A Secret to Living Well

“Gemeinschaftsgefuh.”

That’s German. Like me, you may have a hard time saying or pronouncing it. The word means “community feeling.”

According to noted psychoanalyst Dr. Alfred Adler, that feeling is one of the marks of a well-lived life. It signifies the value of social interest in giving meaning and purpose to one’s life.

Such may be in the form of varied kinds. Such as: grandparenting, volunteering, philanthropy, ministering, health coaching, devoting one’s resources to some social or political cause.

Psychological studies showed that people who are engaged in some form of helping others are far more healthy and satisfied with their lives.

Yesterday, in the mall, a man greeted and tapped me on the back. He was a former patient, who’s with his smiling wife. For a year, they underwent personal and marital therapy with me.

It’s 5 years ago. Today, they’re living a healed, more balanced and happy life as a couple. Gone were their dark days of experiencing infidelity, bankruptcy, and abuses in their marriage.

The man said, “Doc, let’s have a selfie photo together!” I obliged, of course.

“We owe a lot to you. Count me and my wife in as one of those who went through a successful therapy and life change with you!”, he joyfully remarked.

“Gemeinschaftsgefuh.”

That’s the feeling I felt about what happened to this couple. And each and every time I’m able to have an opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives. Simply priceless!

Most days, I begin with writing tasks, followed by seeing patients in my sessions.

I would then hold court in one of the many coffee shops or hotels around – sharing stories, jokes, Scriptures, deep talks about topics such as life’s meaning.

In all of those, my social interest is ever-present. A desire to contribute in whatever way I can to help others – psychologically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually and even physically as well.

Life is beyond self. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and have lived well.”

Are you brain-fit?

Mental health has a physiological aspect. Not just psychological, emotional, or spiritual. Its a matter of physical brain fitness as well.

According to scientific and medical evidences, our brain needs certain nutrients to maintain optimum functioning.

Vitamin C, for example, protects the brain from toxins, free radical damage, and aging. It also acts as a natural anti-depressant.

Experts also recommend taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement, which includes Vitamin D, magnesium, folic acid, Omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin B-complex.

Brain foods should be added to our diet. This includes avocado, eggs, coconut oil, extra virgin coconut oil, green leafy vegetables, salmon, turmeric, among others.

Exercise also plays a major part in getting brain-fit. Moving our body and taking breathers are one of the best things we can do for our brain.

I experience myself another brain-fitness key: getting enough sleep. Several times, I only needed longer sleeps or “power naps” to recover from brain-exhausting days. And I’ll be back kicking!

Some of the most productive persons in history made sleep nap a priority. People like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, and Winston Churchill, among many others.

So, the next time you feel foggy, depressed, or anxious, skip the pharma drugs and take these natural ways to recharge and refuel your brain.

Is Text-Based Therapy for You?

Text-based therapy is a type of online counselling. It uses typed text to communicate. Users take it in turns to type.

Format may be as in Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and other similar programs.

In text-based therapy, you don’t need a microphone or webcam. That makes it one of the most accessible types of online therapy.

Once, I had an American soldier client suffering from PTSD. He was sidelined to an Asian country to recuperate.

Using text based therapy was useful for him in therapy because he did not feel the need for face to face contact.

He found it easier to write his thoughts rather than speaking them. Also, it was good for him who had difficulties with privacy … and was daily at home alone.

Yes you can choose text-based online therapy! It may be a best fit for your current life situation and issues.

When Skype Therapy Heals

Psychotherapy at a distance via Skype holds a promise. It’s mental health care for whoever needs it. Wherever they are.

This is good news!

That’s for all sorts of people.

Such as:  remotely-located farmers or fishermen, high-flying business people, overseas workers, ex-pats etc facing cultural or linguistic obstacles accessing care.

For all of them, and others, Skype promise access to psychological care. It’s a tool to help them heal.

Consider “The Skype Psychologist” at The Atlantic. It writes about a master of the Skype therapy.

It starts by directing readers attention to one promise that Skype therapy is indeed better than nothing.

Burgo, the featured Skype expert, acknowledges that screen relations treatment is not “ideal” and that it would be “better if my clients and I were able to meet in my office week after week.”

But “for people who live in remote locations where qualified professional help is scarce or entirely unavailable, connecting with a therapist by Skype is often the best option.”

Burgo further comments that he treats ”a number of busy professionals living in New York, Zurich, and London where there is no shortage of qualified therapists.”

He wants people in need of psychotherapy to avoid the hassle of a subway ride or driving to someone’s office.

Forget about that umbrella, Skype on over to the shrink. And if your car has Bluetooth why not some hands-free treatment while driving?

And if not, you can be like someone with whom he worked who “propped his iPhone on the dashboard and spoke to me while driving long distances from one city to another.”

And why not?

Healing from Unemployment

Jeff is unemployed. He has bills to meet. Two teenagers and one child to feed. And his wife waits anxiously for some response from job applications.

Weeks roll into months. Months roll into years. The clouds get darker as time passes.

Unemployment drains Jeff. Emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

The social stigma is also evident. His relatives and friends often withdraw, or don’t know how to react. As if he’s less than a real person.

Jeff used to be a confident, self assured man. But all that is stripped away … by the horrors of unwanted lack of employment.

Understandably, Jeff feels devastated. His self esteem crashes. He feels worthless to himself, his wife and children, his friends, and society.

Unemployment. A personal, private trauma wound.

In my country and in many other places, the trauma of unemployment is a distressing personal malady. It’s known to invade and wound a lot of people.

No totally satisfying cure has been found yet by politicians, businessmen, or doctors. The numbers of sufferers keep increasing in our era.

As one of the suffering unemployed several times before, I’ve found that what we look for in this trauma or crisis are these 3 major keys: wisdom, patience, and faith.

When you’re down in the depths of despair, you’re put to the test. In those 3 major keys and areas. Make sure they’re well covered in your surviving and thriving.

As a Christian myself, I realize that I could not depend on man for solutions. Only God can be my ultimate solution, my ultimate mental, emotional, and spiritual anchor in trying times.

I know how it works. And able to say, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed …”

That is a far more lasting and real therapy to unemployment. It yields practical results as well beyond what you can imagine.

Nourish Your Brain Thru Meditation

Meditation is brain-nourishing. It promotes mental, emotional, physical, as well as spiritual health.

You exercise it, you develop life health overall.

Dante was an over-worrier and overthinker. When he first entered session with me, he got anxious a lot about too many things at the same time.

Also, his perceptual focus had always been on the negative. He responded to other people’s labels as if they were the real thing.

From this kind of thinking, he took labels and opinions from others literally. And, all the time, he’d assume he somehow knew about his “badness” or attribute ill will to others.

One of the first key new habits Dante learned in our work together is meditation.

Mindful meditation. Taking control of intrusive thoughts. Refocusing, when the “monkey mind” jumps again.

With this new habit, Dante has noticed that, on days that he exercises meditation, he is pretty less anxious and agitated.

His meditation breaks help him relax and be more focused on his work.

In my weekend geriatrics group session with aging men, we do a lot of meditation. Training the mind. Taking control of one’s thoughts.

How such a simple activity improve symptoms of depression and anxiety common among the aged! It promotes their learning new things to grow. It preserves the aging brain.

Meditation. Its benefits are profound.

Not only demonstrated by thousands of years of anecdotal evidences. But it’s also solidly validated by exhaustive scientific research.

Self Acceptance

Sometimes, walking in the street, I passed by armored vans delivering/transporting money to or from the bank.

They have a treasure inside that they’re guarding with great vigilance.

The vigilance is of course a necessity.

It’s interesting that Maria guards her feelings so well. Even those that continue to damage her core being.

As a result, she lost the ability to experience joy in her life. Her personality is unnecessarily locked up by her emotions.

Expectedly, during sessions, Maria gets tight.

Must she lock up her injured emotions and avoid seeing what they really are? Must she imprison her personality?

Of course not.

As in the case of almost all with psychological wounding, Maria must learn to free her self. From a type of prison outside brick-and-mortar penitentiary.

It’s a call towards liberation from emotional imprisonment.

So how then do you free your self from this life-damaging internal prison? How do you find joy, peace, and fulfillment?

Answer: self-acceptance.

That means, self-liking, self-caring.

If you can be vigilant guarding your self from being hurt or damaged by your wounded emotions, surely you can be vigilant and enthusiastic for the greatest task of guarding your best treasure.

That is, the healing and growth of your capacity for self-acceptance.

Accepting your self amid the inevitable ups and downs of life. Accepting your self in a troubled world. Accepting your self — both in triumphs and tragedies.