In therapy sessions, I often talk about the need for exercise and movement. Anything cognitive can only do so much for our minds….after that we need to work also on our body and spirit too. These areas so often integrate and make the individual and the whole work well together.
Research at The University of Miami among a sample of 876 people starting at an average age of 71, and carried out over 5 years; showed that the brains of non-exercisers looked 10 years older then those who did moderate exercise. http://med.miami.edu/news/exercise-may-slow-brain-aging-by-10-years-for-older-people
Memory loss was also reduced amongst those who exercised. The benefits of exercise are thought to be better circulation and vascular health.
Exercise can be walking regularly and even carrying y0ur shopping. But other pieces of research have shown how movement with different exercise movement also helps. Chi Gong, Tai Chi, Swimming and Yoga are examples of exercise where there is stretching and movement that is different. Dancing with variations in movement have also been shown to be effective.
Exercise and movement helps us to also age well not just physically but also mentally.
Well the polls have closed in the UK. Yes, we have been through another election. Isn’t it amazing how no one can talk about the elections in the news during election time?
This election has brought about greater awareness on the tactical voting that goes on. I know someone in a Liberal area and if they vote Conservative (which is what they want) then they might let a Labour Candidate in. So they will vote Liberal. Then there are other friends in other wards which will also be doing this and let the less disliked candidate in.
I was thinking – if this applies to elections. Does this also apply to other areas of our lives? Do we try to take the lesser of two or three evils? The least despised option? Do we have tactical decisions because we feel we will not get what we want so therefore make a series of Plan B, C, D and more? Not ever taking Plan A seriously? For example, when a couple find their marriage is going down the sink. suddenly one of them (usually the woman) decides a baby is the answer. Well, that is a very poor tactic. Often this ends in the couple breaking up anyway, but now with an additional heart to break. Other plan B’s are getting married with someone you don’t really want to because you feel there is no one else or because there is heavy family pressure to do so. I know of so many people who got married even though they were gay. It was their Plan B and found that marriage may have made their parents happy but off course they were not. It eases the pressure temporarily but Plan B is not a good thing for long-term health and happiness.
Depression really is a killer. It kills your time on earth, your motivation and now we can see that it can also can kill those around you. We have discovered that the co-pilot of the Lufthansa flight where 150 lives were lost was suffering from depression. When a person is in severe depression they often believe that what they are doing is the right thing and there is no other way out. Those who are suicidal often have these feelings. They do not realize that tomorrow could be different and if young they may not have the knowledge that things can and do get better. Things can improve. Instead it has to be good now. Everything has to be right. There can be no deferred gratification.
One of my friends told me that years ago, she had been suffering from depression. When she realized that drinking, taking medication to sleep, overeating, staying in and simply hiding in bed was not the answer; she decided to get therapy. She was feeling suicidal but she had children and was aware that they needed a mother. She fortunately had that insight even in a depression. She knew she required time to get better. So she used her savings and spent 3 years in therapy. She is a very different person now and does realize she does have choice. In therapy she realised she also had to change the way she thought and did things. Some parents who have been depressed and suicidal have killed themselves and their children. Those who are depressed believe they are doing the right thing for them and their children. Most though, thankfully, do realise and do not even consider this option. Others I know have gone to a centre and have had a few sessions of therapy to help them.
But get something is a must. If you are feeling depressed and If the resources and the knowledge you have and the way you access them is not helping you now then find someplace and someone who can help. I am so sad for the people who lost their lives in this accident and so sad for their relatives and loved ones left behind. Sometimes I don’t think people take depression seriously enough. They laugh it off. Make jokes about it. Depression is a serious issue and it really does have an effect on those you love and those around you.
Depression can seem to catch us unawares. It can come from a feeling. From something happening outside which reminds us of something past. It can happen when suddenly we think even the unimaginable. Then off course if we don’t know what depression is – it is unimaginable. And it is hard to imagine it could ever happen to us. Depression happens to other people. Never to us.
But one day should it ever come to visit us in the dark of night or even on a bright sunny day. What can we do? Notice and accept it is really there. Depression is telling us something. Something you need to do. If it needs to be quick. Then go to behavior – what you do counts. Even if we do not feel like it do exercise. Do watch what you eat. Nutrition and exercise are key. Go out, see people. Other deeper levels require looking at our thoughts then using those thoughts to change behavior, feelings and whatever more really needs to be done to move forward…….
Christmas and Domestic Abuse.
Christmas is often a time for the family to get together, a time of cheer and joy. What happens though if the family is an abusive one? One where domestic abuse occurs. Often such a season is one where there are high levels of stress. Buying a gift in such families is one where there is a lot of resentment. If the gift is not liked and the person is abusive, sarcastic comments may ensue. The sit down dinner can be one of intense stress. A meal that is not ‘perfectly’ done can find itself thrown against the wall. Plates shattered and on the floor. Meal times can be one of pure home and domestic terrorism. In the UK a new domestic abuse law has been announced – that of ‘coercive and controlling behaviour’. You don’t have to suffer physical pain to experience domestic abuse, it can also be psychological.
Christmas dinner can be the worse of all meals. Then there is the added financial stress that adds even more to the domestic terrorism that can go on within a household. People needing to walk around on eggshells for fear of ‘provoking’ an outburst by even the most mildest of comments or ‘looks’. Often those who grow up in domestic abuse also continue to marry and partner with future domestic abusers. The lessons start now. Look at where you are. Who you are with? Where do you want to go? Do you have an escape plan? How is money? Is there someone you can discuss this with? Therapy to stop this constant re-enactment? How do we break free of such abuse?
One myth is that you need your family. But what if that family is not good for you? Most times they are good but for some they are unfortunately very harmful. Not everyone grew up in a family where there was love, understanding and growth. Some grew up in places where there was and still is, abuse and contraction. When I first started training as a therapist many years ago – I never understood that concept but after a few years of working as a therapist I discovered otherwise. I grew up in Malaysia and there they often talk about ‘Family Values’. I hear it here in the UK too. But what if your family was one where abuse often did and still does occur? I have heard of people being a target, of exclusion, of systematic beatings, berating, shouting and even rapes. What do you do? Often it is hard to extricate yourself, but to stop abuse, you must leave. Growth will not occur as long as you are within the control and influence of such an environment. As long as you see the family members involved you will revert back to that 4 year old or that 9 year old. As long as you see the other family members who say, what is happening, isn’t happening – then you will also shut your ears, eyes and mouth to what is going on.
There is something attractive and very alluring in the familiar. Even patterns that are abusive can still pull us back. What is the answer? Therapy, going to groups that help you. Moving your energy out to friends and others who will be more helpful to you. What a thought, others outside your family unit might actually be kinder and nicer people. Were you not told for years and years that the ones you had to be afraid of are outside the family unit? Ironic isn’t it?
I advise codependents anonymous and other groups run by the AA. Remember, if you stay and keep staying there, the patterns of abuse will go on repeating like a broken record in you. Many who have been abused find it difficult to maintain relationships and to also earn a living. This all keeps you from being able to leave the place of abuse. Long-term studies of abuse have shown that those who have been abused have poorer mental and physical health in the long-term. Abuse does not stop suddenly because you say it does. It has to be constantly worked at until a new pattern forms. 60 to 70% of those who have been abused in childhood often find themselves also facing domestic abuse with their new formed families. The old patterns if not worked on will be maintained and carried to the children of the abuser and their children’s children too.