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Career Identity Crisis in late 20s

Career Identity Crisis in late 20s

Mar
5

Whenever people ask ‘What do you do?’, we usually give an answer with our occupation or job title.  In late 20s, young people usually face identity crisis at work. One common question that they may think about is ‘what is the meaning of work in our life?’ Is working just ...

Whenever people ask ‘What do you do?’, we usually give an answer with our occupation or job title.  In late 20s, young people usually face identity crisis at work. One common question that they may think about is ‘what is the meaning of work in our life?’ Is working just for earning money? All of these questions are related to our working identity.

James Marcia developed his own identity status theory based on Erik Erikson’s theory on psychological development. He believed that identities will develop during adolescence and early adulthood. The two major components of his theory are commitments and exploration to explain how an individual builds commitment in life and explores one’s identity. The following are some examples of different identity statuses.

  1. Identity diffusion: ‘I have never thought about my ideal job and future. Getting a job to makes end meet is already lucky enough.’
  2. Foreclosure: ‘I got my bachelor degree and I can only pick the jobs according to my acquired knowledge.’
  3. Moratorium: ‘People used to describe me as ‘’jumpy’’. In fact, I don’t know what I want to do so I keep trying different kinds of occupation.’
  4. Identity achievement: ‘My current job is suitable for me and I have autonomy to make any decisions regard if it. I committed to my job and enjoy it.

James Marcia believes that not everyone will pass through all the four stages. Here are some few suggestions for those who go through different identity status.

First, all of us have to be aware of and accept the identity status of ourselves. If you are in the stage of foreclosure, you can try to encourage yourself to explore more first. Treasure the chances to meet up friends with different occupations and have better understandings in the current job market. Bear in mind that there is no need to rush in  making a commitment right now, just pursuing in exploration first.

If you are in the stage of moratorium, do not push yourself to make a commitment. You can try to understand more about yourself by talking with someone who knew you well. You could have a better understanding of yourself and try to figure out what you want the most, then narrow down choices of jobs and further develop your career path.

There is never a deadline to achieve our identity status. The most important thing is we could raise our self-awareness and improve our self-understanding and gradually enhance our career development.

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Nostalgia with Elderly

Jan
11

Have you ever talked about the past with seniors? Are you afraid of triggering their negative emotions of the painful events of them? Is throwing back  always a bad thing for the elderly? People believe that asking elderly to recall memories of their lives may arouse their anxiety and depres ...

Have you ever talked about the past with seniors? Are you afraid of triggering their negative emotions of the painful events of them? Is throwing back  always a bad thing for the elderly?

People believe that asking elderly to recall memories of their lives may arouse their anxiety and depression. However, research found that nostalgic events can help them alleviate sadness and loneliness of elderly, bringing them happiness, sociability and warmth.

Nostalgia means being sentimental for the past, typically for a particular period or place associated with positive emotions. There are two types of nostalgia, restorative nostalgia and reflective nostalgia. Restorative nostalgic means looking back into the past then make changes in present to deal with our regrets. Reflective nostalgia means people accepting the past and it is part of them, it helps to encourage the old people to accept their life course. They are more looking forward to the future and feeling less worry about the death.

Nostalgia has positive effects on mental health as a stabilizing force to the sense of continuity. It provides a link between the past self and the future self. Elderly can enhance their positive regards through nostalgic. Reminding them of their changes and they have survived from different challenges help them to have greater accessibilities of own positive characteristics of themselves. For example, their self-esteem could be boosted because they had overcome certain difficulties and failure.

Nostalgic usually takes place when people recalling memories with the ones  close to them. It could help them to increase the perceptions of social support as they feel being loved and protected by others which strengthen social connectedness. Elderly can always talk about the presence and support of their family members, romantic partners and friends during their crisis in the past.  It can help to relief anxiety and depressed feelings of the seniors.

It is inevitable to think about the past for the elderly but we can encourage and guide them to express their feeling more than the context and content. It is important to let the elderly know no matter how they feel, we are always here for them now. Helping them to identify their emotions can facilitate their emotional regulation and consolidation of their past. We can talk about their past experiences in order to understand more about their life course. If you find it is difficult to start a topic with the elderly,  you can try to initiate a topic like the traditional cooking method, traditional marital cultures and experiences of wars. The above topics is unique to the elderly which usually linked with positive emotions like happiness, touch, sense of accomplishment etc. It is easier to build a trustful relationship with them and further express nostalgia with them.  Recallingmemories about past painful events may make them feel sad or angry, but we can accompany them and let them know we always support them.

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Comparison in children

Comparison in children

Oct
8

“My son knows Li Bai’s poems since he was three.” “Why don’t you let your daughter join playgroups. It’s necessary.” What will you feel when you listen to the above sayings? Would you be anxious or would you just keep your own decision to your children firml ...

“My son knows Li Bai’s poems since he was three.” “Why don’t you let your daughter join playgroups. It’s necessary.” What will you feel when you listen to the above sayings? Would you be anxious or would you just keep your own decision to your children firmly?  

Every September is the beginning of school days. Heavy workload makes students exhausted while continuous messages from WhatsApp group makes parents suffocated. The rise of parents’ WhatsApp group brings numerous benefits and convenience but every coin has two sides. Parents may trap in the unnecessary comparison.

Leon Festinger, an American social psychologist published the Social Comparison Theory in 1954 as well as pointed out that people tend to evaluate themselves by comparing to others. The process includes two types of social comparison: upward and downward. The former is to compare oneself to one who has better talent and hence may feel nervous or even jealous while the latter is to compare oneself to the worse one so that they may get sense of achievement. A parent continually resorts to upward social comparison and when they recognise their child is not as talented as others, they may feel anxious.

What is the reason of parents comparing their kids with others? Actually, it’s a normal reaction led by Social Comparison. When a person notices that he is inferior than others in his conscious aspects, he will feel insecure and abased. And it is because people’s Self Concept is attributed to one self’s concerned factor.  The birth rate in Hong Kong is declining in recent years and most of the parents have their only child. Thus, parents put their greatest effort and resources on their children. Those parent’s Self Concept is built on their children’s achievement because the academic performance of their children indicates that are they good parents or not.  

The rise of parents’ WhatsApp group provides an opinion-exchange platform but also comparing targets. Interestingly, when people have more similar characteristics, they will have more comparing motivation. For example, when two full-time Mum is taking care of their 6-year-old son and they are in the same school with similar financial background, these series of similarities trigger more comparison. To reduce their anxiety, they will do their utmost to enhance children’s competitiveness by putting more on their education.

To avoid this kind of comparison trap, parents should understand everyone, including kids has their strengths and weaknesses. All they have to do is to embrace children’s characteristics, and choose the suitable teaching methods according to their talent and interests. Instead of focusing on different children’s accomplishment, parents should rather pay attention on their child and make sure that they won’t lost their uniqueness in comparison.


 


 

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Can my children practice mindfulness?

Can my children practice mindfulness?

Jun
20

Mindfulness has become a trend in recent years. A lot of people who are suffering from mood problems try to improve their quality of life through mindfulness. Many of the mindfulness learners agree that their physical and mental well-being has enhanced significantly. However, mindfulness is not yet ...

Mindfulness has become a trend in recent years. A lot of people who are suffering from mood problems try to improve their quality of life through mindfulness. Many of the mindfulness learners agree that their physical and mental well-being has enhanced significantly. However, mindfulness is not yet as popular as expected in adolescents. Can they actually benefit from mindfulness as adults do?

First of all, mindfulness can facilitate the development of executive functioning, which is one of our most essential cognitive abilities. It includes inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility and working memory. Abundant precedent research found that adults practicing mindfulness exercises does help enhance their executive functioning. Individuals with better executive functioning tend to have more focused attention, following with better self-regulation on emotions and behavior.

Adolescence is the peak development period of executive functioning, which is mainly processed in prefrontal cortex (PFC). This region is responsible for regulation of emotions and attention. It is found that adolescents require higher activation of PFC than adults do for regulating emotions. Furthermore, high-arousal situations impair adolescent decision-making abilities much more than those in adults. Therefore, adolescents may significantly benefit from mindfulness by enhancing executive functioning and promoting the growth of PFC which both help the regulation of emotions and attention, as well as the enhancement of decision making.

Overloading negative affects, such as anxiety, could interfere our working memory and attention. Academic performances may thus be affected in these circumstances. Mindfulness, which encourages a present-moment experiential form of self-awareness, can reduce rumination and self-judgment. These factors may boost students’ learning motivation.

Other than the concerns of academic aspect, it is believed that cultivating a higher dispositional mindfulness, which means living in the concepts of mindfulness, can protect adolescents with poor decision-making skills from participating in risky health behaviors, such as smoking.

To conclude, mindfulness can be an inspirational practice for EVERYONE. If a family can practice mindfulness together, this will become a common topic among the family members. Furthermore, both parents and children can enhance their self-awareness of emotions and behavior through practicing mindfulness, which is expected to effectively ameliorate their relationship.

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Life exploration

Life exploration

Jun
13

“I’m tired of executing others’ choreography.  I want to learn to see the world” Polina “Polina”, an artistic French movie co-directed by Angelin Preljocaj and Valerie Muller, features a gifted Russian girl trained in classical ballet searching for her ide ...

“I’m tired of executing others’ choreography.  I want to learn to see the world” Polina

“Polina”, an artistic French movie co-directed by Angelin Preljocaj and Valerie Muller, features a gifted Russian girl trained in classical ballet searching for her identity in dancing.  The movie described how Polina was seriously trained by a famous male ballet teacher in Russia during childhood.  She was later being admitted to the Bolshoi Ballet School.  Shortly after the admission, Polina decided to go to Paris with her boyfriend to explore new way of dancing.  Although Polina faced a lot of obstacles in her search for identity, she had committed her passion in pursuing modern dance and choreography.

According to a renowned psychologist Erik Homberger Erikson, the key elements of ego identity in adolescence is Identity versus Role Confusion.  During adolescence, a person has an identity synthesis with an emerging new identity configuration.  With common social domains of identity expression, work roles, ideological values, relationships and sexuality; a key outcome of an optimal resolution is the capacity to make identity-defining commitments and follow them over time.

James Marcia, a psychologist well known for elaborating Erikson’s stage of Identity versus Role Confusion, proposed two dimensions, exploration and commitment.  Marcia stated that there are four identity statuses: Foreclosure (low exploration, high commitment), Diffusion (low exploratiion, low commitment), Moratorium (high exploration, low commitment), Achievement (high exploration, high commitment).  Those in the Achievement status have undertaken meaningful identity explorations before committing themselves to personally important adult work roles and ideological values.  Those in the Foreclosure status are based on identifications with significant others, adopted without significant identity exploration.

Polina’s identity status is probably the Achievement status, she is brave enough to give up contiuing a career in classical ballet and explore her own way of performing dancing through exploration.  She also has high level of commitment in pursuing her career development once she has choosen a way of her own in dancing.  From adolescence to adulthood, a person needs to explore in different life domains in order to have a holistic identity emerging.  As parents, it is more appropriate to let children to explore before choosing a narrow path too soon.

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