My beautiful, wonderful mother, my only mother, my dear, sweet, kind mother passed away yesterday, the pain is inexplicable. It is so raw. I can’t stop weeping, wailing, rocking my feelings out and it keeps coming. Images of my mother keep flooding through my mind’s eye and with each one brings another storm of waves. They are of the deepest, deepest yearn.
These are feelings that have no words; they are only momentary connections to her that are etched in my memory.
All my life I wondered what this moment would feel like and now I know. Nothing could have prepared me for these storms. They are torrential downpours in the way they flood me,
I feel like a hole has been ripped out where my heart was. She is the only one that can fill that hole for right now. Oh God, I want so much to feel her touch once again, her cheek against mine, lips to her lips, my fingers wrapping around her tiny hands.
This is what raw grief feels like. and we will all have to feel this at once time or another. It doesn’t matter what our previous relationship was. It all goes away and is replaced by the kindest, gentlest emotions
I don’t know if my words mean anything to you. They are just mine but I feel they come from a universe of feelings that are somehow shared by everybody.
I do believe that my mother is in a beautiful place spiritually and it gives me solace, yet I am left behind with a hole in my soul. I believe time will fill in this hole and I have faith that at this turning point, good things are going to happen as I have faith in the universe.
Well, that’s all for now.
A very brilliant Psychologist and thinker of the nineteenth century named C.G Jung developed the theories of Introversion and Extraversion.
Today we sometimes use these terms in our society as we tend to classify other people behaviors and self perceptions. What do we really know about these parallel ends of the spectrum and how these two behaviors work together in our society?
To begin with, it is important to note that neither style of behavior is better than the other, As well, an extrovert isn’t always the life of the party so to speak and an introvert is not a recluse or hermit,
We are really looking at the differing attitudes of these two sets of individuals and how they direct their energies.
Everyone falls somewhere in the middle of an imaginary line which connects introversion and extraversion and everyone has some of each characteristic within them. One style of energy direction is more dominant than the other.
The Extravert gets their energy from active involvements in events and activities. They like people and being around them. An extravert is said to be ”outgoing and is comfortable in groups of people He or she prefers being with many friends.
The Introvert by comparison gets energy from his own internal ideas, pictures and memories. He or she prefers doing things alone or with one or two people at the most. More than that tends to create inner discomfort.
The Introvert takes time, uses logic and reason to begin the course of action whereas the Extravert gets their energy from other people, places and things around them.
There is also another interesting piece of the picture regarding Introverts and
Extraverts and it relates to a blog I wrote earlier about communication styles.
I had talked about literalness and inferences. If you think about your loved ones and friends and ask yourself if they fit more into the style of Introversion or Extraversion you may want to concentrate how they relate to you. If someone you know picks up on the literalness of what you are he or she will most likely be an extrovert whereas if he or she tends to react with an inferentially then he is more of an Introvert.
The last thing, I want to say on this subject is that introverts and Extraverts tend to be having differing work choices. Can you see from the understanding of Introverts how someone could be a scientist or an engineer? Sure you can if you. If you think about it, these two professions allow a person to work behind the scenes and don’t require an enormous amount of people energy and that’s why it is comfortable for them to do this work.
By contrast look at the work of any career or type of work where a person is involved with people all the day and is face to face with them; for example an event or party planner is most likely an Extravert and is comfortable being exposed to people all day.
One last thing. Shy people are not necessarily Introverts. This is more of an anxiety disorder issue and this can require psychotherapeutic treatment to help them feel better amongst people.
So, ask yourself; what category do you fall into? But remember, everybody has some of each in them and no one is one hundred percent of anything.
This last week has been for me, one of the most trying difficult of times I can think of in my life.
I, like millions of people in this country had to rush to my dying mother’s bedside to have my last moments with her and also to tie up the remnants of her life and prepare for the immediate issues that will follow her death.
When my sister and I arrived at the hospital where she was recovering from an infection which sent her there from the assisted living facility where she lives.
It was heart wrenching enough to have to look at her lying in that bed with tubes in her to help her breath and a tube in her arm which feeds her hydration and antibiotics.
We spent cherished moments with her and I felt that I was recording every moment for posterity; for me to remember images of her—her expressions, her eyes.
In the midst of my overwhelming feelings of sadness and bewilderment over the enormity of the existential life crises I was experiencing, I knew that I had to take care of the business of what would follow upon her death which is imminent.
We were sitting at the foot of her bed and a woman rushed in to the room. She announced that she was a Hospice representative for an agency and that she worked in concert with the hospital.
She took us into a room and began to explain to us how her Hospice team operated—essentially what kind and comfort she would be receiving as she lay dying.
I called the assisted living facility where she lives and spoke with the head nurse who told me that the facility commonly uses another competitive hospice that is superior and much more familiar with the facility. She earnestly pleaded with me to use her Hospice team and tell the lady ‘thanks but no thanks’.
It wasn’t even five minutes before the lady appeared to me in the hospital corridor and all but chastised me for choosing another Hospice other than the one she represents. She said, in regards to the head nurse I spoke with that ’ she should be ashamed of herself” for interfering with her plans to snare me into her agency and that it was illegal practices to do such things. She then turned on her heels in a huff and left. It took me a few minutes to contain my nerves and to assimilate what just happened.
I realized, as a shock, those Hospices with all the goodness and live that is provided to the dying, it is still a business; a hard fought business, an ugly business of fighting over who will get the ‘body’.
That was my first eye opener.
We left the hospital and made our way to the funeral chapel where she will be cremated. We spoke with a man who told us how my mother’s cremation and the distribution of death certificates will be handled. Then in a daze from overwhelm and my own grieving feelings I chose an urn from a selection that will be used to contain her ashes.
Today my mother is back at the assisted living facility and doing better. She is alert and eating.
I will never forget, however my experiences of dealing with the business of dying.
Today I want to talk a little about good communication.
Yesterday I discussed that there is a literal style and an inferred style of listening. Essentially I said that a 'literal' person hears the literal essence of what is being said while the inferential style person hears the double message or what's between the lines;
Today I want to talk about sitting down with someone to have an intimate conversation. When I say sit down I mean across from them so that you may look at each other eye to eye. The first rule is good eye contact. This means that if one person is in one room and another person in the other room all that really happens is a lot of shouting.
The next important factor is keeping 'you' this and 'you' that out of the conversation. There is nothing more off putting and defense building then starting a statement with you this or that. We all hear this all the time and it's not right for anyone to do, really. Instead, start a sentence with ' I feel this' or 'I feel that. It forces you to talk about what you are really feeling at that moment and not what you want to say to blame or be sarcastic or angry.
Intimacy is a word that conveys having boundaries that are healthy with the one you love. The word intimacy can be read as 'into me' see'? This really says it all. It is about letting another person in and not building walls.
Examples of building walls are using sarcasm, being childish, having to win, being bossy, complaining etc. These are simply ways of shutting out the person you most want to come in.
Put your views aside. Don't give advice unless it's asked for. Stay away from giving opinions unless they are wanted.
Be authentic. State your feelings, thoughts and perceptions. This is not about winning or losing arguments and if you feel it is, then wait for these feelings to pass until you feel more rational, less angry to have a talk that will get somewhere,
Listen first and talk later. This means hear what your partner has to say so and draw him or her out until you really even know what it is that this conversation is about. It is easy to go off on assumptions, so don't make any assumptions. Never take anything for granted.
Make statements that let your partner know you are being heard such as. 'I hear what you are saying ' or are you saying that ----?'
Lastly, be compassionate and empathetic; how do you want the other person to feel. Do you want your partner to feel cared about and listened to? Try some of these tips and see if things improve in your discussions. Again, discussions are not about someone has to win and the other person is going to lose. If you feel that way then examine where that is coming from? Are you carrying around a feeling of anger, being taken for granted, or that your partner has assumed too much about you that isn't really true?
So many times as a clinician I have heard ‘he or she doesn't really hear me or pay attention’
This can be true for both men and women. The problem is this has taken a period of time for things to get this way. If you think back to when you first got to know each other, didn’t you put your best foot forward and extend yourself because you wanted to make the best impression? You listened carefully so that when you responded you would say something really meaningful and pertinent to what you just heard. You spoke more from feelings.
Years later it seems like simple communication has broken down. One thing is certain; right off the bat: Two people that have fallen in love and grown together have done so because one of you is literal person and the other is inferential.
If you really think very hard about this you will more than likely see that your mate is a different person than you? In fact, he or she is your opposite. This is of course theory yet it makes all the difference in the world because one partner is career seeking and that these energies occupy a great deal of what is always on their mind either foremost or lurking behind close by. The opposite of a career seeking person is one who is defined by the majority of their energies being devoted to building and or maintaining a relationship or the relationship driven partner.
In theory, one of the partners in a primary relationship, usually the relationship oriented partner tends to extract the ‘literal; content of what they hear, while the other partner tends to hear the ‘inferential’ content of what is being said.
Literal is just that. When you say the sky is blue, that is a literal statement. If you are an inferential type you may be thinking yeah but what about the storm that is approaching, this is an example of an inference. It infers that it may be blue skies now but there is another message within the message.
This may seem clear enough, however, when you put two people together that hear one thing and the other hearing only other things there can be a problem.
For example If someone understands what is literal such as I love you but his eyes are not looking directly into yours, it is no longer literal because there is another message—his eyes don’t show the love. Conversely if a person says I love you to the inferred then the inferred may be drawing another meaning —-I love you only when or if or I only love at certain times but not always.
This may seem complicated but it is not. Another example of literal and inferred may be if someone is told they are invited to a party. The literal person may think “great, when is it and start mentally picking out what they will wear. The inferred person may think “hmmm what if there’s no one there for me to relate to or what if I get tired and don’t feel like staying”
So much for the literal and inferred crash course. Next time I will talk about how to cut down on the common problems that arise when two people try to communicate and always feel worse for even trying to do so. Keep talking happy talk— till next time
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Good moods bad moods: How to maintain feeling mentally well and optimistic versus feelings of depression or just feeling low.
Moods are something we all have and as a mental health counselor I have had many years of experience with people that are in a lousy mood some of the time or all of the time.
Feeling poorly and ‘out of it’ can be a sometimes mood or unfortunately a daily occurrence. I have discovered a major connection bad moods and low blood sugar states.
I’m sure almost everyone has heard of low blood sugar but what is it really and how does it tie into poor mental states?
This is a complicated process which I will simplify:
Low blood sugar episodes occur when the body doesn’t metabolize blood glucose (sugars) properly. Over eating of highly refined sugary foods such as candies, cakes and cookies, reduces the brains natural way of breaking down nutrients put into the body and used by the brain to function. Our bodies were not created to eat these highly sugar reined foods .Their over consumption has come about in the modern era.
The brain needs to be able to make its own sugars by way of the proper intake of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and poultry. In this way our brain does not have to rush to metabolize these refined sugars which cause us to experience a ‘mood drop.’
Chronic stress is another contributor as it forces the adrenals to pump out insulin which is used by the brain to function. If the adrenals become overtaxed and the brain becomes over insulinized a blood sugar drop will occur.
I have seen so many people through the years that have every bad habit in the book including constant severe stress which is punctuated by a very poor diet. These people experience a multitude of bad moods each and every day.
Most have shopped around and had various therapy treatments but have excluded the vital step of examining their diets and stress levels and attending to them.
This is why so many people go for years and don’t get any better. Believe me, this is a major component in getting mentally and emotionally well.
If you are constantly nervous, overly anxious, depressed and out of sorts, you may have a chronic low blood sugar state which can be easily remedied by improving your diet, doing meditation or self hypnosis for stress and adding affirmations in long hand writing before bed time. I have addressed some of these therapies in previous blogs. I hope that you will review them or feel free to write to me and let me know about what’s going on with you.
Here’s to good mental health
Jeff Tannen MFT
Today I'd like to tell you a bit more about self hypnosis. Yesterday I told you how to do it. Let's review: There are two keywords you will be using. One is a physical key word and the other is an emotional key word You discover these keywords by asking yourself which of them feels best. For example when you are laying quietly with your hands palms down on your thighs, what does the feeling or warmth feel like. Is it warm, does it actually feel warm? Does it feel like it makes you feel restful? Think of the one word it feels most like then establish that as your physical keyword. Then when you are progressively relaxing each muscle group, use your Emotional keyword by attaching it to a particular muscle i.e. my calves feel restful, my thighs feel restful. When you get to relax your abdomen. At this point do you feel calm, confident, tranquil or peaceful? Use the best word and attach it to every muscle from your abdomen all the way to your facial muscles and finally count yourself into hypnosis by saying to yourself 22.214.171.124.1 zero then 'deep sleep.' Always count yourself up from 0 to five when you want to awaken.
Once you've entered this 'hypnotic' state try to remember to roll your eyes back in your skull. This will aid in deepening your state. Then follow this by giving yourself the suggestion: Every breath I take or sound I hear allows me to drift deeper.
You can then use the staircase deepening tool which I have previously discussed: See yourself at the top of a beautiful staircase with twenty steps, look down at your feet, step off and count yourself all the way down to the bottom. See yourself entering into or being at the most peaceful place you can. Enjoy it.
Give yourself any suggestion you wish for example. Today and every day I become more confident. Notice how I phrased this. If you weren't feeling confident and you said 'I am confident' your mind would dismiss it because it is not true,
You can say 'Every day will listen to people with interest. Picture in your mind an event that is upcoming and 'rehearse' it. That means seeing yourself go through the entire event confidently, calmly and whatever else you want to say. Always, in self hypnosis, refrain from saying the word 'not or never' or any word that implies a negative.
Using 'due dates' in your self hypnosis can be quite effective. For example you could suggest the following to yourself: On or before the February 24th I will have finished cleaning the garage. Or by February 24th I will receive
A promotion. When you used due dates have some sense that what you are suggesting is potentially accurate and achievable
Affirmation is another effective form of self improvement. It is simply the writing of short phrases or sentences that are meant to be received by your mind; your subconscious and go to work for you. Always use long hand when writing your affirmation and it is best to write just before you go to sleep. That way you will be taking it into your mind and it will be accepted.
An example is each and every day, I become more confident in everything I do and with people I am with. Here again you can make a 'due date' doubly powerful if you say it to yourself in self hypnosis and then write it as an affirmation too.
Stay tuned. More to come….
I'd like to teach you one of the best self improvement tools of them all--self hypnosis. Why; because only when you are able to go into meditation deeply can you really get in touch with your subconscious which is where everything is that makes you who you are; your map, past and present of what feelings, thoughts and events made you who you are.
With Self Hypnosis you can do things like visualize a future event that will happen and walk yourself through the whole thing, seeing yourself doing it perfectly. The way you want it to be. Only with self hypnosis can you tell yourself and visualize yourself being confident and enjoying full contentment, In face when you put yourself in hypnosis you will feel an extreme sense of quiet and contentment with inside yourself.
Here's how to do it. You will need to jot down a few notes first that you will use each time you do this. Find a comfortable place that you can always go to do this. Then, lie down face up .close your eyes and place your palms on your thighs with your palms touching your thighs. Mentally note the warmth from your hands spreading to your thighs then tell yourself that the warmth is spreading down to your toes. At this time choose a 'key' word such as comfortable or calm and tell yourself that your toes are calm or comfortable; whichever word feels the best. Then continue to progress up your legs telling yourself that each muscle from your calves to your thighs and to your abdomen are your key word.
At this point it is time to create an emotionally charged key word such as tranquil, or serene or even confident. Then continue to progress from your abdomen to your solar plexus and to your back muscles saying to yourself that they are your key word. Continue now to progress down your arms relaxing each muscle of the shoulders upper and lower arms by telling using your key word to relax that muscle such as my shoulders and forearms are confident. Proceed to relax your hands and fingers the same way.
Now it is time to switch your keyword to your head and face muscles relaxing your forehead, cheeks, eyes, and mouth muscles the same way. Now you have finished relaxing yourself completely and it is time to use the last key word which is always You must always, however count yourself down by saying 5-4-3-2-1 and then' deep sleep'.
By now you should feel that your body and mind have substantially relaxed so following 'deep sleep' use a deepening technique such as visualizing yourself walk down twenty steps holding onto the hand rails. When you get to the bottom, in your mind, visualize entering the most pleasurable place you can think of. This may be quiet room or sitting by a stream of water. Continue to focus on it. You may feel your eyes rolling from side to your side and this is simply what happens as you visualize. You can tell yourself to 'pass that' and see yourself rehearsing a scene that you wish to become confident and relaxed in. When you have finished this you may awaken yourself or simply give yourself information in short easy phrases.
When you are ready to awaken into full consciousness, count yourself back up by saying 0-1-2-3-4-5 wide awake and opening your eyes. Always remember to count yourself in and out otherwise you will open your eyes and be walking around in hypnosis which you don't want to do
Note; self hypnosis is different then meditation as its purpose is not to 'zone' out but rather to give yourself self directives.
Next time I will talk about more deepening techniques and how to write affirmations for you. Have a wonderful day.
This is my first blog and I will be blogging frequently about psychological topics that I think have interest and are timely. I do hope that you will enjoy and benefit from them and tell your friends and family to follow my blogs.
As far back as I can remember I was always approached by friends and family to help them with their problems. Often I just seemed to counsel them with answers that came to me at a 'gut' level.
When I got out of High school in Chicago where I was born and raised, I didn't know what to do as a vocation so I went to Cosmetology school, became licensed and luckily found myself working in some of the top salons in Chicago on the famous 'Miracle Mile' of Michigan avenue.
Over a span of twelve years I worked in the best salons in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. I had passion for the work because it was creative but I 'burned out' doing this kind of work and couldn't see myself standing behind a chair working on someone's head for years and years.
I lost confidence and needed help but I didn't want to see a traditional psychologist so I discovered the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Van Nuys, Ca. I worked with a therapist there and was blown away by the effective quality of the therapy and the results within a matter of six weeks or so. I was feeling very good about myself and life in general. From the first day of my therapy I was totally intrigued by the process of therapy. In this case it was Hypnotherapy.
My counselor intuitively felt that I had a real grasp of the process and urged me to take the complete Hypnotherapy course there as it is not only a clinic but a College of Hypnotherapy.
Well, I took it and graduated a year later and immediately went on to become a staff therapist. During the years I was there I held the post of President of the American Hypnosis Association and then the vice president of the hypnotist's union. To make a long story short, I ultimately felt the same way about being a Hypnotherapist; I wanted more.
I then attended Sierra University, got my undergraduate degree and went on to International college where I graduated with a master's degree and became a licensed Marriage, Family Therapist.
In 1985 I began a private practice and it felt right from my first patient and that I was born to do this work. I held a private practice for twenty nine years in Sherman Oaks Ca; here I treated everyone that came my way. I soon realized that what they taught me in school was only a small fraction of what I learned about as a therapist. Real life experiences with clients taught me so very much of what I know today as a psychotherapist.
I developed a successful client load that turned about to be about fifty percent gay. During the years I lectured on all kinds of subjects. I was a guest on several radio shows. One show was titled 'Radio Match'. Callers asked me about their relationships and it was great fun being a Dr Phil of sorts. I also wrote articles on men's mental health and did a follow up radio show in which I spoke about 'Men in the nineties' well, that's it for today. Please stay in touch with my blogs. Now that you know more about me, I hope that you will find interest in what I have to say in the future.