Procrastination affects us differently

170958_me_myself_and_i.jpgI have written several posts on procrastination because it is such a traumatic experience and common to many of us. Procrastination affects us differently – some worse than others, as can be seen by Terry’s comment below. Regardless of how immobilised you feel when procrastination takes hold, there are different strategies that you can choose from to assist you. The most effective technique or strategy is that you learn how to relax so as to let go of the fear the task is causing you. Then give yourself permission to wait until you feel ready to begin. Plan a small step to begin your task once you have relaxed – the momentum will overcome your procrastination. You can find what works for you or you can choose to be a victim of procrastination. You may need some professional assistance to overcome the block.

What about when the procrastination paralyses you and when you are unprepared you perform badly and feel awful and embarrassed. Its as if something inside is hoping for failure. Or when you have a deadline for a task and leave it till the last minute and the stress builds up but there is a block to complete the task. Terry

me myself and i, photo by Davide Farabegoli, Milano, Italy, howto relax

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Overcoming fear

570349_the_key_to_success.jpgThe worst part of fear is that we can become immobilised by it. In other words, we become frozen like a ‘stunned mullett’ when we are fearful and not able to make decisions to even save ourselves. There are several steps to take in order to cope with fear so that it does not debilitate us. First we need to breathe evenly in a rounded fashion – this will help us relax; then we need to imagine how it will feel to be a part of the solution and how rewarding that will be; finally we need to take action instead of just sitting and waiting for it to get better. There are probably other steps that may suit you personally, so note them and make sure you can recall them when you are next experiencing fear.

the boss was autocratic and prided himself on
being masculine or “macho” in his approach
his staff had been full of fear and either moved on
or everyone was miserable at work!
eventually they overcame their fear and
spoke to him about how badly they felt
and to their surprise he realised that it was
risky for his business that his staff are unhappy
so he put in a plan to involve them in the decisions
and give them a voice to keep him informed
about his behaviour and how it affected productivity
in time they realised that he was indeed smart to be
willing to change his approach for the sake of his business
and that overcoming their fear and asserting themselves
made a huge difference for their wellbeing

The key to success, photo by Jocilyn Pope, London, United Kingdom, assertiveness

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Do unto others

Shaking hands, photo by Ales Cerin, Ljubljana, Slovenia,  friendly behaviourA very well known biblical saying with lots of meaning is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Such a practical life strategy because it gives us a reminder to take 100% responsibility for our actions so that the consequences will be a reward. The only difficulty is that denial is a human shortcoming which fools us into thinking that our behaviour is appropriate when sometimes it is not. Then we are surprised at the reactions we get from people and can feel victimised when that happens because we think we didn’t deserve what was dished out to us.

my adult children are my pride and joy
so at times when their behaviour is
what I consider somewhat dysfunctional
I mention my observations as carefully as possible
as I expect of them in return, should it be necessary
and then I reflect about what I had ever done
which role modelled such behaviour because
it is easy to think I hadn’t
maybe I did and maybe I didn’t
nevertheless as a parent I am reminded of
do unto others as you would
have them do unto you
and the consequences come back to
either bite or reward us

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Madness of addiction

Almost mad ii, photo by Lucretious, Thessaloniki, Greece, insanity Addiction plays tricks with the mind, a form of insanity. People who are in denial about their addiction resent the notion that they are suffering the insanity that goes with the condition. How else can you describe the madness of addiction other than insanity, when you make yourself promises you don’t keep, when you find yourself lying, when your life becomes unmanageable and still you do the same? Is that not a form of insanity? Those of us who make it to the serenity of recovery, reach a stage when we are not ashamed of admitting that to be addicted,and remain that way, is insanity.

as I enjoy my serenity from
nicotine and food addiction
I value my freedom from being
compelled and yet not having enough
which is what the insanity of addiction
meant for me – not enough and yet
not being able to stop
so I attended 12 Step meetings
spoke about my innermost feelings
especially the ones I buried deep because
I didn’t like them for being unaccceptable
had regular visits with my therapist
and explored the madness of addiction
I remembered from the 12 Step program that
I am not responsible for my addiction but
I am responsible for my recovery
so today I carry that message as part of
my personal and professional life

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Time doesn’t have to fly

Savoring time, photo by Tim Nisly, Albuquerque, NM, United States, slowing downPeople say “time flies”. In actual fact we are responsible for how fast time passes. Remember when we were children how long one year seemed like so long? That was because we weren’t in control of our lives, others were – our parents, teachers and so on. As adults we are in charge and we can forget how to stay in ‘the now’ and enjoy just being. Instead we live from gratification to gratification – the next pay cheque, the next outing, the next shopping excursion, the debts being cleared, and many more excuses to be in the tomorrow. Then we are surprised that time flies.

I noticed how quickly Christmas comes and goes
and as I get older it unsettles me
if I am in charge of my life then
I am responsible for how quickly time flies
so I cleared my symbolic plate of
as many commitments that allowed me
to have more relaxation time and
life enjoyment activities
but definitely less busy time!
how amazingly slow the week went
giving me enjoyment and serenity
it’s as simple as that
now I just have to be vigil about
maintaining that pace

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Silly season

Pills, photo by Klaus Post, Aalborg, Denmark, prescribed pillsThis is the time of the silly season when there has been, for some, lot’s of drinking, drugging, eating, smoking, gambling and other excesses. At first it has to do with fun but memories come rushing back hooking in nostalgia and in some cases abuse in childhood or earlier relationships, so these excesses are then used as feelgoods. One of the most hidden addictions is pain-relieving pills. Whilst the intended relief is to ease physical pain the medication used can momentarily ease the emotional pain of life. Having the spirits lifted in that manner can lead to people using pain-relievers to make themselves feel better when they feel low or tired.

her injuries, sustained in a couple of serious accidents
caused immense pain now and then
but as a professional, experienced in addictions, she was
loathe to use pain-relievers unless absolutely necessary
and only for a short time under doctor’s supervision
recently she disclosed to me that she needed to
take some and she was afraid that it could be addictive
even though she avoided that before
I suggested that because she was aware of this
and her past experience
then perhaps that would not be a problem
next time I saw her we talked about the pain-relievers
and she mentioned that the last time she took any
was for the physical pain, then she got the urge to
take some to make her feel happier and when
she realised that was for the wrong reason
she didn’t take any more
it gave her great strength to be able to do just that
which also made her happy to be free of the need
this is possible for those who haven’t been addicted
but those who have been, and have managed to abstain,
then it’s too risky to even
contemplate strong pain-relievers

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Male influence in the family

Walking the trunk, photo by Janet Burgess, Geneva, Switzerland,  paternal  guidanceAs a family therapist and as a woman, I am pleased to see the growing nurturing role of men in family relationships. A man nowadays does more than provide financial security and play with his children. Usually he takes more of an interest in the child’s choices in life and is more supportive of their achievements, apart from sport. A man is not ashamed to take on a more nurturing role which was once only attributable to a woman. Likewise, a woman has more of an active role in what was once considered only that of a man’s, so the sharing of responsibilities is both effective and welcomed for the progress of humanity. Therefore, male influence in the family can provide a more balanced foundation for childrearing.

he remembered that as a child his father was
emotionally unavailable to him
sure, he played with him and showed some
interest in his son’s sporting activities but
if they were lesser talents than that of his father’s
then the criticism and insults were extreme
what’s more his father did not show pride in his son’s
academic and chess playing achievements
fortunately, it can be said that the son is
a better father, more responsible and caring
and this sometimes happens in opposition to the
inappropriate behaviour of a dysfunctional parent

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Addiction symptoms regardless of nationality

World map, photo by Brian S, Jakarta, Indonesia, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/653075, worldwide diseaseAn interesting fact is that people suffer similar addiction symptoms regardless of nationality, that is, whether we are European or Australian or Chinese and so on. The need to use or self medicate increases as the illness of addiction progresses and the illness can only be arrested by abstaining. Some of the symptoms are: depression, aggression (violence), resentments, isolation, paranoia, neediness, self-pity, poor anger management, and disorders in sleeping, eating and sexual behaviour. When feelings or behaviours are exhibited to the extreme then people would do well to explore the extent to which they use substances or processes to cope with them – this only makes those feelings worse.

during the day he was a successful businessman
but his behaviour was becoming more and more
aggressive, dishonest and unbelievably mean
towards his family, friends and staff
during the day it did not appear as though
he was drinking alcohol, but he did at night
that was the only time he was jolly
then his doctor said that his drinking had to stop
or his damaged liver would cause his death
for a few weeks he was sober and went to AA
the change in him was amazing and once more
his wife saw the man she had fallen in love with
but he was bored with his authentic self and
he gave up his recovery and that lost him his wife
his only salvation has been that
he’s minimised his drinking, however
his behaviour is obnoxious and yet
he knows what needs to be done when he’s ready

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Anxiety and addiction

Robin Eggs, photo by Jason Collins, Tillsonburg, Canada, chicken or the eggWhich comes first the chicken or the egg, they ask? Does anxiety create addiction or does addiction create anxiety? As I see it both apply. We become anxious over something and we reach out to self medicate with a substance or process (alcohol, smoking, pills, food, love, gambling, arguing) which we know will give us some relief, even though temporary and unhealthy. Then when the feelgood wears off we are faced with a double barrel situation – the unresolved anxiety from the first instance and the one created by the withdrawal from the feelgood. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, they say. Better to resolve the problem creating the anxiety in the first place. Then the feelgood is kept manageable, for those who can.

I had some university work to attend to
and as it was not that of my choice
the procrastination set in fuelled by my anxiety
or vice versa, who cares?!
so I cleaned out the cupboards and took care
of other chores I had been putting off which
were less unpleasant than the uni work
then I turned to my drug of choice – food
a little of this and a little of that increased
my guilt and anxiety and then I tackled
the original culprit but as I finished the task
I wondered why I hadn’t spared myself the angst
the universal question!

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Lift our spirits

Clouds, photo by Simona Dumitru, Paris, France, white cloudsThere are clouds that are dark and gloomy and there are clouds that are light and fluffy which lift our spirits to look at. That is exactly how we can see some of life’s experiences. Some are dark and gloomy but once we have sat and experienced the depth of the gloominess then we need to reframe the experience and make the best of it. Even the worst experience can have a better outcome – one door closes and another opens.

he was so gloomy because he lost his job
as we sat and assessed the pros and cons
of the situation and its implications
he seemed to be more relieved
because he wouldn’t have to put up with
the stress he had faced before and
he had felt unappreciated too
as he realised that this was in fact
going to work out better for him
his spirits were lifted and he
looked forward to what the
new day would bring

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