Category Archives: Mental Health

The Plastic Byproduct – Mental Illness Connection

It suddenly struck me that there might be a connection between the ubiquity of plastic products in our lives and the increasing number of people diagnosed with mental illness.

Seeing the uncritical way in which most people use plastic products especially in food preparation and storage, leaves me speechless sometimes. I mean it’s not that there isn’t enough information on the web about the harmful effects of plastic byproducts on our and especially our children’s health.

I was never a fan of plastic. Of course life without plastic is nearly impossible today because it is a cheap and versatile material and used nearly everywhere. But when food is concerned I minimize the use of it wherever I can: I mostly store food in glass or stainless steel containers. I don’t use plastic wrap (especially not for hot foods) and I don’t buy mineral water in plastic bottles. For cooking and serving food I use wooden or stainless steel spoons and dippers. And I just can’t stand plastic chopping boards – I have always used a wooden one. And when I buy take-away coffee I drink straight from the cup, not through the white plastic lid.

So here are some eye-openers for those interested:

https://www.google.co.il/amp/www.bewellbuzz.com/journalist-buzz/mental-illness-plastic-byproducts-connection-may-make-brain-sick/amp/?client=ms-android-om-lge

http://www.thenourishedpsychologist.com/bpa/

http://www.medicaldaily.com/bpa-free-plastic-worse-bpa-containing-products-similar-health-risks-identified-across-wide-2706

Plastics are Silent Killers

(Picture credit: http://www.longevitywarehouse.com/blog/the-dangers-of-plastic-and-what-you-can-do-to-be-safe/ )

Natural Giving

Marshall Rosenberg, psychologist and founder of the Non Violent Communication, a method to help people learn to communicate in a peaceful and conflict-solving way:

Instead of playing the game Making Life Wonderful and enjoying the quality of natural giving, everywhere and with everyone, we play the game of Who is Right.

The game of Who is Right is a game in which everybody loses. It involves two of the most devious things human beings have ever come upon: Reward and Punishment.

Anything we do out of fear of punishment if we don’t do it – everybody pays for.
Everything we do for a reward – everybody pays for.
Everything we do to make people like us – everybody pays for.
Everything we do out of guilt, shame, duty, obligation – everybody pays for.

The Basics of Non Violent Communication 1.1
The Basics of Non Violent Communication 1.2
(Fun and surprising videos to watch. You’ll also have a good laugh or two.)

20161105_075811-1

Red

Recently, an impressive young lady told me that when she’s down she puts on red lipstick and it makes her feel better.

Red is such an exciting color! It explodes with energy, with life and passion. Red stimulates creativity and courage, while it can also have a very comforting, warming, and “hugging” effect. Looking at something red  – preferably a hue somewhere between true red and scarlet – definitely stirs something inside of me, activates senses and energy.

“A new branch of science called “colour psychology” has found that red can have a profound influence on our mood, perceptions and actions. Wearing red can even change your physiology and balance of hormones and alter your performance in a football match. So what is it about the shades of ruby, crimson, and scarlet that makes them so potent?”
Read more: How the color red warps the mind.

Picture Credit: Pomegranate and earrings – Heila; Others – Google pics, Makeup Gazette, playbuzz.com,  WKSU.

Loneliness is an Illness which Can be Healed

We All Need People.

“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.” – Pearl S. Buck

To keep us mentally and physically healthy we need to engage in mentally stimulating activities – do things that make us think, question, learn, err, understand, feel, develop, and LAUGH. Such activities include physical exercise, getting enough (but not too much) sleep, eating healthy food, minimizing stress, and, probably most important of all, connecting and interacting with other people.

Living a socially active and rich life develops our brain and our personality, and is vital for our well-being. Learning to interact socially is especially important for people coping with mental illness who often live isolated and lonely lives. Talking to friends and engaging in activities together helps us share and overcome fears, learn more about ourselves, acquire new skills, get new perspectives, and realize that we are not (coping) alone. Friends motivate us and make us feel loved and needed. Friends also make us feel miserable, which teaches us to say no and draw lines.

Here are some helpful tips on how to improve your social life and get to know people.

Visual Space = Emotional and Mental Space

In the last six years I have moved several times. Due to the circumstances I never unpacked all the cardboard boxes, moving some of them from flat to flat, without even knowing exactly anymore what’s inside. Beginning of August this year I moved again, into a very small place: one room, a nice bathroom and a sweet little kitchenette. This time, I decided, no more unemptied moving boxes in my home. And slowly but surely I am digging through all the stuff that has accumulated over the years: documents and bills I no longer need, old books that take up space I don’t have and that will be of more use as recycled paper, clothes I haven’t worn in years and I have too much of, etc. etc. Here and there I also come across items I had forgotten about and am happy to recover.

With every box I empty and throw away I am gaining more space to move and breathe and think and dream. And I am moving away from my past and more into my present life. It feels good.

Releasing Thoughts

If I take care of my mind I have taken care of yours. – Byron Katie

I like the quote, I can make sense of it. But that’s about how far my appreciation for Byron Katie and her method The Work, “…that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world”, goes.

A few days ago I was frustrated due to a clash I had with my son. The thought that I had said all the wrong things to him was torturing me. The next day I spoke to a friend who told me about Byron Katie and her method of self-inquiry, The Work, which is intended to help people find relief by questioning their thoughts that cause distress.

I then spent nearly four hours listening to Byron’s videos on YouTube and reading about her on the web. I couldn’t find any information about her formal education – she doesn’t seem to have any training in psychology or another field of mental health. Nor could I find any research-based evidence validating her method.

The Work can actually become quite problematic –  in many cases Byron Katie leads her followers (yes, she’s like a guru) to come to absurd and confusing conclusions, and often she seems to struggle to find an answer to questions asked. Just listen to The Work on Terrorism and you’ll understand what I mean.

Here is an excerpt from an in-depth and well founded Critique of Byron Katie’s therapeutic method The Work: “… the problem with The Work is that it has a conclusion in advance, namely that the thought is false, and therewith it is in progress, as with other New Age directions, of eliminating peoples´ ability of critical thinking. Problematic, because the training of critical thinking is the first step in a true spiritual process, and on the whole a primary condition for a healthy mind. In Cognitive Therapy for example, they also have questions to ask to problematic thoughts, that actually have some truth in them (examples in the end of this article).”

“… The Work can get quite nasty with its turnaround technique. After that you, as expected, have “realized”, that your thought is not true, then you have to turn it upside down; you so to speak have to think the opposite thought.

Again it can be a good thing to look at problems from different sides, but that is not what you do with the turnaround technique. The turnaround technique actually sounds a bit like the thought distortion called Conversion to the opposite … The turnaround technique must be a dream for any bully, liar or manipulator. If you are critical, then this is due to your own false thoughts. If someone … bullied you, and you feel hurt, then this pain is based on your own wrong way of thinking. Certainly not the bully´s (the bully is actually a kind of guru; an example of the divine). And in that we find the main problem with The Work, and the reason why I would advise people to keep a long distance from it.”

“Many former Katie devotees have been in counseling for years in order to remove this way of confused thinking.”

***

Here are more critical articles on Byron Katie’s work:

Byron Katie – Snake Oil Business?

The Work And Byron Katie: Reviews?

Why You Should Steer Clear of Byron Katie’s “Work”

One Person’s Experience with Byron Katie

The Work of Byron Katie Could Accidentally Cause Problems In Psychologically Vulnerable People

20161005_100624-1-1