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The Practice of Letting Go

There are a number of times when our mind clings to something tightly, and it is rarely helpful:

  • I am right, the other person is wrong
  • That person is living their life in the wrong way, they should change
  • My preference is the best way, others are wrong
  • This is the thing I want, I don’t want anything else
  • I really don’t like that, it sucks
  • I should have that person in my life, loving me
  • I shouldn’t be alone, shouldn’t be overweight, shouldn’t be however I am, shouldn’t have this life

In all of these cases, and more, our minds are fixed in a certain viewpoint, and we often judge others. We complain. We are attached to what we want and what we don’t want.

It leads to stress. Unhappiness. Anger. Righteousness. Being judgmental. Distancing ourselves from others. Closed-offedness.

And it leads to being closed off to the beauty of this moment, as it is, full of openness and possibilities.

If you’d like to work on letting go, I would like to offer a simple practice.

mind

 

The Practice of Letting Go

You can actually practice this all day long, because even if we don’t realize it, we’re clinging and hardening and fixing upon viewpoints all day long.

Here’s how to practice:

  1. Start by realizing that you’re hardened. Notice that you are stressed, upset at someone, feeling like you’re right, complaining about someone or a situation, not open to other viewpoints, putting something off, avoiding, tensed. These are good signs that you are holding on, hardened in your viewpoint, fixed, attached, clinging. Get good at noticing this.
  2. Notice the tension in your body. It’s a tightening that happens from your stomach muscles, through your chest, into your throat, up to your forehead. Think of this as your central column, and it tightens up when you think you’re right, or someone else is wrong, or you really want something or don’t want something.
  3. Start to relax those tightened muscles. This is the heart of changing from holding on to letting go. Whatever is tight in your central column, relax. Try it right now. What is tight? Relax that. Soften.
  4. Open your awareness beyond yourself. Once you’ve done this (and you might have to repeat the relaxing, multiple times), you can open your awareness from just your own body and your self-concern, to the world around you. Become aware of the space around you, the people and objects, the light and sound. Open your awareness to the neighborhood around you.
  5. Become aware of openness & possibilities. With your mind opening, you can start to feel more open. Your mind is no longer closed, but has made space for possibilities. You are not fixated on one right way, but are open to everything. This is the beauty of not-knowing.
  6. Open to the beauty that is before you. Now that you are not fixated on rightness or your way or the way things should or shouldn’t be … you can take in the actual moment before you. You’ve emptied your cup, and made room for seeing things as they actually are, and appreciating the beauty of this moment, the beauty of other people, and of yourself.
  7. Step forward with a not-knowing openness. From this place of relaxing your fixed mind, of opening up … take the next step with a stance of not-knowing. You don’t know how things should be, let’s find out! You don’t know if you’re right or wrong, let’s explore! You don’t know the answers, you just hold the questions in your heart, and move into open possibilities.

It’s that simple. And of course, it takes a lot of practice. You can do this at any moment, but it’s helpful to have a short time of day when you set a reminder and then take a few moments to sit still and practice with whatever you’ve been clinging to today.

When we practice like this, we are shifting from our habitual patterns of self-concern and shutting out all possibilities, to openness and not-knowing, to unlimited possibilities and seeing the breath-taking beauty of the world in front of us.

BY LEO BABAUTA     FEBRUARY 4, 2019

zenhabits.net

Obstacles That Stop Us from Decluttering
—And How to Overcome Them

Years ago, Cas Aarssen would spend hours looking for lost items, cleaning and tidying, and dusting items she didn’t even like.
Sound familiar?
Sometimes, we get so entrenched in our routines that we don’t see the belongings that no longer belong in our homes. Or we feel too busy, too overwhelmed, too exhausted to tackle a big project such as decluttering. We think it’ll require energy and effort we just don’t have.
Another obstacle to decluttering is actually letting items go. “We are especially reluctant to declutter things that were expensive, have sentimental value, or things that we perceive as being useful ‘someday,’” said Aarssen, an author and professional organizer. “Unfortunately, almost everything can land in one of these categories and by holding onto too many ‘useful’ items, we are making the spaces in our homes ‘useless.’”
We also don’t get rid of items because our stuff starts to represent different possibilities. And that stuff ends up replacing our actual habits. For instance, professional organizer and ADHD coach Debra Michaud, M.A., worked with a client who had a growing yoga DVD collection, which she didn’t use. “What she really wanted was the habit, but she found herself instead buying more and more DVDs.”
Basically, our clutter can personify the people we want to be. The person who lifts weights and runs on the treadmill. The person who always looks put together in fancy (and uncomfortable) shoes. The person who uses cookbooks to make elaborate dinners for their family. The person who does arts and crafts and makes beautiful things.
“Unfinished projects are a very common cause of clutter,” Michaud said. You might be surrounded by broken things you’re planning on fixing one day and piles of magazines you’ll read next week or the week after that or the week after that or….
“People often hang on to [these items] as some sort of albatross, almost a punishment for not getting everything done.”
All of these are super-common obstacles—which you can absolutely overcome. These tips will help.
clutter
Have a clear vision
“The best motivator to declutter is to have a clear vision of what is beyond it,” Michaud said. She suggested asking yourself: What do you really want? What would you really miss?
Remind yourself regularly why you’re decluttering. For instance, clutter robs us of our time and causes a lot of needless stress, said Aarssen, bestselling author of Real Life Organizing and Cluttered Mess to Organized Success. It also zaps our energy, makes us inefficient, and prevents us from living in the present, Michaud said.
Start small
So overwhelm doesn’t stop you from starting, Michaud always suggests tackling clutter in small chunks. Really small. For instance, you might identify one item per day you’re going to donate.
Michaud also recommended using a timer, and starting with five-minute sessions. “Five minutes of focused decision-making is more productive than two hours of wheel-spinning and moving things around.” In fact, she defines clutter as “the interest we pay for deferred decisions (or projects).”
And because of the decision-making required, pick a time when you can focus, Michaud said. “At the end of a tiring workday, for example, will probably yield a frustrating and inefficient organizing session.”
Start with garbage
Aarssen suggested grabbing a garbage bag and filling it as quickly as possible with things you can throw away without any hesitation. For instance, this might include old receipts, expired medications, stale food, empty boxes, and old magazines.
Address your guilt
Michaud always tells her clients “wouldn’t you rather [an item] go to someone who needs it and uses it, than have it sitting in the back of your closet?” She also asks them if the giver would really want them to feel burdened by their gift. And, of course, they wouldn’t.
When it comes to unfinished projects, remind yourself that no one gets to everything. “In a way, letting go of clutter is…coming to terms with the finiteness of life,” Michaud said. However, “ironically, it’s when we let go that we start to feel in control.”
Self-reflect
If your stuff represents different possibilities, wishes and people, consider if those are still true for you. Consider if you even want to do these things, if you’d even enjoy them. Do you want to lift weights and run on the treadmill? Maybe you don’t—and that’s OK. Maybe you love to take walks. Maybe you actually prefer to cook quick meals, and don’t like cooking from recipes.
Either way, you’ll feel so much lighter once you let go of the stuff that represents your unrealized and unwanted dreams—along with those no longer-relevant dreams.
Donate 21 items
“I love this decluttering technique because it is a big enough number that you need to push yourself, but small enough that it isn’t overwhelming and won’t take you more than a few minutes to accomplish,” Aarssen said. Again, the key is to go quickly, and make it into a game.
Create a time capsule
According to Aarssen, when you’re really struggling to relinquish certain items, pack them in a box and write an expiration date on it: “If Not Used By September 2018, DONATE This Box.” Keep your box somewhere in your home. When that date arrives, if you haven’t missed or needed anything in the box, donate its contents, she said.
Get help
“Sometimes the biggest impediment to decluttering is just knowing when to reach out for help,” Michaud said. She suggested hiring a professional organizer or finding a neutral “clutter buddy.” This might be a close friend or a member of Clutterers Anonymous.
Whoever you pick, it’s important that they’re not judgmental and can ask you thoughtful questions, such as: “Do you love it? Do you use it? Realistically will you use it in the next 2 years? Would you buy it again today? Would you miss it?”
Decluttering does take time and energy and effort—but it’s time and energy and effort that aren’t a waste. It’s worthwhile, and it’s absolutely freeing. As Michaud said, “We often don’t even realize how much clutter is weighing on us until it’s gone.”
By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. 
Associate Editor        8 Jul 2018


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Why Suicide Is More Than A Mental Health Issue

Suicide prevention efforts shift towards improving mental health of everyone

Renowned chef Anthony Bourdain has been found dead in France while working on CNN program. He’s part of an age cohort with rising suicide rates in the U.S. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)
The deaths this week of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and designer Kate Spade come at at a time when new numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show suicide is on the rise.

The CDC said suicide rates in the U.S. increased more than 30 per cent between 1999 and 2016. The reasons for the rise are complicated and multidimensional.

“Suicide is more than a mental health issue,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, told reporters on Thursday.

“We don’t think we can just leave this to the mental health system to manage.”

Multiple circumstances

Bourdain took his own life, CNN said Friday. New York City’s chief medical examiner ruled that Spade’s death earlier this week was also a suicide.

Spade’s husband and business partner, Andy Spade, said she suffered from depression and anxiety for many years, but was seeing a doctor regularly and taking medication.

In its Vital Signs report, the CDC said that nearly 45,000 Americans died by their own hand in 2016. The latest U.S. data suggests in 54 per cent of completed suicides, there were no known mental health conditions.

In a sampling of 27 states, relationship problems were considered a contributing factor in 42 per cent of all suicides in 2015. “Problematic substance use” was listed in 28 per cent of cases.

Even so, the CDC acknowledges that poor mental health isn’t always easy to detect. The agency said there could be a number of reasons why the reported level of mental illness could underestimate its actual effect, including:

  • Not all illnesses are formally diagnosed.
  • Stigma still surrounds a diagnosis.
  • Loved ones might not have been aware of a mental health condition.

 

‘Disturbing’ age findings

Bourdain and Spade died at 61 and 55, respectively — an age cohort with strikingly high suicide rates in the U.S., according to the CDC.

“Middle-aged adults had the largest number of suicides and a particularly high increase in suicide rates. These findings are disturbing,” said Schuchat.

Patrick Smith, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Toronto, said he isn’t aware of a similar increase among that age group in Canada. But he said Bourdain and Spade’s deaths show that high-profile status is no bulwark against depression and other mental illnesses.

“Someone doesn’t say, ‘Wow, they had everything. I can’t believe they got cancer.’ But we still say that about suicide or depression,” said Smith.

“That’s really the societal challenge — to try to understand that depression and other mental illnesses can be found in every postal code and every income bracket.”

In the U.S., middle-aged adults also have higher rates of drug overdoses, Schuchat said. She pointed to emerging social science research suggesting increases in suicide correlate with “deaths of despair” among middle-age populations who may be harder hit by economic downturns.

suicide

 

The need for intervention

Suicide ranked as the ninth-leading cause of death in Canada in 2009, the last year for which numbers are available, and is the 10th-leading cause of death overall in the U.S.

In both countries, suicide prevention efforts are shifting toward meeting people’s needs before they reach crisis. Just as doctors don’t wait until cancer reaches stage 4 to intervene, Smith said experience in the U.K. shows that after community-based programs to provide support to people in workplaces and schools were introduced, prison populations were reduced and there was a dramatic drop in emergency room visits.

In countries with more community support, rates of feeling suicidal will be similar, Smith said, but there’s a better chance of having lower suicide rates.

Everyone has to take care of their mental health and the goal is to normalize conversations to improve and enhance it, Smith said.

Bourdain spoke to CBC last year about some of the psychological challenges he faced separating from his second wife and missing his daughter while travelling the globe for his show Parts Unknown. He’d also talked about his struggles with mental health and a history of drug use.

The CDC recommends teaching children, teens and adults coping and problem-solving skills, building social connections and maintaining dialogue. The agency also encourages safe storage of pills and guns.

Where to get help:

Canada Suicide Prevention Service

Toll-free 1-833-456-4566

Text: 45645

Chat: crisisservicescanada.ca

In French: Association québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553)

Kids Help Phone:  1-800-668-6868 (Phone), Live Chat counselling at www.kidshelpphone.ca

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre

If you’re worried someone you know may be at risk of suicide, you should talk to them about it, says the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.

Here are some warning signs:

    • Suicidal thoughts.
    • Substance abuse.
    • Purposelessness.
    • Anxiety.
    • Feeling trapped.
    • Hopelessness and helplessness.
    • Withdrawal.
    • Anger.
    • Recklessness.
    • Mood changes.
CBC News      Jun 08, 2018
With files from CBC’s Amina Zafar and Associated Press
source: www.cbc.ca
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Fun Fact Friday

  • Simply looking at a photo of someone you love can help relieve pain.

  • Scientists usually omit left-handed people from tests because their brain works differently.

 

  • Pretending you don’t have feelings of anger, sadness, or loneliness can literally destroy you mentally.

  • Chocolate milk was invented in Jamaica.

 

Happy Friday!
source: @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Girls who have more ‘guy friends’ than ‘girl friends’ go through less depression and anxiety.
  • Napping actually improves stamina, boosts your creativity, boosts your sex life and reduces stress.
  • Blowing out candles on birthday cakes results in roughly 3000 bacteria capable of forming colonies on the cake.
  • Blood donors in Sweden are sent a text message every time their blood is used to save a life.
  • The most used drug worldwide is caffeine.
  • If two people are having a dispute, the angrier one is usually wrong. This is because anger clouds judgement.
  • When feeling depressed, do some cleaning. Straightening out the physical aspects of your life can also bring clarity to the mental one.

 

Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

  • The downside of being shy is that people misjudge you as thinking you’re better than others just because you’re quiet.
  • 91% people skip the first slice of bread, just because it’s ugly.
  • Popcorn is by far the healthiest snack. It builds bone, muscle, tissue, aids digestion, and is good for the teeth.
  • Generally, you should never forget what a person says to you when angry because that’s when the truth finally comes out.
bread
  • According to a study, wishing someone luck makes them do better.
  • A sleeping human brain can still understand the words being spoken around it.
  • Bottling up your emotions can lead to depression.
  • Studies have found that smiling is 69% more attractive than wearing makeup.
  • It only takes 0.2 seconds to fall in love.
  • Focusing primarily on the person you’re talking to rather than yourself and the impression you’re making lessens social anxiety.

 

Happy Friday  🙂

 

source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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8 Keys to Handling Adult Bullies

How to handle adult bullies

“Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others.”
– Paramahansa Yogananda

Most of us encounter adult bullies at certain points in our lives. An adult bully can be an intimidating boss or colleague, a controlling romantic partner, an unruly neighbor, a high pressure sales/business representative, a condescending family member, a shaming social acquaintance, or other types of abusive relationships.

There are five major types of bullying:

Physical Bullying – The use of physical intimidation, threat, harassment and/or harm.

Tangible/Material Bullying – Using one’s formal power (i.e. title or position) or material leverage (i.e. financial, informational, or legal) as forms of intimidation, threat, harassment, and/or harm.

Verbal Bullying – Threats. Shaming. Hostile Teasing. Insults. Constant negative judgment and criticism. Racist, sexist, homophobic language.

Covert or Passive-Aggressive Bullying – Negative Gossip. Negative joking at someone’s expense. Sarcasm. Condescending eye contact, facial expression or gestures. Mimic to ridicule. Deliberately causing embarrassment. Social exclusion. Deliberately sabotaging someone’s well-being, happiness, and success.

Cyber Bullying – Examples of verbal and passive-aggressive behaviors mentioned above can be conveyed on-line, via social media, texting, video, email, on-line discussion, and other digital formats. Identity theft is also a form of cyber bullying.

On the surface, an adult bully may come across as aggressive, demanding, and domineering. However, with an astute approach and assertive communication, you can turn aggression into respect. Here are eight keys to successfully handle adult bullies, with excerpts from my book: “How to Successfully Handle Aggressive, Intimidating, and Controlling People.” Not all of the tips below may apply to your particular situation. Simply use what works, and leave the rest.

1.  Keep Safe

The most important priority in the face of an adult bully is to protect yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable with a situation, leave. Seek help and support if necessary. Contact law enforcement, emergency hotline, crisis hotline, social agencies, or legal representatives if you have to. Should you decide to deal with the aggressor, consider the following skills and strategies.

2.  Keep Your Distance and Keep Your Options Open

Not all adult bullies are worth tasseling with. Your time is valuable, and your happiness and well-being are important. Unless there’s something critical at stake, don’t expend yourself by trying to grapple with a person who’s negatively entrenched. Whether you’re dealing with a road rage driver, a pushy salesperson, a hostile neighbor, an obnoxious relation, or a domineering supervisor, keep a healthy distance, and avoid engagement unless you absolutely have to.

There are times when you may feel like you’re “stuck” with a very difficult person, and there’s “no way out.” In these situations, think outside the box. Consult with trusted friends and advisors about different courses of action, with your personal well-being as the number one priority. We’re never stuck unless we have blinders on. Keep your options open.

3.  Keep Your Cool and Avoid Being Reactive

“Bullies win when you’re upset.”
– NCAB

A common characteristic of bullies is that they project their aggression to push your buttons and keep you off balance. By doing so, they create an advantage from which they can exploit your weaknesses.

If you are required to deal with an adult bully, one of the most important rules of thumb is to keep your cool. The less reactive you are to provocations, the more you can use your better judgment to handle the situation. Some bullying scenarios may require a strong and assertive response, while others may be handled simply with you being unimpressed. Either way, keep your cool when you approach the situation. Maintain superior composure.

4.  Know Your Fundamental Human Rights

A crucial idea to keep in mind when you’re dealing with an adult bully is to know your rights, and recognize when they’re being violated.

adultbullies

As long as you do not harm others, you have the right to stand-up for yourself and defend your rights. On the other hand, if you bring harm to others, you may forfeit these rights.  The following are some of our fundamental human rights:

  • You have the right to be treated with respect.
  • You have the right to express your feelings, opinions and wants.
  • You have the right to set your own priorities.
  • You have the right to say “no” without feeling guilty.
  • You have the right to get what you pay for.
  • You have the right to have opinions different than others.
  • You have the right to take care of and protect yourself from being threatened physically, mentally or emotionally.
  • You have the right to create your own happy and healthy life.

The Fundamental Human Rights are grounded in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, laws in many democratic nations protecting against abuse, exploitation, and fraud, and, if you’re in the United States, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

These Fundamental Human Rights represent your boundaries.

Of course, our society is full of people who do not respect these rights. Bullies, in particular, want to deprive you of your rights so they can control and take advantage of you. But you have the power and moral authority to declare that it is you, not the bully, who’s in charge of your life. Focus on these rights, and allow them to keep your cause just and strong.

5.  Utilize Assertive and Effective Communication

As mentioned above, avoid interacting with aggressors unless you absolutely have to. When you are required to deal with one, strengthen your position by utilizing assertive communication skills. For more on this topic, see my Psychology Today article: “How to Negotiate With Difficult and Aggressive People“

6.   Talk About Your Experience

Some victims of adult bullying remain quiet about their experience, and hide their suffering within. Reasons for keeping silent may include, and are not limited to fear, shame, embarrassment, denial, a sense of helplessness and powerlessness, as well as gender, cultural, social, and/or institutional conditioning.

However, being a quiet victim is not only mentally and emotionally unhealthy, it can encourage the bully to repeat and intensify their aggressive behavior. No matter how difficult the circumstance, seek out trustworthy individuals to confide in, whether they be friends, family, workplace confidants, counselors, or operators on a crisis hotline. Sharing your experience is not only cathartic; the support you receive may often strengthen your ability to handle the challenge.

7. In Serious Situations, Proactively Deal with the Problem Early On and Formalize Your Communication.

With adult bullies whom you need to interact with on a regular basis, it’s important to put a stop to any serious, potentially damaging patterns early on. Let yourself, not the bully, be the one who sets the tone of the relationship.

Whenever possible, formalize your daily communication with the bully by either putting things in writing, or having a third party present as witness. Keep a paper trail of facts, issues, agreements, disagreements, and timelines. Build a strong case of factual evidence against the aggressor. In addition, identify whether there may be other victims of the bully, and consider a joint, formalized response. Leverage strength in numbers.

8.  Set Consequences to Compel Respect

When an adult bully insists on violating your boundaries, and won’t take “no” for an answer, deploy consequences.

The ability to identify and assert consequence(s) is one of the most important skills you can use to “stand down” a difficult person. When effectively articulated, strong and reasonable consequence(s) gives pause to the adult bully, and compels him or her to shift from violation to respect. In my book  “How to Successfully Handle Aggressive, Intimidating, and Controlling People”, consequence is presented as seven different types of power you can utilize to affect strong and positive change.

In conclusion, to know how to handle adult bullies is to truly master the art of communication. As you utilize these skills, you may experience less grief, greater confidence, better relationships, and higher communication prowess. You are on your way to leadership success!

Nov 06, 2016        Preston Ni M.S.B.A.

References
Albert, D.J.; Walsh, M.L.; Jonik, R.H. Aggression in Humans: What is Its Biological Foundation?. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 17. (1993)
Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. Human aggression. Annual Review of Psychology. (2002)
Berkowitz, L. Aggression: Its Causes, Consequences, and Control. McGraw-Hill. (1993)
Bloom, Sandra L. M.D. When Victims Turn Into Bullies. The Psychotherapy Review. (2000)
Carr-Ruffino, Norma. The Promotable Woman. Career Pr Inc; 4th ed. (2004)
How to Deal with Bullies. The National Center Against Bullying. www.ncab.org.au/kids/whattodo/
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). United Nations General Assembly. (1948)

Communication Success
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Fun Fact Friday

    • Neurologists claim that every time you resist acting on your anger, you’re actually rewiring your brain to be calmer and more loving.
    • Sleeping on the job is acceptable in Japan, as it’s viewed as exhaustion from working hard.
    • Thinking burns calories.
    • Cuddling triggers the same neurological reaction as taking painkillers.
    • Cotton Candy was invented by a dentist.
    • The brain treats rejection like physical pain, according to scientists.

 

anger
  • Dancing has been proven to build confidence and release stress.
  • 1.6 billion people – a quarter of humanity, live without electricity.
  • A banana is actually a berry and a strawberry isn’t.
  • Age is just a number, maturity is a choice.
  • 11% of the world is left-handed.
  • Regular sex enhances mental performance and increases the production of new neurons in the brain, according to researchers.
    Happy Friday  🙂
    source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact