Tag Archives: health

Fake It

by Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN (originally published November 18, 2014)

I’ve never met a person who didn’t have their days feeling low or down. Sometimes it’s for a very good reason, like a rainy week spoiling your vacation at the beach. Sometimes it’s for no obvious or evident reason at all. And sometimes your down day provides a temporary pause or time-out that you’re sorely needing.

If your blues are getting you down enough so that you’ve decided you want to take action, here are a couple of ideas that might help.

You could do a needs inventory. On a scale of 1 – 10, where 1 is the low level and 10 complete satisfaction, how are you doing meeting your needs today?

safety:     1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
love:        1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
power:     1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
fun:          1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
freedom:  1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

laughingdogWith this information can you plan to do something now, or at the latest tomorrow, to increase your satisfaction for the need with the lowest number?

Or you could just start laughing! Go ahead, try it. Did you know that if you fake laugh long enough, you’ll actually start to authentically laugh really hard?

That’s right, you can fake it until you make it just by laughing, laughing, laughing! If you’re skeptical, try it out now. Or if you just want to give a boost to your present Mental Health & Happiness start laughing now!

And if you discover you enjoy this, not only can you start laughing at any time for no good reason, you could sign up for a Laughing Yoga class in your neighborhood. No kidding, there is an official yoga class and laughter clubs developed by physician Madan Kateria from Mumbai, India. You can start laughing now with a room full of strangers. Together you all start with fake laughter until you are all laughing really hard and joyfully together. At the same time you will be  improving your Mental Health &  Happiness for sure.

Daydreaming

By Dr. Nancy Buck (originally posted on December 24, 2013)

  • Are you happy in your life right now?
  • Are all of your important relationships on solid footing?
  • Are you engaged in work that is meaningful and satisfying to you while benefitting others?
  • Are you physically healthy?
  • Are you as spiritually connected as you want to be?
  • Do you frequently think in challenging and creative ways?

daydream2Despite what you were told by your teachers and your parents, daydreaming is essential for a healthy body, mind and spirit. When you spend time imagining your life and the world as it could be you are gaining emotional strength.

When you spend time simply dreaming of what could be, you are opening to the possibilities of even more miracles and happiness in your life.

And this dreaming might just contribute to you taking the necessary action to make some of these dreams and imaginings come true!

DREAM – BELIEVE – RECEIVE – GIVE THANKS

World Peace through Laughter

By Denise Daub

Today, May 1st is World Laughter Day.

Laughter Day was first celebrated on January 11, 1988 in Mubai, India and was founded by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of Laughter Yoga now practiced worldwide.

laughterLaughter has proven to be instrumental in lowering blood pressure and stress levels, not to mention it just makes you feel good … and happy!  Interestingly, the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter.  This is where Laughter Yoga comes in.

We all know that emotions stimulate physical expressions… when you are happy you smile, but it can also go the other way.  Studies have shown that physical expressions can stimulate emotions. So fake it till you make it will actually work when it comes to laughter.

Laughter is contagious, has the power to bring people together and creates happiness.  It  strengthens your immune system, boosts your energy and triggers healthy physical changes in the body and…. it is totally free!

Laughter helps to create a positive mental state to deal with negative situations and negative people. It gives hope and optimism to cope with difficult times. – http://www.laughteryoga.org

Improve your mental health and happiness and take some time to laugh 🙂

 

The Blind Leading the Blind (and they all fall down)

by Mona Dunkin

You’ve heard the story of the blind men describing an elephant.  Each man was exposed to a different part of the elephant and each man described that part of the elephant in keeping with something he was familiar with.  The leg was ‘kinda like’ a tree. The tail was ‘kinda like’ a rope.  According to the poem by John Sykes, each of the blind men were “partly right, yet all of them were wrong.”

Blindness is equated with ignorance; not to be stupid, but something you don’t know. All we have in life is our experiences, beliefs, faith and encounters with things we don’t understand.  Everything we know comes through filters and when our filters are clogged that is just another form of darkness, or ignorance.

One only knows what one knows. Conversely, we don’t know what we don’t know.

In keeping with the Law of Attraction, the blind men married blind wives. The blind wives bought into the perception of the blind husbands. Whether it was genetic disposition or cultural hangover, the blind men and the blind wives produced blind children – and grandchildren who blindly bought into the ‘kinda-like-common-sense” concepts. They believed, bought into and passed on to future generations the distortion of what the elephant looked like and/or who he was.

All of us blindly carry cultural conditionings with us. Not that that is wrong, it’s just limiting.

Although we live in an expanding universe, our day-to-day exposure is mostly confined to the familiar.

perceptionOur comparing place is always working – whether to accurately interpret or to distort. It happens as we try to see what we want to see.  All of our senses bring experiences into our world. We believe what we believe until we believe something different. Or until we see differently.

All we can get from the real world (people, places, things) is information. Information itself is not the problem. How we handle it may be. Same information: one chooses anger, one chooses indifference and one chooses acceptance.  Whether it is a 6 or a 9 depends on one’s point of view. It’s nothing to go to war over.

The moral of this little tale is this. We may unknowingly damage our own health and limit our own happiness by blindly assuming what something (or someone) else is like.

The way we challenge our perceptions is through more information; outward as well as inward. Hearing another’s point of view as well as examining our own wisdom-heart for truth. Look into the mysteries of the universe. Adopt an air of curiosity with no judgment. Push self beyond limited boundaries. Find beauty in life and growth through difficult circumstances. Engage in an empty, hungry, patient outward gaze into the ordinary. And discover there is no such thing as an ordinary day.

Happy New Year

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

We are all born with five basic psychological needs that drive our behavior:

Safety & security, the psychological aspects of survival
Love & Belonging
Power
Fun
Freedom

Mental Health & Happiness can be developed, improved and maintained by spending conscious time, energy and intention every day meeting our basic needs. How? Responsibly and effectively:

Being safe
Loving and connecting with self and with the important people in our lives
Being powerful with others and through personal competence
Playing
Choosing

This time of year, the time we say good-bye to 2015 and welcome in the New Year 2016, is a perfect time for some self-evaluation.

Reflection: How are you doing meeting your needs for safety?

for love?
for power?
for fun?
for freedom?

Release: Are there any ineffective or irresponsible behaviors you want to release, let go, or eliminate? You might find it helpful to determine which need or needs you are                 attempting to meet with destructive behaviors. Now you can start a new, different,               more effective and responsible behavior to meet the need or needs.

Restore: Are there any habits or behaviors that you have let slip or dropped, even though you  know these habits helped you meet one of more of your needs? What need or needs     do these lost behaviors or habits help you meet? Now is the time to restore those               habits, routines and behaviors that are helpful, responsible and effective in meeting             your needs.

Renew: Now is a perfect time to renew your commitment to improving and maintaining your  Mental Health & Happiness. Spend conscious time, energy and intention every day responsibly and effectively following your instructions and meeting your needs.

WISHING YOU MENTAL HEALTH & HAPPINESS

in this

HAPPY NEW YEAR

The need to understand cause and effect

Dr. Ken Larsen

When I entered Dental School in 1961 the dental profession was not able to meet the needs of our population.  Dental disease (tooth decay and gum disease) were progressing more rapidly than the ability of the profession to repair the damage.

The lightbulb came on as many of us started to think about, talk about and work toward understanding the causes of dental disease so we could get ahead of the problem by preventing the disease.  How many dentists does it take to treat a disease that has been prevented?

As a profession, we shifted our focus from chasing the effects of disease, to understanding and dealing with the causes.

People still suffered from dental disease, but more and more people began to understand that disease was optional, not inevitable. 

cause-effectThe key, of course, was to understand and control the causes of the disease.  This required new learning and changing behavior.

As you may have noticed, changing habitual behavior patterns is not easy.  Our efforts have largely paid off for those of our patients who accept their responsibility to learn to control the causes of their disease.

You may wonder why I’m talking about dental health in a blog about mental health.

Many of us are undergoing the shift from chasing mental illness to promoting mental health.  This involves working to understand what causes the loss of mental health and learning to change our behavior to follow more healthy patterns of living.

Some are telling us that changes in brain chemistry are what causes mental illness.  Some are looking more at the kinds of things we each can do to stay healthy, including learning and practicing more effective ways to live, love, and relate to one another. The research for the causes of mental diseases and illnesses continues.

However, the good news is that there is no need to wait in order to take immediate action and receive an immediate pay off for your personal Mental Health & Happiness.

Just like with your dental health, if you will accept personal responsibilities NOW by meeting your genetic needs for love, power, fun, freedom and safety, you will experience an immediate improvement in your Mental Health & Happiness.

Happily, there are now lots of ideas and suggestions to this end. Please read any and all of our blogs. Sign up and start receiving Mental Health & Happiness challenges for support and help. And there is even more readily available now on the world wide web.

 

You Have to Age But; You Don’t Have to Rust or Rot*

By Jenny Lundak
WGI Faculy, Beachbody coach, artist,  windsurfer, and lifelong learner

Many people think of exercise and eating healthy as something you do to lose weight and look better. Many think of it as a sacrifice and a pain. I know I thought that way until I realized that exercise and eating good food gives me a much better quality of life now and as I get older.

You know the saying pay now or pay later? Well, you can pay attention to your fitness and nutrition now or you can pay attention to your illnesses, aches and pains later.

Look around you at the people in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. There is a huge difference in their quality of life. Some people move easily and have active, full lives. Others have limited mobility and are plagued with illnesses. Accidents and genes play a role in this. But lifestyle plays a major role and we have control of that.

There was a time I thought that the good life was eating what I wanted and taking it easy with a good book. In my early 40’s, I found myself 50 pounds overweight, in poor cardio vascular health with lots of aches,pains and no energy. So began my journey, first to lose weight, then to gain health.

At first it was all about giving up my favorite foods. Then it was about finding new healthier foods. And finally it became about being healthy and happy.

But it was very hard to eat well when I thought I was giving up the good stuff.

Luckily I married a very smart man who said the oddest things like, “There is no better treat than a good grapefruit.” You have got to be kidding! A grapefruit? Then I started thinking about how we decide what is a treat and what isn’t. In the United States anything that is good for you is not very desirable, and all the junk food is a treat. Who decided this? Do they get to make that decision for me? I set about changing how I think about foods.

Good fresh food is delicious. Sugar, fatty foods mess up my system. When I eat well I am not setting myself up to rot from the inside out. My reward is that I feel good. I feel well. I feel energetic.

canstockphoto2082282And what about rust? If I don’t move it, I lose it, or it just rusts. My body needs exercise to know I am not ready to give up and die yet. I need to send a signal, “I have things to do and places to be.”

Beyond that, I feel so good to be stronger and more fit in my 60’s than I was in my 40’s. I am limber. I can do push ups. I can walk, windsurf, and ride my bike. I can be a role model for my kids. It wasn’t quick and it isn’t always easy.

Now I ask myself, “What kind of quality of life do I want for myself going forward?”

It isn’t giving up anything but poor health, when I choose to eat fresh fruit and veggies. I don’t need to make myself exercise; I just choose to challenge myself to be stronger and more fit each year.

What about you? What do you want for yourself?

*You have to age, but you don’t have to rust or rot. I got the inspiration for my motto from a book called “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge M.D. It explains the science of aging and how we can reduce or eliminate many of the symptoms of what we have considered “normal” aging.

Nourishing the Different Parts of Ourselves-Part 3

By Barnes Boffey

As we get clearer about our sub-selves and what they need, we can look at our lives and decide whether we are doing and being things which nourish them, or there big gaps? Is one  nourished a lot and the others ignored? Are we trying to pretend to ourselves or others that one of our sub selves does not really exist and therefore does not need to be attended to?

Nothing good can come of ignoring or disavowing the pieces of ourselves. The same is true in loving those pieces of ourselves. If we hate one of our sub selves, are simply doing harm to our self. It is like taking poison and hoping someone else will die. The goal is to appreciate each of the pieces of ourselves and to nourish that sub self in appropriate ways.

How can I arrange my life to take into account both the Warriorand the Artist? If I am too old to play football, or wrestle around or drink too much and dance the night away, what can I do to take care of that Warrior?If I am not in an intimate relationship, how can I nourish that Artist/Lover?If I have limited mobility, how can I give the Cowboythe fun and freedom he needs to be strong and healthy?

Part of being happy and healthy is knowing the answers to difficult questions about life, relationships, work and growing older. But another big part is getting the questions right. If we have the wrong questions, we will get the wrong answers?

daydream3Part of what I am encouraging you to do is to think about the major sub selves in your personality. Think of them as actual people who have needs and wants. Think about how much you have accepted them as part of who you are and how much you treat them as really good friends. If they were friends, you would do different things which each of them; some you would go to museums with, some you would play sports with, some you would plant a garden with. Give yourself the time and flexibility to treat these friendswell, and remember that there are consequences if you do not.

There is a story of a wise shaman who spoke to a young man which reminds me of some central issues in the thoughts above.

A young Cherokee man was going through a difficult time in his life. In search of guidance, he went to the Elder of his tribe.

After sitting with the young man for a while, the Elder spoke. A fight is going on inside you.He said to the young man. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.The first wolf is evil he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego” “The other wolf is good he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This is the fight going on inside you and inside every other person too. This is the struggle you feel.

The young man thought about it for a while and then asked, Which wolf will win?

The old Cherokee simply replied, The one you feed.

When you think about your sub selves, the ones that will be healthy and happy will be the ones you nourish.

New Gadget, New Habit

By Susan Maese, LMSW

Living alone can test the resolve of good eating habits. Add long work hours, economic concerns, or lack of sleep and often the choice becomes pizza delivery. Then frustration of having chosen less healthy options sets in, and a litany of negative thoughts was apparently delivered along with the cheese & pepper. Maybe you have a thought to eat more fresh food. Perhaps you tell yourself you will make better choices…tomorrow.

Today is yesterday’s tomorrow.  How about your choices today?  Is there a way to make better choices fun and entertaining?  What foods do you like?  Are there foods you are interested in trying?  Is there a particular technique you’d like to explore? Where would you start? Would you learn new things or meet new people in the exploration?

vegetablesConsider that fresh food resolve. Pinterest is a great cache of fun ideas. Let it spark your creativity in cooking new foods or cooking old favorites in new ways. Seek new spices or oils.  Comb the internet or grandma’s old cookbook for recipes.  Explore your local farmers markets, discover regional specialties, or search for sources of foreign cuisine ingredients.

A new gadget gets you in the kitchen to play with food, learn new techniques.  A new spice wakes up the sense of smell and taste.  Savoring the results reinforces the change in choices.  Choosing a positive action encourages positive thoughts.   Choose healthy, choose happy!

Stress Management

Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Today there is much written and blamed on stress, stressors, and stress management.

angrywomanIs your health less than optimal? Perhaps too much stress is to blame? Are your relationships suffering? Could it be that you and your partner are both experiencing too much stress and stressors? Could this stress be interfering with the joyful expression of your love for one another? There are more than a few people who complain regularly about all of the present work stresses they must deal with.

There seems to be an equal amount of solutions being advertised to relieve the stress we each experience in our every day lives. You can sip a hot cup of herbal tea while sitting quietly in nature. Or you can indulge in the latest cocktail made from the finest liquor while enjoying the convivial company of friends. Or you can choose from any of the wide range of “medications” each advertised to bring the relief you seek from the diagnosed problem the ad teaches you is your problem. What all of these solutions have in common is their attempt to eliminate the feeling associated with stress but most do little to actually deal with stress.

What exactly is stress? Is it some unknown overhead cloud that follows some people around? Or perhaps stress is some internal knot that some people tie themselves into? Rather than reaching for the latest remedy advertised to obliterate the feelings of stress would you find it useful to actually understand where stress comes from?

Whenever there is a difference between what you want and what you perceive you are getting you experience stress.

With this understanding and definition, there are several solutions for eliminating stress:

1. Get more of what you want. If you can manage to change your perception of the world to match what you want then you will have eliminated stress. Of course this is easier said than done, but it is a successful stress management strategy.

2. Change what you want. When you accept and perceive that what you are presently getting matches what you want you will have eliminated stress.

3. Change your perception of the world. When you focus your attention on all that you are getting that matches what you want even though your present primary want may not be matching your world perception you will decrease your stress. This is the goal of attitude adjustment practices as well as cultivating gratitude — being grateful for what you do have.

4. Learn more effective behaviors and strategies to increase your chances of getting what you want thus eliminating stress.

And you can keep reading Mental Health & Happiness blogs. You can sign up for the free 21-day challenges to help you deal more effectively with feelings of stress. Both will help you learn and practice specific strategies to eliminate stress and improve your Mental Health & Happiness.