Mental illness is a coping mechanism
By Laurie Ahern
Mental illness is a coping mechanism. We know for sure that victims of horrendous childhood sexual abuse, most often by a family member from whom they can't escape, use such coping mechanisms as dissociation (going
away in your mind) when they cannot escape physically from the torture. And further down that continuum is
multiple personality and amnesia.
These are all ingenious and
remarkable ways that children learn to survive situations that are intolerable. And many people-without the label of mental
illness-use coping mechanisms to survive the stress of everyday life. We use alcohol, drugs,
sex, work, exercise, shopping, smoking, eating, gambling-some to excess and some, just enough to take the edge off-but we
do use them. In moderation these coping mechanisms are considered socially acceptable; however,
going "manic" or becoming "psychotic" is not.
After three years of listening
to people call the 800 line at the National Empowerment Center, I must say I have drawn some very strong conclusions. First
and foremost, the one thing that is clear to me is that no one calling the National Empowerment Center comes from the "Beaver
Be it parents, consumers/survivors,
siblings, lovers, spouses, or friends, there is always some trauma involved when the story is told: poverty, death of a parent
at an early age, abandonment, divorce, incest, alcoholism, drug addiction, neglect, etc. And then the story continues the
same. Some time later on in life, always a stressful time in life-off to college, wrestling with sexuality in the teen years,
the birth of a child, the death of a parent, a divorce or broken love relationship-it happens.
Mania, psychosis, panic attacks,
depression, obsessive-compulsive behavior, agoraphobia-these all of a sudden appear in those who have never known such things.
Why? Well think about it logically. Trauma may not cause mental illness, but we all have our breaking points. And I think
those of us who are not lucky enough or able to find a socially acceptable way of handling our stress, a way that does not
too drastically interfere with our day-to-day lives, may end up becoming manic or going psychotic.
What better way to leave behind
a reality that is too cumulatively painful than to create one of our own...as in psychosis? What better way to feel like we
can accomplish and do anything when we are feeling insecure and overwhelmed than becoming manic...where we can do anything
and everything? And what better coping mechanism can we find than to wash our hands fifty
times a day when we are feeling so unsafe? And if the world has been a cruel and unforgiving place, where but in the safety
of your own bedroom, as in agoraphobia, could there be a safer place to be?
Some would say that mental
illness runs in families-that it is genetic. When I was growing up, alcohol was the way in which my Irish Catholic family
coped. I watched it all my life. So when I ran into trouble in my early twenties, alcohol was the way in which I self-medicated
and tried hard to make the pain go away.
My girlfriend down the street
grew up in an Italian Catholic family. Food was the drug of choice in her home. Whenever anything emotional happened - a death,
a birth, a wedding - food was what was used to stuff the feeling. So when my friend's husband left her with two small babies
when she was 18, she started eating and did not stop until she had gained 50 pounds. And the same is true with so-called mental
illness. If you grow up with depression, suicide, mania and psychosis as role models for coping mechanisms, the more likely
you may use these as ways to cope when the need arises.
It is not a coincidence that
most of the staff at the NEC are trauma survivors-later to be diagnosed with mental illness. But it is also not a coincidence
that we have all recovered. We share common ideals and principles that have allowed us to find new coping mechanisms that
work in our lives. Drugs, in and of themselves, were not the answer. Electroshock was not the answer. The answer was making
it safe for us to come back, and finding a new way to cope with the stress when we did return.
You know, if you had a nervous stomach and you went to your doctor, he or she might give you Maalox and Tagamet and tell you
to reduce the stress in your life. Well, you could take all the medicine, but if you went home to the car that would not start,
the dog who just died, the lover who is cheating on you and the job you hate, you can be pretty sure that your stomach would
kick up again-no matter what you take-until you find a new way to cope and deal with the stress in your life.
Mental illness is a coping mechanism, not a disease. And those who know this know that drugs will only fend off the
pain for so long and then it comes back again. And it seems to me, the difference between those who recover and those who
go on to become chronic, lifelong mental patients are those who are aware of this, those of us who know that a second, third
or fourth drug added to our repertoire will not ease the pain. In fact it only increases the pain-when we feel hopeless and
helpless. Create a safe space. Find a new way to cope. And I believe you too can recover
from your so-called mental illness.
source site: click here
a personal note: I had to include this article because some people BELIEVE things like this.
It's just too bad that they refer to mental illness as a coping mechanism or "so called mental illness. Mental illness is
a very real medical illness. Keep it in mind that it is because of people who believe this stuff (above)
that we need coping mechanisms!
Sleep more soundly! (cont. from above)
Sleep is absolutely essential to improve and maintain energy levels, immune system effectiveness, mental and emotional clarity and overall quality of life. When you feel good, you function better.
The following tips may
prove very useful if you need to sleep better!
with anything is easier when you're well rested. Unfortunately, problems often cause us to sleep poorly.
- Decrease mental activity
in the evening.
- Make preparations for the
- Take a hot bath before bedtime
to help relieve stress.
- Soothing fragrances, lights
and music may help as well.
- Limit activities in bed to sleep and sex only - no reading
or television watching.
- If you have trouble sleeping,
try sleeping in another area
of the house.
- Try listening to repetitive soothing natural sounds (waves, wind, waterfall, stream, etc.)
from a selected high quality sound device.
- Natural homeopathic, nutritional
and herbal support may prove useful (e.g. calcium, melatonin, passionflower or valerian before bed).
- Turn off all the lights.
This last item is particularly
important, as melatonin (key hormone involved in sleep/repair cycles) production
may be inhibited if you sleep with the lights on.
Projection: is a common coping mechanism.
Attributing one's own feelings or thoughts to others
the problem with projecting
Leads to prejudice, suspiciousness, and excessive worrying about external dangers
people using this negative coping mechanism might be experiencing
Typical of paranoid and schizotypal personalities; used by people with borderline,
antisocial, or narcissistic personality when under acute stress
Whatz up with that? I think I heard someone say, "Great!
I'll wake up in the morning with a positive attitude and my worries will be gone!"
what? With that!!!! Most people reading this page are thinking, "well, okay.... I'll start having a positive
attitude tomorrow morning when I wake up and everything in my life will be okay."
up with that? It's wrong.... It's impossible.... It would be a miracle!!!
Look at the definition of the word:
develop - as in Develop A Positive Attitude!
. de·vel·oped, de·vel·op·ing,
- To progress from earlier to later stages of a life cycle.
- To progress from earlier to later or from simpler to more complex
stages of evolution.
- To aid in the growth of; strengthen.
- To grow by degrees into a more advanced or mature state.
that the definition states.... "to progress...."
"strengthen....." "from simple to complex....."
nice to yourself and realize that things must develop in your life, not change automatically! It's self defeating
to think that you'll automatically wake up in the morning with a positive attitude and everything will be great!
Develop your positive attitude!
Here are some
ways to help you develop a more positive attitude and better manage the stressors in your life:
- Listen to internal dialogue. Divide one or more sheets of paper into 2 columns and for a few days, jot down
in the left column all the negative thoughts that come into your head.
each thought in a positive way in the 2nd column. Practice doing this in your mind until it becomes a habit. (i.e., “I’ll never get this finished by the end of the day!” could become,
“I will probably get most of this finished by the end of the day.”)
If you find communicating difficult, or are afraid of arguments or bruised feelings, take a course in communicating effectively.
- Get back to basics. Reconnect with old friends, take the dog for a walk, visit an art gallery or listen to your favorite music. Enjoy a long, relaxing bath, read a great book, tell your child a story, or ask an older relative to tell you one! It's the simplest
things in life that give us the most pleasure…
- Help someone out. The
simple act of helping others helps us to feel good. Pick up groceries for an aging neighbor, volunteer at your local hospital or read a book to someone with failing eyesight. If you're unsure of how to help out in your
community, call your nearest volunteer centre.
vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens.
Splitting Use of black-or-white, all-or-nothing
thinking to divide people into groups of idealized all-good saviors and vilified all-bad evildoers
this negative coping mechanism
those who would typically use this behavior
borderline personality disorder
Decide to Have a Positive Day!
Our inner critic is the internal voice of negative judgmental self talk. It's the nagging feeling, the inner voice that makes us critical of ourselves and others. It's postulated that our inner critic developed early
in life as a mechanism for reminding us of childhood rules and standards that we internalized about how we were supposed to
think, feel and behave.
We learn to be critical
of ourselves as we learn to march to the drummer of others wants and needs, we learn to be critical of others when they don't conform to what we want or expect.
The inner critic speaks
loudly in judgment of ourselves and other people. It's a voice that yearns to castigate. It's the voice of enslavement to our egos and to the
wants of others.
Sometimes our inner
critic will leave us with feelings of self doubt; sometimes it will allow us to feel negative and critical of others. When we listen to our inner critic, we listen to negativity that separates us from our best self and also from others.
Our best personal and professional selves
come from a place of self love and acceptance. When we can truly love and accept ourselves we can also see those in our world as collaborators on our path of personal learning. Love is a path which brings us closer to the seed of creation and to a place where we can grow, learn and to share joy with others.
We're all partners on
a human journey and the greatest challenge in our roadmap to personal and professional success is to cleave to our humanity, to the values of sharing and caring that make us brothers and sisters on the road of life.
a day this week to stomp out the voice of your inner critic; to free yourself from self imposed negativity and judgment.
Silence all criticism
and negativity for 24 hours. Concentrate only on the good in yourself and in others that you meet and interact with. Give the
inner critic a day off and in so doing spend a day with your highest, greatest and best self.
By Irene Segal
JUST COACH IT http://justcoachit.com/
Key Examples of Positive Affirmation (self-talk) to Help You:
- I will think of myself as successful!
- I will have positive expectations for everything I do!
- I will remind myself
of past successes!
- I will not dwell on failures, I just will not repeat them!
- I will surround myself with
positive people and ideas!
- I will keep trying until
I achieve the results I want!
Books to Read:
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit down with the Dalai Lama and really press him about life's persistent
Why are so many people
How can I abjure loneliness?
How can we reduce conflict?
Is romantic love true love?
Why do we suffer?
How should we deal with
unfairness and anger?
How do you handle the
death of a loved one? read more...
Quotes about Attitude:
*Under current legislation, Biomedica isn't permitted to make claims to consumers
in support of health benefits derived from foods. This means we cannot make specific statements as to how food-based, non-drug
products may help to prevent or treat diseases or our government will attempt to re-classify that food as a drug. Taking natural
products should be a decision based on personal research & understanding of the role food-derived antioxidants & enzymes
play in health and wellbeing.
The information provided within this site is for informational purposes only & isn't intended as
a substitute for advice from a physician or other health care professional & shouldn't be used for diagnosis or treatment
of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment.
A health care professional should be consulted before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation
program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. Don't discontinue any other
medical treatments without first consulting your doctor.
The influence of coping mechanisms and a positive outlook on childbearing during periods
of economic uncertainty - click here to view article
Individual Capacity and Coping
capacity and coping skills include psychological characteristics such as personal competence and a sense of control and mastery over one’s life.
These characteristics play an important role in supporting mental and physical health -
influencing people’s vulnerability to such health problems as cancer and cardiovascular disease and affecting their risk of unintentional injuries, mental disorders
Coping skills enable
people to be self-reliant, solve problems and make informed
choices that enhance health. They help people to deal with
the events, challenges and stresses in their day-to-day lives, without resorting to health
risk-taking behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse.
with a strong sense of their own effectiveness and ability
to cope with the circumstances in their lives are likely to be most successful in adopting and sustaining healthy behaviors and lifestyles.
There's strong evidence that coping skills are acquired primarily in
the first few years of life. Children are born with an innate ability
to cope, meaning that they are resilient
to stress and negative circumstances.
However, this ability is profoundly
influenced by early childhood experiences. Developing these skills
to their fullest potential depends on a variety of protective and risk factors in the individual, family and community.
Factors such as:
interact to hinder or enhance children’s mental
Relationship to Healthy Child Development
Early nurturing is important.
early experiences contribute significantly to their ability to cope with stress. Effective parenting, which includes providing children with emotional security and strong and sensitive nurturing, is essential if children are to learn the coping skills they'll need throughout their lives (Steinhauer, 1998).
In the period from birth through the toddler years, it's likely that the
strongest single familial factor protecting the potential for resiliency is the establishment of a
secure attachment to a primary caregiver (Steinhauer, 1998, p. 57).
Findings of the
National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) support the theory that effective parenting skills and family functioning are important to young children’s mental health. When parents have difficulty
coping with life, work, family or parenting, they may
be unable to provide their children with the necessary emotional, social and physical support (CCSD, 1996, p. 16; Landy & Tam, 1996).
Consistency in parenting is especially important for building social relationships for children in at-risk
families (McKinnon & Ahola-Sidaway, 1997, pp. 38–39).
Ongoing support and stimulation from family, peers and significant others contribute to positive mental health.
Establishing trust and safety through caring relationships, providing guidance and challenge and ensuring opportunities for meaningful participation in family
and community are all protective factors in a child’s environment.
These factors can
alter or even reverse negative outcomes and help children to develop resilience and positive coping skills (Benard, 1991).
the immediate family also influence children’s healthy development. Supportive adults in the school, neighborhood and community are important protective factors in helping to offset the negative effects of perinatal stress, chronic poverty, parental psychopathology and disruptions in the family (Werner, 1993).
an important source of support as children grow older. Successful peer relationships can provide children
with the models and experience that help them develop coping mechanisms to counteract excessive anxiety (Manassis & Bradley, 1994).
Conversely, peers can play a negative role by encouraging participation in high-risk behaviors (e.g. drinking & driving, drug experimentation) that may have long-term negative health and other consequences.
Other factors affect capacity and coping skills.
Culture and ethnicity
can also affect people’s social and economic well-being, which in turn can impact their physical and mental health.
i.e., members of cultural and ethnic minorities may experience:
can interfere with access to social services and
other benefits and these people may feel cut off or isolated from the community (Health Canada, 1996, p. 19)
Coping mechanisms can
be positive or negative.
positive health, consists of those physical, mental and social attributes
that permit an individual to cope successfully with the challenges to their health and functioning.
People use a variety
of coping mechanisms to
meet life’s challenges; some contribute to health and equilibrium, while others
place the individual at even greater risk of negative health.
activity contributes to physical and mental health and in
addition to being more physically fit, active people tend to have:
Similarly, hobbies such as music and art provide a positive outlet for stress and teach children practical skills for coping.
negative coping mechanisms include:
An early reliance on these
behaviors often persists into adulthood and may result in
associated health problems.
Conditions and Trends
lives can be stressful. They experience rapid physical, emotional and
mental change and must face the challenges of academic requirements, peer
relationships and entry into the work force. While most gain the necessary skills and tools for coping, some experience
a range of mental disorders that may affect them well into their
Most Canadian children
are free of psychiatric disorders. Yet, research in this field
suggests that between 17% & 22% of Canadian children and adolescents suffer from one or more psychiatric disorders (Davidson & Manion, 1996, p. 42).
A survey of Ontario youth
revealed that 25% of youth aged 15 to 24 reported having
a mental health disorder (Ontario Ministry of Health, 1994, p. 10).
Children are at risk of a range of mental disorders.
The onset of some psychiatric disorders in children may generate later negative psychosocial outcomes. i.e., research suggests that children with
conduct disorder or antisocial behavior may have increased tendencies
towards criminal and substance abuse behaviors and psychological
difficulties in adolescence and adulthood (Offord, Boyle & Racine, et al., 1992; Offord & Bennett, 1994).
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appear to be most prevalent during preschool and early elementary years (Loeber & Keenan, 1994). These conditions, along
with learning disorders, can compromise social development
as a result of learning problems at school and difficulties
in interpersonal relations (McKinnon & Ahola-Sidaway, 1997). (see
affection deficit disorder on the affection page as well.)
Gender plays a role.
There are significant gender and age differences in children’s emotional and behavioral disorders. According to the NLSCY, in 1994 - 95, the
highest rate of emotional and behavioral problems was among boys
aged 8 to 11 (26%) and the lowest was among girls aged 4 to 7 (16%).
Among boys of both
age groups, hyperactivity was the most common disorder,
followed by conduct disorder. The incidence of emotional
disorders increased significantly from younger to older
boys (from 6.1% to 11.8%).
In girls, conduct
disorder was more common than hyperactivity for both age
groups, but the occurrence of emotional disorder was most
prevalent among 8- to 11-year-olds (11.3%).
All prevalence rates of disorders were higher for boys than for girls (Offord & Lipman, 1996, p. 123). See Exhibit 7.1. scroll down to bottom of page for chart
Females are much
more likely than males to experience “internalized disorders.”
i.e., young women
aged 15 to 19 are the most likely of any age-sex group to
exhibit symptoms of depression (14%)
& women aged
20 to 24 are also well above average (10%) in their experience
of depression (Federal, Provincial
& Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health, 1996, p. 317).
Other factors affect mental health.
appears to influence behavioral problems. In Ontario, the rates
of all psychiatric disorders were higher for children living in an urban environment (16.7%) than for those living in rural areas (12.3%) (Offord, Boyle & Racine, 1989, p. 4).
A shortage of mental health
services is a problem in many areas of Canada. It's
estimated that only 1 in 6 Canadian children with mental health problems is reached by mental health services (Children’s Hospital of
Eastern Ontario, 1993).
be a time of high stress. The rapid physiological changes of puberty interact
with other stress factors, with potentially significant effects on the mental health
Sources of stress
Many children have
experienced events that cause anxiety and worry. Findings of the NLSCY show that, according to
the parents surveyed, roughly 1/3 of the children under age 12 had experienced great unhappiness.
The most common
causes cited, regardless of the age or sex of the child, are listed below:
(CCSD, 1997, p. 38).
Young people can experience a high degree of social, academic and work stress.
School was cited
as the greatest source of stress by 65% of youth respondents to the 1992 Canadian
Mental Health Survey, a joint effort of the Canadian Psychiatric
Association & Canadian Mental Health Association (Canadian Psychiatric Association, 1993, p. 15).
and young adults also experience higher levels of
work stress than do older workers, with work stress and job satisfaction being inversely related.
Youth aged 15 to 24
are the least likely to indicate that they're “very satisfied” with their job (Federal, Provincial
& Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health, 1996, p. 242).
Work stress is highest among employed teens and declines
with age, reaching its lowest level among employed seniors (Federal, Provincial & Territorial Advisory Committee
on Population Health, 1996, p. 314).
Changes in family structure cause stress.
and family break-up can also be sources of stress for children. Data from the NLSCY reveal that, based on parents’ reports, roughly 33% of the children under age 12 had experienced “great unhappiness.” (children 101 has more information concerning death and divorce - click here)
The most common causes, regardless
of the age or sex of the child, were:
- death in the family (27%)
- parents’ divorce or separation (25%) (CCSD, 1997, p. 38).
Males and females are different.
that males and females experience stress differently during adolescence. Adolescent females are less likely to feel good about themselves and more likely to perceive their lives as stressful than adolescent males (CICH, 1994, p. 96).
Young people are at increased risk for suicide.
From 1970 to 1992,
there was a steady & significant increase in the suicide rate for 15 to 19 year-olds, from a low of 7 per 100,000 population to a peak of
14 per 100,000 in 1983.
The rate of 13 per 100,000 in 1992 was almost twice that of 1970.
Youth between the
ages of 20 & 24 have a higher rate of suicide than 15 to 19 year-olds, but they haven't experienced the same increases as the younger cohort.
The rate for the
former group has remained at 18 per 100,000 since 1989 (Federal, Provincial & Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health, 1996, p. 328).
There are limited data
on the incidence of suicide among younger children. Suicides among children aged 0 to 9 are rarely recorded.
For males aged 10 to 14, the rate rose from 0.6 to 2.6 per 100,000 between 1960 & 1992; for females, the increase was much less significant, rising from 0.1 to just 0.8 during the same period (Health
Rates for attempted
suicide vary greatly. It has been estimated that for every suicide there are between 10 & 100 attempted suicides (Dyck, Mishara & White, 1998, p. 311).
teenage males than females die from suicide attempts.
While young women
are more likely to attempt suicide, young men are much more likely than women to complete
a suicide attempt (CICH, 1994, pp. 75, 89).
The leading cause
of hospitalization for females 15 to 19 years old is suicide attempts - in 1989 - 90, their rate of hospitalization was more than twice that of males the same age (295 per
100,000 compared with 127 per 100,000) (CICH, 1994, p. 93).
Suicide rates are higher among Aboriginal youth. Aboriginal youth are at a higher risk of suicide than are young people in the general population. The suicide rate for Status Indians (aged 0 to 19) is almost 5 times higher than the national average
(Health Canada, 1997, p. 55).
Capacity, Coping & Other Determinants
Evidence is mounting
that it's both the combined effects of multiple environmental stresses & the clustered effects of psychosocial deprivations that often coexist with poverty (particularly
maternal depression, parental substance abuse, parental violence &
paternal criminality) that undermine competence & resiliency,
rather than just low income (Steinhauer, 1998).
Youth from families
that receive family benefits are less likely to feel good about themselves than youth from families that do not receive
In Ontario, young
people between the ages of 12 & 19 whose families receive benefits
were less likely to rate themselves as happy (Ontario Health Survey analysis in CICH, 1994, p. 125).
Spousal abuse may affect children’s mental health. Children who witness familial violence are at risk for many emotional & behavioral problems.
These difficulties may
Genetic & Biological Factors
that children who experience chronic illness or functional disability
are at higher risk of mental health problems (Cadman et al., 1986).
The results of
the NLSCY show that in 1994–95 the highest rate of emotional & behavioral problems was among boys aged 8 to 11 & the lowest was among girls aged 4 to 7. In fact, all prevalence rates for disorders were higher for boys (CICH, 1994, pp. 75, 89).
Coping Confidently with Change
New regulations are causing more paperwork and less time for your real job; your organization is merging with another and
no one knows how the restructuring will ultimately affect them.
there’s constant change on the home front, too. Perhaps you’ve got a seriously ill parent who needs care, or your child is graduating from high school and you'll soon have an empty nest to deal with, or maybe you’re getting a divorce.
Does some of this sound familiar
(especially if you substitute a few of the details)? It
should, because this is life in the 21st century - fast-paced, constantly changing and potentially full of stress. How you deal with the continual changes taking place in your life makes a great difference on your mental, emotional and physical well-being - in your work, your
relationships and with your health.
When faced with change, you can be tense, experiencing stress-induced physical symptoms, depressed and angry, or you can experience joy (as well as all the other emotions), feel healthful and know that you're doing well considering your circumstances. It all depends on your ability to adapt and follow-through.
There are skills you can learn
to confidently cope with change. These competencies will enhance your ability to live a healthy, happy and productive life, no matter what kind of transition you’re going through.
One of the first aspects of
handling constant change effectively is to learn to use positive coping strategies. These are behaviors, attitudes and activities that reduce your stress without compromising your health.
For example, playing tennis, taking a hot bath, meditating, or pulling weeds are good
ways of coping. When you find enjoyable activities that help you deal with the stresses of change, you'll be using positive coping behaviors.
Overeating, consuming large quantities of caffeine, alcohol or other drugs, or becoming a serious couch potato are examples of negative coping behaviors.
Abusive behavior, constant sleeping, or isolating yourself from others are also ways that detract from your ability to deal triumphantly with transitions.
Yet, these are some of the typical behaviors many people use to avoid taking charge of their lives when they find their changing circumstances overwhelming.
When you're able to take charge
of your life - the part that you can control - you'll find that the changes taking place don’t affect you as seriously as before.
One of the greatest roadblocks
to success in handling transitions is fear. It could be fear of risk-taking, fear of the unknown, or any number of fears. Allow yourself to feel the fear, then let go of it, so that it won’t paralyze you.
Fear is good in small doses. It awakens you to a possible danger and signals that something different needs to be done. Most people, however, tend to hold onto their fear long past its positive effects. Then fear becomes a hurdle that makes their lives more stressful and complicated.
Negative coping mechanisms are often used to cover up fears. Even if your fear is so subtle that you're now saying, “But I don’t have any fear!” it can stop you from making the choices best for you.
Learn how to overcome the
fear, whether it’s blatant or subtle, so that it won’t become the greatest barricade of all to your success in any endeavor.
Taking risks to make pro-active
changes will enhance your ability to act in positive ways. When you discover how to view risk-taking with awe and excitement rather than dread and worry, it'll make a major difference in your ability to move forward.
Making an action plan, taking small concrete steps and getting the support you needs are all part of confidently coping with transitions.
If you can change your mind-set to be positively focused, vs. negatively worried, this will help immensely. By adjusting your perspective, you can make any decision a winning one. You can find peace
of mind as you discover the learning or “silver-lining” in a dark time.
When you're able to focus
on where you are now, you'll find greater contentment. You’ll notice that when you concentrate fully on the task, discussion, or even emotion that is at hand, much of your stress will disappear. Your stress expands as you worry about the “what if” rather than dealing with the “what is.”
A Final Note
Begin to appreciate what you have now, without fear about possible negative outcomes or comparison of today with “the good ‘ol days.” Often the small delights in our lives can be
forgotten when we’re in times of change. And yet, they should be remembered so that you can feel good when the earth is moving beneath you.
When you're able to use positive coping strategies, overcome the blocks of fear and bring greater focus on each moment, you'll begin having an accepting and appreciating philosophy. Your life can then be full of joy even in our fast-paced, high-stressed and ever-changing times.
support, help, encouragement in helping YOU confidently cope with change, contact:
Suzy Allegra, entrepreneur, artist, coach & author of How
to Be Ageless: Growing Better, Not Just Older! & Where’s Your Organization’s HEART? Questions to Propel Your
Business to Greatness. Suzy helps organizations pump up their bottom line & expand their heart thru employee retention.
Thru her art-based presentations & other media tools, clients learn how to lead more productive & fulfilling lives.
She can be reached at: (602) 331-3929; toll-free: (866) JOY2AGE, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coping With Your Abuser - By Sam Vaknin
How to cope with
Sometimes it looks hopeless. Abusers are ruthless, immoral, sadistic, calculated, cunning, persuasive, deceitful - in short, they appear to be invincible. They easily sway the system in their favor.
Here's a list of escalating countermeasures. They represent the distilled experience of
thousands of victims of abuse. They may help you cope with abuse and overcome it.
Not included are legal or medical
steps. Consult an attorney, an accountant, a therapist, or a psychiatrist, where appropriate.
you must decide:
Do you want to stay with him - or terminate the relationship?
1. I want to Stay with Him
DO'S - How to Avoid the Wrath of the Narcissist
The 10 DO'S - How to Make
your Narcissist Dependent on You If you INSIST on Staying with Him
Listen attentively to everything the narcissist says and agree with it all. Don't believe a word of it but let it slide as if everything is just fine, business as usual.
Personally offer something
absolutely unique to the narcissist which they can't obtain anywhere else. Also be prepared to line up future sources of primary
Narcissistic Supply for your narcissist because you will not be IT for very long, if at all. If you take over the procuring
function for the narcissist, they become that much more dependent on you.
Be endlessly patient and go way out of your way to be accommodating, thus keeping the narcissistic supply flowing liberally and keeping
Be endlessly giving. This one may not be attractive to you, but it's a take it or leave it proposition.
Be absolutely emotionally and financially independent of the narcissist. Take what you need: the excitement and engulfment and refuse to get upset or hurt when the narcissist does or says something dumb, rude, or insensitive.
Yelling back works really well
but should be reserved for special occasions when you fear your narcissist may be on the verge of leaving you; the silent
treatment is better as an ordinary response, but it must be carried out without any emotional content, more with the air of
"I'll talk to you later, when I am good and ready and when you're behaving
in a more reasonable fashion".
Treat your narcissist
as you would a child.
If your narcissist is cerebral and not interested in having much sex - then give yourself ample permission to have "hidden" sex with
other people. Your cerebral narcissist will not be indifferent to infidelity so discretion and secrecy is of paramount importance.
If your narcissist is somatic and you don't mind,
join in on group sex encounters but make sure that you choose properly for your narcissist. If you do mind - leave him. Somatic
narcissists are sex addicts and incurably unfaithful.
If you're a "fixer", then focus on fixing situations, preferably before they become "situations". Don't for one moment delude yourself that you
can fix the narcissist - it simply will not happen.
any fixing that can be done, it's to help your narcissist become aware of their condition, with no negative
implications or accusations in the process at all. It's like living with a physically handicapped person and being able to
discuss, calmly, unemotionally, what the limitations and benefits of the handicap are and how the two of you can work with
these factors, rather than trying to change them.
Finally and most important of all: Know Yourself.
What are you getting from the relationship?
Are you actually
a masochist? A codependent?
Why is this relationship
attractive and interesting?
Define for yourself
what good and beneficial things you believe you're receiving in this relationship.
Define the things that you find harmful to you. Develop strategies to minimize the harm to yourself. Don't
expect that you will cognitively be able to reason with the narcissist to change who they are.
You may have some
limited success in getting your narcissist to tone down on the really harmful behaviors that affect you - but this can only be accomplished
in a very trusting, frank and open relationship.
Insist on Your Boundaries - Resist Abuse
Refuse to accept abusive behavior. Demand reasonably predictable and rational actions and reactions. Insist on respect for your boundaries, predilections,
preferences and priorities.
a just and proportional treatment. Reject or ignore unjust and capricious behavior.
If you're up to the inevitable confrontation, react in kind. Let him taste some of his own
Never show your abuser that you're afraid of him. Don't negotiate with bullies. They're insatiable. Don't succumb to blackmail.
If things get rough - disengage, involve law enforcement officers, friends
and colleagues, or threaten him (legally).
Don't keep your abuse a secret. Secrecy is the abuser's weapon.
give him a 2nd chance. React with your full arsenal to the first transgression.
Be guarded. Don't be too forthcoming in a first or casual meeting. Gather intelligence.
Be yourself. Don't misrepresent your wishes, boundaries,
preferences, priorities and red lines.
inconsistently. Don't go back on your word. Be firm and resolute.
Stay away from such quagmires. Scrutinize every offer and suggestion, no matter how innocuous.
Prepare backup plans. Keep others informed of your whereabouts
and appraised of your situation.
Be vigilant and doubting. Don't be gullible and suggestible. Better safe than sorry.
Often the abuser's proxies are unaware of their role. Expose him. Inform them. Demonstrate to them how
they're being abused, misused and plain used by the abuser.
Trap your abuser. Treat him as he treats you. Involve others. Bring it into the open. Nothing like sunshine to disinfect abuse.
Mirror His Behavior
Mirror the narcissist’s actions and repeat his words.
If, i.e., he's having a rage attack – rage back. If he threatens – threaten back and credibly try to use the same language and content. If
he leaves the house – leave it as well, disappear on him. If he's suspicious – act suspicious. Be critical, denigrating,
humiliating, go down to his level.
Identify the vulnerabilities and susceptibilities of the narcissist and strike repeated, escalating blows at them.
If a narcissist has a secret or something he wishes to conceal – use your knowledge
of it to threaten him. Drop cryptic hints that there are mysterious witnesses to the events and recently revealed evidence.
Do it cleverly, noncommittally, gradually, in an escalating manner.
Let his imagination do the rest. You don't have to do much except utter a vague reference, make an ominous
allusion, delineate a possible turn of events.
Needless to add
that all these activities have to be pursued legally, preferably through the good services of law offices and in broad daylight.
If done in the wrong way – they might constitute extortion or blackmail, harassment and a host of other criminal offenses.
continued Narcissistic Supply. You can make a narcissist do anything by offering, withholding, or threatening to withhold
Narcissistic Supply (adulation, admiration, attention, sex, awe, subservience,
Play on his Fear of Abandonment
If nothing else works, explicitly threaten to abandon him.
You can condition the threat ("If
you don't do something or if you do it – I will desert you").
The narcissists perceives the following as threats of abandonment, even if
they're not meant as such:
disagreement and protracted criticism when completely ignored. When you insist on respect for your boundaries, needs, emotions, choices, preferences When you retaliate (i.e.,
shout back at him).
I can't Take It Any Longer
- I've Decided to Leave Him
Fight Him in Court
Here are a few
of the things the narcissist finds devastating, especially in a court of law, i.e., during a deposition:
Any statement or fact, which seems to contradict his inflated perception of his grandiose
Any criticism, disagreement, exposure of fake achievements, belittling of "talents
and skills" which the narcissist fantasizes that he possesses
Any hint that he's subordinated, subjugated, controlled, owned or dependent upon a third party
Any description of the narcissist as average and common, indistinguishable from many
Any hint that the narcissist is weak, needy, dependent, deficient, slow, not intelligent, naive, gullible, susceptible, not in the know, manipulated, a victim.
The narcissist is
likely to react with rage to all these and in an effort to re-establish his fantastic grandiosity, he is likely to expose
facts and stratagems he had no conscious intention of exposing.
narcissist reacts with narcissistic rage, hatred, aggression, or violence to an infringement of what he perceives
to be his entitlement.
hint, intimation, or direct declaration that the narcissist isn't special at all, that he's average, common, not even sufficiently
idiosyncratic to warrant a fleeting interest will inflame the narcissist.
Tell the narcissist:
that he doesn't deserve the best treatment
that his needs aren't everyone's priority
that he's boring
that his needs can be catered to by an average practitioner (medical doctor, accountant, lawyer, psychiatrist)
that he and his motives are transparent and can be easily gauged
that he'll do what he's told
that his temper tantrums will not be tolerated
that no special concessions will be made to accommodate his inflated sense of self
that he's subject to court procedures, etc. -
and the narcissist will lose control.
Contradict, expose, humiliate and berate the narcissist:
"You aren't as intelligent as you think you are"
"Who is really behind all this? It takes sophistication which you don't seem to have"
"So, you have no formal education"
"you are (mistake his age, make him much older)
... sorry, you are ... old"
"What did you do in your life? Did you study? Do you have a degree? Did you ever establish
or run a business? Would you define yourself as a success?"
"Would your children share your view that you are a good father?"
"You were last seen with a Ms. ... who is (suppressed
grin) a cleaning lady (in demeaning disbelief)".
Be equipped with
absolutely unequivocal, first rate, thoroughly authenticated and vouched for information.
If You Have Common Children
I described in "The Guilt of the Abused - Pathologizing the Victim" how the system
is biased and titled against the victim.
mental health professionals and practitioners - marital and couple therapists, counselors - are conditioned, by years of indoctrinating and dogmatic education, to respond
favorably to specific verbal cues.
The paradigm is that abuse is rarely one sided - in other words, that it's invariably "triggered" either by the victim or by the mental
health problems of the abuser. Another common lie is that all mental health problems can be successfully treated one way
) or another
). This shifts the responsibility from the offender to his prey. The abused must have done something to bring about their own maltreatment - or simply were emotionally "unavailable" to help the abuser with his problems.
Healing is guaranteed
if only the victim were willing to participate in a treatment plan and communicate with the abuser. So goes the orthodoxy.
Refusal to do so - in
other words, refusal to risk further abuse - is harshly judged by the therapist. The victim is labeled uncooperative, resistant, or even abusive!
The key is, therefore:
- feigned acquiescence and collaboration with the therapist's scheme
- acceptance of his/her interpretation of the events
- the use of key phrases such as:
- "I wish to communicate/work with (the abuser)"
- "healing process"
- "inner child"
- "the good of the children"
- "the importance of fathering"
- "significant other"
and other psycho-babble. Learn the jargon, use it intelligently and you're bound to win the therapist's sympathy.
Above all - don't be assertive, or aggressive and don't overtly criticize the therapist or disagree with him/her.
I make the therapist sound like yet another potential abuser - because in many cases, he/she becomes one as they inadvertently collude with the abuser, invalidate the abuse experiences and pathologize the victim.
Refuse All Contact
sure to maintain as much contact with your abuser as the courts, counselors, mediators, guardians, or law enforcement officials mandate.
NOT contravene the decisions of the system. Work from the inside to change judgments, evaluations, or rulings - but NEVER rebel against them or ignore them. You'll only turn the system against you and your interests.
But with the exception
of the minimum mandated by the courts - decline any and all gratuitous contact with the narcissist.
Don't respond to his pleading, romantic, nostalgic, flattering, or threatening e-mail messages.
Return all gifts he sends you.
him entry to your premises. Don't even respond to the intercom.
Don't talk to him on the phone. Hang up the minute you hear his voice while making clear to him, in a single,
polite but firm, sentence, that you're determined not to talk to him.
Don't answer his letters.
visit him on special occasions, or in emergencies.
Don't respond to questions, requests,
or pleas forwarded to you through 3rd parties.
Disconnect from 3rd parties whom you know are spying on you at his behest.
Don't discuss him
with your children.
Don't gossip about him.
ask him for anything, even if you're in dire need.
When you're forced to meet him, don't discuss your personal affairs - or his.
Relegate any inevitable contact with him - when and where possible - to professionals: your lawyer,
or your accountant.
First published on Suite101
Common Coping Mechanisms Used by Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
© (1994) Victoria Polin, MA, ATR, LCPC & Gail Roy, MA, ATR, LCPC
Important Reminder: When reviewing this list it's important to remember that the information provided shouldn't be used as the sole determiner of childhood sexual abuse.
This list only
provides the reader with a list of some common Coping Mechanisms that are used by many adult
survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
It's also important to remember that coping mechanisms are learned behavioral patterns
used to cope. They'e not necessarily all "good" or "bad."
have used their abuse learned coping mechanisms to benefit them professionally and in other personal situations.
abuse history / herstory and actions of offender(s).
of one's victimization. "Oh, he/she just didn't know any better. He/She was also abused as a child".
3. Denial is more comfortable for both a child and adult survivor o pretend the abuse never occurred, than face the emotional / psychological pain of the violation.
/ Forgetting. One's body's way of denying victimization
5. Splitting. Seeing the world in terms of black and white (no shades of gray). Common in survivors
when the behavior of the offender was either abusive or loving (no middle).
of Integration. On the inside feeling you are bad/evil. On the outside being a super achiever. Developing a "false self".
7. Out of body experience(s) during the abuse. Feeling that one watched the abuse occurring to one's body.
8. Control Issues. The more chaotic family life in childhood, the stronger control issues are an issue.
9. Dissociation/Spacing Out. Everyone does this at times; the difference is degree and frequency. Example of normal dissociation: Driving a car and
realizing you're farther along then you believed.
10. Hyper awareness / Super alert. Awareness of everyone and everything around you.
11. Workaholism / Business. Staying busy is one way of avoiding feelings.
/ Running away. Passive ways include reading books, sleeping and watching television. It's important to remember fantasies can be the source of a rich creative life and can be vital to healing.
13. Psychiatric Hospitalizations. Can be used as a respite from intense feelings and/or flashbacks.
14. Self - Mutilation / Self-Harm / Self-Injury. Internalization of offender. Instead of being hurt by victimizer, survivor hurts one's self. Often releases intense feelings and/or numbness after mutilation occurs.
15. Suicide Attempts. Often occurs when survivors feels trapped with no way out. "Don't kill yourself, call a friend, your therapist or a crisis hot-line instead!"
Isolation. Feeling safer when alone ("No one can hurt me if I'm alone").
17. Addictions are common ways of coping with the pain of sexual abuse. They're usually self-defeating and self-destructive (drugs, food, gambling, sex . . . ).
When children are told not to tell anyone, the offenders are teaching children to lie. Many survivors are compulsive liars,
the abuse being the biggest of them all.
19. Religion. Safety can be found attaching one's self to a belief system that has clear boundaries and rules. Traditional religion can provide an anchor. The lure of divine forgiveness can be a powerful pull for the survivor who still feels the abuse was his/her fault. Unfortunately, destructive cults can also be alluring to an adult survivor for some of the
20. Avoiding Intimacy. Seeming open and friendly on the surface but hiding real feelings inside. "Avoiding intimacy keeps one safe and sometimes leads to positive traits such as independence and autonomy - it also means missing out on the rewards healthy relationships can bring." (E.
Bass & L. Davis, 1988).
Manipulation. Adult survivors, who are diagnosed as having a Borderline Personality often are told they're being manipulative. Once they're able to identify, process and express feelings attached to manipulative behavior and taught other ways of getting needs met, the manipulation will usually cease.
Bass, Ellen & Laura Davis. The Courage to Heal:
A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. New York: Harper & Row, 1988.
Chutis, Laurieann. Flashbacks. Chicago, IL. Ravenswood
Hospital & Medical Center, Dept. of Consultation and Education.
Davis, Laura. Allies In Healing: When The Person Your
Love Was Sexually Abused As A Child. New York: Harper, 1991.
Gil, Eliana. Outgrowing the Pain: A Book For And about
Adults Abused As Children. New York: Dell Publishing, 1983.
Ideran, Mary. Adult Survivors Signs & Symptoms
Checklist The Changing Women in Calumet City.
Lew, Mike. Victims No Longer: Men Recovering From Incest
& Other Sexual Child Abuse. New York: Harper Collins, 1990.
Napier, Nancy J. Getting Through The Day: Strategies
for Adults Hurt as Children. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993.
After a shocking or disturbing event - a serious accident, an unexpected and tragic loss, a threat to your safety - theres a need to digest that extreme experience while its fresh, so that it doesnt cause post-trauma stress problems later. Perhaps the best way to do that is to debrief the experience with someone familiar with post-trauma coping strategies.
That person could be one of
our professional counselors. Informal debriefing is available through our office on an individual or group basis. Such debriefing
assumes that your initial stress reactions are likely to be normal reactions to that very abnormal event. But debriefing helps to keep your healthy recovery on track!
Reprinted below is some general
information on coping with a traumatic event. This information is also available from our
office in hard-copy (brochure) format, for easy distribution to any individual
affected by such an incident.
If this material raises
a question or leaves one unanswered for you, don't hesitate to request a debriefing appointment at our office, to troubleshoot
and tailor the information according to your personal circumstances.
You're unlikely to experience
all of the listed stress responses. You may experience some in a very mild form or very briefly and none should become a long-term problem if you
follow some healthy coping strategies - and avoid a few misguided ones.
First of all, just a few DONTS:
- Do NOT let yourself become withdrawn or isolated during this time.
- Do NOT resort to overmedication or drug/alcohol use for coping or escape.
- Do NOT bottle up all of your feelings or fears; you may prolong the recovery process, not shorten it.
- Do NOT assume that your mental, physical, or emotional
stress reactions are a sign of weakness, craziness, or loss of control, when they're probably a normal part of the recovery process.
It's important during times of extra stress to take positive steps to renew and care for yourself.
Here are some DO choices:
- Try to keep most of your
personal routines in place, such as regular meals or other everyday rituals; these can re-establish some order when your life
has been temporarily turned upside down.
- Just do what you can do:
Even if you have little appetite, eat something healthy to keep yourself going. Even if
your concentration is poor, it may still be wise to go to class (or work) or look at a book vs. doing nothing at all. If you arent in a
party mood but you do want to go out to be with friends, they should be fine with that if you let them know your wishes.
- When you can, allow yourself
to feel emotions such as sadness, anger, or grief over what happened. Talking to others about your feelings is important. Make that long-distance call or write your experience down - whatever helps your mind digest this experience and put it
- Get some appropriate physical exercise, along with regular sleep, rest and relaxation.
- Use family and friends you
trust for some informal debriefing, but feel free to use a professional counselor for some debriefing, too. It can be part of dealing with an experience promptly and preventing future complications.
Discuss your experience with
anyone who went through the event with you. If a group debriefing meeting is offered (by a trained
professional), take advantage of the opportunity.
If your traumatic experience also involved a personal loss, such as the death of someone close to you, recognize that your stress or shock will be accompanied by grief reactions as well, which will deserve appropriate expression and recovery time in their own right.
Coping When Someone You Love is Deployed - By Susan Dunn
Having someone you love deployed, whether child, partner, relative or close friend, is extremely stressful. As on military spouse told me, “Why am I acting like this?
When we must separate from a loved one we have reactions that are physiological
and emotional that are beyond our control. However, our emotional intelligence skills can helps us manage and tame them. It starts with understanding and self-awareness.
Studies of newborns separated from their mother shows us the extremes of “protest-despair behavior.” The infant’s body reacts, pumping out stress hormones that affect the sympathetic nervous system and certain somatic or muscular behaviors.
There can be a ten-fold increase in glucocorticoid
levels (cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’), approaching neurotoxic levels (Modi & Glover, 1998). Gastrointestinal functions are inhibited. The heart beat slows, body temperature falls and the infant “withdraws,” presumably in an attempt to “survive.”
If prolonged, the immune system is compromised.
Any separation from a loved one during our lifetime will mimic this reaction to separation, because
we’re humans, because we love, because we bond.
At the same time, if the person being deployed is your lover, you’ll be deprived of the oxytocin, the hormone released when we touch, or even think about, our love that makes us feel so good.
The price we pay for the joy of love is that separation is painful.
WHAT TO EXPECT
It’s normal, under these circumstances to:
Feel like you’re going nuts.
Cry a lot.
Have trouble making even the smallest decision.
Find food tastes like cardboard
Never sleep or want to sleep all the time
Be angry and short-tempered
Kick the kitchen stool in your way and be unable to talk about what’s really going on
Experience rage at the inability of anyone to say or do anything that helps
WHAT CAN HELP?
your thoughts, vent your anger, or ask for help,” says the Submarine Wives Club. “We're all in the same ‘boat’ and are here to offer
support and advice.”
1. Find national support groups, resources and pre-deployment tips here: http://www.submarinewivesclub.org
5. At the stress forum, you can ask questions,
share tips or find a sympathetic listener 24 hours a day at http://stress.about.com/mpboards.htm
6. Hire a coach.
Get some extra support. Work on some personal goals. Keep your life going! Coaches understand.
7. Develop your emotional intelligence.
Course ( http://www.susandunn.cc/courses.htm ) provides foundational information
for coping, handling transitions and adversity and managing emotions. It'll help you understand where you emotions come from and why they make you feel as you do. An EQ coach ( http://www.susandunn.cc
) can help you practice these skills and incorporate them into your life on a daily basis.
Take positive action.
The Navy Family Deployment guide says: “The cure for depression is the same as prevention. Take positive action. Behavior is changed by thoughts and feelings.” Join a support group, hire a coach, keep family traditions thriving, plan activities, set new goals, take care of yourself and don’t be alone.
10. Xtreme Self-care.
Because of these physiological responses, you need to pay attention to your exercise, eating and general health routine. You may not feel like running in the morning, but do it and you’ll feel better – in the short-term and in the long-run. Find healthy food you can enjoy – eat small snacks all day, if you’re appetite is low. Get a physical checkup if problems arise.
11. Know your limits.
If you're experiencing an especially difficult time, get professional help.
Therapists and counselors are waiting to help you.
Facts on Coping With Loneliness
1. Loneliness Can Strike Anyone
Once upon time, loneliness affected only spinsters, the elderly and gawky teenagers, but in today's fast paced, Blackberry toting world lots of folks
have busy lives and careers but are still achingly lonely. With families moving around the country and people changing jobs and relationships more frequently, we all cope with loneliness at one time or another. There are several ways to be proactive and deal with lonely feelings before they overwhelm us.
2. Turn Your Attitude Dial to Friendly
Think about what's good in
your life. Focus on the few people you do know. Maybe there's an old classmate you can call or a neighbor you can visit. Remember
that people like to be with happy, pleasant people, so change your attitude and put a smile on your face. Do things you'd
normally do with a friend, like go to a restaurant or concert. Talk to the person sitting next to you, if only to ask the
time. The more you socialize, the better chance you have of making friends.
3. Brush Up On Your Social Skills
Getting a social life takes
effort. It's like dieting, exercising or getting a job. You have to put effort in it to get it. Pick yourself up by the bootstraps
and get out of the house.
Go to a movie and force yourself
to make small talk with the girl selling popcorn. By approaching someone you'll probably never see again, you'll diminish
your embarrassment quotient and feel free to be yourself. This method works well for folks who've been alone a long time and
need to learn how to use those social skills all over again.
4. Build a Social Network
If you're socially isolated
and don't know how to start making friends, start anywhere. There are plenty of options, from social networking sites like
Meetup.com and message boards dedicated your hobbies.
Get some Internet friends
and eventually you might meet some of them in person. Take classes at the local college or attend lectures. Fight self-defeating
prophecies like "I won't meet anyone" or "They won't like me." Get out on the town and you'll increase your chances of making
friends and acquaintances. They won't crash through the roof. You need to go to them.
5. Get Some Friend-Making Therapy
If you try get out in the
world and meet people, but have no success in making new friends, or if you make friends and still feel lonely, call a therapist and talk out your feelings. Perhaps you're looking for something that doesn't exist or have unrealistic social expectations. You may have deep-rooted depression instead of temporary loneliness. A therapist can help decipher your problem and help you start making friends.
Author: Marianne Moro has spent the past 10 years writing health,
nutrition and yoga commentaries for publications such as Aquarius/Sign of the Time, New Age and Moondance. She also publishes
online articles for a variety of health industry clients. Moro practices yoga daily and is an enthusiastic proponent of massage
source site: click here
5 Things You Need to Know About Coping With Jealousy
We often get jealous when someone else does what we want to do, but there's a simple solution to quell that jealousy. Admit that you are jealous and then take action to eliminate it. If you're jealous of a friend who had a book published, write one yourself. Focus on what you want, not on what the other person has. Write
a list of goals and then work on achieving them. By concentrating on yourself, you'll take the edge off your jealous feelings. Build your self-esteem by engaging in activities you like and meeting new people. Think about what you can do to make your life better.
What makes us jealous says a lot about our self-esteem, but it also indicates our values and beliefs. If you find yourself envious of people who are younger, richer and better looking, or consistently turn green with jealousy over neighbors who have bigger houses or flashier cars, it's time to fine-tune your underlying values. That's where all your feelings and thoughts start, so reassess what's really important in your life.
Although we can be envious of folks with better jobs and
more material possessions, jealousy in relationships wraps its tentacles around many people. If your guy or girl flirts with someone else or says that they need their "space," obviously, you'll get frustrated, angry or jealous. Learn to deflect that negative energy and let it go. It may be hard to do if you really care for your partner, but sometimes
playing it cool will be good for your head, heart and may even keep your partner from straying. Jealousy can be the most unattractive of emotions, so stomp it out the moment it appears and get on with life.
Jealousy often occurs due to lack of communication. If your Significant Other disappears a lot to talk on their cell phone, you might assume they're cheating on you and get
jealous. Instead of simmering with rage and shooting them dirty looks, be direct.
Sure, you might be afraid
they'll get mad or think you're invading their privacy, but if you don't confront them, you'll waste a lot of time stewing in jealousy and anger when you could be doing something constructive. Those secret phone calls might be about a surprise party for you. Even if
you get an answer you dread, it's better to get things out in the open and ease your mind.
Use jealousy as a way to analyze the various issues in your life. By thinking about what stirs your jealousy, you can perform "self-therapy." If you're jealous of people who make lots of money, use that as a springboard to resolve your financial insecurities.
Mary Dyer has 10 years experience in grant writing, research,
evaluation and motivational interviewing for various development programs, including the National Institute for Drug Addiction
(NIDA) Clinical Trials Network and Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. She is an avid walker and swimmer.
source site: click here
Stress – how does one cope?
If you aren't going to use
“stress-eating” as your coping mechanism - what can you do?
There are many constructive and positive coping mechanisms out there.
Here are some of them.
Take charge of your stress: This is the first thing you need to do, otherwise it will take charge of you - resulting in you becoming a victim. However, don’t worry about that which
you can’t control!
Find coping mechanisms that can minimise the stress. Not only will you feel better psychologically but you’ll benefit physiologically too. Cortisol levels (discussed in part 1) will lower, thereby minimizing the potential harmful effects on your health.
2. Let your self-talk be positive! The saying, “What you think - you become” is all too true! The trick here is to block out those voices in your head that say you can’t manage
or will fail and to purposefully replace them with powerful positive statements.
You have to be
disciplined to do this but you WILL reap the rewards as you begin to act on the positive thoughts.
3. Get active! Exercise is probably THE best stress-reliever ever. Researchers have found that after 30 minutes of moderate exercise, their subjects scored 25% lower on psychometric tests measuring anxiety and showed other favorable changes in brain activity.
also decreases depressive symptoms and anxiety, improves self-esteem and enhances alertness and reaction time (Schomer, H & B. Drake 2001) - all of which
could be a problem when one is faced with excess stress.
Moderate exercise also decreases cortisol production during stressful periods. Preferably try to do some outdoor exercise in a beautiful environment, but if this isn’t an option –
select an alternative. The gym might not de-stress you as effectively – but at least the endorphins might help!
Watch what you eat Eating poorly as a means of “coping with stress” won’t help at all – in fact it will just make you feel worse and less able to cope.
It’s important to keep your blood glucose regulated, by eating small, balanced, healthy meals throughout the day. You can’t
go wrong with plenty of fish, salads, fresh fruit and veggies with some gentle spices for flavoring. Stay away from high fat,
highly refined foods and go easy on the alcohol.
5. Get adequate sleep Sleep is incredibly restorative to the body, especially
the nervous system and adrenal glands, so ensure you get enough of it! Different people require different amounts of sleep,
but on average, aim to sleep for about 8 hours a night.
Sleep deprivation affects blood glucose levels, reduces the production of the human growth hormone, increases the production of cortisol and
reduces the production of leptin (a hormone that signals
6. Get away at least once a day Take 15 - 30 minutes each day when you're completely alone to listen to soothing or uplifting music or to read an inspiring book.
Perhaps sit under
a tree and look at the sky; feel the wind in your hair and hear the rustling of the leaves. This will take you “out
of yourself” and you'll feel more peaceful.
with kids Their free spirits and light-heartedness almost always help us to see things differently.
8. Book yourself an aromatherapy massage and be good to yourself Research
shows that touch works wonders for stress and it breaks down the social distancing that highly stressed people can create. It needn’t even be from someone close to you (although that might
be first prize) – so book yourself in for a massage – a good scientific justification for some self-indulgence!
daily hug from someone special can help too!
9. Chat to a friend It’s amazing how vocalizing and sharing worries with
someone close to you, lightens the load and helps one to see issues in a different perspective.
Write about your worries as well as how you might overcome them in diary style or as a letter to a friend. This might stimulate
more creative ways of dealing with stress, especially when your mind feels cluttered with issues.
11. Say “no” and try to get into a routine If you're struggling to
cope, don’t be afraid to say no to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule or that will compromise your mental health.
You might feel bad initially, but you’ve got to get your priorities straight and your health has to be very high on that list. Establishing
a routine can help you if you feel that you're spinning out of control.
Consider the following Every night, before you go to sleep, think of a new thing for which you're grateful. Choose something you haven't consciously thought of before.
Healthy lifestyle choices
go a long way to help you to cope with stress, thereby empowering you to deal more effectively with it. Follow the “Shape up for Summer Program” and
you should be well on your way to coping wonderfully.
- Greenspan F. & Baxter J 1994. Basic and Clinical Endocrinology (4th ed, pp 316–9). Norwalk,
CT: Appleton & Lange.
- Rosmond R., et al. 2000. Food-induced cortisol secretion in relation to anthropometric, metabolic
and haemodynamic variables in men. International Journal of Obesity, 24, 416 – 22.
- Simonson M. 1990. Obesity may be linked to poor management of stress. Obesity 90 update (Sept/Oct),
- Schomer, H and Drake B. 2001 Physical activity and mental health. International Sports Medicine Journal,
- Brooks et al. 3rd edition 2000 Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and its applications.
- Kathleen Mc Quaide (exercise physiologist and educationalist): Health Promotions Manager at the Sports
Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) and OptiFit Walk and Run Health Programme Director. For more information about the
health, wellness and fitness services offered at SSISA, visit our website http//:www.ssisa.co.za or phone 021 659 5600.
Get Moving! by Vivé Griffith
Exercise can help stave off the extra pounds most Americans pack on during the season and contribute to better overall health,
but it’s also proven to reduce stress and even combat depression.
Understanding why exercise has such an impact on mood states
is the focus of research by Dr. John Bartholomew, director of the exercise and sports psychology lab and associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at The University
of Texas at Austin.
consistently shows that people experience an improvement in mood states following exercise, but it still isn’t clear exactly what mechanism is at work to cause this. Bartholomew and his lab decided to approach
the question from the other side. Can you prevent the improvement in mood that follows exercise?
Bartholomew found the answer wasn’t as clear-cut as he might have thought.
endurance trained athletes, swimmers and cross country runners and had them come in and do a test of aerobic fitness,”
them predict how well they were going to do beforehand and then manipulated the feedback as to how they did. Some individuals
were told that they achieved a higher level of fitness than they predicted and some were told that they achieved a lower level
of fitness. We then looked at the impact of this feedback on their mood.”
Bartholomew found that whether they were told they were more fit or less fit than predicted, every individual
experienced a reduction in negative feelings - stress, anxiety, anger.
there were huge differences in reports of increases in positive feelings - energy, happiness, well-being - between those who were told they achieved what they predicted and those who were told they didn’t.
words, there was a clear difference between receiving positive or negative performance feedback in terms of feeling good. But there was no difference in terms of reducing negative feelings.
started us thinking that there are separate mechanisms for the impact of exercise on positive and negative states,” Bartholomew explains.
“The literature is quite clear in showing that changes in negative states are relatively consistent across individuals. It doesn’t matter what you do - you can do a 5 minute walk, you can go on a run, you can lift weights.
You can do whatever exercise you like to do and you’ll experience a reduction in the transitory experience of stress.”
good news for battling the busy-ness of the upcoming fall season. When the pressure mounts & the anxiety grows, when the lines for the cashier are longer than you’d imagined or tension creeps into
a family reunion, get some exercise. It’s pretty much guaranteed to help.
“One of the real challenges is that when you find yourself under stress, you start to sacrifice certain behaviors to be able to meet those demands,” Bartholomew says. “One of the first
things that happens is you don’t sleep as much. You stop working out. Your diet changes. The problem is that these are
3 very good coping mechanisms.
nice about exercise is that it's a minimal behavior to achieve a benefit. Even a short walk is going to reduce the anxiety and stress that you're experiencing.”
The reduction in negative feelings appears to be based in physiology, unaffected by positive or negative feedback, by environment or by the type or even endurance of exercise. Scientists have been unable to isolate exactly what creates this effect. Theories abound.
Many point to the rush of
endorphins associated with exercise, but Bartholomew says there’s actually not a lot of evidence that endorphins are the cause.
Endorphins are released following
continuous submaximal exercise, like running, cycling and aerobics. But the diminishment of negative feelings occurs with even light exercise or intermittent exercise such as weightlifting.
is that exercise improves negative feelings thru changes in serotonin levels, similar to antidepressant medications.
Another is that negative feelings are reduced with a short-term reduction in blood pressure.
Another is that
exercise is a form of moving meditation or, alternatively, that it allows for distraction. Even without knowing the cause, results are consistent.
“I haven't seen a study
in which individuals have done an exercise bout and not shown a decrease in negative feelings like anxiety or depressed moods,” Bartholomew says.
But good health - emotional
and otherwise - is about more than just reducing negative feelings. Consider the World Health Organization’s definition:
“Health is a state of complete physical,
mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
What, then, about well-being?
What about exercise's ability to enhance positive states like happiness and renewed energy?
“If you want to
feel good, if you want to feel happy after exercise, then you need to do something you feel good about,” Bartholomew says.
Whereas the reduction in negative feelings following exercise appears to be physiological, the enhancement of positive feelings appears to be psychological. It’s related to an individual’s perception of their exercise experience.
“We went to aerobic
dance classes here at the university and asked women in those classes - experienced aerobic participants - about their performances,”
Bartholomew says. “We found that half of them were neutral to negative in terms of judging their own performances in the class.
The data were the exact same
as we’d previously found. In terms of negative feelings, those who were neutral to negative showed the exact same reduction as those who felt good about their performances. They all showed reductions in anxiety and negative moods. But if you looked at positive feelings, there was a large separation between the groups.”
happy glow that exercisers sometimes exhibit after exercise may be associated with a feeling of mastery.
Those who feel that they demonstrate a level of mastery through exercise, who feel like their exercise is an accomplishment, are likely to experience enhanced positive feelings from their exercise. Bartholomew’s research seeks to determine what some of the predictors of a mastery experience are.
in your ability to exercise is a major factor. Even if individuals with a high level of confidence and individuals with a low level of confidence complete
the same relative exercise bouts, those with low confidence are still less likely to experience enhanced positive feelings than the others. The expectations you bring to the exercise color both your experience with it and your response to it.
Another predictor of the mastery experience is what Bartholomew calls social physique anxiety. This is the type of anxiety that’s associated with concerns about self-presentation and how people will be viewing your body.
“It’s an important construct within exercise settings, especially for women,” Bartholomew says. “We find a relatively high number of aerobics participants
have high social physique anxiety and they’re more likely to interpret their exercise in a negative way. And those individuals who take the negative interpretation are less likely to report improved positive mood states following exercise.”
Bartholomew has some advice for the average exerciser to help make exercise - and post-exercise - more positive.
clear goals in terms of what’s going to happen,” he says, “goals based on where you are now, as opposed to the people around you or societal norms.
“A very good example of this is to go into the weight room at Gregory
Gym. You’ll see an awful lot of males failing at 225-pound bench presses. Everybody likes 225 because it’s two
plates and you’re kind of in the club, so guys go for it all the time and they’re not able to do it.
That’s a situation where they’re responding to a societal standard instead of focusing on
their present level of strength, giving a good effort and improving, which is something to be pleased with.”
Bartholomew also says that experienced exercisers feel better after exercise than beginning exercisers. He points out that exercise is one arena where many of the benefits - emotional and physical - are delayed, while the costs are maximized early on.
important for individuals to understand this and to get through the initial period and know that if they don’t feel happy after exercise in the beginning, that’s to be expected. The more positive feelings will come with experience.
other thing is recognizing from a health point of view, you need to do some exercise every day,” Bartholomew says.
“And if you don’t have time to do the normal workout that you want to do, even if you do something
less, like taking a 10-minute walk, you’re going to gain some physiological benefits and some health benefits. You may
not feel as good afterwards, but you’ll feel less bad.”
- Leads to prejudice, suspiciousness & excessive worrying
about external dangers
- Typical of paranoid & schizotypal personalities; used by
people with borderline, antisocial, or narcissistic personality when under acute stress
How You, Too, Can Cope
Recent events –
the sniper attacks in Washington, D.C. & talk of war with Iraq – are creating uncertainty & stress among Americans of all ages. We can't control the occurrence of these events; however, we can control how we experience them.
we can focus instead on family & significant others, immerse ourselves in community service & activities & try
to maintain healthy routines. As in dealing with any form of significant stress, good rest, a balanced diet & regular exercise will go a long way in maintaining your physical & emotional health.
in our community will react to these events in accordance with their age & maturity. Their understanding of the gravity of these situations is largely dependent on the behavior of the significant adults in their lives.
your reaction will have a direct relationship to the way your children react to these situations.
In order to assist you & your
children, we suggest the following:
- Be accessible & predictable. Give them a schedule for when
you'll arrive home, pick them up, etc., & stick to that schedule.
- Remain calm & don't openly speculate on anxiety-producing events. Uncertainty breeds anxiety.
- Pay extra attention to children & spend
additional time doing family-related activities, like watching a movie, going to the park, or playing cards together.
- Exercise. Activity is a great remedy for depression & anxiety.
- Watch your & your children’s
nutrition. Eat healthy foods & maintain a regular meal schedule.
- Rest & relax. Set aside time each day to be in the “here & now.” Put all tasks aside & listen to
music, read, meditate or engage in other pleasurable activities.
- Sleep. Children need about 10 hours sleep per night to function at their best & adults normally need a full 8 hours.
- Limit your commitments. Don't plan so many activities that they can't be accomplished comfortably or easily.
- Limit media exposure. If your children watch the news make sure you're present to answer your questions/concerns.
In these uncertain times, we must be aware of our surroundings, while taking care not to cause undue stress & anxiety in our children. The world has changed for all of us, but if we take care of ourselves & our families we can make it thru any crisis or adversity.
If you have any persistent concerns or nagging questions about your child’s reaction to recent events, please contact your child’s school
& ask to talk to the guidance counselor, school psychologist or school social worker.
Acting out: A direct behavioral expression of an unconscious wish
or impulse that enables a person to avoid thinking about a painful situation or experiencing a painful emotion
- Leads to acts that are often irresponsible, reckless & foolish. Includes many delinquent, promiscuous & substance-abusing acts, which can become so habitual that the person remains unaware & dismissive of the feelings that initiated the acts
- Very common in people with antisocial or borderline personality
- Includes failures & illnesses that affect others more than oneself & silly, provocative clowning
- Dramatic in people with borderline personality
- Is associated with eccentricity, avoidance of interpersonal intimacy & avoidance of involvement with the outside world
- Used by people with avoidant or schizoid personality, who, in contrast to people with psychoses,
don't believe & thus don't act on their fantasies
Hypochondriasis: Use of health complaints to gain attention
- Provides one with nurturant attention from others; may be a
passive expression of anger toward others
- Used by people with dependent, histrionic, or borderline personality
Self-Care & Self-Help Following Disasters
A National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet
The impact of the terroristic
violence on September 11, 2001 will affect people at all levels of involvement:
- bereaved family members
- rescue workers
- emergency medical & mental-health care providers
- witnesses to the event
- members of the media
- citizens of the community, the country & the world
Terroristic events can cause
people to feel:
Terrorism can also make people
want to seek revenge.
Studies have shown that acting
on this anger & desire for revenge can increase feelings of anger, guilt & distress rather than decreasing them.
However, there are strong
mechanisms that contribute to natural recovery from traumatic events. Many trauma experts (Staab,
Foa, Friedman) agree that the psychological outcome of our community as a whole will be resilience,
For most survivors, symptoms of:
- urges to avoid
- hyper-arousal, if present
will gradually decrease over time.
There are a number of
common strategies that individuals utilize when coping with extraordinary stress
in their lives. These strategies, while effective at manageable levels of stress, can become unproductive or detrimental when
stress reaches overwhelming or traumatic levels.
It's important to remember that individuals have
their own way of & pace for processing traumatic events & each individual must listen to & honor his or her own
pace & way.
It's suggested that survivors monitor their reactions
& increase the coping strategies that have worked in other stressful situations.
Research on individuals with positive responses after a traumatic
event indicates that their preferred coping mechanisms are to:
- When problem-solving, focus on brief time intervals (e.g.,
think only about what the next step is), or focus on a larger time interval to obtain a less devastating picture of the trauma
(i.e., as one tragic event in a full & meaningful life)
- Maintain a view of oneself as competent & a view of others
as willing & able to provide support
- Focus on the current implications of the trauma
& avoid regretting past decisions & actions1
The process of converting traumas into growth experiences has
the following characteristics:
- It's usually done by the individual alone, but confidants
can also suggest new ways of viewing the situation.
- It usually occurs between 2 weeks & 4 months following
- It can enhance one’s ability to cope with subsequent
- It usually depends more on an individual's psychological
resources than on the characteristics of the stressor event.
- It's intuitive, rapid & sudden rather than
being an extended logical thinking process (i.e., it's characterized by sudden insight & revelation). (Finkel & Jacobsen, 1977)2
Specific Coping Strategies for Traumatic Stress & PTSD
Positive coping actions are those that help
to reduce anxiety, lessen other distressing reactions & improve the situation in a way that doesn't harm the survivor
of coping actions improve things not only for today but for the future as well. Positive coping methods include:
- using natural supports & talking with friends, family & coworkers at your own pace. It's helpful to follow one's own natural
inclination with regard to how much & to whom you talk.
- learning about trauma & PTSD. It's useful for trauma survivors to learn more about trauma & PTSD & how it may affect them.
Learning how common PTSD is & finding that these
problems are shared by hundreds of thousands of survivors of trauma can help people with PTSD recognize that they’re
not alone, weak, or "crazy."
talking to other trauma survivors for
support. When survivors are able to talk about their problems with others, something helpful often results.
Through the process of seeking support from other
trauma survivors, the survivor may come to feel less alone, feel supported or understood, or he or she may receive concrete
help with a problem situation.
One of the best places to find support is in a specially
designed support group. Being in a group with others who have PTSD may help a trauma survivor reduce his or her sense of isolation,
rebuild trust in others & it may provide an important opportunity to contribute to the recovery of other survivors of
- talking to a doctor about
trauma & PTSD. Part of taking care of oneself means mobilizing the helping resources
that are available.
A doctor can take better care of a patient’s physical health if he or she knows about the patient’s PTSD
symptoms, and doctors can often refer trauma survivors for more specialized and expert care.
- practicing relaxation
methods These can include muscular relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, meditation, swimming, stretching, yoga,
prayer, listening to quiet music, spending time in nature & so on.
While relaxation techniques can be helpful, they
can sometimes increase distress by focusing attention on disturbing physical sensations or by reducing contact with the external
Be aware that while negative or painful physical sensations may become more apparent when a person is relaxed, continuing with
relaxation in a way that is tolerable (i.e., interspersed with music, walking, or other activities)
is, in the long run, helpful in reducing negative reactions to thoughts, feelings, or perceptions.
- increasing positive distracting
activities Positive recreational or work activities help distract a person from his or her
memories & reactions.
endeavors have also been a way for many trauma survivors to express feelings in a positive, creative way. These endeavors
can help improve a person’s mood, limit the harm caused by PTSD & can help a person rebuild his or her life.
It's important to emphasize
that distraction alone is unlikely to facilitate recovery; active, direct coping with traumatic
events and their impact is also important.
- calling a counselor for help.
Sometimes PTSD symptoms worsen & ordinary efforts at coping
don’t seem to work very well. If the survivor of trauma feels fearful or depressed, it's important that he or she reach
out & telephone a counselor, who can help the survivor turn things around.
prescribed medications to tackle PTSD. Many people with PTSD have found that by taking medications they are able to
improve their sleep, anxiety, irritability & anger, or urges to drink or abuse drugs.
- starting an exercise program. It’s important to see a doctor before starting to exercise, but after getting the OK, exercise in moderation
will potentially benefit those with PTSD in a number of ways.
- weight lifting
forms of exercise
may reduce physical tension.
may also help distract the person from painful memories or worries & thus give them a break from difficult emotions.
Perhaps most important,
exercise can improve self-esteem & help people feel that they have some control in their lives.
- volunteering in the community. It’s important to feel like you have something to offer to others & that you're making a contribution.
When you’re not working, you may not feel that you're contributing anything worthwhile.
way that many survivors of trauma have reconnected with their communities & regained a feeling of connection &
importance is to volunteer:
- to help with youth programs
- medical services
- literacy programs
- community sporting activities & so on
Actions help perpetuate problems. They may reduce distress in the short term, but in the long-term, negative
coping actions may short-circuit more permanent change.
Actions that may
feel immediately helpful but that can cause later problems include things like smoking or using drugs. These habits can become
difficult to change.
methods can also include:
- violent behavior
- angry intimidation of others
- unhealthy eating
- self-destructive behavior (e.g., attempting suicide)
with PTSD learn effective & healthy coping methods, they may try to cope with their distress & other reactions in ways that lead to more problems.
Coping with Denial in
What if the person you care about refuses to
admit there is a problem? This is often the case with teenagers in general, and with anorexia nervosa at any age. Whether
you merely suspect there is a problem, or you know that the problem exists and is serious, when your loved one or friend says
nothing is wrong, you have a difficult situation.
The assessment of an eating disorder can be complex
even for a professional. Knowing whether a disturbed eating pattern is part of a temporary phase, versus the beginning of
a full-blown eating disorder, can be tricky. The best first step is to seek a professional consultation, with or without your
loved one. You may start by going to a therapist without your child, loved one or friend. Do not second-guess yourself or
put it off, the earlier an eating disorder has intervention, the better chance for recovery.
The worst case scenario, if you follow your instincts,
is that the professional will say that they think the situation may best be handled by backing off. However, the professional
will also be able to give you tools and information so that you will know what to do if things get worse.
Do not expect that your loved one will be open, cooperative
or grateful to your intervention. It may feel like the hardest thing that you have ever had to do. You may worry that it will
jeopardize the relationship you have with your loved one. When your loved one is in denial they are very ill. Their mind has
been more or less possessed by the eating disorder and they are driven only by the fear of getting fat.
Do not personalize their irrationality or be controlled
by the strong emotional displays, which are inevitable when they are taken over by the eating disorder demon. With recovery,
gratitude often comes.
With Unexpected Job Loss
Hearing about employment layoffs isn't a rare
event anymore. As the economy slows down, more and more businesses are making cutbacks or going out of business. If you or
someone you know has gotten laid off, you can understand that getting a pink slip causes some people to see red. Others react
by becoming decidedly blue.
According to experts, it's a rare individual who
responds to an involuntary loss of employment without feelings of anger, sadness or both.
"All job losses sting. People who don't care about
their jobs quit. Employees who remain almost always have an emotional investment that causes them pain when they are asked
to leave before they're ready to," said clinical psychologist Kathleen Brehony, Ph.D., of Norfolk, Va. "The loss of work is
much like other losses in our lives in this respect -- it causes considerable grief and suffering."
Brehony, the author of the recently published "After
the Darkest Hour: How Suffering Begins the Journey to Wisdom" in which the emotional aspects of job loss are given considerable
attention, adds that the amount of sting experienced depends on how critical the job was to a worker's identity. "Some people
define themselves by what they do for a living, while others treat work as more incidental to who they are," Brehony said.
"For that reason, emotional reactions to job loss can range from moderate disappointment to 'I'm going to jump off a bridge,'"
Normal, Predictable, but Not Necessarily
Former emergency-room physician turned top-level corporate management consultant Arky Ciancutti, M.D., founder
of The Learning Center in San Enselmo, Calif., believes most such reactions are normal and predictable, even if they aren't
"Individuals who over-identify with their jobs often
blame themselves when they are laid off. They turn this hostility inward, experiencing it as depression," said Ciancutti,
co-author of "Built on Trust: Gaining Competitive Advantage in Any Organization." "Others blame everyone but themselves, focusing
their hostility outward on the company, a supervisor, even their parents or upbringing. You can predict variations of those
two reactions to predominate whenever layoffs occur."
Ph.D., organizational psychologist and co-author of "Bringing Your Soul to Work," characterizes job loss as one of the most
devastating events in life. "Even if it has nothing to do with one's own performance and results from downsizing, restructuring,
a company closing or general economic conditions, being let go is a very threatening experience," she explained. "It's not
difficult to get into a victim mentality -- feeling that you've somehow been overpowered and taken advantage of by your employer."
Parent Coping Strategies for ADHD
Here are some suggested coping strategies
for parents of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):
Adjust your disciplinary methods. Many parents
find spanking doesn’t help their child. Establish predictable consequences and rules. Learn to use time-outs consistently
and without emotional upset.
Readjust family routines and lifestyles to be more
predictable, both for yourself and for your child. This can apply to bedtimes or access to television or the computer, for
Distinguish between the things your child does
that are annoying but harmless and are just part of the condition. Learn to selectively ignore those behaviors instead of
getting upset about things the child can’t really control, such as fidgetiness or your child’s tendency to interrupt.
This will increase your peace of mind.
Make a concerted effort to not get so overly involved
in the child with ADHD that you begin relating less to the other children in the household. Otherwise, they may start acting
out because they feel neglected.
Plan ahead: parents are often able to easily anticipate
situations in which their child is likely to get into trouble. Plan out a step-by-step strategy for how you will react so
you are prepared. Rehearse alternative behaviors with your child. For example, if talking on the telephone is a problem because
your child interrupts you, practice with your child what you want him to do when you are on the telephone.
Seek social support from people who are experiencing
similar problems, either through organized groups such as CHADD or by cultivating friendships. Share your feelings and experiences
so you can learn from each other.
Coping With Hearing Loss - By Connie Briscoe
enough, I've come to think that my hearing loss was one of the best things that ever happened to me, as it led to the publication of my first novel.
But it took a while for me to accept that I was losing my hearing.
I was born with
a mild hearing loss but began to lose more of my hearing when I was a senior in college.
One day while sitting in my college dormitory room reading, I noticed my roommate get up from her bed, go to the princess
telephone in our room, pick it up & start talking.
of that would have seemed strange, except for one thing: I never heard the telephone ring! I wondered why I couldn't
hear a phone that I could hear just the day before. But I was too baffled & embarrassed - to say anything to my roommate
or anyone else.
Unbeknown to me at the time, that was only the beginning of my downward
spiral, as my hearing grew progressively worse. But I was young & still vain enough not to want to buy a hearing aid.
I struggled thru college by sitting up front in the classroom, straining to read lips & asking people to speak up, sometimes
again & again.
By the time I entered graduate school, I knew I could no longer
put it off. I had to purchase a hearing aid. By that time my hearing loss was such that even sitting in front of the classroom
wasn't helping much. I was still vain enough to wait a few months while I let my hair grow out a bit before taking the plunge
but I eventually I did buy a hearing aid.
a big, clunky thing, but I knew that I would have to be able to hear if I ever wanted to graduate.
Soon, my hair length didn't matter much, as hearing aids got smaller & smaller. They also got better & better
at picking up sound. The early hearing aids were analog devices & not programmable. They did little more than make sounds
louder evenly across the board.
doesn't work for most of us with nerve deafness, as we may have more hearing loss in the higher frequencies. The newer
programmable digital hearing aids go a long way toward improving on that. They can be set to match different types of hearing
loss, so you can, say, increase a particular high frequency more than the lower ones.
I bought my first hearing aid & was able to hear again, I could focus on other things that were important to me - like my education, my career & writing that first novel! I didn't realize it then, but that first hearing aid
actually freed me to go on to bigger & better things despite having a hearing loss.
I had long dreamed
of writing a novel, but like others kept putting it off. As my hearing loss grew worse, it was a chore just to keep up at
work, let alone do much else. Then once I got the hearing aid, I no longer had to worry about a lot of the things I did before
& I began to think that writing a novel would be the perfect hobby for me. Anyone can write regardless of whether they can hear. I was also
determined to prove that losing my hearing wouldn't hold me back.
My first novel was published
in 1994 & my 5th in the summer of 2005. Writing turned out to be much more than a hobby, as I've been writing full-time
for more than 10 years. I'm now hard at work on my first nonfiction work, a photo-essay book to be published by Bulfinch,
a division of Time Warner Books, in 2007.
I honestly believe that I'd never have sat down at the computer & banged out that first novel if I hadn't lost so much of my hearing.
Instead, I'd probably still be an editor somewhere & still dreaming about someday becoming a novelist. That's why I sometimes
think that my hearing loss was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
Bird Flu Blues - Helping Kids Cope
With Fear - By Paul Madrid
My son Josh was scared. You could see it in
his little face. Angst was written all over him. His knuckles were as white as his t-shirt. He starred down. “What’s
up?” I asked with a smile hoping to relieve his fears. “Daddy,” he nervously replied, “I’m afraid
I’ll get Bird Flu!”
And this from a seven year old! At breakfast time!!
I’m not sure if Josh
had heard me talking about Bird Flu or if he heard about it at school. Whatever the case, kids do hear all that is going on
around us and need to be helped through their fears before they get a pandemic of the stomach. There are in fact just a few
simple things we as parents can do to help our kids work through issues, regardless of the age or gender of our bundles of
A lot of what kids (and especially youth) need is simply an ear. Talking with your child about the issues at
hand is vitally important. When I explained to Josh that Bird Flu is very susceptible to heat and that just zapping his breakfast
in the Microwave already killed all those bad guys (germs) his face light up like a Christmas tree. I also explained to him
a few other facts about Bird Flu including tips on washing hands, covering the mouth when coughing and not kissing the neighbors
chicken. Adding a few practical steps can help your child relate to the more complex “how’s”, and in this
case, even have the added benefit of finally getting those hands washed before meals.
Of course my son knows I travel
to Asia and in fact lived in China where influenza is birthed. So yes, I told him too of precautions I take, vaccines which
are available against the flu virus and most importantly, that God is in control so I don’t have to worry. I suggested
to Josh that he too can pray for me when I travel and that he is under God’s protection. I took it another step and
said we can do something positive and helpful for other kids. We talked about what he could tell his friends at school should
they get scared. We talked about how we could pray together for kids in China. And we talked about giving to help fund research.
All these things helped Josh face the issue of Bird Flu in a different light.
I know that Josh is not completely over
his fears. He hears more and more about Bird Flu and I know that when kids are sick at school Josh wonders of they “have
it.” That is why I keep up to date with Josh about what is going on without making Bird Flu an issue or blowing it out
of proportion. I hear in his prayers that it is sometimes on his mind, other times not. So I keep a balance in how or when
I approach the subject. And of course I make the point to always pray God’s protection over us as a family and to keep
our house safe. In this way Josh gets a perspective on life which doesn’t suggest that danger is non-existent but rather
that through action and prayer we don’t have to live in fear.
How to Help Teenagers Cope with Irritable
Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - By Sophie Lee
bowel syndrome sufferers first develop symptoms of IBS during their teenage years. Symptoms like stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation and bloating are difficult even for an adult to deal with, and
if you also have to cope with peer pressure, new relationships and exams it can make life
very miserable indeed.
On top of this, teenagers often find that their parents, and even their doctors, do not take them seriously when they try to seek help. The number
one complaint I hear from teenagers who have been diagnosed with IBS, often after many months or years of asking for help, is that "no-one believed I was sick".
This is horrible for the teenager, as not only do they have the physical pain and discomfort to deal with, they also have to get past the fact that everyone
around them thinks they are 'faking it'. Can you imagine anything worse?
of this problem, it is vital that we trust our children when they're say that they're having bowel problems. Of course, most kids will try to get out of school once
in a while, but very few will pretend to have embarrassing symptoms like diarrhea or wind. In fact, it may have taken a great deal of courage for them to even admit to these symptoms in the first place. It's very important that when they do manage to talk about their
problem, they receive a sympathetic ear.
It's also vital that teenagers receive a definite diagnosis of IBS from a doctor - bowel symptoms can mean IBS, but they can also mean Crohn's Disease,
celiac disease, and a range of other disorders, so please get these ruled out before you assume that it's IBS.
Once a diagnosis has been made, you need to work alongside your teenager to help them find some treatments that work for them. This may be in the form of medications, dietary change, or supplements,
and it may take a while to find something that works for each individual, but there certainly are treatments out there - don't
let your child feel that they're going to suffer forever, or that just because IBS is still poorly understood there's no hope for the future.
Most IBS sufferers find a treatment program that
works for them, but it may take time and a trial and error approach.
point to remember is that because of the general lack of understanding of IBS, there are some long-standing myths which your child might be subjected to. The most damaging, and most common, of
these myths is that IBS is "all in your head" - the implication being that if the sufferer would stop being so neurotic or
anxious the IBS symptoms would magically go away.
This is nonsense, and you should
make sure that your child knows that their symptoms are NOT their fault, and are certainly not caused by emotional problems.
Having said that, stress and anxiety can be triggers for IBS, just as certain foods can be triggers for IBS, and so anything you can do to relieve stress may
help relieve symptoms to a certain extent. Remember that your child may be worried about not reaching a bathroom in time and
having an accident, or having to leave class during school time and being made fun of. They might also have problems with
teachers who think that they are missing out on too much school.
At all stages of
your teenager's illness, the best thing that you can do is be their advocate, whether it is with doctors who are not offering treatment options,
teachers who are blaming your child for missing school, or family and friends who have decided that IBS is not a big deal.
If you are standing beside your child saying "IBS is real, painful, and depressing,
but we're going to beat this together" then you should find that your teenager is far more hopeful about the future, and far more willing to talk to you about what can be a very embarrassing and painful disorder.
How to Cope with Back to School Stress - By Debbie Mandel
school year presents an opportunity for a fresh start, getting together with old and new friends, new accomplishments and exciting activities - a measure of growth. A new vibration can be felt in the air.
Instead, in many households anxiety, stress and even sadness reign. Parents need to bribe their children with fancy nap sacks, jazzy school folders and lunch boxes, not to mention the back-to-school clothes to take the sting out
of returning to school.
The problem with school,
any level from pre-school to college, is labeling. Children wear their scarlet letter grades as badges of honor or shame. Early in their education children are labeled B-Student, C – Student, ADD, AD/HD, LD, OCD, Obese, etc.
a child is labeled, expectations seem to fall in line with that label. Ironically in spite of the labels parents harbor unrealistic expectations and become disappointed. The children absorb that disappointment and live down to the lesser image. They begin to feel inexplicably unhappy and irritable eroded by teachers and parents. Children soon experience stomachaches, headaches, insomnia and more frequent colds.
The start of a new school year provides an opportunity for a new spiritual beginning, a change in perception. At this very moment parents need to create a home environment conducive to empowerment and the philosophy of the little engine that could. Parents need to choose to see their children in a positive light.
Affirm them even in thoughts because children are mind readers. We need to stop anticipating their worst, and visualize their best. They will respond by being happier, healthier and the best that they can be - now. So, if your child does not get the lead in the play, don’t look at him or her with anxious eyes. Instead listen to what your child is really saying:
“Mom, I was chosen to
clap and cheer in the audience.”
are some suggestions to take the stress out of school as you help your children build up self-esteem:
- Start now to get those late
summer bedtimes in line with early school mornings. Children need to get their sleep. Begin to taper down about a half hour each day to reach a reasonable bedtime. Stick to it. The key to
good sleep is regularity. Establish a bedtime ritual such as: milk and crackers, a story, a bath, or a discussion of the day’s
events. Every child is different. Some children relax after a bath while others are stimulated.
- Prepare tomorrow’s
clothes the evening before. This time saver will reduce morning stress.
- Set up an in-basket and an
out-basket similar to those in an office. Your children will place their homework assignment sheets in the in-basket when they come home and then place completed assignments in
the out- basket later in the evening. When they leave in the morning, they just have to pick up their work from the basket
and they are good to go.
- Make sure your children eat a healthy, balanced breakfast – even if it is on the run. Cut out sugars and white processed foods. Sugary sodas are on the forbidden
list. Children who eat a wholesome breakfast control their weight better and learn better at school.
- Make sure your child does some exercise daily even for 15-20 minutes. The benefits include:
having more focus for homework
- Don’t over-schedule
your children with extracurricular, after school activities. This stresses you out as you rush to drive them from activity to activity and they feel overwhelmed without any quiet, free time.
- Post affirmations around the house for your children to see. Even better: select those quotes together and encourage your children to decorate them.
- Try to respect your children and avoid confrontation. Communicate calmly and specifically what you would like them to do. Because if you put them on the defensive with the blame game, they will shut down and ultimately feel unhappy about disappointing you.
- If there are special learning
problems or social issues, visit the school to speak to teachers, guidance counselors and the principal. Be your child's advocate and let him or her know that you are. Be involved and visit periodically. The school and parents should not be engaged
in a tug of war. You are all on the same side.
- If you cannot greet your
kids when they come home from school because you are at work, remember to call them. Children love to talk on the phone and you can connect with them. Have healthy, attractive looking snacks like colorful cut-up fruit available in the fridge, or layer a sundae glass with low fat yogurt
and berries. Top it with a cherry. No child will cut up a cantaloupe.
- Eat dinner with your children to bond with them and share each other’s day.
- See your life as a sit-com
5 Things You Need to Know About Coping With Change
Change is a necessary part of life. Accepting change with open arms makes coping with change easier. Most people automatically resist any sort of change until they see how the change affects them. If the change affects them in a positive way, they embrace it, but if the change affects them in a negative way, they resist it.
When coping with changes, it is important to remember that even if a change affects you negatively right now, it may benefit you in the future. One instance of this is when you find out that you have a new boss. She may
institute new rules that you resist but, eventually, you see that the new rules are better than the old rules.
Coping with change is an ongoing process because getting used to even a simple change takes time. By nature, humans thrive on habits and structure. When a routine or habit changes, it seems that it can throw the whole day off course. Whenever possible, make the necessary changes slowly over a period of time so that you can lessen the impact on your life.
For example, if you know that you need to get up an hour earlier
for work in two weeks, wake up ten minutes earlier each day than you did the day before.
Develop a plan ahead of time to deal with changes that are sudden or that you aren't able to control. To do this, you have to think about your personality and find ways to help you to deal with change in the best way possible.
For example, if you are emotional, you may need to have friends
available to talk to at any time of day so you can talk about the change and discuss your feelings. If you are assertive, you may consider trying to come up with ideas to help the change go smoother for everyone involved.
When you are coping with change, your friends can be the best support system. Most of the time, friends are willing to listen to your feelings with an open
mind. Sometimes, coping with a change is as simple as expressing your concerns.
Because every person is an independent thinker, your friend
may know some ways to help you cope with the change that you haven't thought about.
Fear of the unknown is natural. Change presents us with a future that is unknown. In most cases, a person will be able to cope
with change by simply being rational and realistic. If you find that coping with change is difficult or if a change is negatively affecting your daily activities, it is important to seek professional help. This is especially important if you find yourself deeply depressed or suicidal.
Casey Holley is a medical writer with more than 10 years of
experience in the health and fitness industries. She has worked as a nutrition consultant and has written numerous health
and wellness articles, including in-depth features about ulcerative colitis and other gastrointestinal conditions.
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