This. Is. Awesome.
“In a simple experiment, researchers at the University of Chicago sought to find out whether a rat would release a fellow rat from an unpleasantly restrictive cage if it could. The answer was yes.
The free rat, occasionally hearing distress calls from its compatriot, learned to open the cage and did so with greater efficiency over time. It would release the other animal even if there wasn’t the payoff of a reunion with it. Astonishingly, if given access to a small hoard of chocolate chips, the free rat would usually save at least one treat for the captive — which is a lot to expect of a rat.
The researchers came to the unavoidable conclusion that what they were seeing was empathy — and apparently selfless behavior driven by that mental state.”
7 Things You Can Start Doing Right Now to Make Your Life Better
One simple and important thing you can do to make your life better is take good care of yourself. You are valuable and deserve to be treated well, by others in your life and by yourself! But for some reason taking care of you can often be overlooked, especially when life becomes challenging. However, it is at these moments that you need to take care of you the most.
It is important to take care of yourself because it becomes very difficult to take care of your responsibilities at work, your partner’s concerns, your children’s needs or anyone else’s when you are not caring for yourself. Even when times are tough, you need to care for you first, then everyone else. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to do the other things that you would like to do fully. There are different ways to take care of you depending on your personality and interests. The following is a list of ways you can exhibit self care – use the ideas that work for you:
It’s Thursday and the weekend is rapidly approaching. So is the pressure to make plans, have fun and go out. It’s at these times that feelings of loneliness may arise. The truth is, everyone struggles with feeling lonely at one point or another and most people try to get rid of the feeling. If you share this struggle, you may enjoy reading this *excellent* article about loneliness written by Darlene Ouimet, a survivor of childhood trauma and abuse. The article discusses the connection between loneliness and self worth and how this feeling may dissipate through the process of emotional healing. There are some real gems in here.
Excerpt from the article:
As an adult I could relate those same feelings and I labelled them the feeling of extreme loneliness. I felt guilty and ashamed that I felt that way. I thought that by feeling that way I was letting down my friends and family. I could feel alone in a crowd; I could feel alone with my best friends. As I looked back on my life I realize that I had felt alone all my life. I felt different. I felt like something was missing in me. I felt like something was wrong with me. I was alone.
As I began to recover…
Psychotherapy Speak: What is Regression? A Definition
Regression is one of those words you may have heard other people use and not been entirely sure what they meant. It is a word used in psychotherapy and psychology to describe a behavior that a person might exhibit as a defense mechanism. In other words, it’s a behavior people use unconsciously (unknown to them) to protect themselves from a situation or a feeling that is overwhelming, scary, or difficult to handle. Regression defined is when a person reverts back to an earlier stage of development when they are under stress. So for example, a toddler who can walk may begin crawling again or sucking their thumb even though they have given up both of those behaviors, when a sibling is born. The birth of the sibling may cause them to feel stressed and they may unconsciously engage in these behaviors to get attention or feel taken care of by their parent.
Something to keep in mind is that most of us at one time or another have regressed. Just because you use one or more defense mechanisms doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. Understanding these concepts is a way to understand why and how you behave certain ways. Knowing and understanding why you engage in certain behaviors can be the first step towards changing them. Hopefully once you understand your behavior you can begin to make adjustments and improve your life in ways that are helpful to you.
Psychotherapy Speak: What is Ego Strength?
Ego strength is a good term to know when you are working on improving yourself. It is defined as your ability to be exposed to different types of stress and your capacity to tolerate that stress. There is not one way to define ego strength, because one person’s strength may be another’s weakness. But there are some specific character traits that may be helpful when you look at the word resiliency. I think that people who have great resiliency also have ego strength. Resiliency is a person’s ability to over come adversity and challenges. I think the more resilient a person becomes, the more ego strength they develop. Many studies have been done to try to define resiliency. The following is a list of characteristics associated with being resilient:
- to have another person in your life that you can connect with and feel loved by
- to be able to accurately asses what you are good at and what you may need more help with
- to have a positive outlook on things
- to be a creative problem solver
- to have the ability to manage difficult feelings
- being a strong communicator
- to have social support in your community or from your peers
Ego strength and resiliency are things you can build. You can use list above as a guide to begin that process. You may want to ask yourself, how do you deal with difficult situations? What are your strengths when it comes to challenges? Focus on knowing your strengths and use them as a guide to build upon. Then, once you know and understand your strengths, think about what you can do to build upon them and create more resiliency.
Psychotherapy Speak: What is Transference? A Definition
Transference is a term that is used frequently when people talk about psychotherapy. Freud was the first person to use this term to describe a phenomenon that occurs in the relationship between the therapist and the client. Transference is when a client “transfers” feelings or thoughts about a person who was significant to them in their life, onto the therapist. It has now become a term that can be used to describe an experience that occurs between any two people, not just therapist and client. An example of transference in therapy is if a client had a parent that was very cold and withholding, the client may experience the therapist as cold and withholding, even though they may not be. The client may be transferring their feelings about their parent onto the therapist.
Have you ever noticed any patterns in how you experience other people? Or do you think you know a lot about someone you’ve just met? You may want to think about these questions and become curious about whether or not you are using transference.