Surrounded by Negative People? Here are Some Tips

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

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While I was studying Psychology in college one of the topics that really resonated with me was the idea of emotional contagion. As its name implies, emotional contagion is based on the idea that emotions are contagious.

Studies have shown that when we are surrounded by positive people we begin to think more positively and when we are surrounded by negativity we tend to become more negative.

Before going any further, I just want to clarify that the type of negativity that I am referring to is the type of negativity in which the person is feeling negative about the world or about something that is going on in their own life and they might complain a lot to you but they are in no way demeaning you or meaning to cause you any physical and emotional harm.

Basically, emotional contagion is a fancy phrase for explaining that the type of people we surround ourselves with help determine our emotions and outlook on life.

One piece of advice that I constantly hear is that we should try to surround ourselves with positive people and distance ourselves from negative people.

First of all, I definitely think that this advice is easier said than done. Nevertheless, I think that it is certainly possible to gradually distance ourselves from negative friends, acquaintances, bosses, etc.

However, I believe that sometimes it is very difficult, if not impossible, to distance ourselves from those that are more negative. This is especially true if this person is a very dear friend, a significant other, a parent or even a child. In such instances, our conscience will not (and should not!) allow us to distance ourselves from that person.

One of the things that I have been really thinking about lately is: how can we preserve our own happiness and positive outlook without distancing ourselves from the person who is the source of this negativity?

A little Empathy Goes a Long Way

I think that sometimes we have to mentally put ourselves in their position in order to better understand where their mindset is coming from. Often, we may realize that this person has endured certain struggles and challenges that we have never been through. Or perhaps we have been through similar experiences it’s just that this person has had more difficulty coping with the challenge.

Have a Chat

This tip may not work for everyone. However, when possible, I would recommend sitting down with this individual and very calmly letting them know how their negativity is also bringing you down. Most people may not even know that their constant negativity is bothering you! Often, the last thing the loved one wants to do is to bother you or bring you down so this could perhaps be an eye opener for them.

It might be a good idea to discuss many different options during this chat. This also includes the option of that person seeking professional help if necessary.

Self-Care is a Necessity and Not a Luxury

Regardless of our situation, in this fast paced and hard-working world of ours I think that self-care is a must for everyone. We have to dedicate some time to free our minds from everything that worries us or stresses us out.

There are many different approaches to self-care since different methods work for different people. Ideally, self-care is a period of time in which we let go of the worries of the world and focus on relaxing and reflecting on our inner selves or whatever is truly important to us.

Spirituality: Spirituality can be a great means of caring for oneself. Many people swear by the calming effects of meditation. I personally love contemplation. Either early in the morning or right before bed I like to sit by the window and just think about the greatness of the universe or I often spend this time thinking about everything that I am grateful for.

I personally believe in God so when I am going through a particularly difficult time I comfort myself by praying and whenever I am happy I thank Him for my blessings.

Pursue a passion project or a hobby: One of the goals of self-care is to enable you to forget about all of your worries for a while. Pursuing a hobby or anything else that you are passionate about is a great way to relieve stress. Ideally when we are doing something that we really enjoy we are in a state of flow, where we are so absorbed in what we are doing that our mind is only focused on that task and time flies right by.

Exercise: Trust me, I know that exercising is the last thing I think of as being relaxing. However, exercise is a proven mood booster thanks to the fact that increases our brains serotonin level which helps us feel happier.

Spend time in nature: I will be the first to admit that I spend way too much time sitting behind a screen. For our own health and well-being it is vital that we give our eyes and our brain a break by spending time outside. Try to go out for a walk or simply step outside and rest your eyes by looking at a tree, a bird, or the grass. Many people swear by the therapeutic effects of camping. Or you can go on a scenic hike with your friends or solo.

Spend some “me time”: This can include treating yourself to a spa or doing something else to pamper yourself once in a while. Your “me time” could be as simple as watching a movie or your favorite show on Netflix. I realize that watching TV may not be the ideal solution however, it can definitely be enjoyable and relaxing if done in moderation.

Feel free to choose any of these tips that you feel will work best for you or feel free to come up with your own self-care activity.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

 

Six Back to School Tips

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

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In the spirit of back to school season I wanted to share some of my personal tips on how to make the transition back to school as smooth and hassle-free as possible. I created these tips with the college student in mind however, I hope that these tips will be hopeful for students at all levels.

Map it Out

If its your first time attending the college, or if you attend a large university, it might be a good idea to find the location of your classes before classes start. Most universities are always open in the sense that you are free to walk around and find your classes the day before or even a few days before they start.  The first week can be very hectic so its nice to have one less thing to worry about. I personally consider myself directionally challenged so this is a tip that I definitely always used when beginning a new set of classes!

Read the Syllabus

So this is a tip that every professor is going to encourage you to follow. The syllabus is a document, created by the professor, that basically explains the format and layout of the course and most importantly, it almost always includes a section about how the course grade will be calculated.  The syllabus also contains a section on how you can best reach the professor if you ever need to contact him or her. A lot of the questions that you may have about the course structure will be covered in the syllabus so I would definitely recommend saving a copy of the syllabus on your phone or laptop.

Buy Textbooks/Materials

Another great reason to read the course syllabus is that it often includes details about the required textbook and any other required materials. If you are going to order your textbook and/or other required course materials online its a good idea to order them as soon as possible because sometimes shipping can take a while.

I personally loved using DealOz for purchasing my textbooks because all you have to do is enter the book’s title, author, or ISBN number and this site will search through the web and find the best deals for best new, best used, and best rental price for the book that you need.

Almost all colleges and universities have a college bookstore. Purchasing from the college bookstore is often convenient but costly. Also, check to see if there are any local bookstores that are competing with your college bookstore and these stores may have the textbooks that you need for a cheaper price then the college bookstore. However, in my experience textbooks sold online are almost always cheaper.

If the course requires you to purchase scantrons or booklets for exams I would recommend purchasing those in the first week just to get them over with and have one less thing to worry about when its exam time.

Start Studying

From my experience, most of my fellow students always started studying only a few days before the exam if not the night before. I would definitely recommend studying as soon as possible and especially after every lecture when the material is still fresh in your mind. With this method you only have to study a few minutes each day instead of trying to cram all the material before the exam. Cramming the material before the exam can become very stressful and you are much more likely to really understand the material if you spend a few minutes studying it each day.

Take a nap

Many students often sacrifice their sleep in order to fit in enough time for their academic and/or social life. Some students even brag about pulling an all-nighter. The reality is that sleep is vital not only to our physical health but it is also very important in making us cognitively awake and alert which can help us perform better academically.

As someone who is a recent graduate I know that sometimes life gets too busy and we simply don’t have time to get the required seven or eight hours of sleep. However, in order to avoid feeling burned out or tired feel free to take a nap ideally for around 30 minutes a day. Research shows that a quick daytime nap can reenergize us without harming the amount or quality of the sleep that we get at night.

Stay Positive

It is totally common to be a little nervous at the beginning of each school year whether it is because you are starting a new school or you are taking a class or classes that you feel are challenging. I know it might be intimidating to ask a teacher or professor for help but there are there to help you and the majority of them are very happy to help. Always try to stay positive and remember that with hard work and determination you can excel in any class!

I hope you all find these tips to be helpful!

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

 

Five Tips for Becoming a More Effective Reader

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well! book-1867716_640

Back to school season is upon us! I can’t believe how fast the summer is flying by! For me it feels kind of weird and exciting because this will be the first back to school season in which I will not be in school or university because I graduated this past June.

Anyways, in my many years as a student I always struggled to keep up with the assigned readings because I always felt that I would forget everything I had read by the time exams were coming up.

Throughout my college years my Psychology professors really encouraged us to use the SQ3R method as a technique for helping us remember many of the important things we were reading in the textbooks.  The SQ3R method consists of the following five steps: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review.

Survey

Before you start reading simply open to the assigned pages and casually skim through them to get an overall view of how the information is being presented. If possible read the chapter summary, look at the chapter introduction, headings and subheadings.

Question

Look at each subsection and try to come up with questions that you think will be answered in that subsection. Try asking yourself questions such as: What is this section about? How can this information help me? How does this information relate to other things that I have learned? Try to keep these questions in mind as you read that section and of course, as you are reading you may come up with even more questions. The reason why this step is helpful is because the more actively your mind searches for answers the more engaged you become in the learning process.

Read

When it is finally time to read, try to answer the questions that you have created as you read each section. Also, try to relate this new information with things you’ve learned before.

Recite

After you have finished reading each section try to remember (create a written and/or mental list) of the main ideas discussed in each section. If there is a particular section for which you cannot remember the main idea then try to go back and reread that section. It is very important not to move on until you can remember that sections main ideas.

Review

Finally, go back through all of the questions you created and see if you can still answer them. If necessary go back and refresh your memory.

Why is the SQ3R method effective?

The SQ3R method is effective thanks to a phenomenon social scientists and education researchers refer to as the testing effect. According to the testing effect, long term retention of material is better when you test yourself while you are learning the material versus just studying the material over and over again.

Sometimes we might read something and feel like the material is familiar and we may feel overconfident about how much we understand what we just read. Its important to remember that just because you can recognize something as being familiar as you read it, doesn’t mean that you will be able to choose the correct answer from several similar or familiar concepts on a multiple choice test.  Of course, on a written exam it is even harder because simply recognizing things doesn’t help, you actually have to recall the information.

Overall, the SQ3R has been supported by research as an effective study technique because it forces you to remember the main ideas and answers on your own which in turn makes you much more prepared to take the exam.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

 

The Top Safety Precaution that Passengers are Avoiding

Hey Everyone.

Hope you’re all doing well!

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A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that four out of five people do not wear their seatbelt when they are sitting in the back seat of a car if it is a short trip or if it is in a Uber, Lyft, or any other similar service.

The report by the IIHS found that the majority of people who do not wear their seatbelt in the back seat believe that it is not necessary to wear a seatbelt because the back seat is much safer than the front seat.

However, research by IIHS engineers and others have shown that this idea is absolutely false. In the event of a car crash unbelted back seat passengers can be violently thrown like a missile to the front.

In 2015 alone 1,018 back seat passengers died because they were not wearing a seat belt.

A separate report conducted in 2016 by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that unbelted back seat passengers were three times more likely to die in a crash.

According to the IIHS the driver can also be severely injured because an unbelted back seat passenger can slam into the drivers seat, pushing the driver into the airbag and steering wheel with a 35  mph impact.

Okay so I have a confession to make. Usually when my whole family and I ride together in a car, my parents are in the front and my two brothers and I are in the back seat. It is often the case that one of my brothers is on one side and the other brother is on the other side and I am in the middle.

I have to admit that when I am in this middle seat I never buckle up because the seatbelt in the middle is, in my opinion, uncomfortable. Although we rarely all ride together, after reading these stats I will definitely be buckling up.

Additionally, it has been reported that Princess Diana was not wearing a seatbelt on the night of her fatal car crash. According to a simulation experiment by CNN her life could potentially have been saved if she was simply wearing her seat belt.

From the bottom of my heart I would like to really encourage all of you my dear readers to please make sure to buckle up whenever you are in a car, no matter how short the trip is. Its something that can be done in a few seconds but it can save your life and even the lives of those with and around you.

With Love,

Yasmin