So here I sit...my last blog of the year 2016. Like most of you, I have hopes and dreams for 2017. I hope my business is successful, I hope my children are successful...I hope our country is successful...but should I think in terms of success? Now I can already see the wheels spinning in our minds..."It depends on how you define success." we tell ourselves. But does it depend on the definition? Really?
I mean... doesn't the idea of success come with preconceived notions and expectations? Success is basically defined as "acheiving a desired aim," which could be just about anything...however...individually we may place value on different things...but as a society, we tend to lump things in order of importance in general.
So in other words... There was a time when success for women was defined this way by society...
Nowadays though, we tend to frown on these images and consider them prehistoric...women can do anything they want! But...what if they still want what we see in the above photo? Should they be degraded? Is she not considered successful if this is her aim? Of course! But because we have attached a "success" label to it...it becomes acceptable or not...to society. Do you see what I mean? Let me use another example...
If it is a person's goal to do this...and they are successful...we as a society understand the difficulty in such a feat and congratulate the victor! But then...the next time we see this...
We will pass judgement that is based on our own ideals of a "successful" (or acceptable) body type. We may not say it out loud...but many of us think it. Then we attach indictment...
"This person is lazy, this person has no self control, this person looks gross, this person obviously eats too much." All the while, not considering that..."this person may be on steroids for a medical problem...this person might be taking psychotropic medications which cause weight gain, this person may have been deprived of food as a child and struggles with an eating disorder."
The point isn't to defend...but to expose the ugly side of a society accepting that our goal should ALWAYS be... success. And some of us will do ANYTHING to acheive it!
So... it seems to me that...if we focussed more on the journey...we would see others as a part of our journey...rather than an adversary to our success. We would see people as welcome friends...instead of people with their own agenda for which we must be on alert.
It seems to me that SUCCESS ...is only an OUTCOME of a well-traveled journey. Maybe we should focus on the journey...and journey well...success will inevidabley follow. Maybe we shouldn't strive to BE successful...maybe we should strive to BE better...just better. Journey well this year my friends.
The new year is upon us! Let the resolutions begin!
We all tend to enter a new year with great hopes for one that proves to be better than the year before. We reflect on triumphs and mistakes...and figure out who to blame for the latter. We tend to be reactionary in our thoughts. "I hope 2017 is better than 2016," we might say...as if we are complete products of our environment, only hoping circumstances prove to be in our favor so we don't become victims.
But the truth is...WE have the power...this year and every year...to determine the OUTCOME of our experiences. All we need is a good foundation. And that foundation should be built on two things...wisdom and knowledge.
Now, it would be uncharacteristic of me to begin without providing a definition of each from which to expound...
The ability to think and act using knowledge, understanding, experience, and common sense.
The facts, feelings, and experiences known by a person or group of people.
"Be as you wish to seem." ~Socrates~
Now please understand... I'm not writing this blog to PROVIDE wisdom and knowledge. I'm writing this blog to help us understand what they are so that THIS year...we can take advatage of both to increase the chances of happiness and contentment in our lives. Fair enough? Let's begin...
If I told you I graduated from an Ivy League school, would you consider me knowledgable or wise?
If I told you my wife and I raised 5 children, all with a love for those who are less fortunate, would you consider my wife and I knowledgable or wise?
If I told you I never make a huge decision without first talking it over with my wife, would you consider me smart or wise? (Or trained well? lol)
And here's a great question...what makes a manager a great manager...is it the volume of knowledge the individual has attained through extensive training? The useful individual who knows every aspect of running a store?
Or is it the manager who understands the value of the people who work there? The manager that understands who has what skills? The manager who understands fairness and empathy, but also understands the traps made by employees who do less than their share...but knows how to motivate them?
As I ponder this myself...I have to admit...in each instance...I think it takes a little of both knowledge AND wisdom. (And maybe a little money for the first one.)
But it's AMAZING to me, how many of us would choose one over the other. People whose main goal in life is to go to school, get a good job, make lots of money and live comfortably. I don't judge the goal...that's the American Dream and there's nothing wrong with it if that is what you want...but I believe the problem lies in how we attempt to attain the goal.
We must gain the knowledge necessary to have the skills to work the job and make the money. But we must also have the wisdom to know how best to use the money to our advantage in order to have what we want. Additionally...it takes wisdom to know when something is no longer beneficial and when to let go.
Maybe in the New Year, each of us should look within ourselves and ask ourselves these questions...
As I stated at the outset...it would be foolish for me to pretend what knowledge is useful to you and what wisdom is useful for you. We are each unique. My goal is simply to encourage each of us to see ourselves as PARTICIPANTS on the Big Blue Marble...and not just spectators...as victors not victims. I want us to be knowledgeable enough to recognize what we need to know... but wise enough to understand it's significance in the grand scheme of things.
My hope for each of us this year is that we dig a little deeper to understand...not only ourselves...but how we relate and affect the world around us...I think that MIGHT be where peace and love can be found. Just don't expect it to "happen" to you...because happeniness is based on what happens...but joy is based on how we choose to interpret what happens. We must work to attain it....but don't things mean more when we work for them? My wish for you this year is that you will have hopes for a better year than the last... and that you will consider what you need to DO to get what you hope for.
In my last blog, we discussed the importance of understanding how PTSD is defined, looks, and effects those who suffer. In today's blog, we will discuss PTSD recovery methods that people will find helpful in the same way these methods have been proven to help others.
I will however, premise the conversation by saying, there is NO one size fits all recovery method for ANY mental illness. So let us not grow weary of searching for what works for ourselves...and be brave enough to shed the things that don't work. Right?
So let's first start by agreeing on a definition of recovery...
Recovery- “restoration or return to any former and better state or condition.”
Experience and evidence-based approaches to wellness have shown that recovery is not necessarily about getting RID of PTSD, as much as it may be about a person being restored to a better state or condition. Recovery.
METHOD #1 Reach Out!
We at PITacademy believe this to be the most important thing we can do for ourselves. If we know one thing about mental illness...we know isolation is one of the most counter-productive approaches to recovery. Now, let us understand however, that there is a difference between being a person who likes to be away from crouds and enjoys alone time...the traits of a person with an introvert personality.
ISOLATION is more about a person cutting themselves off from all connections. When we who suffer get to our breaking point, we will sometimes isolate to prevent any other outside influences from having a negative or positive impact on our lives.
Having one or two people we can trust to listen when we need to get some of that stuff out and express how we are feeling, is very beneficial. Sometimes we don't need to have another prescription...sometimes we don't need more advice...sometimes...sometimes we just want to be heard with no judgment attached. A pressure valve if you will. This is amazingly helpful and has been shown to aid in reducing relapse.
METHOD #2 Keep Your Power!
WE get to determine how much power we will allow an event to have over us and our other thoughts and feelings.
We may not have control over the events that take place in our lives...but we DO get to process our beliefs about the event and determine the size of impact we will allow it. But how do we do that?
There are many methods used for training our brains to think differently. PITacademy believes one of the most effective ways to take back power from such negative beliefs is to change the meaning by changing the words used to describe it.
This is called "Neuro-Linguistic Programming." It's a real fancy word which basically teaches that when we change the words or meaning of words to better represent the truth of an event, it changes our perception and gives us back the power to better cope.
Here's what that might look like...
"I'll never lose this weight!"
"This is hard, but not impossible."
"After that tragedy, I will never be the same."
"I learned alot about myself as a result of the tragedy."
Notice the sentence changes the perception. And...this does not mean we must think the OPPOSITE of what we think now, but that we can think DIFFERENTLY...in a way that benefits us rather than tearing ourselves down. And 9 times out of 10, we will find the reconstruction is closer to the truth.
There are more methods such as these...methods that allow US to take control. Simple tools that WE use OURSELVES in order to take control of our illness...instead of the other way around. Right?
If you click on the picture, it will take you to Amazon where you can view my guide on the subject... thanks for listening and continue to:
Schizophrenia is known in the psychiatric world as a Mental Cancer. I believe there is another mental cancer in our midst...and its name is PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental condition whereby, an individual is rendered mentally wounded by a traumatic event which has taken place. The person may be directly connected to the trauma or...psychiatrists are finding interesting...indirectly. An "Empathy Injury" if you will. The study of what is now referred to as PTSD goes as far back as the Civil War, where alterations in mood and personality became apparent.
Scads of research has been done on the origins, diagnosis, and effects of PTSD, and the prescription for recovery. The effort to minimize so many catastrophic endings as a result of the condition trudges on. As a sufferer myself, I feel an obligation to become as aware as possible about the effects of the condition on me, and the experiences I have, and then to find ways of getting that information out in order to educate and spark conversations that can lead to strong solutions . BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! (What's the point!? The image below is for my wife...ha!)
Okay...so...I've recently had an innappropriate response during a crisis. Often I will reflect on an event, evaluate my response and find ways to improve...(kinda wonky I know...but it works for me) In order to protect the innocent, I will spare the details, but I now see, I could have responded better. And it bothered me that I hadn't. Then I thought, "Why...even with all the wellness tools at my arsonal, does this little monster called PTSD still seem to get the best of me?" And then it dawned on me. PTSD is cancerous. It is developed through a traumatic event and is brought back up by events called, "TRIGGERS." These are current events which remind a person of the past, traumatic events, causing anxiety and often, and innappropriate reaction.
From my own experience, I am beginning to recognize that...now get this...the "TRIGGERS" sometimes become part of the TRAUMA. The trauma I experience today, whether large or small, ATTACHES itself to the original trauma like a malignant tumor and grows. I have read and learned about ways to help minimize the negative effects of future traumatic events, but have not seen research which indicates this possible connection. If there is, I am not aware of it, but I think it is significant enough to pursue and here's why...
The nucleus of this mental cancer is the original traumatic event. EVERYONE experiences trauma in their lives...even small set backs take place throughout our journey here on Earth. But as a PTSD sufferer, ALL of them become connected to the nucleus of the problem...the original event. You follow me so far?
So these events become ALL connected... a current, small, seemingly insignificant...issue can increase in significance when it becomes attached through similarities a person draws between what IS happening...and what HAS happened and eventually...in the mind of the sufferer it begins to look like an IMPOSSIBLE disease of which to ever rid themselves. It also becomes attached to other diagnosis such as "Survivor Guilt." And for many...the pain and suffering becomes too much and they lose the ability to cope.
This sounds very grim...but please understand my friends...we will never find better ways to recover from this until we are honest about the way it looks...even if it makes us a bit uncomfortable.
HOWEVER... HOPE is increasing, as we are discovering new and useful ways of changing the way we approach recovery. In my next blog we will discuss some awesome ways of coping with PTSD. Stay with me my suffering friends...their are some different solutions that help. Until then...Be Well...
About the Author
Braden Daniels was born in Saginaw, Michigan and has been writing articles and books for over 30 years.