Saturday, July 23, 2011

The "Tend or Befriend" Phenomenon

The gap between Mars and Venus expands... Biologically speaking, men and women deal with stress in very different ways. Maybe that's not shocking to you, but there's new research to support it. Women tend to override the well-known "Fight or Flight" stress response with a new theory called "Tend or Befriend". (The linked article has more information on the theory, research and researchers)

Think about it in every day terms...

MEN, when you're stressed out and done with the arguing portion of the event, you isolate yourselves. That may be by sitting in front of the tv or heading to a local bar and sitting solo. Rarely do you see a stressed out woman anchoring a bar stool after an argument...

WOMEN, when we get stressed, we either clean and organize the house or call a friend to talk about it or to distract us. The research shows that estrogen increases the hormone Oxytocin. (That's the hormone that calms you and eases stress.) Makes sense that we seek out other estrogen-dominant individuals to get a grip on life again, huh?

I find this new research so intriguing because it has so many implications and applications if you're willing to open your eyes and accept the reality of more gender-based differences.

For starters, it affirms every instinct I've ever had about how vital my female friendships are to my life!! Thinking back on every challenging, sad or frustrating event in my life, I have pushed through and come out on top because of the amazing women I've been privileged to have in my life... Those women include my mother, grandmother, aunt and the various friends I've made along the way. On the other hand, the things in my life I've had the most difficulty overcoming were those when one of those important women were taken away or in some way or other the cause of my stress. Friends, as if you don't know already (even if solely based on my "friend" tattoo), you play an integral role in my sanity!! ...and you're fun as hell!! ;) I don't know what I'd do without my FABULOUS girls!! <3 (You know who you are!)

This research also helps me to realize that it's okay when the men in my life need to get away for a little while when they're stressed. It's okay when they don't want to talk about it. We deal with things differently and as long as we communicate enough to know each ohter's boundaries and triggers we'll keep getting along just fine!

Tend or Befriend... Who knew?! ;)

"Adults" You Say?

Here's how life goes... You make choices. Based on those choices, things happen. When things happen you either A: like the result or B: don't like the result. Now comes the, evidently, tricky part... You either get to deal with the unwanted consequence or b, you do something to change it. Interestingly enough, secret option c of "bitching about it ad nauseum"  is NOT an option.  A little preliminary whining while you're (efficiently) deciding what to do, sure. That's what friends do, right? Listen to you talk through life's issues and help you make a decision. That's the key tho - making a decision. Refusing to suck it up, accept responsiblity and do something about it, not okay. Capisce? (That's "capeesh" for my non-Italian friends.) ;)

I find that children can understand and abide by this concept, yet I unfortunately know many full grown "adults" who don't.

Ironically, those "adults" have the choice to laugh at this post, deny its validity and continue to behave that way. Then I, in turn, will make the choice to stop having extensive conversations with you. I can think of many fun and productive things I can do with my time than listen to an adult martyr continuously victimize themselves and suck the life out of my day.

So I repeat, deal with your circumstances in a positive, productive manner or take action to change it. I am not the only person who would benefit from this change... You will too. Try it out.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, in a faraway land—okay, enough of that!  This blog won’t be a series of fairy tales.  My life has never been a fairy tale so there isn’t one to tell.  WAIT!  ...before you go running off with the impression that this is going to be an overly dramatic, soul-sucking blog, take a chance and trust me when I say, it’s not.  I’m not that person either.  I know what you’re thinking (creepy, right??), “so who are you then??”.  Great question!  I have a much better answer to that question than I ever have before...

I am...

PASSIONATE.  When I have an opinion about something, everyone knows it.  On the other side of the coin, apathy is my worst enemy.  I’m a native New Yorker and also Italian... it comes with the territory!

OBSERVANT.  I’ve always been interested in how people think, why they make certain decisions and what motivates them.  Basically that equates to me being an avid people watcher for as long as I can remember.  Then I went to college, took some psych courses and learned the names for social phenomenon’s I’ve always had a hunch about.

LAID BACK.  Seems contradictory that someone who is so passionate can also be laid back... I assure you it’s possible.  I learned a long time ago that the small things in life aren’t worth stressing over!  Especially the things beyond your control like a cancelled flight, bad service in a restaurant or a long line for a rollercoaster.  Chill out people!

POSITIVE.  Almost all the time, I'll see the positive side of a situation or cirumstance.  I can't go through life with a black cloud over my head and let tragic or frustrating events take over my life.  I am very rarely a person who feels or acts defeated, victimized or helpless.  I am a firm believer that whether you say you can or you can't, you're right!  Create your own path and determine your own destiny and attitude by accepting the consequences of your choices and moving through life with your head held high.

A FRIEND.  I take great pride in the fact that for as long as I can remember, everyone has come to me for everything... even when I was probably too young to be listening to adults talk about the things they chose to share with me.  I also take great pride in not being the sugar-coating, bright-side-of-the-moon friend.  If you ask my opinion and I am close enough to you, I am going to give you an honest, blunt opinion... even if it may be hard for you to hear.  True friends will always do you this courtesy.

I’ve been wanting to blog for a long time.  Well, I’ve wanted to write and share my ideas, perspectives and life experience for a long time.  Blogging is the modern day solution since I’ll probably never get around to writing the proverbial book.

I’ve experienced a lot of life, learned a lot about people and have discovered how to find true happiness and satisfaction in life...

Welcome to my blog and to my brain... wear a helmet, and laugh at life along with me!