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I've heard about a recent survey that among a third of us are living with extreme stress. Well, as the holidays approaching the shopping season kicks in and it’s not ganna get any easier so we decided it is time for us to listen "stress reducing help". Angela Burt-Murray as the editor in chief of Essence magazine and Dr. Gail Saltz today, contributing psychologist as well as biologist. Nice to have you here. High address, sorry about that. Good to have you. So this is the time of the year when all of us I think get so overloaded. And I know this is something that your readers have written in preciously about it, is that right?

Absolutely. I was telling them just come down to the end of the year. They are feeling a lot of pressures with work deadlines, financial pressure, family obligations and of course shopping for the holiday.

Yeah, speaking with the holidays, how does the stress just escalate during this time of the year?

The bottom-line is women still bear the burden for the holidays. They are still, you know, whether they are working or not working, or single, or whatever the case may be, they are the one to sort of, are the, you know, make the holiday, and they feel that was to keep up everything else to do during the year and not only make the holiday but make the Norman walk well you know June / sort of perfect holiday.

And that includes generally involving family and family adds a lot of stress too and a lot of time I think it’s as you said women tend to bear the burden alone. You feel like I’ve got to be the one who has to do it all alone.

They have to make it all the beautiful, they have to make it all the delicious, they have to meet their children expectation, and they have to manage all those family relationships. And think about it, those relationships you don't necessarily see the people during the year all the time. And yet they all come to your home and you have been together for a long period. That can actually add a lot of stress.

So you say investigate old stories to help manage the families, what do you mean by that?

What I mean by that is I think women often feel the expectation because they are thinking I wanna do like I remembered my mother doing it. I wanna do it differently than my mother did it, but these old stories about how perfect just supposed to be they come from somewhere. And if you understand where that expectation is coming from, you have a better chance to be more objective about. You know, maybe I don’t have to bake 100 different varieties of cookies, maybe that's not where the load comes from. Maybe that's something my mother chose to do but I'm ganna do it differently.

And partly that’s getting some of the feelings a lot of women feel guilt around this time of year too, right? And you say that’s the part of thing you have to get rid of.

Right! You have to let go of the guilt. They tell you when you get on an aero plane that in a case of an emergency when the oxygen masks come down put it on yourself first. You have to save yourself before you can help others. So it’s really important that you let go of the guilt, priorities and learn a way you have to, say notice something that you are just not able to do.

We have been onto money because it’s another big issue on the holidays and guilt you set time to realize expectations, what do you mean by that?

I mean you have to…first of all you have to decide, you know, what really matters. And you know,, again I obligate for those relationships matters, so if you stressed out that money, if you are overspending, if you are ganna put yourself into death later, then you are going to be an anxious, grumpy mom. That actually no one is ganna be round you are wanna be around.And you stress your relationship and you really need to make a plan and that’s reasonable for the end of the year.

Absolutely. Angela says to have a solid financial plan.

Yeah, solid budget, and do something really simple like avoid holiday crowd and just shop on line. You can shop by price and you can also, a lot of retailers have special programs where you can get free gram and free delivery. So it’s easy and cost factor.

Some of the burden, some of the stress also with your husband and your boyfriend, your partner, Gail says it is an important thing to really share the burden.

You know, just as the thing is. Actually people like to be needed. If you say “you know what, this year thanksgiving pop lock, you bring the potatoes, can you bring the oil reset ” to your sister, you know, we are ganna be together can you do that. People actually like to contribute and feel their part of thing where they are needed. But women hate to ask. They feel like that makes me less then, if I found it out. And actually it is really a mistake. If you would ask your spouse “hey, would take this part of shopping list and I will take this part of shopping list”, he’s actually ganna feel good. And it’s not dumping it. So you really should ask, you both will feel better.

And feeling better is really another key topic Angela, you say really focus on your wellness, your health during the holiday.

Absolutely. The health issues can become you know more prevalent. So you really need to make sure that you are eating right, you are getting enough rest and you are also listening to your body. And give yourself a little time out occasionally. You know, take time to meditate or just to focus on yourself.

Because after that, people become anxious and stress they drink more during holidays, they eat to satisfy their anxiety and they drink more alcohol they go to more parties and you don't feel good. So actually do other things to release your stress and be mindful of the overeating and the overdrinking.

Angela Burt-Murray, Dr. Gail Saltz. Thanks so much.
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