Tips for Emotional Well-Being

Self-imposed resolutions during each new year can have exactly the opposite effect, making people overwhelmed by mid-February. Instead, focusing on a few practical tips can help to tackle the root of other boring and unhelpful resolutions, which we all – without profound thinking – devise for ourselves. Here, in Embodiments Research Group at the University of Liverpool, we offer a few suggestions, which you may have heard before. We find that these tips are quite helpful, and by sharing them with our readers, we wish you all a more fulfilling year ahead. These tips are particularly written for the academic population, though we hope that non-academics benefit likewise.

1- Avoid Passive-Aggressive Individuals – By ALL MEANS.

By requiring emotional dependence and portraying manipulative trait (be it in a subtle manner, a silent treatment, or pull-and-push dynamics) the passive-aggressive behaviour is unpleasant to deal with. It often tends to showcase extreme strength, which can be deceptive as it can pull others to itself or push them away by unresponsive dominance. It can put others in emotional debt, demanding – ingeniously but not directly – a sense of obligation. Talking traits, one of our lead researchers, Dr Farahani, discusses how “abusive individuals can cleverly make others feel inferior and emotionally indebted whereas, in reality, no one owes any emotional back-up to anyone, unless it is respectfully reciprocated.” Whether he/she is your classmate, colleague at work, an old or new acquaintance, or even a friend, you can try to pull yourself out of the web of his/her abusive treatment. Farahani argues that “avoiding such individuals is your own responsibility as soon as you see the first signs, because if you give it more time, you will be thinking that you are mistaken and the abusive individual is OK. This will, in turn, bring you back to the same hurt feelings that you initially take on board.” Besides, complicated cases can be seen with narcissist traits, and also with those who are irrevocably driven by bias in their interactions with others on any unhealthy agenda, whether it is about gender bias, race, ethnicity, colour, competitions, etc. Whoever presents subtle or direct prejudiced behaviour (of any type) may suffer complex disorganised thinking  which is itself a complex problem, often rooted in previous experience, family upbringing, lack of emotional education, not to mention other influences in human growth. For a detailed (yet quick & concise) view of varieties of passive-aggressive behaviour see this link:

Discussing the prevalence of psychological overlaps, Farahani suggests a reading of Wendy Behary’s Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed


2- Avoid Speedy Task-Related Responses, and Make Daily Free Time as A Must-Have.

Introducing us to the art of breathing and meditative calm, Dr Schermbrucker suggests devising your own academic speed of growth. In higher education, stressing staff and students for certain deadlines, the idea of numerous speedy publications, and the competition for becoming a more “productive” researcher, all  can manifest in passive-aggressive directions. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, individuals need to figure out the speed and serenity by which their peace, physical, and emotional health is taken care of.  One thing that academics often forget is that sacrificing one’s mental well-being for the sake of academic competition and stress can have extremely unpleasant results in the long run. Eating disorders, chronic illnesses, and depression are but some of the prevalent results of unreasonable academic pressure. Schermbrucker argues that with so many publications, academics often end up repeating each other in copious volumes. This is far from productivity and creativity if you think beyond what is the so-called academic “norm”. And, it is particularly important in the case of students as they need to learn how to cope with everyday pressure of studies. A recent article is worth paying attention to:

Make sure to have free time to do what encourages true dynamic thinking. Whether it is that particular sport that you like, or crafts, music or movies, prayer, meditation, etc., or just a stroll in the park, make sure to allocate quality time to yourself and to your beloveds on a daily basis. Sit back, relax, and re-think. Learn to say no to what is beyond your capacity and capabilities; and often to what you think you may have to sacrifice family-time to attend to; be courteous, timely, and kind while rejecting others’ suggestions or invitations. Academics often lose themselves by conforming to the so-called norm of speedy publications. Take your time. Do not allow others’ idea of desired speed dictate or come in the way of your own speed. Make time to de-stress and live well. If you feel too much pressure in your job, here is a good read: Self-Help for Your Nerves: Learn to relax and enjoy life again by overcoming stress and fear by Claire Weekes


 3- Reflect on Your Good Works, and Boost Your Joy by Helping Ohers.

Academics live a pretty competitive life. With no sugar-coating or drama, we all know and often admit that it is not an entirely healthy lifestyle; in fact, often far from it; think about the long hours of typing at the desk, and the over-thinking process of phrasing and styling after each essay or chapter is already edited some 50 times or so! In order to remain sane and sensible, make sure to reflect on the good non-academic works you have done during the past year, and make some room for more of similar behaviour in the new year. Whether you are a student, lecturer, writer, supervisor, or an early career, remember this: If you can lend a helping hand to a student, to another colleague, or to a friend, you begin to feel more fulfilled. No matter how many books you write, how many hours of good teaching you perform, or in whatever manner you self-promote your academic lifestyle (sometimes quite cringe-worthy on twitter), no one would genuinely respect or love you, if you fall short of kindness in your interactions. Let us not forget that accommodating and helping with the accomplishments of others is quite often the key to being emotionally well accommodated in our own being. Make sure to print out a quote of your liking and look at it every morning before you start work. Help us source this as well:


 Any reflections, email us:

Happy Holidays

On behalf of Embodiments Research Group at the University of Liverpool, here is wishing all our members and academics across the globe, a very

Merry Christmas


Happy New Year

See you in the New Year with a new set of interdisciplinary activities at the University of Liverpool. Enjoy your holidays and keep an eye for our updates in 2016.


The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,
“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.
Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)

Impassioned Britain: Familial and Divine Depictions of Feeling (1707 – 1907)

Impassioned Britain: Familial and Divine Depictions of Feeling (1707 – 1907), University of Liverpool, 15-17 July 2015

<<< New Abstract Deadline: 15 March 2015 >>>

Impassioned Britain Flyer ~~~ Impassioned Britain CFP 

Speakers include:

Joanne Bailey (Oxford Brookes University)

Simon Carter (Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London)

Heather Ellis (Liverpool Hope University)

Susan Matthews (University of Roehampton)

Frederick Ross (Art Renewal Center, New Jersey)

Bringing together historians, curators, literary critics, and creators of the largest online museum on the internet (ARC), this conference will explore familial and divine feelings in art, history, and literature. With reference to modern psychological and philosophical accounts of emotions, we invite scholars to discuss relevant topics. Contributors are invited to focus on and analyse historical renderings of affective vocabulary (emotion, feeling, sensation, sensibility, passion, affection, enthusiasm) with an emphasis on interpretative in/dependence or interchangeability. We aim to investigate particular works of art, historical records, and literary documents, promoting a return to excellence, connection, and distinction between the visual and verbal arts, demonstrating familial and divine relations to human communication and behaviour. The conference invites discussions of “impassioned Britain” not so much as a geographically bounded area of creativity and production, but rather as a historical currency of ideas exported and imported, collected and exhibited, inside and out of the country. In the light of increasing interdisciplinary exploration of emotions in the past decade, we look for corresponding ideas across several disciplines emerging through investigations of communicative teaching, originality, and influence of ideas by non-British history and art territories, the Celtic revival, otherness in British art and literature, adaptations of British literary creations, artworks, and so forth.

Poetic portraiture and historical iconography shape the major direction of our debates in this conference. Analytic takes on parallel and analogous works of emotive and metaphoric language are welcome. There are numerous examples whose thematic and structural comparisons, with specific reference to the philosophy of mind and art, stimulate a better understanding of affective boundaries. We are looking for works across genres, e.g. affective spectrum and the formation of adult feeling surging through Maria Edgeworth’s and Richard Lovell Edgeworth’s Practical Education (1798) compared with affective depictions in The Parent’s Assistant (1796). Contributors may compare writers, painters, and sculptors, who tell similar/different emotional tales by means of a variety of media and creative models, e.g. familial representative art in God’s Acre by Thomas Faed (1826-1900) compared with God’s Acre by Emily Osborn (1834-1913).  What emotional parallels do we find in these works and in Blanche Baughan’s “God’s Acre”? Beyond these and similar examples, how is “impassioned Britain” viewed in contemporary reading of the Enlightenment and the Romantic age.

Historical sources such as family memoirs, letter-writing conventions and epistolary manuscripts, family paintings and divine portraiture communicate both geography and genre of emotional manifestation. The conference seeks not only historical but also cultural sources of sentimental portraiture and familial correspondence, e.g. songs, iconic sculptures and funerary, medical treatise, and commonplace books. Presentations should engage with representation of “impassioned Britain” in text, context, and correspondence by demonstrating how such illustrations connected individuals – with one another or/and with the Divine – or left them isolated.

Participation: Abstracts of 250 words are invited for individual presentations of 20-25 minutes. Organisers consider panels, readings, and performance proposals. Email your proposal to at the University of Liverpool. For more information on keynote speakers, conference venue, proceedings, and future collaboration in this area, please visit Embodiments Research Group at the University of Liverpool and follow us on twitter @Embodiments.

Silence: A Semiotics of (in)Significance (Liverpool, 1-3 July 2015)

<<< New Abstract Deadline: 30 March 2015 >>>

Silence Flyer ~~~ Silence – CFP

Speakers include:

Natasha Alden (English & Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University)

Bernard Beatty (Literature & Theology, Universities of Liverpool & St Andrews)

Erik Grayson (Literature, Wartburg College)

David Lewin (Education Studies, Liverpool)

Paivi Miettunen (Medicine & Art, University of Calgary)

Fiona Tolan (Literature, Liverpool John Moores University)

Email Embodiments Research Group:

A number of conference bursaries (Memorial of Dr. Wasfia Mhabak) will be available for PhD scholars in literary and comparative studies. To apply, send us a full CV, research statement, and your abstract for the conference. A selection of papers will be considered for publication in our project book series.

For further details, please visit

Summer 2015 Conferences

If you missed our July 2014 conference, you can apply for either or both of the following conferences which will be held at the University of Liverpool early to mid July 2015.

  • Silence: A Semiotics of (in)Significance, 1-3 July 2015.
  • Impassioned Britain: Familial and Divine Depictions of Feeling (1707 – 1907), 15-17 July 2015.

For more information, abstract submission, and deadlines, refer to the CFP link on our events website.

miniposter impassioned 2