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The activity of the leader developed in the direction of sensitive recognition of the attitudes and ideas expressed by the members of the group. This involved an understanding of the needs of the members of the group, and a positive judgment to avoid participation when the interaction between the group members was high. It also seemed important that some distinction be made between highly emotionally tinged statements and those of low attitudinal tone. The recognition and verbalized understanding of the former by the leader seemed to promote a deeper exploration of the problem and more insightful gains for the group members, while acceptance and clarification of the latter type of statement seemed more natural and acceptable to the speaker and other members of the group. Health improves as the conditions of life improve, not only because stressors fall away but also because better conditions lend power to respond to our environments and shift to healthier, more positive behaviors. CHRONIC STRESS TRANSLATES INTO DISEASE By examining the biology of chronic stress, we can better understand how it can create an environment for disease. As discussed earlier, stress stimulates the release of cortisol, which helps flood your bloodstream with glucose, providing immediate fuel for large muscles. Cortisol may also cause insulin resistance, freeing up the glucose for instant use. Cortisol additionally narrows the arteries while epinephrine increases heart rate, forcing blood to pump harder and faster. All of this is great for fight-or-flight situations, sending energy coursing through your blood and priming your muscles for action. But that's not something today's bodies often need. Most modern stressors are psychological, not physical threats demanding strenuous muscle activity. All that extra glucose in the blood doesn't get burned up by the muscles it was intended for. Now that's a breakthrough! My Plan for Getting Unstuck I choose to work on this skill because: My default explanatory style is: The unsolvable problem I want to break through is: The immediate causes of this problem I see are:

The Always and Everything elements of those explanations are: Conversely, I can come up with these Not Always and Not Everything explanations: Based on the Not Always and Not Everything causes, I can apply these new solutions: Live Your Life Goals Outstanding in the experiences which have been successful in this type of classroom leadership is the concept of flexibility. If the leader is able to let himself be utilized by the group in a variety of ways as their needs change, he will be more successful in facilitating learning with a minimum of resistance. But the question as to whether he can behave flexibly, in a way which is determined by the desires of the group, is a very difficult one for most teachers. To conduct a controlled discussion or to give lectures, or to start each session with some key questions, or to permit completely free and fluid discussion may all be demanded of the instructor at one time or another by the group. When the leader can feel comfortable in doing any one of these things because it is the desire of the group, he has achieved a high level of genuine permissiveness. To know when he has reached the limit of his own internal comfort, and to feel easy in refusing to function in ways that are not comfortable for him, is another aspect of the genuineness of his attitudes, If he behaves in some way that is not natural for him, simply because he feels that he should do so, this is quickly sensed by the group and damages the group atmosphere. We may state briefly our present concept of the role of the leader in an educational situation when the aim is to center the process in the developing aims of the students. Initially the leader has much to do with setting the mood or climate of the group experience by his own basic philosophy of trust in the group, which is communicated in many subtle ways. The leader helps to elicit and clarify the purposes of the members of the class, accepting all aims. He relies upon the student desire to implement these purposes as the motivational force behind learning. Instead, the high glucose levels are a setup for an array of diseases. For example, high glucose levels cause the pancreas to go into overdrive, releasing excessive insulin. Over time, the overworked pancreas can become permanently damaged. And arterial constriction and high blood pressure can result in vessel damage and plaque buildup, making heart disease a likely outcome. So when stress is occasional, it's a biologic safeguard; Our stress system doesn't care about our long-term health because if you can't survive the present, there is no long term.

For the same reason, stress shuts down our immune system; But for people with hard lives, the crisis is never over. To understand this better, let's turn to diabetes as an example. DIABETES: A SOCIAL--NOT LIFESTYLE--DISEASE The Payoff: A sense of purpose and passion in your everyday life John Lennon once famously said, Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. That's true . You can bring your life goals and your daily actions into alignment. That's what today's skill is about. Much of our stress stems from the gap between our plans for the future and our behaviors today. For instance, I want to get in shape, but I'm eating too much and not exercising and not doing anything to change that or I want to have a great career but I'm stuck in this dead-end job. We're busy checking off things on our daily to-do list, but we're rarely stopping to think about our bigger life goals. Overlooking this big picture takes a huge toll on our sense of fulfillment. One of the biggest drags on us is being missionless. He endeavors to organize and make easily available all resources which the students may wish to use for their own learning. He regards himself as a flexible resource to be utilized by the group in the ways which seem most meaningful to them, in so far as he can be comfortable operating in these ways. In responding to expressions from the group, he accepts both the intellectual content and the emotionalized attitudes, endeavoring to give each aspect the approximate degree of emphasis which it has for the individual and the group. As the acceptant classroom climate becomes established, the leader is able to change his role and become a participant, a member of the group, expressing his views as those of one individual only. He remains alert to expressions indicative of deep feeling and when these are voiced, he endeavors to understand these from the speaker's point of view, and to communicate this type of understanding. Likewise when group interaction becomes charged with emotion, he tends to maintain a neutral and understanding role, in order to give acceptance to the varied feelings which exist.

He recognizes that the extent to which he can behave in these differing fashions is limited by the genuineness of his own attitudes. To pretend an acceptant understanding of a viewpoint when he does not feel this acceptance, will not further, and will probably hinder, the dynamic progress of the class. The Process of Learning in a Student-Centered Class The way in which students learn in such an experience is probably best indicated by giving verbatim excerpts from class experience. Diabetes is said to be an epidemic. We're told it's a lifestyle disease brought on by bad eating habits and laziness, and that the cure is willpower and self-control. This perception, however, doesn't jive with what we know from science. Type 2 diabetes can best be described as a disease of oppression. It may be individuals who suffer the symptoms, but it's their environment that largely causes the problem. Diabetes mainly singles out those who are most vulnerable: those lowest on the socioeconomic ladder and with the least power. Resist the temptation to dismiss this section if you or someone you know is socioeconomically privileged and has diabetes. The Pima tribe illustrates this point. Diabetes was virtually unknown among these Native Americans before the increasing incursion of Europeans into what is now Arizona. Around 1900 the Europeans diverted the Pimas' water supply, disrupting their way of life. The three of us see this dynamic show up often: Adam sees it in his patients, for whom having a life purpose can make the difference between healing or suffering. Andrew sees it in his clients who feel adrift and blah because they are acting in ways that are either not advancing their life mission or are actively contradicting it. And in both her personal and work domains, Jan sees countless men and women who are so determined to get ahead for either financial gain or status that they lose sight of why it matters and, more important, how their work contributes to the bigger picture. Our everyday lives are so hectic, and in truth, we kind of allow them to be. It's not easy to stop and take a breather and think about our bigger life plan, let alone act in ways that further it. But, spiritual beliefs aside, we only live once.

If we don't make the most of it, we don't get another chance. When it comes to our overall experience of life, one of the best things we can do for the sake of our well-being and our contentment is to infuse our life--and our actions--with a sense of purpose and meaning. THE POWER OF PURPOSE: In our online program, we ask beginning participants to rate how much they believe that each of us has a meaning and purpose or can find that meaning and purpose. Those who rate lowest on this are half as able to deal with stress as those who rate highest. These excerpts will also serve to illustrate some of the points which have been made regarding the leader's role. The first selections are taken from a course in adjustment counseling, the type of course in which we have had the most experience in implementing some of these educational principles. The quoted portions are from a session including nineteen members, a session taken from the middle portion of the course. Each verbal contribution is numbered for easy reference to the notes given here at the bottom of the article. The recording is stenographic. Mr B starts the hour with a question. Mr B (addressing the instructor directly): How do you feel about the division of responsibility between counselor and client in client-centered counseling? Instructor: There seem to be some differences of opinion, but in my own thinking I tend to separate responsibility into two different areas. First, the area revolving about the client's problem, and in that area I see the responsibility resting pretty squarely upon him. The second area is that of the relationship which builds up in counseling. Unable to water their crops, the Pimas shifted from the physical labor of farming to lives of little labor. Famine, rare in their past, grew chronic. The timing of this significant change in lifestyle coincides with the introduction of diabetes among the Pimas. At the turn of the nineteenth century, there was only one recorded case of diabetes. In 1937, twenty-one cases of diabetes were documented, making the prevalence of diabetes among the Pimas similar to that of the general US population. By the 1950s, however, the prevalence among the Pima had increased tenfold, and has now ballooned to the highest reported prevalence of diabetes of any population in the world.