Tag Archives: angry

Cause and Effect: Which Happens First?

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Nothing we do is caused by what happens outside of us — William Glasser, MD

How do you feel today?

Good? Tired? Stressed? Satisfied? Angry? Upset? Excited? Bored?

How come you feel that way? If you were to explain to someone else the reasons you feel this way, would you say, “Because I choose to feel this way?” If you did that would be surprising.

Mostly when we explain our feelings and our present state of well being we point to something outside of ourselves as the cause for our pleasure or displeasure.

I’m so happy because I did well on my exam.

I’m furious that my boss doesn’t believe me.

This Thanksgiving is going to be perfect because my out of town family is coming here for the celebration. 

None of these circumstances or situations are inherently good or bad, pleasurable or displeasing. It is our belief, opinion and meaning making that makes them so.

For instance if you have ambivalent feelings toward your family, or feel criticized and uncomfortable around certain members of your family, you might be less than pleased to know they will be joining you for a holiday. 

What happens in the world are simply the facts as we presently understand them. Declaring them good and pleasurable or bad and displeasurable is something that happens inside each of us. And this declaration depends on how close or disparate we perceive the world compared to how we want it to be.

It’s like the baseball umpire says: It ain’t a ball or a strike until  I  call it a ball or a strike. 

The effect the world has on our Mental Health & Happiness is based on the meaning and value we place on the information and experiences  we receive in the world. We are the cause and we decide the effect.

If you don’t like what is happening in your life, one way you can change it  is to change how you are describing and making meaning of the experience.

canstockphoto22485059Too much unhappiness and misery? Change the value and meaning you place on the “facts.” You can change it to neutral, positive or negative.

This is not easily done and takes work and practice. But the results will definitely improve your present mood and your Mental Health & Happiness.

Try this:

Describe today’s weather? Are your descriptors factual or neutral, such as Today it is raining and the temperature is 58 degrees

Or is your description more opinionated:

Today is a miserable, raw and cold day

Or is your description positive:

I’m so glad it’s raining today so I get to stay inside and read all day long.

Now try this:

Change the description you made and see if you can describe today’s weather in a neutral or factual way, a positive way and a negative way.

Choose another situation in your life and see if you can do the same thing; describe it neutrally, positively and negatively.

The cause of your displeasure or unhappiness is only inside of you and how you define and describe your world. For improved effect that includes improved Mental Health & Happiness change your descriptors of your world from negative to neutral or positive. 

*Take Charge of Your Life: How to Get What You Need With Choice Theory Psychology, p. 5, Dr. William Glasser, M.D.


Random Acts of Kindness

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

How often do you do kind things for others? There was a time when committing random acts of kindness was all the rage.

You might come to a toll booth and discover that the driver in front of you had already paid for you. It wouldn’t be too unusual to purchase a cup of coffee only to discover that a stranger had paid for your coffee too. Even today you may experience good fortune if someone with a carriage filled with groceries will let you go first to pay for your three articles.

Not long ago there was a television commercial showing one person observing another person who was being kind and thoughtful. This inspired similar action by the observer who then was observed in kindness by another. And so the chain reaction of spreading kindness was demonstrated. I don’t remember the advertised product. But I was buying the random acts of kindness that was also being sold.

maninholeKindness can be contagious. And kindness feels good when you give or receive it. Somehow it feels like even more of a gift when the person extending this is a complete stranger! How awesome to discover that another person sharing the planet with you enjoys his or her ability to be generous!

If today is a day where you feel that our world is more and more disconnected, angry, alienated and cruel then today would be a great day for you to spread some random acts of kindness. Your Mental Health & Happiness will be enhanced if you do.

And if you are looking for some help and ideas, please visit www.randomactsofkindness.org. Just visiting this site is guaranteed to improve your Mental Health & Happiness.


Why can’t we just get along?

By Dr. Nancy Buck

There may not be anything more painful than being a member of a family that squabbles, bickers, and argues. Is this what your family is like? Is this what the family you grew up in was like? If it is then you know how tense, anxious and sad you felt or feel now. Anticipating family reunions whether that is for holiday gatherings or just a daily occurrence, is not need fulfilling at all!

Your sense of isolation may be intense, even though you are present. You know you belong, but you wish you didn’t. Are these the people to help you feel proud and good about yourself and your family?

You may feel powerless to change these unhappy relationships between family members. And you feel angry and frustrated because you can’t.

Being in this family is not fun, not filled with joy, wonder or awe except maybe in the negative. Perhaps you are able to feel free, by choosing to spend less and less time with these people. But if you are a child, there is not escape. There is not sense of safety and security either.

You are not doomed, without any hope for mental health and happiness. You can change your mental health habits leading to improved happiness even in this kind of a family. It is hard and it is impossible.

Here’s how you can change yourself, the only person in the situation that you can control. Start practicing the connecting habits that improve relationships:

  • Listen
  • Respect
  • Accept
  • Encourage
  • Support
  • Trust
  • Negotiate Differences

You may choose to practice these habits with family members, or with other people in your life outside of your family. Finding and practicing connecting habits will help you improve your ability to meet your need for love and belonging. Making strong, caring relationships with at least one other person is essential for mental health and happiness. These skills will help you move in that direction.

Stop practicing the disconnecting habits:

  • Criticize
  • Blame
  • Complain
  • Nag
  • Threaten
  • Punish
  • Bribe or reward

This is not going to be easy. It is difficult when you and other members of your family are practicing all of the disconnecting habits. You have all gotten into a rut, a habit of disconnecting.

But you can change. It might help if you remove yourself from the loud shouting matches until they have passed then try and connect again. Choose one of the connecting habits and practice. Make a list of all of the things you can say and do that are consistent with supporting, for example. Then practice. The more you practice, the more you will be able to stop the disconnecting behavior and choose a connecting behavior. You are developing a new skill, a new habit.

You will not immediately feel happier or better about spending time with your tension filled family. But you may start feeling happier and better about how you interact with your family members. In so doing you may be better able to meet your basic needs, be mentally healthier and happier.

It’s worth a try.