LifestyleWellness Inside Out

3 Emotional Truths That Will Flip Your Worldview

Samineh I. Shaheem, director of learning and development at Kawader Training Services and owner of Life Clubs UAE, is passionate about uncovering and sharing interesting aspects of human behavior through her weekly column in the Khaleej Times and her radio program “Voices of Diversity“. Here she gives us the scoop on why good news is good for you and other unexpected mental health insights. 

Why is coming home harder than people expect?

Researchers used to think the hardest transition was adapting to a new culture. We now know that since you don’t anticipate the challenges of returning to what you perceive as home, it can be more confronting because you’re caught off guard.

Emiratis studying in the UK go from a collectivist to an individualistic society, so they become more independent. When they come home, mom and dad want to treat them like the same 18-year-old and play the same central authoritarian role as before–but that child has grown. So one big challenge is having to work really hard to carve out an independent space.

What’s the big deal about emotional intelligence?

Previously the emphasis was on IQ, GPA, and SAT scores, all these numerical averages. After three decades of research on emotional intelligence, we know that yes, academic achievements might land you the job, but they aren’t what will get you promoted or encourage your team’s cohesiveness.

The greatest leaders have the ability to move us, and that takes emotional intelligence. If you don’t have it, no matter how much of a genius or star you are at work, you’re more likely to derail from your path than stay on it.

What is the impact of bad news on mental health?

Cognitively speaking, for every negative stimulus we need about two to three positive stimuli to recover, five if it’s really severe. So can you imagine how much of a positive news deficit we’re in from the negative messages that bombard us daily?

What good news essentially does is flood our system with powerful hormones that give us hope and a sense of well-being, not only for ourselves but also to motivate us to help others. So it’s important, not to block or ignore the challenging news, but just to balance out the ratio so we’re not overwhelmed and desensitized, so we can be more receptive and empathetic to it.

For more info – Khaleej Times, the Dubai Eye, and on Twitter @SaminehShaheem

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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