Mad, sad, bad, glad, scared.  Each emotion contains its own lesson.  Each type of emotion (for example, mad versus sad) points to a particular kind of lesson about self for about our relationship of self to others.  Each type of emotion also points to particular kinds of action that can bring the social world back into balance.

For example, what makes you feel mad or feel hurt?  The lesson built into every instance of anger or hurt brings questions, such as: what do I believe I deserve?  What do I feel about how I should be treated by others?  In what way might I be part of the problem?

When feeling sad, these questions arise: what do I love or admire or desire — what important thing, person, relationship or opportunity have I lost?  What does my love or desire say about who I am?  What do I have that I cannot bear to lose?  What can I do to keep the loss from happening or getting worse?  If it’s too late, how can I mourn and or praise what I’ve lost?

When feeling bad — guilty or ashamed: what is expected of me?  What do I expect of myself?  What are the right ways for me to be and to act?  How do I make things right again with others?

When your are glad: what makes my world better, more complete?  What do I rejoice in?  What does this say about who I am?  How do I praise or celebrate?

When you are afraid: what is dangerous and therefore to be avoided, or approach cautiously?  How do I take care of myself?

From: Bill Plokin’s Nature and the Human Soul

The European Society of Cardiology issued the following news release
about a study published today in the *European Heart Journal*:

Don’t worry, be happy!  Positive emotions protect against heart disease

People who are usually happy, enthusiastic and content are less likely
to develop heart disease than those who tend not to be happy, according
to a major new study published today (Thursday 18 February).

The authors believe that the study, published in the Europe’s leading
cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal [1], is the first to show
such an independent relationship between positive emotions and coronary
heart disease.
(more…)

Can Acetaminophen Ease Psychological Pain?

Headaches and heartaches. Broken bones and broken spirits. Hurting
bodies and hurt feelings. We often use the same words to describe
physical and mental pain. Over-the-counter pain relieving drugs have
long been used to alleviate physical pain, while a host of other
medications have been employed in the treatment of depression and
anxiety. But is it possible that a common painkiller could serve double
duty, easing not just the physical pains of sore joints and headaches,
but also the pain of social rejection? A research team led by
psychologist C. Nathan DeWall of the University of Kentucky College of
Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology has uncovered evidence
indicating that acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) may
blunt social pain.

“The idea–that a drug designed to alleviate physical pain should reduce
the pain of social rejection–seemed simple and straightforward based on
what we know about neural overlap between social and physical pain
systems. To my surprise, I couldn’t find anyone who had ever tested this
idea,” DeWall said.
(more…)

“There is an idea current in the prevailing culture that writing about something that means you heal the pain.  I was not, when I began writing my life story, and I am not now, healed of my mother.  You do gain a small distance from anything by keeping it in suspension in your mind while you work at finding the words to fit it.  The process is so slow and incremental that you do not notice its effect, but the point is that it is a process.  I found out when I was a little girl that if you are crying uncontrollably and want to stop, the thing is to do something useful with your tears — water a plant, say.  They’ll dry up for themselves.  The same happens when you try to make sentences of painful material: the material lightens as it is put to work.”

Nualo O’Faolain in “Almost There”, pg. 36.

Today’s *Vancouver Sun* includes an article: “Ancient Buddhism and
modern psychology; Both practices are focused on releasing followers
from suffering, and both aim for emotional health” by Douglas Todd.

Here are some excerpts:

[begin excerpts]

‘Everybody’s a Buddhist now.”  That’s what a Vancouver yoga studio owner
recently said, a wry twinkle in her eye.

She was noticing how many of her yoga students were joining western
nature lovers, spiritual seekers and global pacifists in describing
themselves as followers of the 2,500-year-old Asian tradition.

Most of them were finding their entrée into Buddhism through meditation
and the healing arts….

There are many natural links between Buddhism and psychology.

(more…)

The American Physiological Society issued the following news release:

Laughter remains good medicine

New study reports on the mind-emotion-disease model

The connection between the body, mind and spirit has been the subject of conventional scientific inquiry for some 20 years. The notion that psychosocial and societal considerations have a role in maintaining health and preventing disease became crystallized as a result of the experiences of a layman, Norman Cousins. In the 1970s, Cousins, then a writer and magazine editor of the popular Saturday Review, was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. He theorized that if stress could worsen his condition, as some evidence suggested at the time, then positive emotions could improve his health. As a result, he prescribed himself, with the approval of his doctor, a regimen of humorous videos and shows like Candid Camera(c). Ultimately, the disease went into remission and Cousins wrote a paper that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and a book about his experience, Anatomy of an Illness: A Patient’s Perspective, which was published in 1979. The book became a best seller and led to the investigation of a new field, known then as whole-person care or integrative medicine and now, lifestyle medicine.

Points from the news release:

  • Beta-endorphins elevate mood state
  • Human growth hormone (HGH) helps with optimizing immunity
  • Cortisol and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) are detrimental stress hormones that negatively affect immunity if chronically released.
  • A group of 10 diabetics with hypertensoin and high cholesterol were assigned regularly to watch funny videos for 30 minutes. Over 12 months, their blood chemistry was compared to 10 matching people who were not made to laugh.
  • Adding laughter standard diabetes care may lower stress and inflammatory response and increase “good” cholesterol levels. The authors conclude that mirthful laughter may thus lower the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.

In describing himself as a “hardcore medical clinician and scientist,” Dr. Berk says, “the best clinicians understand that there is an intrinsic physiological intervention brought about by positive emotions such as mirthful laughter, optimism and hope.

More details follow:

(more…)

Emotional Boundaries

A successful relationship is composed of two individuals each with a clearly defined sense of her or his own identity, our emotional boundaries …
http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/Articles/boundaries.htm – 25k –

Boundaries Introduction

Boundaries. What are They — Why do I Need Them. Enforcing appropriate boundaries is the single most powerful thing that you can do unilaterally to improve
http://www.bpd411.org/boundariesintro.html – 14k –

Developing Healthy Boundaries – Maggie Down, Counsellor

Cottesloe Counselling Centre in Perth, Western Australia. Counselling and psychotherapy for those experiencing personal, relationship and work related
http://www.cottesloecounselling.com.au/developing_healthy_boundaries.html – 20k –

Relationship Advice for Healthy Boundaries

Helpful relationship advice and resources for improving boundaries and restoring relationships. Links to resources to help with relationship difficulties
http://www.healthyboundaries.com/ – 18k –

Forgiveness

A successful relationship is composed of two individuals each with a clearly defined sense of her or his own identity. Without our own understanding of self
http://www.drbalternatives.com/articles/si7.html – 21k –

Boundaries & Relationships – Communication – Relationships

Where do you end and others begin? Do you believe that others are responsible for your feelings and behaviors and vice versa?
http://www.familyresource.com/relationships/communication/boundaries-and-relationships – 25k –

Characteristics of Healthy Relationships – John Cloud, PhD

1 Nov 2008 For those who are starting to venture out, here are some guidelines; they may save you some pain. The fact is that there are probably
http://www.bpdfamily.com/bpdresources/nk_a114.htm – 34k –

Boundaries Essential to Healthy Relationships | Santa Monica & Los

What are boundaries and how do they help relationships, how do they help us in everyday life. Licia Ginne, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
http://www.latherapists.com/articles_boundaries.html – 21k –

What Are Boundaries and Why are They Important?

If your life is filled with more of what you don’t want and not enough of what you do want, it’s time to set your boundaries.
ezinearticles.com/?What-Are-Boundaries-and-Why-are-They-Important?&id=124319 – 49k –

Relationship Deal Breakers – Non Negotiable Boundaries

How many relationship deal breakers do you have on your list? Do you even have a relationship deal breaker list? What about your now-dating teenage ch.
http://www.tellinitlikeitis.net/2008/01/relationship-deal-breakers-non-negotiable-boundaries.html – 78k

Setting Boundaries in Relationships

Setting Boundaries in Relationships By Judy H. Wright Platinum Quality Author. Judy H. Wright Level: Platinum Judy is a parent educator, family coach,
ezinearticles.com/?Setting-Boundaries-in-Relationships&id=212273 – 50k –

Boundaries

Telling all. I consider the other person’s level of interest and caring before opening up to them. Talking at an intimate level on the first meeting.
http://www.howard.edu/services/counseling/Boundaries.htm – 25k –

Boundaries: Respect in Relationships by D. Scott Miller -Youth

Teens can help foster healthy relationships by placing boundaries on their emotions, time, privacy and bodies.
http://www.americancatholic.org/newsletters/yu/ay0903.asp – 47k –

Establish Boundaries That Honor You.

Boundaries are imaginary lines that help you protect yourself both physically and emotionally. They keep other’s actions and behaviors from hurting,
http://www.mommd.com/settingboundaries.shtml – 32k –

About Boundaries

18 Sep 2004 Thoughts on personal boundaries, healthy and unhealthy personal relationships and about the power of healthy boundaries.
http://www.ybrt.org/bounder.html – 23k

Relationships : A Checklist on Boundaries in a Relationship

Heathly boundaries allow a person to experience comfortable interdependence with other people, resulting in generally functioning relationships and positive
http://www.yourpotential.net/3/5/A_Checklist_on_Boundaries_in_a_Relationship.html – 24k –

What are boundaries?

http://www.adfam.org.uk/pdf/adfam_setting_and_keeping_boundaries.pdf

What Are Boundaries? – Archive – parenting.org

As an adult, you should be familiar with the concept of boundaries. Boundaries are the limits you set for relationships. They help you to recognize what is
http://www.parenting.org/archive/tween/life_lessons/2003/Sep03_boundaries.asp – 22k –

Setting Healthy Boundaries: How to Say No, Yes, and Never – And
behavioural-psychology.suite101.com/article.cfm/setting_healthy_boundaries – 38k –

BOUNDARIES

No Boundaries
(damaged)

Clear Boundaries
(healthy)

Rigid Boundaries
(damaged)

No differentiation between self and other Able to attain intimacy; interdependency Uses “walls” to protect self
Trouble recognizing own or other’s abuse Does not tolerate abuse of any kind Cannot attain intimacy
Difficulty saying “no” or protecting self Does not violate other’s rights and boundaries Cannot allow self to be vulnerable
Doesn’t acknowledge other’s boundaries Takes responsibility for own behaviour and feelings May use anger to distance people
Can be both victim and/or offender Entitled, assertive response to life Strong need to be right; argumentative
Blames others; trouble taking responsibility Maintains sense of self in relationship Aggressive response to life
Passive response to life. Feelings of shame and inadequacy Feeling of confidence and worthiness Feelings of shame and inadequacy
Lacking respect for self or other Respect for self and other Lacking respect for self or other

Damaged Boundary System

  • can at times or with some people say no and set limits; at other times or with some individuals is powerless to say no
  • can sometimes set boundaries except when sick or tired
  • may become offenders; may control and manipulate others
  • may take responsibility for other people’s behaviour, feelings and thinking
  • difficulty recognizing, respecting and modeling healthy boundaries with and for children
  • may vacillate between no boundaries and rigid boundaries
  • may have passive-aggressive response to life.
  • feeling of shame triggered in some situations or by certain people.

Courtesy of Arla Sinclair

Three strategies for dealing with useless worry
– a cognitive therapy approach.

Some people find the following strategies helpful for reducing pointless and upsetting worry.

1. Thought Stopping

Thought stopping is designed to be used when you find yourself worrying about the same issue again and again. It should only be used if the worry is pointless. If your worrying is actually giving you solutions to the problem, then you might want to keep doing it.  The technique takes a fair bit of practice to learn. Here’s the sequence:

a) Pick a time when you can be undisturbed at home for a couple of hours.

b) Sit down and deliberately start worrying. This may be harder than you think. You should choose an issue that bothers you but not one that will send you into deep depression or make you think about harming yourself.

c) Once you begin to feel worried do three things: stand up, clap your hands once and shout “stop!” you will feel quite silly doing this but do it anyway. You should notice that the worry stops for a bit.

d) The moment you notice yourself worrying again (probably only a few seconds later) stand, clap and shout “stop!” again. Keep repeating this. Eventually you should notice that the worry takes longer and longer to come back. At this point clap and shout without standing.   After a while stop clapping; just shout.

e) Finally stop shouting. Instead picture a large stop sign in your head and imagine yourself shouting “STOP”. Now you can have other people around again. Over the next few weeks make a point of imagining the sign and the shout whenever you catch yourself worrying about the topic. If you like you can wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it (gently) against the skin at the same time. Then shift your mind onto some other topic. With time you can become very effective at halting periods of pointless worry.

2. Worrying Time

Worrying time is designed to help you stop worrying about problems for most of the day by saving all of your worrying for a particular time. This can be easier than stopping the worrying altogether. As well you may have to think about some of your worries in order to decide what to do about them. Here’s the strategy;

a) Pick a time during the day or week when you will sit down and think about the things that have been worrying you. You probably don’t need to do this every day but more than once a week would be a good idea. Set aside a maximum of 30 minutes when you will not be distracted.

b) Carry a pen and paper (index cards work well) with you at all times. When you catch yourself worrying, make a note of the topic. Assure yourself that you will  think about the issue but not right now. Shift your mind onto something else.

c) When it is time to worry, take out your list of topics and consider each of them in turn. With some topics you may find that you can actually come up with a solution or a decision about how to handle them. Others you may just worry about.  This strategy may sound a bit odd but it is amazingly helpful if you are disciplined about carrying it out.

3 . Worry Inflation

We frequently try to minimize our fears. Worry inflation uses the opposite approach: making the problems as big as possible. Why? Because if you exaggerate many fears they eventually become ridiculous. You find that you can’t really believe that things will get that bad, and the problem shrinks down to realistic proportions. Here’s the strategy:

a) First identify the disturbing thought you want to deal with.

b) Next decide whether inflating the worry will make it seem silly or will only make it seem worse.

c) If it looks like a good topic for worry inflation, exaggerate the disturbing thought out of all proportion. Imagine the most extreme consequences possible. For example: “If I phone my old friend she won’t remember me. She will tell the police she has had a nuisance caller. They will trace the call and arrest me. I’ll spend the rest of my life in jail”. The more extreme the worry gets; the less you may believe in it and the less that thought will be able to bother you in the future.

San Francisco State University issued the following news release:
Buying Experiences, Not Possessions, Leads To Greater Happiness
Can money make us happy if we spend it on the right purchases? A new psychology study suggests that buying life experiences rather than material possessions leads to greater happiness for both the consumer and those around them.
The study demonstrates that experiential purchases, such as a meal out or theater tickets, result in increased well-being because they satisfy higher order needs, specifically the need for social connectedness and vitality — a feeling of being alive.
“These findings support an extension of basic need theory, where purchases that increase psychological need satisfaction will produce the greatest well-being,” said Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University.
Participants in the study were asked to write reflections and answer questions about their recent purchases. Participants indicated that experiential purchases represented money better spent and greater happiness for both themselves and others. The results also indicate that experiences produce more happiness regardless of the amount spent or the income of the consumer.

Experiences also lead to longer-term satisfaction. “Purchased experiences provide memory capital,” Howell said. “We don’t tend to get bored of happy memories like we do with a material object.”People still believe that more money will make them happy, even though 35 years of research has suggested the opposite,” Howell said. “Maybe this belief has held because money is making some people happy some of the time, at least when they spend it on life experiences.”
“The mediators of experiential purchases: Determining the impact of psychological need satisfaction” was conducted by Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University and SF State graduate Graham Hill.
These findings were presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting on Feb. 7.