Our last post talked about the difference between fear and a phobia, and what it feels like to have a phobia. Once one knows the implications of living with a phobia, it becomes easier to empathise with those dealing with one. As a next step, one might ask – How can I deal with my phobia? Since …
The shadow is that aspect of our personality or psyche that is hidden from our own selves. It lies in our unconscious mind, safely beyond our awareness. The shadow contains our weaknesses, undesired traits, repressed ideas and desires which we find difficult to accept as part of us. It is like our dark side – therefore the name, Shadow. It is often unexpressed and rejected but surely it is always there, just as other archetypes are.
Almost every day, we come across news of murder, assault, rape, and thievery, whether it is in the newspaper, on news channels or through various online media websites. Some people seem to cope with these news reports, some find it difficult to assimilate it. Through this article, we at Inner Space, hope to explain the psychological effects of traumatic news and how we can build healthy coping strategies to deal with these effects.
We have already discussed in our first post for the mental health week, the exercise of creating present moment awareness through looking, through isolating one sense at a time and focusing on it in order to be mindful, or in the present.
Most of you who have been following the posts this week we are sure are already into the mindfulness groove. Hence for the last two posts for the week, we take you a little deeper into the mindfulness experience. Before I introduce you to today’s exercise, just a little background..
I just love stories! The role of stories in conveying deeper meanings without appearing like direct instruction is unmatched. In my sessions too, I love citing cases or telling stories.
Zen stories are beautiful, in their simplicity and depth of meaning. Here is a lovely story which characterizes the meanings people attach to all events of life. The way we characterize situations as good or bad for us. It reveals simply the meaninglessness of attaching meanings. Read on and enjoy!
TIP 5: Identify Irrational Thought Patterns
‘I should be loved by everyone for everything I do.’ How does this statement sound to you? Chances are it will sound unrealistic, irrational and almost impossible. How can anybody be loved by everyone for everything they do?
Let me introduce a situation here. You are at a party, exchanging pleasantries with other folk. You spot someone you know across the room. You generously walk up and say ‘hi’. That person however barely acknowledges you and walks away. How are you likely to feel? Are you more likely to dismiss it and say, ‘never mind, he must have been frustrated’ or to dwell upon how ‘disrespectful’ and ‘insulting’ a gesture that was?
TIP 3: YOU Play a Very Important Part in the Solution of YOUR Problems
Why are you unhappy?
Only 3 possible sources:
– The situation
– Other people
Not convinced with the third option? Read on.
Most of us feel that our emotional suffering and pain are created by situations or people. However, the only one who has any power to make you happy or unhappy is YOU. Our emotional responses are triggered by our own perception of a situation or event only.
The term “depression” is becoming increasingly commonplace today. Often people believe they have gone through depression but today we want to question whether it is really so! The number of people suffering from depression is definitely on the rise, but while it is as widespread as to be the common cold of mental disorders, it still isn’t as common as common cold!
What happens when what you think does not agree with what you also think?
Whether you are aware of it or not, it happens all the time! That’s the phenomenon sophisticatedly known in psychology as cognitive dissonance. Let’s take an example we knew in our childhood. Haven’t we all heard of the story of the fox and the sour grapes? In the story the fox has two conflicting thoughts: -“the grapes are sweet’. “I cannot have them.”
The fox’s resolution of the conflict is inducing the belief “the grapes are sour”. What the fox technically does is resolves its state of cognitive dissonance because it is too difficult to accept the two conflicting thoughts.
Much as we laugh and scorn at this silly fox, we do similar things all the time.
Whatever we focus on expands.
As human beings with limited resources of attention, we can only focus on a few things at a time. Naturally, whatever we invest energy and attention in, becomes more important and significant to us. In other words, it gets amplified. The other aspects of the situation are ignored.
Amplification is the process of making something larger and more important than it is, be it thoughts, emotions or experiences. Unfortunately, usually without even consciously realizing, most people focus on the negative aspects of situations. We’re always thinking of what all can go wrong, rather than what can go right. With this mode of thinking, people soon find themselves spiraling downwards into an abyss of anxiety, fear and depression.