All Posts tagged mental wellness

An Attitude of Gratitude

gratitude note padThere was a time in our country when the leaves changed colors and the air turned chilly we knew November was upon us.  Thanksgiving was the celebrated event and we tried to build gratitude and appreciation into our lives. Well, this week is Thanksgiving, but, the focus really has been turned towards “Black Friday” and revving up our retail energy for the Christmas season. Sadly, we have really just skipped through this holiday and treated it as a smorgasbord of over consuming food, 24 hour football viewing, and frenzied shopping! Yes, I too am guilty of all of the above. What has happened to appreciating this once great holiday of truly giving thanks Where has our “Attitude of Gratitude” gone?

From a psychological viewpoint, gratitude serves to really bring people closer to a like minded and more socially interconnected state of togetherness. Naturally, we feel more socially connected and supported which in turn the relationship becomes stronger and develops. Also, I suggest that we consider gratitude not as a tool, or strategy to be used for ulterior motives, but, it is a more profound appreciation for what we do have.

From a young age, I was taught to live in Thanksgiving daily and to show appreciation for what others did for me. If you think about it, gratitude is the act of being thankful, it causes the human soul to become humble. It’s because we acknowledge these acts of kindness,  times of selfless service, or caring from someone else who lifts our heavy heart and strengthens us.

Gratitude is not a public display, but rather in a quiet way, the expression and feelings that create in us a type of purification and mental healing from our life’s troubles and concerns. Some say the gratitude is the mother of virtue. Wasn’t it Shakespeare that said, “Who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”

I’m of the opinion, that the commemoration of Thanksgiving should last all year. As we approach Thanksgiving week 2015, maybe we should do a little homework (I know the kids are out of school) on this idea by really reflecting on what we should be thankful for in our lives.

 

 

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“I’m sorry, did you want a conspiracy?”

EvilThe “Blood Moon” is rising, as is our collective anxiety, and so is Donald Trump who has started an unexplainable movement across America, much to the dismay of Megyn Kelly and the rest of the liberal media. Oil prices are crashing, (at least it means lower gas prices at the pump for us), robots may well be taking over our jobs, driving our cars, flying our planes. Let us not forget the in upcoming election shenanigans that will take center stage in 2016 and all the allegations that will be revealed against whomever is left standing. WAIT, STOP! This all points to the conspiracy theorists running wild with their outlandish propositions and fear mongering ploys.

Yes, there have been times when I was younger that I too succumbed to their enticings, like the supposed end of the world in the year 2000. Wow, was I really sucked into that one believing that the world would just shut down. Of course it didn’t. However, I have learned quite a bit about conspiracy theorist since that time. Also, we need to recognize how they can get into your head (if you let them). Interestingly, fifty percent (50%) of Americans believe in at least one (1) conspiracy theory, just saying.

Unless you operate in the world of psychology, you would not really be familiar with the term cognitive dissonance. It really fits in well as we discuss the psychological impact that conspiracy theories can have on our thought process. Let me break it down, you see cognitive dissonance is the scientific word that describes the internal discomfort that we experience when we are faced with two (2) or possibly more conflicting ideas, values, or beliefs. Does that make sense?

Ok, so let’s apply this to conspiracy theories. We so desperately want to hold on to all our beliefs, even the attitudes that have shaped us throughout our lives. We want to avoid any and all pain and discomfort that any new idea, belief, or new evidence might yield like the ebola virus. So what do we do?  Too often, we buy the misinformation, believe the lies, and passively look pass the fraud. Why? It takes effort to question, research and really look, examine and dissect the evidence. It’s just easier to buy into it…

I’m not really buying what he’s selling, well then click HERE

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Bigger is Better?

Jump for Joy

Jump for Joy

Here is a a little riddle for you, what do Chris Jenner (not referencing the media circus of the family), the Duggars (despite the recent scandal), and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have going on that other families don’t? I’m thinking, I’m thinking, okay…. that’s right each have large families, huh? Yes, it’s true if you want to be a happy parent(s) a large family needs to be in the cards.

Think you can’t do it, oh yes you can! When I was a young husband contemplating with my young wife the prospect of having children, I remember thinking, how can we afford to have children especially more than one? Another pressing concern was when was the right time to start having these little “sleep robbers.” Well, I sought the answers from wise fathers. First, they said, “You can never really afford children, but, if you wait till you think you can you’ll be retired and alone. Second, There is never a “right time to have children and when you’re there on the day they burst into this world, you’ll know what I mean.”

I joke with people who are surprised at the amount of children I have (6) that the odds are in my favor that at least one of them will take care of me when I’m old. It’s tough, I won’t candy coat it. We had four children under the age of five at one point. I changed diapers for a decade (that is 10 years for those of you who are numerically challenged like me). Then there were the 2 a.m. feedings and having to be at work by 6 a.m.. The lack of sleep for both of us was daunting. Our last was a premie (1 lb) arriving four (4) months early then spending 100 agonizing days in the NICU. My incredible wife drove 99/100 days for 3.5 hours round trip each day to be at that NICU with our baby. That was eight years ago, wow time flies and our little girl has blossomed, but not without a lot of health challenges of her own (forgive for being so personal).

There are many joys as well. Seeing them pull together, become independent, make good choices, they have stayed away from the pitfalls of drugs, alcohol, and porn addiction through much instruction, love, and attention. It take tremendous effort, time, sacrifice of your hobbies, time with the guys, and can be so draining, however the results produce happy parents and happy children.

Don’t believe for a second that I haven’t stumbled, tripped, fallen down, and been overwhelmed by the responsibility many times just trying to be a father of a large family. Thankfully, my wife has been our anchor, the stabilizing force through it all. She has taught me so very much! Still, if you are considering a large family, take heart, you can do it and the joy will be immeasurable!

See what science says about large families HERE

 

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F E A R, Why?

what do you fearDo you fear the walking dead? What about the prophetic blood moon that will be rising very soon? Maybe, your fear is about losing your freedom, or quite possible it’s being left alone? How does that quote go, “something about the only thing to fear is fear itself.” Let’s be honest here, the stomach wrenching pain we all feel is that of failure, or is it?

So why do I bring this up? Every thing that I read seems to be preying on our fears. Consider for a moment the mass hysteria that is shaping up in Europe with the mass migration of refugees fleeing from their war torn countries for safety and security. Now, it’s turning from a humanitarian crisis to an ethnic fear of overpopulation and potential fears of terrorism. Another fear that is gaining significant traction is with technology becoming so advanced, experts are now projecting that 35% of all jobs will be managed by robots within twenty (20) years. So, the follow up question becomes, what to do with all the displaced workers? Ah yes, then there is the impending stock market bubble, so here we go again 2007-08, right! Fear perpetuating more fear paralyzing more to fear, ugh!

I believe that fear can be used to motivate us (small doses please). However, let’s put fear in it’s proper light. If you’re religious, or spiritual fear can be tempered with healthy amounts of faith in a trusted higher power that empowers the individual to press forward knowing that “this too shall pass.” Now, if spirituality or organized religion are not your thing, then fear is probably more of a logical emotion best understood in your own terms and dealt with in a very singular, personal, rational way by you. Naturally, I certainly cannot try to explain it here, but you know what I mean. So what follows is a look at what we as humans really do fear. I believe that each of us can say, “yes that’s me.”

S0, I ask you again, “What do you fear?” Not sure, you really need to read HERE

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Where are all the children?

depressedchildRemember when you would come home from school and couldn’t wait to finish your homework and go outside and ride your bike, doing tricks off a homemade wood ramp, skateboarding, or going to a friends house to play a game of nurf football in the street, or what about playing catch with your well worn baseball glove? Do you remember begging your Mom to go swimming at the neighbor’s pool, or shooting hoops until dark? Do you remember when kids actually played outside? I do, but, for  the vast majority of families that really never happens anymore.

What has taken over is video games and an increasingly busy lifestyle. Of course, our children are still involved in sports, however, going outside to play with other children their age in the neighborhood has gone the way of the Razor phone. What are the psychological ramifications for these millions of children who no longer play outside and what happens to their view of the world around them?

Certainly this varies, however, I’m treating more adolescents, teenagers, and college students who are presenting with more severe symptoms of depression and anxiety than ever before. The question is why? Well, I find that especially with teenagers and college students there is a sense of the loss of control. Goals are focused on external, meaning those things or possessions that set them apart from others, rather than internal development. There seems to be a poor focus on who they really are, personal insight is very limited leading them to feel quite empty, depressed and filled with anxiety.

Consider this, what playing allowed us to do when we were younger was experiment, explore, and discover who we were. It really was fun, liberating, and exhilarating to be withs friends outside playing. I guess it was our modern day adrenaline rush, our outlet. Now that has shifted dramatically and so has the mental state of our children, and not for the better…

The decline of play

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