Book Lovers’ Favorite Books About Love

We asked the staff members of the UT Chattanooga Library to suggest their favorite books about love and romance. Ask your campus librarians if they have these titles and check them out today!

 

380994A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, Roland Barthes (1977)

A structuralist meditation on love, in the
form of short entries, alphabetically arranged by topic. Dense with allusion and the trappings of theory, yet somehow still recognizable.


Shards_of_honor_coverShards of Honour, Lois McMaster Bujold (1986)

I read this book at least once a year. Military science fiction and romance, can’t get any better than that!

 


51bd4bLv6lL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ZOO or Letters Not about Love, Victor Shklovsky (1923)

An epistolary novel. Exiled in Berlin, Shklovsky falls madly in love with a woman who allows him to send her letters on the sole condition that they not be about love. His constant correspondence covers topics ranging from art to philosophy to history, though his unrequited feelings are constantly bubbling under the surface.


IOAWNAT-coverIf on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Italo Calvino (1979)

A ground-breaking, self-referential, postmodern narrative. You are one of two book lovers who develop a relationship while on a quest to find the end of a book named If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler…, which is the story of you, one of two lovers who develop a relationship while on a quest…


Madame Bovary - Gustave FlaubertMadame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (1856)

Really more a satire of the bourgeoisie Romantic-era conception of love. Also in the running for the greatest novel ever written.

 


1412044991781Nightwood, Djuna Barnes (1936)

A modernist classic about the messy complexities of love and sexuality.

 


Nadja_livre_de_pocheNadja, Andre Breton (1928)

A foundational surrealist work that explores the tension we feel between our lover and the idea of our lover.

 


fante3.jpgAsk the Dust, John Fante (1939)

A struggling writer in Depression-era Los Angeles falls for a waitress who is in love with someone else.

 


Pride_and_PrejudicePride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1813)

The classic love story, need I say more.

 


51G-WHFUg+L._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Eros the Bittersweet, Anne Carson (1998)

A look at love through the eyes of the ancient Greeks.

 


41gJqsjBINL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_On Love: A Novel, Alain de Botton (2006)

A modern take on the highs, and lows, of love.

 


51+aSQlBnYL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Love Is a Dog from Hell, Charles Bukowski (1977)

Probably not to everyone’s taste, why because it’s poems and Bukowski, but a favorite of mine.

 


Trysting_B_Format_LoRes_RGB_120DPI-300x461Trysting, Emmanuelle Pagano (2016)

Scenes from hundreds of relationships, all genders, races, sexualities, first dates, divorces, and more.

 


For more information about these books and more, please contact Theresa Liedtka at the UTC Library.

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Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Anxiety and Imposter Syndrome: Perspective is Everything

by Lauren Moret

It’s not easy making a transition in your work life. All of us do it at various times in our career: take on new job responsibilities or job roles; change departments or work schedules; get behind in our work tasks and need to play catch up; or, face the well-known monster of imposter syndrome. I’ve experienced all of these concepts of change, discomfort, and insecurity over the last three years since completing a graduate program and moving to Tennessee to begin a new job in a new profession here at UT (I teach research methods on the Knoxville campus).

Since my arrival, I’ve lost countless hours of sleep worrying about if my lesson plan for the next day’s class was “good enough” or if my annual review paperwork would be formatted and provided to the tenured faculty in a way that made me look like a commodity worth keeping around in the department (Notice the language I use when talking about myself in this context. I am such a hard-working human being, so of course, I’m worth keeping around! But, the academic work environment can be tough…we are compared to colleagues, peer institutions, and regardless of the work we do with students, the pubs have to hit!). I’d like to report that these lost hours of sleep have led to greater productivity overall, but I can’t. My hours spent awake between 2-5am have led to nothing further than my binging on Netflix and Hulu. (I’m caught up on several shows now.)

Everyone should understand it is normal to feel imposter syndrome or anxious about your work. It’s a sign that you are a cut above the rest; you hold yourself to a high standard; you have expectations for yourself, and that’s ok. Many of my thoughts that make me anxious can be turned into a positive. For example, I sometimes worry about a lesson being “smart enough” for my advanced level, doctoral seminars. Now, I am eight semesters into my work at UT, and I have never had a single student complain that the content wasn’t challenging enough for them. If anything, the students show excitement by the exposure to new materials. Though I typically over plan, and we don’t cover everything assigned in the lesson, I end up leaving the students at a comfortable stopping place while giving them ideas of how they can continue their thinking and writing as they move forward.

I recently checked in with a former UT Chancellor’s Teaching Award in Excellence winner and learned that what I was doing was succession planning, which means setting students up for success in their next steps as independent scholars. Without realizing it, a concept that had made me so anxious it caused me to lose sleep turned out to be something that works in my favor, a method that supports my goal of becoming an excellent college professor. I needed a new perspective on my skills and abilities. I needed to fall back on trusting myself because I know how to do this work. I say to myself in my head, “you know this, you got this.”

I know the talking I do with myself in my own head needs to be positive and supportive, even though this is easy to forget. And while the imposter syndrome and anxiety visit from time to time, I’m getting better about acknowledging the thoughts as no more than that…just thoughts and not true descriptors about me. So now when I wake up at 2:40 am, I roll over and just go back to sleep. (Turns out, I’m a better teacher when I have a healthy night’s sleep, but that’s a conversation for another time.) You can overcome imposter syndrome and anxious feelings about the job too by believing in yourself, talking positively in your own head about the work you do, and by giving yourself the “Okay” to just be.

Header photo by Synthia Clark


MoretLauren_091014_S.Clark_125Lauren Moret Contact

Lauren Moret is an Assistant Professor in the Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement Program with a focus on Qualitative Research Methodology. Moret is a trained conflict mediator with current research interests that include the teaching and learning practices of leaders across diversities, oppression awareness and reduction processes used in organizations, and supports for the growth of author reflexivity and transparency of the qualitative research process. She loves to cook, eat foods from many cultures, and spend time outside.

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Get Inspired with Natural Environments

By Andrew Bailey

Despite working in the department of Health and Human Performance, I’m not a devoted exerciser. That feels like a dark confession in a time where physical activity is at its lowest, with the Southeastern United States reporting the least leisure time physical activity of any region in the country (c.f. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/data/). I feel bad about it. I wish I liked to run more, or that I could get excited about an aerobics class the way my wife does. Each time I begin a workout with the expressed intent of exercising, I find myself counting down the minutes until I can be done. Yes, I feel good afterward, but that doesn’t take away the memory of the pain I endured to get there. That memory typically prevents me from returning, at least for a while.

I suspect that I’m not alone in my distaste for working out. There is very little in a packaged workout experience that inspires me, and the goal of extending my life a few years is pretty vague and abstract to serve as a motivator. I’m the guy that personal trainers hope they never encounter.

There are, however, active things I do enjoy. I love playing outdoors. I love taking my 5-year-old daughter on hikes and looking for treasures in the form of rocks, leaves, and twigs that will inevitably end up in my pockets and in the laundry. I love taking a new way to the coffee shop and seeing a new street, and I love exploring trails, rivers, mountains, and anything else I can wander into. Because of the joy I derive from these things, I rarely notice the physical activity required to do them. When the mountains call and serious effort is required to explore a more demanding project, the inspiration typically overpowers the dread of a grueling approach. I’ve come to realize that I’m not just lazy and out of shape. I’m overworked and under-inspired.

Positive psychologists tell us that focusing on a negative behavior only induces more negative behaviors (Seligman, 2011). Asking yourself why you are so unhappy only makes you more unhappy. I believe the same is true with physical and mental health. We need to quit asking why we don’t work out more as if more time on a treadmill will solve our problems. Instead, we need to consider how to put ourselves in the path of inspiration. What sounds fun and exciting to you? What would you enjoy doing even if you weren’t counting the calories or mandated minutes of moderate exercise?

It’s true that our bodies weren’t designed to be sedentary, nor are they built to remain in climate-controlled, concrete block spaces for 95% of our day (Mayer & Frantz, 2004). Our minds function at a higher state when our bodies are active (Medina, 2014). Our bodies are most alive when the senses are engaged. Most of our built environments (classrooms and office spaces) are designed for efficiency, not for optimal human performance. Natural environments have consistently been shown to be more conducive to physical activity, to restore mental capacities depleted by work, and to reduce anxiety (Taylor & Kuo, 2009). There is something inherently inspiring, restorative, and activating about the natural world.

I will submit the idea that I’m more outdoorsy than some. The research cited, though, was not conducted on outdoorsy people. It would appear that humans have an inherent connection to the natural environment, either through having evolved in it or through a preference for living things (e.g. Biophilia).

The next time you dread the idea of trudging through another forced march, consider a change of mentality. Instead of dutifully enduring 30 minutes of vigorous activity, explore a new trail, try out paddleboarding or choose from a host of other activities that you may enjoy enough to forget about your heart rate. Walk a new, maybe longer route to the coffee shop at work, and be sure to extend it through that park a few blocks down. If your work environment isn’t conducive to short jaunts, you might get the same benefits as a weekend warrior (c.f. http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/09/health/weekend-exercise-benefits/). Let your body do what it was designed for, and put your mind in a place that nurtures it. You may find that the recommendation of 150 minutes of physical activity each week is not nearly enough of what you enjoy.

Not sure how to get started? Check out these resources for places to play outside in your community:

www.rootsrated.com

http://www.outdoorknoxville.com/

www.outdoorchattanooga.com

 

References:

Faber Taylor, A., & Kuo, F. E. (2009). Children With Attention Deficits Concentrate Better After Walk in the Park. Journal of Attention Disorders, 12(5), 402–409. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054708323000

Mayer, F. S., & Frantz, C. M. (2004). The connectedness to nature scale: A measure of individuals’ feeling in community with nature. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24, 503–515.

Medina, J. (2014). Brain Rules (Updated and Expanded): 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Pear Press.

Seligman, M. E. . (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York, NY: Free Press.


Headshot

Andrew Bailey Contact

Andrew Bailey is an assistant professor of Health and Human Performance at UT Chattanooga. His teaching and research focus on tourism, outdoor education, and the human/nature relationship. A firm believer in the need for play, and for places to play in, he advocates for parks, green space, vacation time, and other assets that promote a high quality of life. When he manages to get out of the office, you might find him biking, hiking, paddling, climbing or traveling with his wife and 5-year-old girl.

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

TEDx Memphis- “Be a Daydream Believer”

by Peggy Reisser

You might not expect a department chair at an academic health science center to give a talk about daydreaming, but that’s exactly the topic Anne Zachry, Ph.D., OTR/L, chair of the Occupational Therapy Department at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, chose when she spoke at the latest TEDx Memphis.

Dr. Anne Zachry

She said the idea for the talk came from research for her books — “Retro Baby,” a back-to-basics guide to parenting published in 2013 by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and “Retro Toddler,” which is in the works.

“I kept running across content or studies that said children‘s creativity is limited,” Dr. Zachry said. “Children who have been born in the digital age have less creativity than those who were born earlier.”

She explained the hypothesis is that because there’s so much media use, children don’t have down time, and they don’t have time to daydream. “With daydreaming, they use part of their brain, the default mode network, which is also associated with creativity,” she said.

Dr. Zachry was invited to submit a proposal for the TEDx event after leaders from the College of Health Professions at UTHSC began investigating the possibility of hosting a TEDx event on campus in the future. She told the organizers she had an idea for a talk, and to let her know if they ever needed a speaker.

A few weeks later, she was on stage giving a 9-minute talk titled, “Be a Daydream Believer.

“I was so nervous, but halfway through it, the audience was listening, and by the end, I didn’t even realize I was in front of that many people,” she said. Roughly 300 packed the Rose Theatre at the University of Memphis.

Dr. Zachry said she hopes the message of her talk resonates with her students. “We need our students to be creative and spend time thinking about what life really means to you and what kind of difference you want to make in this world,” she said. “You will become more creative, because you are taking time to reflect.”


Peggy Reisser Contact
UT Heath Science Center

Peggy Reisser is a media relations and communications specialist in the Communications and Marketing Department at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). She joined UTHSC in July 2013, after more than 25 years as a reporter, editor and department head at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. Her reporting has ranged from business news; to general assignment, lifestyles and feature stories; to coverage of crime, law enforcement and state and federal courts. She served as an assistant features editor, and directed and managed the paper’s Lifestyles Department. She began her career at the Nashville Banner, where she was a political reporter, covering state government and the state Senate, and served as an assistant metro editor.

A graduate of the School of Journalism at the University of Mississippi, she is a board member of the Memphis Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Supporting your spouse with dementia starts with caring for yourself!

By Karen Rose

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2016 Facts & Figures, every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops this disease. The hidden heroes are the family members who support their loved ones with dementia in maintaining their independence and dignity, too often at the expense of their own health.  Below, I offer my insights for supporting a spouse with dementia—although these tips apply to supporting anyone with dementia.

  • Take care of yourself! Supporting a loved one with dementia is a hard job.  Family caregivers are known to forego their own health needs as manifested by skipping medical check-ups and failing to maintain routine self-care activities.  This likely plays a role in poor health outcomes for many family caregivers.  Make and keep the appointments you need with your healthcare provider to maintain your own health.
  • Stay connected with your social networks. Your loved one with dementia is a person who benefits from being around others to maintain their own dignity and self-worth. It may be that your loved one no longer enjoys being in big, noisy crowds—but, that doesn’t mean that smaller, more intimate social activities surrounded by loving family and friends need to be relinquished.  You need to stay connected with your friends and your loved one does, too.
  • Stay active! Regular physical exercise is good for you and for your loved one with dementia. Being outdoors, weather permitting, can have a calming effect for your loved one as the sights and sounds of nature are known to be soothing. And, there are health benefits from regular aerobic and strength-training exercises for persons with dementia, so it’s a good thing to do for everyone.
  • Get adequate rest and sleep. You cannot support your loved one if you are operating from a glass that is “half full.”  Maintaining adequate rest and sleep help support your ability to be at the top of your game.  Avoid too much caffeine and strive to maintain a regular schedule for when you go to bed and when you rise in the morning.  A routine for you and your loved one with dementia helps everyone feel well rested.
  • Ask for help. Family and friends want to help support family caregivers and aren’t always sure how to do so. Make specific requests for assistance, like picking up a prescription or going grocery shopping, as you will find that people are eager to help.  People want to help—it makes them feel good and it helps you to continue to provide support for your loved one.
  • Reexamine holiday traditions. Are you able to pare back some of the activities of your holiday traditions while still maintaining what’s important to you and your family? You may notice that your loved one with dementia becomes anxious or seems agitated when many people are around, even if the people are family members. In this case, reexamining family traditions and reframing these in ways that will not overwhelm your loved one may allow you to continue to honor family traditions in a different way.
  • Plan for the future. Now may be a good time to have meaningful conversations with your loved one with dementia and your family so that you can make plans for your future.  Working with your attorney and financial advisor will provide you with comfort in knowing your wishes for the future are carried out in the ways in which you and your loved ones want them to be.

In short, taking care of yourself is the best way to support your loved one with dementia.  There are many community resources that are available to support family caregivers and persons with dementia.  A great place to start is by contacting your local Area Agency on Aging.  Additional resources are available through the Alzheimer’s Association and through the Family Caregiver Alliance.

https://www.tn.gov/aging/article/aaad-map1

www.alz.org

www.alztennessee.org

https://www.caregiver.org/


rose_karenKaren Rose Contact
UT Knoxville

Karen Rose is the McMahan-McKinley Professor of Gerontology in the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in gerontological nursing. Dr. Rose’s program of research is focused on supporting family caregivers for persons with dementia and in addressing and ameliorating neuropsychiatric behaviors in dementia. Karen enjoys traveling, hiking, doing almost anything outdoors, and spending time with her family and friends.

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

The Beauty of a Tennessee Autumn

By Britton Sharp

Autumn in Tennessee is one of my favorite things. Perhaps it is because much of what we have become so accustomed to seeing around us begins to display a new brilliance. Paths we walk to our office or class begin to change, life visually is entering a new phase. Things become more vibrant and we know that a change is coming. (Even if it is still 84 degrees!)

As the seasons change, it reminds me of changes in my life. It is my belief that our lives have seasons as well- periods of new beginnings, seasons of fruitfulness, times of transition and moments of internal development.

A few years ago while I was working in Sweden, I had the opportunity to speak with one of their top botanist. We were discussing the beauty of the season of Spring in her country. She began to explain that the external beauty of Spring is only made possible due to the internal development that occurs during Winter.

The same has proven true in the many areas of my life (professionally, personally, emotionally, physically and spiritually). I have struggled when I have compared myself to those around me. However, as I look back, I see that many times I was comparing my Winter to their Spring. When we compare ourselves to others it can so often rob us of the depths of our current season. Just because my growth in an area isn’t visible, doesn’t mean it isn’t occurring. We do have the responsibility to cultivate environments of growth, but we have to realize that much like nature around us, we cannot rush it. You can yell at an apple tree all you want, but you will still have to wait for an apple.

As the season visibly changes around us, my hope is that we would be reminded of the process of growth and the seasons in our own lives, that we strive to cultivate healthy environments in all areas of our lives, but also be patient to see those areas bear fruit.

May you enjoy the beauty of a Tennessee autumn.


Britton Shaimg_0446rp Contact
UT Knoxville

Britton is an artist, writer, gardener, husband and father. When he isn’t chasing toddlers with his wife, Brooks, you can find Britton writing in a coffee shop or watercolor painting downtown. He is a regular contributor to the blogs: https://collegiateabbey.com/ and http://www.flightnetwork.com/

As vice president of the Campus Ministers Council and director of Collegiate Abbey, he works to provide self-care resources to UT Knoxville faculty and staff.

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Still My Hero

By Susan Robertson

As it is with most little girls, my dad was my first hero. I am the third of four children, and I always tell people I was my dad’s son before my brother was born. He taught me to throw a baseball, punt a football and even taught me to sew a dress for my Barbie doll.

My dad passed away in September 2012, but because of his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease in 2001, we gradually said goodbye to him over the course of 11 years. I lived out of state during that time but visited my parents at least monthly. And watching my father succumb to this horrible disease was one of the most difficult things I’ve experienced.

Most often Alzheimer’s is associated with the loss of memory. I never think it is funny when someone forgets something and then jokes, “I must have Alzheimer’s.” There is nothing funny about that disease. It truly robs sufferers of everything—from memory to the ability to speak to dignity. My father’s Alzheimer’s started with paranoia—thinking people were coming into the house and changing the times on the clocks or moving things from one location to the next. That was followed by the loss of his ability to process information and although he still remembered us, he often talked about going to see his mom and dad (who had both passed years earlier).

As with most Alzheimer’s patients, my dad started to wander. He would pace endlessly around the house all day and much of the night. One night he even climbed out his bedroom window and walked more than a mile to a nearby recreation area. Thankfully, some neighbors who had gone to the area to walk the next morning spotted him and brought him home. It was after that incident that my mother had all of the windows nailed closed from the inside. She also added alarms to each entry door so dad couldn’t go outside without her knowing it; and added baby locks on the cabinets after dad ate a dishwashing tablet thinking it was candy.

Alzheimer’s caused my dad to become very childlike. He liked playing with and holding toy cars. On one visit, I was in the backyard walking around with him when he picked up an acorn and threw it at me. When I turned around, he just grinned impishly. I was crying inside, but I just had to smile because that is something my dad would have done before the disease. While dad was very different and needed around-the-clock care, he was still very much my dad.

The disease also took a toll on my mother who was dad’s caregiver. Not only was it emotional to deal with the fact that your husband of 50-plus years was no longer the same, it wore on her to have to make sure she knew where he was 24/7. One of the things I say to anybody who is a caregiver is you have to take care of yourself! Stress plays havoc with our overall health. Mom finally agreed to have a home health worker visit three days a week, and one of my sisters moved in with my parents to help care for dad. My other siblings and I gave my mom and sister breaks on the weekend so they could be away from the house while we would watch dad. It only made sense that the weekends I was visiting, I would toss the ball with dad. It was just like old times—sort of.

I wish that no one would have to deal with this disease—no individual and no family. But the truth is that today, 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s; the disease is now the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S.; and every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with the disease, all according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

My paternal grandfather and my father both had Alzheimer’s, so I’ve read a lot of research about how to prevent the disease. Unfortunately, no one can pinpoint the exact cause. Researchers have identified many things such as environment, diet, etc., but currently there is no cure.

It was about 10 months before my dad passed, Christmas of 2011, when I realized for the first time he didn’t know who I was. That was extremely tough to accept, but it was not about me. My dad was very different from the man I knew as my first hero, but in my heart he was still my dad.


Susan RoberstonSusan Robertson  Contact
UT Institute for Public Service

Susan handles communications for the UT Institute for Public Service. She enjoys spending time outdoors—hiking and documenting the natural beauty of East Tennessee through photography. Susan loves watching all sports, reading, cooking and fulfilling the needs of her demanding miniature dachshund, Wrigley.

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Protect Your Mental Real Estate

By Stefani Mundy

My close friend is trying to lose weight and has begun an exercise and nutrition plan. She recently referred to herself as “fat” and followed with, “And don’t say it’s not true because it is.”

With respect and love I responded, “Just because something is true, does not mean we give it power over us. Is it true you created a plan, are exercising and have lost some weight? Would you say you’re facing toward weight loss and away from former habits?”

She smiled and agreed.

“Calling yourself fat is a negative investment for you,” I continued. “Close the account on that thought. No more investing! Every time you think that negative thought, replace it with a positive truth. The positive truths are investments in the goal instead of the problem.”

Consider the mind as your most valuable asset. Stimuli are constantly fighting for precious space in your consciousness, including internal thoughts and externally spoken messages.

Thoughts as a Stock Exchange
The scrolling ticker screen at the New York Stock Exchange is a great analogy for the mind. Constantly scrolling during trading hours, human choices determine which stocks thrive and grow in our mental space. Likewise, our brains are always on, and we have the power to invest in thoughts that provide positive returns. Humans can fall prey to judgmental thinking and have what I call negative investment thoughts that create barriers to goals, relationships and life effectiveness.

Thoughts and Relationship Bankruptcy
The positive or negative thoughts we hold about others can build large accounts or cause relationship bankruptcy.

Our thinking itself can decrease the trust and intimacy with a friend, colleague or family member. Judging, making assumptions, holding grudges and replaying past wrongs are just a few examples of negative investment thinking.

Positive investment thinking in relationships includes withholding judgement, listening to understand, forgiving and offering a “tabula rasa” or blank slate. Offering a blank slate is approaching each interpersonal interaction with the mind new, unmarked or uninfluenced by past interactions or knowledge.

7-7-7 Challenge
Experts regularly suggest that building a habit takes at least 21 days. Join this 7-7-7 Challenge for 3 weeks (28 days total) by observing your internal and external dialogues.

  • Week One: Observe your “scrolling ticker screen” of thoughts for seven days. What do you think and say about yourself? Are your thoughts negative or positive investments? Try to capture thoughts and label them as negative, positive or neutral.
  • Week Two: Repeat the activity again, but this time only observe your thoughts about others.
  • Week Three: Observe your thoughts about yourself and others for seven days. Practice replacing a negative thought with a neutral or positive thought that is true. This process could be uncomfortable at first but gradually becomes a simple method to maximize the valuable real estate in your mind.

Stefani MundyStefani Mundy Contact
UT Institute for Public Service

Stefani is a UT graduate and currently works in the UT IPS Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership as a training specialist. When she’s not planning leadership training, you can find her planting flowers or brainstorming creative ideas to improve lives.

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Do You Know a Veteran in Need of Help?

By Amy Wilson Hardy, MSSW, BS

Returning home from deployment is never easy and there is a saying in the military that “no one returns unchanged.”

For some veterans, these changes take the shape of physical injuries. For others, there are invisible injuries that require mental health treatment.

Most frequently, veterans’ mental health symptoms include reintegration stressors, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). If these are not addressed, they can lead to substance abuse and suicide.

The mental health of veterans is an issue nationwide—and a critical one in Tennessee. Almost 502,000 veterans live in the state, and some of them need mental health services. More specifically, in 2012 the National Council on Behavioral Health stated that of the 52,943 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans living in Tennessee, roughly 30 percent had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

Unfortunately, many veterans in Tennessee have difficulty accessing services. There are several reasons for this. The first reason is stigma. Even though attitudes are changing within the military, many veterans still fear being seen as weak or unfit while combat veterans still on active duty worry about being demoted. Another reason that veterans don’t access services is because they are unaware of how to access services.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working in a variety of ways to help fight the stigma and help veterans understand how to access available services. An example of such efforts is a program called Make the Connection[1]. At the program’s website, veterans and their loved ones can explore information privately, find information about mental health issues and learn about treatment options.

Make the Connection also provides true stories of veterans who faced challenges, reached out for help and are finding ways to overcome their challenges. Through Make the Connection, the VA hopes to diminish stigma and help veterans and their families access resources.

Geography also can be a barrier to accessing mental health services in Tennessee. Veterans in more rural areas are often underserved because of the distance to available resources, lack of transportation or other logistical issues. To overcome this barrier, some private outpatient mental health care facilities are attempting to address these issues through online support groups and telephone services.

In recent years, Tennessee’s VA outpatient clinics have begun to utilize telehealth and video-to-home technologies so veterans can receive care from VA providers without leaving home. Utilizing the VA’s Veterans Crisis Line is another way geographic barriers can be overcome.

This confidential, toll-free hotline provides veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified Department of Veterans Affairs responders.

If there is a crisis situation, veterans and their loved ones can contact the crisis line by calling 800-273-8255 and pressing 1, chatting online or sending a text to 838255. The hotline provides support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

In Tennessee, there are mental health providers who are trained to work with the general population, but few in the state have received specialized training to work with veterans. This is changing, however, as more education and training is made available.

UT’s College of Social Work is involved in this effort in two ways. The first is by offering a series of eight free, online workshops related to military social work.

Additionally, the College of Social Work is providing specialized training to master’s level social work students through its graduate certificate program in trauma-focused treatment. This program provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to provide trauma-specific interventions and create trauma-informed programming and policy development. Those completing the certificate program have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective treatment to those affected by many different types of trauma, including combat trauma.

For those interested in working with veterans specifically, there is coursework in military social work that provides specialized knowledge and understanding of the military and its culture. For more information about the UT College of Social Work Graduate Certificate Program in Trauma-focused treatment visit http://www.csw.utk.edu/certificates/trauma.htm.

REFERENCE:
[1] Department of Veterans Affairs. (2012). Guide to VA Mental Health Services for Veterans and Families. http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/docs/MHG_English.pdf


Amy Wilson Hardy Amy Wilson Hardy Contact
UT Knoxville

Amy Wilson Hardy is a social worker and has worked as a research associate for the UT College of Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (UT SWORPS) since 2005. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington and master’s degree in social work from UT Knoxville.

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

4 Tips for Taking the Bumps in Stride

By Jonathan Ruth

Someone pulls out in front of you on your way to work, despite the fact there’s not a car behind you for a quarter mile.

You’re in a hurry to pick up those last-minute items for the party, and the person in front of you in the express lane is 12 items over the limit. You know because you counted!

You have 30 minutes to get the weed-eating done, and 10 minutes in, you run out of spooled line.

You get the picture. We face so many frustrations in our fast-paced lives. Sometimes, before we know it, the tiniest thing turns into the proverbial straw, the camel’s back breaks and your pent-up frustration results in a nuclear meltdown on some unsuspecting soul who gets caught in the fallout!

It’s a fact that we’ll face major struggles in life, and the ability to walk through those situations successfully is a topic for another time. But what about the pesky little problems that we encounter numerous times every day? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could improve our ability to handle these situations?

Focusing on what you can change rather than on what you can’t change is a sign of strong mental health.

With that in mind, here’s a look at some tips for taking the bumps in stride.

Slow down! Most of us are too busy and too impatient! These appendages we call cell phones have changed us. We expect instant news, instant text replies, instant streaming videos, etc. No wonder standing in the checkout line five more minutes seems unbearable. All this instant gratification creates unreasonable expectations in our minds. It’s a problem. If you don’t believe me, search for “cell phone disorders” sometime. Here are some ideas for slowing down your life:

  • Block 30 minutes to take a walk. Don’t run…don’t power-walk…just walk.
  • Take 10 minutes and intentionally sit still. Clear your mind. Focus on your breathing rhythm. Aim for deep, relaxed breaths.
  • Meditate on an image, a phrase or a passage of Scripture.
  • Finally—if you’re feeling really brave—turn your phone off for a few hours!

Choose personal power. There is dynamic empowerment in choice. Whoever said it first was right, “Your response is your responsibility.” Regardless of what life throws at you, you get to choose how you respond. That is an incredible gift! When you choose your response, you refuse to play the victim and wrestle back your power. The next time something upsets you, decide to own your response and choose to act positively. It will feel good—I promise—and the more you do it, the easier it will become.

Give yourself time to fume…then let it go. Create a private space and make a bargain with yourself. You can be upset about it for five minutes, but when the clock runs out, it’s over. Be upset, but learn to let it go. If it floats through your mind again, that’s OK. Just choose—there’s that choice thing again—not to dwell on it. As Martin Luther said, “You cannot keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”

Laugh! Grab your spouse, children, family or friends and go do something fun. Text a joke to a friend. Whatever it takes! Getting angry takes energy. So does laughing. Why not choose the one that makes you feel better when it’s over?

I hope you find these ideas helpful and wonder if you have any other tools for dealing with life’s little frustrations. If so, post them in the comments so we can help each other.


Jonathan RuthJonathan Ruth   Contact   Website
UT System Administration

Jonathan is a two-time UT graduate and currently works in the IRIS Administrative Support department. He’s also a life coach and has a passion for helping others. He loves spending time with family and friends and is certain he played on the PGA Tour in another life.

Disclaimer
Posts represent the views, expertise and recommendations of their authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement by the University of Tennessee. Furthermore, the content of the blog is for informational purposes only. The content of the blog is not, and is not intended to be used as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.