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Emotions in the Wake of Disaster, by Sarah Rose Cavanagh Ph.D. (From Psychology Today)

How you respond to emotions may have implications for your psychological health
Source: Psychology Today
Michiko is at home, contentedly sipping coffee and flipping through the pages of a gossip magazine while her toddler plays at her feet and her 7-month-old naps in her crib. She lives in an area with frequent earthquakes, so at first she hardly notices as her cup begins to clatter in its saucer. But quickly the shaking becomes more and more severe, and the apartment building begins to rock alarmingly from side to side. The quake is not letting up.

She grabs her son by the arm and rushes to her infant daughter’s room to swoop her up. Michiko manages to get to the stairwell, one struggling child under each arm. Dust begins to fall from the ceiling, and she realizes that there is no way to get all three of them down the long, steep staircase safely. She rushes to return her infant to her crib, kisses her hot face, and begins the challenge of wrestling her toddler down the perilous stairs.

Once outside, she looks desperately for someone she can entrust her toddler to so that she can return for her daughter. Huge buildings tilt and crack as a sea of panicked humanity rushes by her.

This is a fictional recombination of several real accounts told to us by our research participants, living and working in Tokyo, Japan during the March 2011 tsunami, earthquake, and nuclear crisis.

The Regulation of Emotion

I study emotion regulation, or the strategies people use to change or modify their emotional states in order to feel better or meet some other sort of goal, such as behaving appropriately in a social situation. Most of the time, the situations that require us to regulate our emotions are fleeting and minor (you must dampen your irritation with a frustrating client in order to maintain a good working relationship). Decades of research have taught us a lot about which methods of emotion regulation are most successful.

This research seems to indicate that one of the most effective emotion regulation techniques is that of cognitive reappraisal – the ability to rethink the nature or implications of a situation in order to alter its impact (the client is just trying to please his own boss – I can recall being in similar situations and should be more patient).

So, cognitive reappraisal is effective, and both how frequently you use cognitive reappraisal in your daily life and how successfully you are able to use it to reduce negative emotions have been linked to all sorts of good outcomes like lower depression and heightened well-being. (Continue reading)

🔎Sarah Rose Cavanagh, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Psychology and Director of the Laboratory for Cognitive and Affective Science at Assumption College.

💡You may also be interested in:


This is a weekly selection of recommended free online exercises, games, videos and resources so that you can improve your English language skills while having fun – ENJOY!

📜READING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

From BBC FUTURE: The obsolete tech that children can't recognise, Helene Schumacher. Show your age by seeing if you recognise this list of tech objects from the recent past. A recent study has revealed which kinds of tech have stood the test of time – in terms of recognition, if not use. Would your children recognise these? (And would you?). (Continue reading)

From Mind Tools Blog: Does Your Profession Reflect Who You Really Are?, by Bruce Murray. Toni Morrison is a favorite author of mine, who recently brought to my mind one of life’s fundamental questions: “Does the work that I do define me? Or is the ‘real me’ the person I am outside of my work?” – What Defines You? (Continue reading)

From BBC CAPITAL: This single phrase makes Japan go round, by Yukari Mitsuhashi. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu” is a term that is heard all the time but hard to define. It’s the Swiss Army knife of the Japanese language, and it goes a long way in any type of situation.
... “It’s a phrase to convey respect and appreciation. It’s usually accompanied by a bow that can range from a little tilt of the head to a full sweeping bow.” Goto adds: “Yoroshiku onegaishimasu is critical to ensure that everyone is appreciated for their different skills. I would say it to the hair stylist that I am planning to see tomorrow. But I would say it much more seriously with desperation if I needed to go see a doctor tomorrow for a medical emergency. Both the stylist and the doctor play a role in society that makes the world go round and it’s really a sort of verbal lubricant.”
Although commonly translated in Japanese class textbooks or travel guides as ‘nice to meet you’ or ‘please take care of me’, these fall far short of truly encompassing its diverse uses and how it embodies Japanese culture and its people. (Continue reading)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

Stop Saying...: Avoiding direct language to sound more polite (3:02 minutes)

Learn about cultural differences in 6 minutes (6:12 minutes)
Archetypes and Male Divinities: Crash Course World Mythology #15 (11:45 minutes)


📌 This week's special ⇒ WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Between or Among? (From Learn English with Emma)
After watching the video, take the quiz here ⇒

A few more vocab picks:
💡 GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:



At some point in your life, you will probably have to make a speech. There are many kinds of speeches, including those intended to inform, persuade, instruct, motivate, and entertain. They all share the same goal, however: to communicate clearly and effectively to an audience.

💡 Here are some guidelines to make it easier to talk to a room full of people you don’t know.
  1. Know your audience
  2. Narrow your topic
  3. Outline your speech
  4. Get the attention of the room
  5. Organize your speech
  6. Offer examples, statistics, and quotations
  7. Craft a powerful conclusion
  8. Use presentation aids if appropriate
  9. Write for the ear, not for the eye
  10. Time yourself

1. Know your audience

Understand what your listeners care about. Tailor your speech to their knowledge and their interests. If you are an expert speaking to a general audience, be sure to define your terms. If you’re a manager talking to a staff that has recently experienced lay-offs, acknowledge that you understand their concerns.

2. Narrow your topic

A good speech makes a claim. And a good speech is about one thing only. Even if your speech is a wedding toast, your point is that the bride and the groom were meant for each other. Have a specific focus and make sure everything you say supports it.

3. Outline your speech

A conventional organization usually works best. Tell the audience what you’re going to say (introduction), say it (body), and then tell them what you said (conclusion) ⇒ Repetition is a powerful tool, especially in a speech. Audiences tend to absorb only a small portion of what they hear, so it’s good to make your point several times.

4. Get the attention of the room

Your opening should engage listeners immediately. Engage them with a unique personal story that is relevant to your topic. Or try a specific reference to the location. Most people will appreciate a speaker who says she’s glad to be in Australia in January.

Other good ways to begin:
  • ask a question;
  • report a surprising statistic related to your topic;
  • find an apposite quotation.

5. Organize your speech

Structure your speech according to your purpose. If your goal is to inform, try a chronological or alphabetical organization. When your goal is to convince your audience to take a stand, introduce the problem and then propose a solution. Use transitions between your examples, so people can follow your logic.

6. Offer examples, statistics, and quotations

You need evidence to support what you’re saying. Try examples from history, current events, and your own life. Consult government sources for statistics. Use quotations from experts in the field. Don’t overdo quotations, though: most of the words in your speech should be your own. Check your facts—inaccuracies will undermine your credibility.

7. Craft a powerful conclusion

Keep it short, memorable, and to the point. Consider ending with a concrete, vivid image or anecdote that illustrates your topic. Or ask people to take an action, such as promise to write to a decision-maker or to contribute to a cause.

8. Use presentation aids if appropriate

Charts and tables quickly convey data, and photographs can offer compelling support. Incorporate visuals into your speech if they’ll make it more powerful. Know what technology will be available for you to share these visuals. And be prepared to do without them, in case something goes wrong with the equipment.

9. Write for the ear, not for the eye

Once you’ve finished a draft of your speech, practice reading it out loud. You’ll hear anything that sounds awkward. Revise so you are more comfortable giving your speech. You want to sound natural, no matter what the occasion.

10. Time yourself

Have someone else run the stopwatch, so you won’t be distracted. Read slowly and clearly. Include pauses for emphasis or for audience reaction if you’re saying something that might cause listeners to laugh or gasp. If you’re over your time limit, you’ll need to edit to shorten your speech.

💡 Go to Oxford Dictionaries for more Top writing tips.

💡 You might also be interested in:


This post offers you a selection of recommended free online exercises, games, videos and resources so that you can improve your English language skills while having fun – ENJOY!

📜READING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

From BBC FUTURE: The new phones that are stuck in the past, by Peter Rubinstein. These sleek, downgraded cell phones are meant to promote mental wellbeing – by turning the clock back to the pre-smartphone era.
… After several years of tinkering, Neby invented the solution to his mobile obsession: another cell phone. But unlike his Blackberry, this one was specifically designed to promote healthy behaviour by being used as little as possible. With this idea in mind, Neby’s company Punkt was born.
It now stands as one of several start-ups aimed at tempering advanced technologies with a return to good old-fashioned humanity, providing an escape route from the anxiety and addiction of smartphones. Because these secondary devices do little more than make calls, owners say they have rediscovered the freedom they had before their iPhones were surgically attached to their palms. (Continue reading)

From BBC CAPITAL: Are you guilty of 'cyberloafing'?, by Emily Lowe-Calverley and Rachel Grieve. A spot of online shopping, checking out your holiday snaps on Facebook: if you break up your work day with non-work online activities you may be guilty of 'cyberloafing'.
Cyberloafing – engaging in non-work online activities while “on the clock” – is a modern form of counterproductive workplace behaviour ...
Cyberloafing can lack malicious intent, but not always ... So, who is likely to cyberloaf, and why? (Continue reading)

🎬 V
IDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

BBC Masterclass: Advanced Learner Mistakes - go, come, bring and take (3:26 minutes)

News Review: Money spent on time makes you happy (8:14 minutes)

Meet Your Master: Getting to Know Your Brain – Crash Course Psychology #4 (12:33 minutes)


RECOMMENDED YouTube CHANNEL: How to be BRITISH - Eat Sleep Dream English

🔺IMPORTANT: This is NOT an advert! This is just my honest (and free) opinion.

I've already recommended other interesting posts, tools and videos, and I'll keep on doing so in the future as long as I come across things worth recommending😄

Why do I recommend this channel? Simply because I like Tom's approach to teachinghe teaches fresh modern English, the kind that you don't usually get in textbooks, and he's fun! I think other lovers of English may also enjoy his videos and find them useful - that's all😉

Below are just a few - ENJOY!

How to be BRITISH | 5 Easy Steps (5:41 minutes)

12 Britishisms YOU NEED TO KNOW | British English Expressions
(6:44 minutes)

REPORTED SPEECH What Native English Speakers Really Say!
(6:55 minutes)

What British People REALLY MEAN with Joel & Lia (13:24 minutes)

My Guide to London | Camden Town (5:05 minutes)

How To Make The Perfect Cup Of English Tea (6:05 minutes)



Should we say "help a student with his/her homework" or "help a student with their homework"?

💡 Quick answer:

→ In informal contexts, use the 3rd person plural: 'they', 'them', 'theirs', 'their' or 'themselves'  help a student with their homework.

→ In formal contexts, use the 3rd person singular: 'he/she', 'him/her', 'his/hers', 'his/her' or 'himself/herself'  help a student with his or her homework.

If possible, use a plural nounthe 3rd person plural help students with their homework.


A pronou
n replaces a noun or noun phrase. The noun or noun phrase replaced is called the 'antecedent' of the pronoun, and the pronoun must agree in person and number with its antecedent.
El pronombre reemplaza al nombre. El nombre reemplazado es el 'antecedente' del pronombre, y ambos deben concordar en persona y número.

 Entonces, ¿cuál es el problema?

El problema es que, en inglés, la 3ra persona singular tiene 'he' (masculino), 'she' (femenino) e 'it' (animales + nombres inanimados).

Por lo tanto, cuando debemos reemplazar o referirnos a un nombre animado (persona) en singular que no distingue género (como 'a student', 'a child', 'somebody', 'everybody', 'a person', etc.), ¿deberíamos usar 'he' o 'she' o ambos?

HE/SHELa primera respuesta puede ser que usemos ambos:
→ Everybody must do his or her best.
 Someone has texted me; I don't know who he or she is.
Sin embargo, esto puede resultar pesado y confuso si aparece repetidamente en el texto.

THEY: Como solución, entonces, se ha comenzado a utilizar la 3ra persona plural (they) para incluir el femenino y el masculino:
 Everybody must do their best.
    (Singular)              (plural)
 Someone has texted me; I don't know who they are.
    (Singular)                                                (plural)
Esta opción no tiene aceptación unánime porque no hay concordancia en número entre el pronombre y su antecedente, y en contextos muy formales o académicos puede desaconsejarse. (See: Gender Neutral Language)

Sobre esta controversia, Oxford Dictionary dice:

"Some people object to the use of plural pronouns in this type of situation on the grounds that it’s ungrammatical. In fact, the use of plural pronouns to refer back to a singular subject isn’t new: it represents a revival of a practice dating from the 16th century. It’s increasingly common in current English and is now widely accepted both in speech and in writing."

🔗Go to full article ⇒ ‘He or she’ versus ‘they’.
🔗You can read more about the debate surrounding the use of ‘he or she’ versus ‘they’ on the Oxford Dictionaries blog.

Finalmente, se recomienda usar el nombre en plural para que concuerde en número con 'they', pero esto no siempre es posible.
→ En lugar de: "A student should finish their homework before playing video games", podemos decir"Students should finish their homework before playing video games"
→ Pero ¿cómo lo aplicaríamos en: "Someone has texted me; I don't know who they are"?

Sobre este tema Cambridge English Grammar Today dice:

Traditionally, he and him were used to refer to both genders in formal writing:

If anyone has any evidence to oppose this view, let him inform the police immediately.

Nowadays, we often see gender neutral forms (e.g. he or she, he/she, s/he, (s)he, they and him or her, him/her, them) when we do not know if the person referred to is male or female:

The bank manager could help with your problem. He or she will probably be able to give you a loan. (orhe/she will probably be able to … orthey will probably be able to …)

Go to a hairdresser. Ask him or her to come up with a style that suits you, your hair, your lifestyle. (or … ask him/her to come up with a style … or … ask them to come up with a style …)

When you get into the building, go to the person on the desk in the reception area. They can tell you where to go. (or He or she can tell you where to go.)

🔗See also: One and Sexist language

Gender-inclusive Language (From Speak English with Emma)
💡You may also want to read: A brief history of singular ‘they’ (from Oxford English Dictionaries Blog)


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