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How Emotional Eating Is a Habit That Can Start in Childhood

The way we feed children may be just as important as what we feed them.

By Claire Farrow, Emma Haycraft, Jackie Blissett / The Conversation May 16, 2016

Food can be an extremely effective tool for calming young children. If they are bored on a long car journey, or fed up with being in the pushchair, many parents use snack foods to distract them for a little longer. Or if children are upset because they have hurt themselves or want something they cannot have, the offer of something sweet is often used to “make them feel better.”

But what are the effects of using food as a tool to deal with emotions like boredom or sadness? Does it turn children into adults who cannot cope with being bored or upset without a sweet snack? Probably not. There certainly isn’t any evidence to suggest that occasionally resorting to the biscuit tin will affect children in this way. But what if we do it on a regular basis? What happens when sweets and biscuits become the tool for rewarding children for good behavior and doing well? Or if food is consistently withheld as a punishment?

There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that using food as a tool or as a reward regularly with children may be associated with a greater risk of emotional eating. In a recent study we explored whether children as young as three preferred to play with toys or eat snack foods if they were feeling stressed.

All the children had just eaten lunch so were not hungry, and were then observed to see what they did in a four minute period – eat or play with toys – whilst waiting for someone to look for a missing final piece of a jigsaw. Children aged three to five did not tend to eat much more in comparison to a control group. However, in a similar experiment when the children were two years older, we found many of the children would eat foods when they were not hungry (emotional overeating), rather than play.

It appears that somewhere between the ages of four and six, the tendency to emotionally overeat may increase in many children. And parents who told us they frequently used food as a reward (or its withdrawal as a punishment) when their children were younger, were more likely to have children who emotionally overate when they were aged five to seven. This suggests that frequent use of food as a reward or punishment in that younger period may predict a greater chance of children using food as an emotional tool later in life.

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Of course you may be thinking that your own exposure to “reward” foods hasn’t had any lasting impact on your current eating behavior. But it is worth considering how society has changed in the last few decades to market and promote high calorie foods to children. Many people believe we live in an “obesogenic society,” where our environment has evolved to promote obesity rather than support healthy eating. The fact that around a third of English school children are overweight or obese is testament to this. With grab-bag sized bags of chocolates being promoted to children, supersized portions in fast-food outlets and even clothes shops selling sweets at children’s eye level in queues, it is clear our children need to adapt to cope with constantly being marketed large portions of high calorie foods.

So how can we navigate this complex environment, juggling the balance of making food enjoyable and sociable, whilst helping children to achieve a healthy and balanced diet? Sweet foods are a fun part of life and not necessarily something we want to remove. Even if we eliminated all links between food, emotion and reward in the home, the reality is that society is full of situations where children will experience being given calorie dense foods as a reward or as part of celebrations. It would be a pity to take away the joy that children find in party bags, birthday cakes, Easter eggs and other celebration foods. Perhaps thinking about not just what foods we give children, but also how and why we give certain foods to children at particular times is a good way to start.

Teaching children how to manage their appetites, to eat if they are hungry and to stop if they are full, is an important lesson which is often overlooked.

Eating patterns can usually be tracked across life, so children who learn to use food as a tool to deal with emotional distress early on are much more likely to follow a similar pattern of eating later in adult life. Around three quarters of children who are obese will continue to be obese as adults. Emotional overeating is one factor that has been linked not only with overeating and obesity, but also with the development of eating disorders. To combat this, the way we feed children, and the lessons we provide about how to use food, may be just as important as what we feed them.


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The Psychology Of Habit: Why We Become What We Repeatedly Do

BY BRIANNA WIEST

Understanding whether or not our personalities are fixed or malleable – and to what degree – has been the question philosophers and neuroscientists alike have spent years trying to understand. It’s comforting to attribute our most debilitating qualities to just being “who we are.” It lets us off the hook, it helps procrastinate change. Yet, when we remain unconscious of the fact that we can change our natural inclinations to the point that we can actually change the way our brains fire off response signals, we will simply be continually living out patterns that we developed in youth, and never grew out of.

“Neurons that fire together, wire together” is the single sentence that can sum up Hebbian theory, Donald Hebb’s idea that with repeated activation, neurons connect themselves to be engrams, or permanent restructures of the brain. The modern term is neuroplasticity, and the idea is that the brain can create new neural pathways to adapt to its “comfort zones” is likely one of the most crucial and underutilized concepts for self-actualization.

In other words, what you do, you become. You end up where you’re headed. If your life ultimately amounts to what you do each day, then real change lies in the adjustment of small habits. This isn’t always instinctive, though. It’s a common belief that habitualness is born of monotony and lack of character. Many philosophers even idealize a habit-free existence. Alva Noë at NPR believes this is a mistake. She argues:

Goethe said that architecture is frozen music. Actually, architecture is frozen habit. A habit-free existence would be a robotic existence; it would be one in which nothing could be taken for granted. But if nothing can be taken for granted, you can’t get started on anything. How could you talk, if you couldn’t take your own fluency, that is to say, your own habitual mastery of words, meanings, and ways of talking, for granted? How could you read the newspaper? Imagine that you had to think about and decide where to put your feet in the morning! Without habits nothing recognizable as a human or even animal form of life would be possible. To have a mind like ours, you need habits like ours.

Essentially, it’s not about trying to eliminate our habits and inclinations, but structuring them to serve our ultimate goals.

If you want to be a creative, you must train yourself to be comfortable with creating. If you no longer want to play out your relationship to your parents in your relationship to your spouse, you must train yourself not to. If you want to more easily release negative thoughts or care less about what people think,  you have to choose to do so until it becomes second nature.

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Our deepest internal battles, it seems, may simply be our conscious choice-making riding up against our current neurological structure.

Psychologist and philosopher William James wrote Habit in 1887, and was one of the first  to explain how behavioral patterns shape what we refer to as character and personality more than we think. In one of the most beautiful passages, he explains the gift of habit like this:

Habit is thus the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It alone is what keeps us all within the bounds of ordinance, and saves the children of fortune from the envious uprisings of the poor. It alone prevents the hardest and most repulsive walks of life from being deserted by those brought up to tread therein. It keeps the fisherman and the deck-hand at sea through the winter; it holds the miner in his darkness, and nails the countryman to his log cabin and his lonely farm through all the months of snow; it protects us from invasion by the natives of the desert and the frozen zone. It dooms us all to fight out the battle of life upon the lines of our nurture or our early choice, and to make the best of a pursuit that disagrees, because there is no other for which we are fitted, and it is too late to begin again. It keeps different social strata from mixing. Already at the age of twenty-five you see the professional mannerism settling down on the young commercial traveller, on the young doctor, on the young minister, on the young counsellor-at-law. You see the little lines of cleavage running through the character, the tricks of thought, the prejudices, the ways of the ‘shop,’ in a word, from which the man can by-and-by no more escape than his coat-sleeve can suddenly fall into a new set of folds. On the whole, it is best he should not escape. It is well for the world that in most of us, by the age of thirty, the character has set like plaster, and will never soften again.

Yet, despite all of this, there is something inherently appealing about making profound, sweeping change. We imagine how happy we want to be, yet cannot fathom how writing down one thing we’re happy for each day could possibly create that much change. Yet, it’s essentially a momentum effect. It’s the same concept of why decluttering is important, or why subconscious biases control your life more than your conscious choices do: what you expose yourself to repeatedly shapes who you are. Here, B.J. Fogg explains exactly how that happens.

You have more control over your life than you think you do. Often, it’s not about struggling to discern what you can’t control – but actually wanting to take control of it. When we assume that we’re treading uphill against our inclinations, it makes adapting to new ways an almost impossible feat. When we recognize that our responses will build and physically regulate themselves, we realize that it’s not a matter of whether or not we can, but whether or not we will have the discipline to do.

Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts; for the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. Soak it then in such trains of thoughts as, for example: Where life is possible at all, a right life is possible. – Marcus Aurelius


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The Science Behind Why It’s So Hard to Get Rid of Clutter

There’s a clear link between what you keep and how you feel about yourself.

BY AMY MORIN    PUBLISHED ON: FEB 12, 2016
Author, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”    @AmyMorinLCSW

There’s a reason Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has sold millions of copies and dominated the bestseller lists since it’s release in 2014–people yearn for simple, clutter-free spaces. Despite the desire for simplicity, embracing Kondo’s minimalist lifestyle may be more difficult than it seems.

Kondo recommends only keeping the items that “spark joy” and eliminating everything else. Readers who successfully adopt Kondo’s methods report emptying drawers, cleaning closets, and clearing off table tops in an effort to unload heaps of clutter.

While a tidier home can spark joy for many people, others aren’t willing–or emotionally able–to part with their possessions. Getting rid of stuff stirs up a lot of emotional turmoil and for some, it’s just not worth it.

Whether you’re hesitant to donate clothes that went out of style a decade ago, or you’re reluctant to toss your childhood bowling trophy, you’re not alone. Research explains why it can be so difficult to part with your possessions.

The Link Between What You Have and Who You Are

The objects you struggle to get rid of are likely tied to your self-worth, according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Rather than viewing those objects as “mine,” you may think of them as “me.”

The study found that people struggle the most to part with possessions that lack monetary or functional value. That’s why people who lose their possessions to burglaries or fires report the psychological damage is far worse than the financial loss.

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According to researchers, the items you hang onto are likely to be linked directly to your self-worth. And people measure their self-worth in different areas.

While one person may link their worth to their physical appearance, someone else may think their value stems from other people’s approval. Whatever objects you cling to the most, are likely the ones that fuel your self-worth.

If you place a lot of value in success, for example, you may have trouble getting rid of anything that serves as a tangible reminder of your accomplishments. A plaque from your last job, an expensive watch that no longer works, or a stack of old college transcripts may represent your achievement.

Throwing away these objects might cause you to feel slightly less successful. It’s as if these physical manifestations of your triumphs will somehow take away from your achievements.

If however, you value your relationships above everything else, you may have difficulty getting rid of gifts from other people. Donating that shirt that never fit, may lead you to feel like you’re being disloyal to Grandma. Or, getting rid of that book your friend gave you, may cause you to feel like you’re giving away a little bit of your friendship.

Those palpable objects likely fuel your identity as someone who is loved and appreciated. Despite their lack of function, you may feel like they serve as proof that you mean something to other people.

To Keep or Not to Keep

The study shows that getting rid of these objects leads to real grief. Parting with possessions that make you feel worthy can cause you to experience sadness–and even depression.

So the next time you get frustrated by your cluttered desk or your spare room that serves as a catch-all, consider whether those objects you’re holding onto have anything to do with your self-worth. Not only could it give you some insight into the way you measure your self-worth, but it might also help you decide what’s worse: the grief you’ll experience if you toss it or the frustration you experience from looking at the clutter.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

source: www.inc.com


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11 Tips To Feel Calm and Focused: A Psychiatrist Explains

by Dr. Joseph Annibali      January 6, 2016

In this excerpt from Dr. Joseph Annibali, M.D.’s new book, Reclaim Your Brain: How to Calm Your Thoughts, Heal Your Mind, and Bring Your Life Under Control, the leading psychiatrist explains why getting negativity under control is crucial to a calm, mindful brain — and how to do it.

When I first began to explore the “busy-brain” phenomenon — or when a chaotic brain interferes with our attention, focus, and mood — I quickly recognized a pattern in those who have it. Many of these individuals also struggled with excess negativity. It was as if not only were their brains caught in a loop but that loop was almost uniformly negative.

The reality is that the brain is hardwired for negativity.

Why would our brains make us so negative? The reality is that the brain is hardwired for negativity. Studies of brain development and observations about early traumas support this.

But negativity is not unalterable. First, it’s important to recognize that we all have an inner critic or judge inside our heads. Second, it’s important to understand that the critical stranger actually is an invader. Because the negativity isn’t you; it’s your brain activity.

Let me reemphasize that: You are not just your brain; you are not just your thoughts. Why do I make this claim? Well, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The brain is a key part of who we are, yes. But we find that the real us is beyond our thoughts.

This is why Buddhist and other meditative traditions claim that we find ourselves only beyond our thoughts, apart from our thoughts, in a state of mental peace, often in meditation or silence. Our heart beats, but we are not our heartbeat. Our brain thinks, but we are not our thoughts.

That’s why you can learn to separate yourself from the rampant negativity in your brain. And in separating yourself from your poisonous negativity, you can calm your busy brain.

Here are some of the strategies I recommend:

1. Detach yourself from the negative thoughts.

Remember, “You are not just your brain; you are not your thoughts.” Thoughts arise automatically, just like the heart beats automatically and we breathe automatically. We don’t control our thoughts. And yet they can control us if we let them.

If we remind ourselves that our brain makes our negative thoughts, that we are not our brain, we gain much-needed distance from our negative thoughts. They happen; that’s it. Don’t fight them.

But we can think about our thinking. We can put things into perspective: Our thoughts are not facts. With practice and experience, we can learn to more automatically gain distance from our negative thoughts. Try observing the flow of negativity in your mind, the way you might sit on the bank of a stream and watch the water flow by. You might even view your negativity as a scientist would: “Oh, how interesting that there are self-critical thoughts occurring now.”

Another way to create distance and detachment is what I call the “Ronald Reagan Approach.” In his presidential election debates with Walter Mondale, Mr. Reagan repeatedly and quite effectively said to Mr. Mondale, “There you go again.” Tell yourself, “There’s my brain being negative again.”

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2. Distract yourself.

Pour yourself into something productive and positive, or at least seek out a change of gears.

When we’re preoccupied with something we enjoy (a crossword puzzle, a good book, a game of catch) or even just find something to absorb us (take a coffee break or talk to a colleague), it gives our system a chance to calm down and our thoughts a chance to refocus from negative to more neutral, if not positive.

3. Remember your values.

Remind yourself what your values are. If you are ruminating over negative thoughts and decisions, refocusing on your core values will help reduce the negativity.

4. Practice gratitude.

Embrace an attitude of gratitude. Write down three things for which you are grateful. Studies show that simply writing down what you are grateful for can really change the brain and improve mood, moving you away from negativity.

5. Shun the “shoulds.”

Get out of what I call the “Cold Shower of Shoulds.” Among the torment of negative thinking that afflicts us often is a constant flood of “shoulds”: I should do this … I should do that …

This Cold Shower of Shoulds is nothing but destructive. Once we become more aware of our tendency to stay too long in this destructive shower, we have a better chance of stepping out of this negative shower stall.

6. Mentally twist the dial.

Imagine that there’s a dial on the side of your head that you could use to turn down the negative thoughts. Actually envision yourself turning down the negativity by twisting the dial.

7. Have a laugh.

Can you find the humor in what the negative critic is saying to you? Laughter can be the best medicine. Make fun of the negative thoughts. Laugh at them and yourself for believing them … but make sure that you do so gently.


8. Power up your problem solving.

If the negative thoughts relate to a clear problem (e.g., a serious health issue), make a list of the steps you can take to deal with the situation. Break down the potential solution into small, achievable steps you can take to improve things.

9. Find the positive.

Try to find the positive in what seems to be a negative situation. Turning around a negative thought often shows us another side of the situation. A problem or crisis can even be an opportunity. Search for it.

10. Breathe.

Take slow, deep breaths. This relaxes the body and the brain and reduces brain overactivity.

11. Move your body.

Do something physical; exercise. Don’t stay stuck and immobile, literally and metaphorically.

Reprinted from Reclaim Your Brain – Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company    Joseph A. Annibali, M.D.


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25  Quotes From Carl Jung

Carl Jung was a psychological genius who expanded on our understanding of the mind, and his writings contain some of the most thought-provoking ideas you’ve read recently. Jung expanded on the ideas of Sigmund Freud and developed his own psychological theories.

Carl Jung also pioneered the thought-provoking concept of the introvert and extrovert personality types, which you can read more about in our articles Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert? and 7 Life Changing Lessons to Learn From Introverts. Jung believed that dreams were a way for us to make up for missing parts of our personality.

Jung was the founder of the idea of a collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is a group-mind that we all share; something we are born with that contains humanity’s shared concepts, called archetypes. Archetypes are things like having parents, finding a mate, having children, and confronting death. Jung was also interested in the way we use myths to tell stories about these archetypes with a shared meaning.

According to Charles Cowgil of muskingum.edu, “Jung wanted to investigate the similarity of symbols that are located in different religious, mythological, and magical systems which occur in many cultures and time periods. To account for these similar symbols occurring across different cultures and time periods he suggested the existence of two layers of the unconscious psyche. The first of the two layers was the personal unconscious. It contains what the individual has acquired in his or her life, but has been forgotten or repressed. The second layer is the collective unconscious which contains the memory traces common to all humankind. These experiences form archetypes.” Carl Jung’s thought provoking ideas are reflected in these 25 quotes.

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25 OF THE MOST THOUGHT PROVOKING CARL JUNG QUOTES

1. There is no coming to consciousness without pain.

2. The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.

3. The word ‘happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.

4. In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.

5. The healthy man does not torture others – generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.

6. A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them.

7. It is a fact that cannot be denied: the wickedness of others becomes our own wickedness because it kindles something evil in our own hearts.

8. Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

9. Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.

10. It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves.

11. Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.

12. The collective unconscious consists of the sum of the instincts and their correlates, the archetypes. Just as everybody possesses instincts, so he also possesses a stock of archetypal images.

13. Dreams are the guiding words of the soul. Why should I henceforth not love my dreams and not make their riddling images into objects of my daily consideration?

14. The greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.

15. Shrinking away from death is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose.

16. For a young person, it is almost a sin, or at least a danger, to be too preoccupied with himself; but for the ageing person, it is a duty and a necessity to devote serious attention to himself

17. Understanding does not cure evil, but it is a definite help, inasmuch as one can cope with a comprehensible darkness.

18. Our heart glows, and secret unrest gnaws at the root of our being. Dealing with the unconscious has become a question of life for us.

19. All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination.

20. Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.

21. Everyone knows nowadays that people ‘have complexes’. What is not so well known, though far more important theoretically, is that complexes can have us.

22. Man’s task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious.

23. Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.

24. Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?

25. If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool.


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Why Trash Talking Sugary Food Makes You Want It Even More

February 2, 2016   By Rozalynn S. Frazier

When you were a kid and your mom told you not to touch something, what was the first thing you wanted to do? Touch it, right? Now apply that theory to your eating habits. If someone tells you to steer clear of the cookie jar because those little morsels of goodness are chock-full of calories, aren’t you even more tempted to grab one (or three)? Rest assured, you’re not the only one.

In a series of three studies, researchers at Arizona State University found that when dieters were exposed to negative messages about food (think: “Sugary snacks are bad for you”), they craved unhealthy food more. (Yep, you read that right.)

In the first study, folks who read a negative message about dessert had more positive thoughts about these bad-for-you foods than folks who were exposed to a positive or neutral message. In the next study, dieters read either a positive or negative message about sugar-laden snacks; then watched a video while noshing on cookies. The result: The negative-message group ate 39% more cookies than those who read a positive message. And in the final study, dieters who viewed a message that listed both the pros and cons of their snacks choose fewer unhealthy ones than dieters who read a strictly negative message.

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“We think dieters increase their interest in and consume more unhealthy foods after seeing one-sided negative messages because they feel like their freedom to control their food choices is threatened,” explains Nguyen Pham, one of the study’s researchers. This is why Pham recommends using a mix of positive and negative messaging—such as “Dessert tastes good, but is bad for my health”—to help keep your consumption in check.

“Dieters do not see double-sided messages about unhealthy foods as a threat to their freedom,” she says. “Instead, they view these messages as providing even more freedom of choice. As a result, they are more likely to comply with the messages and choose less unhealthy foods.”

So the next time you are about to police your (or a friend’s ) food choices, try this mental trick instead. It may just provide you with the resolve you need to walk away.


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4 Psychological Studies That May Completely Change The Way You See Yourself

by Higher Perspective

1. The wooden door experiment.

The wooden door experiment was an experiment conducted by researchers in which college students were targeted. The researchers would ask for directions, and halfway through receiving directions from the students, workmen hauling a large wooden door passed between the two having the discussion, and then another researcher switched places with the individual who was asking for directions. Around half of the participants didn’t notice that the person asking for directions had changed.

This is called “change blindness.”
It demonstrates how we’re sometimes not aware of what’s happening before us.

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2. The Stanford prison experiment.

This is one of the most famous psychological studies in existence. It examines how social environments affect our behavior. 24 undergraduates without a criminal background were placed in a fake prison. Some acted as guards, others as prisoners. Six days in, it had to be cut short because the guards became so violent.

“The guards escalated their aggression against the prisoners,” says Phillip Zimbardo, the researcher who initiated the experiment. “Stripping them naked, putting bags over their heads, and then finally had them engage in increasingly humiliating sexual activities.”

Yikes.

3. The Harvard grant study.

Over 75 years, 268 male Harvard graduates were followed over various points in their life to gather data on how they live. What did they find? Love makes you happy. It’s a corny message but true. Love gives us the greatest sense of self-satisfaction.

4. Cognitive dissonance experiments.

Cognitive dissonance is a popular theory in psychology. It states that humans can’t cope with conflicting thoughts and emotions without experiencing some degree of mental distress. One experiment on this matter, conducted by Leon Festinger, involved participants who completed long, mundane tasks. Once completed, half were offered $1 and the other half were offered $20. The $20 group was told to tell the $1 group how much fun they had doing the task. The $1 group justified that they also thought it was a fun task as well, even though they clearly didn’t.

It tells us that we lie to ourselves to justify how we live our lives.


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Carl G. Jung Archetypes – The 4 Stages Of Life

Posted on 2015/09/6

“Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.” Carl Gustav Jung

According to the Swiss psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, there are 4 archetypes, 4 stages that we go through during our lifetime, and these stages are:

1. The ATHLETE Stage

At this stage, we are mostly preoccupied with our looks, with the way our body looks. During this stage we might stay for hours looking and admiring our reflection in the mirror. Our body, our looks are the most important thing to us, nothing else.

2. The WARRIOR stage

During this period, this stage, our main concern is to go out there and conquer the world, to do our best, be the best and get the very best, to do what warriors do, and act like warriors act. This is a stage when we continually think of ways to get more than everybody else, a stage of comparison, of defeating those around so we can feel better because we have achieved more, because we are the warriors, the brave ones.

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3. The STATEMENT stage

At this time, this stage in your life, you realize what you have achieved so far is not enough for you to feel fulfilled, to be happy… you are now looking for ways to make a difference in the world, for ways to serve those around you. You are now preoccupied with ways to start giving. You now realize what you chased after until now, money, power, possessions etc. will keep on appearing in your life but you no longer attribute them the same value as before, you no longer are attached to those things because you are now in a different stage of your life, where you know there is more to life than that. You receive them, you accept them and you are grateful, but you are ready to let go of them at any time. You are looking for ways to stop thinking only about yourself, of ways to receive and start focusing on living a life of service. All you want to do in this stage is give. You now know that giving is receiving and it is time for you to stop being selfish, egotistical and self-centered and think of ways to help those in need, to leave this world better than it was when you arrived.

4. The Stage of the SPIRIT

According to Jung, this will be the last stage of our life, a stage where we realize that none of those 3 stages are really who and what we are. We realize we are more than our body, we are more than our possessions, more than our friends, our country and so on. We come to the realization that we are divine beings, spiritual beings having a human experience, and not human beings having a spiritual experience. We now know this is not our home, and we are not what we thought we are. We are in this world but not of it. We are now able to observe ourselves from a different perspective. We are now capable to step out of our own mind, out of our own body and understand who we really are, to see things the way they are. We become the observer of our lives. We realize that we are not that which we notice but, the observer of what we notice.

2500 years ago, Lao Tzu (abt.551-479 BCE) was trying to teach us just that, was trying to teach us how to get to this last stage of life, this spiritual stage: “Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things? Giving birth and nourishing, having without possessing, acting with no expectations, leading and not trying to control: this is the supreme virtue.”


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14 Lies Your Mind Tells You to Prevent Life Changes

25 June 2015

The mind is a wonderful thing.

It’s also a complete liar that constantly tries to convince us not to take actions we know are good for us, and stops many great changes in our lives.

I’ve had to learn to watch these rationalizations and excuses very carefully, in order to make the changes I’ve made in my life: a healthier diet, regular exercise, meditation, minimalism, writing daily, getting out of debt, quitting smoking, and so on.

If I hadn’t learned these excuses, and how to counter them, I would never have stuck to these changes. In fact, I failed many times before 2005 (when I started changing my life), because these excuses had complete power over me.

Let’s expose the cowardly mind’s excuses and rationalizations once and for all.

First, the main principle: the mind wants comfort, and is afraid of discomfort and change. The mind is used to its comfort cocoon, and anytime we try to push beyond that comfort zone very far or for very long, the mind tries desperately to get back into the cocoon. At any cost, including our long-term health and happiness.

OK, with that in mind, let’s go into the excuses:

1. I can’t do it.

It seems too hard, so we think we can’t stick to the change. We don’t believe in ourselves. This can be countered from the fact that many other people no more capable than us have done it. For example, Oprah ran a marathon a little before I started training for my first marathon, and so I told myself, “If Oprah can do it, so can I!” I was right.

2. He/she can do it, but that doesn’t apply to me.

Just because someone else can do it, doesn’t mean we can, right? We look for reasons they can do it but we can’t — maybe he can be a minimalist because he has no kids, or is a freelancer rather than someone with a real job. Maybe she’s way, way fitter than I am, so she can run a marathon. Maybe she doesn’t have all the obligations I have, or has a supportive spouse, or doesn’t have a crippling health condition. OK, fine, it’s easy to find excuses: but look at all the other people who have worse obstacles than you who’ve done it. I have 6 kids and still managed to change a lot of things in my life. Stories abound of people with disabilities or illnesses who overcame their obstacles to achieve amazing things. Your obstacles can be overcome.

3. I need my ___.

Fill in the blank: I need my coffee, my cheese, my soda, my TV shows, my car, my shoe collection … these are things we convince ourselves we can’t live without, so we can’t make a change like becoming vegan or eating healthier or unschooling our kids or simplifying our lives or going car-free. And I’ve made these excuses myself, but they all turned out to be lies. I didn’t need any of that. The only things you really need are basic food, water, clothing, shelter, and other people for social needs. Everything else is not a real need.

4. Life is meant to be enjoyed.

Sure, I agree with this statement (as many of us would) but the problem is this is used to justify all kinds of crappy behavior. Might as well scarf down those Doritos and Twinkies, because hey, life is meant to be enjoyed, right? No. You can do without junk food and still enjoy life. You can exercise and enjoy it. You can give up pretty much anything and still enjoy life, if you learn to see almost any activity as enjoyable.

5. I need comfort.

This might also be true, but we can push ourselves into more discomfort than we let ourselves believe. We can be a bit cold, instead of needing to be at the perfect comfortable temperature. We can do hard exercise, instead of needing to lay around on the couch. We can write that thing we’ve been procrastinating on — it might be hard, but we can push through that. When our minds seek comfort, don’t let them run — push a little bit outside the comfort zone, and begin to be OK with a bit of discomfort.

6. I don’t know how.

This is also true, but you can learn. Start with a little at a time, and learn how to deal with this new change. Do some research online. Watch some videos. Ask people online how they dealt with it. This is easily overcome with a little effort and practice. In fact, if you do it now, and learn a little at a time, then you’ll be able to do away with this pesky excuse.

goals

 

7. I can do it later.

Sure, you can always do it later … but your later self will also feel the same way. Why should the later self be more disciplined than your current self? In fact, because you’re allowing yourself to slide now, you’re building a habit of procrastination and actually making is less likely that your future self will be more disciplined. Instead, do it now, unless there’s something more important that you need to do … don’t let yourself slide just because you don’t feel like it.

8. One time won’t hurt.

This is so tempting, because it’s kind of true — one time won’t hurt. Assuming, that is, that it’s only one time. One bite of chocolate cake, one missed workout, one time procrastinating instead of writing. Unfortunately, it’s never actually just one time. One time means your brain now knows it can get away with this excuse, and the next “one time” leads to another, until you’re not actually sticking to something. Make a rule: never ever believe the “one time” excuse. I did this with smoking (“Not One Puff Ever”) and it worked. If you’re going to allow yourself a bite or two of chocolate cake, decide beforehand and build it into your plan (“I will allow myself a fist-sized serving of sweets once every weekend”) and stick to that plan, rather than deciding on the fly, when your resistance is weak.

9. I don’t feel like it.

Well, true. You don’t feel like working hard. Who does? Letting the rule of “I’ll do it when feel like it” dictate your life means you’ll never write that book, never build that business, never create anything great, never have healthy habits. Create a plan that’s doable, and execute it. When the rationalizations like this come up, don’t believe them. Everyone is capable of doing a hard workout even when they’re not in the mood. Everyone can overcome their internal resistance.

10. I’m tired.

Yep, me too. I still did my heavy squat workout today. There is truth to needing rest, and resting when you need it (listen to your body) but this is usually the mind trying to weasel out of something uncomfortable. There’s a difference between being exhausted and needing some rest, and being the little tired we all feel every afternoon. Push through the latter.

11. I deserve a reward/break.

We all deserve that tasty treat, or a day off. I’m not saying you shouldn’t give yourself a reward or break. But if you make this rationalization your rule, you’ll always be on a break. You’ll always be giving yourself rewards, and never sticking to the original plan. Here’s what I do instead: I see sticking to my plan as the reward itself. Going on a run isn’t the thing I have to get through to get a reward — the run is the reward.

12. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop?

This again is our mind wanting to run from discomfort, and of course it’s true — it would be nice to stop if you’re pushing into a discomfort zone for too long. The thing is, the implication is that it would be better to stop, because it would be nice … but that’s a lie. It would be easier to stop, but often it’s better to continue pushing. This excuse almost beat me when I tried to run my 50-mile ultramarathon last December, because honestly it would have been much nicer to stop and not finish the race, especially in the last 10 miles or so. I pushed through, and found out I was tougher than I thought.

13. The result you’re going for isn’t important.

If you’re trying to run a marathon, this is phrased like, “It’s not that important that I finish this”. I’ve used this excuse for learning languages (it doesn’t matter if I learn this) or programming or any number of things I wanted to learn. I’ve used it for writing and exercise and eating healthy food. And while the result might not be that important, the truth is that the process is very important. If you stick with a process that will be better for you in the long run, then you will be better off. But if you let yourself go just because you are uncomfortable and at this moment care more for your comfort than the goal you set out for, you’ll have lots of problems. The goal isn’t important, but learning to stick to things when you’re uncomfortable is extremely important.

14. I’m afraid.

Now, this is the most honest excuse there is — most of us don’t want to admit we’re afraid to pursue something difficult. But it’s also a weaselly way out of discomfort — just because you’re afraid doesn’t mean you can’t do something. You can. I’ve done tons of things I’m afraid of — mostly creating things that I was worried I’d fail at. And while the fear sometimes came true — I didn’t do too well sometimes — the act of pushing through the fear was incredibly important and I learned a lot each time.

Awareness & Practice

I’ve used all of these excuses hundreds of times each, so don’t think I’ve overcome them all. And you can use them in the future too. There’s nothing wrong with giving in sometimes.

The key is to learn whether they’re true, and see your pattern. Here’s what I’ve done:

  1. Notice the excuse. It has way more power if it works on you in the background.
  2. Try to have an answer for the excuse beforehand — anticipate it.
  3. If you give in, that’s OK, but recognize that you’re giving in to a lame excuse. Be aware of what you’re doing.
  4. After giving in, see what the results are. Are you happier? Is your life better? Was it worth it giving in to discomfort?
  5. Learn from those results. If you pushed through and are happy about it, remember that. If you gave in to excuses, and didn’t like the result, remember that.

If you consciously practice this process, you’ll get better at recognizing and not believing these lies. And then, bam, you’ve got your mind working for you instead of against you.

More on Self-Limiting Ideas
If you appreciated this discussion of self-limiting ideas, you’ll absolutely love Alan Watts’ The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, which refutes what is perhaps the greatest self-limiting idea of all—the idea that you are nothing more than a separate ego in a sack of skin.

by Leo Babauta
Leo Babauta is a writer, runner, vegan, and the creator of Zen Habits.


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22 of the Most Insightful Quotes from Carl Jung

02 Jul 2015    By : Justin Gammill

Quotes from Carl Jung

For the last 20 years or so, I have actively studied psychology. Not because I do it for a living, or have any aspirations to – but because the brain fascinates me. Psychology transcends gender, race, age, and culture. One name that always comes up in my casual conversations about psychology is Carl Jung, and it surprises me how few people know who he is. Sure, everyone knows Freud, Skinner, Maslow, and even Pavlov – but in my opinion, Jung has taught me more about why I feel the way I do, especially towards other people. If you’ve never heard of Jung, I highly recommend checking out his work on the unconscious mind, and his theories about social interactions. Here are some of the most insightful quotes from a man that gave so much of his mind to modern psychology.

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”
“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”
“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.”
“The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.”

jung

 

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
“As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know.”
“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.”
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.”
“Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.”
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
“There’s no coming to consciousness without pain.”
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”
“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not. ”
“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”
“Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event.”
“Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.”