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Job Stress Giving You a Case of the Mondays? Outthink Your Anxiety
An honest inquiry into the source of stress in your life will yield some surprising results. If you're mindful, present, and inquiring, you won't be able to fool yourself, says Byron Katie.
Byron Katie is creator of the inquiry process called "The Work." Through this process, Katie gives people the tool to set themselves free. In 1986, at the bottom of a ten-year spiral into depression, rage, and self-loathing, Katie woke up one morning to a state of constant joy that has never left her. She realized that when she believed her stressful thoughts, she suffered, but that when she questioned them, she didn't suffer, and that this is true for every human being.
The Work consists of four questions and the turnarounds, which are a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believe. When you question a thought, you see around it to the choices beyond suffering. One thought at a time, you transform the way you experience your life.
Katie has been bringing The Work to millions of people for more than twenty-five years. Her public events, weekend workshops, five-day intensives, nine-day School for The Work, and 28-day residential Turnaround House have brought freedom to people all over the world.
Eckhart Tolle says, “Byron Katie's Work is a great blessing for our planet.” Time magazine calls Katie “a spiritual innovator for the new millennium.” Byron Katie's six books include the bestselling Loving What Is, I Need Your Love—Is That True?, and A Thousand Names for Joy.
The Work is basic inquiry, and it takes one into a meditative state. Let's say if you're very stressed out you just become still. And you identify what you were thinking and believing in that situation. Let's say I'm at work and I have the thought, you know, “This job is stressing me out.”
So I would simply, now that that thought is identified, just write it down on a piece of paper. It's stabilized from mind to reality; it's solid, identified and anchored. “This job, my job is stressing me out. Is it true that my job is stressing me out?” And the first response might be “Yes, yes, yes it's true my job stresses me out. And he said this and she said that, and this is more than I can handle.” Okay, no that's not inquiry, that's a discussion. So now we slow it down, look at the paper. “This job is stressing me out. Is it true that this job is stressing me out?” Now the answer to the first two questions is one syllable, it's either “yes” or “no.” This is inquiry. Any defense or justification or story is not inquiry, inquiry is to get still and let the answer show you. It comes out as a “yes” or “no.” And so we just meditate on that until - that's why I say it could take a while for some of us.
And then, “My job is stressing me out. Can I absolutely know that it's my job that's stressing me out?” Okay. Get really still. “Can I absolutely know that it's my job that's stressing me out?” Yes. So to imagine that it's “no,” you're just guessing at the right answer. So it has to be authentic. You cannot fool you. You can't fool you. So some people say ultimately every answer is “no.” A “yes” to me is as valid as a “no” to someone else. This is personal work.
So let's say I'm at a “Yes. So it's my job that's stressing me out. My job stresses me out.” How do I react when I believe that thought? So I close my eyes; I see me taking it home with me; I see me frustrated at work; I'm short with my children, my husband; I want to quit. Then I worry about money and security, letting my family down. I blame even innocent people at work. I'm focused on work. Most of the time I'm paid for eight hours but I'm 24/7 waking hours I'm at work in my head. And a lot of us can go further with that. It's like “How do I react when I believe the thought. If we get really still we can see that's when we go for the chocolate cake or the cigarette we said we'd never smoke again or the alcohol.
“My job is stressing me out. Who would I be without that thought?” And I start with “Right here, right now I'm at my desk, who would I be without the thought my job is stressing me out?” Okay. So all of a sudden “I’m present and there's nothing here to stress me out. There's nothing here to stress me out. There's a desk. There's my computer. There are people working that are not even speaking to me. My job is not stressing me out.” So I look at the paper, again, “My job is stressing me out and I'm going to turn it around, my job is not stressing me out.” So I might turn it around because we have an object, “My thoughts about my job are stressing me out; my thinking is stressing me out. So is that as true or truer? It's completely true. My thoughts about this job stress me out. So for me that completely shows me an innocent world, in other words all the people I'm working with, my boss, my workload completely innocent, it's what I'm thinking and believing about it that is the cause of my stress.”
So, another turnaround as I sit in this might be “I am stressing my job out.” Well, what does that mean to me? That doesn't mean much to people, but this is my inquiry; I'm sitting in this; this is my meditation. So, “I’m stressing my job out.” And then I begin to see when I'm stressed out how I approach people. “I’m short. I can be argumentative. When I think my workload is just too much my job is stressing me out, I'm rushed; I'm not connected, when other people need help I'm not available; I'm not compassionate, not understanding; I isolate; thinking that I don't have time for this person or that project, I'm just focused on this.” So I find I'm selfish with my time. “I miss people, connecting with them, and I've lost the ability to connect with them. I'm not connected to myself, I'm just thinking that my job is stressing me out.”
So you really can't guess if you're doing authentic inquiry, not rational thinking but just listening, witnessing, watching, being aware. Everything shifts, the way you see everything shifts and that the creative mind is weightless.
An honest inquiry into the source of stress in your life will yield some surprising results. If you're mindful, present, and inquiring, you won't be able to fool yourself, says Katie Byron. Rather than analyze the source of your stress, simply ask yourself this series of yes/no questions. Analysis often leads to defensiveness of self-justification, but investigating your own mental state will reveal a more essential truth to you: how you feel about what's happening around you.
By reorienting the perspective from which you analyze your stress, you will come to think differently about it. This is especially powerful when we realize that we experience stress primarily as a mental condition. It may be that focussing on your job as the source of stress in your life may contribute to those very feelings.
Katie is the author of A Thousand Names for Joy.
Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.
A time for sleep<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="Mt29uUqI" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="931343dee3c02121445e51e94ba22446"> <div id="botr_Mt29uUqI_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Mt29uUqI-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/Mt29uUqI-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/Mt29uUqI-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>Previous studies had already suggested a link between persistent nightmares in childhood and psychosis and borderline personality disorder (BPD) by adolescence, but researchers at the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology wanted to see if a similar connection existed between these mental disorders and other childhood behavioral sleep problems.</p><p>To do this, they scoured data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a longitudinal cohort study that followed approximately 14,000 children born in Avon, England, in the early 1990s. The study followed the children for more than 13 years. During that time, mothers filled out questionnaires asking about the children's lives. Factors looked at included housing, parenting, nutrition, physical health, mental wellbeing, environmental exposures, and so on. </p><p>The cohort study inquired about sleep routines, sleep duration, and awakening frequency when the children were 6, 18, and 30 months old, and then again at 3.5, 4.8, and 5.8 years. It also assessed mental health in adolescence using semi-structured interviews, such as the Psychosis-Like Symptom Interview.</p><p>"We know that adolescence is a key developmental period to study the onset of many mental disorders, including psychosis or BPD. This is because of particular brain and hormonal changes which occur at this stage," <a href="https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/psychology/marwaha-steven.aspx" target="_blank">Steven Marwaha</a>, professor of psychiatry at Birmingham and senior author on the study, <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200701125431.htm" target="_blank">said in a release</a>. "Sleep may be one of the most important underlying factors—and it's one that we can influence with effective, early interventions, so it's important that we understand these links."</p><p>After compiling the data, the researchers discovered an association between children with irregular sleeping patterns and teenagers with <a href="https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/psychosis/about-psychosis/" target="_blank">psychotic experiences</a>—that is, episodes when the person perceives reality differently than those around them. Even when depression at 10 years old was considered as a mediating factor, their findings still suggested "a specific pathway between these childhood sleep problems and adolescent psychotic experiences." </p><p>Toddlers with shorter nighttime sleep duration and late bedtimes were likewise associated with a <a href="https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml" target="_blank">borderline personality disorder</a>—a disorder marked by a pattern of varying moods, self-images, and behaviors—in their teenage years. Depression at age 10 did not mediate this particular association, suggesting a separate and more specific pathway. </p>
A more restful tomorrow<p>While the sample size was large and mental health was assessed with a validated interview, there nevertheless remain limitations to this data. For starters, sleep habits were based on mothers' reports. Because they came from memory, versus a more direct observation method such as actigraphy, these data may be prone to imperfect recollection and reporting error. There are also many confounders that could be secretly nudging the results, such as family conditions, prenatal medicines, and a host of environmental factors. Finally, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024884/#:~:text=Sleep%20difficulties%20in%20youth%20with,fear%20of%20dark%20%5B13%5D." target="_blank">the relationship between sleep problems and mental disorders</a> is both complex and two-way.</p><p>As such, the study shows an association between poor childhood sleep later mental disorders but does not prove a causal link. Parents need not worry that a string of nightmares or the eternal struggle settle into bed will be the first ingredients in a witches' brew of debilitating mental disorders. The goal of the study, the researchers point out, is not to create undue worry but improve our ability to recognize the signs of at-risk children and deliver necessary interventions earlier.</p><p>"The results of this study could have important implications for helping practitioners identify children who might be at higher risk for psychotic experiences or BPD symptoms in adolescence, and potentially lead to the design of more effectively targeted sleep or psychological interventions to prevent the onset or attenuate these mental disorders," Isabel Morales-Muñoz, the study's lead researcher, <a href="https://www.healio.com/news/psychiatry/20200702/childhood-sleep-problems-linked-to-adolescent-psychosis-borderline-personality-disorder#:~:text=Sleep%20problems%20during%20early%20childhood,study%20published%20in%20JAMA%20Psychiatry." target="_blank">told Healio Psychiatry</a><u>.</u></p><p>If a parent reading this is worried that their child's sleep patterns are deleterious, the take away should not be despair over an unyielding fate. It should be to seek professional help as soon as possible to begin improving sleep duration and quality. Even if you aren't worried, it's worth remembering that childhood experiences lay the foundation for a lifetime of salubrious sleeping habits. It's so much more than beauty rest.</p>
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.