Category Archives: Psychology

Five Things to Quit doing Now

Here are the five things everyone needs to quit right now:

1. Trying to please everyone.

You’re never going to make every single person in your life happy. So stop trying. Focus on trying to please yourself first and then help others do the same.

2. Fearing change.

Being afraid of the unknown is very common. We are naturally resistant to change. However, change is also very necessary for growth.

Don’t be afraid of things changing in your life. You never know what doors might open.

3. Living in the past.

“To get over the past, you first have to accept that the past is over. No matter how many times you revisit it, analyze it, regret it, or sweat it…it’s over. It can hurt you no more.”

Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

4. Putting yourself down.

“Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take it’s place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.”

Beverly Engel, The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused — And Start Standing Up for Yourself

5. Overthinking.

“Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.”

– Robert Herjavek

Handling stress

“Wednesday, April 22
Coping With Stress – from the “Language of Letting Go

Inevitably, there are times of stress in our lives. Sometimes, the stress is outside or around us. We’re feeling balanced, but our circumstances are stressful. Sometimes, the stress is within; we feel out of balance.

When the stress is external and internal, we experience our most difficult times.

During stressful times, we can rely more heavily on our support systems. Our friends and groups can help us feel more balanced and peaceful in spite of our stressful conditions.

Affirming that the events taking place are a temporarily uncomfortable part of a good, solid plan can help. We can assure ourselves that we will get through. We won’t be destroyed. We won’t crumple or go under.

It helps to go back to the basics to focus on detachment, dealing with feelings, and taking life one day at a time.

Our most important focus during times of stress is taking care of ourselves. We are better able to cope with the most irregular circumstances; we are better able to be there for others, if we’re caring for ourselves. We can ask ourselves regularly: What do we need to do to take care of ourselves? What might help us feel better or more comfortable?

Self-care may not come as easily during times of stress. Self-neglect may feel more comfortable. But taking care of us always works.

Today, I will remember that there is no situation that can’t be benefited by taking care of myself.”

Dopamine fasting

Profile of man with symbol neurons in brain. Thinking like stars, the cosmos inside human, background night sky

Everyone has dopamine in their brains as a neurotransmitter. It gives you the desire to pursue pleasure and feelings of reward and happiness. Apparently, video games and scrolling social media, (and cocaine) flood the brain with abnormal amounts of it, and you can build up a “tolerance” which requires you to play more games and do more scrolling.

And some folks are now engaging in “dopamine fasting”, which can bring down your tolerance. This enhances focus and gets emotions on an even keel. Here’s a very interesting article about it.

Activities that flood our brains with the feel-good-reward neurotransmitter dopamine are:

scrolling on social media
playing video games
listening to music
watching TV
eating junk food
playing on our phones

… basically anything that doesn’t take a lot of work. Reading, learning something new, and math puzzles are things we’d rather not do because they are hard. But in the end they give us healthier levels of dopamine, AND they ward off dementia (along with exercise). I know I’m personally happier when I’m giving my brain a work out.

Sunlight exposure also activates our dopamine receptors, and any type of light activates dopamine release in our eyes! That’s why we stay hypnotized by our screens.

This video gives some great information about dopamine, and how to balance it’s levels in your brain:

An Adult’s Guide to Social Skills, for Those Who Were Never Taught

This is the most important thing a person an learn in their lifetime, and if you were never taught, you can learn it. Mastering this will make your life much better – in every possible way. If you struggle financially, or with loneliness, this could be part of it.

“It’s a shame so few of us are taught the basics of how to interact constructively with each other. If you never were, we’re here to help.

Learning social skills can be difficult if you weren’t exposed to traditional group dynamics as a child, if you struggle with a mental illness like anxiety or depression, or even if you just didn’t have a lot of positive role models when you were growing up. Young people tend to learn how to manage their own emotions, recognize those of other people and manage them both effectively by socializing. If these weren’t skills you developed growing up, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Before we get to specific social situations, we should discuss the concept of emotional intelligence (or E.I.). Put very simply, E.I. is your ability to acknowledge your own emotions, recognize emotions in others and use that information to guide your behavior. This is a relatively new area of study in the field of psychology, and developing your own E.I. can help you understand and improve your social interactions.

There are several models of emotional intelligence, but for our purposes, we’ll look at the author Daniel Goleman. He outlines five general categories of E.I. that complement and support one another.

  • Self-awareness: This simply means being able to identify your own emotions and how they work. Are you anxious in loud environments? Do you get angry when people talk over you? If you know these things about yourself, then you’re practicing self-awareness. This can be more difficult than it sounds, but simply being aware of yourself is all it takes for this step.
  • Self-regulation: Taking it a step further, self-regulation deals with your ability not just to know your emotions, but manage them. Sometimes that might mean handling them as they come up. If you get angry, knowing how to calm yourself down is important. However, it can also deal with managing the emotions you will face. If you know that stalking your ex’s Facebook is just going to make you feel bad, self-regulation would help you go do something to better your own life instead.
  • Motivation: External factors like money, status, or pain are powerful motivators. But in Goleman’s model, internal motivation is a key component. This means that you know how to manage your own motivation and create or continue projects because you choose to, not because something outside yourself demands it.
  • Empathy: It’s just as important to be aware of the emotions of others. This might mean developing the skills to recognize how people are expressing themselves — can you tell the difference between someone who’s comfortable versus someone who’s anxious? — but it also means understanding how other people may respond to the circumstances they’re in.
  • Socialization: This area deals with your ability to steer your relationships and navigate social situations. It doesn’t mean controlling others, but understanding how to get where you want to be with other people. That might mean conveying your ideas to co-workers, managing a team, or dealing with a conflict in a relationship.

Every social situation is different and there isn’t always a “correct” way to handle any of them. However, when viewed through the lens of these core competencies, most social situations become a lot more manageable. We’ll go over some common scenarios even adults might struggle with, but keep in mind how these principles can apply in all situations.

Confronting someone when you have a problem with that person can be scary. If you’re the type to avoid conflict, you might rationalize it away by saying you want to keep the peace, or you don’t want to upset anyone. However, this can be a way of avoiding your own feelings. If there wasn’t something bothering you, there would be nothing to confront anyone about.

Dr. Ryan Howes, a clinical psychologist, explained to Psychology Today that it’s our own fears that keep us from confronting others. Our fear that we’ll lose something we have, that we’ll hurt someone we care about, or that it will hurt but accomplish nothing. One of the first steps to constructively confronting someone is to recognize that fear in yourself and identify the real issues that led to the conflict in the first place. If you’re annoyed that your partner forgot your birthday, for example, ignoring how you feel about it won’t resolve the conflict.

Once you’re ready, Gregg Walker, a professor at Oregon State University, recommends having the conversation when there’s time to discuss the issue, focusing on “I” statements like “I feel hurt that we didn’t do anything for my birthday,” and describing behavior and your reaction to it, rather than hurling accusations. Healthy confrontations require a fair amount of awareness of your own emotions, so this is a good time to practice that skill.

Whether it’s a meeting or a party, any time you get more than a couple of people together in a group, it can become difficult (if not impossible) to get a word in edgewise. While most tricks on how to combat this involve managing how you talk — pausing in the middle of a sentence rather than the end, or finishing your sentence even if someone tries to interrupt — an often overlooked issue is managing how you react to being talked over.

It would be great if everyone was polite and let you finish or paused to ask what you’re thinking. This doesn’t always happen. If someone interrupts you and you become annoyed, that can kill your motivation to speak up again. Or you might become visibly agitated and demand to be heard, which can be off putting and make people less likely to want to listen to what you have to say.

Instead, Chris Macleod, counselor and author of “The Social Skills Guidebook,” suggests accepting that group conversations are a “vortex of noise and chaos” and going with the flow. Don’t spend all your time trying to fit in that one thing you badly wanted to say. Instead, go with the flow of the conversation and look for new opportunities to jump in. When you do, speak loudly and with confidence. More practical tricks like keeping your stories short or framing a complaint as a story can smooth over the experience, but regulating your own frustration and annoyance is the foundation these tricks build on.

When you’re young, making friends can be relatively easy. School often means that there’s a group of people you’re required to hang out with who are your age. You may share some interests, and you’ll see one another almost every day. As an adult, it can be harder. Everyone’s busy, everyone’s tired, and time feels in short supply. Or so it seems. What really may be lacking is motivation.

As Vox explains, one of the most important keys to developing a new friendship is, well, showing up. You both say, “We should hang out sometime!” but for some reason you never do. Why? Sure, you have things going on, but you still managed to binge watch the latest “Stranger Things.” There’s nothing wrong with a little “me” time, but it’s also O.K. to spend some of it reaching out to someone new.

When making new friends, you have to start with some internal motivation. Decide for yourself that you’re going to make friends and then put yourself in situations where that can happen. Take a class, join a club, or just talk to people you know but aren’t friends with yet. More important, follow up. If you find someone you want to be friends with — and especially if there are indications that person wants to be friends with you, too — put it on the very top of your to-do list to follow up. You’ll be surprised how easy it is when you do it on purpose.

Talking to a stranger for the first time — whether it’s at a party, a work event, or just on the street — can be complicated. You never know less about someone than when you first meet them. That’s also something you can use to your advantage. People like to talk about themselves. So much so that, according to research from Harvard University, people will sometimes even give up money to be able to talk about themselves.

You might feel awkward or uncomfortable when you’re out on your own, but practicing a little empathy can reveal a powerful truth: So does everyone else. Research from the University of Chicago found that less than 47 percent of its participants believed a stranger would be willing to talk with them. In reality, every attempt was successful. Most of us are willing to have a conversation, we just don’t always want to be the one to make the first move.

However, not everyone is open to a conversation with strangers all the time. An easy way to check is to pay attention to what they’re doing at the time. Are they wearing headphones? Do they seem in a hurry? Are they at their job and only making conversation as part of their duties? If so, you might try again later (or with someone else). If they’re not busy, start by saying hello or opening with a compliment. From there you can keep the conversation going with the “insight and question” method. Simply offer an observation or insight, follow it up with a question, and let the conversation flow naturally.

These are far from the only social situations you might find yourself struggling with, but the principles that can be applied are nearly universal. Acknowledge your own emotional state and manage your needs and feelings in a constructive way. Take the initiative to pursue the social outcomes you want, and empathize with others who are dealing with the same struggles you are. With practice, the rest of the complex nuances of social interaction will flow a lot more naturally.

Technology is the gateway to Hell

…because it allows us to live our lives virtually. That’s what I’ve decided this morning. Our phones keep us plugged into social media, and divide us from real, human connection at the same time. It’s coming out that screen time is yet another addiction… instead of alcohol or drugs it’s cell phones and computers. Americans spend 10 hours a day in front of a screen! When you think of how our ancestors lived, in small villages of about 30 people, with no technology, the change in our world is overwhelming. Our brains and bodies are the same as they where hundreds of years ago.

Technology also complicates our lives. It contributes to us comparing ourselves to others and feeling like we are not enough. It adds to the urgency of getting things done. I’ve found if I stay on my computer too long, the laundry doesn’t get done and important, creative projects don’t receive my attention. True work, conquers all things 🙂

I just turned my TV off, put my cell phone in the other room, and now I’m enjoying the sounds of kids playing across the street. I like it 🙂

I came across a great article this morning on simplifying life, and I LOVE it!! I want to share it in case it helps someone else out there. Then I’m putting my computer down for the day lol.

Article

Move On And Grow Stronger

7 Signs You Need To Simplify Your Life

Steve Jobs put it well:

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” ­

“When our lives become too complicated, we enjoy life less. We consume too much. We have too little time and too much stress. What are other signs that it’s time to simplify?

1. Clutter clutter everywhere.

And none of it is particularly useful. Every drawer is full, every closet stuffed, every hanger in use, and ever tabletop is covered in clutter clutter clutter.

When you feel like you’ve gotten to this point, it’s time to take some time and go through everything. Pick it up, look at it, and ask yourself, “Do I need this?” Once you’ve finished, your life will be simpler.

2. You have a hole in your pocket.

Figuratively. You find yourself spending so much on food, fun, and everything in between. At the end of the month, the purse strings are pretty tight, right?

If this is the case, it’s time to set a budget. Ask yourself if an expenditure is something you want or need.

3. You’re buying too much stuff.

Stuff on top of stuff on top of stuff. The garage is full, every shelf covered, but do you really need all of it? Consider what your money is worth to you.

It may be time to put a lid on extra purchasing and maybe throw some things up on Craigslist.

4. You’ve lost your spirituality.

Let me guess, you were more religious or spiritual when you were younger and now it’s fading away, right? Maybe it’s time to rekindle that spirituality.

Spend 10-15 minutes of the morning in meditation or reading scripture. Reconnect with your beliefs.

5. You use technology too much.

Hell, I’m guilty of looking at my phone for a half hour in the morning when I wake and in bed before sleep. I know it’s a dumb thing to do but I do it anyway.

In times like these, it might be time to restrict yourself. Or myself. It’s good to be connected, but maybe it’s time to shut down for a few hours every day and at night.

6. You feel like you’re rushing.

Always rushing! Rushing through the day, the week, the year, and in the end, your life. We need to make the conscious decision to slow down and prioritize what we do! When we do that, we become more productive.

7. Your multitasking is out of control.

When you multitask, the effectiveness of your work is more limited than it would be if you focused in on one thing at a time.

If you simply can’t sit down and give one thing your full attention, it’s probably time to re-evaluate what it is that you’re doing and simplify your day.”

Loneliness during the Holidays

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Gertrude Abercrombie’s “The Stroll” (1943). Credit Credit Oil on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Gertrude Abercrombie Trust

Loneliness is a worthy foe, and with the rise of social media, most of us are suffering from it in some form – especially this time of year. It’s easy to feel isolated in tense family situations or even parties.

Striving for connection along with a healthy dose of self-care will get you through the season.”

So how do we cope? I’m glad I ran across this article today. It has some fantastic actions we can take to combat loneliness, especially this time of year. Along with the list from the article, I would add these things:

Encourage Friendships

Having a social life and human connection is important for us to thrive in our lives. A lot of people are shy about reaching out, or inviting people to do things. Do It!! Same sex friendships are particularly important in my opinion. If you have trouble meeting people then volunteer for something you care about…. and/or get a pet.

Having Pets

Animals are awesome. If you don’t, or can’t,  have one, volunteering at the local shelter is a great way to interact cats and dogs, and to be of service at the same time!

Go to a Gym

It took me awhile to build up to it, but now I go three times a week. Working out keeps my blood moving and my endorphins running. I think more clearly, and I’m able to make better decisions. And I have more energy. Exercise is the best thing for everyone.

Limit Alcohol

I’m personally sober since 2005, but if I wasn’t I would severely limit alcohol and stay away from drugs. In my experience these things end up making loneliness much worse.

Limit Sugar

This time of year is next-to-impossible to eat right, but I SO stay away from eating sugar. It keeps my blood sugar steady throughout that day so there’s less moodiness.

Good Night’s Sleep

I strive to get a good night’s sleep every night – which means eight solid hours in a dark, cool room.

Practice Gratitude

List ten things you’re grateful for when you feel low and it will completely change your thinking and mood.

Walk in Nature

I take a walk in nature everyday with my dog. Looking at trees, grass, and feeling the warmth of the sun brings me lots of joy.

Be Creative

It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it. You’ll probably improve as you go along anyway. I’ve taken multiple creative paths and it feels so good to create something. Write something or pick up and instrument… or a pen!

Be of Service

Get out and be of service to people. Being of service in some way is crucial.

Get a New Job

I know from experience, if you’re unhappy with your job, you HAVE to make a change. Life is too short and we spend too much time there. Anyone can do it. Make a plan, get some training or education, and DO WHAT YOU LOVE.

The Three Types of Trauma that lead to Addiction

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Excellent article. This is why it’s so important to treat an addict or alcoholic with respect, love and care, and to encourage them to get HELP.

Trauma is not your fault, but healing IS your responsibility.

“Did you know that those who experience something traumatic during their childhood are seven to 10 times more likely to abuse substances?”

“What are the leading causes of addiction? Could it be hereditary? What about peer pressure, poverty, or toxic stress? All of these can play a role, but there is another factor that is known to have a bigger impact.

You may have heard stories of those who have suffered from some sort of trauma ending up abusing drugs or alcohol. This is actually a lot more common than some may think. In fact, 75% of men and women who receive treatment for substance abuse report histories of abuse and trauma.

Physical or sexual violence occurring during childhood, neglect, and veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD are just a few scenarios that most of us have heard of before.
Many have “taken the edge off” after a stressful day of work before, so it makes sense that people who have suffered from some sort of traumatic event use drugs or alcohol to help numb their pain.

Unresolved Traumatic Events from Childhood Can Hinder Long-Term Recovery

Childhood trauma can be so impactful, even years after the abuse or neglect ends, because a child’s brain is still in development. The frequent and high levels of stress that occur while a child experiences something traumatic can impede brain development. Results from multiple studies have proven that this level of stress causes victims of childhood trauma to be more vulnerable to substance abuse in adulthood.

Experiencing physical or sexual violence, neglect, or other forms of abuse can affect anyone at any age. But these traumatic events imprint children differently. It’s much more impactful for children because they rely on their parents or other members of their family that they trust for guidance and protection. If these family members abuse that trust and are the cause of trauma for the child, they no longer have a support system that they desperately need.

Creating this foundation of toxic stress and trauma while a child’s brain is still developing basically wires their brain differently, and makes it much more difficult to grow and function normally as a child, and later on in adulthood.

It makes sense that an adult would feel anxiety, shame, and sorrow after going through something traumatic as a child, right? Survivors of childhood trauma usually need comfort, and sometimes that source of comfort is drugs or alcohol.

Another serious issue you may not be familiar with is how likely it is for veterans to be addicted to anxiety or pain medications, which are normally prescribed for PTSD diagnoses. Veterans can become addicted to medications like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Ambien. These drugs can offer an escape from the trauma they’re still experiencing in their minds, but is not a healthy way to cope with it. If an addiction has developed along with PTSD, it’s called a dual diagnosis and it’s important to reach out to a professional that treats both the PTSD and the addiction.”

 

Proof of Psychic ability

oddface

Here is a true story proving psychic ability exists and is a real quality that humans possess. Not all psychics are authentic or honorable, but the ABILITY is real 🙂 This has been proven to me over and over again in my practice. I’ve seen and heard things that have no other explanation.

“Psychologist Imants Barušs once tested a medium by asking her to contact the spirit of physicist Richard Feynman and provide answers to specialist questions beyond the medium’s knowledge. Once contact was established, Barušs asked the spirit for the “fine-structure constant,” which is approximately 1/137. The medium answered, “Zero. Eight.” Barušs cut her off, saying that was incorrect. The spirit protested and mentioned something about a capital M. Barušs responded, “There is no capital M.”

A week later, Barušs’ colleague, Julia Mossbridge (capital M), heard of the encounter and shared this quote from Feynman:

“There is a most profound and beautiful question associated with the observed coupling constant, e–the amplitude for a real electron to emit or absorb a real photon. It is a simple number that has been experimentally determined to be close to 0.08542455. (My physicist friends won’t recognize this number, because they like to remember it as the inverse of its square: about 137.03597..)”
Any other physicist might have said 1/137, or 0.00729; but Feynman would have given √0.00729 or .08542455. BOOM.

[Paraphrased from I. Barušs and J. Mossbridge (2017), “Transcendent Mind: Rethinking the Science of Consciousness” (Washington, DC: APA), 193-4.]