recovery

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN TRAUMA AND PERSONAL GROWTH

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I bet all of you have heard of Post-traumatic stress, but I wonder how many of you know about Post-traumatic growth (PTG). We so often think of the downside of trauma—depression, hyper-vigilance, anxiety and flashbacks—but it turns out that there’s an upside to it as well. The term, post-traumatic growth, was first used by Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D. and Lawrence Calhoun, Ph.D. in 1995 at the University of North Carolina to describe the positive changes that they saw in patients who had been affected by and were struggling with trauma.

If you are someone who’s been impacted by trauma, you might find it hard to believe that there’s anything positive about it, but research tells us that there is. "People develop new understandings of themselves, the world they live in, how to relate to other people, the kind of future they might have and a better understanding of how to live life," says Tedeschi. Tanako Katu, Ph.D. at Oakland University explains that, “PTG…refers to what can happen when someone who has difficulty bouncing back experiences a traumatic event that challenges his or her core beliefs, endures psychological struggle (even a mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder), and then ultimately finds a sense of personal growth. It's a process that "takes a lot of time, energy and struggle.”

According to the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) which uses self-report scales, people may change positively in these areas: appreciation of life, relationship with others, new possibilities in life, personal strength and spiritual change. Does everyone experience growth? Tedeschi says, "It all depends on the trauma, the circumstances, the timing of the measurement…[and] on how you define growth using the PTGI, looking at total score, means, factors or individual items," and he estimates that about one-half to two-thirds of people show PTG.

Key traits that facilitate PTG are extraversion and openness to experience. The former makes people more likely to connect with others (and I would add, perhaps, to seek help from them), while the latter, lacking rigid belief systems, makes them more willing to look at viewpoints that are different from their own. I can validate from my clinical experience that clients who are connected to others do much better recovering from trauma than those who remain isolated and stuck in their traumatic suffering. It’s also been my experience that clients who are willing to shift beliefs and see things from another perspective can heal and often create better lives for themselves than they could ever have imagined. (“Growth after trauma” by Lorna Collier, 11/2016, vol. 47, no. 10, accessed 6/5/17, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/11/growth-trauma.aspx).

This article was written by Karen R. Koenig

 Click HERE to Learn more about Karen’s work.

WEBSITES: http://www.karenrkoenig.com/

http://www.nicegirlsfinishfat.com/

YOU’RE GREAT AND YOU’RE AWESOME, JUST AS YOU ARE

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In a town far away on top of a hill,

Lived people so narrow, judgmental and shrill.

They decided on high that all hair should be brown.

They decided for everyone who lived in their town.

 

“To live here,” they cried, “brown hair is a must.

Brown hair is just right, all others are bust.

If other than brown is just who you are,

Then you must leave. Depart! Go very far!

For we won’t have people who don’t look like us.

Brown is what’s right. Our rules. It is thus!”

 

In one of the families, young Trent was born third.

In a family so big and so famous was heard,

A cry of great grief like someone had died,

The aunts and uncles and parents all cried.

Young Trent, their treasure, though brown hair expected,

Was born blond, a towhead, a child rejected.

 

Though cute and adorable, smart with eyes wide,

His parents knew that his hair had to hide.

If the neighbors and townspeople had any doubt,

That Trent was not brown-haired, the family was out.

 

From the day he could crawl, Trent’s hair was dyed brown.

This gave them permission to live in this town.

His parents feared someday his blond hair would show,

Because hair on a kid never ceases to grow.

 

Each Saturday night as the bath waters ran,

A small dab of brown came out of the can,

To cover those roots of the hair that kept growing,

Like a lawn after rain that needed some mowing.

 

And so it was thus, each day spent in “hair-hiding,”

In plain sight, with a hat, and some dye so complying.

And all seemed as okay, no foul and no harm,

Until one day, that day, there came cause for alarm.

 


That day, at the mirror, young Trent stood there staring,

At brown hair AND blond hair – so great, and so glaring.

He’d been told his whole life about hair not so brown,

These people were gross, not fit for their town.

He realized that day he was different than most.

He was blond, not brown-haired. He’s handsome, not gross.

 

He called to his parents to share his great joy

He was different – unique – not an average boy.

He loved this about him. It gave him great pride.

He was different indeed. He had nothing to hide.

 

We are each born great, we’re remarkable art.

We are perfect, unique, not a kind of half-start.

We can’t change who we are. That’s a great thing.

We are who we are; it’s our hardwiring.

 

His parents warned, they cautioned and cried.

“Being different’s not easy, so please Trent just hide.

Let’s dye your hair brown so you fit and blend in.

Let’s get the brown back so life’s safe as it’s been.”

 

But Trent just said, “No!” on that major day.

“Born different, born right,” is just what he’d say.

“Born blond, not brown-haired, is how I exist.

Being true to myself is what I insist.”

 

“For someone much greater thought I should be,

A towhead, a blond, not a fake brown-haired me.

Who are these others, with comments to make?

I am who I am. God made no mistake.”

 

The hair dying stopped on that fateful day.

Pretending was done on the 18th of May.

Proud to be done with the hair-dying story,

Trent wanted his real life, a life of grand glory.

A life that was honest and open and clear,

A life to be lived without hiding or fear.

 

Trent marched to school with hair like the sun.

The gold in it shone, like threads that been spun,

But support did not happen, not a moment or second.

It didn’t work out as he thought or had reckoned.

They taunted and teased, chased, hit and called, “Nay!”

It changed all his friends in only one day.

 

Chased into the woods, with mean words attacking.

Trent stayed hiding there ‘til daylight went packing.

He hid in the dark and was sobbing with fear,

That someone who hated his hair could be near.

 

“How could this all matter?” He wondered. He cried.

“How could being different make others despise?

I have no control of the color of my hair,

Born with it dark or born with it fair.

Like our gender, or height, preference or skin tone,

We get what we get, it’s really our own.

For down deep I’m still me, the same me I have been.

Down deep, I’m still Trent, their classmate and friend.”

 

And in that tough moment, a moment of fear,

Young Trent saw a stranger, approaching, quite near.

A man with a beard, long, thick and so white;

A smile so warm, so kind and so bright.

“What brings you to woods, so dark and so deep?

The old man continued, “And can cause you to weep?”

 

Trent shared his sad story in every detail.

The old man just listened and grew very pale.

He waited ‘til young Trent was all about finished,

Did not interrupt, critique or diminish

The sadness, the pain, the hurt so disarming

That someone so young could find life so alarming.

 

Once Trent had recounted his unhappy story,

The old man responded with strength and with glory.

His words were bold, his lessons were wise.

Trent listened intently for ways to devise,

 A way to be happy when others all yack.

To be strong and courageous when others attack.

 

The wise man was brilliant and very aware.

He took in a breath, then started to share:

“We are truly born great, just as we are!

Our lives are important. You’re amazing, my young star.

But with others, they think, it’s for them to say

Who is fine, who is good, who is right, who’s okay.”



“For greatness is not in brown hair or blond.

Greatness is not in how our words sound.

Greatness is not on our outside – our skin.

Greatness, true greatness, always happens within.”

 

“We just can’t know how great you can become

By looking at hair color. That’s crazy, that’s dumb.

Down deep we’re amazing and awesome and bold.

Down deep is our value, our treasure, our gold.”

 

“No one has eyes to see what you see.

No one can tell you who or what you should be.

That’s your job. Yes it is. It’s all up to you.

It’s your work and your life. You’ve got to be true.”

 

“Life isn’t easy, its tough and its trying.

It gives you hard tests to make sure you’re applying

What you know of TrueYou, what gifts you receive,

How great you can be and what you believe.”

 

“You were born awesome – awesome indeed.

But to live each day awesome you must become freed

From the judgments of others, from perspectives so narrow

To let your light soar like a brilliant gold arrow.”


“The world needs TrueYou – the “you” as you are.

Blond or brunette, gay, straight or bizarre.

You are you, and amazing! The “you” born just right.

You were born to shine brightly, to share your great light.”

 

But you can’t shine in life, when you let yourself hide.

And you can’t change the world, if you’re ashamed inside.

You didn’t choose how you’re born, where you’re from.

But you can surely choose the “you” you become.

 

Young Trent felt alive and committed to greatness.

He thanked the wise man but feared for the lateness.

His family’d be worried, scared and unbound,

That young Trent was not home, not safe and not sound.

 

He hurried right home in the dark of the night.

But this time for him, a walk without fright.

More aware, more informed and so much more wise.

He got to his door at a quarter to five.

Once home and together, the lost son lamented

With details and stories. The sobbing relented.

Trent shared a new lesson of power and strength.

They stood right by him; they’d go to great lengths

To handle what happens, to just rise above.

To help Trent show up to a life he can love.

 

The next day with power and confidence glowing,

Trent moved through the town without any fear showing.

He let loose his blond hair and wore it with pride.

He stood up to names and to insults so snide.

 

His courage to be true soon had others inspired,

The insults then stopped, mean comments subsided.

Trent showed that hair color makes no difference at all

Be true to yourself and you’ll never feel small.

We didn’t choose how we’re born, where we’re from.

But we can surely choose the “who” we become.

 

And soon many others with all hair colors flowing,

Appeared in the town, the numbers were growing.

People in fear with hair a fake brown,

Were actually there hiding, still living in town.

 

Pretending is bad, it loads on the strife.

Hiding restricts us, it limits our life.

We are each given gifts to discover and use,

And we shortchange the world if we don’t know or refuse

To be open and honest and accept the real “me”.

Trent learned that it takes this to really be free.

 

In just that one moment, things started to change.

People are people, not weirdoes or strange,

Just people, all different, all great, all divine,

Allowed to be true, to be honest, and fine.

 

And changed they all were from perspectives so narrow.

They cheered and applauded and hailed Trent like pharaoh.

But Trent just continued to live life each day,

Honest and great, in his unique way.

 

From that day on, in towns far and near

That kept people out because of some fear.

Now invited them in – all are welcome you know.

We all belong. Yes we do! It is right. It is so.

Come out from your hiding. Join life. Be alive!

When you hide you stay small and afraid - you can’t thrive.

You’re an original, not a copy or fake.

You’re the real deal, just perfect; you are no mistake.

 

So find your right place, as soon as you can.
Be an accountant, a salesman, a singer or stuntman.

It’s all up to you, the directions you choose.
It’s all up to you, don’t wait, don’t you snooze.


Each day that goes by, you never get back.

Each moment, each day, each minute, each track

Is gone. Yes it is, but the next one is here.

Use it wisely. Don’t waste it! Let your best self appear.

 

You were born awesome, no matter what you’ve been taught.

You were born amazing, born cool – you got what you got.

It’s your gift. It’s yours. It’s all just for you.

It’s divine in its nature so, be true to your “who.”

 

Be yourself, be your best. Live life your own way.

Be proud, find your place, make the most of each day.

You’re great and your awesome, just as you are.

Be your true self, be a bright shining star.

This article was written by Jay Forte

Click HERE to Learn more about Jay’s work.

WEBSITE: https://thefortefactor.com/

DIG DEEP, AIM HIGH: FIVE STEPS TO FREEDOM

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There are many layers to our existence, and the depth of our awareness determines the kind of life we lead. What we see on the surface—in the form of relationship issues, health challenges or money problems—may have very little to do with what’s really going on. If we dig deeper, we can tap into a whole new dimension of possibilities—in ourselves and in our world.

 

Take the case of 40-year-old Marie, whose life seemed to be filled with conflict and crises. Her relationships were everything she didn’t want, her work as a designer no longer felt fulfilling, and things rarely seemed to go the way she wanted them to. On the surface, she appeared to just be unlucky—attracting the wrong kind of guy, working in a demanding industry, and suffering the inevitable slew of health problems due to stress, pressures at work, emotional angst and fatigue.

 

If we dig beneath the circumstances, seeing them as signposts towards a deeper truth, we might see that Marie has some deeply engrained beliefs about not being lovable or worthy, and about life being a constant struggle because she felt she didn’t deserve to have it easy.

 

If we go deeper again, we might see that those beliefs have a strong emotional charge that attracts the very people, situations and dynamics that confirm the validity of those negative beliefs. (Thanks to exciting discoveries in quantum physics, we now know that our thoughts are electrical and our emotions magnetic, giving us the power to affect our circumstances, whether we do so consciously or not.) 

 

If we dig even deeper, we might see that Marie is being challenged in the very areas where she is emotionally ‘wobbly’ (due to her upbringing), and that she is attracting the perfect opportunities for flexing her emotional ‘muscles’ in order to develop a healthier sense of self.

 

Going deeper again, we see just how powerful Marie really is, having created the perfect scenarios for growth and personal transformation. The challenges that she considered to be ‘bad luck’, the result of ‘all the good men having been snapped up’, or simply the inevitable price to be paid for having a demanding job, are actually the direct result of her subconscious pushing her towards wholeness.

 

By bringing her face to face with the physical manifestation of her low self-worth, her subconscious is giving her lots of opportunities to reclaim herself. For as long as she fails to see what’s really going on, however, those frustrating scenarios will keep repeating themselves until she gets the message. It’s not about the men out there, the industry she works in, or other people being difficult. It’s all about Marie.

 

Relationships fail because of our incomplete understanding of their true purpose as stepping-stones to self-discovery and personal autonomy. They mirror our ‘missing pieces’, reflecting back to us what’s missing inside as a result of how we were programmed to think and feel about ourselves. Whether we have issues with colleagues, clients, friends, family or lovers, all our relationships are powerful catalysts for change, challenging us to address whatever is in the way of healthy self-acceptance and self-expression.

 

Providing us with a unique perspective of ourselves, relationships show us that when we lack certain essential qualities, such as acceptance, respect, validation and support, we attract people with those same missing pieces—which is why we so often experience heartache and disappointment when we fail to get from our partner the very things we ourselves have been missing. Once we understand that filling in our own missing pieces makes us magnets for more of those same positive qualities, we can use our relationships as springboards towards wholeness …and the love, laughter, ease and fulfillment that automatically result.

 

Five steps to freedom

 

1.     Identify what qualities are missing from your relationships. These often include acceptance, respect, trust, emotional honesty, validation and support—all of which are required for us to be ourselves and for our relationships to be harmonious, authentic and mutually supportive.

2.     Find practical, everyday ways to start demonstrating those qualities in your life—especially towards those who fail to express those same qualities to you. Remember: what’s missing in your relationships is missing inside you.

3.     Catch yourself if you think it’s about them. Stay focused on making you whole, rather than blaming someone else for not giving you what you need. When you take care of your own emotional needs, you attract others who have cultivated the same healthy self-sufficiency.

4.     Take responsibility for your choices, actions and reactions. Our choices and boundaries define us, telling the world what we think we are worth. If we make unhealthy compromises in the hope of being accepted, for example, we perpetuate a cycle of neediness. We must accept, validate and honour ourselves first, if we want to see those qualities expressed to us by others.

5.     Pre-live and pre-love your ideal future life. Since your emotions are magnetic, the more you think, feel and act like the person you want to be, the more you become that person—and then attract the perfect complement to it. Trust in your magnetism to attract what you truly deserve—and get excited about the good things coming your way.

 

Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions we can experience in transforming our lives. If we feel deep gratitude and excitement about our ideal future reality—before it happens—we create a strong magnetism that draws that reality to us. Pre-living and pre-loving your ideal future reality is the most powerful way to make it happen.

Only Marie can change what she is attracting—by changing what she feels and believes about herself and what she is subconsciously transmitting to her world. She can reflect on some of her habitual thoughts (such as: this won’t work and there are no decent men out there) and feelings (such as frustration, disappointment and hopelessness) and ask herself: Do I want more of that? If not, she can focus on their opposites and start to embody the qualities that she wishes to see in herself and in her partner, colleagues and clients: optimism, confidence, validation and healthy self-worth.

Life gets exciting when we realize that we can orchestrate our own reality rather than being at the mercy of seemingly random circumstances. When we recognize the truth of our deeper selves, we can turn our lives around. We can consciously convert limiting beliefs to their positive counterparts; we can choose to feel certain uplifting magnetic emotions that align with the love and life we desire; and we can start to leverage the power of both in transforming struggle into ease, conflict into harmony, and work into pleasure.

 

The deeper we dig within ourselves, the deeper the truth we discover …and the truth will always set us free.

This article was written by Olga Sheean

Click HERE to Learn more about Olga’s work.

WEBSITE: https://olgasheean.com

HOW TRAUMA CAN CHANGE LIVES — FOR THE BETTER

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Most of us think about trauma as just about the worst thing that can happen to us. And for many, it is. Even if you’ve survived trauma, you still may be dealing with its physical and emotional aftermath, which perhaps includes emotional eating. How, then, can trauma ever have an upside?

 

In “How trauma can change lives—for the better,” Jim Rendon, author of Upside: The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth, says yes, indeed, it can (TIME 8/3/15, p. 29). Therapists and the general public have long been schooled in the notion that trauma is terrible and nothing more, he says, one that changes peoples’ lives for the worse and stays with them to death. Post-traumatic stress disorder, with its nightmares, hyper-vigilance and flashbacks, can be frightening to experience or live with in a loved one.

 

What, then, is science telling Rendon that makes him believe that trauma sometimes can be anything but a negative experience? He says that “an estimated 75% of people will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime” and that, while many report negative effects, down the road, others report positive changes—greater inner strength, increased intimacy, and a “reorientation” in life toward more fulfilling goals. In short, over time, the pain of trauma can help people “change for the better.” Rendon maintains that “Growth begins with healing from trauma.”

 

He also says that growth and transformative change are based on the premise that people seek and receive help. Sadly, many trauma survivors don’t recognize themselves as having been trauma victims and, therefore, forgo clinical treatment. They’re too scared of opening up old wounds or too ashamed of what happened to them, even when they were innocent victims. Moreover, when trauma occurs, their pre-trauma mental health determines how they’ll react to and heal from it.

 

I’ve seen people do exactly what Rendon says: survive trauma and go on to change their lives—and the lives of others—for the better because of it. This happens when: women and men who are raped go on to become sexual abuse counselors and victim advocates, parents of murdered children put their hearts into changing gun laws and increasing access to mental health counseling, and when people hurt by drunk drivers work to educate the public about drinking and driving. If you’re a trauma survivor, consider how both trauma and healing might change your life for the better. Then, even if you’re afraid, get the treatment you need.

 

This article was written by Karen R. Koenig

Click HERE to Learn more about Karen’s work.

WEBSITES: http://www.karenrkoenig.com/

http://www.nicegirlsfinishfat.com/

CARING FOR OTHERS — THE HEART — FAITH

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The Calling and Vocation to care God’s people I would say started on the first Sunday of August 2013. Through this journey there have been times of struggle, growth and clarity of God’s purpose in and for my life.   There is a reason that this season is in God's plan for my wife and I.  Now at 60 years, I have had the honor to see much of this world, interact with people, through traveling in many geographic regions, cultures and communities of the United Sates and other countries. Through my Calling and experience as a son, husband, parent, student, photographer, therapist, educator, searcher and servant I have seen many changes to our homes, people, the church, schools, communities, society and governments. Some Good and Some just plain BAD for all.

My faith has been challenged throughout this life, More recently: one of our son’s at age 12 was diagnosed with Osteo Sarconoma (bone cancer) in Sept 2014 and he asked if I would leave Alaska to come to Portland OR, to help while he was going through treatment and surgery. My wife and I felt that I needed to be there so, she remained in Alaska while I went to be with him. He currently is in remission of cancer and will require monitoring for the rest of his life. (Our son resides with his biological mother in Gresham, OR) What do you tell your son when he ask’s, “Why is God allowing this to happen to me” and you have No answer.”  What would you say?

During that time of caring for my son, when I arrived and visited with my parents. I found that my parents had not been fully honest with me during phones calls and e-mails as to my dad’s health condition. My father and mother reside in Vancouver, WA. (Across the river from Portland, OR) My father is 83, a veteran who was in remission from multiple cancers, lived his life with severe Parkinson’s disease.) Due to his increased needs and symptoms he was experiencing, I became his caregiver as well, when not with my son. My father passed on in 2017. How do you divide myself and be a son, care-giver, father, husband etc..?

After 2004 my separation and ultimately Divorce from the younger Childers mother. 2 boys and 1 girl, at the time their ages were 3,2, and 11 months. Working 50 to 60 weeks, had weekly visitation with my children, sort of being a single dad part-time. Now some will say well that is not that bad. A little clarification. As I look back now, I ask “How did I do it” The answer then and now with Family and Friends. My oldest son (34) called me not long after the birth of his second daughter and asked me “Dad how did you do it, with Sean, Scott and Aleena. We had a great discussion after that about him and being a father.

This course I truly believe was started many years ago when my parents opened my eyes to wonders of our land, people, landmarks, inside/outside our borders. (Jeramiah 29 11-14) and now Romans 12v 12-22. My parents both served in the military and my father went on to become an officer. I also as an adult witness my parents coming to know the Lord as their LORD and Savior. I also witnessed the growth of my father in the Lord to be called as a Chaplain to the Elderly and had the Honor to Serve with Him.

Through this journey God has opened my Eyes and Heart to what service really is and that when his season arrives, we are to serve and be served, Disciple and Be Discipled to live in Christ and to share Christ with others. The gifts he has allowed me to share and serve for HIS glory is the calling and vocation he has provided.  

“Your Heart (who you really are) is Known by the Path You Walk”

This article was written by Rev. Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN

Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden.

Website: https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR SPOUSE IS SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION?

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How to Spot and Support your Spouse through Depression?

Are you noticing a strange difference in the behaviour of your spouse from the last few weeks or months? Sometimes, it is a temporary issue that lasts for a few days because of the difference in mutual understanding or some bad phase of life. However, some symptoms are long-lasting and become a part of life. If the problem with your spouse is persisting for a long time, it can be depression. The term depression has become too common that you can find every second person suffering from it. Sometimes, it can also be a bipolar disorder but people mistook as depression. The depression treatment and bipolar treatment are two different things that only a psychiatrist can tell you with deep explanations. If your spouse is suffering from depression, it is your duty to help them in coming out of the situation.

The Major Problem With Mental Disorders

Whether it is a depression, dementia, bipolar disorder or anything else, most of the people don’t have any idea that they are suffering from a mental disorder. There is a common assumption that a person suffering from mental illness is considered unfit for society. This is totally wrong because almost everyone goes through depressive and manic phases of life for a while or longer. It doesn’t mean that they are incurable. Even after knowing the mental condition, many people never accept reality. Consequently, the problem becomes worse than finally ruin a beautiful relationship as well as personal life too. If your spouse is also facing a similar situation, it is your responsibility to get them out of the situation. Here is some crucial information regarding depression treatment that you must read and understand.

Most Common Symptoms That Spot Depression in Your Spouse

There is a long list of depression symptoms & a person may be facing only some of them. Here is a list that you need to remember:

 

1)    Lack of concentration in work

2)    Sudden change in hunger levels

3)    Exhausted face

4)    Anxious

5)    Sad & full of negativity

6)    Hormonal fluctuation

7)    Grief of failure

8)    Frequent headache

9)    Ruining sex life

10) Nausea

 

If such kinds of symptoms are becoming apparent in your partner, you need an expert on depression treatment. However, sometimes, bipolar disorder is also mistaken as depression because of some reasons that you will know in the below article.

 

Reasons Why People Consider Bipolar Disorder as Depression?

The human mind is more complex than any other organ present in the body. Therefore, people sometimes fail to understand their problems. The same thing is applicable to depression because some of its symptoms are identical to bipolar disorder. Consequently, some psychiatrists star bipolar treatment rather than depression treatment. There are 2 phases of bipolar disorder i.e.

a)    Manica

b)    Depressive

The depressive phase shares some symptoms of depression but its treatment differs.


WHAT TO DO IF YOUR SPOUSE IS SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION?

1)   Gain your personal knowledge about depression

If you really want to help your spouse in getting rid of depression, it is advisable to gain some knowledge regarding depression first. With adequate knowledge, you can understand their situation in a better way.  Some major symptoms are already mentioned in the above article. If you are noticing some of these symptoms, try to help your partner in realising the situation. It is possible that they will not ready to accept the truth for once but it is your duty to motivate them for visiting a psychiatrist without fearing of society or anyone else. Doctors may suggest medicines and some rejuvenating therapies.

2)   Maintain a supportive environment   

If the patient is not living in a healthy environment, no treatment will work effectively. At home, maintain an environment in which they follow a healthy routine of life. Some of the most important things to support them are:

1)    Exercise & meditate together as a daily routine

2)    Prepare a healthy diet plan as per doctor’s guideline and implement it strictly.

3)    Maintain regularity in the routine of treatment without missing a single activity.

3)   Love unconditionally

Depression treatment will only work successfully if you love your spouse unconditionally. A person suffering from depression may get angry on you, shout or try to harm too. Never give-up in such kinds of situations if you love them truly. Always remember that this is just a bad time and time never remain the same. However, you can create a big difference for the upcoming time with your positive efforts.

 

These are some positive efforts that you can attempt for the well being of your partner. Some odd circumstances may occur during the treatment period that will hurt you but never lose hope. With a proficient psychiatrist, positive attitude and full dedication, your life can return back on the track.

 

 

This article was written by Sakshi Joshi

Click HERE to Learn more about her work. 

WEBSITE: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sakshi-joshi-2a1446119/

I PROMISE MYSELF

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I Promise Myself…

  1. to laugh as if nobody’s watching, and love as if I’ve never been hurt before.

  2. to live as if I were to die tomorrow, and learn as if I were to live forever.

  3. to let go of the heavy burden of my past. To turn my wounds into wisdom and my

    difficulties into opportunities.

  4. to love myself as much as I would like others to love me.

  5. to die to the past every night, so that I can be born again each morning.

  6. to never speak from a place of hate, jealousy, anger, or insecurity. And to always evaluate

    my words before I let them leave my lips.

  7. to forgive so that I can heal, and let go so that I can grow.

  8. to learn from every experience and every interaction life sends my way.

  9. to always look for the good in people. To treat everyone with love, kindness, compassion,

    appreciation and never speak badly of anyone.

  10. to allow life’s many challenges to make me better, not bitter.

  11. to complain less, and live my life with an attitude of gratitude.

  12. to create a sense of purpose and bring meaning into everyday life. No matter how many

    times I fall or fail, I promise myself to never give up on myself or my dreams.

  13. to let go of all the drama in my life, and only hold on to those things that bring me joy.

  14. to live my life in a way that inspires others and strive to bring out the best in them.

  15. to surround myself with people who make me hungry for life, touch my heart, and nurture

    my spirit.

  16. to think less and feel more. To judge less and trust more. To fear less and love more.

  17. to walk away from everything that no longer serves me, grows me, or makes me happy.

  18. to spend more time connecting with my authentic self, and less time chasing the love and

    approval of those around me.

  19. to show the world who I truly am and not consider what people might be thinking about me.

  20. to transform my inner vision until I see nothing but light, my own and all those around me.

  21. to let go of any bad habits I might be holding on to, and walk away from all those things

    that hold me back in life.

  22. to let go of all blame and take full responsibility for my own life.

  23. to allow the world know me as I am, not as it thinks I should be.

  24. to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving,

    and empathetic of the weak.

  25. to clothe myself with love and wear this love wherever I go.

  26. to care more about being kind than I do about being right all the time.

  27. to give more of my time to those who are special in my life, and show them how much they

    really mean to me.

  28. to trust my inner voice and intuition more than I trust the loud voice of those around me.

  29. to expect less from others but more and more from myself.

  30. to allow those I care for to be perfectly themselves without trying to twist them to fit my

    own image. Loving them for who they are and not for what I want them to be.

This article was written by John Shearer

Click HERE to Learn more about John’s work.

WEBSITE: http://mindfullymad.org/

HEAD VERSUS HEART: WHY DID THEY EVER SPLIT UP?

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When I was growing up in Ireland and attending secondary school, I had to choose between the sciences and the humanities. At the tender age of 14, when I was clueless about who I really was and what I wanted, I had to make this life-defining choice. Consulting the career-guidance counsellor did not help, as he himself had clearly chosen the wrong career.

Those who wanted a more credible, secure career opted for the sciences, whereas those who wanted to follow their hearts or creative yearnings opted for the arts. We learn early in life that the world of science offers respectability, credibility and security, while the arts and humanities are considered to be less serious or worthy. You don’t often hear about starving engineers, but starving artists appear to be a worldwide phenomenon.

This separation of head from heart has created a fundamental rift between these two essential and complementary aspects of our selves. Without one, we lose perspective; without the other, we lose our humanity. With too much of one, we end up stuck in our heads, relying on logic to make things work; with too much of the other, we may become ungrounded or fail to stand up for ourselves when challenged.

Having just published a book (see https://www.emfoff.com/) that blends science and sentiments in a rather novel way, I was nonetheless surprised when several people told me how brave I was. Did I not worry about losing credibility by talking about consciousness and feelings? Wasn’t I afraid that real scientists would dismiss this kind of book as fluff, lacking scientific credibility? I never even thought about this. To me, science and humanity must come together as equal partners for our world to make sense—and for us to evolve in a positive direction. After all, many of the problems I was addressing in my book were the direct result of the split between head and heart, which is one of the key reasons we have abdicated control over our own lives, surrendering our sense of what’s right in deference to those who supposedly know better than we do.

Body Knows Best

Yet there is no greater authority than the human body—our own personal medium of evolution—and reclaiming our autonomy requires engaging not just our hearts and minds but also our spiritual selves. We must be fully human to be fully effective. We must engage our multi-dimensional selves if we want to have an impact that goes beyond conventional approaches. We must elevate our consciousness if we want to rise above the dysfunction of our world. And we must tell a new story about what’s possible and how powerful we really are.

While we might tend to give more credence to science than anything else, we also love stories. We immerse ourselves in stories, whether they’re our own personal accounts, the books we read, the movies we watch or the history we research. Stories are both an escape from current reality and a potential springboard to a brighter future. We can use them to perpetuate an old pattern or to create a vision of something fabulous.

Think of famous actors and how much money they make. Who else gets paid big bucks for telling stories and prancing around pretending to be something they’re not? Okay, yes, politicians do, although they don’t get paid as much as movie stars and they’re meant to protect our interests rather than just providing entertainment.

Our love of stories, movies and fantasies is all about creativity and imagination. It has nothing to do with science. And science itself would be a lot less advanced if it weren’t for our capacity to dream and envisage phenomenal things, and to tap into universal intelligence for inspiration, healing and breakthroughs. Creativity, intuition and imagination are not just necessary counterparts to left-brain scientific thinking; they are often the midwives that enable a theory, idea or innovation to be born.   

Even scientists fall in love. We all have hearts, although we might try to hide our true feelings in certain contexts, for fear of being considered weak or effeminate. Yet we now know that heartbreak, emotional disconnectedness and loneliness can cause heart attacks and very real, physical conditions, whereas heartfelt emotions are magnetic, connecting us to things about which we care passionately, when fuelled by positive intention and determination. The heart does not use logical analysis to make inspired choices. It operates on a higher plane, tapping into the infinite realm of universal intelligence and intuition.

If your heart is disconnected from your head, it’s a bit like revving your car when it’s stuck in neutral. There’s power there but it’s not engaged; there’s potential for forward movement, but no one is actually driving, steering or focusing in a particular direction. Lots of noise but no action. A waste of energy with no useful outcome.

Home is where the heart is, but the heart is also home. If we abandon it in favour of our heads, we may feel lost, disconnected or conflicted, experiencing mixed results in our endeavours. Reconnecting to our heart and allowing it to guide us is the only sure way to stay true to ourselves and to create a life we love.

To get reconnected, try to incorporate the following seven steps into your daily routine:

1.     Slow down and switch off. Fast-paced living prevents us from connecting with our feelings, processing our emotions and integrating life’s experiences. Busyness, social media and constant online connectivity can be a great way to avoid feeling pain, loss, conflict etc. We need stillness so we can become aware of the important subtle messages from our hearts and bodies.

2.     Practise meditating. Emptying the mind and taking a break from analysing or questioning our lives creates space for inspiration and answers, while giving our over-worked bodies and brains a rest.

3.     Spend time in nature. Being in a natural environment—away from noise, machinery, traffic, phones, computers, work and people—is the most powerful way to ground ourselves and find peace. Nature is all about growth and life, and we could not exist without it. When we spend time in the forest, by the ocean or on a mountaintop, we revitalize our bodies and feed our spirits, often gaining a fresh perspective on things.

4.     Nourish yourself. A healthy body promotes a clear mind and a happy heart. We must nourish our brain, soothe our nervous system and boost our immune system if we want to stay balanced. Wholesome, unprocessed foods, healthy oils (such as organic coconut, camelina, avocado and fish oils), iodine (to protect against manmade electromagnetic radiation), antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E), superfoods (such as chlorella, blueberries, cacao and goji berries) and lots of pure water all help to keep the heart and body healthy. 

5.     Work your body. Moving your body aerobically takes you out of your head and into your feelings. Kundalini yoga or other vigorous exercise stirs things up, releases tension and prompts our innate wisdom and deeper feelings to surface. The body holds all the clues and answers we need, and the heart is its most reliable messenger—our built-in wellness ambassador, best friend and advisor. 

6.     Write it out. Writing can be a great way of exploring your deeper feelings and thinking outside the box. Try writing non-stop for five minutes every day, with no fixed theme and no editing—just whatever comes to you. Our hearts and minds hold all the insights we could ever want and spontaneous writing can help us to access them.

7.     Laugh and connect with loved ones. Everyone needs meaningful human connections for physical, emotional and mental health. Sometimes we may not even know what we feel or want until we talk to a friend or close relative. Relating to others helps us to relate to our deeper selves, and having love in our lives makes all the challenges worthwhile.  

What works for you? What process, food or supplement has helped you stay emotionally connected and on track with your life?

This article was written by Olga Sheean

Click HERE to Learn more about Olga’s work.

WEBSITE: https://olgasheean.com

Cancer?  Chemo? Consider!

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This is such a difficult topic to write about. There is much to say and words just do not seem adequate. I have lost several loved ones to cancers of various sorts. It pains me to hear more and more about this malicious and vicious "C" word that wreaks havoc upon millions of people. Whether we are the individuals contending with it or having to watch a loved one walk through this dark valley, we all are touched by it sooner or later in one way or another.

 

I've lost three aunts to three different types of cancer. My father also went through a bout of cancer as well. Thanks be to God, he has recovered. My aunts did not fare so well. They all passed away. Two of them dealt with it for several years and the third succumbed rather quickly. Each of these dear ones, with the exception of my father went through extensive chemotherapy, radiation and conventional drugs. I began to wonder about this. He is the only one who did not undergo these "egregious" forms of therapy. And he is the only one still here with me. I have also watched as many friends and co-workers have undergone the same conventional treatments - all to no avail.

 

I am sick and tired of the loss column growing at insidious rates while the win column shrinks. What is the common denominator in the 'loss' column? Much to my amazement, it is the receiving of the aforementioned conventional treatments. Yes, dear reader - a grim reality, is it not? This may be difficult to come to terms with; especially because the FDA sanctions these "therapies".

 

Regardless of the grim statistics, most physicians (albeit many well-meaning) continue to prescribe these conventional treatments along with conventional drug therapies such as Tamoxifen given to women with breast cancer.  However, more and more women are opting not to take this medication. “The list of side effects (some of them life-threatening) associated with taking Tamoxifen is lengthy. True, not everyone suffers from side effects, but we are discovering that some women don’t metabolize the drug very well.  For those who have tried the drug and do suffer from side effects, these can be so life-altering and impactful to their quality of life they feel they are losing their minds.” (1)

 

If the side effects are not awful enough, then there are the lies women are told about taking Tamoxifen.  Many physicians tell their patients that if they take Tamoxifen for a period of 5 years after their treatments it will give them as much as a 50% chance of living disease free. (This percentage varies amongst doctors and which studies they rely upon) (2) The horrible reality is that studies actually show this drug to be a catalyst for even more aggressive types of cancers such as liver and uterine cancer when taken for a prolonged period of time.(Researchers discovered in 1992 that Tamoxifen is a liver carcinogen in rats which led to the state of California proclaiming it to be a known carcinogen under legislation formerly known as Prop 65) It has also been linked to fatal blood clots and also interferes with many other functions in the body.(3)

 

And now, dear reader, here is the good news.  Cancer is not a death sentence! There IS hope! Unbeknownst to millions of people, there are other amazing, wonderful life saving/giving treatments - alternative treatments - that have incredible success rates. The saddest, most heinous fact is that these alternative treatments are not to be found very easily within the United States because they are not 'legal'. So I would urge you to do your own research.  

 

In my humble opinion, the perfect place for you to begin would be the very place that my journey to these amazing truths and HOPE began in 2015. This is when I found Ty and Charlene Bollinger. (The accredited information in this article is taken from their website.) In 2015 Ty and Charlene put together a 9 part documentary series called "The Truth about Cancer - A Global Quest". This incredibly brave couple opened up an entirely new world for me regarding cancer and its treatments. Just last month they did another 7 part series entitled "Eastern Medicine: Journey Through Asia". And then consider this . . . you can fight cancer right from your own kitchen! I would recommend a fabulous book called Cancer-Free with Food by Liana Werner-Gray. This is a step by step plan to fight disease, nourish the body and restore health. It includes 100+ recipes.

 

You won’t have to dig too deep to discover mind-boggling truths that will make you angry – righteously and justifiably so; especially if you or a loved one has suffered with cancer. Conventional wisdom has failed us for years. Isn't it about time we find out why?

 

Be encouraged! Cancer is not a death sentence! There is hope!

This article was written by Barbie White

Click HERE to Learn more about her work.

WEBSITE: https://737flygirl.wixsite.com/wellnesskitchen

ALCOHOL — SANITY — REALITY

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A stronger realization of the evil in drinking hit me recently when I stumbled on some news on Facebook. No, I was not dipping into the Sacramental Wine. A father who had had a couple of bottles too many took hold of the steering wheel and drove himself, his wife and stepmother to the embrace of death. Luckily, thanks to a Good Samaritan who was close to the murder (or manslaughter) scene, his son was rescued from the sinking car.

A quick Google search will, however, lead us to countless other stories of a drunkards killing strangers, killing family and friends, or even himself. Why then do we choose to surrender our sanity — and even our humanity — to this liquefied femme fatale called alcohol?

Statistics, according to the Drug-Free World Foundation, establish that alcohol kills more teenagers than all other drugs combined, and is a factor in the three leading causes of death among young persons: accidents, homicides and suicides. Not only that; youth who drink are 7.5 times more likely to use other illegal drugs and are fifty times more likely to use cocaine.

It has also been shown that at least 40% of violent crimes occur under the influence of alcohol. What is more, alcoholic drinks are getting cheaper by the decade. They are becoming more and more affordable, so no one is left out from this global entrapment.

It is therefore not doubtful that alcohol has wrought great havoc not only on our quality of life, but the quantity of the living. Though thinking right — in other words, sanity — can have its downsides, and though not easily forgetting or repressing sour memories can draw us into melancholy, alcohol is no true escape route. It does not offer an exit from the premises of our problems. It only switches off the light for a moment.

The problems — though invincible — remain. It gives us temporary breaks from challenges such as poverty, unemployment, strained relationships and so on; and many a time, it leads to permanent damages.

Away from the figures, the writer has personally experienced how alcohol can often embitter an otherwise great marriage and relationship. (Usually) the father spends a great deal of his income buying it for himself and friends, and he spends most of what remains trying to clean up at the hospital: liver disease cancer, malnourishment, gastrointestinal problems, osteoporosis and so on. He also spends a great deal of his time arguing with his wife and beating his kids — all for silly or no reasons at all. He even borrows or steals from his wife to fuel this indulgence of his. And so, there is nothing left in his pocket for the upkeep of his family, nothing left in his time for keeping up with his family and nothing left in his head to realize this tragedy.

For the youth, though the character and plotline may differ, the story often heads for the same ending: misery. It is a vicious, almost never-ending, cycle wrapped in shame and anguish. If we shut our eyes to the place of peer pressure, then it is either pain leads you to the consumption of alcohol or the consumption of alcohol leads you to pain — or both.

You are facing problems with your studies, your secondary school mates have all graduated and are probably married, and your project supervisor is there making life hell for you. Or your girlfriend whom you love dearly just left you bitter for leaving for sweeter pastures. Or you flunked your final-year examinations, have to sit in classes with your juniors for a year. So you decide to seek solace in the flames of alcohol. Well, stop! Don’t.

Don’t submit your sanity to a bottle of fizzles or wood soaked liquid before it makes you a fizzle yourself. Don’t hand over the baton of your senses, even for a night, for that is your greatest weapon against life’s challenges. You do not win by running. You win through strategy and hard work — and a drunken man is not capable of both. Alcohol is a drug like all others. It has got a glittering package. It has got a sweet voice. It even looks great from the top.

But underneath all these is a quicksand of unending, yet limitless, misery. Trust me, it is not worth it. But don’t take my word for it; check the statistics. Look around you. See what you do not want to see and see the reality for yourself.

Center for Healing, Growth, & Recovery Ministries

Reverend Marc Baisden, MACP, CMHC, Min. (C) 2019

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

HEALING, GROWTH AND RECOVERY

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HGR emerges from hope:  The belief that recovery and joy is real provides the essential and motivating message of a better future - that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them.

HGR is person- centered/driven:  Self-determination and self-concepts are the foundations for HGR individuals as they define their own life goals and design their unique path(s). 

HGR occurs via many pathways:  Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds - including trauma experiences - that affects and can determine the pathway(s) to/in the Process of HGR.

HGR is holistic: HGR encompasses an individual's whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.

HGR is supported by peers and allies: Mutual support and mutual aid from people, small groups that the person builds. Including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in HGR and in the outcomes.

HGR is supported through relationship and social networks:  An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person's ability to recover; who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change.  

HGR is culturally-based and influenced: Culture and cultural background in all diverse representations - including values, traditions, faith and beliefs. These are keys in determining a person's journey and unique pathway in HGR.  

HGR is supported by addressing traumas: Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical, emotional, mental and spiritually) and trust in the self and others. This helpful to promote choice, empowerment, and collaboration to heal, grow and Recover.   '

HGR involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility:  Individuals, families, and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery.  

HGR is based on respect: Community, systems, societal acceptance and appreciation for people are crucial in achieving in the process and living a life with Joy.

This article was written by Rev. Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN

Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENT WELLNESS — IGNITE

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ENGAGE

It is so easy so easily to slip back into the old person you have been. In the past 12 days I have shared 12 principles of Emotional Intelligence ways to identify things in all of us and myself that we can work on.  For me I could have easily trudged along on my well-trodden path of negative self-talk, comfortably overanalyzing, and well-worn pessimistic beliefs about myself. I sound almost human. Honestly, for all of us we can return to the old patterns so easily. It becomes a habit, if you will.

We already have the knowledge of how to do it, it is almost automatic, and it is comfortable because we used to use it. To not use those old habits and known self-destructive thoughts and behaviors takes dedicated work. As you do the dedicated work and are intentional about the change your making it becomes easier and you will end up not thinking about the changes and will just use them. The old, destructive habits are still in in you, yet you do not use them or even consider them as appropriate. It is the same as Recovery.

Ignite yourself, reread the past days writing, formulate your change plan and get to work. In those great words from Larry the Cable Guy: “Get Er Done”.

ACTIVATE

"What do I need?"

Lasting change in our lives will not be created and maintained, when we lack faith and belief in ourselves and our ignited mission. I truly believe that something has ignited inside of you. I bet that there is nothing else, worthy of your attention toward the change you need or want to make in you. So, what is it that need or want? Think honestly—what has really spoken to your heart and mind; what is whispering to you?

 

Free write these down and remember them as you move into the next phase. Free write means to write down everything that is in your heart and the edit it down.

 REFLECT

"How do I get there? "Now that we've been specific, it is time to develop the steps toward success. What are the steps you can take to get to these changes? What acts, done consistently over time, will lead you to your change? Write them down, put them somewhere visible, and do them. There are a few tips to successfully latching on to new habits, if you haven't already found your own ways of doing so. Attach them to a current habit (I will count my blessings while I brush my teeth). Create a daily affirmation list, Create a daily to-do list and smile big when you check it off! Be vulnerable with a friend, boyfriend, Husband or wife, tell them your goals and ask them to help keep you accountable, or listen to a podcast on the skill you are wanting to practice. I recommend “Fit for Joy” to boost your awareness of the skill. Set a concrete time for practicing.

Whatever ends up working for you, don't forget to reflect. Take time to measure your progress, whether it is with a journal, a therapist, a friend, or a spreadsheet. Ready, set, PRACTICE!

 

Have Fun With Your Health, Growth & Recovery. In other word Yourself.

  

Center for Healing, Growth & Recovery Ministries

Reverend Marc Baisden, MACP, CMHC, Min

All right reserved, 4/2019

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

PHYSICAL — EMOTIONAL — MENTAL and SPIRITUAL SKILLS


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Mindful of Breathing: Mindful breathing involves focused attention on breathing. Notice how you are breathing. Notice slower breathing and fuller breaths. Notice your belly rise and fall as you breathe in and out. When your mind drifts away from your breathing, and it will, simply notice what caught your attention and gently shift your attention back to your breathing. 


Mindful of Sounds: Following mindful breathing, focus your attention on sounds; soft sounds, loud sounds, nearby sounds, distant sounds. Notice your response to sounds. Notice if you are annoyed by a sound or judging a sound; then gently re-direct yourself to listening to sounds without judging. When your attention drifts away to a thought, notice what thoughts you were distracted by, and gently return your attention to sounds.


Meditation: The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to become more aware and accepting of internal processes; thoughts, feelings, urges, sensations, cravings, triggers, etc. Meditation is not intended for relaxation. People who are extremely anxious about internal processes or have difficulty sitting still may need to work up to a full session of 20 minutes, beginning with only 2-3 minutes at a time and working on other exercises more at first. The goal is 20 minutes of meditation two times a day. During meditation, if your mind drifts to thoughts about the past or worries about the future, gently re-direct your attention to the present moment. Mindfulness meditation is about staying in the present, not about achieving a heightened state of awareness or bliss (that’s transcendental meditation).


Mindful Eating: When eating mindfully, choose a place that is quiet and free of distractions. Before beginning to eat, look at the food. Notice what it looks like; its shape and size and color, and how it smells. Notice any internal sensations; salivation, hunger, urges before you taste the food. Now take a bite. Notice the taste, texture, and sensations in your mouth. Notice your chewing. Notice urges to swallow. Notice your swallowing. Notice your stomach as you swallow. Continue eating mindfully, noticing sensations in your stomach; feelings of hunger and fullness. Decide when you are finished eating based on when you are no longer hungry. Avoid eating while engaged in other activities, such as watching television, reading, or working. Notice feelings and thoughts associated with eating and urges to eat between meals.


Beginner’s Mind: Pick an object in the room that is familiar to you, then examine it with your beginner’s mind; that is, as if you have never seen the object before. Some people imagine they are an alien from another planet or an alien on another planet, seeing the object for the first time. Notice the shape, weight, texture and color of the object. Try to imagine what the object could be used for. As you continue to examine the object, do you notice anything about it that you may not have noticed before? When you put the object away, reflect on what you learned about the object that you didn’t already know. Consider what would happen if you approached other areas of your life with a beginner’s mind; people, places, objects, situations. How would these other areas of your life be the same or different if you approached them with beginner’s mind? What expectations do you now have that you would not have if you saw them for the first time?


Mindful of Thoughts: Once you are comfortable and have become mindful of your breathing, shift your attention to your thoughts. Become aware of whatever enters your mind. Remember that your purpose is simply to observe the thoughts that are in your mind without judging them. Observe thoughts as they come and go in and out of your awareness without trying to engage them, continue them, stop them or change them. Simply notice them. If you find yourself getting caught up in a thought, notice what caught your attention, then gently re-direct yourself to observing your thoughts. It is normal to get caught up in thoughts. When this happens, return to observing thoughts.


Mindful of Emotions: Begin by getting comfortable and becoming mindful of breathing. Think of an event in the past in which you experienced a particular feeling that you want to get in touch with; happy, sad, glad, scared, upset, angry, proud, embarrassed, etc. Remember the situation and imagine you are in the situation now. What do you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch? Notice what thoughts, feelings and sensations come up as you remember the situation. Pay particular attention to your feelings. Is there one feeling or more than one? Notice any urges to hold onto or push away your feelings. Respond to these urges with understanding. Notice how your body responds to the feelings. Is there tension anywhere? Sweaty palms? Racing heartbeat? Urge to cry? Urge to run or hide? Urge to fix it or make it go away? Simply be aware of your emotions without judging or trying to get rid of them. Re-direct your attention to just observing your emotions. Notice any changes in your emotions during this exercise. Do they change or stay the same? Get stronger or weaker? Return to mindful breathing before ending this exercise, as it can be a difficult one. This exercise can be done with moderate, less intense feelings at first.


Mindful of Physical Sensations: Physical sensations can be urges, pain, tension, hunger and racing heart. Begin to focus on sensations involved in your body as your body contacts the surface you are sitting or laying on. Notice the parts of your body that are not in contact with the surface. Notice the sensation of air on skin or a sheet touching the skin. Notice the air temperature. Notice any body sensations: urges, cravings, hunger, pain, muscle tension, racing heart, stiffness, cramps, body temperature, etc. Notice any thoughts or judgments you are making about your physical sensations; then gently re-direct your attention to your body sensations. After 5-10 minutes, shift your attention back to the sensations you feel as your body contacts the surface of your chair or bed, then focus on breathing.


Mindfulness in All Activities: We can apply mindfulness to any activity at any time during the day. We can drive mindfully and do household chores mindfully; meaning we are keenly focused on what we are doing at the moment. We can practice mindfulness in the shower, during a walk, in a park, at work, during exercise, in a store, in the Dr’s office, in the waiting room, while dressing, while playing or drawing, etc. When we find feeling of guilt about the past or anxiety about the future creep in, or unwanted thoughts, memories or cravings, we gently re-direct our focus to the here and now.



This article was written by Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN

Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden.

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE - WELLNESS-MINDFULNESS

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Mindfulness involves an awareness of the here and now, and a mindset that is open and receptive to new ideas, information and experiences. In substance abuse treatment, mindfulness can be a way to cope with feelings, stress, triggers and urges and a way to manage stress and anxiety. Mindfulness can be the difference between responding effectively to the trauma symptoms that often co-occur with substance abuse, and a relapse to substance use to escape the unpleasant symptoms.


 Mindfulness, if practiced regularly is a positive skill that counteracts one’s self-destructive behavior. It is not an escape or a means of avoidance. It is a way of staying present with pain and discomfort, rather than fleeing from pain and discomfort. Instead of staying compulsively busy to avoid an urge, running from an urge or giving in to an urge by using; a person practicing mindfulness observes and accepts the urge, and rides it like a wave – knowing that every urge has a beginning, middle and end - and that this one too will pass.  


Mindfulness is a way of engaging the mind in response to any stressor, situation, interaction or activity that is causing any distress on the Physical, Emotional or Spiritual of you. Mindfulness helps a person recognize strong urges or feelings as invitations to accept or decline after careful consideration, rather than commands to act immediately. Mindfulness allows a person to remain calm under fire, then choose a response to a stimulus that is in his/her short-term or long-term best interest.


Skills Defined


There are mindfulness skills that need to be learned and practiced. When practiced routinely, it will be easier to call upon the skills at any time and to apply them when needed. Part of the beauty of mindfulness practice, is that the practice does not necessarily require sitting in a certain position or closing the eyes. Mindfulness can be practiced and skills during activities and as part of the activities. Some essential mindfulness skills are:


Awareness: Awareness involves focusing attention on one thing at a time, while at the same time recognizing that there are many things going on. Some of these things are external such as sounds, odors, touch, and sights, while some of these things are internal, such as our feelings thoughts, urges, impulses, etc.


Non-judgmental: The emphasis is on observing without judging or labeling things as “good” or “bad.” The idea is to observe my angry feelings without judging them as bad or feeling a need to get rid of them or do something about them. It’s like holding my anger at arm’s length and just noticing that this is anger. Then understanding that not only is it anger, but that it’s ok that it is anger and even understandable that anger would be there.


Present Moment: A present moment focus or being in the present moment means fully participating in the present without being distracted by guilt from the past or worry and anxiety about the future. It means engaging in activities that are meaningful today, not just mindlessly doing what I have always done or going through the motions without attention to what I am experiencing.

 

Open Mind (or Beginner’s Mind): An open mind or beginner’s mind is childlike (not childish). It is being open to new experiences and seeing them as they are; not how you have judged them to be or think they should be. If I attend an event with the mindset that “this is going to be a waste of time,” I have a preconceived notion about the event that prevents me from experiencing the event as it is. Likewise, if I already know it all, I’m not open to learning anything new, or experiencing the joy and bliss of learning.

A Beginner’s Mind is what a child has who experiences something for the first time.


This article was written by Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN

Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden.

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

MENTAL HEALTH AND REAL HEALING

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A recent Wall Street Journal special report on health care included a revealing article titled “Where Are the Mental-Health Providers?” Reporter Louise Radnofsky presents convincing evidence and sounds the alarm about the increasing difficulty of finding much-needed mental health care in many regions of the United States.

Radnofsky quotes statistics from a recent study by Mental Health America, a patient advocacy group. The study found that while 42.5 million adults in the United States have a mental illness (18% of the population), the ratio of mental health providers to people in the US is just 1:790, while only 41% of people with a mental illness report receiving treatment.

“That’s prompting a sea change in attitudes among mental health advocates,” Radnofsky writes, “who are starting to look at solutions that are broader than just training more psychiatrists.”

It’s about time. In this month’s article and book excerpt, I explain my thinking on the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde nature of trauma treatment by psychiatrist-prescribed medications. I will stress again that there is an important role for psychotropic drugs in effective therapy. But—too often—drugs are presented as the complete answer for trauma sufferers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Chemically locking away traumatic memories may help people temporarily, as I’ve outlined above. But I firmly believe that the hope for healing lies in unearthing and resolving the painful past. Drugs can make this process all but impossible when patients have great difficulty accessing their memories. And, over time, serious and life-compromising side effects of medication pile up.

Well-trained psychotherapists play a vital role in our nation’s mental health. I’m all in favor of greater recognition of this serious gap in our mental health system.


By Dr. Peter Bernstein

To read more of his articles, please visit: http://www.bernsteininstitute.com/blog/

*** "This article was written and originally published when Peter Bernstein, PhD was a licensed psychotherapist. His practice has evolved and he is currently a life coach, mentor and consultant."

RELATIONSHIPS AND TRAUMA, PART TWO


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“Trauma and its psychological wounds often destroy relationships, families, and communities, even claiming lives.” - From Trauma: Healing the Hidden Epidemic


Last month, we looked at the ways unresolved trauma affects, or almost “infects” relationships. We examined both the practical and the personal burdens that partners of individuals with unresolved trauma can bear. But what happens when both individuals in a relationship—a family, a marriage, a business partnership—carry wounds from the past?


Yours, Mine and Ours


The challenges in a relationship where both individuals carry unresolved trauma can be illustrated by considering the challenges in blending a step-family. As in a marriage between two individuals with children from other relationships, each individual may bring personal difficulties into the relationship that have nothing to do with their new partner, family member, or loved-one. These painful issues may express themselves in a variety of negative or undesirable symptoms and behaviors.


Each individual in the relationship may have some awareness of their own troubling issues. Each individual may also have some awareness of the emotional difficulties their new partners struggle with. Often, however, such awarenesses are hard to grasp. A great deal of confusion and conflict can arise in the day-to-day give-and-take of relationships when pain from the past is influencing behavior and attitudes in the present.


The confusion only deepens when the third set of challenges arise. To use our illustration, if the painful issues of each individual are the “yours” and “mine” stepchildren of the blended family, the third set of painful challenges will be the “ours” children, or the issues the new couple have with each other. These are the challenges and difficulties which arise precisely because of the nature of being in relationship.


Putting it briefly, two key ingredients in significant relationships are intimacy and dependency. For traumatized individuals, intimacy and dependency are very substantial challenges in themselves. The experience of trauma—whether prolonged developmental trauma or events of shock trauma—frequently, if not always, damages an individual’s ability to trust and feel safe in the world. Healthy intimacy and dependency require some ability to trust, and the willingness to allow that trust to grow and deepen. Individuals must be able to feel some essential element of safety in the relationship and be willing to help create a safe place for their partners and loved-ones.


Often, individuals with unresolved trauma lack the objectivity and awareness to sort out the “yours, mine, and ours” in their relationships. They may find themselves creating unfulfilling, destructive relationships over and over in similar patterns, or their painful pasts may be so overwhelming that they avoid relationships altogether. Competent, effective counseling can help with the sorting-out process to help individuals heal and strengthen their relationships.



By Dr. Peter Bernstein

To read more of his articles, please visit: http://www.bernsteininstitute.com/blog/

*** "This article was written and originally published when Peter Bernstein, PhD was a licensed psychotherapist. His practice has evolved and he is currently a life coach, mentor and consultant."

RESILIENCY AND RECOVERY

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Recovery emerges from hope: The belief that recovery is real provides the essential and motivating message of a better future - that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them.

Recovery is person-driven: Self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path(s).

Recovery occurs via many pathways: Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds - including trauma experiences - that affect and determine their pathway(s) to/in recovery.

Recovery is holistic: Recovery encompasses an individual's whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.

Recovery is supported by peers and allies: Mutual support and mutual aid groups, including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in recovery.

Recovery is supported through relationship and social networks: An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person's ability to recover; who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change.

— Click HERE to speak to a highly trained and experienced psychologists online. https://onlinetherapies.com

Recovery is culturally-based and influenced: Culture and cultural background in all of its diverse representations - including values, traditions, and beliefs - are keys in determining a person's journey and unique pathway to recovery.

Recovery is supported by addressing trauma: Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical and emotional) and trust, as well as promote choice, empowerment, and collaboration.

Recovery involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility: Individuals, families, and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery.

Recovery is based on respect: Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation for people discrimination - are crucial in achieving recovery.


This article was written by Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN

Adapted from ASAM for Dual Recovery and Trauma

Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden.