Tag Archives: coping

Some very simple coping and mental wellness tips

Hi all! In the wake of horrific national and world events of late, I’d thought could share some wisdom from my years of a mental health professional. These are a few tips that have helped me cope and my clients cope with ill feelings. Some work better than others depending on the person.

One: remember nothing is permanent. This is a staple of Buddhist teaching, but applies just as well to everyone. No matter how bad things are, they will change. The flip side of course is that if things are going well they will change too. The important lesson is to not be too attached to whether things are good or bad and just see them for what they are.

Two: statistical regression toward the mean. Sounds like a crazy geeked out math concept, but in reality things cannot be extreme for very long. The tendency is for nature to regress toward the middle or towards stasis. If things are extremely bad, the tendency is for them to go back towards the center. Again if things are extremely good, the same thing will happen. The “SI (Sports Illustrated) curse” is a good example. If someone is on the cover of SI, then tend to fall from grace as one cannot maintain extreme greatness for an extended period of time according to statistics.

Three: do what needs to be done. Even during extreme grieving, people can still do dishes, take out trash, feed pets. It isn’t as easy as when things are good, but doing what needs to be done can distract us from our ill feelings and still give use a sense of order in our chaotic lives.

Four: lower your expectations. Say like you get some bad news like a medical diagnosis, or lost friendship. Give yourself permission to not be your “best” while you are grieving, going through treatments, or taking care of grim business. By not trying to meet some high standard, you can allow yourself to be human and heal.

Five: take a media fast. When I read that special interests are using Facebook to divide the fabric of our culture, I take that as a clue that this is a toxic medium. In behavioral psychology, the most powerful behavioral schedule is the “intermittent behavioral schedule.” Examples are a slot machine and of course, seeing who “liked” your post on Facebook. It is a highly addictive medium. Studies are showing you have a decreased self esteem the more time you spend on Facebook and other social media. See if you can survive a day without Facebook and you will see what I mean. Try to limit your Facebooking to special interests instead of seeking controversy. Or get rid of it all together.

Lastly: say no. Saying no is perhaps the hardest thing to do for people as we want to please everyone. Saying no to things you don’t want to do frees up a lot of psychic energy. Saying no allows others to plan accordingly as you have given them a direct response.

Bonus: do the obvious. Take the day off. Get the pedicure. See the movie. Cancel the stressful plans. Spend 99% less time on Facebook and social media. And of course, practice your yoga!

Hope this helps some of you.

 

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Finding relief when the world is off its rocker

What is it about September that brings out the worst in world news? We have had hurricanes, bombings, earthquakes, missile tests, hate groups, anniversary of 9/11 attacks, the list goes on. Most days when I don’t have to work early, I buy my mother-in-law breakfast and eat with her. She said this morning in her thick Japanese accent: “I watch scary news! Just like end of the world in Bible.”

I saw my childhood friend last year when I visited Albuquerque. During our catching up, he said that he was always upset for many years and couldn’t figure out why. Then he said one day his car stereo went dead. He was an avid listener of AM radio. He said with the silence, he became noticeably happier. His wife even noticed. Having worked in the news business for six years (that’s all I could take), I noticed too that when I quit the profession, I became remarkably happier.

We live in a world where we can honestly watch news every minute of our waking day and still work and have family life. How many check your Facebook, Twitter, Yelp while doing other things?

Silence is an undervalued commodity. We do not value silence in our culture, in fact it is often abhorred. And we are chronically distracted with devices and social media. I think our habits toward being distracted with electronic media have the same pattern as a fungus that grows. Once it sets its spores, it is hard to get rid of. People are looking for relief.

I came across an interesting article the other day: “Communal Silent Savasana Has Become Las Vegas’ Unlikeliest Craze.” Funny how things come full circle. I have long extolled the virtues of silence in Savasana, but now it is more clear than ever that we need to “steal silence” back from our constant bombardment of electronic media. When I teach yoga to my colleagues at work, I say to them “give yourself permission to relax for 5 minutes” before going into Savasana. I have been told that was the single most soothing thing they have heard all day.

Here is a link to a my tutorial on how to do a proper Savasana. If even that is too much, simply go to a quiet room and lie on your back for 10 minutes when you need to take shelter from our crazy world. It will make all the difference.

Many blessings!