Friday, September 21, 2012

The Single Life Not the Family, Is the Latest Statistics

Well here is the video clip of the 6:00 PM CBC news, aired on Sept. 19th, “It’s the single life, not families, for more Windsorites. If you missed the news broadcast and you would like to view it, I’m in the beginning of the show.

They quoted me as saying people don't deal with conflict the way they used to. The rise in Video Game addiction and the loss jobs especially in the auto industry in our area, would explain the higher divorce rates and thus more people living the single life. Everyone knows that with the high unemployment rate, along with job displacement, financial hardship causes a rise in domestic violence and an increase in addiction.

The newest addiction, which is Video game addiction, is more socially acceptable because it’s not as stigmatizing as being addicted to cocaine or gambling etc… It is happening below the radar. So far the destruction of this addiction is yet to be truly documented in our society. Yet this addiction is just as destructive as any drug or alcohol, addiction. People that suffer from Video Game Addiction, live in a world of fantasy. They isolate from every day reality. They tend to close off from relationships and become emotionally detached from other people. The isolation is the common thread in all addictions. People suffering from addiction become obsessed with being on the computer drugs or alcohol, rather than deal with everyday conflicts and problems, in life. Rather then deal with every day life they tend to escape from the real world. With every addiction a lack of maturity is usually always a factor. Not wanting to grow up and deal with conflict in a mature, responsible way, rather escaping or avoiding conflict by finding some kind of escape which is easier but destructive to close relationships.

Hard work, perseverance, trust and honesty are the key factors needed in maintaining a good healthy marriage. Without these important values you will not be able to have a healthy relationship. You also have to be able to have the willingness to work on yourself as well as your relationship and include other people. Too many people try to do it on their own and they don’t know how. In the end they end up being resentful, they loose hope and in the end give up and choose to live the single life because it’s easier. Our Canadian culture has traditionally stressed individualism and achievement as signs of success. This is in stark contrast to developing compassion, closeness, and love for the people that are closest to you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ancient Wisdom

Would you rather be slapped with the truth or kissed with a lie. The truth will expose itself, when we are in tune with how we feel in certain situations, along with how in tune we are with our feelings around certain people. In addition, what people have actually done and how they behave is a more accurate description as to who they are. Manipulators and con artists always try to cover up there behavior with words. Actions speak louder than words!

o Millions of years of evolution have been instilled in us over the generations. In ancient times before there were words, we instinctually sensed and knew when there was danger. Gut feelings, sense things that words can't disguise. When we slow down, we come into contact with the ancient wisdom that is built into each and everyone of us.

o Instinctually we know without effort. Have a Great Day Everyone.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Attachment and Human Development

Early attachment to our parents or other primary caregiver is of vital importance to healthy growth and maturity. However, traumatic breaches or disruptions in attachment between a child and a parent, places the individual at risk for developing some forms of pathology, excessive fear, anxiety or depression.

The vital process of attachment starts out during early infancy. This happens when a baby’s immature brain uses the mature functions of the parent’s brain to start to organize its own mental processes. Making sense to the world actually starts out with how the parent responds to their environment.

In particular, the parents help aid in reducing uncomfortable feelings such as fear, anxiety, or sadness; this enables the child or baby to be soothed and gives them a basic sense of safety in the world. In essence, the child feels a sense of value, greatness and builds their self worth. These positive traits are instilled in the child’s developing mind, which are essential for development. Attachment, empathy and love play a vital role in healthy development.

Fundamentally, the relationship between a child and their parents can literally determine if a child has a positive view of the world or a negative view of the world. Basically if the parent is there to soothe and comfort a child when they are uncomfortable there needs are met, a healthy relationship between child and parent is established. Consequently, a child would feel secure and safe; this would provide the basis for a positive world view. However, when a parent neglects or is not healthy themselves, insecure attachments are made.

When a child doesn’t experience a real sense of safety in the world, or the child has no one to turn to for comfort, these repeated experiences of terror or fear, can become engrained as a negative world view. Consequently, a child would experiences feeling of being overwhelmed, being out of control and could suffer from learned helplessness. These negative experiences become ingrained in their minds and become realities with which these individuals live by, on a daily basis.

Recent research is strongly pointing to insecure attachment as the main cause to many difficulties people are experiencing in their lives today. Regardless, in reality trauma is a fact of life; however, it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. With the help of a professional therapist trained in identifying and dealing with traumatic breaches, these problems can be over come.

For more information on this topic see "Childhood Trauma and Intimate Relationships".

Monday, July 30, 2012

Serendipity: Disaster or Good Fortune

Serendipity: Disaster or Good Fortune

Some things are not taught in the educational system.  Most people have been taught through the educational system which is to learn to listen almost exclusively through our analytical mind, which mainly consists of memorizing or concentrating. This type of learning does not prepare to learn from the realization that we must hurt in order to know, fall in order to grow, lose in order to gain, this is due to our greatest lessons, are learned through pain. |It’s imperative to have the ability to think positively through negativity and learn and grow from it.     
Serendipity is a very worthwhile concept to understand and practice in our everyday lives.  Serendipity means a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise"; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it.  It is the ability to turn disaster into good fortune.   Synchronicity is another key concept developed by psychologist Carl Jung to describe a perceived meaningful coincidence. 
Developing serendipity is done when we sense something is wrong, and we respond to the disaster or misfortune with the ability to read and adapt to the new reality quickly.  This is a matter of trusting our instincts and not allowing ourselves to feel victimized.  Actually adversity and disaster are catalysts to bringing out our deepest strengths.  Some of the other key elements to Serendipity are: learn to laugh or cry, ask survival skills/coping questions, take action, be playful and curious. When life hands us lemons, turn the lemons into lemonade. Don’t forget that laughing about something is an excellent sign that something has been learned. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Standing Up for Self and Others

It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you believe in and even more courage to stand up and help other people. Courage is the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear. Bravery and courage is about setting aside your fear and taking action for the good of yourself or someone else. In addition, when we stand up for ourselves, other people may be upset with the fact that you have the guts to be honest. Consequently they will criticize you and question you. It really doesn’t matter; we have no choice but to take the controversy, in order to have true self worth and reach our potential in life. If this criticism doesn’t stop it is just a sign that these people don’t have your best interests at heart.

The strength and courage comes from having the guts and integrity to be honest, in order to stand up for what you believe in.The real relevance to this type of courage is the fact that, I can only realize my own importance when I recognize that what I do for my own good will, in a lot of cases be for the good of everyone.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

― Nelson Mandela

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Childhood Trauma and Intimate Relationships

Childhood trauma is far more common than most people realize. According to Peter Levine a leading expert in childhood trauma the home is where the most occurrences of domestic violence and trauma occur. It is estimated that 27% of all violent crime involved family on family violence, 48% involved acquaintances. Children if not directly involved in the domestic violence were witness to it. Children can be in state of wide eyed terror, or typically witnesses or sees a loved one being brutalized, often fears the worse than the one attacked. A child can resort to hiding under a table or perhaps they can be frozen to a wall, in an attempt to become invisible. For example, a child develops a need to stay small, silent and still. The child becomes accustomed to being in a frozen state of fear. Consequently, the long term outcome of childhood trauma can be anxiety, panic attacks, and depression along with a host of other psychological problems.

Childhood trauma can show up and continue to show up months, years, and sometimes decades after an incident, this is why professional help is essential in order to overcome these problems. Breaches of trust in childhood can result in many people who stop trusting all others and began to view people as inherently out to harm them. How can these traumatized people have intimacy or close relations with their wives, husbands or children? The truth is, without help, they can’t. Psychotherapy allows the therapist and the individual to be able to deal with the past in order to re-gain a feeling of safety and self esteem.

Psychotherapy allows people to deal wit the past in order to change the present. Many people have had to survive through traumatic or painful times in their lives and could not allow themselves to feel the pain at the time, or didn’t know how to deal with the pain or trauma on their own. This unhealed trauma’s can have a dramatic impact on this person’s adult life. The walls or barriers these people have erected in order to survive in the past, no longer serve the same purpose and are actually harmful to their present situation, especially close intimate relationships. In treating such cases, psychotherapy, or counseling by a trained professional can be invaluable.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


“The Success Principles” written by Jack Canfield states that we only complain about things we can change, not things we can’t change like gravity. The fact is gravity just exists so we accept it. We know that complaining about it will not change anything. The point is we complain about things we can change, the real resistance to change is when we have to change ourselves. We can change and get a better job, develop a more loving relationship with our spouse or live in a better neighborhood. . If I want to change the question should be what do I change. The real problem is we have to first get used to the idea that if I want change to happen, I have to take a risk and change myself. 

The defenses that can be built around this topic of change goes really deep. “I’m not taking the blame for your mistakes”. This type of thinking can be the foundation of a really negative and pessimistic view of the world. Resistance to change can become a way of life. We can actually surround ourselves with people who support our blaming and self pity, these people are actually just like ourselves.  Birds of a feather flock together.  When we blame others for our problems we become a victim of circumstance, we unknowingly go into a state of learned helplessness, to the point were we just give up. Consequently, depression sets in; actually we creat a downward spiral, which we may never recover from.

Courage and real inward change is based on our ability to stand our ground and rely on our own abilities to learn to replace complaining, with taking the action that is needed to achieve the desired outcomes. Redirecting the change inward is essential.  This is what truly successful people do. If we truly want to live a better life is it no magic carpet ride that will get us there, without hard work on ourselves.  The magic carpet ride thinking is just a lot of fantasy?
 For further reading on this topic see "Excuses or Facing Our True Selves"

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Reducing the Risk of Sexual Violation

Today we live in a society where there is so much confusion over sexual values and behaviors. This whole topic of sexual values and morals in families can become really confusing at times, since nurturing in families consists of hugging, holding, cuddling, and massage. The research by Peter Levine a leading expert in trauma is startling, a large percentage of children are molested by older siblings and teenage babysitters, it is actually five times higher than parental incest. The average age a child is violated is 8.2 years old; this is a special time when children are very curious.

Unknowingly, parents can give there children conflicting messages and perhaps can even encourage children to do things they might not want to. For example, it wouldn’t be unusual for parents to teach there children to always be nice to people, or don’t hurt people’s feelings, don’t be rude, or if someone speaks to you, you  must answer them, making children think that they are responsible for taking care of other people, is another common mistake, don’t question authority and always obey the babysitter can also be taken out of context sometimes.  Consequently, many children experience the deep wound of sexual trauma which can be very confusing, especially if a perpetrator was someone the child was supposed to trust.

It’s really surprising how easily children can cave into adult’s requests. A child can think that they are mean, disobedient, or they are being disrespectful if they don’t go along with adults requests. Children must also be taught to say no to adults, especially to some people in authority. The main thing to remember about sexual violation is a person or child should seek professional help. Also it's important for a child to know that a parent will believe them, if a crisis like this ever happens.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Excuses or Facing Our True Selves

Blaming others for our problems can be a real crutch; consequently, this can actually be the root cause of a lot of physical disorders. Confusion, being constantly overwhelmed, living in the future, along with blame and self pity, can be at the root to a lot of physical problems. Not to mention just how the self pity can darkened and cloud, a person’s view the world. Really, when we carry around a lot of negativity, how could we ever accomplish and reach our potential in life.

The quote from Peter Levine says it all “true heroism comes from having the courage to openly acknowledge one’s own experience, not from suppressing, denying or blaming others for the way we behave”. However, we can be conditioned to blame and make up excuses for our unacceptable behavior. Consequently, we can blame our parents, our bosses, our friends, our coworkers or the economy. However, if we truly want to be successful we have to take 100 % responsibility for everything in our life.

In fact, when we are not facing our problems, we can unknowingly, be stuck in a maladaptive pattern of thinking and living. A conflict is taking place in us and we are not resolving it. Being stuck in a maladaptive response pattern, doesn’t necessarily mean we have a disease, however, a dis-ease or a discomfort is taking place These symptoms can range from a mild uneasiness to downright depletion of all the strength and ambition in life. The point is, in a lot of cases we have to move to a place of fluidity. This means that perhaps it’s time to stop reminiscing with memories that are not very pleasant and re-examine, what these memories are doing to me today. Healing starts when we start forcing in the pleasant thoughts in life.

We can then start to commit ourselves to healing, sometimes we find out even more of the truth to our past. In reality, we don’t really need to know the concrete truth to heal. However, when we start forcing in the good, in time it can become a counter force to all the negative things that have happened in my life. In reality we are bridging the gap between heaven and hell. Heaven is an expansion of learning forgiving and starting over. Hell is a contraction into resentment, anger, self pity, blame and in some cases suicide. The more fluid we become, the less prevalent the negative is. In time the negative energy is broken up and released. When we go through this process we have renegotiated, our thinking process and healed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Truth, the Breakdown and the Breakthrough

What are the real consequences of telling the truth or not telling the truth? It’s hard to tell the truth, however, have we ever thought of how much energy it takes to keep a secret. In addition, the damage the pain and hurt, it causes us and our loved ones. By wasting our energy on dishonesty, we end up producing extra pain and frustration in our lives, this causes us to be overwhelmed and spiritually exhausted. People can continue to hang on to false notions about themselves even though they cause harm to themselves and others. In reality these ideas and beliefs are all that they know, however, in other cases there are power and control issues driving the dishonesty.

Truly believing and practicing honesty can cause us to actually become free and heal from the past. In my private practice people, when people finally get honest and come to grips with themselves, they always feel and look better. A person trapped in a dishonest life style looks sick, stressed out and depressed. It takes a lot of negative, energy to cover up and manipulate the truth.

When we become morally upright it’s like pulling a dagger out of a person’s heart. We become more spontaneous, and have a new lease on life. We now have more energy to pursue our dreams in life. This is possible since; energy in the honesty can now be released, in order for it, to be used, to focus on more success in our own life. “The truth will set us free”.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Trusting and Being Your Self

Recently, I have been reading a daily reading, from a book titled “Just for Today” by Jyabla Vanzant; the specific reading is for Thurs. May 17th. The message is very powerful, it’s too bad more people won’t allow themselves to stick with there basic instincts and just be themselves. Allowing our self, to be ourselves, can be risky at times; however there can be great rewards. For example, when we start soul searching we start to discover what my strengths are, what my limitations are, what makes me tick, what will make me crack, how much pressure I can take, or what happens when I reach a goal in life, these questions can only be answered when I dare to trust being myself

The opposite to trusting yourself would be to go along with things that you know are unethical and wrong, this would be allowing myself to go against my own morals and convictions. There is a price to pay. In my clinical experience there actions would produce some real negative consequences in a person’s life. For example, the feelings of constant chaos, confusion and disorder would create a turbulence that would never subside. Betraying your own morals is the worst kind of betrayal a person can ever experience. In some cases this would lead to alienation, self pity and can be the underlying reason some people fall into depression, anxiety, panic attacks and addiction. When making decisions don’t forget we have a conscious that will not allow us to get away with such things in life. Trusting and allowing ourselves to stand up for what we believe in empowers us and enhances our self worth.

The real fundamental truth to being ourselves lies in our basic human nature. For example, children are not afraid to make mistakes look foolish, fall and stumble, or worry about the future, they are not afraid to be themselves and have no problem standing up for what they believe in. Children grow and mature at an alarming rate. Similarly, if adults could just allow themselves, to be themselves they would naturally live their life the way we were meant to live it, and consequently, they would accomplish the things in life they were meant to accomplish.

Just for today let’s not be afraid to stand up for what we believe in and be our authentic self.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Adaptation to an Ever Changing Environment

We all have developed skills in life which help us adapt and cope, in order to fit with our environment. We have a knowledge base which we have developed over the years, we depend on this knowledge base to understand the world, and we live in. Children are the prime examples of what human nature is really all about. Thinking processes have been developed over time starting as a young child. For example, a young child who is familiar with a dog has to take in and understand the difference between a dog and a horse. The child’s first response might be a horse is a big dog. The child must go through a process of adapting to a new concept of the horse and blend and coordinate old physical and mental structures into a new concept which is the concept of a horse. The child eventually understands the difference between a dog and a horse. This change in the thinking process, devises and modifies old patterns and thought processes into new ones.

Thinking process must and should change as we mature and grow in life. We can become too accustomed to interacting in the world in one set way. For example, thinking that everyone is honest and that we should be able to trust everyone serves a purpose when we are children. However, as we grow older we must realize that not everyone is honest. In reality we can be dealing with some very dishonest people in our lives. Perhaps not being able to adapt could be the root cause of my current level of frustration and anxiety at this time. We do not understand the world and we then feel alienated by the world. However, conflict or anxiety would be resolved when a person starts being able to distinguish between honest and dishonest people. The next step would be to recognize that a concept that served us at another time in my life is no longer working.

The point to all this is, that learning and growing in life is our human nature. As adults we tend to forget that we are supposed to always be growing and evolving, thus, forging a new identity as we grow older. Perhaps the stress that I’m currently experiencing is actually my inability to incorporate new information into an old way of coping and dealing with a new reality

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stress the Driving Force Behind Resilience

Stress can be caused by our inability to adapt to change. However, there is no way to avoid change in our lives. In reality we have to keep adjusting or re-aligning our lives to the ever changing events in our lives. For example, a death of a loved one, divorce, or any other traumatic event can cause extreme stress in a person’s life. Misunderstandings, hurt feelings and hidden resentments are also an inevitable part of life. It’s how we deal with the stress that is important. There is no perfection in life. All there really is, is a process of being attuned to our situation in life, to misattunement, learning to negotiate a relational breach, or traumatic event, to reattunement, learning, and growing from an experience, consequently, trusting again.

Working through stress and repairing breaches of trust, is a form of re-negotiating with myself and how I interact with my environment. When a person works on stress in their lives the effort produces an expansion of knowledge, consequently, it also builds resilience and fosters empowerment. This re-attunes or re-aligns a person’s understanding to the stressful event. This is reminiscent of the earliest attunement between mother and child. I’ll leave the last part for my next blog. LOL. !

Monday, April 23, 2012

Boundary Violations and Social Support

Every part of our self has boundaries, to the cells in our bodies to our relationships with other people. For example somebody wants to borrow our car. However this person has a history of being irresponsible in the past. We don’t want to loan him the car however, we have a hard time saying no so we loan the car out. Simply saying “No I’m sorry I don’t feel comfortable loaning out my car”. This is a boundary.

When we are physically abused, sexually traumatized or exposed to horrific events that don’t make sense to us, many of our boundaries are shattered. It's  like a spear that tears a hole in our boundary. Consequently, we can erect barriers that are so rigid they are like a brick wall that no one can get in. Consequently, we end up alienated, isolated and alone. This is an extreme that leads us to being violated and intruded upon, to being alone, this we not produce any peace or freedom in that person’s life. We end up alone and miseable.

Regardless, we have to find ways to heal those boundary violations. What we can do after people have been exposed to trauma. We can do a lot. In fact what we are finding is that social support seems to be a major protective factor. When we have been violated by other people especially by people we were supposed to trust we have a tendency to stop allowing all people into our life. When we start trusting other people this is a sign that we are beginning to heal from our boundary violation or trauma. Consequently, the more people can generate social support after they have been exposed to trauma, whether it is troops coming back from war, rape victims after the awful event has taken place, hurricane survivors, tsunami survivors, or earthquake survivors in Japan, etc., the more social support, the greater the likelihood that they will heal from trauma and rebuild the boundary violations that occurred in the past.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Experiencing the Intelligence of Not Knowing, Part 1

The present is the moment,

the past was a moment,

and the future will be a moment.

Life really is simple; however, most people find a way of speeding of up their thinking, by worrying about a bill, being overly concerned about the future, regretting the past, or getting stuck in resenting their jobs. In the process life passes us by. When we bring awareness to stressful moments we think more clearly and we might see our own unbalanced view as the root cause to an inappropriate, overreaction on our part, perhaps our behavior could be out of proportion to what the actual circumstance is. The purpose of this blog is to explore the mechanisms of analytical, process-oriented thinking versus the free flowing mode of thought experienced when we are in the moment.

Most people have been taught through the educational system which is to learn to listen almost exclusively through our analytical mind, which mainly consists of memorizing or concentrating. We compare what we are listening to, to what we already know, agreeing or disagreeing and processing the data as the message enters our mind. This type of learning has limitations and can take us away from being in the moment.

Listening with nothing on our minds is a completely different experience. Listening with no interpretation, prejudice, preconception, expectation, or anticipation is the exact opposite of our analytical mind. True listening with an open mind, even if we previously disagreed with it, a new awareness may appear, bringing with it a new or heightened awareness to a situation that was not seen previously seen. If we are living in the present moment we will be more aware of our present feelings and impulses. This awareness allows us to navigate more smoothly through the moods, emotions, and circumstances of life. Listening in a free flowing mode is thought recognition. We can recognize the quality of our own thinking and this enables us to get back on track with being in the moment.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Role Confusion, Stress and Work holism

One of the biggest obstacles to communication and knowing our true feelings is role confusion stress and work holism. If we can’t seem to get it together, it may be that we have given too much of ourselves away to our jobs. The job or profession becomes our identity as to who we are and what we stand for. It may be that we have compromised, over compensated, given in over so much of yourself that you know longer know were all the pieces fit together anymore. In the process we can be physically and emotionally detached from our families.

This detachment starts by getting stuck in a particular role at work; we can then run the danger of feeding a chronic addiction to work. The stress of success, the power and control, the attention, and respect some people get in there professional life can be intoxicating and addicting. Unfortunately this work addiction usually results in the erosion of the quality of family life. The work addiction causes us not to know much about our family members or what they are feeling or what is going on with them on a daily basis. Before we know it we have lost the ability to be there for the people that we love the most in our lives. It can be very hard to make the transition from authority, to one’s position as father, or mother, or any other position that we supposed to be just be a regular person. When a divorce happens or our children don’t want nothing to do with us any more, the professional gains we have made at work aren’t really worth it.

One sure way of making sense to yourself in order to get yourself back in balance is to discuss your situation with others in order for you to see new options you may have not thought of before or perhaps even have thought to be unthinkable. Sometimes ideas are unthinkable only because our mind is so attached to one way of thinking and we have become unconscious to the various roles we are playing and there effects on our lives. We can become very strongly attached to one point of view that blinds us to seeing the full extent of what is actually happening in our lives. When we have a very narrow point of view we create ruts that prevent us from growing. When we start discussing our situation with others we can become devoted to reclaiming all the pieces of my life that are the most important, our family. Letting other people into our lives is essential in order for us to have balance in our life.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Communication and People Stress

Communication and People Stress

We can all think of people as a huge source of stress in our lives. We can feel that others are controlling our lives, or putting to many demands on our lives, they don’t care about us or our feelings. The real problem is that some of these people are close to us and we may even live with them or work with them. The problem is there is no avoiding them. The confusing part is some of the people I’m having problems with I love deeply. Regardless, the real truth is that psychological stress arises from our interaction between us and the world. It is essential for us to take responsibility for our part in the relationship between people; it is our perception, thoughts, feelings, and behavior that I have control over, no one else’s.

Over time we develop deeply ingrained ways of dealing with interpersonal unpleasantness and conflict. These habits are usually established and often are inherited and molded by our parents. Some people are so threatened by conflict, or dealing with angry feelings they will do anything to avoid dealing with the conflict. Other people may deal with there insecure feeling by creating conflict wherever they go. They view interactions with other people in terms of power and control.

The one thing we have to remember is that good relations with people is essential to happiness. It is in this sense that life is fair. We don’t need to have a lot of money and in a lot of cases, people who enjoy close relationships with others are happier than people who have a lot of money. Relationships are based on connectedness. When people communicate and exchange perspectives, this sets the ground work for intimacy and open honest communication; this is an absolute essential element in any close relationship. It is essential to recognize my barriers that are preventing me from having close relationships with others.

The Power of Now

I will know peace when……

I learn to focus on one thing at a time.

Filling up our time with to much busyness is just another self destructive way of avoiding our problems. Instead of owning up to our problems we can get caught up in running around like crazy until our lives are overflowing with commitments and obligations that we can’t possibly meet. The feelings of fear inadequacy, unworthiness, and even desperation now take over. We can then feel like giving up. This is the exact moment that we need to remind ourselves that we can only do one thing at a time.

We have to remind ourselves that in reality, we only have to deal with what is in front of me, in this moment. However, this doesn’t mean that we will not feel threatened, fearful, angry, humiliated or that we won’t do anything silly or self destructive again. The important thing to remember is that if we are living in the present moment we will be more aware of our present feelings and impulses. When we bring awareness to stressful moments we think more clearly and we might see our own unbalanced view as the root cause to an inappropriate, overreaction on our part, perhaps our behavior could be out of proportion to what the actual circumstance is. Staying in the present moment helps us to think more clearly in order to respond maturely in the moment. Working on staying in the moment is an experience that words cannot describe; there is a spiritual element that must be felt, in order to truly understand this concept.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trapped in Anxiety Reactivity, Part 1

Human being are remarkably resilient to stress. We are expert copers and problem solvers. We cope through moments of pleasure, peace and fulfillment. We also cope by sharing love and receiving encouragement and support from family and friends.

Stress, trauma, panic attacks and anxiety can usually be traced back to the central nervous system. In particular the fight or flight respomse is a defense mechanism that is a response to a real or even a perceived danger. The fight or flight response is a universal and primitive defense strategy. If a situation calls for aggression, a threatened creature or in ancient times a person will fight. If the threatened animal determines they will likely loose the fight the threatened creature or person living in ancient times would run. These choices are not thought out they are instinctual. This is a basic defense mechanism to stay alive.

What happens when we are in situations when the fight or flight response is building up in us, but we feel the it is socially unacceptable to run or fight. Besides it wouldn’t solve the problem anyways. Our blood pressure is rising, our heart is pounding, our muscles are tense, and our stomach has a knot in it. This is the point when we are strained and pushed beyond our limits we render ourselves unable to adapt or cope with the stress.

What happens is we internalize the stress reaction we don’t get the resolution that fighting or running gives us. We don’t peak freeze make a decision then run or fight to discharge this built up anxiety, fear and heightened arousal. This energy stays trapped in our bodies; consequently, this energy causes destruction in our bodies. In a lot of cases this hyper arousal is the root cause as to why we stay trapped in stress reactivity.

I will elaborate more on this topic in part 2.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Anxiety the Thinking Disease

People who suffer from anxiety have a tendency to always be thinking of the future and always wondering what is next. The pain of being abused, or violated, or about feeling pain or being alone, or being sick or disabled, or about someone you love being hurt or killed. We may have fear of failure or fears of success, fears of letting others down or about the fate of the earth. Here is a quote by Mark Twain at the end of his life. “I’m an old man now. I’ve lived a long and difficult life, filled with so many misfortunes. Most of which never happened”.

Fear and embarrassment of the symptoms happening around people just adds to the anxiety. The symptoms include trembling, shakiness, muscle tension, restlessness, easy fatigability, shortness of breathe, rapid heart beat, sweating, dry mouth, dizziness’, nausea, being easily startled, difficulty concentrating or irritability. People with excessive anxiety, stay in a frozen state of fear. This renders them, always hoping for some sort of pleasure while dreading some kind of pain. The conclusion is all anxiety is anticipatory. It’s all based on future events. You may have a hard time putting your finger on the root cause of these feelings.

According to Peter Levine a leading expert in trauma anxiety can actually one of the symptoms associated with trauma. Many people have traumatic symptoms that go unrecognized. For example 15% of all adults suffer from panic attacks, unexplained anxiety or phobias. As many as 75% of the people who see doctors have complaints that are labeled psychosomatic because no physical explanation can be found for them. In my work I believe many of these people have traumatic histories which at least contribute to the problem of anxiety. Anxiety is a thinking disease; however it is essential to seek professional help in order to get to the root cause of a person’s anxiety.