Author: Emily Kluge

Week 14 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Cheating

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project.  Start here!) This Week’s Journal Topic: Cheating You might think that cheating is purely a character flaw or a lack of virtue. This isn’t the case.  Cheating is partially a social phenomenon because it depends on our social expectations, interactions, and observations of others.  Studies show that people are more likely to cheat if they believe that others are cheating, too.  The rub: expect others to cheat, and you might, too. Do Values Make Us Immune? Studies on college students reveal that students who think that others have cheated will also cheat, even if they believe cheating is wrong.  The studies run the following scenario:  a class of students is given a test to work on.  Several of the “students” are actually actors who display obvious signs of cheating.  The actors complete the hour long test within several minutes and leave the classroom.  The result is that the real students, after witnessing the cheating, one-by-one begin to cheat, …

What Everyone Should Know About Coping Behaviors & Addictions

Let me begin by stating that we all have the so-called “addictive personality”.  This label isn’t reserved for the weak or unmotivated or broken.  The addictive personality is, in fact, the the human condition. I think it’s obvious: each one of us resorts to some kind of coping behavior when life is too stressful and we feel overwhelmed.  Some of these coping behaviors involve legal or illegal substance abuse, but not all do.  Because some are more obvious and readily cause social and financial ruin, they are labeled “addictions”; however, each one of us has a chosen coping behavior or behavior that matters dearly to us and a harmful dependence can develop to any of these behaviors. The fundamental similarity among all of them is the aim to avoid painful emotions. No one is immune to painful emotions such as fear, loneliness, sadness, guilt, jealousy, boredom, inadequacy, etc.   The coping behaviors that allow us to avoid overwhelming emotions tend to fall into three categories: Consumption – e.g., food, media, and shopping Numbing out – e.g. drugs …

Week 13 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Vacations

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This Week’s Journal Topic: Vacation A vacation is a length of time spent away from home, usually involving travel. We not only leave our regular physical environments of work and home, we also abandon the normal patterns in life. The broad goals of vacation are relaxation and celebration. Freedom from deadlines and responsibilities allows our bodies and minds to return to baseline stress levels. By abandoning patterns, we affirm our freedom to make fresh choices, to focus on relationships with loved ones and treat them, and to reignite passion for life by living out previously unimagined possibilities. To remember these events, we take souvenirs (from the French verb to remember) and photos. Touching or viewing a certain object or photo has the ability to reconnect us with the part of us that gets lost after we return to the patterns and ritual thoughts of everyday life. Aside from these common threads, there are many different vacationing …

A Cheerfulness Practice to Radically Improve Your Mindset and Get Rid of Ennui

Don’t let a chronic case of the Mondays bring down your entire life.   Have you ever felt that each week is more of the same?  You make it through Monday to Thursday.  Finally, it’s Friday! But suddenly it’s Monday again.  How did that happen? The weeks run like torturous deja vu. Or perhaps it feels like every day is worse than the last.  The same breakfast, the same commute, the same crabby coworker.  And even the weekends are starting to seem as bland as plain, congealed oatmeal. It’s not that things are bad.  The response to “How are you?” is  “Oh, I really can’t complain.”  How do we cope with this perpetual, mild dissatisfaction?  Nothing’s really wrong.  Or is it? This listlessness has a name: ennui (pronounced: On-We).  It’s an emotional state of overcast, the kind that threatens of rain for days on end, but fails to provide the relief of a downpour.  It just goes on being overcast.  After the overcast becomes “normal”, you occasionally find yourself nagged by memories of last summer, …

3 Stretches to Relieve Wrist and Forearm Pain Caused by Computer Use

Why do my wrists and forearms hurt after computer work?  What stretches can I do to get rid of the pain? You might think of an office job as not physically strenuous.  What injury could you possibly get from sitting at a desk? Actually, people who rely on electronics at work often complain about tension in the wrists and forearms.  Some computer and office work activities that contribute to compression and inflammation in this area include: Using a mouse or touchpad Typing with the wrists at an unnatural angle (i.e. with wrists dropped) Working for long periods without breaks or stretching Carrying items or keeping the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle. These activities cause inflammation in the tendons (attach muscle to bone), ligaments (attach bone to bone), and muscles.  Stretching can sometimes help to alleviate pain by increasing flexibility and reducing tension in the muscles, both of which will decrease strain on the tendons. Try the following stretches a few times a day to 1) relieve pain and 2) prevent minor injuries from becoming …

Week 12 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Nature

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This Week’s Journal Topic:  Nature Ever wonder why climate change and oil extraction/transport are such contentious topics?  Why do some people join eco-protests, while other worry about a healthy economy? Answer: moral attitudes, values and religious beliefs underlie these opinions about the treatment of the environment. Consider a breadth of attitudes towards nature: Science: Nature is something to be controlled.  Nature has power that we can and should get better at harnessing for our own purposes.  Nature is an indication of the “proper function” of organisms, except when it isn’t and when we prefer to do things another way.  In that case, we can and may alter nature’s course. Bible: God created all of nature; nature is evidence of God’s works.  Follow God’s laws and you will do right by the Earth. But humans should propagate and fill the Earth (Genesis 9:1), and man has “dominion over… every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26). …

Kant on Enlightenment & Ignorance as a Societal Sickness

Thoughts on Immanuel Kant’s discussion of self-imposed nonage in Answering the Question: “What is Enlightenment?” Ignorance is a Societal Sickness Kant writes that “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage.” You’ve likely never heard of the word nonage before.  It refers to a state of immaturity, youth, a time of life in which we rely on guardians to make decisions for us. During this period, we are directed by another person’s reasoning, rather than by our own.  In the natural age of youth, we require the assistance of guardians to think and speak for us, due to our undeveloped faculty of reason.  At such an age, we do not harm our soul, spirit, or personal humanity by deferring decision-making to those who care for us.  There is no feasible alternative, lest we be forced to prematurely raise ourselves and risk detriment. Sometimes, however, a human prolongs his nonage far into adulthood. In Kant’s essay, he distinguishes between nonage and self-imposed nonage. Kant names two essential features of self-imposed nonage, which act as internal barriers …

3 Easy Stretches to Try at Work

The Benefits of Frequent Stretching Have you noticed that animals maintain muscle mass with minimal exercise?  For example, dogs spend the day eating and sleeping, with only a walk or two for exercise.  If there’s nothing to tear apart or steal, they’ll sleep.  Despite their laziness, dogs manage to maintain muscle mass and display peak performance during the weekend run at the dog park!  How do animals maintain their fitness with minimal movement? One theory is that stretching helps them to maintain muscle mass.  Resting dogs frequently stand up, stretch, and lie back down.  Some studies show that frequent stretching stimulates muscles and hormonal changes, thereby preventing atrophy and shortening of muscle fibers.  This week take a cue from your pet and add some stretches into your work day.  This may help you maintain your fitness, even if you have to skip your workout. Seated Pigeon Targets the outer thigh and glute Creates range of motion in the hip How to: Sit in your chair and cross the right ankle over the left knee. Sit …

Week 11 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Jealousy & Envy

(This blog is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This Week’s Journal Topic: Jealousy & Envy Last week the questions were about love. With love, naturally comes jealousy.  Therefore, this week the journal questions are about jealousy and the closely related emotion of envy. Jealousy Jealousy starts in the body as an emotional response to external stimulation. This emotion is rooted in a desire to have exclusive possession of someone/something.  In an external situation, you perceive a threat of rivalry and fear that someone/something will take something away from you.  Within you, it’s a fear of being replaced that might cause you to act in a protective and possessive way. For example, you see your significant other with an attractive person.  You believe that relationships only involve two people (i.e., you want exclusive possession). The other person appears as a rival appears capable of attracting your significant other’s affection.  You experience jealousy – a fear of losing something you value. The physical signs of this …

Can you Be Present AND plan for the Future?

Pop-culture’s Enlightenment Error “Happiness is only achievable in the present moment.” “To be present you must put aside thoughts of the past and future.” “Just breathe, trust, let it go and see what happens.” Statements about being present are multiplying as quickly as smoothie shops.  Mindfulness websites, motivational wallpapers, and Instagram captions recycle and repurpose ancient wisdom into naïve platitudes that briefly catch our attention as we scroll our lives away.  Quotes paired with photos of smiling yogis, poised on mountain tops, implant into our minds the idea that happy, enlightened people spend life sitting cross-legged, ignoring responsibilities, and breathing – nary a thought of the future and certainly no planning necessary. Somehow they blissfully and serendipitously sashay through life, free of career goals, relationship goals, or worry about what to cook for the kids tonight. Undoubtedly, compared to neurotic fretting, this carefree notion of being present is helpful.  If you’ve totally lost control of your environment and your emotions – you really messed up big time – well then, jettisoning any thoughts of the past or future …