Wednesday, December 7, 2011

4.74 Degrees of Separation

You've probably heard of six degrees of separation, the theory has been that an average of six intermediaries can connect any two people in the world. Though it may only exist as a myth, several attempts have been made to verify this figure including email chains in 2001 and 2007 winding up with 6 and 6.6 respectively. Well a recent New York Times article has determined that new forms of communication such as Facebook have possibly decreased that number down to "4.74" worldwide and "4.37" within the United States alone.
While I happen to be in the minority of people my age who doesn't use Facebook, I do find the new connections in the world to be extremely fascinating. There are entire districts of the Internet devoted to the most obscure fandoms and fetishes, and I truly doubt there is much left in the world that isn't online. Of course there is always the classic argument that while these technologies are allowing people to have easier and more connections, they may be inhibiting our relationships by decreasing real world interaction.
So what do you think? Do you think it is a good thing that like minded communities are easier than ever to find due to the connectives of the online world, or are we loosing out on the more mundane and real interactions of yesteryear? And does an increase in online friends really mean you are connected with more people?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Proactive Coping

Article Link

According to the textbook, there are at least four hundred ways to cope with stress. Proactive stress "consists of efforts undertaken in advance of a potentially stressful event to prevent it or to modify its form before it occurs" (Aspinwall 417). The idea of proactive stress suggests that many stressors can be avoided. In fact there are five interrelated tasks of proactive self regulation. One can view the on set of a stressful event much the same way as meteorologists forecasts the weather. There is a bit of certainty how the outcome will lend itself. When a category 5 hurricane is on the way people start preparing for the worst. The storm may fizzle out, but people are prepared. The stress of the situation leads many people to cope by flooding the supermarket isles and emptying their wallets to survive the storm. This method differs from proactive coping and is more inline with problem-focused coping. Where one attempts to ease their mind by solving a problem that is out of their control. Proactive coping would perhaps suggest leaving the area to avoid the storm. Whereby leaving ahead of time is stressful, but the planning ahead equals out to less stress in the long term i.e. risking one's life.

Is there a way to avoid stress all together?
Why can events in one's life lead to so much stress?