Posted in inspirational, Psyche

LET IT GO!

Letting go of what’s familiar is pretty difficult to do. It means something has to open in your head and in your heart, but that shift never comes easy. Even change for the better is still change, but it’s often initially dreaded and avoided, and it’s always uncomfortable, at least in the beginning. We are creatures of habit, so the immense human reluctance to change is always the most difficult. Letting go fights more than the powerful magnet of the current situation. It also comes into conflict with compelling or distorted thoughts that make holding on appear reasonable and right. Every thought pattern is a shrewd argument against letting go; each needs to be directly challenged and re-scripted before your heart and mind truly open to a completely new state. At its deepest level, the possibility of letting go forces us up against our three strongest emotional drivers: love, fear, and rage. Human beings are emotional creatures and our emotions drive our behavior.

By understanding an individual’s primary emotional drivers, we know their ultimate motivations. When you ask someone if they want more money, while they may say yes, it’s typically not the money they want but what they believe the money can buy, whether it be security, significance, or achievement. The leading drivers determine how a person acts or reacts in a particular situation with another individual, to a significant extent. Actions and reactions to your surroundings vary with different primary drivers; every individual has specific ways to satisfy their own.

Letting go means confronting these invisible emotional barriers, bringing them into your awareness and then struggling against them. It means challenging irrational, unproductive thinking until you get your head on straight; facing up to your fear and then calling on your courage and your character to face it down, and it also means confronting your passionate attachment to the past and reducing it from a boulder to a pebble.

The greatest positive action steps to take are to anchor yourself in the future, discard, repair, transform your narrative, forgive, and learn to be present in the here and now.

It’s hard to let go of the past, especially in the absence of a positive view of tomorrow. You need a vision of the future. An investment in, a distraction through, or an excitement about something ahead will help to push you beyond the past, but creating it requires careful mental focus.

Pushing actively beyond the past starts with discarding. Emotionally discard when you are suffering and try to make amends; this generally involves reaching out to someone, face to face or in writing, and expressing your remorse. It’s a manner in which to put past history tightly behind you.

One single, powerful strategy for easing the pain of the past is to rewrite key aspects of your story from a more balanced, empathetic perspective. A healthy rewrite makes you feel less victimized, less devastated, and much less lost. It reduces the deep rage, loss, and fear that have been holding you back. Simply put, we are our own story and we are the only ones who can rewrite it. Rewrites do not attempt to change the facts of the narrative. They simply see those facts through more mature, more empathetic, and less injured eyes; those eyes then help you let go.

The transformed narrative is a step along the rockiest of paths towards forgiveness. It’s a lot to give up for the sake of mercy and you must come to believe that there is more to be gained by forgiving than by staying angry. Forgiveness is a decision, not an admission of defeat. There is nothing more powerful than the ability to be present; a technique better known as mindfulness. It’s an acquired skill and there are several positive, emotional, and spiritual side effects. As your ability at mindfulness increases, you will, by definition, get past the past!

Posted in Debatable

Are We Headed for a Recession?

The Coronavirus epidemic has come with a remarkable and intense uncertainty. Government officials are uncertain of how deadly the virus is, and countless businesses and households are uncertain of how long the danger will last, as well as what actions governments are going to take to neutralize this threat. People are visibly afraid, as the market panic proves, and it may take several months for that fear to subside. As I’m typing this, there is literally a hand sanitizer, toilet paper, household disinfecting product, dry food supply deficiency occurring worldwide. This pandemic is a public-health emergency but it’s also transforming into an economic crisis.

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Global markets are unstable and unpredictable, supply-chain disruptions are piling up, economists are slashing forecasts, and investors are fleeing to the safety of bonds. Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has not only shocked demand by triggering travel restrictions, social distancing. and widespread uncertainty. It has also shocked supply as factories in China close, which interfere with complicated trade networks, upsetting global trade and causing shortages of drugs, medical equipment and consumer goods.

Over the past week, the Federal Reserve took aggressive steps to try to contain the damage, announcing that it would slash interest rates by half a percentage point. “The benefits of lower interest rates at this stage are questionable with a substantial part of the economic shock due to supply-chain disruptions and official restrictions on economic activity,” argues Brian Coulton, the chief economist at Fitch Ratings. Furthermore, “the Fed and other central banks have already pushed interest rates to historic lows; they are running out of their strongest ammunition.”

Economists say a pandemic could clearly cause a recession in the United States. But for that to happen, the effects would have to spread beyond manufacturing, travel and other sectors directly affected by the disease. “The real sign of trouble will be when companies with no direct connection to the virus start reporting a slump in business” said Tara Sinclair, an economist at George Washington University.

A recession is a period in the business cycle when economic activities are in a general decline, typically accompanied by elevated unemployment, falling income and consumer spending, rising business failures, and falling stock markets. Scary and unpleasant as they are, recessions are a normal occurrence in the modern economy, although the U.S. economy hasn’t suffered a recession since 2009.The length of a recession could range from a few months to several years before economic growth picks up again.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the longest recession since the 1850s lasted for more than five years, from October 1873 to March 1879. The shortest was only six months ranging from January to July 1980. Since the Great Depression in the 1930s, a recession hasn’t been more than 20 months, with the latest one, an 18-month stretch from December 2007 to June 2009, being the longest. The global economy faces the “greatest threat” since the Great Recession, according to The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. They also stated that global growth could fall to 1.5% in 2020, should the outbreak spread further.  

Unemployed in line for rations during the Great Depression.

Many recessions, including the Great Recession and the 2001 downturn, intensify when demand evaporates from the economy. Struggling businesses lay off workers, consumers stop buying houses and cars, and frightened hesitant investors stop injecting money into the risky growing enterprises that stimulate the economy in the long term. To resolute the damage and turn the business cycle around, central banks lower interest rates and soak up safe assets, encouraging investors to take on more risk; congresses and parliaments cut taxes and disburse money to towns, states, and households, also spending on things like bridges, schools, and environmental projects.

Human labor is in short supply too, with people forced to socially distance themselves and stay home whenever possible. The virus is “no longer mainly a supply-chain issue,” a team of Standard & Poor’s analysts wrote in an alarmed note. “Both supply and demand effects are in play, and both are being amplified by tightening financial conditions.” But the question remains: How serious will the coronavirus outbreak become in the coming months? And will people risk their lives to continue working and spending money as usual precisely because of the economic stimulus? The economic stimulus package ended the Great Recession by spurring consumer spending. Most importantly, it instilled the confidence needed to boost economic growth. It also aimed to restore trust in the financial services industry. Maybe it will again?

Posted in Debatable, Uncategorized

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME – TO BE, OR NOT TO BE, THAT IS THE QUESTION

Who else isn’t a big fan of losing an hour of your life and having your routine completely rocked? I thoroughly enjoy the daylight and take great pleasure in knowing that it won’t be pitch black at 8am anymore. If there’s one thing I dread, it’s Daylight Saving Time (DST), because in all reality, it defies reason. We aren’t “saving” daylight; the earth’s rotation doesn’t speed up or slow down. It’s a naturally occurring phenomenon and today science says that there are eleven hours and thirty-five minutes of sunlight and tomorrow we’ll gain another three minutes.

Daylight Saving Time “maximizes sunlight hours during the longer days of the year by taking an hour of morning sun when many are sleeping, and adding it to the end of the day,” according to National Geographic. The most popular explanation and common myth for DST, is that it’s meant for to help farmers. Many believe that the extra hour allows for farmers to properly tend to their crops and livestock during the summer months because they get more daylight. But the original idea behind this theory was to conserve energy and reduce artificial light.

Regardless of what DST does to the actual time of sunrise and sunset, I certainly feel that it’s not needed anymore. It’s no longer helping us to conserve energy due to the overwhelming amount and the many forms of technology people use every day. In addition to the lack of energy reduction, the springing forward and falling back of the clocks may be putting people at a greater risk by taking a toll on our overall health. Being tired can decrease productivity, concentration, and general well-being. Losing an hour of afternoon daylight, after setting the clocks back to standard time, can trigger mental illness, including bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder, also known as winter depression. Just like losing an hour of sleep can have a negative effect, gaining an hour can do the opposite, as heart attack rates normally decrease after the fall transition.

Today, there are many proposals to eliminate DST entirely and there are also proposals to keep it year-round. I concur with the year-round possibility a lot more because it would mean keeping that extra hour of daylight during traditional “awake hours.” Reportedly, evening light has some extremely positive health benefits with more time for physical exercise and other external activities. The United States has one of the highest obesity rates in the world and continues to increase, so I truly think this would do our nation some good. But one common concern is that once individual states start toying with time change, the zoning could become exceedingly complicated. Where do you stand on daylight saving time?

Posted in inspirational, Psyche

Halo vs. Horns Effect

If you haven’t seen the show Brain Games; I highly suggest you watch it. I’ve learned so many fascinating things from this show, but one of the most intriguing is the halo vs. horn effect. The halo effect is the positive first impression which comes of a person, brand, or any entity because of certain historic past traits. The horns effect is just the opposite phenomena. It’s when one’s perception for another gets swayed by negative traits. Both of these effects are attributable to cognitive bias, a mistake in cognitive processes like reasoning and memory. When you have a cognitive bias, you hold onto your beliefs despite evidence to the contrary. Once you form an overall impression, you may work very hard to manipulate new evidence to fit your impression, whether it fits or not. It’s a “mental shortcut” or “illusion of the brain” and because our entire lives are encompassed by these judgements, they affect the very structure of our society today.

When forming a first impression, the halo effect can take hold in various forms; observing an initial attractive feature such as beauty or strength can make the person appealing, making it difficult to revise that impression based on new or opposing information. An attractive individual may also be perceived as interesting, ambitious, or funny.

The term was established by psychologist Edwin Thorndike in 1920. Thorndike asked commanding officers to rate soldiers on physical characteristics such as physique, and personality traits such as intellect, loyalty, and leadership. He discovered unexpectedly strong correlations between superior physical characteristics and superior personality traits.

Whenever individuals present themselves for interviews when seeking job opportunities, it is usually those who are impeccably dressed and can express themselves more clearly, that tend to be considered or given the job. The Pursuit of Happiness movie is a prime example of that. Another example is when a consumer’s love for a certain product may prompt them to choose the item with the same brand name when faced with two options, even when the knock-off version is far less expensive than the known brand. When an initial perception creates a negative aura around a person or product, the halo effect may then be referred to as the “horns effect” or the “reverse halo effect.” For example, if you hear your new boss criticizing an innocent employee on your first day at a new job, you may form an overall negative impression of him or her. Even if he or she later apologizes to the employee or has other redeeming qualities, you may still continue to believe that the individual is a poor boss.

It’s truly agreeable that social perception plays a vital role in individuals’ everyday lives. I believe that the factors that contribute most to an individual’s perception of another are based off of how a person is dressed and how they express themselves. Meaning, people tend to think highly of others who are well-groomed, as well as those who are able to communicate more clearly. This perception also gives credibility to the fact that a person can affect how others perceive them. Like I mentioned in my last blog, tattoos in the workplace are one of the biggest misperceptions people have, especially when proving the halo vs. horns effect.

Image result for halo vs horn effect episode

In conclusion, we’ve all experienced the halo effect, where we judge another person either correctly or incorrectly based on a single attribute. But being more self-aware of this can help you break such a subjective lifestyle. Not only will you make more informed, fair-minded decisions, but you’ll be a better person for it too. I honestly believe this is something we must all work on!