Posted in Mental Health, Psychology

10 Anger Truths

  1. Anger is a set of behaviors that can include yelling, kicking, fighting, drinking, drugging, cheating and so on. Any word ending in ING is a verb and behaviors are verbs.

  2. Everyone uses anger behaviors at one time or another because we have learned that they “work.”

  3. Anger behaviors can be justified, are usually rationalized and are always authentic and genuine. Anger is the one behavior people do not “fake”.

  4. When we say, “anger is an emotion”, we are referring to the emotions of hurt and fear. Anger is the sound of hurt and fear leaving our souls.

  5. When we say we “feel angry” we are “feeling” the automatic emotions our thoughts are driving and the physiological affects of the Flight/Fight/Freeze Response, which is our body physically preparing to run or kick somethings/someone’s butt.

  6. You cannot control emotions; they are automatically fueled by thoughts. However, you can choose how you interpret the world around you. This is called a coping skill.

  7. Behaviors, including anger behaviors, express our thoughts and emotions while also trying to fulfil our needs for connectedness or autonomy or recognition.

  8. We can choose the behaviors that express our thoughts and emotions and fulfill needs. That choice is then be evaluated, by us and others, as being either effective/ineffective and healthy/unhealthy. Ineffective and unhealthy behaviors destroy lives.

  9. When a behavior effectively communicates our thoughts and emotions AND fulfills our needs, we continue to use it remains effective. Anger behaviors are usually effective just not healthy for us and our relationships

  10. Ending anger behaviors comes when we heal our hurt and fear triggered as we interpret the world around by using good coping skills while choosing to respond to life situation by using behaviors that we evaluate as effective and healthy.
Posted in Mental Health, Psychology, Self Help

Jibe-Ho, Everyone

I may not be a sailor but I do have an unhealthy fetish with pirates.

When it comes to taking risks, trying new things, engaging in new adventures, all in the name of healing, the first thing we need to realize is that risk taking requires a strong sense of self-concept or self-esteem. In other words, we must recognize our own value, believe in abilities, and have faith in the journey and that we will reach our intended destination if we are ever to take risks and change our lives.

When sailors are about to change course or speed, the captain of the ship yells “Jibe-Ho” which indicates to everyone on deck that the boom arm is about to swing across the centerline of the ship for the purpose of either releasing or capturing the wind to increase or decrease speed and possibly to change course. This cautionary shout out warns everyone that a change is coming and, for that change to occur, danger will sweep across the deck. So, if you are not paying attention and/or daydreaming, you may just end up taking a swim or getting a huge headache.

Many people often bitch and moan and throw their hands in the air then declare with vigor that they “don’t have what it takes to roll the dice, go big or go home, or change their lives for the better.” They can’t yell Jibe-Ho. That’s because they’re putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable.

You can not yell Jibe-Ho if you lack the confidence to do so or you lack the ability to chart a course for a sea of change and the port of adaptation. If you lack confidence in your abilities to navigate and improved your life through risk taking you will aimlessly sail the seas accomplishing nothing.

Self-Esteem or Self-Concept is a collection of cognitive skills that relate to our ability to accurately and fairly evaluate what it is that we bring to the table. When we lack self-confidence in our abilities, dreams, and self, we enter the “doldrums“, which is also a pirate term for a geographical location in which there are NO WINDS. No self-concept means you float without direction, purpose and meaning endlessly.

In order to set new courses and yell Jibe-Ho you need to be confident and comfortable with who you are and usually this starts with a set of core beliefs, foundational cognitive structures about who we are, what we stand for, what we deeply desire and how we plan to get our desires and needs met in a way that is healthy and effective.

Core beliefs are the foundational, automatic and powerful cognitions that are triggered as we evaluate ourselves and the outcomes of everyday life situations. When you do not hit our intended target and end up with an outcome you don’t’ desire, do you think you are “stupid” or “an idiot” or “not good enough”? Or do you think, “Well, that’s one way to do it, now let’s try this. I am smart” or “I will get this at some point, I am adaptable and capable”?

Core Beliefs drive self-concept which drives our ability to set boundaries and engage with people, places and things effectively and in healthy ways so that we can take good risks, chart new courses and improve the quality of our life.

Jibe-Ho Everyone!

Posted in Mental Health, Psychology

Grief is Healing

Let’s take a backward approach to this life lesson.

Sometimes to understand how you arrived at a location it is helpful to trace your steps backwards.

Grief is the natural healing process for trauma. Trauma is the automatic emotional (hurt and fear) and physical reactions we experience when our mind imagines or recalls (i.e. memory) a bad day, week, month or year from our past, present and even future.

I buried two of my infant children during the course of my life. That event is over. That event is in the past. That event will never change. My kids will always be dead and I will have always attended their funerals. The event of their deaths and the other events associated with their deaths are permanently etched into my history.

Sometimes I watch the movie what would it be like if Dakota and Kyle had not died. I sometimes wonder what Kyle and Dakota would be like as people I watch my living children live out their lives.

Would Kyle have liked baseball as much as Cade loves baseball?

Would Dakota have cheered and done pageants like Sierra?

I also experience panic when I am worried that my living children could be injured or killed. When my mind recalls the deaths of my children or wonders what they would have been like I can and often do experience trauma.

Unlike the crisis events of their deaths, trauma is experienced in the present time. I may recall a memory, experience an “in the moment thought” or worry about the future yet my trauma is present time. I experience the pain and panic and the physical reactions like stiff muscles, shortness of breath, tight chest NOW. We grieve for the purpose of lessening the effects of the present time, in the moment, NOW trauma.

Grief, the healing process of accepting broken attachments and loss, is the ONLY way we can effectively lessen the pain and panic of trauma. Grief is a process by which we come to grips with and accept the crisis events that have destroyed our lives. We learn to recalibrate our world view to accommodate for the new information: babies die. Grief is not only cognitive, in that we must learn to integrate the events into the fabric by which we take in and understand the world, we must also assign a meaning to the healing process we engage for the purpose of soothing the pain of loss and broken dreams.

By accepting the loss and applying meaning to our decision to heal, we move WHY did the crisis event hit my life to HOW am I going to respond to the results of that crisis.

For me, I have accepted that my children have died. It is a matter of fact. Medically their hearts would not sustain their life. The meaning I have associated to healing from my loss, broken attachments to my children, shattered dreams of raising them, joy of knowing them as people, is that I can honor their lives by sharing my healing experiences, writing, hosting my radio show and using my life to make a difference in the lives of other grievers.

The meaning that I associate to my healing from the loss of my children is self-sustaining. Each time I speak about grief or write about grief or counsel a client on grief or meet someone in a hospital ER who thinks that death is a better option than grieving, I build upon my own healing.

I honor Kyle and Dakota by dedicating my life to the pursuits of helping others to help themselves. Helping other people live mentally well. Helping others to find psychological fitness and meaning in their losses and broken attachments.

I have moved from WHY to HOW by simply focusing on my mission which is what gives meaning to my healing and my grieving.