7 Traits of Intelligent People

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking that it is stupid”-Albert Einstein. 

Undoubtedly, there is no standard definition of intelligence as every individual possesses qualities that make them unique.

However, throughout the past decades, personality psychologists have identified few characteristics that set certain individuals apart and help them overcome challenges easier:

  1. They Adapt To Any Circumstance

Steven Hawkins once stated that “intelligence is the ability to adapt to changes”. And indeed it is! Being flexible and open-minded when changes occur can be essential not only to your self-development but also to your journey. No matter how uncomfortable or scary a new situation may appear, it may actually be the chance you need to evolve.

2. Night Owls

Personality psychologists recognized that intelligent individuals have a tendency of being more productive/active at night. This may be due to their attention span which seems to be alert for long hours, but also due to other aspects such as personality type that may highly influence work behaviour.

3. They Know They Do Not Know

“The more you know, the more you know you do not know”-Aristotle 

It is impossible to store so much knowledge about what surrounds us and intelligent people know that. Although they acknowledge their qualities and can confidently discuss any subject, they are fully aware of their weaknesses and realise that they need to learn more or improve their existent skills. Thus, they are always hungry for more information and more details. This is why you will never hear an intelligent person bragging about themselves.

4. Diplomacy over Impulsivity 

Bad situations are inevitable, but the difference between intelligent and ordinary individuals is given by their response to stressful stimuli. They have a great control over their reactions and never allow emotions to interfere with actions. Instead, they opt for strategic/critical thinking, aiming to resolve a situation in the most peaceful and polite way.

5. Independent Individuals

As mentioned earlier, intelligent people are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and this is a strength that actually builds their confidence. In other words, they know what they have and what they need. They do not necessarily depend on others for support in moments of crisis.

6. Procrastinators

Procrastination is a sign of intelligence when the individual attempts to resolve other issues or completes other smaller tasks with the purpose of preventing them to interfere with important targets. And since intelligent individuals do not impulsively react to new challenges, they would much rather wait for a while and develop new unconventional solutions as opposed to following traditional ways.

7. Empaths 

Due to their curiosity for life and their flexibility in handling situations, intelligent individuals can understand the sorrow, pain, happiness or joy of other people. Although they may have never experienced a similar situation, they are able to relate to someone’s emotions and be a great support.

Do you recognize yourself in any of the 7 personality traits?


In the Mind of a Procrastinator

Inspired by the TED speech of Tim Urban, the purpose of this article is to discuss a few of the characteristics and thoughts that make procrastinators procrastinate.

Although we may think that they are only a small group of individuals who may lack the motivation to complete their tasks. In fact, each one of us has been or is a procrastinator. It is a familiar and a common avoidance of completing or achieving our goals. So….

How Does A Procrastinator Behave?

A procrastinator will postpone their main activities or tasks while doing odd jobs around. And I guess each student may relate to this statement. Despite the amount of writing/studying they have, most of them are more likely to engage in activities that are completely unrelated or irrelevant to their current situation. In the worst cases, procrastinators will do nothing at all. They will simply watch how the time goes by against them and enter into a “hypnotic” state where they do not take action, which is commonly known as the passive procrastination.

Interestingly though, a procrastinator is always aware of their avoidance and often attempt to control and impose deadlines in order to motivate themselves.


There could be various reasons why people have their priorities mixed up, but some of them are quite common:

  1. Costs and Benefits of the Activity

A task requires dedication and effort. Depending on the complexity of the activity, one can feel stressed or overwhelmed by the responsibility that comes with it. Sometimes the simple thought of the process can cause anxiety, worry and as a result, the individual will seek activities that will help them reduce the tension.

On the other hand, a procrastinator will postpone the major task in order to finish all the other duties that may interfere with the former one. This is commonly known as an active procrastination and it may be beneficial as it allows more space and dedication for the target.

2. Fear of Success 

Not everyone joyfully reacts to the success that comes with the accomplishment of a goal. As odd as it may sound, some people experience anxiety when they think of the enthusiasm they will experience. What also contributes to the anxious state is also the idea of not knowing what happens after the completion of the goal.

3. Fear of Failure

Looking at the other side of the coin, people may lack self-confidence and doubt their ability to successfully finish a given task. Consequently, they postpone the activity in the hope that a better and easier solution will be found. Sometimes, they may seek enjoyment in other activities due to the fear of responsibility, or just refusing to deal with the challenge.

Therefore, is Procrastination Harmful?

To a certain degree, yes, it is! The thought of having to finish a task while postponing it can double the stress, cause confusion and disorientation. Regardless of the presence of other distractions, the thought of an unfinished task is constantly “hunting” the mind as well as create a sense of agony or emptiness. Moreover, when avoiding dealing with a situation, the result of it may be disastrous due to the increased pressure caused by the approach of the deadline, which will affect the decision-making skills: the more pressure is felt, the higher the likelihood of making mistakes.

Needless to say, a negative outcome will only affect one’s self-esteem, trust in own skills, and satisfaction which may lead the individual to repeat the same procedure in the future.

Now looking at the bright side of procrastination, new research data indicates that such approach triggers creativity. Although a procrastinator may be busy with other activities, s/he will subconsciously develop creative ideas and solutions that could effectively resolve the main task. This may be explained by the Zeigarnik effect, whereby our memory can remember more details about an incomplete task than those that had been completed, and subsequently become more motivated to meet the target.

Furthermore, a certain type of individuals perform much better under pressure or close to deadlines. Researchers explain that as the pressure increase so does the arousal and attention, but only up to a certain point.

Anti-Procrastination Strategies

  1. Identify Why You Procrastinate

Procrastination is often compared to laziness, but the two states are different. The former one involves an active process where an individual choose one activity over another, whereas laziness is represented by a lack of action, apathy, and disinterest.

Nevertheless, it is essential to understand the reason why you postpone deadlines or targets. Although there are many genuine reasons that could force you to briefly delay an important task, sometimes procrastination may be influenced by underlying psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, stress or fear of responsibility.

2. Fight The Feeling

Once you identified the cause of your procrastination, adopt a strategy that could help you fight against it and boost your performance. It is normal not to have the energy or the motivation to start a new task, but do not allow this to happen for longer than two days.

3. One Step At A Time

Generally, deadlines are an estimation of a task’s length and the time it may require to be successfully completed. Instead of perceiving it as a pressure, divide your time into smaller chunks and complete the small bits of the task every day. It will not only make you feel more confident, but it will also switch your brain on, forcing it to engage in the search for solutions. Besides, every effort you put into the task will speed up its completion.

4. Reduce Distractions

Life is unpredictable, but try to prioritize your goals and tasks. If there are situations that can be handled later on and do not require an urgent implication, then do not lose your focus. Practice self-discipline and ensure that you channel your attention in the right direction.

5. Reward Yourself

Every work can leave us mentally/emotionally/physically exhausted and the reward may not always be as high as the effort we have given. This is why you should reward yourself with a mini holiday or any treat that will help you relax once that you have accomplished your goals. In the end, you deserve it!

How do you avoid procrastination?

Is Depression The Enemy of The Modern Society?

According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 350 million people around the world affected by depression and it is suggested that we will all experience at least one episode of depression throughout life. Making a rough comparison between depression and other mental disorders, it could be assumed that depression is the most common disorder affecting people of all ages.

When Did it All Start?

Depression is considered the disorder or “the plague” of the 21st century, which may imply that depression has occurred concomitantly with the development of modernity and society.

However, mental disorders such as anxiety and depression affected previous generations as well. Since little was known about the correlation between emotions, brain, and behavior, these disorders were profoundly ignored, misunderstood and mistreated.

Therefore, it could be said that the acknowledgment of depression has only begun in the 21st century, but not it is development.


How Does it Manifest?

The effects of depression usually affect and alter the quality of emotions, and thoughts, which are ultimately reflected in deviant behaviors:

  • Sadness, restlessness, mood swings, sense of hopelessness, fatigue
  • Insomnia, lack of concentration on normal/easy tasks, social isolation, loss of energy and sex drive, agitation

Certainly, the above symptoms are only a few and perhaps the most prominent ones. In some cases, the symptoms cannot be notable and as such, it slowly affects an individual’s state of mind and quality of life.

What Causes Depression?

There are multiple answers to this question. Some research data indicate that neurochemical imbalances may have a determinant role in depression, while other opinions suggest that genetic vulnerability has an influence of 40% on depression’s development. Yet, the complexity of the mental disorder cannot be discussed or understood by only looking at these two factors.

Some psychotherapists strongly believe that depression is highly determined by environmental factors. Although neurological scientists demonstrated that individuals whose parents or siblings suffered from depression are more likely to become depressed patients themselves, it is assumed that depression, under such circumstances, is learned. This does not mean that other factors may not cause depression, but behavioral psychologists believe that every dysfunctional behavior is learned when there is a combination of external stressors and lack of personal skills.

For example, when positive reinforcements of healthy behavior stop being present in an individual’s life (i.e. loss of a job or a loved one, etc.) depression may appear. If the individual lacks personal or social skills that could allow a better and quicker adjustment to alternative reinforcements, then maladapive behavior increases (i.e. social isolation, unhappiness, low self-esteem, etc.)

However, the behaviorism concept does not fully explain the multiple causes of depression as physical/emotional/sexual abuse, chronic stress, rejection or traumatizing life events can significantly affect an individual’s emotional and mental state.

Is Modernity to Blame?

If we were to understand depression from a social perspective, yes.

The past century can be described as a transitional phase for humanity, passing from sovereignty to nationalism, or from strict rules to more liberal views. Of course, such transformation has brought numerous advantages: freedom, equality, open society and a great emphasis on individual development. Taking solely these aspects into consideration, we could assume that the past generations may have suffered from depression due to the multiple restrictions and poverty. But we no longer face those challenges (at least not at a high level), yet the number of depressed patients continues to increase.

In a society ruled by trends and less by the real motives of individual’s development, people strive to reach a standard, which may not be imposed but somehow induced as being the definition of success.

Luxury, expensive goods, exotic trips, perfect relationships in perfect careers or in other words, a life with no stress seems to be the main standard of our modern society. Although people may not consciously wish to achieve it, they have a tendency of questioning themselves, their abilities to deal with life and their worth: “Am I doing it right?”, “If they can do it and it works, why can’t I do it?”. These are only a very very small part of the self-doubting questions that almost every individual thinks of.

What Can Be Done?

It is highly essential to remind people of pursuing goals that are determined by personal views, and not by society’s trends as they come and go, which means that there is an inconsistency. Fluctuation of emotions and goals can cause confusion and a sense of detachment from the self. When there is no consistency or guidance, depression and disorientation slowly, but surely appear. Therefore, defining self-identity in a society of trends is important in order to avoid depression.

*Regardless of the reasons why you may feel depressed, remember that there are solutions and professionals ready to listen to you and offer the best support so you can overcome any obstacle. 

6 Personal Lessons to Learn from Sports

The importance and benefits of physical activities have been intensely illustrated and emphasised by various celebrities or nutritionists in the past few years. Such social trend has positively influenced many people’s choices, leading to a better knowledge and awareness of a healthy lifestyle.

However, there are more benefits of sports or any physical activity than at a dietary level, such as…

1)  Perseverance

Sports teach us more than few tricks on how to build up the famous 6 pack abs or firm leg muscles. When we decide to lose few pounds or get our body ready for summer, we decide to commit ourselves on a long journey that requires a strong amount of dedication and perseverance. Believe it or not, we unconsciously apply the same attitude in our lives. It will become part of you.

2) Improvement of Skills

What you sow is what you reap. The harder you train in sports, the better you become and consequently, the better the results. Positive outcomes often leads us to push our limits more in order to achieve our goal. Similarly, in life we seek to become better when we realise the power we hold within ourselves.

3) Discipline 

Athletes have a rigorous lifestyle and everything in their life has its space and limit starting from sleep to meals and training hours. Although it may sound tough, it is this rigorousness and discipline that sharpens their skills. Furthermore, they are in control of their emotions: they do not let negativity, tiredness, silly arguments or issues to deviate their attention from the main goal. Same as athletes, whether you train for personal gain or not, you will come to realize that the discipline you use in reaching the perfect look will be the same discipline that you need in your life.

4) Responsibility 

When athletes want to win a competition, they know that they are the only ones responsible for their success or failure. The trainers will guide and provide the necessary support, but nothing will ensure the success as much as the determination of the athlete.

If you want to improve your lifestyle, physical appearance or any aspect of your life, nobody else will transform it for you unless you are willing to do so.

5) Embrace Challenges 

Reaching a higher performance can be really difficult and most of the time challenging as mistakes or issues occur. Success is not always guaranteed, but with experience and patience athletes understand that challenges are only meant to strengthen them and their skills.

6) Trust Yourself 

When failure happens, we all tend to blame ourselves and maybe doubt our goal, our ability to reach it….Nevertheless, failure is inevitable and it often is an opportunity for you to reflect on yourself not with a critic eye, but rather in an analytical way that could allow you to evaluate errors and strengths. More importantly, without errors we cannot grow. So continue building and trusting your skills

While the above points are only few of the many, each journey is different and you surely are capable of more than you realise.

5 Ways to Create Peace In Your Life

While most people would agree that our generation leads a chaotic lifestyle, I would argue that to some extent all the past generations struggled with different social, personal or political factors that affected their peace and lifestyle. However, as modern individuals we have more opportunities to balance and be in control of our lifestyle, but we consciously allow external situations to determine the level of peace we receive or build in our lives.

In a previous article I discussed few of the main emotional steps to follow in order to create an inner equilibrium by leading a healthy spiritual life. With a similar purpose, this article will illustrate few ideas on how to physically create peace in our life.

1. Keep your house clean

Inspired by the speech of the navy SEAL William H. McCraven, the first step in creating your peace is to make sure that the house is clean. Regardless of the hygiene and the great aspect, a clean house has a tremendous effect on your thinking and emotional state. Clutter often creates the sensation of discomfort, disorder, rebellion or abandonment. Believe it or not, a constant view of a cluttered room can unconsciously cause you stress, sense of unease and underachievement. It is probably one of the physical reasons why people feel unhappy with their lives.

On the other hand, a clean house gives you the sensation of comfort, harmony and peace. It will certainly change your state of mind and relax you after a long day.

Similar to your house, make sure your office or working area stays clean and free of useless objects. It will only limit your work and attention.

2. Renovate

Redesigning can be pricey and in the current economic climate, it can be a headache. Nevertheless, as you may already know, there are loads of DIY suggestions around on the Internet that can match every budget and style.

Living in a house that has always had the same kitchen colour, same carpet, same sofa etc., can create the sensation of boredom and monotony as if every day is the same day. Add a plant on the coffee table, change the sofa pillows, your bed’s position or paint your old drawer; it will instantly give your house the aspect of newness and freshness. Not to mention that it will have a great impact on how you will feel when you get back home or work on a project.

3. Give up on electronics (for a while)

Speaking of renovation, ideally would be to have a room (i.e. bedroom ) where there is no TV, computers, smartphones or any electronic device. While we are all guilty of bingeing on social media, Netflix and anything that connects us to digital information, it is highly necessary to spend time without them. Besides the electrical waves that can be harmful, you risk to get emotionally lost and affected by the events you read, by the limited space you have for yourself and thoughts. More importantly, do not start or end your day with social media. Take your time to define your goals for the day as well as clearing your mind of all the accumulated stress.

4. Gardening 

We crave affection and love giving it back. If you are lucky enough to have a piece of garden, do not ignore it or stuff it with objects you no longer use. Plant and nurture. Besides the beautiful and peaceful aspect that it displays, a well looked after garden can be your little oasis where you recollect yourself and your thoughts.

5. Exercise

Sports, fitness, swimming, walking and other physical activities are the best methods to release tension. Along with the amazing benefits for your physical aspect and health, exercises can do more than that: prevent dementia, depression, anxiety, insomnia and improve memory/cognitive functioning.

People expect to receive peace from society, family and friends, when the power of creating peace exists in the little, close things we own and do.

Image: Pinterest 

How to Lead a Healthy Spiritual Life

Our society is confronted with a massive increase of materialism and capitalism, leaving us little space to breathe and keep in touch with our soul’s needs. Although the past ten years seemed to have been marked by the importance of eating healthy and exercising, it is needless to say that what requires more attention is our spiritual equilibrium.

As we constantly strive to evolve in careers or to upgrade our lifestyles, we often forget to invest in healing our mind and soul of the stress, pain, anger and all the negative energies accumulated over time. This may explain why sometimes people feel unhappy with their lives or with themselves.

As such, here are 5 ideas to practice on a daily basis for a healthier and balanced spiritual life:

1. Count Your Blessings

In the race to accumulate experience, memories or wealth, individuals have a tendency to forget how far they have walked or how much they have accomplished. Such attitude leads to greed, sense of unease, underachievement and unhappiness with oneself. In order to avoid disappointment, take a moment in the morning or before going to sleep and count the good things you did or received throughout the day. Step in the new year grateful for what you accomplished no matter how difficult or easy it was.

Moreover, be grateful for the challenges you face. They may upset you or make you feel as if they work against you, but in fact negative experiences are great opportunities for you to grow and accomplish more out of your comfort zone.

2. Surround Yourself with Positivity 

In order to keep a balanced spiritual life, positivity is an essential element. Whether your career is stressful or you have relationships that cause you discomfort, anger or any other feeling that leaves you emotionally exhausted, it is recommendable to set few boundaries. In other words, distance yourself from the people or the object of your distress and instead surround yourself with people who inspire and motivate you. Additionally, take your time to do activities that relax you, such as yoga, fitness exercises, painting or if you hold religious beliefs, then prayers and meditation would be of a great help in removing the energies you accumulated.

3. Forgive

Did anyone do you wrong? Did you make mistakes in the past and cannot overcome the feeling of guilt? Then you need to practice forgiveness. Holding grudges or continuously thinking about the past will not make set you free. It will actually make you feel as if your soul is chained in pain, bitterness and frustration. Accepting the idea that mistakes are natural elements of our growth will set you free and allow you to blossom. However, it is important to understand that forgiveness does not mean to remain or return to the relationship that caused you pain nor doe it mean to repeat the same mistake. Forgiveness is an act of peace between you and the past.

4. Serve

By nature, more or less, we are competitors: we want to gain, achieve and accumulate. But as we impatiently want to become better and get more, we become selfish and deaf to the needs of those who are less blessed than us. While it is necessary to invest in ourselves, we must not forget to serve and share. Not to the point of where we completely ignore our own needs or desires, but to the extent to which we bring serenity, courage and light to disadvantaged people. Whether it is about moral or practical support, giving will enable you to grow and receive in return. It is the law of life, so make sure that your weeks do not pass by without sharing even a sincere advice.

5. Be Connected to Yourself

Life can become hectic when you try to share your time between family, career, friends and issues. Such lifestyle can affect almost anything from eating habits to behavior or thinking.

Just as your body warns you that it is thirsty or tired, so does your soul warn you of its needs. Learn to understand when it needs to heal, when it needs attention, when and what it needs. Feeling fed up and emotionally tired? Take some time to spend alone. It means that your soul is desperate for some peace to clear away the clouds and emotions. Feeling stressed out and limited by the room or the city you live in? Travel. Your soul needs freedom, needs to get in touch with the nature. Do not force yourself to do things or stay in places if your soul feels uncomfortable.

Overall, do not allow negativity come or stay in your life, whether it is caused by external or internal factors.

Image: Wallpaper-Web.net



Is The Modern Individual Spiritually Dead?

The meaning of physical death is soul’s separation from the body and the world. However, as humans we do not experience only physical death, but also a spiritual one, which happens while we are alive.

The concept of spiritual death is linked to the Bible, where the Scriptures mention about humans’ disconnection from holiness. As a matter of fact, the most prominent story about spiritual death is of Adam’s and Eve’s, when God told Adam that he will die the day he eats the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:8). By death, God meant that Adam will no longer have holy light and truth in his spirit, but rather he will live a life led by carnal senses.

Furthermore, the spiritual life is not only defined by the connection between the soul and God, but also by moral values, purity and harmony with the people around us, with the nature and with ourselves.

Following this Biblical description, we wonder if the modern individual is slowly experiencing a spiritual death and if so, when did it all begin?

The past 300 years have been marked by drastic and innovative medical and technological changes, which highly improved the lifestyle of the global population. Such improvement has been achieved through numerous reforms, hard work and dedication of people from different social classes. Nevertheless, this era of change did not only bring positive changes in science, but also many other characteristics that would have influenced the thinking and behaviour of the future generations: nonconformism, individualism, “decadent” art versus bourgeois art, rational versus feelings. 

While this change has been embraced by each generation, it was also seen as a  “social decadence” by intellectuals and artists. In fact, Italian and French writers like Giovanni Pascoli, D’Annunzio or Charles Baudelaire considered that the modern era will cause a crisis of traditional and moral values, while Edward Alsworth Ross described the infusion of modernism as “..the crumbling of a wall that was once strong”.  

More interestingly, Edward Alsworth Ross’s view on modernism’s effects in 1918 seems to match the current social issues: “There are more contradictions among people than formerly and fewer agreements, more discords and fewer harmonies, more clashing and fewer co-operations. Not only has the I-feeling gained on the We-feeling, but the bonds uniting successive generations may fail, so that there is less veneration for forefathers and less care for posterity”. 

Thus, it could be assumed that the society as an unit has been in a slow continuous spiritual death for the past 300 years as we notice the same level of disagreements in friendships/relationships or political/religious views today, as well as a misinterpretation of the individualism concept.

The purpose of the individualism was to emphasise and emancipate the inner power that each person poses in order to fulfil their destiny rather than live a life determined by kings and queens. This meant and continues meaning, that individuals should aim to develop according to their needs, wishes in order to remain authentic and as such, to benefit themselves as well as the society.

Unfortunately, the modern individualism translates into selfishness or rebellion, which can be noticed in almost every society’s aspects. Individuals of various ages seem to be more concerned about the image they project through objects they poses or unconventional behaviours, with the goal of gaining social approval or appreciation as a form of narcissism. In fact, psychiatrists report a major increase of patients suffering from major depressive disorders with a narcissistic tendency, who allegedly present an exaggerated opinion of the self, a sense of entitlement, interpersonal exploitation, lack of empathy, strong feelings of envy, and an extra-punitive tendency. Worryingly, we also notice an alarming raise of uncivic behaviours, disrespects of the laws as a misunderstood form of nonconformism to society’s expectations or norms.

It is thus possible to say that the modern individual rarely concentrates on what his/her spirit needs; what values or behaviour should adopt in order to support a better self-development. Instead, individuals are willing to change their behaviour, beliefs and values in order to comply to the trends or they are willing to behave uncivic with the aim to force their values on the society. Sadly, both actions come at a great personal expense as none of them benefit the self-development of the individual.

How To Be Spiritually Alive? 

Being spiritual alive means being connected to your soul’s needs, which may also be described as internal individualism. Rather than approaching life through a logical-perspective, it is advisable to follow your instincts. They will warn you when a situation or an action is right or wrong, if it will benefit you or the others.

In order to be in touch with your self, it is essential that you are disciplined. Discipline is not a restriction of your freedom, but rather a process through which you learn to select people, actions, thoughts that again, will benefit you and people around you. Discipline will not only promote a better connection between you and the self, but it also helps you shape skills that will improve your mental and emotional health.

By being in harmony with your spiritual needs, you become an example and a positive influence to the society as your development will contribute to a better function of it.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit” -Philippians 2:3










Midlife Crisis : Between Reality and Myths

Midlife crisis is undoubtedly the most popular concept related to middle adulthood, yet the most misunderstood and poorly examined stage. Similarly to adolescence, the midlife period is also known as a transitory period which brings many biological and psychological changes in an individual’s life. Although both genders may experience different biological challenges, there are certain psychological aspects in which each gender may present similar concerns and changes (i.e. depression, low self-esteem and self-image, low life satisfaction level, etc.)

Whilst it is widely recognised that the biological changes in midlife are unavoidable and can influence the psychological reactions, current studies suggest that there are various misconceptions related to the subject.

Historically speaking, midlife crisis was considered to occur earlier than the age of forty, mostly due to the short lifespan while in the last decades, middle age was considered to begin around the age of forty and end at the age of sixty. On the other hand, recent studies indicate that due to the increased life expectancy, the midlife crisis might begin around the age of sixty, opposed to the past beliefs.

Given the high degree of variability within age periods and the lack of a consistent description, it is difficult to determine when midlife and its challenges actually begin.

However, there is consistent and empirical evidence which indicate significant biological and psychological changes that occur between the ages of forty to sixty. From a biological standpoint, both genders could present poorer neuropsychological performance, gain/loss weight, higher predispositions to cardiovascular diseases, hormonal deficiencies and a decreased function of the reproductive system.

Consequently, the biological changes seem to have profound psychological effects on behaviour such as a higher stress-level, low self-esteem, depression or low life satisfaction.

On the other hand, researchers strongly debate whether the psychological effects are indeed a result of the biological changes or if they are effects of inner turmoil and poor emotional management. Many researchers associate the psychological crisis with the nest syndrome, financial pressures, poor self-confidence (due to the physical aging signs) or leadership in the family. More interestingly, it is suggested that the midlife crisis would rather be influenced by the type of personality rather than by the biological or external factors. As a matter of fact, neurotic individuals who have had upheavals throughout their lives will be more stressed as a response to life events in the middle age.

Overall, there are numerous unclarified conceptions about the middle age challenges due the normative notion created throughout the years. Many researchers consider that the middle adulthood is generally overlooked allowing the society to hold accountable the biological transit for ruthless behaviours or negative symptoms. Such misconceptions can often lead to late identification and misdiagnosis for serious health conditions such as mental or physical diseases.

Image:Gladeana McMahon 

Self-Identity in A Society of Trends

Fashion, music, lifestyle, thoughts and beliefs have always been influenced by trends. Looking back at past generations we can categorise each period based on the music or clothing style that marked the era: if we think of the 1940’s, we can remember the New Look or the post-war era, where the hourglass figure was trendy and highlighted by wide padded shoulders or A-line skirts; the 1970’s were the years when rock and roll’s popularity was reaching its peak, but if you mention about the 1980’s, it is more likely that Depeche Mode will come to anyone’s mind.

But what elements determine a trend? Moreover, what determines individuals to follow one?

Having a quick look at the sociological definition, a trend is a social phenomenon where the different aspects of an individual’s life occasionally change, such as behaviour in public, social-political or religious beliefs, eating habits or dressing style. Usually, the idea of a trend appears as a profound desire of change and it is created by trendsetters, groups of individuals, who wish to spread their knowledge, style with the possible intent to positively influence the society. And it works! Every trend throughout the generations began as an idea and it has been rapidly adopted by a large number of individuals who believed in it. From a standpoint, the innovative ideas have certainly helped the society evolve and improve many aspects of our lives (i.e. thinking, relationships, education, etc). However, a dilemma is posed by the questions of whether we follow a trend because we sincerely believe in it or is it a result of our desire to conform to the social norms?

If we were to answer the question based on sociological research, figures suggest that we are more likely to follow trends due to our tendency to become a part of the crowd. People are willing to adjust their decisions, desires and actions in order to be socially accepted or validated. So, should we be loved for who we are or for who the society expects us to be?

The last two decades have been a period which has put a great emphasis on self-identity, where motivational speakers, celebrities and psychologists tried (and continue trying) to support individuals in discovering their true self. Unfortunately, the reality does not illustrate that. In the recent years, we have noticed a massive number of women and girls undergoing surgery in the hope of resembling their idols; individuals who radically change or adopt new religious or political beliefs with the desire to impose them on others. Therefore, it could be said that social phenomenon create a mechanism of suppression of the self-identity and not an actualisation of it.

The consequences of the repression of self-identity in the modern social life may be as damaging as any violence committed against an individual. Having a brief look at the clinical reports, there is an alarmingly increased number of depressive patients, in particular youngsters and women. In the pursuit of adopting someone else’s styles, looks, and beliefs, individuals are prone to experience a sense of personal meaningless (or absence of authenticity); in other words, a separation from their self and their actual goals or morals. As such, they measure their self-worth and accomplishments based on the standards set by the society or influenced by their idols, unconsciously ignoring or dismissing their purpose, strengths, and desires.

While history has taught us the repercussions of imposing social ideas or beliefs on the populations, the modern society continues sublimely exerting an influence on individuals’ overall understanding of what is acceptable and what is not; what is “fashionable” or what is old school.

Ideally would be to constantly remind people of all ages and genders that the only standard they should meet is theirs. The goals they set for themselves should be in accordance with their calling, their personality, and personal beliefs.

Ideally would be to raise awareness among youngsters that their looks should not match their idols’ style or physical appearances as each one of us is unique, special and beautiful.

Ideally would be to remind women that surgery or usage of hundreds of makeup products are not always the ONLY options to put in light their qualities.

Being yourself, with a personal voice and personal style will certainly attract admiration and a wonderful sense of fulfilment and self-worth.

Unless we base our sense of identity upon the truth of who we are, it is impossible to attain true happiness” – Brenda Shoshanna