A woman, Jeanie, is in a grocery store pushing a cart that contains some produce, assorted canned goods, eggs, and a bag of chips. An acquaintance from Jeanie’s office, also pushing a shopping cart, comes into her aisle, waves, and says, “Hey Jeanie, whatcha doing here?”
Jeanie tries to bite her tongue but replies, “I’m tracking a rhinoceros.” Jeanie knows her comment is sarcastic, that it is mocking and shows contempt for the other person’s obviously unnecessary question, but she cannot resist making the remark …
Is boredom a blessing, a curse or something in between? Apparently, it depends on who is experiencing it.
Some have found boredom a torment, while others have discovered the torment is a doorway to bliss. There are those who accept ennui as a normal element of life and individuals who think of it as a painful anomaly of existence.
Whatever our personal take on boredom, it is a psychological phenomenon that limits our perception, at least temporarily, to tones of gray . . .
One of the many factors that contributes to chronic depression is the inability to feel and express anger.
This is nothing to be ashamed of since few individuals have excellent role models for expressing anger while growing up. Family’s tend to pass bad communication habits from one generation to the next; people automatically teach what they know.
Anger naturally arises when we are being treated with disrespect, our privacy is being invaded, we are being used or manipulated, or our needs are not being met. In situations such as these, anger is our built in security system. Unfortunately, too many of us learn to distrust or disbelieve our own security system . . .
One of the most positive life changing experiences a person can have is being part of a therapy group. It is a place where you can safely face how you interact with others, and how that affects your life and theirs.
Before you say, “No way, I’d never put myself through that,” think about this. How you relate to self and others largely determines the quality of your life experience.
To upgrade your life experience, you must first understand how your usual ways of relating to the world affect yourself and others. Being in group therapy gives you this opportunity . . .
Self-harming behaviors are generally considered a sign of increased risk for suicide. Many people who take their own life have a history of self-harm. However, it is also true that many self-harming individuals are actually at low risk for suicide.
If you, someone you care about, or a client self-harms, is there a way to determine this person’s level of risk for suicide?
Human behavior, being forever unpredictable, makes determining the level of suicide risk with certainty impossible. Even so, there are factors that make it possible to assess this risk with increased accuracy. . .
Since March is National Women’s History Month, this is an excellent time to acknowledge the contributions of the psychotherapist Virginia Satir.
She was an influential therapist during her lifetime, especially in family therapy, and not just because she was six feet tall before putting on heels.
"Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family," said Satir . . .
When you are caught in a depressive funk, it is important to get away from your thoughts. Although the thoughts can seem inescapable, they’re not. We can escape them because our awareness is something we can control.
It takes effort to move our awareness where we want it, but with practice it gets easier.
Thoughts are concepts or things that come and go. We entertain them, experience them, see them, know them, and sometimes link them together into larger ideas or stories. Although it can seem we are our thoughts, we are not . . .
Vicarious experience gives us information and shapes our perceptions, although the experience is not physically ours.
Knowing someone who has depression and witnessing the struggle is a vicarious experience, one that affects our attitude about the illness and its treatment. We do not choose this experience and purchase tickets or buy the book. When a friend, family member, or coworker has depression the experience chooses us because we are there . . .
Boredom can be mistaken for depression, and for some is a door into the depressive abyss. Many of us were raised to think boredom is a sign of laziness, or a failure to live worthwhile, productive lives.
Laziness is one option; however, like everything else, boredom is one word with many faces. For instance, periods of boredom visit highly creative and imaginative people such as Albert Einstein. He wrote, “I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind …”
We are often more familiar with our weaknesses than our strengths. If it is true that we energize whatever we concentrate on, being alert just to our weak points makes us weaker.
Taking our attention off of ourselves and offering it to another person is a generous gift. We can likewise give to ourselves by focusing on our strengths, not our pesky problems.
It is remarkable that many people have a problem naming their strengths; there are a couple of explanations for this. Often we lose sight of our capabilities; others may see them though we may not. Also, individuals who have over-learned humility might feel embarrassed or selfish recognizing their skills and talents . . .
Our daily lives take on a familiarity that provides us with a sense of stability and security. Even those who travel frequently have familiarities such as airports and hotel rooms.
When our familiar life is disrupted by a disaster, we naturally experience a strong stress-reaction to the unwanted change and increased uncertainty.
Whether you have recently experienced a disaster or know people who have, it is important to realize what responses are normal in the circumstances. It is also useful to know that recovery from disasters can take months or years; people do not wake up one day magically recovered from a traumatic experience . . .
A deficiency of any vitamin will have an ill effect on our health. The lack of vitamin D has been linked to diabetes, some types of cancer, heart disease, and now depression. It is not known whether the link is causative, but depressed people have reduced their symptoms by restocking their body’s supply of vitamin D . . .