Humor, Anger and Incivility

Advocacy, Editorial

Techniques for using laughter for emotional transformation.

6-reasons-why-laughter-is-the-best-medicine

Photo: The Chopra Center

Feeling swamped, burned out and frustrated at work? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In this fast paced society, overworking is common and even socially acceptable. Today, job expectations involve long hours slaving over a full plate of responsibilities that only seem to move from excessive to moderately tolerable. If you’re not stressed out then you must not be working hard enough, right? Wrong. At some point, this view became acceptable as genuine dedication was replaced with corporate hustling. But at what cost?

Burned out employees are more likely to experience emotions that can negatively impact work performance and overall well-being. This includes feelings of stress, frustration, disappointment, annoyance and resentment. If left unchecked, these emotions can easily spiral into anger with disastrous consequences. When acting from a place of rage, the outcomes can be devastating.

HUMOR FOR BETTER HEALTH

Humor provides an outlet for better health in a stressful work environment. When demands are high, people are more likely to be on edge. For those with a low tolerance for stress, this may lead to a reduction in creativity and innovation. In the worst cases, interpersonal conflicts arise, collaborative efforts demise, and frustration and anger ensues.

There are many ways in which humor serves as an effective tool for stress reduction and anger management. On a physical level, it minimizes the effect of cortisol, which is the “fight-or-flight” hormone released during highly stressful situations. Additionally, humor relaxes the body and releases more of those “feel good” hormones. Beyond that, humor also benefits mental health by promoting community bonding, solidarity and even creativity.

HOW TO LAUGH MORE

Laughter can effectively defuse rage by using opposite emotional states. On one end, anger is a rigid and serious emotion that occurs when expectations are not met. In contrast, humor is a flexible emotion that requires out of the box thinking. Therefore, in order to transform anger into humor, you must remember to not take life too seriously. This can be done through visualizations or drawings. For example, if you think of a colleague as a “dirt bag”, try to imagine an actual bag of dirt sitting on a desk, attending meetings and making calls. While it may appear “silly”, using humor in this manner can help to reduce tension and allow you to later address problems more constructively.

Next time rage is on the rise, take a step back and try to examine the situation in a lighthearted manner.

When events are taken lightly, humor has the opportunity to seep into the lives of even the most stressed out individuals. For example, in a 2017 study presented in the Journal of Managerial Psychology, researchers found that business executives, lawyers and doctors admitted to swearing in the workplace. While profanity is generally unacceptable in this environment, positive outcomes were still reported at the individual, interpersonal and group levels. As a result of not taking swearing too seriously, professionals and their colleagues were able to react to profanity with humor rather than anger. Numerous positive results were reported, including stress-relief, as well as enriched communication and social interactions. Overall, this study illustrates the benefits of experiencing life from a lighter and more humorous state of being. While I am not condoning profanity at work, I am endorsing life with more laughter.

 

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Reference
Featured Image: http://www.tipsywriter.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/laugh-quotes.jpg

Millennial Workforce

Advocacy, Editorial

Spoiled, Lazy & Conceited – Shifting Perceptions to Engage Millennials

Stress-free strategies for cultivating passion in business.
millennials

Photo: Times Jobs

By 2030, millennials or Gen Y will account for 75% of the global workforce. (1,2) Engaging this young and technologically savvy group requires innovative tactics. What worked for past generations may not necessarily produce the same outcomes for Gen Y. Currently, 72% of U.S. employees are disengaged or actively disengaged. The high cost of employee turnover is estimated at 1.5 to 3 times an employee’s salary. This is due to the cost of recruitment, loss of institutional knowledge, training new hires, loss of member relationships and impact on morale. Therefore, it is vital that employers understand generational differences in order to implement effective interventions that foster employee commitment and retention. While the media has often painted Gen Y unfavorably—entitled and self-absorbed—the truth behind the millennial mindset is likely more complex. With increased attention, researchers are now examining the motivations of Gen Y for the purposes of cultivating corporate environments for the modern age.

 

Table 1. Definitions of Generations

Name Span of Birth Years
Baby Boomers 1944-1964
Gen X 1965-1980
Millennials (Gen Y) 1981-1995


In a 2016 study by Indiana University, 1,798 retail workers were surveyed in order to examine generational mindsets and whether a positive work environment was associated with employee loyalty. (1) Researchers found that when compared to Gen X or Baby Boomers, millennials had drastically different perceptions of work, especially in regards to the concepts of duty, drive and reward. Additionally, millennials did not conceptually link organizational commitment with workplace culture. Therefore, having a positive workplace environment is not enough for millennials to stay committed to a particular company. Instead, they seek organizations that meet their needs for contribution and fulfillment.

Based on the findings in this study, numerous strategies are recommended to engage millennials in a manner that minimizes stress. For example, managers could adjust their performance appraisal process by showing millennials how their work positively supports organizational objectives and goals. Doing so cultivates a greater sense of meaning and commitment to the team. It also addresses three traits that researchers have found to be prominent in the millennial mindset: teamwork, communication with superiors, and frequent feedback. Reframing concepts of duty, drive and reward can ultimately facilitate a more productive environment, with a workforce that is committed, passionate and loyal. By embracing differences and acting with empathy, corporate leaders are shaping workplace environments that foster employee well-being.millennial-workforce-2020

Recommendations for engaging millennials:

Cultivate Duty

Show how individual work connects to the larger team goals.

Encourage Resilience

Frame failure as a positive learning experience that encourages alternative actions.

Support Innovation

Position work requests in terms of the larger organizational context.

Increase Communication

Promote frequent interaction with superiors through a performance evaluation plan that increases organizational communication.

Provide Feedback

Frequently assess activities and provide tangible evidence of appreciation.

 

learning-to-love-the-millennial-workforce

Photo: Metro Fax

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REFERENCES

  1. http://www.inderscienceonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1504/IJBSR.2017.080832
  2. https://www.wired.com/insights/2013/08/the-rise-of-the-millennial-workforce

Maternal Mortality

Advocacy, Editorial, Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Travel

 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth each day around the world.

99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

(World Health Organization)

..

united-nations

Photo by: United Nations

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

March 8th, International Women’s Day (IWD), offers a great opportunity for people to champion gender equality as they celebrate the historical achievements of women in the social, economic, cultural and political fields (1,2).

For over a century, IWD has been recognized as a time when governments, industry, and NGOs collectively act to better women’s rights through rich and diverse activities, such as political rallies, business conferences, networking events and artistic performances. Today, we need this involvement more than ever as we move forward on a foundation of past historical success.

As we celebrate the past, we must look towards the future and continue to fight for women’s equality. There is still progress to be made, especially in regards to education, health, positions of power in business and politics, and the prevention of violence against women. The truth is clear: every girl deserves a future that is equal, safe and rewarding.

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Photo by: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

 

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Photo by: Medium

WOMEN’S EQUALITY AND HEALTH 

One way to close the gender inequality gap is to focus on reducing preventable maternal deaths. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth each day around the world (3). Nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are due to delivery complications, severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy and unsafe abortions (5). In 2015, approximately 303,000 women died from maternal health complications, most of which could have been prevented (3).

Solutions to avoid or treat pregnancy complications are well known. It is vital that women receive prenatal and postpartum care, as well as skilled care during childbirth. However, women are unlikely to receive adequate care in remote areas and in regions with minimal skilled health workers, such as sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, only 40% of pregnant women in low-income countries had received the four recommended antenatal care visits (3). Other factors that inhibit women from seeking or receiving care include poverty, distance, inadequate services, cultural practices and lack of information. These barriers must be addressed at all levels of the health system in order to tackle maternal mortality. The timely diagnosis and management of pregnancy related complications is a matter of life or death for the mother and baby.

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Photo by: Erin Goodrow

 

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Photo by: New Security Beat

THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS 

On September 25th, 2015, member states of the WHO adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 15-year targets to end poverty and ensure prosperity for all (4). One objective is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) to less than 70 per 100,000 births (3). However, 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, reflecting the inequities in access to health services. For example, the MMR in 2015 was 239 per 100,000 live births in developing countries versus 12 per 100,000 live births in developed countries. Additionally, over half of the global maternal deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly among rural and low-income communities. Overall, women in developing countries have many more pregnancies and have a higher risk of death due to pregnancy. The probability that a 15-year-old woman will die from a maternal cause is 1 in 180 in developing countries versus 1 in 4,900 in developed countries (3). In order to achieve the SDGs, women need greater access to reproductive health services, especially those in low-resource settings.

PRIORITIZING MATERNAL HEALTH 

WHO and numerous organizations have been working to reduce maternal mortality rates by increasing research, providing evidence-based clinical guidance, setting global standards and delivering technical support. During the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030) was launched as a road map for the post-2015 agenda presented in the SDGs. The aim is to end all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents, as well as provide an environment for health to thrive. In order to implement this strategy, WHO and partners are working on the following regarding reproductive, maternal and newborn health care: addressing inequalities in access to services, ensuring universal health coverage, addressing causes of maternal mortality and morbidities, strengthening health systems and ensuring accountability for quality care.

For efforts to succeed, the world must unite in prioritizing maternal health. Advocates, organizations, and governments need to take a stand against women’s inequality and provide greater agency, support and resources towards tackling maternal mortality.


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REFERENCES

  1. https://www.internationalwomensday.com/About
  2. http://wd2016.org/speaker/jill-sheffield/
  3. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/
  4. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
  5. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(14)70227-X/fulltext

* Cover photo: Center for Strategic and International Studies

Pakistan

Advocacy, Editorial, Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Video

Honor Killings in Pakistan

Over 1,000 women are brutally murdered in Pakistan each year.

October 6, 2016
borgen-magazine

Photo by: Borgen Magazine

Pakistan is a patriarchal society where women’s behaviors are traditionally limited by cultural restrictions in order to preserve their chastity. Any deviant behavior is therefore deemed immoral and brings dishonor upon the family. Consequently, women labeled as deviant are often murdered by male relatives or neighbors in order to restore familial honor and reputation within the community (1). These brutal acts of murder are known as honor killings. Each year, over 1,000 women in Pakistan are murdered in the name of honor.

While “immoral behavior” includes infidelity, it also encompasses a range of unexpected behaviors. For instance, women are often murdered for being raped, refusing an arranged marriage, dressing “inappropriately” or acting flirtatious. It can also be warranted by familial quarrels over property ownership, inheritance issues, or a woman’s desire to marry for love. Many times women are even murdered on the basis of suspicion alone (2).

gospel-herald

Photo by: Gospel Herald

Human rights groups have been pressuring the Pakistani government to put an end to honor killings. However, authorities have been unsuccessful and have often even turned a blind eye. In many cases, murders are not even investigated, leaving perpetrators free from prosecution (3).

bbc

Photo by: BBC

This issue has gained international attention, especially with the rising number of high-profile honor killings this year. One such case was Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani social media star, who was strangled to death by her brother in July. Pakistani filmmaker and activist, Sharmeen Obaid, also heightened international attention towards this issue in her Academy Award winning documentary, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.

In response to the rising campaigns for women’s rights, the Pakistani government passed a bill ensuring that killers receive a mandatory life sentence (4). Previously, a killer could be pardoned for murder if he gained forgiveness from the victim’s family. This new legislation no longer allows freedom from impunity. Even still, it remains uncertain whether this law is enough to deter honor killings. However, activists everywhere are celebrating this new step in the right direction towards ending violence against women.

cnn-honor-killing-suspects-taken-to-court

Honor killing suspects are blind folded before their court hearing. (Photo by: CNN)

… 


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REFERENCES

  1. “Pakistan rejects pro-women bill”. BBC News. March 2, 2005.
  2. Hassan, Yasmeen. “The Fate of Pakistani Women”. New York TimesMarch 25, 1999.
  3. “Pakistan’s honour killings enjoy high-level support”. Taipei Times. The Liberty Times Group. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  4. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37578111.

Reality

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Video

Alice: Modern Tale of Wonder

A surrealist portrayal of a young adult’s struggle in search of truth beyond the realm of her preconceived reality

As human beings age, they become increasingly constrained by the social world. Innocence and curiosity from childhood escapes, as our understanding of reality becomes solidified over time. At a point of transition in life, many people find themselves questioning their purpose. This is especially true of young adults moving from the role of dependency to the independent world of professionalism. Who am I? What should I be doing? What will I become? These questions are often answered with a false sense of certainty and limited within supposed normalcy.

Throughout life, external influences have shaped our perceptions of the world. The media, parental pressures, and peer judgments have all contributed to these views. In the process of socialization and learning, we often lose touch with the ability to question our perceived truths. What is reality? What is the ‘real’ world?

This film presents these concerns through surrealist experiences of a young adult in an urban setting. The story begins by presenting a world void of color. This black and white realm is symbolic of the preconceived notions of the world based on our own knowledge and experiences. In this universe, everything has a place and manner of being. People move rapidly throughout their daily lives, which represents the idea that we are always running out of time. As a result, people are forever chasing the future while forgetting to be present in the moment.

The delusional black and white world is shattered once events take place that disrupt the norm. The young girl then follows her own curiosity in search of truth. By opening her mind, an alternate universe of color is exposed. She is then led to contemplate her own beliefs and identity, which is portrayed through the use of masks. Through self-discovery, she learns that she had been blind to the color of her own world all along.

The themes of time, curiosity, and identity are presented and inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll.

Truth

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Video

Life is made of stories.

Violence, corruption, abuse.

Somewhere between past & present lies truth.

Discover truth and you will find power,

The power to change the world.

The power to fight for freedom, justice & hope.

By exposing the dark side of the human condition,

There may be light.

As truth is enlightenment.

And people have the power,

The power to change the world.

Joshua Tree

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Photography, Travel

Rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes.

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Tel Aviv

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Photography, Travel

A modern city in Israel on the Mediterranean coast.20160827-dsc02679-edit

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Israel

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Photography, Travel

JERUSALEM

 A Middle Eastern oasis.

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MASADA

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Death Valley

Nina Kharazmi || Photography, Photography, Travel

A land of alien scenery and rocky terrain.

 

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