Mental Fitness: The Missing Link for Wellness?

Recently, we experienced another tragic event: a mass stabbing at a Pittsburg-area high school. Just one week prior it was yet another mass shooting at Fort Hood. And before that a long line of devastating and preventable tragedies of the kind that are seemingly becoming more common by the day. The Navy Yard, Aurora, Newtown, Virginia Tech, Columbine: once names that simply brought to mind placid locations across our great nation that, sadly now, conjure devastating memories of unspeakable heartbreak.

In the midst of all of this, a national dialogue has again begun to emerge. It's one that, given the questionable mental stability of a great many of the shooters in these events, involves discussions revolving around our nation's attitudes and policies regarding mental health.

~ Are we doing enough to treat the mentally ill?

~ How can we better screen people for mental illness?

~ How can we keep guns out of the hands of those with histories of mental instability?

And so on …

But here's a question I've yet to hear: “What can we do to prevent mental illness to begin with?”

Seems logical. And truthfully, if we were dealing with an epidemic of flu, obesity, or some other physical malady, prevention would be at the top of this list. But strangely, our culture's attitudes and habits relating to mental health differ significantly from those toward physical health.

Consider this.

In the realm of the physical, it's universally recognized (albeit not always practiced), that if you want a healthy body, you've got to do preventive maintenance: brush your teeth, eat reasonably healthy food, exercise, get enough rest. Day in and day out we engage in a host of chores designed to help enhance the well-being and longevity of our physical selves.

In other words, we understand that physical fitness is a precursor to physical health. Yet, in matters relating to our mental and emotional selves, we find a different story.

Developing habits to nourish and exercise our mental and emotional selves is not something regularly considered by most Americans. On the contrary, most of our effort aimed at attending to our mental and emotional needs is more about coddling than fitness. Feeling stressed? Grab a beer with friends. Sadness got you down? Go see the latest blockbuster movie. Anxious about work? How about a round of golf?

Rather than increasing our mental capacity, we medicate ourselves. We engage in activities to make us feel better in the short run, but without really addressing the root problem which revolves around an insufficient ability to absorb and cope with life's difficulties. It's like addressing your weight gain by removing all the mirrors in the house. Sure it may make you temporarily feel better, but what does it do to solve the problem?

The truth is it's an approach that all too often produces what can only be described as free-range, feral minds.

Mental Fitness Defined

To be clear, in this context Mental Fitness does not refer to the development of knowledge or even mental acuity. This is an important point. Many of the mental activities we undertake to develop our minds have very little to do with Mental Fitness, as referred to here. Examples of activities that DO NOT dramatically increase our Mental Fitness levels include:

~ Digesting data as part of the learning process

~ Exercising one's cognitive facility to make the mind more nimble

~ Participating in activities that soothe and nurture the agitated mind and emotions

This is not to say that these activities are not worthy and valuable, for they obviously are vital in our development as productive and happy human beings. Even so, for the most part, they are not helping to increase our ability to synthesize a reliably ease-filled experience in the most challenging of circumstances. And cultivating that ease-filled experience is heart of Mental Fitness.

The key to the understanding Mental Fitness is the notion of capacity. Mental Fitness is the measure of one's capacity to weather life's challenges without being thrown unduly off balance. It's the capacity to withstand a layoff, to bear a health diagnosis, or to end a financial challenge with grace, élan, and a sense of confident calm.

We all know people like this, who never seem to be ruffled. A layoff? No problem. IRS audit? Fine. A traffic accident? No biggie. While everyone around them is sent into tailspins, these folks stay calm, cool, and collected no matter what life throws at them. So what is it about these people that makes them so well-equipped to cope artfully with life's challenges?

You guessed it: they have a level of mental fitness that allows them to artfully ride out such things. The greater your mental fitness level, the greater your mental and emotional capacity, and the greater your capacity for living happily-despite the curve balls life throws your way.

Clearly, this immunity to being buffeted by life's ups and downs seems to be more naturally developed in some people than others. And it's true, some people seem to be born with a natural ability to artfully weather life's challenges-that is to say, they are endowed with a higher than average Mental Fitness level. But-and this is crucial-this in no way is to say that one's Mental Fitness level is fixed.

Again, we can take clues from the physical realm. For the same is true of our innate physical fitness levels. Some of us are natural born athletes, others are anything but. Despite the fact that we humans come in shapes and sizes and physical abilities, no matter what one's natural level of physical fitness is, we ALL can benefit from exercising our physical selves-and improve our physical fitness and live healthier, happier lives.

And so it goes with Mental Fitness.

This means that we are not victims of our natural level of mental fitness, nor of our circumstances. Remember, the greater our Mental Fitness, the easier we can remain undisturbed by the inevitable difficulties that life throws our way. So it paves the way for more happiness and contentment-in good times and bad.

And just as importantly, developing ourselves in this regard can serve as an important component in the health of our communities. Physical fitness aids to stave off physical illness. Mental Fitness aids to stave off mental illness. It's a simple means to enhance the well-being of us all.

With this understanding, the problem becomes one of increasing our mental fitness – our capacity to remain mentally and emotionally undisturbed in more and varied circumstances, especially in situations that have historically thrown us off balance.

How do I increase my Mental Fitness?

So, this all begs the question: “How do we increase our Mental Fitness level?” Surprisingly, it's more simple and straightforward than you might think, and truly is not all that different from the way we build more physical fitness!

Think about it. To build our physical capacity, for example your capacity to lift weight, you physically challenge yourself. To lift more weight, you need to lift more weight. Strength builds as you carefully lift just a bit more weight than you're comfortable with. If you can easily lift 80 pounds, lift 85; once you can lift 85 without difficulty, move up to 90; and so on. You're expanding your capacity for weight lifting by always lifting just a bit more than is comfortable and by staying with the burn.

The same principle applies when you're working to expand your mental and emotional capacity. Here, too, the invitation remains the same: do a bit more than is comfortable and stay with the burn. But for the expansion of our mental and emotional capacity, rather than needing physical weight to provide the resistance needed for growth, we need difficulty or challenge.

Here's the thing: life's challenges, the ones that typically throw us into a tizzy, are for our Mental Fitness, like the weight is to our physical fitness. They are challenges that can be used to increase our capacity to calmly weather life's challenges-but only if we see the opportunities for what they are.

I confess. There is much more nuance to effectively increasing our mental fitness levels than is presented in this simplistic explanation. Neverheless, the promise remains sound. And this I know from experience.

You see, helping people cultivate optimal mental and emotional fitness is my life's work. Over the years I've seen thousands of thousands of people forge lives of great equanimity and fulfillment even amid torrents of discrimination and challenges. My chosen tools are drawn from the ancient wisdom of yoga (tapping the less-known mental and emotional aspects of the practice beyond my yoga postures and breath), but that is only to say that that is the only tool that can be used to this end .

Is this orientation toward Mental Fitness a silver bullet? Will it end mental illness and completely stave off future killings and other such tragedies? Not by a long shot. For the truth is that Mental Fitness can not completely eradicate mental illness any more than physical fitness can totally end physical illness.

We will always have a need for treatment modalities, facilities, and trained professionals to address the needs of those who have slid into mental illness. Just as we do for those who are physically ill.

But if we could take steps to reduce the incidence of such illness even 5 or 10 or 20 percent, would not it be worth it?

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What Is Anhedonia? It Affects Most Of Us With Mental Illness. Here’s What To Do About It!

In mental health circles, this is actually a disorder. It's common among people with mental illness and can totally paralyze you like it did me.

Having mental health problems and not having the energy to do things I want to do makes life more difficult than it is already with a mental illness.

However, I got fed up and just wanted to be more productive again. I wanted to get back in physical shape, I wanted to reintroduce my hobbies that I used to love, and most of all I wanted to go after my dreams again. Does this sound similar?

Well, through a lot of trial and error I figured out 3 simple steps to overcome anhedonia once and for all!

1. Create the intention to accomplish something you really want to do. Start small and think about it for a few days.

Doing this keeps the task in your mind while building a sense of light pressure of not accomplishing what you want done. This will lead you to step 2.

2. Do it regardless – even if you do not feel like it! Do not think about. Just do it. The first time will be difficult. The mind can be so powerful and resist what's actually good for us.

But once you get going inertia takes over – even if it's just for 5 or 10 minutes – you'll probably stay in motion for those few moments.

I go by 30 minutes on 5 to 10 minutes off then 30 minutes on again. 30 minute spurts is all my mental health can handle right now. And in those 5 to 10 minutes away I will do something completely different. There have also been days where I have worked for 30 minutes and then taken a nap and then get back to it later on in the day. This may happen to you too. That's okay!

Once you've completed or started the task or activity, pay attention to how you feel. You should be good at this part since you have a mental illness or other mental health problems. All of us are experts on how we feel.

The first time you may feel nothing or indifferent. That's fine, you've accomplished what you set out to do! And that is empowering! Now you can move on to step 3.

3. Take a break. Then after a period of time, a day at the most, repeat the process with another task that needs to be done or start to engage in another old interest.

By repeating this 3 step process over a few weeks, momentum sets in and the much needed power will be growing inside of you again.

You'll stumble at first. I did a lot. And you'll have to stop listening to that negative voice and do the opposite.

There will be times when the task does not get done the following day. But that's not the point.

The point is, having a mental illness, we need to try and continue to try. There are days where I get nothing “done”. Let that be alright. We do not have to be productive everyday … unless you want to be.

In the end, this 3 step experience will get you back to doing the things you must do and the activities you once enjoyed.

So, try it out. Experiment … and begin to overcome anhedonia once and for all!

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Hitting ADD Where It Hurts – Effective Symptom Management

What do you know about ADD? Do you assume this is just a condition which affects children? Or do you understand that this also affects a large proportion of the adult population too?

If you're in the bracket of people who realize how many adults suffer from this difficult condition, then you would be correct.

The key to maintaining a healthy and happy life side by side with ADD is to manage symptoms in the correct way for that particular sufferer. Just as one size shoe does not fit all, one method of management does not fit all in this particular case either. Everyone is different, and therefore the plan of attack will also be slightly different for every single person.

The main line to go down here is symptom management, and to recognize triggers. Whilst medical management will probably be one of the first things to try, other “self-help” methods are also very effective.

It's basically a life choice and change, and it has to be something that the sufferer understands and sticks to, in order to control their own severity of symptoms.

Let's look at a few effective ways to manage ADD symptoms.

Find what works for you and stick to it – Like we discussed, there is no one line of management that works for every single sufferer, so once you find the method that suits you, stick to it.

Write things down – One of the main symptoms of ADD is disorganization and forgetfulness. If you write things down, you will feel more control over your life, and this will also give you helpful points to not forget the important things you need to do on a daily basis.

Prioritise – Write things down, put them in order of priority, and tackle them in that way. This again gives you a feeling of control, and everything gets done on time.

Do not be afraid to ask for help – Everyone needs a little help from time to time, and whether this is in the form of speaking to a therapist, or whether it's simply a chat with a friend, if you need help, ask for it! There is no shame.

Understand your condition – If you understand how ADD affects your life , then you will become less frustrated, and able to manage it all more easily. ADD does not have to rule your life, and a happy and healthy life can easily be achieved once you allow the grips of the condition to leave you, and you grab back a little control.

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Mysteries of the Brain

There are many important things to be understood about how the brain works. Here are some important areas of study attempting to unlock the last secrets of the brain. When we think, move, speak, dream and even love, these all happen in the gray matter. But our brains are not simply one color. White matter matters too. Many researchers say that dementia has focused on the tell-tale plaques and tau protein tangles which occurs in the gray matter. But a British scientist says that the white matter and its blood supply may be equally important.

For years, caffeine was used to enhance alertness. A specialist in neuroscience of Cambridge University is investigating cognitive enhancers and drugs which make us smarter. She also studies how they can improve the performance of surgeons or pilots and requests if they could even be used to make us more entrepreneurial.

People need to be on top of their games when mastering skills like playing a musical instrument or detecting a bomb. But research suggests that our unconsciousness can be harnessed to help us excel. Repeatedly playing a tricky piece of music obviously helps develop a familiarity with the bits that are most difficult. The unconscious mind is really good at spotting patterns.

After hours of practice, a fluent musician's brain stores how to play the piece in an area at the back of the brain called the cerebellum. It has more brain cells than the rest of the brain put together. It helps to promote fluid movements. So the conscious effort of learning how to bow a cello is moved from the cortical areas.

It's just 60 years since scientists in Chicago first noted the “rapid eye movement” or REM sleep which we now associate with dreaming. But our fascination with dreams dates back at least 5,000 years to ancient Mesopotamia when people believed that the soul moved out of a sleeping body to visit the places they dreamed of. The nerve impulses are also directed to the spinal cord, including temporary paralysis of the limbs.

Excruciating chronic pain is one of medicine's most difficult problems to solve. Untouched by conventional treatments like painkilling drugs, surgeons are now testing their theory that deep brain stimulation could provide relief.

It is a brain surgery technique which involves electrodes being inserted to reach targets deep inside the brain. The target areas are stimulated via the electrodes which are connected to a battery-powered facemaker surgically placed under the patient's collar bone.

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Do You Suffer From Depression Or Anxiety? You May Have Pyroluria

Pyroluria is a genetic abnormality in hemoglobin synthesis that affects up to 10% of the population (although most people are not aware they have it) and it usually causes mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety and, in severe cases can cause bipolar and schizophrenia if left untreated. Memory problems, insomnia, learning problems, a low stress tolerance and irritability can be additional symptoms as well as a range of other signs and symptoms (refer below). It can be triggered by ongoing stress or a traumatic event, although often there are no known triggers, and the symptoms often beginning during the teenage years or early 20's.

People with this biochemical imbalance have high pyrrole levels in their body which is a neurotoxic substance that affects the nervous system and brain and when levels become elevated – it can trigger mental illness. Pyrroles are a by-product that occurs during the production of red blood cells (RBC's) and, in non-pyroluria patients, they are broken down and eliminated effectively. However, when someone has undiagnosed and untreated Pyroluria, the pyrroles are not broken down and eliminated efficiently enough and they accumulate in the body and bind with certain essential nutrients such as vitamin B6, zinc, magnesium, manganese, biotin and others, leaving the body depleted of these nutrients.

Treating the condition with the correct supplement such as a co-enzymated form of B6 and zinc as well as manganese, biotin, magnesium, niacin, omega 6 fatty acids (specifically arachidonic acid), vitamin C and other nutrients, reduces the toxic pyrrole levels and increases these essential nutrients. Supplementing with a co-enzymated B6 also allows the body to create serotonin which it is capable to do without optimum B6 levels. If OCD, Bipolar or Schizophrenia have already developed, additional supplementation may be required such as NAC for OCD & Bipolar or Vitamin B3 for Schizophrenia for example, which is why an individualized approach is necessary. Treatment with the correct supplementation and the right diet usually results in complete symptom resolution for patients with Pyroluria as long as they keep taking the supplements and consuming an appropriate, healthy diet.

The following signs and symptoms can occur in people that suffer from Pyroluria. If you have at least 8 of these symptoms, consult a Naturopathic Physician or doctor for testing:

Anxiety; Nervousness; severe inner tension

Depression

Poor ability to cope with stress

Emotional instability

Mood swings or temper outbursts

Panic attacks

Addictive personality; Substance abuse

Cravings for high carbohydrate foods and high sugar foods

Neuroses

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Episodic anger / temper outbursts / Explosive temper

Histrionic (dramatic)

Argumentative / enjoys an argument

Insomnia

Fatigue

Pessimistic thought patterns

Digestive problems eg abdominal tenderness; constipation, IBS, etc

Glucose intolerance / hypoglycaemia

Alcoholism

Little or no dream recall

White spots on finger nails

Frequent infections inc colds; Poor immune function

Poor morning appetite and a tendency to skip breakfast

Frequent unexplained nausea

Much higher capacity & alertness in the evening, compared to mornings

Increased Sensitivity to bright light, loud noises, smells, touch.

Joint pain especially knees / legs; restless leg syndrome; creaking knees

Food allergies or intolerances / environmental allergies / sensitivities

Sensitivities to medications

Learning disabilities (eg Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, etc); Audit processing disorder

Behavioral problems in children and adolescents such as oppositional defiant disorders

Antisocial behavior

ADHD

Disorganization

Poor short term memory

Skin problems such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and dry skin

Significant growth after the age of 16

Delayed sunset of puberty

Overcrowded teeth and poor tooth enamel; retracted gums / gum disease; sensitive teeth

Cold hands and feet even in summer

Sweet, fruity breath and body odor

Abnormal body fat distribution (tendency to midriff fat)

Stretch marks

Coarse eyebrows

Stunting of growth

Tremors

Motion sickness

Irregular menstruation

Migraines

Impotence in males

Tics

Drooping eyelid (s)

Pale skin + poor tanning + burn easy in sun

Likes routine (esp as a child)

Emotional withdrawal

Social withdrawal

Gluten intolerance or celiac disease

Eosinophilia (increased levels of Eosinophils – a type of white blood cell)

Anaemia / low iron levels

Elevated copper levels

Elevated heavy metal levels

IN SEVERE CASES:

Emotional lability (emotional overreaction eg laughing or crying uncontrollably or inappropriate emotions eg excess anger or irritability or laughing when something is sad) esp when stressed or tired.

Disordered perception; loss of reality

Hallucinations; delusions

Paranoia

Suicidal tendencies

Autism, Asperger's

Bipolar (manic depression)

Schizophrenia

Downs syndrome

Epilepsy; Seizures

Tourette's syndrome

Acute intermittent porphyria

Latent Acute Intermittent Porphyria (Note: Porphyrias are a group of rare genetic disorders involved with heme production)

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) – more commonly known as multiple personality disorder

If you suffer from depression, anxiety or another mental health disorder and you have 8 or more of the signs or symptoms shown on the list above, consult a Naturopathic Physician or doctor for testing and advice on the best treatments for Pyroluria. The test is a non-invasive urine test and if the test shows that you have Pyroluria, your practitioner will provide treatment recommendations that will take into consideration your individual requirements.

Please share this article in case it can help other's lives that may unknowingly have this condition and be suffering needlessly when there are simple treatments.

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How To Be Happy: Growth and Goals

Positive psychologist Professor Martin Seligmann identified attainment as an area of ​​vital importance when it comes to fulfilling our potential to be happy. Through his studies he discovered that when we foster new skills and focus on working towards meaningful goals, we are directly investing in our psychological resilience and wellbeing.

So it's official: having goals is good for our mental health, and this has been backed up by many outstanding studies. For example a research study of 30,000 people at Melbourne University revealed that the happiest people in the participant sample were those that were actively pursuing their own goals. The goals spanned a wide area: they concerned studies, careers, recreation, relationships, hobbies, health and leisure. The goals included short term, medium term and long term ones. The one thing that the goals did have in common is that they were instrinsic goals. An instrinsic goal is one that holds personal meaning for the person pursuing it. That is to say it is not a goal that has been imposed on them by the expectations of others.

Another study found that people who focus on and actively enjoy the process of working towards their goals gain a greater boost to their psychological wellbeing than those who are focusing just on getting across the 'finishing line', and not allowing them to enjoy the process at all, Merely viewing it as a means to an end.

But why are goals so good for us? There are many reasons, here are just three key ones: For one, goals help us master the use of time, when we are pursuing a goal we feel strongly about we develop schedules and become more efficient at using the time that's available to us, rather than wasting time procrastinating or watching too much TV. In this way they bring structure and meaning to our lives. A second reason is goals lead to positive emotion: every step we complete that brings us closer to our goal gives us an emotional boost and a sense of accomplishment. Linked to this, goals increase our confidence in ourselves. As we actively determine what we are doing with our time and energy, we get a sense of our own power. Thirdly, goals can help us through difficult times. When situations beyond our control challenge our emotional wellbeing, our goals gives us a life line – something to hold on to and pull ourselves forward through the difficult period.

If you think you could benefit from a few more active goals in your life, here is a good way five step method you can use. 1. Brainstorm as many instrinsic goals as you can come up with and then pick out the few you are most drawn to. 2. Breakdown the goals in to smaller subgoals, the stepping stones of the journey to get there. 3. Break the sub goals down further into micro goals if needs be. The point it to get the goal into small enough chunks that they are not boring but enjoyable. 4. Take the very first few sub goals and make a schedule for when you will have achieved them by. Writing the deadlines in your calendar, diary or phone is an important part of this step. Also, remember it is better to start slow and give yourself more time than you need than feel rushed and fail to meet your deadlines. 5. Pick your mile stones and decide how you will celebrate them. Ask yourself what are the key subgoals that will mark out that you're well on the way to achieving the end goal. Write the reward you'll give yourself (eg music, some clothes, a weekend away) at each stone and do not forget to give it!

Begin your own experiment today to see if the powerful effect of goals on wellbeing holds up as much in your life as it does in the research papers. What would you love to have or become or achieve? Ask yourself this honest question and then sit back and enjoy the journey.

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Grief – Healing Through Memories

Having studied the “grieving process” I'm aware of the different stages of grief, which hopefully leads to the acceptance of the loss of a loved one, but academic knowledge does little to ease the shock or reduce the pain. It does nothing to answer the questions that spring into your mind, that do not seem to have any concrete answers, like, “Why did my mother die in such horrid circumstances, and why did my father outlive her for so long?”

My father took five days to die, and being as devout Christian it seemed rather apt that he died on Good Friday, and as we are left hanging in that empty space before the finality of a funeral, I'm aware that my ability to think coherely seems grossly impaired. All the well-meaning platitudes uttered by those who feel awkward and do not know what to say are just sharp reminders that my father has gone, and I just want to hibernate so that I do not have to make the monumental effort of trying to make others feel less awkward.

So sitting on my bed, trying to reign in my scarted thoughts and make sense of life and death, I remembered a time in my life when I was forced to think about it and found comfort in this story. Its main message is that the secret of getting through grief is to be able to find somewhere in your mind where you can smile at your memories of the ones you have lost, for you have not really lost them. Those we love live in our hearts and in our memories, so you can still feel the love you shared just by thinking about them and enjoying your memories.

Far, far away in the land that bobbed in and out of view depending upon the sea mist, deep within the forest lived a woodcutter. All his life he had lived in the forest and had learned from his father the ways of the trees. As a boy he sent from dawn to dusk with his father who showed him how to tend the young saplings. and as he grows older the young trees grow into fine, strong, upright boughs that soared upwards to reach the sun.

When the trees had grown tall, he learned from his father how to fall the trees to make a house and to carve fine furniture, but always they replanted fresh young saplings to replace the trees they cut down. The woodcutter learned to respect the trees for their beauty and for the livelihood they offered. His father also taught him to grow and tend vines, and he marveled at how different each one was. There was ivy growing all over their wooden house and grapevines growing in rows benefit the hot sun. He learned to pick the ripe fruit from the vines, and as the sun went down, his father would laugh as he dropped off his socks and began to stomp on the fruit until it was ready to make into wine. Life was good for the young woodcutter and his father.

One day when they were deep within the forest, a storm came upon them and darkness fell. The young woodcutter was not afraid as he followed his father, but in the dim light they lost their way. “Where are we?” he asked his father, but the old man looked uncertain. “It must be this way,” he said, plowing through the branches in the dimness. But as the forest became thicker and the darkness grew, his father said, “Let's rest here until the clouds pass.”

When the light returned, they stood up and brushed the leaves from their clothes.

“Let's go this way,” the old man said, but they had strayed so far from the paths they knew that they became even more lost – until they saw a shaft of light ahead.

As they made their way towards the light, the young woodcutter gasped in awe. They had stumbled into a circular clearing that was surrounded by tall trees, and each was covered in a vine with lilac flowers hanging all around them that shade in the sunlight like beautiful, pointed lanterns.

“What is it?” the woodcutter asked his father.

“I've heard of this place,” he claimed. “It's the sacred circle. It's the place where the ancients came to pray for those who had loved and lost. Those who came here were wistful.”

“What's wistful?” his son asked.

“Those who were wistful were full of sadness and longing. They were melancholy and borne for their pain to go away, so the gods of the trees gave the mere mortals a gift, something to remind them of the beauty in those people they had loved and lost. The gods of the trees called this beautiful vine 'Wisteria' after those who came to this sacred place feeling wistful but who left with their spirit gladdened by the beauty before them. ”

The young woodcutter and his father made their way home in the light, and the image of the sacred circle stayed in the young woodcutter's memories and in his dreams as he grew into a man.

Years later when he had become a man, his father died, and in his loneliness he bought a wife. He cleaned his little wooden house and made new furniture from the trees he cut down. When his daughter was born he felt that his life was complete and that the gods of the trees were smiling upon him.

As soon as his daughter could walk, he showed her how to plant saplings and, as she grew, he taught her everything his father had taught him about the trees in the forest. She loved the trees as he had, and like his father before him. They lived in perfect harmony in the forest, and they knew peace.

As her fifth birthday near, her father declared that she was old enough to tend her own little garden, and he pegged out a small plot of land in front of their little wooden house. He stood with a sapling in each hand, smiling at her. “You are old enough to take care of your own trees. Here, plant these, and every day you have to tend to them and you will enjoy them.” He helped her to dig two deep holes, and as she scooped the earth back over the roots of the trees, he smiled. She stood by each tree twice a day with a watering can that was almost as big as her, spraying drops of water onto the two little trees. They grew and flourished, and she was so excited when bright green leaves sprouted from their branches.

As they grew, so did she, and she was as happy as any small child could be, and the woodcutter's heart was full. One day, however, disease came upon the woodcutter's family and his daughter's trees. He volunteered to save his wife, but she was destined to live with the gods of the trees, and so she died.

A vicious storm settled over the forest and the wind hinds, yet its howling was drowned by the wailing of the woodcutter and his daughter, whose pain was immeasurable. In the morning after the storm had passed, the woodcutter's daughter ventured out into the garden to tend to her two trees with a heavy heart.

As she made her way down the garden path, her father heard her cry, “Nooooooo!” He rushed out to find her, forgetting to put his boots on, such was the agony in her voice. He stood by her side, and tears poured down her face as she stood before one of her trees, its leaves dead and shriveled.

“How can this have happened?” she sobbed. “I've treated both trees the same. Why would one tree live and the other die?” The pain in his heart was unbearable, and her question echoed his own lament, “Why was he still alive when his wife was not? It made no sense.” He did not know how to answer his grave-stricken daughter.

She fell into a deep depression, one where she was seated in sadness and longing, where she was steeped in melancholy and borne for her pain to go away. As she sat starring at the withered dead tree, pain lodged in her heart. She longed for her mother and she longed for her tree, and she could not understand the loss of either.

The woodcutter did not know what to do. He wrung his hands and busied him deep within the forest, tending to his trees and hacking off dead branches. He burned the logs on the fire at night in an attempt to keep his daughter and himself warm from the chilling grief that gripped their hearts. But no matter how many logs he put on the fire in their simple wooden house, their grief chilled them to the bone and they could find no comfort. He despairs at the loneliness he saw in his beautiful daughter's face as she missed her mother and lamented over the death of her tree. She berated herself, asking what she had done wrong; why had the gods of the trees taken her mother, and why had she married her tree when she had tended them both? She was without answers and the pain in her heart grew. The woodcutter watched in despair as his daughter slipped further away from him, grief stricken.

One morning as she sat beneeth the withered tree, ignoring the one that was flourishing, the pain in his heart was so terrible that he could not bear to watch her, so he set off into the forest. He wandered without destination – his only purpose was to get away from his own pain and hopelessness – when suddenly he was drawn to shafts of light ahead of him. He stumbled forward, a memory deep within him stirring. And there, all around him, was the sacred circle where those who were lost in grief came, the place he had discovered with his father all those years ago. The woodcutter fell to the forest floor and sobbed, praying for guidance from the gods of the trees, as he sacrificed for his father, his wife and his daughter. His cries echoed around the sacred circle, and the beautiful pointed lilac lanterns shimmered in the sunlight. As his cries subsided, a faltering peace came upon him.

A voice deep inside him said, “I remember this. My memory of this place is wonderful and has never left me. , and when I think of them it's as if he's still with me and nothing can take that away from me. ” He sat in the sacred circle surrounded by the shimmering pointed lilac lanterns, his memories alive in his mind, and as peace settled over him, he knew that nothing could take his father and wife away from him while their memories remained in his heart.

Suddenly, as if the gods of the trees had spoken to him, he jumped up, and with a prayer on his lips he cut three branches from the Wisteria that draped itself over the forest trees around the sacred circle like Christmas ornaments. He hurried home through the fading light and did not stop until he reached the little wooden house deep within the forest. There he found his daughter, her eyes still red from weeping, and he grabbed her hand.

'”Come with me,” he urged, and ignored her despondency, tugging on her sleeve. She followed him outside into her little garden where the one tree flourished and the other had withered for no reason, and she watched her father. His excitation was infectious as he began to dig furiously at the soil surrounding the withered tree. She did not understand but drew closer anyway, her curiosity ignored. The woodcutter did not stop digging until he was satisfied, and only then did he fall back onto the grass and let out a sigh of satisfaction. His daughter did not understand, and she was not sure how to react. Part of her wanted to shout and be angry, to continue to be angry with the one person who truly knew her pain and who love was strong enough to withstand her raging, but another part of her was intrigued.

'”What are you doing?” she asked, her voice tinged with irritation and anger, for she was being drawn towards understanding, a place that she was not ready to inhabit, yet her father seemed insistent that she should learn.

'”It's hard to be faced with death all the time. You spend far more time with your dead tree than with the one that's living and flourishing. barren, naked, withered tree, one that died for no reason that you or I can see. heart, and so I know what to do. ”

The little girl wiped her nose on her sleeve, sniffed, but listened to her father. “I have been to the Sacred Circle and have been given a gift, the gift of memories and peace.” He planted the Wisteria vines in the hole around the conceded, dead tree and patted down the earth. “We have to focus upon our memories of the ones we have lost, for they have never really left us if we have memories of them. . ”

The woodcutter's daughter directed her eyes and listened to her father. “The Wisteria will remind us to focus upon our memories of the ones we've lost rather than their absence.” He stood up and went to bed, his heart lighter than it had been since the day his wife died. His daughter followed him with doubt in her heart.

Two difficult years passed, but on the anniversary of her mother's death and the withering of her tree, the woodcutter's daughter stood in her little garden and smiled. There in front of her, covering every part of the dead and withered tree, was thick green foliage. The Wisteria, that represented the memories of those who had loved and lost, had entwined its way around the dead tree and had welcomed it “alive” again so that she could still enjoy the tree. The woodcutter and his daughter smiled at each other, for even though each knew that the tree was dead, that his wife and her mother was dead, so they kept in their memories, which kept her “alive.”

Years later, no one would have guessed that the second tree had died, for the Wisteria occupied every part of its authorized branches. People came from far and wide to see the exquisite pointed lilac lantern-shaped blooms that depict the memories of the ones they had loved and lost. The woodcutter and his daughter found peace in their trees, garden and vines, but none offered the same peace that they found by watching the Wisteria, their memories bringing alive the dead and withered tree before them. They learned that, although their loved ones had collectively suffered and died, the memories kept them alive in their hearts, just as the Wisteria had brought to life the barren, dead branches of the tree that had for some unknown reason failed to live. '

So as I sit quietly waiting for my thoughts to settle and the pain in my heart to ease, I shall focus on all the memories I have of both my mother and father rather than focusing on their absence and the questions about life and death that can 't be answered.

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The Most Common Things People Hoard

Hoarding occurs often over a period of time and with people come from a walks of life from the poor to the wealthy. Often became affixed with one particular item that they specifically hoard, that has an emotional attachment to them. This is the result of the loss of a loved one, so they can keep a large amount of that individual items in their home. Also, another aspect of hoarding is an individual keeping items that remind them of a time when they were more energetic about life or when they realized a life goal or accomplishment. Another reason that people hoard is over worry about a calamity and this strikes a chord with those who suffered in that situation.

When a person loses a loved one they feel as if they need to hold onto anything that they can relate to that particular loved one. It can often be clothing, shoes, furniture, pictures, books, etc. All of these items share an emotional attachment to a loved one. Loved one evoke a time gone past for people that they want back, but they no longer have that ability. So they surround themselves with items that the individual had and theby end up in a hoarding situation. The individual Themselves does not consider this unhealthy, but in actuality it is not. Keeping the items around does not mean the situation gets, better since it does not allow for closure on that individuals loss it only causes them to long for them more. This goes on to another situation that occurs which is the longing for a particular time period.

People sometimes hoard mementos of their past glories or favorite memories in order to compensate for a longing of the past. For example if a person was involved in athletics their whole lives and then suddenly they were not allowed to do it anymore, this individual might hoard clothing from a specific championship or pieces of memorabilia. Also, have you heard someone mention “I remember when …” that means they may possibly be hoarding items of junk like quality to us, but have a special intrinsic value to them. These could all pieces of electronics for a person that used to be a TV repairman or a handyman who still has a large collection of his tools. Though another thing people collect is when there life is stress filled.

Life often throws an individual a financial curve ball every so often, and this can cause a person to lose control of their senses and decide what is necessary and what is not. This can happen during a person's time of unusual financial strife, which tends to involve large amounts of paper work. People can tend to get lost in this massive struggle and they fail to discern between the important paper work and what the fluff is. As a consequence this in turn can result in paper hoarding, which tends to add up over a very short period of time.

All of the struggles listed above are caused by different aspects of turmoil in an individual's life. Individuals need to view their lives of always moving forward and not looking back. However, were here to help them when they decide to solve their problems, we are ready to help them cope with their messes and sort through their hoarding dilemmas.

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Could Changing Your Diet Eliminate Depression and Anxiety?

My folks are always keeping an eye out for me, whether it be my personal safety, or clipping out newspaper articles that they know are related to what I teach to my clients. They are good that way. This time they found an article in the Miami Herald about people who eliminated their depression and / or anxiety by returning to a traditional diet rich in meat and vegetables.

And this is not the only article that discusses the relationship between diet and brain functioning. More and more researchers, mental health experts, and dietitians are discovering a connection between diet rich in meat and vegetables (whole, real foods) and reduced rates of mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and Bi-polar disorder. It does not take a rocket scientist to notice that over the past couple of decades, with the increase of processed, sugary, and fast foods, genetically modified ingredients, and a push to eat more grains because they are “good for you” we have seen a rise in brain-based issues including ADHD and Autism.

But returning to meals of high quality protein, healthy fats, and vegetables (much like your great, great grandmother would make) is only the springboard to improving brain health. What this really does is improve your GUT health. And the gut is the powerhouse of your immune system.

Think of your small intestine as a hose, and processed foods, gluten, and sugar as a weed whacker. The hose deliveries nutrients (water) to your plants. But what happens to the hose when it battles the weed whacker? It now has holes, lots of them. The hose now looks more like a child's lawn toy … the kind with the clown, with holes in his head, that sprays water everywhere … anyone? anyone?

Imagine what happens to your body when your small intestine is “leaky.” Your immune system then tries to fight the “invaders” that are escaping through the holes in the hose. Now your body has inflammation. And where does inflammation surface? Well, that depends on your genetic make-up. For some it is the brain, for others the heart, skin (hello acne), in the joints, reproductive organs, and the list goes on.

Imagine what happens to your body when your small intestine slowly heals. When you give it the foods is was meant to process. When you are finally absorbing the nutrients from REAL food. Yup, the inflation decrees and changes the face of whatever “disorder” you are battling.

Now here is my disclaimer: I am not saying that diet alone is the “magic cure” for all diseases and mental health issues. Lifestyle factors and environmental toxins also play a large role. And the nutritional profile of someone working on Autism, for example, is going to be different than someone with cancer. But the food you put into your body is a start in the right direction and may indeed, vaporize an ailment you have been struggling with over the past several years. I am living proof, reversing my own health woes with lifestyle and diet changes alone.

If you could eliminate depression, anxiety, or an other health issue just by changing your diet, would you?

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The Benefits of Having Anxiety

Believe it or not, there are actually certain beneficial character traits which a person can develop as a result of their anxiety and they can use these personality traits to their advantage. Several of the personality traits which shall be detailed within this article can be employed to allow a person to become a valuable asset at work and in personal relationships.

However, an even more useful reason to identify the positive aspects of having anxiety is to help a person overcome the condition.

It's incredibly difficult to overcome anxiety as the condition itself can cause a person to become extremely negative, both about their prospects and themselves as a person. Furthermore, anxiety is an extremely cyclical condition and many anxieties sufferers (after their first attack) simply become anxious about being anxious.

This is because they recognize and focus on the widely published, both online and in-print, negative connotations which partner the condition. Evidently, it's imperative that anxiety victims are given the opportunity to identify and focus on any positive aspects of the condition, so that they can retain a positive mind during their recovery from the condition. This is all part of a process to help develop a positive mental attitude (PMA) which will encourage self-esteem growth, positivity and become a valuable aid during the recovery process.

Below I will discuss the character traits an anxious person may develop, as well as explain why said habits can have a positive influence in the everyday life of a sufferer. Identification and emphasis on these character visits will help to reduce the stress and pressure of being an anxiety sufferer and allow a sufferer to employ the aforementioned character traits to improve the quality of their life.

Conscientious

By it's very nature, anxiety is a condition which renders the sufferer extremely conscientious. A sufferer will display much greater angst over everyday concerns – such as being late for work or not completing a project – than a non-anxiety sufferer. The generation of this angst ensures a sufferer will be punctual, resilient and extremely determined to complete any given tasks both on time and to a high standard as this will ease their emotional feelings and leave them with a much desired sense of accomplishment. Thus people with anxiety can become valuable commodities to a company and achieve great success in their field because of the angst which drives them to succeed and satisfies any requests given.

Observation

As many people with anxiety fret about the opinion and judgment of their peers, many sufferers will strive to gain approval which can lead to a heightened level observational skill. A promin method employed by anxiety victims to gain the approval of their peers – as well as to detract attention from their own anxiety – is to offer compliments. This can build a person's observational skill as they begin to recognize minor changes in the people around them. Having suffering from anxiety myself, and having known a community of anxiety sufferers, I feel confident enough to state that anxiety victims will be the first to recognize if a person has a new haircut or is wearing a new pair of shoes. I theorize that this heightened observational skill develops because the sufferer constantly seeks out a way to complete a person in order to gain their friendship and trust and as such regularly watches for physical characteristics to praise. Sometimes a person begins to simply notice these little physical features and minute changes subconsciously, allowing them a higher sense of observational skill which can lead to a strong rapport with co-workers, deeper friendships and happier relationships.

Safety

Anxiety is a reaction generated by your brain to a perceivable (often non-existent) sense of danger. Basically, during an anxiety attack a person's brain is activating their fight-vs-flight response and inducing a feeling of intense panic so that they remove themselves from the danger – which can of course be problematic in everyday life. However, it is important to note that, while this perceived danger is often non-existent, an anxiety sufferer is extremely in tune with the environment around them and then when danger is present an anxiety sufferer will be much more aware of this and as such will be able to quickly identify the most productive way to remain safe. This can be an incredible benefit in a person's personal life as it allows them to ensure their family and / or friends avoid danger and stay safe.

Self-Awareness

Now most anxieties sufferers have low self-esteem, and they're usually very self aware and extremely conscious of what they say to others. This is a highly underrated skill. It is often recommended to people that they “think before you speak” so that people do not say regret later; however, because an anxiety sufferer has a high level of self-awareness and an intense desire to gain approval, many sufferers select their words carefully. This allows anxieties sufferers to fit in to almost any social or professional situation because they're reliable and trustworthy to maintain the correct level of respect in said situations. Following on, another extremely underrated quality is the ability to be self-aware. Anxiety sufferers recognize their weaknesses which grants them the somewhat unique ability to instantly identify areas which require improvement which can allow for unpreceded development and progress in a professional capacity.

Confidentiality

Due to a combination of excellent self-awareness and an eagerness to please people allows anxiety victims to become exceptional listeners and trusted advisers. Many anxiety victims will allow people to confide in them – high levels of empathy also – and will often carefully selected advice in a bid to help the speaker; however, more importantly, many anxiety victims will retain any information awarded to them with the utmost confidentiality. This is because an anxiety sufferer will worry about the consequences of revealing a person's private information and as such would prefer to keep this information to him / herself. The ability to be confidential is a wonderful character trait and can lead to the development of strong friendships and relationships.

Kindness

Many anxiety victims house the valuable ability to offer extreme kindness to their peers. This ability stems from the desire to gain the approval of other people by paying compliments and demonstrating a degree of empathy. As many anxiety patients are aware of their condition and the detrimental affect it can have on their life, they're much more understanding of the pain and problems of their surrounding peer group and often strive to help out whenever possible to ensure that people enjoy a better quality of life. Anxiety sufferers require support and so they also understand the need for it and generally offer it also; however, the most predominant aspect of this understanding of the need for support is that the anxiety sufferer has the ability to put a person at ease about the stigma of receiving support as they themselves receive support and as such can relate. The level of support, empathy and kindness displayed by many anxieties sufferers can lead to beneficial relationships in both their professional and personal lives.

To Conclude

Many anxieties sufferers worry suffering from anxiety and it can erode their self-esteem; however, it's important that they remember the beneficial skills which make them a wonderful friend, a great asset at work and an extremely valued person. By identifying these benefits it'll help them in their battle to overcome anxiety, a battle they can and will win.

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Some Effective Steps to Stop Overthinking

It is very easy to fall into the trap of overthinking about minor things in life. So when you are thinking and thinking about something, ask simple questions to yourself. It has been found through a research that widening the perspective by using these simple questions can snap you quickly out of overthinking.

Try to set short time-limits for decisions. So learn to become better at making decisions and to spring into action by setting deadlines in your daily life. No matter if it is a small or a bigger decision.

Be a person of action. When you know how to get started with taking action consistently then you will procrastinate less by overthinking. Setting deadlines is one thing that will help you to be a person of action.

Try to realize one important thing that you can not control everything. Trying to think a thing through 50 times can be a way to try to control everything so you do not risk making a mistake, fail or looking like a fool. But those things are a part of living a life where you truly stretch your comfort zone.

Say stop in situation where you know you can not think straight. Sometimes when you are hungry or when you are lying in bed and are about to go to sleep, then negative thoughts start buzzing around in your mind.

Do not get lost in vague fears. Another trap that you have fallen into many times that has spurred on overthinking is that you have gotten lost in vagu fears about a situation in your life. And so your mind running wild has created disaster scenarios about what could happen if you do something. What is the worst that could happen? You should learn to ask this question to yourself.

Spend the most of your time in the present moment. Be in the present moment in your everyday life rather than in the past or a possible future. Slow down how you do whatever you are doing right now. Move slower, talk slower or ride your bicycle more slowly for example. By doing so you become more aware of how you use your body and what is happening all around you right now.

Try to spend most of your time with people who do not think more. Your social environment plays a big part. Find ways to spend the most of your time and attention with the people and sources that have positive effects on your thinking.

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Racket Feelings in Transactional Analysis

You certainly have met people who tend to have emotional responses that seem unfit for the situation: someone who cries when you'd expect them to be angry or gets angry when sadness would seem appropriate, someone who always looks and feels alarmed – regardless of what's going on, someone who starts laughing when talking about a painful or scary experience. And this happens so often that it somehow becomes the new normal.

Before getting into the TA talk, however, let's make ourselves comfortable by setting up the scene.

If asked to make a list of human emotions, the answer will vary greatly. And that is not because there are so many emotions, but because we all see and feel things slightly differently. And even the smallest difference will have an impact on how we perceive emotions. In spite of that, however, a number of studies have determined that there are only 4 basic human emotions: happiness, fear / surprise, sadness and anger / disgust. All the others are simply “degrees” of these basic four.

The four basic feelings

  • Faced with a threat , people feel FEAR , and they react by freezing or running .
  • When confronted with a barrier that stops them from reaching their goal, they feel ANGER , which energizes them in attacking and destroying the barrier.
  • Positive events (or thoughts / memories / anticipation of success / etc.) make people feel HAPPINESS , which offers a physical sensation of well-being, calm, satisfaction.
  • When people suffer a loss , they feel SADNESS , which leads to holding on or letting go .

There is no such thing as a negative feeling , since we can clearly see how all 4 emotions have their purpose in our lives. They are our way of responding appropriately to the current situation and we use them in problem-solving. If we were to start laughing and jumping around full of joy when an angry bear is approaching us, that would not be either helpful or appropriate.

It all looks pretty easy, right? This is where the “racket feelings” come in, though.

According to Transactional Analysis theories, feelings fall into 2 categories: authentic feelings and “racket feelings”. We just covered the first one by showing how authentic feelings are useful, adaptive responses to the situation. So let's see what these “racket feelings” are all about.

We often hear parents telling children off for crying, getting angry or being too much of a “scarredy-cat”. We sometimes hear children getting scolded for being “too happy and hyper”. While it's true that all children learn what emotional responses are appropriate for what situations from their parents, prohibiting a certain feeling frequently will teach the child that the feeling is not allowed. What's more, most parents who scold the child for expressing a feeling X will usually praise them for exhibiting a feeling Y.

Example

Max is a rather shy and fearful child because other kids in school bully him every day. He enjoys playing inside and drawing trees. His parents are concerned for him, so they often fight for their son staying inside all day long and not having friends. They constantly tell him that he should go out more and socialize. They look worried and upset.

Max does not like seeing his parents like that, and he hates hearing them fight, so he decides to go out and make some friends and he immediately notices how happy his parents are now and how many positive strokes he receives ( what were strokes again ?). So he forces himself to get over his anxieties, makes some new friends and soon becomes one of the bullies, a boy who is not scared of anything and who will often involve himself in risky situations.

Growing up, all his acquaints immediately label him as being “the brave one”, a man who is not scared of anything. But is he really never scared of anything ? That can not be.

A “racket feeling”, as we've seen in the example, is a feeling that the child learns as being acceptable and / or required, which he then uses to replace the authentic feeling, in order to gain the acceptance of his parents ( or any other parental figure). And in this way the child grows up learning that it's never OK to show anger / fear / sadness / happiness. So he does not. He shows what he was told he should , and in time he got so used to it that he does not even feel the authentic emotion anymore.

He grows up “knowing” unconsciously that it's not OK to show one or more emotions, and that people will reject him if he does. Since the lesson is such an early one and its roots are so deeply implanted into his whole being, he will not easily think of checking the reality of things. Quite the opposite, actually.

People need the world to make sense, and it all starts in childhood. So growing up we search for things and situations that will keep our inner world together, and we avoid things that could take away the sense and meaning we created. This happens in regards to our feelings, as well. We do not search for proof that our life beliefs are wrong, we seek for situations that will prove everything we know is right – which then reinforces our beliefs and things go on like this forever. Stopping this cycle and changing something inside it is a darn tough job.

And why would we?

The problem with keeping these feelings distorted as they are is that they do not provide useful problem-solving mechanisms, which means that in time we become more and more overwhelmed by the authentic repressed emotions. We're not aware of them, so we simply feel the racket feeling more and more and, when this keeps on failing in helping us in any way, we can not function properly anymore. The results vary from person to person, but they could be anything from depression to manic episodes.

OK, so how do we fix this?

First of all, forget everything you know about beliefs like “boys do not cry” and “girls are weak”. While there is no single answer, “fixing this” takes time and patience to re-learn what the appropriate feelings are for certain situations, testing reality, getting more and more in contact with the authentic feelings and expressing them. The most important thing to know is that it is OK and normal to feel all the emotions you are feeling. There is nothing wrong with you for feeling angry, scared, sad or even happy. And people around you will not disappear or leave just because you're feeling and showing your emotions in an authentic and OK way.

What do you think about these racket feelings? Did you notice such things in your life or the lives of those around you?

You can find the original article here: http://psychologymuffins.com/racket-feelings-in-transactional-analysis/

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Why Mindfulness Is A Winning Strategy To Ditch Panic Attacks

By being too busy and absorbed in your work, by ignoring the minority cues your body is signaling you, by pushing too hard and not confusing the jaw clenching, neck and shoulder tensing, chest pains and migraines, you gravely endangered your own personal health.

You are like a driver who fails to check his car gauges and lights. You are clueless. You do not have any idea if you are driving on almost empty gas tank or too high an engine's temperature. Next thing you know, your car puttered to stop before you reach your destination.

Or you notice a smoke billowing inside your car's hood

Stress and anxiety do not happen instantly. It happens gradually, slowly building up ready to erupt. Until such a time, there's no way to ignore all that painful, dark and too harmful consequences on your overall health.

It is a good and a preventive measure to regularly “check in our health gauges.” One way to naturally do it is by practicing mindfulness. Sit quietly in a corner. Focus on one thing. Be fully aware of this moment. The here and now. Watch and observe your thoughts and emotions going through a process. Observe in a non-judgmental manner. Concentrate with a disconnected sense. By being mindful you can become one with the moment letting go of your stress, worries and fears.

There are cumulative as well as curative effects if you are constantly mindful daily. You will worry less. You will no longer fall into the trap of anxiety and panic attack pit.

Mindfulness can be easily integrated into your routine. When you eat your meal, just eat and savor every morsel of the food. When you wash dishes just enjoy how your hands feel when submerged into the water and how slippery the dish soap feels. Think of nothing else just the sole activity you're doing. That's how simply it is. If you want to do mindfulness activity with matching meditation, chanting a mantra or ringing Tibetan bells by all means do so. Different strokes for different folks, as they say.

Here are more ideas to naturally reduce stress, anxiety and stop a panic attack without the meds:

1. Call a friend and invite him or her her for a round of golf or play Frisbee in the park. Exercise in the form of play will do wonders for your body and mind. You will feel good afterwards and even more productive at work.

2. Buy a scent burner and load up on Lavender oil. Lavender scent is famous for its calm and relaxing effects. It induces a sleep-like and peaceful state of mind.

3. Try Image bombardment. When you feel a panic attack about to set in and you start to feel anxious, sweaty and jittery, think of your favorite image. For example: If you like cats, imagine a furry chinchilla cat with a pattern coat and long whiskers purring his way to you. Next, imagine you are feeding a ginger-colored Himalayan cat that just came by your house but meows because she wanted to be adopted by you.

4. When panic attack happens while you are driving you need to implement a distraction tactic. Try to get off your mind from your awful physical sensations and make up a phrase or add the numbers of the car plate ahead of you.

5. Whistle a tune. The process forces you to breathe normally that balances the oxygen / carbon dioxide equation. An imbalance will make you hyperventilate, makes you dizzy and conclusive to panic attacks.

6. Set small goals to accomplish everyday. The action plus the momentum will make you look forward to doing the activity even if you do not feel like doing it at first.

7. Get to bed early. Stick with your bedtime schedule. Sometimes it's tempting to stay a little longer to finish reading a novel or watching a late night tv show but the time deficiency is going to be paid tomorrow. It will hamper your decision making, you lose a bit focus because you're yawning and want to crawl back to bed. You will become moody and short-tempered. This gets worst if you have several late nights stacked up.

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Qigong Fights PTSD Emotions Through Love

After engaging in very stimulating conversations (through a popular business-minded social media group in Qigong) I realized that some of the people have a more rigid mind-set than others. We might think that this would most often be coming from those with Western ideas of healing, rather than those of Eastern beliefs in such. Surprise! There is an underwriting prejudice and pride from those that seem to spend more time teaching than what is called for healing, emitting qi. Do not get your defenses up and panties all in a wad because I said, “some of the people, not all of them.” This is true in all facets of philosophy and cultural concessions of being part to one's own nationalism, community, family, or just circle of close people with similar thinking.

The tragedy of this dysfunctional mind processing is that it limits the beautiful resources that resonate from using Universal Energy for its main purpose. Thus, underlines rather than enhancements a person who uses the “gift” of healing self and others through Qigong. Poetically we may visualize this medicinal process as a mirror that when looked into will reveal where our imperfections or “blockages” lodge that prevent us from seeing the truth in ourselves. If we open ourselves up to wanting to know the truth it is the first step in removing those blockages to promote better health.

One particular Mental Health Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a great example of using kindness to really tick off your enemy! (Feel free to laugh at this, because I am!) One of the more Eastern, traditional methods of healing Cancer cells is to visualize and say in your mind as you are emitting qi to help someone heal themselves is to say, “Kill, kill, kill “to the opposing diseased cells. Well, we can think of this getting rid of what ails you process in a different, more New Age thinking way. By the way, this is really a controversial subject and one should use caution when repeating it to any of those that I mentioned as being “some of the people.” This is because they have been taught this, used this method for centuries and do get results that are fleeting. I say fleeting because we need to keep in mind (again this is New Age thinking, but also Christ's teaching) that that we think or concentrate most on becomes our reality. Thus, if we continue to have negative thinking patterns that promote ill-health, such as PTSD, we will stay in that tumultuous stream of repetitious thoughts that proliferate the traumatic event (s) rather than disarm them.

Getting back to how we would tick off the Mental Health Disorder of PTSD is through contemplating on loving, kind, and forgiving thoughts. This goes hand in hand with those practitioners who will never have a great ability to use emitting qi (treating themselves or others) if they are not kind, loving, and forgiving, also

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Because Mental Health Is Not Just the Absence of Mental Illness

Because mental health is not only the absence of mental illness.

“I feel lonely in my relationship”, “I feel incompetent even though I just got a promotion”, “I can not stop thinking about the visit to my in laws”, “I can not trust people”, “I am stressed all the time, and can not rest or enjoy free time “,” I am successful but I am not happy “,” I do not like what I see when I look myself in the mirror “, … so forth and so on. These are only a few of the typical examples people look help for on daily basis. As you can tell psychology is part of our daily lives. Perfect, common, and typical people like you and me looking for help to deal with everyday struggles, to learn how to make the best of themselves and to live life to the fullest. So are they mentally ill and that is why they have those problems? No, and even though the stereotype of therapy is still that is for people with serious problems, the reality is that it is like going to the dentist or a primary doctor: you go when something is not working the way it should or you want it to or because there is some pain.

Yes it is true, the field of counseling and psychotherapy started back in the days for treating the very mentally ill, people with serious neurological disorders and low or nonexistent levels of functioning. But much have changed and now we do not only treat severe problems but most of the field is focused on helping people thrive and not survive and to develop their full potentials. Nowadays, most people look for help to prevent unnecessary suffering and to be happy.

Lets look at the definition of Mental Health. According to the Webster dictionary Mental Health is “the condition of being sound mentally and emotionally that is characterized by the absence of mental disorder (as neurosis or psychosis) and by appropriate adjustment especially as reflected in feeling comfortable about others, positive feelings about others, and ability to meet the demands of life. ”

I also like the World Health Organization's definition: “Mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder. , can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. ”

So this is what mental health is about in the 21st century. And thank goodness for it because nobody needs to suffer unnecessarily. It was not so long ago, even just a generation ago that people did not have as much information or help as we do today, and for that we can be thankful. We do not have to be victims of our past anymore. Today, with some effort and dedication we can change our destinies and be as happy as it is humanly possible.

Mental Health is not just the absence of a mental disorder, but the capacity of an individual to reach his / her full potential. It is not about being “OK” or “fine” is about being at our best. If you have a difficult moment, feel lost or are in a bad place, please look for help. However, I can not emphasize enough that you do not even have to be in distress or facing a crisis to start focusing on your mental health. Here there are a few things you can do to start improving your mental state today:

Spend time daily, face-to-face, with people you like. No matter how much time you devote to improving your mental and emotional health, you will still need the company of others to feel and be your best. Humans are social creatures with emotional needs for relationships and positive connections to others. We're not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Our social brains crave companionship-even when experience has made us shy and distrustful of others. Make spending time with people you enjoy a priority. Choose friends, neighbors, colleges, and family members who are upbeat, positive, and interested in you. Take time to inquire about people you meet during the day that you like.

Engage in meaningful, creative work. Do things that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for it – things like gardening, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, or building something in your workshop.

Make leisure time a priority. Do things for no other reason than that it feels good to do them. Watch movie, take a walk on the beach, listen to music, read a good book, or talk to a friend .. Play is an emotional and mental health necessity.

Make time for reflection and appreciation. Think about the things you're grateful for. Mediate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.

Be true to yourself. Try to get in touch with what really makes you happy regardless of society or family rules or believes. The more you are honest to yourself and follow your inner self the healthier you would be.

Ah … and do not forget, looking for help in case you need it is a sign of strength and not a weakness.

“Happiness is not the absence of problems,
but the ability to overcome them “- Nichiren Daishonin

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