Tag Archives: Mental Health

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.

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.”

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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

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Walking Backwards

I have started walking backwards wherever possible. This might bring a big question mark to your face but walking backwards has proven health benefits for brain and body:

Mental benefits

  • enhanced sense of body awareness
  • increased body coordination and movement in space
  • helps avoid workout boredom
  • improves overall mood
  • helps with sleep cycles
  • motivates you to step outside your comfort zone
  • keeps your mind guessing
  • sharpens your thinking skills and enhances cognitive control
  • puts senses into overdrive, improving vision

Body benefits

  • increases strength in lesser-used leg muscles
  • helps rehabilitate knee injuries
  • improves walking technique and form
  • helps with balance
  • burns calories
  • helps you maintain a healthy weight
  • strengthens bones and muscles
  • boosts energy levels
  • elevates body’s metabolism

Source: http://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/walking-backwards

Disclaimer: The content of this post is based on personal experience. Please advise with a health or fitness professional before beginning any new physical activity.

More on backward walking:

Stimulate your Fitness IQ by walking backward

Walking backwards: Benefits and how to start

Walking backward reaps big health benefits

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Picture Credit: Weird Workouts: Treadmill Variations for Fitness Gains

Embrace Failure

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Cats don’t make mistakes. We are born perfect.

Most of us feel like beating ourselves up when we fail at something or make a mistake. Or get panic attacks like I used to. But hey, “Failure doesn’t mean the game is over, it means try again with experience” (L. Shlesinger).

Failure, and even more important, accepting and analyzing failure, is an indispensable part of learning, being successful and achieving greatness. At the moment, failure can be discouraging, but only if you let it.

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Doctors make mistakes. An inspiring TED talk by emergency-room physician Brian Goldmann.

Excerpt: “… let’s begin with a bit of baseball… I’m going to focus on one stat that I hope a lot of you have heard of. It’s called batting average. So we talk about a 300, a batter who bats 300. That means that ballplayer batted safely, hit safely three times out of 10 at bats. That means hit the ball into the outfield, it dropped, it didn’t get caught, and whoever tried to throw it to first base didn’t get there in time and the runner was safe.Three times out of 10. Do you know what they call a 300 hitter in Major League Baseball? Good, really good, maybe an all-star. Do you know what they call a 400 baseball hitter? That’s somebody who hit, by the way, four times safely out of every 10.Legendary — as in Ted Williams legendary — the last Major League Baseball player to hit over 400 during a regular season. Now let’s take this back into my world of medicine where I’m a lot more comfortable, or perhaps a bit less comfortable after what I’m going to talk to you about. Suppose you have appendicitis and you’re referred to a surgeon who’s batting 400 on appendectomies.(Laughter) Somehow this isn’t working out, is it?Now suppose you live in a certain part of a certain remote place and you have a loved one who has blockages in two coronary arteries and your family doctor refers that loved one to a cardiologist who’s batting 200 on angioplasties. But, but, you know what? She’s doing a lot better this year. She’s on the comeback trail. And she’s hitting a 257.Somehow this isn’t working. But I’m going to ask you a question. What do you think a batting average for a cardiac surgeon or a nurse practitioner or an orthopedic surgeon, an OBGYN, a paramedic is supposed to be?  …”

Talk about Feelings with your Children

Prinz William urges parents and families to talk about mental health with their children. As he celebrates Father’s Day, he urges especially fathers to be more open about their feelings and not to neglect the often sensitive topic of their children’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Unresolved mental and emotional issues can “alter the course of a child’s life forever”, and lead to problems such as addiction, violence, suicide, and homelessness.

(Picture Credit)

Workaholism – Psychiatric Problems

A large Norwegian study found that workaholism often co-occurs with psychiatric disorders such as ADHD, OCD, and depression.
“The study showed that workaholics scored higher on all the psychiatric symptoms than non-workaholics. Among workaholics, the main findings were that:
32.7 per cent met ADHD criteria (12.7 per cent among non-workaholics).
25.6 per cent OCD criteria (8.7 per cent among non-workaholics).
33.8 per cent met anxiety criteria (119 per cent among non-workaholics).
8.9 per cent met depression criteria (2.6 per cent among non-workaholics).

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“Thus, taking work to the extreme may be a sign of deeper psychological or emotional issues. Whether this reflects overlapping genetic vulnerabilities, disorders leading to workaholism or, conversely, workaholism causing such disorders, remain uncertain,” says Schou Andreassen.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160525084547.htm