefore, rather than denying and letting it be released in an unhealthy way, one would need to manage grief by creating an emotionally safe space to be released adaptively. However, this condition might be difficult to realize due to the need for efficiency, which leads us to the last reason.

In modern times, productivity and efficiency are highly valued. However, you might have less time paying attention to yourself and have a harder time healing adaptively from grief. This may lead to difficulty in sleeping, poor appetite, overthinking, and even procrastination, all of which is akin to adding salt to an existing wound caused by grief. 

As such, it is important to realize that grief is a beautiful emotion that can help you gain wisdom and personal growth if you can overcome it adaptively. Even if it is not easy, there are ways to go through the process of grief in a meaningful way while still being able to go on with daily life.

  1. Be honest with yourself

    It might be difficult to be honest with yourself during the beginning of grief since it might bring more sadness and pain, but the more you realize and embrace it, the more effectively you can deal with it. One way to go about it is to write your thoughts down in the journal. Since this is a personal journal, you do not have to think of the aesthetic of your handwriting, grammar, or how it might sound to others. It is a free, private, and personal safe space for your grief.

  2. Say “Yes” to the feeling

    After being honest with your grief, you might find it easier to repress or push away the discomfort it gives you than to accept and be in that moment. However, only in embracing your grief will you learn to be grounded and aware of how your body is reacting towards grief such as feeling your heart beat faster or your shortness of breath.

    When this happens, try to sit comfortably and breathe from your stomach slowly and gently. To do this, expand your belly out as you inhale and slowly exhale. Slow breathing is one of the ways you can soothe yourself and create a sense of safety and relaxation while dealing with grief.

  3. Be proactive

    When a person gets physically injured, they would be proactive in their recovery by attending to it immediately or even going to the doctor in the case of a severe injury. Similarly, people should also be proactive in tending to their emotional needs, especially in times of grief.

    Ask yourself what you really need to feel better and make that as the guide for healing. However, make sure that the steps you take are sustainable and will not bring harm to yourself or others. In addition, you might consider reducing some stressful activities for the sake of recovery. Be compassionate to yourself and be creative in finding what feels good to you.

  4. Practice self-care

    Your energy gets drained physically and emotionally during the grieving process, so it is important to practice self-care; taking care of your body will help in the healing process. Several ways to take care of your physical health include practicing proper hygiene, getting proper sleep, doing exercises or activities, and eating a nutritious meal. Taking care of your emotional health can involve expressing yourself through creative means, meditating, doing hobbies that you like, and talking with people that you trust.

  5. Reach out

    Do not hesitate to ask for help especially when your pain is too much to handle. Ask yourself who are the people that you can trust, reach out to, and comfort you in difficult times. It might be a family member, romantic partner, friend, work colleague, spiritual leader, or mental health professional. To maximize your healing process, you might consider reorganizing deadlines and tasks with your work supervisor. Find the middle-ground for you and your supervisor’s needs, so that you can healthily process your grief while not having to worry about work.

Even if grief may not be a pleasurable experience in life, it can help you become more adaptable, see your capacity to love in yourself, appreciate happy moments, and discover the meaning of life. Rather than taking large, extravagant moves, tiny, appropriate, and actionable choices can help you bounce back from painful grief.

How to Create a Manageable Work-life Balance

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Image Source: bruce mars | Unsplash

Work-life balance may appear to be impossible to achieve these days. Thanks to technology, people can reach out to anyone at any time of any day. Meanwhile, employees work longer hours and can even have a higher priority over other aspects of their life for fear of losing their job. As such, people are currently putting their wellbeing on the back burner to give way to their careers. However, it is important to create a productive work-life integration not only for one’s physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing but also for professional success.

Here are some suggestions for creating a manageable work-life balance

  • Categorize daily tasks. You may have a lot of duties to complete each day, so divide them into four categories: urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important. This can lighten your job load and prevent you from becoming stranded in stressful circumstances.
  • Create a schedule. There are multiple solutions available that you can utilize to create a schedule for yourself that range from a physical planner to a software solution. What is important is for you to determine each task you need to do for the day and when you need to do them. You can also include personal dates like holidays, birthday celebrations, and the like so you do not forget you are out of the office on certain days.
  • Choose your career wisely. You do not have to enjoy every element of your career, but it should be interesting enough that you would not mind getting out of bed in the morning. Otherwise, if you hate what you do, you will not be happy; it can be detrimental to your overall wellbeing and you might find it tough to do the activities you enjoy outside of work. Whether it is caused by working in a toxic atmosphere, dealing with a toxic person, or simply doing a job that you dislike, if it is negatively affecting you, it may be a sign to look for a new career.
  • Evaluate yourself at the end of the day. Consider what went well, what went wrong, and the way the matter was resolved. Keep in mind that countless companies are experiencing the same problems daily and do not forget to ask for help. You should also remember to take care of yourself and make time for the important things in life.
  • Set boundaries. Consider using a separate computer or phone for work so that you can turn it off after work. If that is not possible, use different browsers, emails, or filters for work and personal platforms. 
  • Speak up. Do not suffer in silence if you are overwhelmed at work and it is causing you additional stress. Inform your boss or supervisor of your situation. Unworkable situations can usually be resolved, but it will require some positivity on your part. You can also consult a professional – such as a counselor, mental health worker, or psychologist – or simply talk to your loved ones to get emotional support.

Having a balance between your work and personal life will ultimately help you reach your deadlines and spend time with your family without worrying about work. Practicing this will help you manage your time and attention between your daily responsibilities without sacrificing your wellbeing.

The Digital Age and Information Disorders: What Makes You Vulnerable?

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Image source: Buffik | Pixabay

The internet has become the primary source of information for people around the world. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 53% of US adults rely on social media for news, with 36% depending on Facebook as a regular source. Meanwhile, YouTube comes in second place with 23%, followed by Twitter with 15%.

New social technologies have accelerated information sharing, providing easy access to huge amounts of information. Despite that, internet-based media is also characterized by unregulated information flow and the spread of deceiving, inaccurate, and uncheckable information. 

Inaccurate and deceptive information is often manipulative and used to evoke suspicion, fear, worry, and anger. Misleading information, created with or without intent, is designed to be sensational and provoking with an aim to attract attention and profit off panic and fears. Research shows that false information tends to spread farther and faster; while fake news brings about emotions like fear and disgust, people are inclined to find false news more novel than factual news. 

Misinformation is a widespread problem. However, psychological explanations of information processing can help avoid falling into the trap of misinformation and build mental resilience by embracing a more critical and skeptical approach. It is important because individual and societal wellbeing is related to having an accurate picture of social reality.

Let’s first acknowledge what contributes to the pervasiveness of misinformation on the internet-based media.

The problem with the internet-based media

Digital media has allowed individuals to be active in content production, leading to a wide range of personalities and opinions appearing on online platforms. One of its drawbacks is the absence of assurance regarding content quality and credibility. 

Digital transformation of media platforms has enabled algorithms and automation to govern content recommendation and filtering of information. In other words, not every user on social media receives the same news feed. As such, the algorithmic selection of social media sourced news plays a role in the creation of an echo effect in which users encounter information that resonates with their opinions and beliefs.

The term echo chambers is coined to describe the exposure people have only to opinions that they agree with on social media. This is regardless of being true or false. In turn, their opinions and preferences are being amplified.

Cognitive biases of information processing

The accuracy of information found on social media platforms is often unclear. Additionally, echo chambers limit users’ ability to encounter content that might challenge their opinions. Due to these two factors, the responsibility to evaluate the information’s credibility and make decisions now falls on the user and their conscious efforts to do this task. However, perceived credibility is not free from one’s interpretations and preformed notions. How users select reliable sources of information and evaluate their credibility presents new challenges in internet-based media. 

Cognitive processes are involved in making a judgment while cognitive biases determine what information is accepted or rejected. Cognitive biases and faulty reasoning in processing certain information can influence one’s decision-making. This may make information seekers vulnerable to misinformation. 

Information processing is influenced by one’s preexisting beliefs which connect to confirmation bias as it plays a role in shaping information consumption patterns. Confirmation bias consists of three components: information search, evidence interpretation, and memory recall. These three components are often biased in support of one’s previously held beliefs, expectations, and preferences for information that complies with their attitudes and justifies their opinions.

People unconsciously may engage in biased search processes to seek out information that supports their preconceptions about a certain topic. Biased searching for supportive information may result in poor decision-making. Information that confirms and reinforces users’ preexisting beliefs may be interpreted as being more persuasive. Simply put, confirmation bias means actively seeking confirmatory evidence.

As a result, users may end up outweighing positive confirmatory evidence without questioning the credibility and even refute or ignore evidence if it challenges their beliefs. Confirmation bias may also become salient when people rely on their background knowledge and experiences in information processing. 

Bias blind spot is another form of cognitive bias. It refers to recognizing biases that other people have in their judgments while believing that one is free from their own biases. If you are likely to detect the existence of biases in others more than in yourself, it might be a good idea to do some self-reflection first.

Conclusion

Neither echo chambers nor confirmation bias can be eliminated completely; however, through digital wellbeing skills, their impact can be managed. The use of social media as a source of information presents both benefits and challenges; whether it maximizes or diminishes an individual’s wellbeing benefits depends on the user’s media consumption and online behaviors. Checking one’s own cognitive biases is one way towards enhancing wellbeing. Being aware of confirmation bias and taking steps to perform a critical stance towards one’s preexisting beliefs and preconceptions can be achieved by performing critical thinking and learning how to learn. 

Being conscious consumers of digital media is a way to manage challenges and optimize one’s wellbeing as a result of online behaviors. To better equip an individual from the negative impacts, developing digital wellbeing skills can help in controlling stress resulting from the overwhelming flow of (mis)information and communication overabundance. This is done by efficiently filtering one’s attention to focus on one’s personal goals and wellbeing.

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