Understanding Your Relationship To Stress Assignment | Top Essay Writing

#2 Understanding Your Relationship To Stress


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(do not attach your assignment as a document)

READ:           Rob Koegel: “Learning Rules: As In It’s ‘Awesome’Or The Best, Not Grammar Rules”(see attached 2-page PDF)

READ:           Rick Hanson: Just One Thing: Developing A Buddha Brain One Simple Practice At A TimePart One (see below for more information about the readings)

29 pages READ:        Rick Hanson: Hardwiring Happiness Chapter 1 “Growing Good” and Chapter 2 “Velcro for the Bad”

35 pagesREAD:       Kelly McGonigal: Upside of Stress, Chapter One: “How To Change Your Mind About Stress”

WATCH: Kelly McGonigal, 3 MinuteTalk: “How To Make Stress Your Friend” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_DMyF3GjCk&t=65s


Please NUMBER each part of each question and SKIP A LINE between each part of each answer.


Since skipping linesmakes it much easier for me to read the assignments, anyone who does not do this will need to reformat their assignment and repost it.


******PLEASE NOTE: It’s fine to quote a great point from the authors ….  BUT only if you do it twoor3times in theentire assignment – that’s three quotes from all the authors,not from eachauthor.  Writing almost all of your assignment in your own words increases your understanding of what you read.

After reading my 2-page essay “Learning Rules,” use your own words to describe why I believe the following (you’ll discuss your beliefs/opinions in Question 1c):

Question 1A When taking an exam or take-home assignment, you’re often given information that can help you do better and get a higher grade ifyou look for and apply this information.


Question 1B: Why you agree or disagree with my analysis and conclusions about why it’s possible to do better on examsandassignments without studying more or cheating.

Question 1C If you were going to begin doing this for this assignment, what would you do– be specific!

Before you answer question 2:

  • Go to the Table of Contents of Just One Thing and check out the titles of the 11 short chapters in Part One;
  • Skim the chapters you find most appealing, and select the TWOchapters that you believe will be most meaningful and/orhelpful to you;

After carefully reading, and possibly rereading, the first of these two chapters:


QUESTION 2A:  Describe what you found most useful in this chapter, and HOW and WHY you found it useful or could adapt or revise it so it’s more helpful, meaningful, etc.


QUESTION 2B: Do the same for the second chapter you chose.


For at least 3 days (more if you want J), look for small opportunitiesthat will only take a few minutes to apply helpful insights from oneor both of these chapters to your life. 


I invite you to do two things:


Focus on the INNER STRENGTH(S) you most want to nourish and to use the insights/tools you find most helpful…AND


Adapt any of the insights/suggestions Rick provides to make them as relevant, meaningful and helpful to you as possible.


As you do this, I invite you to remember:

  • This learning activity is not about making big changes or seeing immediate results;
  • It’s about looking for small ways to “practice” and apply some of Rick’s suggestions that will help you to live more happily, freely, and resourcefully over time;
  • You cultivate inner strengths by “planting,” “watering,” and “weeding” your” internal garden;” and trusting that the benefits of this practice will slowly grow, often in ways that you may not see for a while;
  • This transformative process works best when you are kind to, and patient with, yourself as you “take in the good” of your self-care;
  • This process is not about right or wrong. It’s about exploring new ways of engaging in self-care andlearning from what works and what does not.


QUESTION 3A: Describe how you engaged in some form of practice related to oneor bothof the 2 chapters you selected on THREE SEPARATE DAYS before you post this assignment (please skip a paragraph after you discuss each of the three days you practiced).


Take at least 10 to 15 seconds, more if you’d like, to “take in the good” of what you practiced – however little or much you did.


Keepingin mind that your brain is constantly looking for ways to learn from your experiences, read over your answers to questions 2 and 3, then:


QUESTION 3B:  Describe any small steps you might take to enhance the effectiveness of your self-care practice in the future.


In the “Introduction” to Hardwiring Happiness we read last week, Rick writes, “If you’re like many people, you go through each day zipping from one thing to another.  But along the way, when’s the last time you stopped for 10 seconds to feel and take in 1 of the positive moments that happen in even the most hectic day?  If you don’t take those extra seconds to enjoy and stay with the experience, it passes through you like wind through the trees, momentarily pleasant but with no lasting value.”


Rick suggests we all have many chances to strengthen the “hidden power of everyday positive experiences to change your brain – and therefore your life – for the better” (p. xxv).  He believes we all can “turn good moments into a great brain, full of confidence, ease, comfort, self-worth, and feeling cared about (p. xxv).


QUESTION 4A: Describe how he supports this belief in chapter 1 and 2 from Hardwiring Happiness(I’m asking you to describe the most important ways he supports this belief in bothchapters, not just one of them)


QUESTION 4B: Why you agree and/or disagree with his analysis and conclusions in these two chapters.  In the beginning of past semesters, some students felt skeptical about how helpful “taking in the good” could be; and it’s absolutely fine if you do too! J


QUESTION 4C: Why you do or do not want to do more of what Rick calls “taking in the good” (p. 3) and “growing the good” (see chapter 1).  For example, like a former student, you may believe that you don’t have any time to “take in the good” or that it won’t make any difference and is not worth doing, etc.


PLEASE REMEMBER: Rick’s talking about “taking in the good” on a deep level, really letting it sink in and deliberately and slowly savoring it, like you would if you were slowly nibbling at, and swooning over, a delicious dessert (rather than simply gulping it down, as many of us – including me – often do). 


QUESTION 4D: Why you do or do not believe you’re capable of “taking in the good” and “growing the good” more than you have in the past?  If you believe you can “take in” and “grow the good” more than you have, describe why you haven’t.


(Please be sure to number each part of each question and skip a line between each part of each answer)


After reading about the two very different ways of thinking about stress (what Kelly calls “stress mindsets”) on page 14 ofThe Upside Of Stress (in the section“What Is Your Stress Mindset?”):


QUESTION 5: You’re going to like this question because it’s easy to answerJ Describe which stress mindset best captures how you thought about stress before you read Kelly’s book (if you mix both stress mindsets, describe the one you use the most)


After reviewing Crum’s research about hotel housekeepers and milkshakes on pp. 4 – 7 (in the section“The Effect You Expect Is The Effect You Get”), Kelly describes how Cru’s researchshows that our thoughts and beliefs influence our bodies far more than most peoplesuspect.


QUESTION 6A:Describe how Crum’s research about hotel housekeepers and milkshakessupports what Kelly and other health psychologists now take as a given: ourbeliefs matterand the “mind/body connection”often affects us in ways we do not see.


QUESTION 6B: Describe how Kelly’s 3-minute talk supports her claim that “beliefs matter” (I’m going to ask you what you feel and think about Kelly’s research in a later question J)


After reading about the impact that changing mindsets can have (in pages 21 –  27 in the sections “The Art of Changing Mindsets” and “Why Mindset Interventions Can Be Hard To Grasp,”


QUESTION 7A: Skip a line between each part of your answer, and describe 3 things: What Walton did in his “favorite mindset intervention” (pp. 21-25); how he knewit was helpful; how he explained why it was helpful (be sure to describe his explanation, not yours).


QUESTION 7B: Skipping a line between each part of your answer, describe 2 things: Yeager’s mindset intervention  – what he did – at a low-income San Francisco high school (pp. 25 -27); how he knew it was successful.


QUESTION 7C: Skipping a line between each part of your answer, describe 2 things:Crum’s mindset intervention – what she did – at a large business firm (pp. 25 -27); how she knew it was helpful.


QUESTION 7D: Briefly describe what you felt and thought as you read about these mindset interventions.


The following statements will be used to answer question 8 (below): Here’ how Kelly would respond if asked how stress affects us.  The latest research by health psychologists show that to a large extent:


  • What’s crucial is not the amount of stress in our lives, but our stress mindsets.
  • We’re constantly making choices – or unconsciously letting the choices be made for us (by believing the messages wegot from media, social media, doctors, family, etc.).
  • Many people, perhaps most, don’t like how stress affects us.
  • There’s an alternative: “By rethinking and even embracing stress, you can change its effect on everything from your physical health and emotional well-being to your satisfaction and your future” (xix-xx)


QUESTION 8: What do you think about Kelly’s ideas and the evidence she provides to support her conclusions in the “Introduction” (we read last week) and the chapter we read this week? What do you agree with?  What do you disagree with and what doubts or questions do you have?  Why?


QUESTION 9: Write a letter about your relationship to stressto a family member, lover, friend, Kelly, orme (if you prefer, you can write about someone else’s relationship to stress who you know well):


Write about the following questions about stress and include any other related issues you want to discuss about stress:

  • How do you think about and respond to stress? Any sense of why you think and respond this way?
  • Which of the two stress mindsets described on page 14 best captures your stress mindset?
  • Would you like to change any of the ways you think about and respond to stress? Be specific about what and why.
  • Say why you do or do not agree with Kelly that “If you’re used to viewing stress as the enemy, you may find it difficult and disorienting to choose to see the good in it” (p. 32)
  • Do you believe you can change how you think about and respond to stress in ways that help you get better at stress and be happier? Why or why not?


QUESTION 10:  Describe the TWO points you found most interesting, insightful and/or helpful from the readings we did this week (not 2 points about each of the readings)– describe WHY you’d like to discuss each of these two points.

QUESTION 11:  Say if you used my suggestion of how to strengthen your assignment by carefully rereading your answers before you post your assignment; if it was helpful; or why you did not (did not have any timeto reread it  or did not think it would help, etc.)

PLEASE NOTE: I’d much rather you take a few extra minutes to reread the questions and your answers, even if this means handing your assignment in late or a bit later.

Learning Rules

(As In It Is “Awesome” or “the Best,” Not Grammar O\r Workplace rules)

Work-In-Progress by Rob Koegel


I had great expectations as I began this short essay.  I couldn’t find the captivating example I wanted, but I thought of something that’ll surely grab your attention: An almost sure-fire way of getting a better grade on a major multiple-choice exam or online assignment.


I’ll begin with a story.  Once upon a time, there was a pretty good college student – that’s me – who, in his sophomore year, had what at the time appeared to be a huge realization: There’s an easy way of raising your grade on a big exam that does not involve more studying or any cheating.


Consciously, Consistently, and Creatively Using the Information You Have


I realized this while working on a jigsaw puzzle with my sister Linda.  Anyone who’s worked on jigsaw puzzles knows that the hardest part is when you start, as you struggle to figure out where the countless pieces of the puzzle go.  Two wonderful things take place as you put more pieces in place: You slowly build up more information; and the cumulative result of having more information at your fingertips makes it much easier to discover where the remaining pieces go.


Out of the blue, as I put another puzzle piece in place, I had a flash of inspiration: The same is true when taking an important exam.


For example, as I worked on an exam, I’d inevitably come across what I am sure everyone has encountered: Some questions that I didn’t know the answer to or wasn’t completely confident of the answer I gave.


Now, for the “aha” moment I had as an undergraduate student: I somehow “got” that what was true of jigsaw puzzles was equally true of exams.  If I carefully read the other questions, I’d often find information that helped me with the question(s) I couldn’t answer.  Sometimes this information directly helped me to figure out the correct answer to a confusing question.  Other times one of the details embedded in a later question gave me helpful hints.  Or they jogged my memory, somehow enabling me to access information I had read about but forgot; or to use something that I knew but was unable to connect to a question that I was having difficulty answering.


Fast forward several decades.


Recently (as a college teacher), I had a similar realization about take home assignments.


Frequently, as you answer the questions for an assignment, a later question provides information that can help you to answer an earlier question they did not understand and/or could not answer.  Similarly, sometimes answering a later question will enable you to give a more insightful, much stronger answer than you did before.[1]


Yet, many students repeatedly hand in assignments that don’t take advantage of information that could dramatically improve the quality of their assignments.  I know first-hand that “stuff happens;” that sometimes you’re rushing to finish an assignment before a class begins or an online due date kicks in.  And when this happens, you don’t have time to think about what you wrote, let alone revise it.


But I believe this a partial explanation of why this practice occurs so often.  I think there’s another reason many students don’t use the information in the questions or their later answers:


Consciously or unconsciously, many students believe the best or perhaps the only way to complete an assignment is to answer one question at a time.  Perhaps more importantly, many students believe, or at least act as though they believe, two things are true: There is no need to think about a question once you complete it; and even less reason to try to make connections between your answers to different questions.


If asked to quickly summarize the key point I’m making, my answer would be two-fold. When taking an exam or working on a take-home assignment, you will often be provided with information that can help you do better if you actively look for and apply it.And, far more importantly, the same is true of life.

[1]Here’s one more helpful hint about exams and assignments: Before you submit it, carefully reread your answers to make sure the letter you put while answering question 5, for example, is the letter you meant to write down. I often found that I mistakenly wrote down one letter when I meant to write down another.


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