5 Ways Your Brain Is Tricking You into Being Miserable

Everyone wants to be happy, but the biggest obstacle to that is the mushy thing inside your skull that you think with.

Source: www.cracked.com








The brain is designed to put more weight on negative thoughts than on positive ones. This imbalance takes us away from experiencing positive emotions such as joy, gratitude or hope.

Having positive emotions helps us become relaxed, playful and learn new skills more easily.

However, it is important to have a certain amount of negative emotions to be able to be creative and resilient.


Related references:

Perception and Behavior: How To Stimulate Creativity

 Updated Thinking on Positivity Ratios Barbara L. Fredrickson






See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Research on Well-being and Aging: Comparison between U.S. and Japan

We have only begun to look at the evidence, but it appears that different aspects of well-being matter for health in different ways depending on the cultural context where people reside

Source: blogs.plos.org


Well-being in the West is formulated more in terms of the individual and how he or she may feel about how they’re doing in life.


In the East, well-being is much more about the self embedded within social relationships; for example, how well you’re doing in meeting your obligations to others.


In the U.S., self-report tools ask people to report on their levels of positive and negative affect. Usually the two types of affect tend to be inversely correlated. Emotions are strongly related to people’s health in the U.S.: those with more positive and less negative affect report better health. This is true even when we look at more objective health criteria, like stress hormones, or other biological risk factors.


That is not true in Japan. Both affects tend to be more moderately reported. That is, there is no cultural prescription for feeling mostly positive emotion and not feeling much negative. In Japan there’s nothing wrong with feeling negative emotion; it’s not viewed as something amiss that possibly needs to be fixed in therapy


In the West, the core objective is to get people out of the experience of negative emotion – whether it’s anxiety or depression. The way that well-being tries to do that is to get patients to focus on their experiences of well-being by keeping daily diaries of positive experience.


In Japan therapy is designed to treat distressed or maladjusted people, but the focus is not on fixing emotions. In fact, they are viewed as beyond the person’s control. Emotions come and go and people do not control them. They may be positive or negative, and you can observe them, but it’s not worth your time to try to fix them. What you can fix is what you do. So the therapy tries to get people to shift into thinking not so much about how they feel, but what they are doing.

See on Scoop.itGreat Life Coaching

An expat child has many layers of influence – Your Expat Child

Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory This was mentioned in Rianne Cornelisse’s paper about how expat children adapt when returning home. What is the theory of Bronfenbrenner all about? In this model the child is the centre of its own system. The layers are built from the inside out. The first layer … Read More on expatchild.com

See on Scoop.itInternational Career




The Expat Child blog written by Carole Hallett Mobbs has great resources to rise children abroad and she is also a consultant for expats and their children

Here a selection about multilingualism:   http://expatchild.com/?s=raising+multilingual


“French integration system produces segregation by egalitarian logic”


In the original article in French,  « Notre système d’intégration produit des ségrégations en se pensant égalitaire », Patrick Simon, a French sociologist. offers an overview of the French integration model :

Here some key ideas that I have translated

In France social policies are blind to the origins and cultural differences but political actors are not.

We can even say that the issue of ethnic minorities is omnipresent in housing policies, in school, on the job market or public services. But as the Republic is supposed to ignore cultural differences, taking account of the origins takes place in the gray area of the policies and without control.

There is a strong opposition to measure and use French ethnic statistics … The refusal of ethnic statistics is only a manifestation of this more general desire not to see the differences, not to take them into account.


My experience:

As a long-term expat, I can totally relate with Mr Simon’s observations. I never felt what it is to be French before I left France more than 20 years ago.

I have lived and worked in more than 6 countries among them, Japan, USA and Russia (countries that offer the strongest cultural differences with France). Although I was not really aggressively discriminated there, in some occasions I really felt different or some “natives” made me feel different and sometimes not welcome (being named the “French” in our neighborhood instead of our family name in the community phone directory for example).

I simply cannot drop everything that makes me who I am,  my cultural values, beliefs, language and traditions in the name of integration or even in the name of respect for my host country as long as the way I behave is not hurting anybody’s feelings or their own values.

So I do understand that in France, for immigrants and their children it is really hard not to be able to be different, to show harmless cultural differences like dress code to avoid being discriminated.

It is important for my “integration” to be able to meet other French people or Expat people just to cope with  “home-sickness”  or more correctly, “the feeling of not being from there ” that most expats have at one point or another, a strategy for coping with culture shock.

Being able to speak your mother tongue with your friends in the streets without fear should not be taken for granted. In many countries,  you can be discriminated for that reason. When I lived in Belgium for example it was really strange to be rejected for speaking French in a Flemish speaking village while speaking  English was perfectly correct and people then were nice with me.

So I do agree that it is necessary that French people start embracing diversity as something truly positive for the country and to be more tolerant by being less ignorant.

My son has been living in many countries and attended different school systems and what I like about international schools  is that they don’t focus on one culture or one religion, they learn about other people’s traditions, values and beliefs. Learning and accepting cultural differences make those kids definitively more tolerant and open.

What should be done to increase ethnic tolerance in France ?

Related articles:

Cultural Intelligence is the Art of Understanding Empathy Across Cultures. 

What does it Mean To Be French ?  Has The French Secularism Model Failed?

Why employers value intercultural skills

Where are you really from ? An Expat Perspective On Racism

What does it Mean To Be French ?  Has The French Secularism Model Failed?  


Credit Fred Scheiber/European Pressphoto Agency (source: New York Times JAN. 7, 2015)

After two weeks following the massacre of Charlie Hebdo Magazine’s journalists, tensions are rising internally with a sharp increase of anti-Muslim incidents and internationally with several violent anti- French protests in response to the caricature of the Prophet Muhammad across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

“I’m Charlie,” the iconic slogan of support for freedom of expression after the attacks in France, “is not the only message of France in the world said Manuel Walls, the French Prime Minister. He added : “We must not reduce France to a single message. “French share strong values such as  freedom of expression everywhere, but it also defends other values that we hold dear: peace, respect for the convictions, the dialogue between religions”.

Despite this comment,  I have the feeling that there is a great confusion in France with more and more contradictions compared to the sense of unity that was shown during the march for freedom of speech that put more than 3 millions of people in the streets of France including 40 world leaders.

For French people, secularism or “laïcité”  is a very strong value but its seems that its interpretation by different groups is subject to the purpose it serves. After the republican march on Sunday January, 11, messages of intolerance and hate have spread on social media not only against Islam but also anti-antisemitic, anti-immigration and racists.

Secularism determines what is public and what is private, especially regarding freedom of religion and freedom of conscience or freedom of speech. For more than two centuries secularism has taken many forms, whether as a general principle, an institutional framework, an administrative practice, an anticlerical ideology or in some present contexts, a pretext for impassioned rhetoric about Islam.

Today we are seeing the radicalization of communities, being religious, ethnic or social.  For some French, especially among non-immigrants, secularism often means integration implying that cultural differences should not be expressed in public, especially religious signs such as long beard for Muslim men. It is also associated with anti-immigration messages used by the extreme right politicians.

In France, in the name of secularism Islamic veils covering hair are strictly prohibited by law in schools for teachers and students. By comparison, in British laws there is nothing that prevent teachers from covering their heads (ie from wearing the standard Muslim hijab).

I would like also to give a short definition of the notion of blasphemy according to the French law. Blasphemy is not against the law in France and  freedom of the press is a right that is very dear to the majority of French people.  However, the incitement to commit crimes and offences is still a violation, as is the vindication of crime against humanity, the incitement of hate or violence based on religion, nationality, ethnic group, race, sexual orientation or handicap.

So I don’t want to be too pessimistic but today French people look more confused than united and make amalgams with religions, cultures and politics about what is part of French culture and what is not, more for the purpose of segregation than for inclusion.

For example, a French court’s ban on a nativity scene in a town hall in order to preserve France’ secular traditions has triggered a fierce backlash. A passionate debate turned into a war from infuriated French citizens who believed that nativity representations are simply part of the French traditions like the “galette” for the Epiphany.

It is not easy to understand what makes someone “French”,  but it is clear that France is facing a major identity crisis, especially for second and third generation of immigrants who do not feel integrated, facing more economic challenges than any other social groups.

Unfortunately people who want to eliminate those who do not think like them are manipulating those young, sometimes desperate kids, and use Islam as a pretext. But jihadism is not a religion* and the people joining the movement to become fanatics and terrorists don’t even know what is written in the Koran.

I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feeling and would certainly not want to give lessons but my position as a long term expatriate may makes me see things from a different angle than people at the heart of the action in France.

Related Articles :

Britain, France and secularism,Vive la différence

Unholy row as nativity scene ban divides France

Is Islam to Blame for the Shooting at Charlie Hebdo in Paris?

*What Does “Jihad” Really Mean to Muslims?

Why employers value intercultural skills

New research shows that employers around the world value staff who understand the role of culture at work. Source: www.britishcouncil.org

What do employers understand by ‘intercultural skills ?

  1.  Ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints.
  2.  Respect for others’ and ‘adapting to different cultural settings
  3.  Accepting cultural differences
  4.  Speaking foreign languages
  5.  Open to new ideas and ways of thinking

 How do employers evaluate job candidates for intercultural skills?

  1. Strong communication throughout the interview and selection process
  2. The ability to speak foreign languages
  3. Demonstration of cultural sensitivity in the interview
  4. Experience studying overseas
  5. Experience working overseas

 What Is Your Company Doing To Develop Intercultural Skills ? 

See on Scoop.itInternational Career

7 psychological reasons for diet failure


Do you keep failing to lose weight? Your mindset might be preventing successful weight loss. Find out how to change this.

Source: low-carb-support.com

This apply to any kind of change, not only for loosing weight :

We all don’t like discomfort and change is about making you uncomfortable, so embrace it rather than trying to avoid the pain.

No pain no gain: yes if you want changes that last you will have to give up some things you really enjoy but the key is to replace habits that don’t serve your goals by new habits you equally enjoy

Focus on the process rather than on the end results, nothing is happening overnight.

Check if you are mentally and physically equipped to make the changes you need. It is better to postpone starting a change project if it is not the right timing rather than trying for a couple of days or week, failing and blaming yourself for lack of will power. It will sure make your self-esteem goes down

Have Your Made New Year Resolutions ?

Visit Our Page What Is Coaching ?

Contact Me If you Think Coaching is What You Need To Succeed !

See on Scoop.itGreat Life Coaching


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