Let’s talk

Talking, photo by Rakesh Vaghela, Leicester, United Kingdom,  conflict resolutionPoor communication is the No. 1 problem area in relationships. As long as people are prepared to talk about their feelings, needs, wants and give feedback about what they’ve understood the other person has said, then conflict can be transformed into negotiations for solutions. As people develop the art of expressing themselves appropriately they also discover that it is beneficial to the sender as well as the receiver of the message. Another important tip is that if the message is not being understood clearly then it is up to the person sending the message to rephrase it. Communicating effectively creates inner peace for all parties concerned in the interaction.

I was feeling uncomfortable about something
and decided to mention it to him
halfway through he became defensive
I felt anxious so I relaxed my breathing
and then started again “I mustn’t have been
clear in what I said so I’ll start again…”
changing how I expressed my thoughts
in so doing I felt calm again
then a more appropriate message came out
he too became more relaxed and from his reply it
was apparent? that he understood my point
although we did not agree
we agreed to disagree and
that was good enough for me
so our friendship strengthened

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90 meetings in 90 days

Chairs 1, photo by Anka Draganski,  London United Kingdom, http://www.fofiles.co.uk, 12 Step meetingsRegardless of which addiction we are afflicted with, a trusted and true recovery method has been to go to 90 meetings in 90 days with a willingness to abstain. Just getting to sit in 12 Step meetings, until the message gets through to your subconscious, is the key. As you sit with the feelings that were the reason you needed to self medicate, you own them as being your feelings which releases the fear about them, then you can relax. Relaxation brings us peace in our inner turmoil. The other powerful influence of attending meetings is that when we identify with others’ experiences they model solutions for us and “monkey see monkey do”. If we don’t do 90 in 90 then at least 3 meetings a week are absolutely necessary.

he told his therapist that he was
really pissed off with her because she
set homework for him to attend
7 meetings a week with other tasks
such as writing, reading, walking and
affirmations on a daily basis
a therapist himself, he felt he lived
the program and 1 meeting a week
would be sufficient, however
he surrendered and was amazed
that this meant he had needed to
let go of the control that had been
ruining his recovery
and it worked
a proven remedy

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Role models

Dad's Shoulder, photo by Joseph Zlomek, Pottstown, United States, loving parentSome people have had abusive parents as role models. Others have had one parent functional and the other dysfunctional. Unfortunately, there are those who have been abused and become abusers, mainly because they experienced how powerful induced fear was. The promising thing is that as we grow most of us learn to appreciate the healthy role models and mimic them in adulthood.

Nina was surprised that her mother’s abusive behaviour
hadn’t made her an emotional cripple, but remembered
that her father was a gentle, loving parent and
whenever she was tempted by her mother’s words
to believe that she was ugly and worthless
Nina would recall her father’s unconditional love
which gave her the confidence to make healthy choices
at times it took a lot of work to raise her self esteem
because her mother’s words would creep into
Nina’s thoughts unexpectedly, however
that was short lived as she developed the skills
to diffuse such thoughts by sending them
off into the universe in imaginary balloons

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Exercise for healing and fitness

A Walk in the Park 1, photo by Curtis Fletcher, Thornton, United States, easy  fitnessMany people love going to gyms and/or exercising like jogging, swimming, horse riding, dancing and bicycle riding. Others participate in sports such as tennis, bowling, football, squash, and more. Some of us who find exercise too daunting can manage walking, slow dance, aqua-aerobics, yoga, and mowing the lawn to name a few. Any exercise is vital for gaining and maintaining fitness. Furthermore, exercise is especially beneficial for healing such basic illnesses as depression and diabetes.

she sufffered from severe depression but
although she new the benefits of anti-depressants
she was loathe to take them but she did know
that exercising was therapeutic for many illnesses
she attended the gym and yoga regularly
which she told me kept her hopeful of
a speedy recovery as it had helped in the past
another wise choice was that she drank water and
ate healthy food which she mostly prepared herself
a good balance of protein and vegies
were the major ingredients and
I loved to eat them with her

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Panic

Fear in the eye, photo by Joonas Lampinen, Kuopio, Finland, stay coolToday I’m writing about panic as the cause of whether we handle situations well or not. Panic is fuelled by anxiety and different people react differently to stressful situations. The need to fight or flight is natural and some of us under such circumstances will appear cool, calm and collected making the necessary appropriate decisions which resolve the emergency. Others may become flustered and make mistakes that can be fatal. Then again people may experience both reactions at different times.

The best solution is to be prepared by developing relaxation techniques beforehand, like breathing evenly in a circular fashion; repetition of words to steady thought patterns, e.g. “I can do it, I can do it” over and over again (otherwise known as affirmations or self hypnosis); asking for help or making a loud noise, if possible and so on.

PANIC DEFINITION: in American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition [DSM-IV]. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994, p. 394-403
The symptoms the DSM-IV list are:

  1. palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  2. sweating
  3. trembling or shaking
  4. sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  5. feeling of choking
  6. chest pain or discomfort
  7. nausea or abdominal distress
  8. feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  9. derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  10. fear of losing control or going crazy
  11. fear of dying
  12. paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations.
  13. chills or hot flushes

This definition of panic is from (and for more information) (Ask Tog)

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Addiction is lying

cat 1, photo by, Jo„o EstÍv„o A. de Freitas, Santa Cruz, Portugal,  look insideA main symptom of addiction is lying. Lying to yourself (denial) and lying to others. ‘The eyes are the windows to the soul’, that’s how the expression goes and it’s real. When addicts lie they believe that others can’t tell that they are not telling the truth. That is why it is important to communicate what we see to an addict instead of being too embarrassed to say that they look stoned, drunk or that they seem to be concealing something. The best way to do that is to say that their eyes are giving the game away and then let go of the outcome. In other words, don’t expect an addict to own up straight off. Instead say what you see and feel, and then be prepared to walk away rather than argue the point.

I was running a halfway house meeting
for men in recovery from drug addiction
one of the guys came late and made a feeble excuse
and his behaviour was suspicious
I felt uncomfortable and so I asked him
what he had used?
he denied it vehemently
addiction is lying
I then repeated my question, unemotionally
and he owned up that he had used codeine
saying that usually he got away with his lies
I then offered to take him to a detox unit
as the house rule stipulated so that
he would be given one more chance
to come back
I had trusted my gut feeling and
he gave up the lie
it’s as simple as that!

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Developing friendships

in touch, photo by Tom Denham, Palm Bay, United States, lifelong friendshipSome of us find it easy to reach out to others and some of us don’t. All it takes is for one person to reach out a few times and the other will reciprocate eventually. That’s the process of developing friendships. From then on the friendship becomes stronger and, despite natural moments of conflict, it becomes a lifelong relationship.

when I looked back on my closest friendships
to find out how they became that way
I discovered that I am somewhat slack in
contacting people I like because I am not
that keen on telephoning people although
I am eager to meet them once they phone me
nevertheless, once we become friends I reciprocate
the telephoning because I appreciate the effort they
have put into contacting me so I make the effort back
that’s been the birth of developing friendships with
some of my dearest friends

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