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Connecting the Dots Between Physical and Emotional Health

There’s a link between your emotional health and your physical well-being, so take time to nurture both.

To be completely healthy, you should take care not only of your physical health, but your emotional health, too. If one is neglected, the other will suffer.

What’s the Connection Between Emotional and Physical Health?

There’s a physical connection between what the mind is thinking and those parts of the brain that control bodily functions. According to Charles Goodstein, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University’s Langone School of Medicine in New York City, the brain is intimately connected to our endocrine system, which secretes hormones that can have a powerful influence on your emotional health. “Thoughts and feelings as they are generated within the mind [can influence] the outpouring of hormones from the endocrine system, which in effect control much of what goes on within the body,” says Dr. Goodstein.

“As a matter of fact, it’s very probable that many patients who go to their physician’s office with physical complaints have underlying depression,” he says. People who visit their doctors reporting symptoms of headache, lethargy, weakness, or vague abdominal symptoms often end up being diagnosed with depression, even though they do not report feelings of depression to their doctors, says Goodstein.

While unhappy or stressed-out thoughts may not directly cause poor physical health, they may be a contributing factor and may explain why one person is suffering physically while someone else is not, Goodstein adds.

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How Exactly Does the Mind Affect the Body?

There are many ways in which the mind has a significant impact on the body. Here are a few:

  • Chronic illness and depression Depression has been shown to increase the risk for chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, according to an article published in 2013 in the Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders. A review of studies on diabetes and depression, published in August 2015 in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes, found that depression put people at a 41 percent higher risk for the condition. Researchers aren’t yet clear on how mental health influences physical health, but according to a study published in September 2017 in the journal Psychiatria Danubina, it may be that depression affects the immune system, and that habits associated with depression, such as poor diet or lack of physical activity, may create conditions for illness to occur.
  • Depression and longevity According to a review published in June 2014 in World Psychiatry, many major mental illnesses are associated with higher rates of death. Another study, published in October 2017 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, suggests that those with depression may have life spans from about 7 to 18 years shorter than the general population.
  • Physical symptoms of emotional health distress People who are clinically depressed often have physical symptoms, such as constipation, lack of appetite, insomnia, or lethargy, among others.
  • White-coat syndrome This is a condition in which a person’s blood pressure increases the minute they step into a doctor’s office. In white-coat syndrome, anxiety is directly related to physical function — blood pressure. “If you extrapolate from that, you can say, what other kinds of anxieties are these people having that are producing jumps in blood pressure? What is the consequence of repeated stress?” asks Goodstein.

And on the other hand: “Those individuals who have achieved a level of mental health where they can manage better the inevitable conflicts of human life are more likely to prevail in certain kinds of physical illness,” says Goodstein.

How Should You Care for Your Emotional and Physical Well-Being?

It’s hard to do, but slowing down and simplifying routines can go a long way to strengthening your mental and physical health.

  • Eat right. A healthy, regular diet is good for the body and mind.
  • Go to bed on time. Losing sleep is hard on your heart, may increase weight, and definitely cranks up the crankiness meter.
  • If you fall down, get back up. Resilience in the face of adversity is a gift that will keep on giving both mentally and physically.
  • Go out and play. Strike a balance between work and play. Yes, work is a good thing: It pays the bills. However, taking time out for relaxation and socializing is good for your emotional health and your physical health.
  • Exercise. A study published in October 2017 in Reviews in the Neurosciences shows that exercise improves your mood and has comprehensive benefits for your physical health.
  • See the right doctor, regularly. Going to the right doctor can make all the difference in your overall health, especially if you have a complicated condition that requires a specialist. But if your emotions are suffering, be open to seeing a mental health professional, too.

Total health depends on a healthy mind and body. Take time to nurture both.

By Madeline R. Vann, MPH
Medically Reviewed by Kathryn Keegan, MD
11/14/2017
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10 Ways to Become More Resilient

10 Ways to Become More Resilient

Build Your Resilience and Coping Skills With These Tips

Resilience can often mean the difference between handling pressure and losing your cool. Resilient people tend to maintain a more positive outlook and cope with stress more effectively. Research has shown that while some people seem to come by resilience naturally, these behaviors can also be learned. The following are just a few of the techniques you should focus on in order to foster your own resilience.

1  Find a Sense of Purpose in Your Life

After her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Candace Lightner founded Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Upset by the driver’s light sentence, Lightner decided to focus her energy into creating awareness of the dangers of drunk driving. “I promised myself on the day of Cari’s death that I would fight to make this needless homicide count for something positive in the years ahead,” she later explained. In the face of crisis or tragedy, finding a sense of purpose can play an important role in recovery. This might involve becoming involved in your community, cultivating your spirituality, or participating in activities that are meaningful to you.

2  Build Positive Beliefs in Your Abilities

Research has demonstrated that self-esteem plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments. Becoming more confident in your own ability to respond and deal with crisis is a great way to build resilience for the future.

3  Develop a Strong Social Network

Having caring, supportive people around you acts as a protective factor during times of crisis. It is important to have people you can confide in. While simply talking about a situation with a friend or loved one will not make troubles go away, it allows you to share your feelings, gain support, receive positive feedback, and come up with possible solutions to your problems.

4  Embrace Change

Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis. Resilient people often utilize these events as an opportunity to branch out in new directions. While some people may be crushed by abrupt changes, highly resilient individuals are able to adapt and thrive.

5  Be Optimistic

Staying optimistic during dark periods can be difficult, but maintaining a hopeful outlook is an important part of resiliency. Positive thinking does not mean ignoring the problem in order to focus on positive outcomes. It means understanding that setbacks are transient and that you have the skills and abilities to combat the challenges you face. What you are dealing with may be difficult, but it is important to remain hopeful and positive about a brighter future.

6  Nurture Yourself

When you’re stressed, it can be all too easy to neglect your own needs. Losing your appetite, ignoring exercise, and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions to a crisis situation. Focus on building your self-nurturance skills, even when you are troubled. Make time for activities that you enjoy. By taking care of your own needs, you can boost your overall health and resilience and be fully ready to face life’s challenges.

7  Develop Your Problem-Solving Skills

Research suggests that people who are able come up with solutions to a problem are better able to cope with problems than those who cannot. Whenever you encounter a new challenge, make a quick list of some of the potential ways you could solve the problem. Experiment with different strategies and focus on developing a logical way to work through common problems. By practicing your problem-solving skills on a regular basis, you will be better prepared to cope when a serious challenge emerges.

8  Establish Goals

Crisis situations are daunting. They may even seem insurmountable. Resilient people are able to view these situations in a realistic way and then set reasonable goals to deal with the problem. When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back to simply assess what is before you. Brainstorm possible solutions, and then break them down into manageable steps.

9  Take Steps to Solve Problems

Simply waiting for a problem to go away on its own only prolongs the crisis. Instead, start working on resolving the issue immediately. While there may not be any fast or simple solution, you can take steps toward making your situation better and less stressful. Focus on the progress that you have made thus far and planning your next steps, rather than becoming discouraged by the amount of work that still needs to be accomplished.

10  Keep Working on Your Skills

Resilience may take time to build, so do not become discouraged if you still struggle to cope with problematic events. According to Dr. Russ Newman, “research has shown that resilience is not an extraordinary thing but is rather ordinary and can be learned by most anyone”. Psychological resilience does not involve any specific set of behaviors or actions, but can vary dramatically from one person to the next. Focus on practicing some of the common characteristics of resilient people, but also, remember to build upon your existing strengths.

 
By Kendra Cherry    May 10, 2016 
source: www.verywell.com 

Characteristics of Resilient People

Why are some people better able to cope with crises than others?

While people vary dramatically in the coping skills they use when confronting a crisis, researchers have identified some key characteristics of resilience. Many of these skills can be developed and strengthened, which can improve your ability to deal with life’s setbacks.

Resilient people are aware of situations, their own emotional reactions and the behavior of those around them. In order to manage feelings, it is essential to understand what is causing them and why.

By remaining aware, resilient people can maintain control of a situation and think of new ways to tackle problems.

Another characteristic of resilience is the understanding that life is full of challenges. While we cannot avoid many of these problems, we can remain open, flexible, and willing to adapt to change.

Here are some other characteristics of people who have strong coping skills.

A Sense of Control

Do you perceive yourself as having control over your own life? Or do you blame outside sources for failures and problems? Generally, resilient people tend to have what psychologists call an internal locus of control. They believe that the actions they take will affect the outcome of an event. Of course, some factors are simply outside of our personal control, such as natural disasters. While we may be able to put some blame on external causes, it is important to feel as if we have the power to make choices that will affect our situation, our ability to cope, and our future.

Strong Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills are essential. When a crisis emerges, resilient people are able to spot the solution that will lead to a safe outcome. In danger situations, people sometimes develop tunnel vision. They fail to note important details or take advantages of opportunities.

Resilient individuals, on the other hand, are able to calming and rationally look and the problem and envision a successful solution.

Strong Social Connections

Whenever you’re dealing with a problem, it is important to have people who can offer support. Talking about the challenges you are facing can be an excellent way to gain perspective, look for new solutions, or simply express your emotions. Friends, family members, coworkers, and online support groups can all be potential sources of social connectivity.

Identifying as a Survivor, Not a Victim

When dealing with any potential crisis, it is essential to view yourself as a survivor. Avoid thinking like a victim of circumstance and instead look for ways to resolve the problem. While the situation may be unavoidable, you can still stay focused on a positive outcome.

Being Able to Ask for Help

While being resourceful is an important part of resilience, it is also essential to know when to ask for help. During a crisis, people can benefit from the help of psychologists and counselors specially trained to deal with crisis situations. Other potential sources of assistance include:

  • Books – Reading about people who have experienced and overcome a similar problem can be both motivating and good for ideas on how to cope.
  • Online Message Boards – Online communities can provide continual support and a place to talk about issues with people who have been in a similar situation.
  • Support Groups – Attending support group meetings is a great way to talk about the challenges you’re facing and find a network of people who can provide compassion and support.
  • Psychotherapy – If you are having trouble coping with a crisis situation, consulting a qualified mental health professional can help you confront the problem, identify your strengths, and develop new coping skills.
By Kendra Cherry   October 03, 2016


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7 Ways to Stay Resilient

Every so often, life takes a swing at you, connects, and knocks you flat: Your company hires you a new boss, a guy so young you could be his mom. Instead of finding yourself on a plane to Spain for a long-planned holiday, you’re spending your vacation money paying the bills for an unexpected illness.

When these things happen—and happen they do—it’s hard to imagine ever coming out the other side.

But you can bounce back. (Yes, even if you’re still reeling from, say, discovering that your husband who claimed to be “hiking the Appalachian Trail” was off canoodling with a gorgeous Argentinian woman.)

You don’t need to pen a best-selling tell-all and commune with Oprah to get it out of your system, à la Jenny Sanford, nor do you have to be able to envision a future filled with sunshine and lollipops like the impossibly perky few who seem to be born with the resilience gene. But you can get to a place where you’re enjoying a few good laughs and happier moments—in short order, for that matter.

It’s true that some people are born with easygoing temperaments that make it easier to bounce back from life-shaking events, but even those who are thrown by upheavals can learn how to ratchet up their resilience skills, says Karen Reivich, PhD, a psychologist and co-director of the Penn Resiliency Project at the University of Pennsylvania. “There are many aspects of resilience that can be taught,” she says.

The next time you’re watching your luck circle the drain, try these seven steps to get through it and move on to a new chapter of your life.

1. Get pissed off
Being resilient doesn’t mean you have to smile serenely like a Stepford Wife. “It’s critical to acknowledge to yourself whatever emotions you’re going through, and share them with other people who can support you and help you keep perspective,” says Mary Alvord, PhD, a psychologist in Maryland and a public-education coordinator for the American Psychological Association, who also confirms that holding in emotions is bad for your health. So go ahead and rage and curse until you start to feel better.

2. Quit catastrophizing
After a few days or weeks (depending on the scope of your crisis), that initial wave of emotions will start to feel a little less apocalyptic. That’s the time to take a new look at the situation. “We spend a lot of mental energy making problems much bigger than they really are,” Reivich says. The loss of a job can morph into thoughts of I’m going to live on the streets.

“When you hear that voice in your head, label it as the worst-case scenario,” she says. Then write it down along with the best-possible scenario—I’ll help an old lady across the street, and she’ll leave me her estate in her will. Finally, put down the most-likely scenario—I’ll tighten my belt while I find a new job. “As you write things down, you can feel your anxiety start to lessen,” Reivich says.

3. Assemble your pit crew 
You know those friends who love to snipe about how bosses suck and husbands dont appreciate you? Don’t call them. They will keep you stuck at Step 1. Relationships can only buoy you through bad times if theyre based on positive traits, says David Palmiter, PhD, a professor of clinical psychology at Marywood University. Make a list of the friends who listen without reinforcing negative feelings and who root for you to succeed. Then meet for lunch or a jog so you can soak in their advice.

4. Make your what-I’ve-got list
Though it may be hard to feel thankful right now, there is always something to be grateful for. Studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal makes you feel more optimistic, the cornerstone of resilience. Grab a notepad and list the good stuff that you have in your life, from the big-picture (your children, your health) to the small (the flowers that bloomed on your terrace this morning, the Thai restaurant that gives you extra spring rolls).

While you’re at it, make a list of your own best qualities, Reivich suggests. Do you have a great sense of humor? Skill in the kitchen? “When you take time to think about what you do best, you can more easily access those strengths when you’re facing a challenge,” she says.

5. Plan your strategy 
The key to resiliency is to spend less energy on what you cant change and more on things you can be proactive about, Alvord says. If your child has been diagnosed with a learning disorder, instead of wondering Why him?, take the skills you listed in Step 4 and work on the things you can control—finding a top-notch tutor, nurturing his talents, and letting him know how much you adore him.

“Ruminating over the problem can get you stuck in a holding pattern,” Reivich says, “but focusing on solutions can help you see a way forward.”

6. Make your plan B (and C)
Once you’ve got your immediate situation under control, start thinking ahead. “If you remain flexible, a crisis can open up opportunities,” Alvord points out. Lets say you get laid off. There may be some tough times ahead, but there will be new possibilities, too: you can spend the summer with your kids, downsize to a less-stressful life, go back to school for that degree.

7. Do good
Spreading positive karma by volunteering or just helping a neighbor will help you conquer any lingering feelings of helplessness. “Not only are you proving to yourself that you have the ability to make a difference in your life, but you are literally making the world a better place,” Palmiter says. In the end, resilience is about knowing that you have the power to adjust your plans and feel secure in your new normal. Once you have that, you’ll feel as good as you did before—if not better.

 By Marisa Cohen    OCT 18, 2012    From Health magazine


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Bend, Not Break: 9 Powerful Traits of Resilient People

The noun resilience stems from the Latin resiliens “to rebound, recoil.” As a character trait, resilience is a person’s mental ability to recover quickly from misfortune, illness or depression.

For most, life eventually throws us a major curve ball. Like millions, I have had my share of adversity. Growing up in Bangladesh, I have seen war, famine, and inhumane poverty. As an entrepreneur, technologist, and author, I have faced many professional and personal failures and rejections. I had to learn the art of resiliency to survive and then thrive.

Resilient people develop a mental capacity that allows them to adapt with ease during adversity, bending like bamboo instead of breaking. They possess a set of powerful traits. I’ve shared some of these traits separately in my previous posts; in this article, I wanted to bring them all together.

They Protect Their Soul

Dusting ourselves off every time we fall requires disciplining our inner energy and drive to protect our soul.

1. They Control Their Destiny. It is difficult to understand how you can control your destiny when the very nature of adversity takes away your control. Destiny results from “intention” — our spiritual will, something that drives us to do what seems impossible.

Laurence Gonzales, author of SURVIVING SURVIVAL: The Art and Science of Resilience, in an article writes:

Julian Rotter, a professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, developed the concept of what he calls “locus of control.” Some people, he says, view themselves as essentially in control of the good and bad things they experience — i.e., they have an internal locus of control.

This internal locus allows us to create options and scenarios based on instinct, the situation, and foresight. It allows us to create alternative plans in anticipation or in the midst of adversity.

2. They Accept Their Battle. As humans, our instincts are to fight bitterly against adversity. The most resilient among us will often find a way to fight it by embracing it.

On my desk is a copy of “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. Very few have talked about embracing adversity like him. A professor at Carnegie Mellon and a husband and father of three, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given only a few months to live. He gave his Last Lecture on Sept. 18, 2007. His story, and particularly this final lecture, are a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit.

It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life … If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you. — Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Randy decided to accept his situation and live out the days he had remaining by making a difference. He died on July 25, 2008, and now he lives on not only through his family but also through the millions he inspired. I am certainly one of them.

If you haven’t seen the “Last Lecture“ or read the book, then you must.

Once we accept our situation and let go of the outcome, it allows us to adapt and even thrive in the face of adversity.

3. They Use Adversity As Their Compass.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable. — Helen Keller

Sometimes, if we pay close attention, we see that adversity can come into our life to guide us to our true destiny. It certainly did for Helen Keller.

Helen Keller fell ill, lost her sight, her hearing and fell mute while she was a child. Today, her name is known around the world as a symbol of courage, strength and determination in the face of overwhelming odds. Through the tutelage of her teacher, Ms. Annie Sullivan, and other great supporters, she used her adversity to find her vision, her voice, and a calling for herself that led to great benefits to others.

resilliance

They Learn to Suffer Well

Adversity inherently invokes pain, suffering, and disappointments. Accepting and growing through our pain is part of our personal growth. This is hardly easy. Like any other skill, learning to suffer well requires conscious practice and learning.

4. They Practice Patience. The realization of the power of patience was most obvious to me during my visit to the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan. There, I stood in front of a famous Japanese calligraphy, a quote by Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate which ruled Japan for over 250 years until 1868.

It says: “The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience.”

Over time, I have found that the practice of patience begins with:

  • Compassion — The Dalai Lama says, “a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.” It is perhaps one of the hardest things to practice, yet there’s no substitute for compassion.
  • Gratitude — When life turns upside down, staying in an attitude of genuine thankfulness helps us realize what we have.

5. They Let Go. Fear is a protective emotion signaling danger and helps us to prepare for and cope with it. Fear perhaps is the key fundamental emotion that holds us back — fear of failure, losing people, success, the unknown, and fear of moving forward or making a change. Emotional pain is another key factor that often holds us back. Although others can cause pain for us, our pain can also be caused by our own actions, including our inability to achieve a desired aspiration.

The physical reaction to fear and pain is called the “fight or flight” response. Letting go is the inner action that stops resisting fear and pain, allowing us to restore our ability to see clearly. Letting go comes from having a “nonjudgmental” outlook toward life and people. It allows us to forgive others and ourselves equally for mistakes and incompatibility. We must be willing to let go of fear, pain, anger, and people. It is the ability to let go that drives a constant process of change — it is what makes us flexible and adaptable. This is hardly easy, takes a conscious effort, and is something I know I struggle with every day.

6. They Live in the Moment. Being truly in the moment allows us to escape from adversity and conserve our inner energy. Living in the moment doesn’t mean we don’t care about the past or future. It means that when we make a choice to do something, we focus on solely doing it, rather than letting our mind wander into the future (or the past).

It’s been said that the only two jobs of a Zen monk are sitting zazen (meditation) and sweeping. Cleaning is one of the most important daily rituals of a Zen monk. They sweep or rake, and they try to do nothing else in that moment. The next time you’re doing housework, try concentrating on the housework — on the dust, the motion, the sensation. Cooking and cleaning are often seen as boring chores, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness — something I ritualistically try to do at least once or twice a week. Sounds simple — but it’s actually pretty hard.

They Lead From Within

Despite our darkest moments, it is our duty to stay connected to our core intention. Resilient people reach their highest potential by taking risks that are consistent with their ethos and purpose. They lead themselves by constantly standing on an uncomfortable ledge.


7. They Develop Flexibility. Lao Tzu said, “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: What is soft is strong.”

Our ability to effectively survive, thrive and lead comes from flexibly riding out our ups and downs. An authentic journey does not always come from blasting through rocks and impediments, rather from having the faith, resilience and adaptability to cope with harsh realities of life.

8. They Find the Right Traveling Partners. The people we surround ourselves with make the difference between failure and success. It’s not only whom we surround ourselves with that matters, but also how we interact with them that make the difference. It is important to avoid people who bring us down, waste our time, take us backward, and have no interest in our suffering. While we cannot always avoid them, at a minimum we can choose to not allow them to weaken us. And sometimes the right companion shows up through chance encounters.

In life’s journey there are many encounters. Some are planned; some are by accident; and some by divine intervention. I have had many amazing “Chance Encounters,” where it seems the universe rallied to come to my aid when I needed the help most. They have occurred when least expected — and many of the people I’ve encountered have become friends and family. And whenever those encounters initially left me with a “negative” experience, they turned out to be much-needed lessons for me.

9. They Take the Next Step Forward. The ability to visualize our dreams creates a mindset that makes our ambitions possible. Understanding exactly what we want is the foundation for our success. But executing that success requires taking the next step, every day, no matter how hard it may be.

Author Joseph Marshall III shares Native American wisdom on taking the step in his book Keep Going.

It means letting the tears flow through the grief; it means to keep looking for the answer though the darkness of despair is all around. Each step takes you closer to the top of the hill, closer to the light of the next sunrise, and the promise of a new day.

Faisal Hoque    02/06/2014 
 
Entrepreneur, Author | Founder of SHADOKA and other companies.
Author of “Everything Connects”, “Survive to Thrive”, and Others.
Serial entrepreneur and author Faisal Hoque is the founder of SHADOKA and other companies.
Author of several books, his newest book is “Everything Connects – How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability“
(McGraw Hill, Spring 2014). Copyright (c) 2014 by Faisal Hoque. All rights reserved.
 
Follow Faisal Hoque on Twitter: www.twitter.com/faisal_hoque

 


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3 Ways to Bounce Back from Adversity

There’s new data on how to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. Like the old Timex watch commercials, the key to longevity is resilience – the ability to bounce back in the face of adversity, such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job. For about 20% of us (some research shows the numbers are higher) it comes naturally: You’re glad to get back into of the swing of life pretty quickly, and feel stronger for having weathered the storm. For others, bouncing back is a long, slow slog through the blues until you come out the other side.

resilience

Fortunately, everyone can learn how to gain the health benefits of resilience: less stress, lower risk of heart disease, and less depression and anxiety. Here are three ways you can strengthen your ability to bounce back:

  1. Cultivate an optimistic outlook. This is an important part of being resilient. For us, looking on the bright side is enhanced with daily meditation. This is how we say bye to the stress that causes grumpiness.
  2. Keep your body strong and limber. How? Eat a diet powered by lean protein and lots of veggies, fruits, and 100% whole grains. When you feel physically strong, your self-esteem increases. That’s another vital part of resilience.
  3. Nurture your social connections. They provide security and love, and help keep emotions on an even keel. As blood pressure decreases, ability to cope goes up.

So, reach out and touch someone – physically and emotionally. Remember, two hugs are better than one!


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10 Things Emotionally Resilient People Do Differently

BY BRIANNA WIEST

“If you lived honestly, your life would heal itself.”

In one sentence, David Viscott sums up an entire canon of modern self-help literature. In three decades as a psychiatrist, he says that every therapeutic breakthrough he’s witnessed has been in some way the result of someone accepting a previously concealed truth.

It seems people don’t really have a problem with their feelings – they have a problem with honesty.

The fundamental point of Viscott’s work is that we do not know how to express pain the moment we feel it (especially not consistently or healthfully). The result of this is a slow imprisonment as our true selves become caged by suppression, denial and eventually shadow-selves. When we fear our inability to cope with our own emotions, we avoid triggers, and when we avoid triggers, we avoid our lives.

As Alan Watts says, you cannot only numb one side of your feeling capacity. If you’re numb to pain, you’re numb to pleasure, too. They are the same function. They are different ends of the same signaling system. The difference, however, is that we don’t suffer over pleasure, because we haven’t condemned it. We know how to express pleasure. We suppress pain, and this is why emotional intelligence is so rare – we don’t know what a lot of our feelings mean, and we don’t know what to do with them when they arise.

Like a cleansing, cathartic cry or the recognition that the most uncomfortable moments in our lives tend to precede the most pivotal and profound, emotionally resilient people realize that every emotion serves us. Here, 10 other things they understand and do differently:

1. They know that your sense of self is the foundation of your emotional life.

Self-esteem is not much more than just the belief that you can handle your life. It is knowing that things will be okay because you can make them okay. You perceive in accordance with how you think you should respond to things, which is another way to say, with how you think you are. Your confirmation bias will have you actively seeking out experiences that affirm what you already believe to be true of yourself. Mental and emotional responses are the result of how your neurons are hardwired – not the cause.

2. They know their feelings matter.

… Which is what allows them to express pain when they feel it. This doesn’t mean that they act on their impulses or act inappropriately, It’s because they acknowledge their emotions that they don’t have misplaced or inappropriate responses.

3. They make choices based on senses, not feelings.

Your feelings are an enmeshment of thoughts you’ve had, fears you’ve held, experiences that have come and gone. They are affected by the foods you eat, the sleep you’ve had, the people you’re around, and a whole cornucopia of other hormonal, biological, subjective, fleeting, temporary factors. To base anything on any given emotion is the fast ticket to chaos. However, to base on senses is different. Sensing something isn’t feeling it, it’s a gut knowing, it’s an instinct. It’s non-local (it’s not necessarily a physical feeling, but rather an overall sense).

Weathering The Storm

Weathering The Storm

4. They don’t rely on fate.

When people are most intimidated by actually trying (putting themselves out there for a job, doing the work of finding said job in the first place, putting forth effort in a relationship) they tend to shoulder “fate,” as though if something’s “meant to be,” it will just magically happen. We can’t discount that there’s an element of surprise and unknowingness in all of our lives, but that’s not an excuse to forego the effort it takes to develop those things and thrive within them when we have them.

5. They don’t laugh at walls.

Which is to say, they are more engaged in what’s happening in front of them than what they think about what is happening. They don’t make something out of nothing.

6. They have a basic understanding of the emotional dictionary.

They understand, for example, that anger shows you what you’re passionate about and what you want to change, shame shows you how you’re internalizing other people’s opinions about your life, anxiety is a cue that you aren’t being present enough in your life today, and so on.

7. They are guided, not paralyzed, by fear.

Emotionally resilient people see the purpose of their emotions, particularly fear. Fear shows you want you want. It shows you what you care about. Most people feel it so strongly that they internalize it as a deterrent (this feeling means I shouldn’t pursue this thing) when really, it means you genuinely want to.

8. They aren’t tough, decided or overly rigid about their lives.

You can have a clear sense of purpose and direction and idea of who you are without being overly attached to outcomes and particularities – and people who are emotionally resilient are just that. They know what they want but will survive if they don’t get it. Being too attached to anything, as we all know, is the root of suffering.

9. They take responsibility.

They acknowledge that even if something wasn’t their fault, it can still be their problem, and if it’s their problem, they must deal with it. They own and take responsibility for everything that’s happened in their lives – they own it as part of their story. This is the only way you can truly move on and grow.

10. Their primary goal is growth.

They see every experience in their lives for how it serves them. Obstacles are opportunities, upsets are set ups for real change. They see the things they enjoy as moments that teach them, and the things that are uncomfortable as the moments that grow them into understanding, perceiving and being able to sense and enjoy even more. Their fundamental goal in life is growth, which is how they’re able to use what happens to them to their advantage – not their detriment.


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The 5-Minute Fix to A Bad Day

By: Jordyn Cormier     January 17, 2016

We all have bad days. Your alarm doesn’t go off. Your breakfast bar becomes smooshed after you sit on it in the car. You get stuck in deadlock traffic. And, to top it all off, you are callously berated for being late to work. Things happen—sometimes we have little control over our circumstances. But what do you do in these tough times? Do you just grumble and lean into the negativity that your life is pushing? Or do you launch a positivity counterattack?

Don’t just settle into a bad day. You attract whatever mood you are putting out. If you’re angry and negative, only more negativity will find you, while if you smile in spite of the difficulties, positive things will begin to take shape. The truth is, you can turn any bad mood around in relatively little time if you set your mind to it. What is the secret, you ask? The secret is immersing yourself in something you love. That’s right. All it takes is 5 minutes—5 minutes of complete and utter love. Find something that always make you smile, whether it’s your favorite song, a steaming cup of hot cocoa, a brisk jog or your favorite poem. Whatever it is, completely immerse yourself in that for 5 minutes. Do not wallow over your bad day—sink yourself into this positive activity. Blast your favorite song on your headphones or in your car and sing along and dance. Allow happiness to flood you and keep worries at bay for 5 minutes. Most of the time, this small break from the negative cycle is enough to turn your day and your mood around.

Can’t access your go-to favorite things? There is another simple action that can turn a bad mood swiftly around. It lies in the magic of your smile. By forcing yourself to smirk or smile for a few minutes, your emotions will start to follow suit.

“Charles Darwin first posed the idea that emotional responses influence our feelings in 1872. ‘The free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it,’ he wrote.” (Scientific American)

By exhibiting happiness on the outside, it can cause you to feel the actual emotion within. Studies have shown that those who have had botox injections, which make frowning difficult, experience more happiness than those studies who did not receive injections and could frown freely. So, if you’re having a rough time, keep a grin on your face and everything will feel a heck of a lot more manageable.

Fitting something you absolutely love into your schedule is a quick remedy to invigorate any bad day. It’s very similar to meditation, in fact. Try to make it a regular practice—much like (and perhaps in replacement of) your 3 o’clock caffeine or sugar fix. Whether you’re smiling, dancing, sketching or indulging in a small mocha, you will be amazed at how powerful 5 minutes of pure positivity and love can be.