tisdag 12 januari 2016

Sustainable Positive Activism And Avoiding Burnout

Being a sustainable activist, meaning taking good care of oneself while being involved in some kind of social justice movement, is very important. To listen to our body and mind and to respect one’s boundaries can be difficult for emphatic people when witnessing an injustice. As an effect burnout is not uncommon among activists.

The idea of writing this post came to me when I was watching the video I've embedded below. In the video animal advocate and psychologist Melanie Joy talks about sustainable activism. If you are interested in mental and physical health and being involved in animal activism or other kinds of social justice issues, then I think Melanie Joy's presentation can be very interesting to you.

Melanie Joy - Sustainable activism: How to Be More Effective and Fulfilled (IARC 2015)

In the video above Melanie Joy mentions a few books:

  • Strategic Action for Animals: A Handbook on Strategic Movement Building, Organizing, and Activism for Animal Liberation Strategic Action For Animals is written by Melanie Joy and its title says a lot. If you want to get to know more about its topics for example well being for activists then I recommend this book. You can find it on Amazon.com.
  • Messages: The Communication Skills Book
    This book is written by Matthew McKay, Martha Davis and Patrick Fanning. It can help you improve your communication skills. Find it on Amazon.com.
  • Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others
    This book is written by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk, and this is also a book I recommend. If you live in Lund, Sweden, I know that this book is available in the city library. Otherwise you can find more info on traumastewardship.com

Trauma Stewardship - Rörelse för djurrätt

If you want more information about Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, one of the writers of Trauma Stewardship, then watch this video in which she speaks of her experiences from being an activist. It's very interesting!

Beyond the Cliff | Laura van Dernoot Lipsky | TEDxWashingtonCorrectionsCenterforWomen

Another book about activism and health I'm thinking of is Hillary Rettig's The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. If it sounds interesting to you Hillary Rettig's website lifelongactivist.com is a great resource. Among other translations you can find Malte Lindstam's translation to Swedish there, more exactly here.

As a last part of this post I want to tell you about something that happened a few years ago.

Nonviolent Communication

In 2012, when Melanie Joy visited Stockholm, Sweden and a conference held by Animal Rights Sweden (In Swedish: Djurens Rätt) she was asked a question on how to communicate with people that respond to us in a negative way without responding in a negative way back to them.

In Joy's answer she mentioned Nonviolent Communication (NVC) also known as Compassionate Communication, Collaborative Communication and in Swedish Giraffspråket. 

Nonviolent Communication was developed in the 1960s by psychologist Marshall Rosenberg and has been used in many areas of conflict like Rwanda, Burundi, Sri Lanka, Israel, Palestine and Nigeria as a way of communicating more positive and constructive.

I think this technique of communicating can be really helpful to create a better communication among people not only for activists. The video below by Brian Johnson explains NVC. Read more about how NVC works here.

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg

Watch this one of three videos with Marshall Rosenberg himself to get a wider picture of his perspective and Nonviolent Communication.

Nonviolent Communication Part 1 Marshall Rosenberg

To get more information about sustainable activism, burnout and support check out this, this, this, this and this link! I hope this post will be helpful to you. Take care!

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