Archive for March, 2014

#ptsd #posttrauma #trauma #bully

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magical
If our grandmothers and great-grandmothers could see the pressure modern mothers put on themselves, they’d think we were insane.

Since when does being a good mom mean you spend your days creating elaborate crafts for your children, making sure their rooms are decked-out Pottery Barn Ikea masterpieces worthy of children’s magazines, and dressing them to the nines in trendy coordinated outfits?

I don’t believe for a moment that mothers today love their kids any more than our great-grandmothers loved theirs. We just feel compelled to prove it through ridiculously expensive themed birthday parties that have do-it-yourself cupcake stations with 18 types of toppings and over-the-top gifts.

For a few years, I got caught up in the “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” parenting model, which mandates you scour Pinterest for the best ideas, execute them flawlessly, and then share the photo evidence with strangers and friends via blogs and Facebook posts.

Suddenly, it came to me: We do not need to make our children’s childhood magical. Childhood is inherently magical, even when it isn’t perfect. My childhood wasn’t perfect and we weren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination, but my birthdays were still happy because my friends came over. It wasn’t about the party bags, perfect decorations, or any of that. We popped balloons, ran around in the backyard, and we had cake. Simple. But when I look back on those times, they were magical.

Christmas. With four of us kids and a limited income, my parents bought maybe two gifts per kid. There was no Elf on the Shelf all month long monitoring our activities and getting into photo-worthy trouble. No special Christmas jammies. Very few decorations, if any. We didn’t even make cookies. What made that time of year simply ethereal for me as a child was huddling in one bed with my brothers thinking we could hear Santa’s reindeer on the roof. It was so much fun to try to stay awake, giggle together, and just anticipate the next morning. It was magical. I did not feel as if I lacked for anything.

I don’t have a single memory of doing a craft with my parents. Crafts were something I did in preschool and primary school. The only “crafts” I recall were the ones my mother created in her spare time. The hum of her sewing machine would often lull me to sleep as she turned scrap cloth into hair accessories to sell and hemmed our clothes.

At home we played. All the time. After school, we’d walk home from the bus stop, drop off our backpacks and my mom would push us out of the house. We ran around with the neighborhood kids until dinner. Times are different now and very few of us feel comfortable letting our kids wander, but even when we were inside, we played with our toys and video games. We made blanket forts. We watched TV. We slid down the stairs on pillows. Our parents were not responsible for entertaining us. If we dared to mutter those two words, “I’m bored,” we would be handed a chore.

I look back on those times and smile. I can still recall what it felt like to have carefree fun.

My parents made sure we were warm and fed, and planned the occasional special activity for us (Friday night pizza was a tradition in my home), but when it came to the day-to-day, we were on our own to be kids. They rarely played with us. Apart from the random empty refrigerator box scrounged from the back of an electronics store, we weren’t given toys outside of our birthdays and major holidays. Our parents were around in case we needed something or there was accident, but they were not our main source of entertainment.

Today, parents are being fed the idea that it benefits children to constantly be hand in hand, face to face, “What do you need my precious darling? How can I make your childhood amazing?” You can’t walk through Pinterest without tripping over 100 Indoor Summer Craft Ideas, 200 Inside Activities for Winter, 600 Things To Do With Your Kids In The Summer. 14 Million Pose Ideas For Elf on The Shelf. 12 Billion Tooth Fairy Strategies. 400 Trillion Birthday Themes.

Parents do not make childhood magical. Abuse and gross neglect can mar it, of course, but for the average child, the magic is something inherent to the age. Seeing the world through innocent eyes is magical. Experiencing winter and playing in the snow as a 5-year-old is magical. Getting lost in your toys on the floor of your family room is magical. Collecting rocks and keeping them in your pockets is magical. Walking with a branch is magical.

It is not our responsibility to manufacture contrived memories on a daily basis.

None of this negates the importance of time spent as a family, but there is a huge difference between focusing on being together and focusing on the construction of an “activity.” One feels forced and is based on a pre-determined goal, while the other is more natural and relaxed. The immense pressure that parents put on themselves to create ethereal experiences is tangible.

I’ve been told we went to Disneyland when I was 5. I have no memory of this, but I’ve seen the faded photographs. What I do remember from that age is the pirate Halloween costume I wore proudly, picking plums from the tree in front of my house, intentionally flooding the backyard garden to teach myself to skip rocks, and playing with my dog on my front stoop.

I have not one memory of the vacation that my parents probably saved for months for: the vacation that was most likely quite stressful. The “most magical place on Earth” in my childhood was not a theme park; it was my home, my bedroom, my backyard, my friends, my family, my books and my mind.

When we make life a grand production, our children become audience members and their appetite for entertainment grows. Are we creating a generation of people who cannot find the beauty in the mundane?

Do we want to teach our children that the magic of life is something that comes beautifully gift-wrapped — or that magic is something you discover on your own?

Planning elaborate events, daily crafts, and expensive vacations isn’t harmful for children. But if the desire to do so comes from a place of pressure or even a belief that the aforementioned are a necessary part of one’s youth, it’s time to reevaluate.

A childhood without Pinterest crafts can be magical. A childhood without a single vacation can be magical. The magic we speak of and so desperately want our children to taste isn’t of our creation, and therefore is not ours to dole out as we please. It is discovered in quiet moments by a brook or under the slide at the park, and in the innocent laughter of a life just beginning.

We constantly hear that children these days don’t get enough exercise. Perhaps the most underused of all of their muscles is the imagination, as we seek desperately to find a recipe for something that already exists.

Bunmi’s first book, The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting, is available for preorder on Amazon.com now.

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
Choosing Psychotherapy Today: One Size No Longer Fits All
Chances are that if you went to a doctor in the Middle Ages, you had a leech applied for bloodletting. That was about all there was. And chances are that if you went to a psychotherapist in the 1950s, you started psychoanalysis. That was also about all there was.

But if you go to a psychotherapist today, there are many options and each is different. Some are better suited for certain kinds of problems, and some are better suited for others. So if you’re considering therapy, how do you decide what’s best for you?

First, you need to know what’s available. Here’s some information about the major types of psychotherapy that are commonly used today:

Cognitive behavioral therapy: (CBT) is based on the idea that many of our problems are the result of how we think. It is well suited to treat anxiety, depression and eating disorders. The focus is on conscious thoughts, rather than on thoughts of which we are not aware. It is generally short term — say, a few months — but can be longer. Sessions are focused on the problem at hand. CBT therapists often give homework to help people practice new ways of thinking or behaving.

Dialectical behavior therapy: (DBT) was originally developed to help reduce suicidal and self-injurious behavior in people with borderline personality disorder. It also helps people with depression, anxiety and other behavioral problems to manage feelings, impulses and behaviors that feel out of control. DBT therapists are generally available by phone to provide coaching and support to handle situations that arise between therapy sessions. DBT generally lasts from six months to a year or longer, and patients often attend both individual and group sessions.

Interpersonal psychotherapy: (IPT) is a time-limited treatment originally designed to treat depression. It is based on the idea that depression may be caused by problems between people, and that resolving those problems can help people feel better. The treatment generally lasts for about 12 to 18 sessions. IPT is now being used for problems with anxiety and eating disorders as well.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy: (Sometimes called psychoanalytic psychotherapy) is based on the idea that thoughts and feelings that are out of our awareness (unconscious) may cause difficulties, including anxiety and mood problems. In this therapy, people are asked to speak as freely as possible, as well as to talk about dreams and fantasies, in order to become aware of unconscious thoughts and feelings. Understanding feelings about one’s therapist can help people in this type of treatment to improve their relationships with people in general. Although psychodynamic psychotherapy may be time-limited, it often lasts a year or more.

Psychoanalysis: is an intensive form of psychodynamic psychotherapy that aims for change of long-standing problematic character patterns. While psychodynamic psychotherapy is generally conducted once or twice a week with the patient sitting up, psychoanalysis is generally conducted with the patient lying on a couch three or four times a week over a period of several years. As with psychodynamic psychotherapy, speaking freely in sessions, discussing dreams and fantasies, and focusing on the relationship with the therapist are used to uncover unconscious thoughts and feelings.

Combined therapy: Psychotherapy and medication are often used together. If the therapist is a psychiatrist, he or she might be able to prescribe the medication and conduct the psychotherapy. Otherwise the therapist can work with another medical provider (such as a pharmacologist or primary care doctor) who will prescribe and monitor the medication. For many people with problems that impair their functioning at home, at work, and in relationships, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the best treatment.

There are other types of therapy, but this should give you a start. Some types of psychotherapy are short-term, lasting a few weeks, while others are long-term, lasting months or years. Some focus mostly on the problem at hand, while others encourage people to speak freely about whatever comes to mind in order to uncover unconscious thoughts and feelings.

So if you’re thinking that psychotherapy might help you, get some referrals from people you trust, such as your doctor, or friends and family members who have had good therapy experiences. Then make an appointment for a consultation, which is a chance to tell the therapist about the issues with which you’d like help, to find our what the therapist recommends, and to see if it’s a good fit. You might want to meet with more than one therapist to find the person and therapy approach that seems best for you. Here are some questions you might want to ask the therapist to help you figure this out:

1. What type of psychotherapy do you recommend for me and why?
2. In your opinion, how would we set the goals for this psychotherapy?
3. How long do you think that this psychotherapy will last?
4. How will we know if the psychotherapy is working? By when? What will we do if it’s not working?
5. Do you think that my family should be involved in the psychotherapy?
6. Do you recommend that the psychotherapy be combined with medication? If so, will you or someone else prescribe?

Be informed, ask questions, and think about what’s best for you, since today, when it comes to psychotherapy, one size no longer fits all!

*********************************************************************

Here are some websites that can give you more information about the psychotherapies mentioned in this post:

CBT: beckinstitute.org
DBT: behavioraltech.org
IPT: interpersonalpsychotherapy.org
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: apsa.org
Psychoanalysis: apsa.org

Deborah L. Cabaniss, M.D., is Director of Psychotherapy Training and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. She is the lead author of “Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Clinical Manual” and “Psychodynamic Formulation.”

Cross reference:
“The Therapeutic Alliance: The Essential Ingredient for Psychology”

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#ptsd #posttrauma #trauma #bully

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Daily Meditation: Listening, Learning
We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these daily meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today’s meditation features a wise prayer from the Native American Ute tradition. The prayer asks for mentorship from the Earth to learn such virtues as courage, acceptance and kindness.

meditate

Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with new light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me renewal
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.

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#ptsd #posttrauma #trauma #bully

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
12-Year-Old Girl’s Soccer Ball Juggling Puts David Beckham To Shame
Katelyn Penner isn’t your average 12-year-old.

When she was 10 years old, she set a personal juggling record of 5,000 touches without the soccer ball hitting the ground, which took her about 50 minutes, according to KPTV.

When the soccer lover, from Beaverton, Ore., got bored of that, she started to take part in YouTube skill challenges posted by Yael Averbuch, a player on the U.S. women’s national soccer team.

In a video that her dad posted earlier this week, Katelyn juggles a soccer ball around the Portland metro area, KGW reported.

“(Juggling) is just fun and it helps you take your mind off other things,” Katelyn told the outlet.

She didn’t stop juggling the soccer ball as she went through the Dairy Queen drive-thru line or as she played a game of hopscotch.

Katelyn, who hopes to one day be a on the U.S. national soccer team was inspired by Tobin Heath — a soccer player on the Portland Thorns — who made her own “walkabout” video in 2008.

Basically, Katelyn’s unstoppable and we can’t wait to see what new tricks she has up her sleeve next.

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#ptsd #posttrauma #trauma #bully

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
11 Things We Do That Make Us Miserable
Oftentimes we read about what we can do to increase our happiness through valuable tips, tricks and techniques. I love reading this stuff and noticing the impact it has on my day and my life. Sometimes equally important is identifying what habits we have that negate all of the positive mindset gearing we do.

Here are 11 things many of us are guilty of that sabotage our peace, joy and calm:

1. Hold a grudge
Forgiveness is the key to freedom. As Marianne Williamson says, “Forgiveness is actually out of self-interest.” When we hate, feel anger or resentment towards another, the intended impact, to hurt them, backfires on us. We harbor the anger and resentment within our own minds and bodies. And it’s poisonous. Under Williamson’s advice, try to see a situation differently. How must my enemy have felt to act the way they did? What fear did they feel? What good qualities does this person have that perhaps I have never thought about? I have four sisters, and one of them has not spoken to me in 12 years — despite lots of effort on my part. It made me confused and angry for a long time. My forgiveness way of thinking opened me up to compassion. When I think of her now I do so with love. It takes practice but this does get easier.

2. Give up on our dreams
To me this is the saddest one. As Marie Forleo says, “The world needs that special gift that only you have.” So often we bury our gifts, follow a “safe” path or simply do not have the courage to pursue what it is that we want. This results in a lot of regret later in life and even in the present moment. I heard once that the definition of hell is when the person you are meets the person you could have been. Our inner voice knows when we are not living our truth and this voice does not go away although we do our best to tune it out. By ignoring our dreams we are not sharing our unique gifts with the world.

3. Not make time for what brings us joy
This is aligned with number two. Do you love to write, draw, sing, teach? When we do not make what brings us joy a priority we are often completely unaware of the happiness we could be experiencing. It results is a much less rich, less colorful life.

4. Settle for superficial relationships

Since moving to New York I really noticed this. When making new friends I realized that a lot of time people do not talk about things that really matter, let alone make themselves vulnerable. Whenever I bring up my early divorce or humble upbringing, people tend to open up with me too, as we all secretly want to make a genuine connection with other people. People often tell me, “Its so nice to talk about this stuff.” We don’t realize that connecting with others has nothing to do with our exotic vacations or successful career stories — it is about making a soul connection which often arises from deeper conversations.

5. Compare!
Buddha said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Comparison is selective, exaggerated and unreal. We have no idea what is going on in other people’s lives. We may envy their fortune but not know their child is struggling with bullying or that their marriage is falling apart. Instead we should be too busy envying our own good fortune (gratitude, my friends).

6. Value possessions over experiences
Marianne Williamson says in A Return to Love, “Material things are not good or bad, they are just nothing.” We prize possessions so highly when life experiences are so much more meaningful. We often do not make travel, trips to see loved ones, going to our favorite live event, and dinner with an old friend a priority over shopping and collecting things.

7. Tell ourselves life is “good enough”
Truly happy people push themselves. They understand that pushing our boundaries and making progress is rewarding and fun. When was the last time you did something completely new or set the bar higher for yourself?

8. Let fear, not creativity, rule
The next time we make a decision, lets tune in to which part of us it is coming from. The best decisions are always made out of creativity and love. Jack Kornfield says, “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you in better living conditions.”

9. Do not give
At the end of it all, it is not about us! The greatest, most real and rewarding sense of happiness comes from helping others. I know a lawyer who teaches guitar on Sundays to children who cannot afford lessons. He says it is one of his greatest source of happiness. To me, this is the most beautiful thing about the world — that giving of ourselves creates the most joy.

10. Self-medicate
Brene Brown says in her famous Ted Talk that, “The USA is the most medicated, in debt, addicted and obese nation in the world.” All of these things offer temporary satisfaction but in the longer term make us depressed. We are looking for joy outside of ourselves. Joy and peace come from within.

11. Fail to live in the moment!
We are so busy worrying about what will be in the future or living in the past. True joy, peace and contentment come from being alive and present in the current moment. It is all we have and it is all there really is.

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#ptsd #posttrauma #trauma #bully

Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
Training For A Marathon Doesn’t Just Make You Awesome — It’s Good For Your Heart
Marathons have been increasing in popularity over the last decade, with 487,000 people finishing one in 2012 alone (up from 25,000 in 1976 and 353,000 in 2000). And now, a small new study shows that middle-aged people training for a marathon could be doing their hearts a favor.

Research presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology shows that middle-aged non-elite runners had improved heart risk factors — such as cholesterol and triglyceride levels and body mass index — from training for a marathon.

“Overall, participants experienced cardiac remodeling — improvements in the size, shape, structure and function of the heart,” study researcher Dr. Jodi L. Zilinski, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a statement. “Even with a relatively healthy population that was not exercise na├»ve, our study participants still had overall improvements in key indices of heart health.”

The study included 45 men who ran for recreational purposes who were between ages 35 and 65; more than half had at least one cardiovascular risk factor (such as a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol). The men were all training to run the Boston Marathon in 2013; about half of the men had run at least three marathons before, while the other half ran two or fewer marathons in their life.

None of the men were time-qualified for the race, and all of them were running for charity.

“We chose charity runners because we wanted to focus on the non-elite type of runner, just the average Joe who decides to get out there and train for a marathon,” Zilinski explained. “They turned out to be a healthier population than we expected with a lot of them already exercising on a pretty regular basis, but they were still nowhere near the levels of elite runners.”

The researchers recruited these men to participate in an 18-week training regimen, which included endurance training, group runs, nutrition tips and access to cross-training facilities and regular coaching. Dependent on where they were in their training schedule, the men ran anywhere from 12 to 36 miles a week. At the beginning and end of the training program (but before actually running the marathon), the men all underwent medical evaluations.

Researchers found improvements across the board in the men’s cardiovascular risk factors. For instance, “bad” cholesterol levels went down by 5 percent and total cholesterol levels went down by 4 percent. Peak oxygen consumption — which is indicative of cardiorespiratory fitness — increased 4 percent. And body mass index decreased 1 percent.

The findings support the idea that training for a big race is a great way to reduce your heart risk factors, the researchers said, though they noted that people should talk to their doctors before embarking on such a rigorous training program.

Because the findings have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, they should be regarded as preliminary.

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#ptsd #posttrauma #trauma #bully

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Spiritual Leader Byron Katie Tells ORIGIN Magazine Why We Should Embrace The Quiet
The following is an excerpt from ORIGIN Magazine.

Interviewer: Gina Murdock

Gina Murdock: I’ve had a chance to experience “The Work,” and I am amazed at how simple yet effective it is. I know that sounds like a commercial, but I am really blown away. How did you come up with this method of inquiry?
Byron Katie: I was depressed for 10 years. Paranoid, agoraphobic, filled with self-loathing. Every day I wanted to die. For the last two years, I could barely leave my bedroom. Then one morning, as I lay sleeping on the floor in an attic room, a cockroach crawled over my foot. I opened my eyes, and in place of all that darkness was a joy I can’t describe. What I realized in that moment was that when I believed my thoughts I suffered, and when I didn’t believe my thoughts, I didn’t suffer. I’ve come to see that this is true for every human being. In that moment, The Work was born.

GM: Your story is inspiring. Can you tell us a little more about how The Work works?
BK: It’s a way to identify and question the thoughts that are the cause of all the suffering in the world. First, you write down the judgments you are thinking about other people, and then you put these judgments, one by one, up against the four questions of The Work. One: Is it true? Two: Can you absolutely know that it’s true? Three: How do you react — what happens — when you believe that thought? And four: Who or what would you be without the thought? Then you do what I call a “turnaround,” which is a way to experience opposites of what you are believing. Some of those opposites can wake us up to important truths that lie hidden within us. The Work is a simple, very powerful process.

GM: What is it that inspires you most?
BK: I’m most inspired whenever I hear of even the smallest act of human kindness.

GM: What makes you happy?
BK: Seeing people wake up to their kinder, wiser self and then watching them live it.

GM: How do you use your platform to change the world? Are you optimistic about the future?
BK: I teach people to question their thinking, and this changes their world. For me, the future lives only here in my mind, as thoughts and images, just as the past does, and I love those thoughts and the world that it produces. I am entirely optimistic about the future. I know that even at moments of apparent danger, nothing is out of order or lacking, other than our own unquestioned thoughts about those moments.

GM: What is one of the best decisions you ever made?
BK: Actually, I can’t take credit for any of my decisions. I noticed one day that all my decisions were making themselves, and always at the right time. I haven’t had to make one decision since then. They are always made for me, and they come from the wisdom that is in us all. I trust that wisdom completely. That trust itself was a decision made for me as inquiry cleared my mind. No decision, no fear.

GM: What has life taught you?
BK: To question everything, to remain open-hearted and to serve the freedom of others as though it were my own. Because it is.

GM: Do you practice any kind of yoga or meditation?
BK: I call The Work “mental yoga.” And it is meditation. I invite people to meditate on each of these four questions. For example, if you are believing “He doesn’t care about me,” and are meditating on the third question (How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?), in that silence you begin to notice the feelings and emotions that occurred in that situation. You feel them rise from within, and mental images show you how you treat others and yourself when you believe that thought. With the fourth question (Who would you be without that thought?), people come to see what it would be like to experience a stressful situation without the thought that is creating the stress in the first place. It’s truly amazing to see what is revealed in that quietness. It can be life-changing! Imagine how it would feel, what kind of person you would be, how you’d be treating other people and yourself, if you didn’t believe your negative judgment of that person.

GM: What is your daily spiritual practice?
BK: To love without exception.

origin ORIGIN is the conscious culture national print magazine bringing together art, yoga, music, humanitarianism, and sustainability to shift the planet for good. Twenty percent of our editorial is donated to nonprofits impacting the planet. You can find ORIGIN in Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble, Pharmacas, Central Markets and 15+ other National retailers.

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