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 Comic, Mental Health, Psychology

The Dichotomy of Messaging

We all love a great post, tweet or pic of an inspiration message.

What happens when those message contradict?

Makes Sense. Motivates People to Be Future Focused

What about this Dr. Bite cartoon?

Makes Sense As Well….

Both cartoons have a valid point designed to help people learn how to live mentally well and take advantage of specific psychological fitness skills. One suggests a future focus is the way to go while another suggests that the past offers lessons worth learning.

Neither is wrong or misleading. You can agree with one and not the other. Your choice.

Both are INCOMPLETE.

Like so many posts, tweets, pics and more that we find on the internet, these cartoons as standalone guides or recommendations for mentally well living are a single point of view. “A” way of looking at and approaching life. Not “THE” way.

The goal, when it comes to living mentally well and leveraging psychological fitness skills, is to take all of the information you come across, consider it’s worth, and validity decide if it ‘works for you’ then either keep the “advice” or toss it aside.

There is NO ONE single way to improve the quality of your life and live mentally well.

There is ONLY your way, the way that works best for you.

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.

Posted in Mental Health, Psychology

Grief Can Be Wonderful

If You Find the Right People, Grief Can Be Wonderful. Yes Wonderfully Healing

Grief, the art of healing from trauma generated by thinking about a really bad day, week, month or year, is bipolar: individualized and communal.

We all have a natural style of grieving. Just as our bodies heal naturally and according to the program built into our genitive, our grieving, our healing of our minds and souls plagued by trauma as a result of crisis, there is a order, a plan for that healing that is unique to us and us alone. Built upon our temperament and personality as well as the life lessons we learn along the journey, we grieve in a style that benefits and includes a variety of ways in which we work to accept and incorporate the loss into our present and future perceptions of our lives. 

Our framing of the crisis events that led to the loss of an attachment to someone or something of vital importance as well as the meaning that we draw from the loss is a cognitive exercise. For the most part, this is a solitary activity as we are the ONLY ones who can frame and draw a meaning for ourselves out of a crisis even in which we live through. Sure, other people’s perceptions and thoughts on our loss and broken attachments play a factor yet at the end of the day, we and we alone are the only ones who develop a meaning from the crises and losses of our lives.

When we are surrounded by people who fail to understand or simply don’t agree with the new world order we are developing as a result of the crisis event and the meaning we are assigning to that event, relational tension starts. People who knew us PRIOR to the crisis want us to REMAIN the same old person. That is impossible. How can we be the same old person after a crisis has rocked our world? The very fact that we have experienced loss and broken attachments means that our world is different. Thus, our perceptions of the world have been recalibrated and we are different. When grieving, it is critical, at least from my experiences and for me, to find those who will support your new, recalibrated world view. Those people who wanted me to stay the same old Bob wanted me to remain the same old Bob because it made their life easier. They were not interested in my grieving and healing. So, I cut them out.

As your new world order, your new world view and perceptions of life are recalibrated, your mind changes. Your soul is renewed. And when your mind and soul go through an overhaul so your expression of the remodeling will be evident via behaviors. In addition, as we grieve, we engage in new behaviors designed to help us with the healing process. Grievers develop new routines and new activities. New routines and new activities often open the door for new, healing and supportive relationships. That does not mean that you have to attend a support group and talk about loss and pain. You may join a book club as a result of a loss and form new relationships with people who didn’t know you before the death, divorce, affair or what ever crisis rocked your world. These new relationships can be much more supportive and healing than the relationship you had established with other people who knew you prior to your loss and crisis.

In many ways, a griever will enter a new community, usually that of other grievers. No matter how that new community is formed such as a support group, book club, therapy group or whatever, the new community becomes the communal healing environment that the grieve enters to process their individualized style of grief. The individual griever processes the loss and crisis cognitively. A group of supportive and understanding individuals can help the griever with this process. In addition, the griever’s meaning applied to the loss and the crisis event fuel automatic emotional and physical reactions to the cognitive processing. The emotional and physical reactions are expressed and expelled via behaviors. And again, a healthy community of grievers who are supportive can assist the griever in finding healthy and healing behaviors.

From my experience, finding a community of supportive grievers can be the most wonderful part of the healing process. Grief is an individualized process with styles, and world views and behaviors as unique as the griever themselves. Yet, grief and healing are also community oriented activities that require the love and support of others.