We All Have Our Moods

Thought this was a funny comic strip in the office. 

Today I’m feeling {choose your poison}…


While I’m sure that we’d like to be happy all the time, it’s not realistic to think that will actually be probable or even possible.


Sure, everyone puts on the big smile.


But behind the smile is often many other feelings 


As one colleague said to me:


“People are complex!”


Isn’t that true?


Anyway, don’t beat yourself for feeling what you feel–it’s okay to be relaxing, excited, angry, sad, stressed or whatever.


Of course, that doesn’t excuse letting it get the best of you and bad behavior.


We’re adults, not children with temper tantrums.


Certainly, though, we are all human, and all feelings are fine. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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When It Turns In

A friend told me something interesting about anxiety and depression…

Depression is anxiety turned inward. 


When people feel anxious and that they don’t have control over their situation that make them feel in a sense helpless, and then the anxiety “has no where to go,” it becomes depression. 


I guess it make sense that if you feel that you can’t really do anything to make things better–and no matter how hard you try–then you feel somewhat helpless/hopeless and get depressed


Perhaps it’s almost like a frustration at your own inability to change things you feel you need to change. 


That is why a person’s feeling some sense of control over their environment and life is so important. 


When things are looking down, it helps to try and do something to take back control over what feels like spiraling uncontrollable events and circumstances.  


Of course, only G-d really has control over what ultimately happens. 


But we need to do our part to try to make things better. 


Just taking that first (and second and third) step is freeing. 


I’m pretty sure that an element of this is that you can tell yourself that you “did everything you could” so in effect there is a lifting of guilt about the situation, but at the same time there is also a genuine feeling that you are here for a purpose and perhaps have made a difference in this world. 


Some people feel big and important, but the reality is that we are all so small in a very big world and universe where suffering and loss can strike (G-d forbid) at any moment. 


Man is but a speck of dust in the realm of things. 


But at the same time, our speck is filled with a soul of the living G-d. 


So we must do what we can to be a good influence and impact. 


Whatever it is, it is what we can do. 


If everyone–7.6 billion of us out there—does their part that can make a difference. 


Don’t let life’s anxieties become your depression.


Look for what you can contribute–do it!–try your best to make a difference and make the world better.


It’s what you’re here for and what you can positively do.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fight or Flight

So I learned this interesting thing about the Fight or Flight response.


Fight or flight is not just physically fighting or fleeing, but it has a much more diverse set of responses involved to perceived life-threatening events. 


Fighting (turning towards the threat)

1. Physical fighting (Protect yourself with force)

2. Non-physical aggression

– Criticism (e.g. Attacking personality or character)

– Contempt (e.g. Attacking sense of self-worth with sarcasm, shaming, insults, eye-rolling, and sneering)


Flight (turning away from danger)

1. Physical fleeing (e.g. Run/hide)

2. Non-physical withdrawal

– Defensiveness (e.g. Deflecting the attack with excuses, disagreement, counter-arguments, or blaming)

– Stonewalling (e.g. Conveying disapproval or disconnection, stop participating, change the subject, or giving the cold shoulder or silent treatment)


When you recognize that not all issues are life-threatening, then you can lower the intensity of the “Amygdala Hijack” in terms of fight or flight and instead work towards developing mutual understanding, trust, respect, and shared goals and solutions. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal and attribution of content to Dr. Britt Andreatta)

The Fine Line Between Fantasy and Reality

So I’ve started to realize that there are at times a (very) thin line between fantasy and reality. 


In some cases, people hear some facts or some truth, and then in their mind, they concoct entire stories of fantasy or full-fledged conspiracy around it.


But more than that, the fantasy in their minds, because it starts with a real fact or two then becomes entirely perceived as reality itself. 


We saw plenty of this in the last election cycle and even today, with one political side or the other purchasing phony dossiers or making up stories about the opposition–and they may even have some underlying facts associated with it. 


But around these facts, entire scripts and stories are concocted through inductive reasoning or highly imaginative thinking, whether for example, of deep Russian conspiracies reminiscent of the era of McCarthyism or the Salem Witch Trails of yesteryear. 


Again, I’m not saying that nothing is there, but the question is whether there is real truth then to the whole conspiracy that has been drawn from fantastical minds of opposition agents, reporters, and others gainfully benefiting and perhaps running amuck with these grandiose versions of alternate reality?


What I am coming to believe is that it’s not so much that people are willfully making up these stories (although there can certainly be plenty of biases, exaggerations, and agendas at work as well), but that in their mind, they create these bombastic versions of what seems like truth to them and then they pawn it off and sell it to others who are only to happy to latch unto some juicy new gossip or theory of “what’s really going on.”


Similarly, some people who get very mad may actually take albeit a genuine fight with another person and pour layer upon layer of evil doings and manipulations on them until by the time their mind is done, the other person has become the devil themselves–and the fantasy for a short time seems like it is the reality–until such time that cooler heads prevail and reality replaces the mind’s fantasy or it’s ultimate fears. 


In short, there is a very fine line between fantasy and reality–our minds can get carried away with facts or notions of the moment and build those into full-fledged conspiracy theories of “who done it” and “why didn’t we see it all along.”


Certainly, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t some very good pretenders out there who truly are doing very bad things and covering their tracks, and it’s for the gifted and detective minds out there to perceive those and prove them as being the greater reality.


But we have to be careful in accusing people–until such time that the facts are all there and the perception or fantasy of our mind’s eye is shown to be the reality indeed. 


We need good investigative journalism, excellent law enforcement and intelligence, and clarity of mind to know what’s real and what’s fake in life and in our fantastical minds. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Self-Aware Grafitti Artist

Writing
So got to hand it to this graffiti artist. 



He/she is quite introspective. 



They wrote on this pole in D.C. “Writes his problems away!”



Thus, it’s not just any old graffiti that often desecrates public or private property, but in this case it is an emotional and psychological catharsis for the artist.  



Sure when you write, you can express yourself and your feelings–you can think things through and work them out in your head. 



Also, you can share of yourself with others and influence them too. 



On the lamp pole, bus stop, or building wall–ah, not the best place to work these things out. 



But on paper or the computer, if you have something important to say, get it off your chest–go for it–and you can feel better too! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Doll For Every Worry

Worry 1 Worry 2
Some kids put their baby teeth under their pillow for the tooth fairy.



But in Guatemala they make Worry Dolls that children can put under their pillows, so they can be released from their worries and sleep better. 



If those were my worry dolls, I wouldn’t put them under my pillow and have a lumpy sleep and wake up to them once again, but rather I would throw them out the window, so hopefully they would be gone for good. 



Man, if only we could really get rid of our worries and problems that easily–I think they call it transference! 😉



(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Psychotherapy, In The Beginning

Psychotherapy
Wow, I love this early photo of psychotherapy.



The girl is lying on some pillows on 2 chairs. 



The Freudian doctor leans over the girl and is yanking on his goatee listening intently…and analyzing!



A man, that I assume is the girls dad is in the background, hovering protectively and hoping she is feeling better soon. 



The mind, like the body, unfortunately can get sick. 



And we need to take care of ourselves and seek help to get better. 



Fear not the competent doctor who really cares and sincerely wants to help (and is not just in it as a pure business).



Pray that G-d guides him to heal you and give you strength in body and peace of mind. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)