Articles and stories about human relations 

Meditation and How to take care of your emotions

What do you do when you are physically injured? You’ll tend to it, right? Most people wouldn’t leave their fingers bleeding without giving it immediate attention, but how many people just leave emotions like sadness, depression, anger, etc., accumulate without paying much attention to them. They keep busying in their lives, keep making believe that they are happy, because happiness is the norm right? You can’t let people know that your heart wrenches and you feel like crying inside even if you feel so… A character in a Sydney Sheldon novel used to say that a human heart can only take so much, but modern societies seem tough to the responsible adults, it seems once you reached the official age, you get so many obligations in life and so many people and situations hurt your feelings, what do you do when you can’t take it anymore?

The first way is to escape, mostly, no one seems to care how you feel and you end up mostly not caring how you feel, either! People have many ways for this, it’s from general distraction to specific hobbies, etc. They made a survey a few months ago, it seems lots of men spend longer time in the toilets just to unwind from daily stress! And women would hide chocolate bars, candies and ate them in the bathrooms! Another way is to make it even to all the people who hurt us! In Sydney Sheldon’s novels, when the characters couldn’t take it anymore, they more or less became criminals and take revenge. The most usual way is of course the ostrich policy, we just ignore how we feel!

However feelings and emotions are what distinguishes each individual life, otherwise we would just be robots fulfilling societal functions, eat, work, sleep and die! Emotions are like blood in our veins, when we are alive, we should feel them! Like blood, it just flows, but sometimes, we need to take care of them.

How do you take care of your emotions?

The psychiatrist Dr. Brenner wrote in an article listing 5 basic ways to take care of your emotions, the first one she mentioned was to “know your emotions”:

“Knowing your emotions should help you judge how to behave when a situation arises. Each new event or interaction should not feel like the first time it’s happening. Each successive time a specific emotion is expressed gives you another opportunity to observe yourself and respond in a way that feels right (or at least better) for you.”

I remember when I was in my 20s, I had stomach spasms. I went to see a doctor, she asked me if I was stressed, I said I wasn’t. Later on, I observed at that time I couldn’t associate the feeling of stress to the word. So I think being able to associate our feelings and emotions to words and describe them is a way to check if we really know our own emotions.

2. Maintain healthy boundaries.

As mammals, we can all on a certain level detect other people’s emotions and sometimes they invade our emotional space. So we need to build boundaries to protect yourself from emotional invasions.  

3. Physical well-being.

Physical well-being decide a bit part of our emotions. When you are tired or physically ill or in pain, you tend to have a darker outlook on life, and vice versa.  

4. Create a healthy support system.

“These are people who encourage and nurture you. These are people who know you, like who you are, and are willing to help you become your best self. People with no ulterior motive or private agenda. These are people you can always turn to just to listen and/or provide advice if needed.”

5. Create an emotional or psychological “tool box.”

I identified meditation as a very useful tool. It can be art, sport or other things. Most of the “tools” involve you actively “doing” something, even to go to see a professional. It is a great thing to do if you can have good professional support, but for most people, pragmatically, it’s like you don’t go to see a physician for any discomfort physically, you can’t always tag along a psychologist in your life, either. Meditation can be a very useful way to reset the brain waves and you don’t have to “do” anything when you are already tired and need rest.  

How Sport Modifies Your Emotions

How are you feeling? Great? Happy? Sad? Tired? Just broke up with your gf/bf and driving with a bottle of vodka at hand? And you see two lanes while there’s only one? Haha, I bet if that’s what you are doing you wouldn’t be reading my article! Or that’s what you did last night? Then you are lucky waking up reading my article with coffee at hand instead of finding yourself in a direr situation in a stinky prison cell or even worse, secluded in between four planks underground or in a little box on your ex’s mantel? If so, someone or a dog must still miss you, aka -feels? Sorry for my limited imagination on how we can stop feeling…Feelings and emotions seem to be part of living… However, sometimes you really want to take a rest from your feelings, right? To empty up a little bit? How do you do that? For me, it’s dancing or swimming, or some not too-intense gym class. I use the word “sport” here in the generic sense including most of physical activities such as dancing, gardening, cleaning which burns the same amount of calories as intense gym work-out measured by physicists and some Japanese businessmen use it as an anti-stress method…

So how and why does sport modify our emotions? If I summarize, it’s because sport changes hormones and hormones are powerful chemicals that pilot our emotions!

1.      Sport increases the 4 happiness hormones: Endorphins, Serotonin, Dopamine, and Oxytocin

Exercise generates endorphins which are opioids secreted from the pituitary gland that blocks pain, diminishes anxiety and gives you a feeling of euphoria.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in the frontal lobes of the brain, also necessary for learning. Dopamine is synthetized by the brain from tyrosine, which has to be manufactured in the liver from the amino acid phenylalanine.

Serotonin production in the brain is important in preventing depression. Deficiencies dopamine and serotonin can cause depression. Serotonin is produced in the midbrain from the amino acid tryptophan in two biochemical steps. These biochemical conversions require iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, folic acid and magnesium as co-factors. You also need the “large neutral amino acid transporter” (LNAA) to transport tryptophan through the blood/brain barrier into the brain.

Oxytocin is considered by many as the hormone of love and emotional attachment. Oxytocin is normally produced in the hypothalamus and released by the posterior pituitary. It plays a role in social bonding, sexual reproduction, childbirth, and the period after childbirth. Oxytocin is released into the bloodstream as a hormone in response to stretching of the cervix and uterus.

2.      It Regulates Estrogen and Stimulates Production Of Testosterone

Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone and it’s super important to a woman’s well-being but we shouldn’t have too much of it either. If they are normal and balanced by progesterone a woman feels well. Estrogen dominance where too much estrogen is circulating in relation to progesterone can cause irregular menstrual periods, decreased sex drive, water retention, breast swelling and tenderness, headaches (especially premenstrual), mood swings, etc.  irritability and depression)

Testosterone is responsible for muscle growth and maintenance, increasing metabolism, and boosting overall confidence. It’s not only for men, testosterone is equally important for women, it also makes women more competitive. It takes about 20 minutes of exercise for testosterone levels to increase, and it stays increased for up to 3 hours following the exercise. A regular workout routine may increase overall levels of testosterone. When testosterone is missing in an aging man, this causes low energy, depression, a lack of sex drive, and erectile dysfunction. The reason for that is that many key organs, including the brain, have testosterone receptors. They need to be activated regularly by testosterone for normal organ function. Women also need testosterone to feel normal.

3.      It Regulates Cortisol

Cortisol helps to control mood, motivation, and the fear response. Exercising can help prevent cortisol overproduction. Cortisol is secreted from the adrenal glands, and chronic overproduction of cortisol is associated with adrenal fatigue. Low intensity steady state training is more effective in decreasing or regulating cortisol levels, while high intensity workouts are associated with increased cortisol levels right after the exercises.

4.      It Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Working out can prevent insulin resistance, which can strengthen your liver function. This limits fatty deposits in the liver, also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. As a result of this, it can jump-start your metabolism and slow down the oxidative damage associated with the disease. "There are a few ways to optimize insulin with your workouts," Dr. Gottfried says. "HIIT improves insulin sensitivity, but if it raises cortisol too much (for example, not resting sufficiently between intervals or not recovering adequately between workouts), that can worsen insulin balance. If you’re a high cortisol type, go for regular, brisk aerobic exercise to strengthen liver function."

5.      It Stimulates Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

Exercise can help boost production of the human growth hormone, but it requires some high intensity. "Burst training, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is your GH-boosting ticket," says Gottfried. "Studies show HIIT proves incredibly effective to reduce fat, improve insulin sensitivity, and build more muscle. Ideally you’ll want to combine HIIT with weight resistance to optimize GH and other hormonal levels, like testosterone."

6.      It Increases Irisin

Irisin is a hormone that has recently been discovered. It was first identified in 2012 and is often referred to as the exercise hormone. Researchers first identified irisin when noticing that exercise, first in mice and then in humans, produced a cascade of chemicals. They noticed that increased irisin helped turn white fat into brown fat, which is good for the body and helps to regulate body temperature. Although most types of exercise will increase irisin, more studies suggest that endurance and strength training may be the most effective.

Sport is no doubt beneficial to our emotional health, but only when we keep in mind that balance is the key.  

Sources: research from various Internet articles and secondary sources quoting Dr. Schilling, M.D. and Dr. Gottfried

Where did the 心(xin)HEART go when there is no heart in 爱(ai)LOVE anymore? 

By Tesha Jie F.H

Even people who don’t speak Chinese at all probably know that the heart was eliminated from the word 愛(ai)love! You can choose to think of it as philosophical or cynical or simply pragmatic! The heart is considered by many the home for emotions just like the brain is for reasons…

You can say that the heart is just some muscles, it can’t think! It can’t think, but it rhymes with feelings, emotions, love, and you can’t control its beats, your emotions do the job!

Emotions are often distorted by the Patriarchy as a disease to be get rid of, because of their irregular nature, while the Patriarchy wants order and control! Random arts in the streets are seen as crimes no matter how beautiful they are, but if you frame and stamp ugly works and then hang them up docilely in a museum, it’s perfectly ok!

In the Western part of the world, there are also lots of popular fictions that tried to depict a post - emotional world such as the movie “Stepford Wives”, or the novel “Delirium”. Those worlds were so upside-down, topsy-turvy that they resemble giant psycho wards where you wonder who is more insane, the doctors or the inmates!  

In the post-heart love world in China, the heart still lingers on in phrases such as “於心不忍 Yu Xin Bu Ren –My heart can’t stand it”, “问心无愧 Wen Xin Wu Kui –My heart agrees”. There’s no 心 (Xin) heart in 爱love any more , but conscience still left in how to treat people ...


Are You an Empath?
By Tesha Jie F.H.
An empath is someone who feels strongly other people’s feelings. They are naturally pure, kind, and free. Statistically, 1% of the world population are psychopaths, but 2-3% of the population are empaths. Let’s say, humanity has hope! It is like there are more people generating love than those who are consuming it! Empaths are intuitive beings, natural healers, have the heart of angels, depending where you come from or live, it takes the names of fairies, shamans, healers, sometimes they are even called sorcerers or witchesJ.
Here are the traits for empaths, are you also one?
1) Empaths are Extremely Sensitive to Human Energy and Emotions.
They tend to absorb other people’s emotions and energy, which might not always be a good thing as the world isn’t full of love as it should be yet...When you get caught into other people’s stress, pain, anger, fear, or a turmoil of emotions… sometimes it can be overwhelming.
2) They’re Solitary and Love Nature
Overall human history, we always have hermits, who’d retreat to nature, far away from people in order to think and learn. Empaths really value time alone, because they can concentrate and be their normal self. They are so sensitive to the energies of other people, they’d feel perfectly peaceful and really be themselves only when they are alone. They also need time alone to access healing. They don’t want to appear rude, but being alone is when they can be angels and fairies, to be the LOVE that they ARE. Empaths feel free facing beautiful nature, they want to take off their clothes and merge into one with rivers, mountains, trees, listen to birds singing, flowers blossom, and smell the spring soil ... Unless you are really in their heart’s intimate sphere, usually a man (a human being) makes them literally want to run for the hills or hide themselves in the nearest closet! Flowers and leaves can be their makeshift bed and the sky is their roof! An empath loves to be outside. They often take any chance they can get to go for a nature walk. They do this because nature replenishes them of positive energy!
4) Clairsentient or Clairvoyance
An empath can pick up an energy, be it negative or positive. They are great listeners and love other people’s stories. When they hear a story, they live them emotionally.  Many empaths have different abilities when reading other people. They can get to the core through layers of masks, revealing someone’s true intentions. They are excellent lie detectors. However some people don’t feel at ease with empaths who intimidate them because they can feel that you can see right through them.
5) Natural Healers
Empaths are innate healers. It’s easy to understand, before you need to heal someone, you need to make a diagnosis. An empath can just feel you, know what’s wrong, especially in the emotional world.
6) They Are Targets of Manipulators
Empaths are big targets for negative people. Negative people such as manipulators are attracted to empaths because they are forgiving and understanding. They absorb all of your positivity and replace it with negativity. Empaths are always terrified of the next person who plans to make a target out of them.
7) They’re Highly Intuitive
Empaths are in tune with their intuition, and they are able to make very important decisions or escape dangers based on that. They know how to listen and really feel what the universe is trying to tell them. They pick up the energy waves.  
8)  They’re Easily Stressed
Empaths tend to feel common emotions intensified, and they are very easily overwhelmed and stressed by what surrounds them. They often strive to meet other people’s expectations as they are helpful and responsible people, but it can be extremely overwhelming to them. Since they are angels at heart and yearns for freedom, anything that’s a duty or an obligation reminds them that they are living the life of an earthling and that fact often upsets them, sometimes even takes a toll on their health.
9) They’re Easily Taken Advantage of
Empaths carry a sort of eternal innocence and ethereal aura with them, no matter how many lessons life might have taught them, bitterness has never taken over. They are always kind and considerate towards others and thus easily targeted by inscrutable people. However they are not weak, they are strong and resilient. They feel everyone in their soul. Souls are equal, in their mind’s eye, it is as if people were all naked without social identities. They can see the sunshine in any kind of storm. This makes them easily taken advantage of by strong manipulators.
10) They Can Love Deeply
Empaths are extremely loving and they are actually generators of love in this universe. When an empath loves they tend to love very deeply. They believe their life’s mission is to give not to take. They feel sincerely happy when they helped someone, saved an arm, a leg or a soul. They are the ones who want to reduce sufferings in this world, certainly would never want to add any hurt to it because of their own needs. And they appreciate all help given and are grateful to people who have helped them in their lives. They are the most loyal lovers and are some of the best friends you could ever ask for!

Various internet sources

Do You have a  损友  (written by me)

How do you define a friend?       

友(you)means friend, 损(sun, pronounced more like the English word “soon”) means damaging, bad. Most people would say that a friend is someone who supports you, loves you and celebrates you, if you add the “no matter what”, that is loyalty and unconditional love. However when you define “friend” that way, then you look around, you’d suddenly find you have very few or no friend at all. That wouldn’t do. Human beings are not wired to be isolated one from another and just feel perfectly peaceful and happy like that. Most people would rather have friends no matter what, even just 损友 (SunYous).
What are 损友 (SunYous)?

Well, it’s a Chinese word describing a friend who doesn’t really support you, sometimes even try to demean you, pushing you down instead of lifting you up, who’d talk badly about you behind you or even in front of your face. It can be someone who occasionally behaves like that, he might or even say something like “you see, I’m your real friend, that’s why I tell you the truth! You are immature and an idiot!” You opened rounder your eyes, surprised, in the middle of nowhere, he’d get out something mean, you’d wonder, “Are you really my friend? With a friend like you, who needs an enemy?”, and yet, he’s your friend. He could have been around already for years, decades, or a lifetime.

I have pondered its translation and here are some suggestions from my Linkedin connections:
Frenemy, Two-faced, Toxic friend, Phoney, Politician :) 

The word SunYou means a little bit of all those. A SunYou can be intentionally or unintentionally mean, or mock at you in a goofy and funny way, but you never know, on the last day of life on planet earth, your SunYou might lend you a hand to board the last spaceship! But I wouldn’t count on that!

SunYou is still someone you can have fun with, even if he literally wanted you to be in the sxxx with him. There was a group of red guards during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. One night they were wandering around in an unfamiliar town and they came across a wall. Perching on it like a group of magic monkeys out of wits, it was too dark to know what it was on the other side. They then decided that one would jump down and tell the others what it was below. He jumped. It was a pool of sticky and stinky sewage water, when he was gasping for air, he yelled at his friends:

“Come down, it’s cool down here!”

One jumped down. When another asked the two who were already in the sewage water, they both answered it was fine down there!

It continued until everyone was in the dirty water, throwing excrement at one another, laughing.
What would you call them? They are friends right? Because the first one who jumped knew that if he told the truth, his other friends would just leave him there alone in the dirty water, they wouldn’t want to help him out. Once they were all in it, at least he wasn’t alone anymore.

A lot of people have SunYous, without knowing it.

Here is an example, about a devoted business partner in Jane Smiley’s novel- Good Faith.
The three friends in Good Faith, also real estate business partners are Marcus Burns, Joe Stratford- the narrator and Gordon Baldwin. Joe grew up with strict and religious parents but he claimed to have been re-molded into someone with less morals, more fun by Sally, who was the dead daughter of Gordon Baldwin. After Sally’s death, Joe was always seen by the Baldwins as family. Joe was actually sleeping with Sally’s married sister Felicity after he divorced. They all lived in a quiet small town where people trusted friends and honesty in business dealings. Then Marcus came into the picture and became their friends. Marcus Burns was a charismatic figure, Joe and Gordon had faith in him and their joint business, which was to develop a 580-acre farm land into a golf course and “exclusive housing”. It all went wrong, and slowly when you read the novel, you could see how Joe was bereaved of his last piece of possessions. First it was his car, then his furniture, then his phone, then his house. When he was literally living in the street, he still believed in Marcus Burns and that their business would eventually take off. Joe wasn’t totally unaware as to what was really going on. He told Marcus when he made him cut off his phone line: “You are full of sxxx!” However you found him in later pages consenting to Marcus’ demands again. Was that Good Faith or bad judgement? Aren’t we told that we should love but not judge our friends? “Love is without judgement”, and “love is GIVING”!!! Joe might simply be a loving friend, and had faith in Marcus Burns. And it was also a warm-water-boiling-the-frog process, even trusting Joe would have never agreed if Marcus stripped everything out of him all at once. Marcus was definitely a SunYou to Joe and Gordon.
Do you WANT a 损友SunYou?

Are you the kind who’d like to consciously keep a SunYou? Some people might have a personality that really enjoys contradiction or even conflict in general, for example, some people would deliberately set the GPS to one direction and drive towards another.
 Another way to understand the meaning of a word is to find its antonym, which makes me think of the French word BIENVIELLANT. BIENVEILLANT can also refer to a general personality trait of someone. It is often translated into English as BENEVOLENT, which includes charity, well in French it’s not about charity, I would translate it maybe into “kind regard”.
SunYou can be mono-directional, meaning it’s someone towards whom you have “kind regard”, while he’s your “SunYou”; it can also be something reciprocal. On Chinese social media, the word “互粉HuFen”(mutual following) often makes me laugh, I would allow myself to invent the word “互损HuSun” (mutually bothering or annoying) to describe mutual SunYous. If your eyes are wide open and you prefer to keep SunYous around because you find it stimulating and lots of fun, why not? In that case, it’s your free will, you are not a passive victim.  

article -"the gas lighters" (translated by me)

A toxic psychologic profile: the gaslighter

A gaslighter is someone who’d manipulate his victim so much that he/she would wonder about his own sanity. It can be an employer, a child, a parent or a spouse ... Behind all those familiar and loving faces, there could be a gaslighter hiding behind.
A gasligther is someone who’d pick out his victim carefully, win over his/her trust and then makes him/her doubt himself/herself. The term comes from the film Gas Light, it was made in the 40s, starring Ingrid Bergman. In this thriller, the husband manipulated small elements of the wife’s environment to the extent that she felt like losing her mind. The title refers to gas light. The light in the house dwindled every time the manipulative husband lit up the lamps in the attic, looking for jewelry.
Gaslighting relationships can be formed between a parent and a child, an employer and an employee or even with sister-in-law. The gaslighter makes his victim gradually doubt his/her own sanity, memory or perception of reality.
How do you recognize a gaslighter?

The gasligther denies having said anything, even if you have evidence to the contrary. The more the gaslighters deny their words, the more you question your sanity and you start accepting theirs. Moreover, they often lie, and attack the victim’s supporters. The goal is to attack those close to you in order to disturb your stability.
The gaslighters’ words mean nothing. They often lie as they breathe, their actions are not consistent to their words. One day, the gaslighter tells you that we are worthless, and you feel put down by his words, then another day, he’d congratulate you and compliment you. It’s a typical tactic they use to destabilize the victim.
How to know if you are the victim of a gaslighter?

Sara Chiche, a writer, psychologist and psychoanalyst said LCI TV station:
“If the more you socialize with a person, the more you feel empty and being caught in extreme anxiety, or you feel depressed, (...) and slowly you become only your own shadow - even though that person claims to help you, love you, he’d tell you ' oh, my poor darling, you are not well at all' you need to be alerted, you might be under the control of a 'gaslighter ".
The victim of a gaslighter has the impression of going crazy, doing everything wrong, afraid of making decisions. She is constantly in a state of confusion and feels safe only with her manipulator. If you feel that someone is gaslighting you, you might try to seek help, talk to other people about it, especially do not isolate yourself. 

Source: Femme Actuelle 

Image: IMDB

The Narcissistic Pervert -quote from another magazine

Toxic psychological profile 1- The famous narcissistic pervert
What is a narcissistic pervert?
According to psychologist Geneviève Schmit, a narcissistic pervert (NP) comes from a behavioral disorder and mostly it's a man. It could be a friend, a neighbor, a cousin ...Most narcissistic perverts share the same essential point: emotional immaturity. Like a child, in the eyes of a NP, the other person simply does not exist. For him, the other is not an individual with needs just like him. He is someone who only wants to get his own needs satisfied. He’s completely egocentric, as if he’s the center of the universe. He likes no one but himself.
How to recognize a NP?
The usual symptoms you can perceive first in a NP is his lack of empathy, inability to cope with frustration, or a sort of general emotional instability. Then you can observe in his person sophistication and intelligence. He is brilliant in society and paid his dues in order to have a good social status. He might be highly educated. He probably has a fabulous perception of himself and needs others to admire him.
Another very important thing is he is charming and attractive. When you meet him, you might say that he is the perfect man, the perfect son-in-law, or he’d make a good husband. This charisma allows him to be able to manipulate his victim. Words are his most precious weapon. He’d say things without meaning them. The underlying meaning is his habitual tactic to say something negative, to blame or criticize. He’d also flatter his victim and then make the kill.
His prey would gradually be under his control without being aware of what was going on. In the beginning, she might feel energized, empowered, in love. She’d feel like she just met her soulmate, her other half. Slowly, she became dependent, even addicted, she feels like she can’t live without him. Addiction that leads to suffering. She can’t make any decision without him. The victim feels weak and edgy.
With the narcissistic pervert, we’d find ourselves fall into the triangle of Karpman, in a relationship of "victim, executioner, savior". In the beginning, he’d put you on a pedestal, you feel so good that later on you’d only fall harder when he decides to demean you, attack you. Then comes the savior part, after knocking you down, he’d put on the cape of the savior to try to pull you up just to start all over again.
Underneath all this lies his own insecurity. Deep down, he is extremely anxious. He needs to control everything, that's why we’d find him on "important" positions where he can play the boss and get the upper hand.
Who is the victim?
Even the most intelligent and sharp people can fall into it. The problem is that it is almost impossible to recognize a narcissistic pervert at the very beginning of a relationship. He’d pass for someone normal, a good listener. Oftentimes he’d find someone who might be going through some tough times emotionally, she might have just broken up with an ex for example. She might not feel so confident, sensitive to how people look at her, etc. He’d feel like he comes along to fulfill her needs.
Why does the victim stay?
 If the narcissistic pervert smells his prey, the prey also senses her executioner, but she seeks her savior, someone who’s there for her and understand her. The bridge that links both is their emotional immaturity. She is naive and romantic saying that she will be able to save him from his "torments". She is like drug addict. The victims often know that they are manipulated but they are in a contradictory emotion, they want to leave but they still stay. At first they all think they are in love, with time that feeling perversely enhanced itself and they start to really believe that is love. Some of them victims would even marry and have children with those narcissistic perverts. However love isn’t about suffering, nor should it lead us to destruction or death.
Can we get out and how?
We can get away! But for that you have to become an active player in the situation by recognizing that you are somehow responsible for what happened. The difference between the victim and his executioner is that she can change, evolve, learn from her flaws and move on. The NP, he cannot. The behavior of the victim has an impact on the response of the PN. It is better to make the escape by avoiding the rage of this man. For this you need luck, strength, being surrounded with good people and get informed. If you can, get professional help.

Does the narcissistic pervert knows his own true nature?
No! Absolutely not! He will make fun of you and tell you that you are the narcissistic pervert, to reflect you back, or it’d only create stress at home. He’d feel like losing control. It must be understood that we are in an emotional dynamic: my behavior will be at the height of my answer. The victim must understand that what she is doing has an impact. She must not provoke him upfront, she must play the card of diplomacy. She must get prepared to leave him. 

Source: Femme Actuelle
Image: IMDB