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Japanese Shame of Sleeping: How Asian Cultural Shame leads to Workaholism and Sleep-Deprivation.

Asian Shame, Counseling & Coaching, Uncategorized0 comments

In many Asian cultures, work is equated with one’s worth.  Work is perceived with reverence and cultural honor even if it supersedes your mental or physical health.  For the Japanese, extolling work is evident as the country ranks as the most sleep-deprived nation of the world getting just more than 6 hours of rest a night.

The average person in Japan sleeps just 6 hours and 15 minutes at night, an hour less than in the U.S. and Switzerland, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.  This puts Japan at the bottom of its list of developed countries.

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Perfectionism: The other side of Shame

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In my work as a psychotherapist, speaker, and workshop facilitator specializing in Asian cultural shame, people sometimes forget that shame doesn’t just show up in “negative” contexts as it can also rear its ugly head in “positive” ones, such as perfectionism.

Perfectionism can have dire mental health consequences that impact an individual and lead to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, and a host of other addictions. A recent study of over 40,000 American, Canadian and British college students published in the journal Psychological Bulletin(Dec. 2018) looked at three different dimensions of perfectionism and found a 10% to 33% rise over three decades. The researchers point to several contributing factors, including “more unrealistic expectations and more anxious and controlling parents than generations before.”

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I am from Hong Kong, Not China

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Frances Hui, an Emerson College student is getting negative and at times threatening backlash from mainland Chinese students and others she’s encountered both in-person and online after penning an article for the college’s student newspaper titled, “I am from Hong Kong, not China.” 

The article was prompted after a mainland Chinese on board a bus in Boston asked, “Where are you from?”.

When she eventually replied “Hong Kong,” the man started to get aggressive, Hui recounted. He insisted that she should define herself as “from China” — which was handed control of the former British colony in 1997.

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Finding Your Destiny: Listening to your Mind, Body, and Soul

Counseling & Coaching, Motivational, Uncategorized0 comments

Artem Kniaz of UnSplash

In the world of counseling, I have the wonderful privilege to walk with people grappling with issues of life.  One of the gratifying aspects of the profession is when the issue turns to one of calling.  Even if you’re not actively contemplating this issue of authenticity, if you remain still long enough, your body, mind, and heart will tell you if you’re on the path towards integrity or one wracked with insincerity to self.

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Japanese & Alcohol: Drinking as Therapy

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ID 20120687 © Patricia Hofmeester | Dreamstime
ID 20120687 © Patricia Hofmeester | Dreamstime

In Japan, there is no societal acknowledgement of alcoholism.  For much of Japanese society, addiction to alcohol doesn’t exist.  In fact, binge drinking to the point of blacking out has been normalized.  You can buy shots of alcohol from vending machines.  Just as there are stand-up noodle shops (i.e. There are no seats for sitting, there are similar stand-up bars to service many white-collar workers who have limited outlets to cope with the stressors of life.

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