Focusing on the transformative complements

The other day I watched Dr Lissa Rankin’s talk on TEDx. She said the statement below and questioned us how do we think about it?

The caring for your body was the least important part of your health.”

Based on her research and experiences in practice, she brought in the term of “the Whole Health Medicine” (this is her website) and created a wellness model (see a diagram below). It indicates that our health symptoms are often shown on our feelings of our bodies, where we thought we have problems on, however these are the mirrors of our mind and our life surroundings. One of her suggestions is to switch from focusing on battling nuisance symptoms that decrease our quality of life to seeking and enhancing our own transformative complements such as love, pleasure, gratitude and service.

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(image from http://www.owningpink.com/images/op-whole-health.jpg)

In Chinese, we often say “境由心转,相由心生“, which means that our perceptions of the world will change with the changes of our mind; whereas our outward appearance mirrors our heart. When I was a kid, to stop me being cheated by strangers, my grandparents told me that if I feel a stranger is not kind and nice though they may smile and try to be friendly, very likely they are not truly kind because their face and behaviors tell. I wouldn’t say this 100% works, but it has its reasons.

Another example is that we all heard something like “the first three minutes of a job interview are the most critical”, or “first impressions are more heavily influenced by nonverbal cues than verbal cues”.  Spontaneously when we present who we are – the best being of ourselves, we are giving people an impressive first impression. However, this spontaneous look is not pretended. It has been molded on our bodies by our mind in every day life. (N.B. here I am not saying we don’t prepare interview and don’t learn the interaction skills)

So we are shaped by our thoughts. It’s all mirrored on our body including our faces, eyes, smile, voice, etc. To care our own health, read Dr Lissa Rankin’s advice and see if it works for you.

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A note made from Germain Greer’s speech

Yesterday evening I attended a 2015 Hadyn Ellis Distinguished Lecture – “Women & Power: the Lessons of the 20th Century” made by Professor Germain Greer.  There was no picture and recording that I can share as Professor Greer did not like it. I respected it.

As a woman myself, I probably haven’t done anything particularly to seek equal opportunities for women in education and employment, like the feminists did. I assume that in the theater there were few people like me who didn’t know her feminism influence and her arguable viewpoint on transgender people. But obviously in the theater there were few people like me who is a Chinese and grew up and largely educated in China where women had equal vote right to men in 1949 (the same time when P.R.China was established).

May be because of the recent Paris attacks, the security and safety of the event was overwhelmed: security staff and policemen were around the venue, two times of ticket checking, one bag checking, and security staff stood in front of the theater watching the audience.

About 10 protesters again Professor Greer (mainly about her previous statement on transgender people) were outside of the venue. They were quiet and had clear message boards in hand.

The theater was almost full and the Vice-Chancellor started the event.

Professor Greer had both intellectual rigour and a sense of humour. Mostly sarcasm! I couldn’t understand all her jokes because I lack of knowledge about Western history and culture. She talked about the issues such as women vote, unequal pay and opportunities between women and men, “unskilled” from low payment, abortion, and sex-selective abortion. She encouraged women to endeavour to gain power for themselves but have fun in it. Those issues are closely related to women, however, she didn’t talk these issues without showing evidences. She didn’t try to convince you to believe her without having your own different opinions. It’s the free speech and the open critical face-to-face dialogue that influence people. I was thinking if a strong but clear viewpoint was stated by an ordinary person, probably no media would care much or think twice. If it was made by famous people like Professor Greer, it would call a lot of attention and bring up debates, which is a good thing. Why can’t we talk and learn from each other?

There are some viewpoints below that made me think more (they are not quite her own sentences).

  • What do women vote for? What do you think the vote accomplishes?
  • Equality is not enough.
  • Abortion and not allowing abortion, which is good or right for women?  (Not talking about what the law says, there are a lot of individual circumstances here! It’s case by case! Only people who are in the situation know it the best, however they are too busy of thinking between keeping or losing the baby to think of this issue.)
  • Women are not supporting each other enough, at least are not as much as men do to support each other.
  • It’s not the economic status that women need to seek, it’s the power that matters.

I was thinking about why I didn’t do as much as the feminists did?

Recalling my own experience, I was brought up in a family that girls are as good as boys though the culture at the time was that boys are better than girls. My parents/teachers didn’t say I shouldn’t do so and so because I was a girl. I studied in the same classroom with boys and went to university by passing the same exams. We had 1/4 female students in the subject and male classmates were nice to us. I worked in a core team in a company and I was the only woman in the team. I did the same job to male colleagues and we had the same payment. Companies encouraged young women to work in the IT positions. So in China I didn’t experience too unequal treatments because of my gender. Here I do not deny that it definitely had/has unequal treatments between women and men in life. I also don’t deny that in the same working area men in general get paid higher than women. For me it’s more about the inequality between the rich and the poor and the different opportunities from individual to individual. I wish I understand more of the issues if I didn’t experience it myself.

What are your rules of life?

It took me 4 months to finish reading the book The Rules of Life. This is because firstly I don’t like to be ruled by the book or the author’s suggestions. I wanted to discover if I have already applied some rules. Secondly, I’d like to see how much I remember if I don’t touch the book for a while.

There are many of the rules in the book that I would call habits or attitudes. They are in the person’s personality and beliefs that present who they are. We all more or less have them but we may be not aware of them.

The rules I like in particular are:

  • 2. You’ll get older but not necessarily wiser
  • 7. Be flexible in your thinking
  • 10. Only dead fish swim with the stream
  • 13. No fear, no surprise, no hesitation, no doubt
  • 49. Only the good feel guilty
  • 58. Know when to listen and when to act
  • 61. Keep talking
  • 69. Let your kids mess up for themselves – they don’t need any help from you
  • 73. There are no bad children
  • 95. Be part of the solution, not the problem

A few quotes I like:

Plans have to be realistic; dreams don’t. (p.38)

Live here, live now, live in this moment. (p.41)

If it’s dead, don’t go digging it up every five minutes to check if there’s a pulse. It’s dead; walk away. (p.74)

Peace is what we always need

Peace is what we always need, seek and safeguard.

In the evening, I watched the video of the China military parade that commemorates the 70th year of the World War II victory.

As a Chinese, I felt very proud. I sang with them…

From 1931 to 1945, my grandparents experienced the worst 14 years in their life. They didn’t like to talk about the hard time, but when I heard they talked sometimes, there were fragments of adventure stories for me, horrifying, frightening, dreadful, hair-raising, and incredible. I drew those worst human pictures and best human figures in my head. I felt I was so lucky that I was not born over that time. I thank the brave old generations very much.

Yes, we pursue peace and freedom.

The differences betwen education systems

I watched the BBC program “Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School” recently. I’m glad to see that the Chinese teachers won by the exam results. As a Chinese who was educated in the traditional Chinese way, the program brought me many memories, both pleasant and unpleasant. It kind of reminded me how I grew up.

It’s too much for me to cover everything. Here I write down my views about the education purely based on my own experiences.

Personally, I think some rules in the Chinese education affected me a lot and I’m happy that I was taught since I was a kid. They are:

  • Morning exercises (It helped me to start the day with a positive and new status. It may not work for those night owls)
  • Compulsory physical education (It helped me to be physically healthy, see my potential of doing some sports, come out of my comfort zone, and gradually build an exercise habit. The students in the program said it put them in a competition situation. In face it is, however in life we are actually only competing with ourselves. It’s the feeling that shown our weakness in public that makes us to defense and don’t do it.)
  • Eye exercises (It helped my eyes to relax and keep a good eyesight. Wearing glasses is inconvenient.)
  • Self-study time in the classroom (It helped me to finish coursework at school. I could get help from classmates and teachers if there was anything I didn’t understand. Then after school I had free time for other interests and activities. Also, it freed my parents to some extent)
  • Apart from the main subjects, there were some optional classes that encourage students’ interests such as sewing, drawing, gardening, music and dancing.
  • Clean the classroom (It helped me to learn what responsibility means and don’t take things for granted. We helped parents to do housework too without payment for sure.)
  • Keep quiet in the class (I know this is hard. As a child, I liked to talk to peers, day dreaming, peek my cartoon books, or drew anything on my textbooks… But I gradually learned to respect other people’s time, teachers’ and peers’. So in the class if I’m not interested, my brain could wander or dream, but I stopped talking to peers or making noises.)
  • Respect teachers and behave. (This point implies the culture difference very much. For example, British people respect women by opening doors for them or letting them go first. Chinese people respect elders and teachers by listening to what they taught them and by keeping disciplines. This doesn’t mean Chinese youngsters wouldn’t have their own opinions and just obey without challenging views. But it’s definitely not as free and straight as the manners those British youngsters had.)

On the other hand, some aspects in the Chinese style restricted me to some extent and some of the aspects are uneasy to change considering Chinese own culture and circumstances. However, I think it changed over the last 20 years, but wouldn’t have changed to the UK style obviously. Clearly many of the rules are embedded in the family, in the culture and in the society since you were born.

  • Large class (It’s hard for Chinese public schools to have small size classes because of the large population. Students who sit at the back of the classroom do got affected considering distractions from peers who sit in front of them. Naughty students normally were arranged to sit in the front so that teachers kept an eye on them. “Good” students would sit at the back because teachers believe they could learn well themselves and had self-disciplines. This was the teachers try to help the “bad” students. There were also “good” students were arranged to sit in the front, “bad” students sit at the back. This was the teachers have given up the “bad” students.)
  • Teachers physically published naughty students and asking students to stand outside of the classroom during the class was normal. It’s a sign that they didn’t do what the teacher told them.
  • Students who are good at their study would be selected as a subject representative. This means they could be a model and good example for others. However, it’s temporary as some teachers didn’t name the representatives but encouraged students to vote or self-recommend.
  • Results of examinations were the key. Individual, special, or personalised needs and interests were often on the second or third position.
  • A lot of coursework and additional learning materials from both school and parents.
  • Students have few chances to ask questions, interact with the teacher and do group work in a class session. 
  • Fewer options for students apart from the path of going to middle school, high school, universities, and having a good chance to find a decent job.

Sign languages

I attended a 2-hour sign language session on Monday. I was glad that I learned using hands to say greetings, introduce myself, count numbers and spell the 26 A-Z alphabet in British Sign Language. I knew how to use one hand to say 10 numbers in Chinese, now I know how to say them in British Sign Language and Welsh Sign Language too.

Just now I tried to recall what I had learnt, I forgot the “F”. Without practice, I don’t know how much I will forget soon.

If you are interested in sign languages, some good resources are below.

Continue reading Sign languages

A good lesson for my life

A thing I learnt today. It’s not about work stuff, but about morality and communication.

See the picture. Do you think a banana looks like this is edible? It’s not really serious bruised. It’s just the peel went bad.

I would say “yes”.

However, once I saw a banana like this in the office wastebasket, I said nothing. I thought “What are waste of food! It’s still edible! Should I pick it up? No, no, I won’t take the thrown-away food from a rubbish bin.”

Today, I saw a banana like this in the office wastebasket again and said nothing. A colleague passed the wastebasket and saw it. He said “It still looks ok. Can I have the banana? I think it’s edible. When I’m hungry, I can have it.” Then he picked the banana up and put it on his desk while he was joking with other colleagues. He ate it later in the day.

Although I don’t waste food myself and advocate against food waste by joining volunteering, I suddenly felt that I am not a truly honest person. Comparing to my colleague, I worried what other people may think or say about me, and tried to avoid any conflicts (e.g., different opinions).

Sometimes, a simple way is to say my opinions out directly in a polite, honest and humorous way.

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Cardiff University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day Event

I attended the University wellbeing activities today. It’s fun and very helpful. The little temperature warning sensor/sticker shows my body temperature. May also tell me if I’m stressed! mmexport1424815433165 The handy bands is convenient for us to do quick exercises. IMG_20150218_133834~2Join the Heart Matters free programme and register to receive the Heart Matters magazine by bhf.org.uk/heartmatters.

New terms from psychology

Recently I came across some new psychology terms which I never thought about before. We all experience fear about something to some level. Fear protects us from danger. However phobias have little to do with danger. It’s good to learn the terms which indicate the fear of something to extreme.

Achluophobia
The fear of darkness.
黑暗恐惧症.

Agoraphobia
Fear of open spaces or of being in crowded, public places like markets. Fear of leaving a safe place.
人群恐惧症,不感去人多的地方.

Deipnophobia
An abnormal fear of having conversations during dinner, banquets or dinner parties.
晚宴交流恐惧症.(形容你在晚宴时和别人交流的恐惧).

Ergophobia
An abnormal and persistent fear of work.
工作恐惧症.

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia
Fear of long words.
长单词恐惧症.

Nomophobia
An exaggerated, inexplicable, and illogical fear being without a mobile device, power source, or service area.
没手机恐惧症,(形容你远离手机时的恐惧).

Philophobia
The fear of emotional attachment; fear of being in, or falling in love.
爱情恐惧感,亲密关系恐惧症.

Trypophobia
The pathological fear of objects with irregular patterns of holes, such as beehives, ant hills and lotus seed heads.
对不规则形状图案等恐惧症.

See more:

the phobia list

Phobias Slideshow: What Are You Afraid Of?

The research studies about mental disorder

Last October, I tweeted the news I heard in that morning, and questioned where the statement of “1/4 of us suffer mental disorder in our lifetime” was from?

By reading more on the Mind website (the mental health charity for England and Wales), I found lots of helpful information, however, I was still curious about who did the research and how did they conclude that statement.

I’m pleased to find the evidence in the book I’m reading – The How of Happiness by Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky.

On page 35,  it said “In the UK it is estimated that one in four women and one in ten men will suffer depression during their lifetime.

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The references on pages 327-328 show the original publications.

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