Jan 07

The Nature and Necessity of Sleep and Dream

Video of a presentation in a local Network Group about Sleep 

 

 

The Presentation that can be seen in the video – completed with the basics of Dream

 

 

425.280.2643

Mar 17

What to do with inevitable STRESS?

PSYCHOFITNESS

More presentations from Zita Fekete

PSYCHO FITNESS What to do to handle inevitable stress?

 

LAUGH

Why? There is activity in Pleasure Center : Nucleus Accumbens ; 1-Stimulates the immune system 2-Releases “feel good” neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin & endorphins)

How? Tell jokes, watch comedies, surround yourself with people with sense of humor.

 

RHYTHMIC MOVEMENT

Why? Extra pyramidal nuclei control rhythmic movement that is close to anxiety center in alternative connection: You either move or worry.

How? Walk, jog, run, bike, swim or do 20 arm swing from squat to reach up to the ceiling.

 

RELAX

Why? Either active or passive relax is “altered state of consciousness”: Use the power of the Right Hemisphere: Analog, creative imaginative, intuitive, holistic thinking with art and music awareness.

How? Relaxation, Guided Imagination, Listening to Music or Simple positive messages right after waking up, before get out of bed: “Good Morning! Today something good will happen with me!”

 

TOUCH

TOUCH Why? Negative touch: Amygdale fires fight or flight. Positive touch: Oxytocin , Endorphin +Female hormone cocktail released, feeling trust & bonding. Sensitive period for touch: in first year of life, with constant touching we can make our babies “bulletproof” against stress. Even in adults: touch rereleases stress, enhances soothing and bonding. After kiss: saliva A immune globulin increases.

How? Stroke, kiss, hug, cuddle!

 

HELP

Why? There is activity in Pleasure Center : Nucleus Accumbens ; 2 fold effect: 1-Stimulates the immune system 2-Releases “feel good” neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin & endorphins) – again as in laugh

How? Help others whichever way it feels comfortable for you!

 

SLEEP

Why? During the deep stages of Non-REM sleep, the body repairs and re-grows tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. During REM sleep we dream. Dreams probably take part in unconscious conflict resolution, memory consolidation.

How? Keep healthy “sleep hygiene”. Wound down before sleep. Only sleep & sex in the bedroom. Keep bedroom dark & cool. No caffeine, no alcohol, no drugs…

 

BE UNDER NATURAL LIGHT

Why? Serotonin (“feel good” chemical in the brain) is produced more under direct sunlight. Melatonin (“sleep well” chemical) is produced in the dark hours. Circadian rhythm (day-night cycle) can be disturbed in artificial light or dark. How? Go outdoor whenever you can, even if it’s just 10-20 minutes. Arrange your workplace near the window. In artificial light: try therapy lamps.

 

MUSIC

Why? synchronizing with ~ 60 beats/min causing alpha waves that promote relaxation Wide range of activity in the Limbic – Paralimbic system (emotional regulation) & reward circuit.

How? Listen – Play – Sing – Dance

 Free Initial Consultation

Call:   425.280.2643

 

 

Photo by  Mister GC . FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Apr 30

Mirroring, mirroring…

Couple mirroring each other

Why couples seem so similar after many years spent together?

Partly because they accustomed to mirror each other’s posture, gestures, tone of voice, many times meta-communication, even the negative ones. The more you know about your unconscious reaction, the more you understand what your partner goes through…

Shortly after our first anniversary, my husband and I were presented with a great opportunity to travel across the southern part of Africa. As you can guess, it was full of excitement and adventure. However, as you can imagine when you travel, there were huge differences in weather, culture, language and habits. In essence it was full of stress.

As usual, it took its toll in our communication. One day I was working on some points in my head. Lately, I noticed that whatever I say he is arguing with it, whatever he says is somehow negative. Seemingly, out of nowhere, he spoke up:

“Did you notice recently whatever I say you argue with it and whatever you say is somehow unpleasant?” It surprised me tremendously because it was almost what I wanted to tell him, only he began a couple seconds early. It also surprised me because I was aware of him doing it but I had no idea that I am doing the same!

It’s famous in psychology that if you are tuned to someone, you pick up his or her body language. I’ve seen it many times in random places, but more often in my practice. Whenever a couple comes to me in my private practice, there is a lot that I can immediately see in their body language. Many of them sit in front of me in a near perfect mirroring position, which of course I consider as a good sign because they are attuned to each other.

I see lovely gestures as well. In the middle of a heated argument, one half of a duo spreads out her hands high in the air showing that she has no idea how it happened. Within a fraction of a second, her husband’s hand was the same, way high in the air sharing the feeling of “I’m clueless.”

Recently though I noticed another related phenomena. One of my clients complained about his wife not validating the feelings – especially the painful feelings of his, but argues about its rightfulness. Soon enough, we had a session together. I saw him with my own eyes rejecting his wife’s negative feelings the same way as he complained.

In another case, both man and wife missed the attention from one another. Both of them were able to list occasions when she or he was starved for attention (and of course acceptance) but the other disrupted the conversation or simply left.

Many other cases show me that when we are together with someone for a longer period of time, we mirror not only each other’s body language but frequently our mistakes – in communication as well.

This phenomenon has a great advantage. If you have an issue with your partner and a desire that you would like to see disappear or change, first make a deep introspection whether or not you do the same. If you do, it’s easier to begin the change with yourself – and let’s hope that your partner will mirror it. Meanwhile, you can understand when and why are you doing what you are doing, which might lead you to a different approach on how you face the problem.

This or that way: you will be way more prepared to create positive changes in your relationship than if you only point a finger to your partner’s faulty behavior.

 

Free Initial Consultation

Call:   425.280.2643

 

 

Photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

May 27

Acknowledge Feelings

Acknowledge Feelings

Acknowledge

Understand

Accept

Empathize

Importance is in this order

 

 

 

 

When I was a new immigrant to America, iI was exposed to many unfamiliar things coupled with complete bewilderment. Shortly thereafter, I was attending a local college to learn English as a second language. At the end of the year, I was honored to be chosen to deliver a speech on behalf of the class.

 

I was terrified… Me? In English? In front of the whole college?

 

In addition, our relatives were visiting from Hungary and we planned a weekend trip to Mt. St. Helens. All of these activities related to preparation and packing went far beyond the usual duties of hospitality.

 

When I got home and relayed the news and revealed my jitter to my mother in law, she soothingly told me: “You don’t have to worry.” With that comment, I exploded.

 

It was innocent, right? She had good intention, didn’t she? Still, I’m sure you know what I am talking about.

 

Every one of us has experienced situations when we only wanted to vent a little bit of our negative emotions to find validation – let it be worry, anger or fear – and then someone rejected it.

 

“That’s a silly thing to worry about!”

“I’ll spank you to give you a reason to cry!”

“Don’t be so sensitive!”

How does it feel, do you remember?

 

Other than the original negative feeling: hurt, worry, fear or anger, now we are either scolded, rejected or even belittled. We feel a mix of negative feelings.

 

Frustration – Anger: I wanted validation from him/her and s/he does not give it to me.

Shame: S/he says I am inferior if I am complaining about such a small thing.

Self-doubt: Maybe there was no reason to feel that way.

 Fear of rejection: If I communicate about this kind of negative feeling, I will not be accepted/loved.

Fear of abandonment: If I communicate about my negative feelings, people will not talk to me.

 

It is especially damaging for children who need help learning to recognize, label and appropriately express their feelings.

 

Of course we better not dramatize children’s small falls especially when they look at us in doubt. How are they supposed to react after tripping? However, if they had a serious fall, hit themselves and are crying and you tell them: “You’re OK!” This response discredits their physical hurt.

 

How would it feel to you if someone doubted your headache?

 

Moreover, the child who is way more susceptible about the adult’s opinion than the parents with their fully developed ego, discrediting their pain can be really confusing to them. They feel the pain in their body, while the adults say they don’t feel it. Who are they suppose to believe?

 

For smooth communication and nurturing relationships, we need some level of understanding and accepting of the other’s feelings.

 

These levels are:

 

Acknowledging

Understanding

Accepting

Empathizing

 

You acknowledge someone’s feelings when you say: “I hear you; you are angry.” “You don’t want to go to school.” “I see you don’t like the dinner.”

It’s neutral. It’s not an opinion. You don’t say anything about it: like it or not, accept it or not, only acknowledge what you see or hear.

 

The next level is understanding: Can you understand when someone’s angry? Most likely. Can you imagine a child does not want to go to school? – I hope you still remember when you did not want to go to school. And most likely you have had an experience when people don’t like the same type of food.

 

It’s easy to understand when you feel similar to how I would feel in the same situation. The challenge comes when you are angry about something that I would not be. It could be you fear something when I don’t. It’s the question of flexibility if you still can understand your partner even if s/he has an unusual reaction to a certain event.

 

Accepting the feeling might be hard especially with negative emotions. You have to have a fairly stable ego to peacefully accept that your child is angry at you. (You don’t have to hit the ball back by saying “Because you did this or that, so it’s your fault.” You’ll survive a little bit of anger.)

Accepting that your friend is going through a long and complicated grief is not easy.

Accepting that your partner is struggling with depression might be very challenging.

 

However, you can help them and even yourself the most if you understand and accept that there are life situations when we inevitably will feel negative feelings. It does not help if we blame each other or others. The best way to overcome them is if we understand where they originate from and what can we do in order to eliminate them. If you go along this line: that is absolutely indifferent if you would feel the same way in the same situation or not.

 

Empathy is what we all need most when we feel bad. It means that I can imagine what you are going through – even if I don’t go through it -, I understand your pain, and I am with you in your suffering.

 

Feeling your situation does not necessarily mean that I am depressed if you are depressed. Rather, it would be prudent to say I definitely can imagine how difficult it could be for you and I am sorry that you are suffering.

Sometimes it seems friends avoid people in trouble because they either fear that they would feel the same – (Please! Depression is not a communicable disease.) – or they simply don’t know what to do or what to say.

 

It is simple. Just be with your friend. You can simply hear his/her complaints. Sometimes only sitting near the bedside is enough. You don’t have to figure out a solution, you are not expected to come up with ideas or chase the bad feelings away. Just accept them as they are. Not being isolated, being understood and accepted by the world might mean life or death for people struggling with depression.

 

If you want to have the cooperation of a child, you need to show your understanding and acceptance: “When I was a child, there were days when I did not want to go to school.” “I know how hard can be if a friend does not speak to you anymore.”

You don’t have to act out in reality what the child wants in order to be supportive with his/her emotions. Fantasy solutions can have a surprisingly soothing effect. “I wish I can let you stay home.” “I’d be happy to buy that toy for you if I had money.”

Feeling that they are understood accomplishes the desired effect: you can get their compliance easier if they feel your emotional support.

 

Even if you are not able to empathize, accept or understand the other’s feeling: at least

PLEASE: Don’t deny!

ACKNOWLEDGE them!

Just because you don’t want to – they are still hurt sometimes!

 

Every EMOTION is understandable from one or another perspective.

Let’s find out the reason of your suffering and work out a solution for it.

 

 

FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION

 

Call me! 425.280.2643  

 

 

Jul 09

Positive Psychology – with Honesty and Modesty

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Positive Psychology Truly Can Improve Our Quality Of Life

 

I believe I am one of the few people who are the most committed to positive psychology.

I am an incurable optimist.

I love to refer the old psychologist example of the glass half full – half empty pointing out the attitude differences among people.

I pay special attention to find the positive actions of my children and make sure to provide them positive feed-back.

My firm opinion is that the best way of influencing people is by positive feed-back incorporating reinforcement as well as reward.

I convince people to give voice to their positive feelings, especially to their acknowledgment and appreciation.

My psychotherapy practice is based on the Jungian conviction that people are naturally healthy beings. If they show some symptoms, those are mostly their unconscious communication attempts messaging about something that has not been integrated to the conscious yet.

I love the fact that after many strange – sometime oversimplifying, sometimes dysfunction based branch of psychology – positive psychology stood out and spoke: we are OK. We have to focus on the positive side of human development and a satisfactory life.

 

Surprisingly, positive psychology can be misused as well. If it is, it can be as harmful as any other abuse.

 

1 – Blaming the victim

 

The basic principle of “Focus on life’s positive side and then everything will be all right!” speaks volumes but it can be turned around. If you experience difficulty, you are surely focused on the negative side so you are to blame for your misfortune. It is a terrible “Blame the victim” game which makes the life of suffering people even more miserable.
No matter how positive we are; mishaps, illnesses, mistakes or conflicts are finding us time after time. However, most of them DO NOT depend on our basic positive or negative attitude.
Blaming the victim for difficulties infuses the blamer not to feel empathy for the sufferer.

 

2 – Denying our feelings

 

We might undermine our own problem solving skills if we are not willing to accept negative aspects of our lives. Illnesses have to be cured. Mistakes have to be undone. Conflicts have to be resolved. But how can we figure out appropriate actions if we are not willing to realize there is a mistake. There is a conflict, or there is an illness. In order to find solutions, we need to face, acknowledge and accept that those negative things happened.

 

3 – Rejecting other’s feelings

 

Nagging someone who is experiencing difficulties is utterly cruel. Not enough that they are suffering from something and frequently being embarrassed by their imperfection, someone expressing further discontent with them that they are not doing well thinking about their complexes. They “should “think positively about what is bothering them. (Really?)

 

Note 1: “SHOULD “is the telltale sign of manipulation. It reveals the assumption that the manipulator or some arbitrary rules can tell you how you “should” feel or behave instead of accepting what you tell.

 

Note 2: Complexes in the Jungian psychology are not more than contradictory feelings, thoughts, and judgments. Their nature is drawing the person’s psychic energy to them in order to work on them, understanding them and untangle their contradictory attributes. IT IS NATURAL that we turn our attention to our complexes. Investing psychic energy is the way we solve them.

 

4 – Natural balance

 

Having a positive attitude towards life can help us to create and maintain happiness. On the other hand inevitably we will meet the tragic side as well: we will lose very important persons and things. We will experience failures, we might feel lost and we might suffer in many other ways. This is natural as well. We need to accept the negative side of life in order to find solutions for them.

 

Moreover: we need to accept our friend’s negative feelings in order to maintain meaningful connections.

 

There is nothing contradictory in it: we can focus on our blessings and positive feelings while we accept that sometimes life is simply not perfect.

 

Need more help?

Call me at  425.280.2643

 

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