The Atlantic on Silver Linings Playbook and the (scientifically supported) benefits of optimism:
The New Yorker’s Richard Brody criticized Silver Linings Playbook for its sentimentality and “faith-based view of mental illness and, overall, of emotional redemption.” The New York Times’ A.O. Scott made a similar, if predictable, criticismof Life of Pi: “The novelist and the older Pi are eager…to repress the darker implications of the story, as if the presence of cruelty and senseless death might be too much for anyone to handle…Insisting on the benevolence of the universe in the way thatLife of Pi does can feel more like a result of delusion or deceit than of earnest devotion.”
Far from being delusional or faith-based, having a positive outlook in difficult circumstances is not only an important predictor of resilience — how quickly people recover from adversity — but it is the most important predictor of it. People who are resilient tend to be more positive and optimistic compared to less-resilient folks; they are better able to regulate their emotions; and they are able to maintain their optimism through the most trying circumstances.
It turns out that resilient people are good at transforming negative feelings into positive ones. For instance, one of the major findings of Fredrickson’s studies was that resilient people took a different attitude toward the speech task than non-resilient people. They viewed the task as a challenge and opportunity for growth rather than as a threat. In other words, they found the silver lining.
Resilient people are good at bouncing back because they are emotionally complex. In each of Fredrickson’s studies, resilient people experience the same level of frustration and anxiety as the less resilient participants. Their physiological and emotional spikes were equally high. This is important. It reveals that resilient people are not Pollyannas, deluding themselves with positivity. They just let go of the negativity, worry less, and shift their attention to the positive more quickly.
(Source: The Atlantic)
From the Guardian:
Ruth Moore, a US navy veteran from Milbridge, Maine, was 18 and eager to serve her country on her first oversees assignment when she was raped by her supervisor, twice. Her ordeal, and the military’s refusal to address it, left her so traumatised she attempted suicide, after which she was discharged, diagnosed with a personality disorder she says she did not have.
Moore, now 44, has since spent a quarter of a century fighting for compensation from the Veterans Administration before finally being diagnosed with PTSD related to the attacks. She is far from alone, according to two lawmakers who, on Wednesday, introduced a bill named after her that requires the VA to fix its “unfair and broken” disability claim system for victims of sexual military assault.
Under current regulations, veterans like Moore whose mental health issues are connected to sexual violence face a far greater burden of proof than other claimants suffering from the same illnesses. Yet, according to the Service Woman’s Action Network (Swan), military sexual trauma is the leading cause of PTSD among female veterans.
Why is sexual trauma the leading cause of PTSD among female veterans? Well…according to the DOD one in three service women report having been sexually assaulted. The Pentagon estimates that roughly 19,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military in 2010, and those numbers are even higher for women who have been in active combat (about one half report experiencing sexual assault). That means that we will likely see an increase in the number of sexual assaults now that the combat ban has been lifted. So we definitely need the VA to recognize and provide services for survivors of sexual assault. We also need them to do some serious reflection and fix whatever is going on in their culture/structure/policies that’s leading to these staggering rates of sexual violence.
Sign Ruthe Moore’s Change.org petition here!
Find the rest of the article at the link
“The focus on family planning to date has largely circled around technocratic solutions to what is at heart a problem of power. It is certainly true that a lack of family planning services and supplies in the global South prevents women and girls from being able to access the contraception they need.
But all the condoms in the world are of no use to women and girls when they have no control over whether and when they have sex, or under what circumstances they have it.”
- zohra moosa on why family planning policymakers should tackle power inequalities and gender violence
A member of Congress from an Eastern state was shaken down for $40,000 by members of a nationwide ring that has preyed on homosexuals over the last decade, Federal and local authorities said yesterday.
As the investigation went on, the list of known victims grew. In earlier disclosures the victims included two deans of Eastern universities, several professors, businessmen, a move actor, a television personality, a musician and a high ranking military officer who committed suicide the night before he was to testify before a New York County grand jury that was looking into the situation.
One law enforcement official said yesterday: “Extortion of money from well-known persons who are homosexual or bisexual is a persistent problem.”
- Jack Roth for the New York Times