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B.r.e.a.t.h.e.


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Dr Margaret A. Chesney, PhD provides the following as part of her promotion of Coping Effective Training. In other words she is selling her ideas which in part explains why she says that there is no scientific psychological literature that examines the two "E"s. I thought, "You haven't been to church recently." Also notice her theodicy. ( The scriptures would be "Lilies of Field" and "go and do likewise" for your sermon.)

  • Breathe:
    • Take a deep breath, be present with yourself in the moment
    • Be aware in the current moment
    • Accept what is, not what “ought to be”
    • Suspend judgment

    [*]Realistic Goals:

    • Set realistic goals for this moment, hour and day, celebrate meeting them

    [*]Everyday events: Notice the positive moments in everyday life,

    • sunset, flowers
    • recognize when things go right
    • share these events with others

    [*]Acts of Kindness

    • Create positive events for others

    [*]Turn it around

    • Reframe negative events, find the silver lining

    [*]Honor strengths: Acknowledge your personal strengths

    [*]End each day with gratitude:

    • Note positive steps and all you are thankful for.
    • Do positive accounting at the end of the day

 

http://lewisonpositivepsycholgy.blogspot.com/2010/12/is-there-power-in-positive-thinking.html

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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I know this is a person of some respected stature, but I have to say I see a LOT of significant flaws in her ideas and what she presents. And some that are so very basic I can't imagine a first year grad student being so "off" on them.

 

Jenell

 

PS...I hate it when someone tries to set forth that it is being cynical and negative when actually being realistic! Self-psyching into self-delusion is neither always possible or positive, and in any case, does not make reality go away!

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Her first, and foundational premise, "Stess--The perception that something in the environment exceeds you ability to cope and endangers your well being," is false. Therefore, that build upon it as a foundation will be flawed.

 

The flaw is in the word perception. Stress is anything that challenges the effective functioning of the organism, any living organism, not only humans, but all plants and animals. Stresses are cumulitive in their effect on the organism. The organisms ability to cope with stress, capacity to continue to function effectively, has real limitations, that have nothing to do with its perception of the stress.

 

A plant or animal may be able to fend off a disease-causing organism if other conditions are favorable, and basic needs of water and nutrition and proper day/night or activity/rest periods are conductive to strong health. But if there is water stress, stress of inadequate nutrition, disruption of daylight needs or rest periods, and the organism is weakened by the efftects of cumulative stresses, and the plant or animal succumbs to the disease organism it is no longer strong enough to defend against.

 

Likewise, people are subjected to a variety of stressors, from nutritional, toxins in the environment, disruption of rest cycles, over work, lack of adequate rest/sleep, all of which have cumulative effects that weaken the person. The stresses and effects can be physical, mental, and emotional. These stressors, and their effects, the stress, is real, actual, not a perception.

 

Life situations and circumstances and events involve stressors, the effect is stress. The person can handle so much stress, according to how well all else is functioning. Along comes a new challenge, the disease organism, or a traumatic event the person doesn't have adequate resources to deal with effectively. Some resources may be depleted by previous and existance stress, are there enough to handle this new challenge?

How big is the challenge? Is the disease organism a simple cold virus the body had dealt with before and has some experience with, or an extremely virulent new kind of virus from anything encountered before, thus has no residual anti-bodies against! It is not a perception. Its real.

Or psychological, emotional as well as physical...how big is the challenge, and how depleted are the resources already? Is life going pretty well lately? Been working a reasonable shift hours, reasonable work load, bills are paid, money's in the bank, food's on the table. Bam! Teen age son Johnny got busted with drugs at school! A stress, but we'll handle it. But what if despite working 60 hours a week at hard labor with low pay and the bills are behind and the house is about to foreclose and teen age son Johnny got busted with drugs at school and we just discovered Teen-age daughter Suzy is pregnant and we have no insurance and Bam! Sole wage earner Dad just wasn't paying as close attention to driving as he might have been because he had all these things on his mind and now the car is totaled, with no collision coverage and the other driver has no liablity coverage and Dad has two broken legs and a crushed wrist. The stress is not perception, its real.

 

Yes, we can exert some influence how how we handle stressors as they arise, that involces perception among other things, but stress itself is not perception. It may be accurate to speak of how we percieve stress, but stress itself is not that perception.

 

Jenell

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Along this line, I remember my instructor of both my Abnormal Psych and Clinical

Psych putting it, that there were situations in which a person would have to be abnormal NOT to be depressed, or anxious. This was in connection to both diagnosis and treatment approach, and the importance of determining if the persons depressed or anxious state was an abnormal, dysfunctional response, or an entirely normal and even healthy response to unsually difficult circumstances. One example given was of a patient whose extreme anxiety and fear that someone had been following him and was trying to kill him was diagnosed as hysterical paranoia. The day after his release, he was gunned down in a parking lot, 'hit style'.

 

Jenell

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Jenell,

 

I think she clarified her using the word perception because of her point being stress can be based on perception and used the example of things being stressful to one but not another as in her personal fear and stress of heights that would not be so to others who were accustomed to such. Her definition using the word perception to me was not exclusive of stress that is not only perceived as real but is physical, pchysological or social in nature according to her presentation. In people which i thought was her focus, not plants, can there be stress without perception of any kind?

 

Joseph

 

PS. I think you might find that she was using a legitimate definition of stress as dictionary defined as "Importance, significance, or emphasis placed on something." That would to me seem like a perception in humans.

 

Also in a medical dictionary stress is defined as "an organism's total response to environmental demands or pressures." Again that seems to me it would entail an organisms perception whether genetic or otherwise of that demand or pressure. Human organisms are unique and seem to me to respond to a different degree to the same demands.

 

I guess i just don't understand the point you were making in seeing her presentation as so basically flawed. I was personally impressed. Of course, the above are just my opinions and i do lack the formal schooling you have to evaluate her on an academic level.

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"Stress" is one of those words, or terms, in our language that have through common usage become difficult to use in many contexts because so many different meanings have been attached to its use. Dictionary definitions follow common usage, therefore, become really problematic.

 

Perhaps my reaction to what she is presenting, as she presents it, was too harsh, in after thought, because ofwhere I was standing as I looked at it. To explain....

 

I realize that as the video begins with an aparant academic setting, and the speaker's adademic credentials being made prominent, I was "primed" I guess would be the word for something consistent with an academic and/or clinical Psychology approach. I suppose i was expecting to be hearing a "science oriented" presentation. And "stress" in that approach would be used in such a sense. And that is not her approach, and i realize now, not how she's using it. She's using "stress" in a more lay meaning, more in the sense as a motivational speaker whose intended audience is the lay public, with "stress" used as it has become commonly considered in usage. I was not expecting that from what I had thought was a professional, coming from a sicentific perspective.

 

Sometimes what we "know" in one context can cause us confusion and difficulties in another. The "context confusion" here is in the aparant, to me at least, equating ideas about what is commonly called "positive thinking", particularly, "the power of positive thinking," as many of us, myself included, encountered and even read of and tried to apply to our lives when such motivational speakers and their books came into public fashion through the late 60's and 70's...those such as Tony Robbins. Now, that wasn't a "bad fad" per se, that kind of material I'msure helped a lot of people, I felt it helped me.

 

However, in both reasoned consideration and practical appplication back then, I came to feel that while it was a useful "piece", it was only a "piece", not all there was to the larger puzzle of our attempts to make the most of our lives, circumstances,and situations. By itself, there seemed some serious flaws, most notable to me was,and is, as I noted in my first post here, the idea we can "think away reality" through self-psyching, and what often amounts to attmepts at self-delusion. That it too often assumed ever present resources and capacities for effectively dealing with any and all stressors and their effects of stress that simply are not always present.

 

When presented theories and ideas of "Positive Psychology" in its formal context in my academic Psychology studies, the very first matter addressed was this...that "Positive Psychology" must be not be considered as the same as the common ideas presented through motivational psychology under the general term "positive thinking" as we've encountered it in lay usage and "pop psych." While much of what makes up what is called "the power of postive thinking" did and does has roots within the findings and theories of formal "Positive Psychology", it is not the entity or substance of it. It is only a "piece." A potentially useful piece, but still just a piece. There is much more to Postive Psychology" than simply "power of positive thinking."

 

My initial impression of what this woman is presenting was, and at this point still is, that have having unexpectedly finding myself dropped into a 70's Tony Robbins "fire walkers" presentation. Now having looked at some of it again, trying to analyze my initial reaction to it, i am still seeing those same weaknesses. I see the same weaknesses, the same "missing pieces", in her presentation of ideas, as were present in his. Actually, I still respect a lot of what i gained from ones such as Tony Robbins. But I am also still acutely aware that part of what I had to work through in trying to incorporate his ideas into real life was that while it had value, it didn't always quite work the way it was claimed it should, and having to realize it was only a "piece", and incomplete piece, that without that being presented along with it, can lead to considerable frustration that somehow one must not being "doing it right."

 

Jenell

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Actually, after having watched some of her presentation again, and having read quite a lot of Tony Robbin's work, I'm feeling much that if one examined and directly compared his works to hers, her presentation and ideas might follow his so closely as to have been taken rather directly from his works, with the addition of supporting information from more recent findings, available now that weren't available at the time Tony Robbins was active, concerning some of the bio-chemistry involved in the area of mind/body study.

 

Jenell

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Btw, Dutch...I agree with your summation of her sermon theme..."Lilies of the Field" and "Go and do Likewise." I think you hit is quite accurately. Again, not in themselves "bad" themes, just not all there is to it. Just pieces.

 

Jenell

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I know I am running with this, I know, I'm lecturing, but trying to get at a core point in this I do feel quite relevant to any of us in trying to most effectively cope with challenges and difficulties in our lives.

 

At the core of Positive Psychology, and the point from which ideas of the power of positive thinking in motivational psychology departs that origin, is a term Seligman and others describedand defined early on, that of "resilence."

 

Resilence as defined and described in Postive Psychology is that set of traits, qualities, attitudes, thinking styles, that emerged as very signficant in early studies comparing people that did and did not cope well with adverse conditions and events. The "b.r.e.a.t.h.e." acronym as presented is actually a very close description of "reslilence" as used in Positive Psychology. However, while in Positive Psychology "resilence" describes and defines qualities that set apart those that more effectively deal with difficult situations, and stressors, research in Positive Psychology proceeds toward attmepting to determine and understand HOW and WHY some people develop resilency more effectviely than others, what condtions promote its development, what conditions impede its development,within any individual. The goal of course, can we find ways to change what/how we do things, as a society and individials, that effect that.

 

The idea of 'power of positive thinking, on the other hand, use resilency as a take-off point to tell us, not just that these are the traits and qualities of more effective people, more resilent people, but that you, too, can be more resilent if you do these things, make youself more like those people. Where it drops the ball, and diverges from Postive Psychology, is that it assumes anyone can simply choose to be, think, in ways consistent with resilency, if we just know what they are. It is the "go and do likewise" sermon. It ignores that "next question" in Positive Psychology, now how/what creates resilency in individuals? It doesn't address HOW does one go and do likewise.

 

Jenell

 

Edited by JenellYB
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