Choking Under Pressure Source: https://www.wired.com/2010/09/the-tight-collar-the-new-science-of-choking/ Have you ever “choked under pressure”? Maybe it’s a sport, musical performance, a contest, job interview or an exam, and you really wanted to do your very best. Possibly there was an audience, or even if alone, a good performance was critical to your self-esteem. You may have spent a long time preparing for this moment and now it was here. You reminded yourself over and over that you had to do your best. You could feel the intense pressure; all your attention and energy was channeled into your performance. With great effort and determination you step forward but then disaster strikes. You blow it! You mess up and experience one of the most shameful moments in your life. I’m sure you can relate to this experience. There are several times in my life when I “choked under pressure”. We … [Read more...] about Negative Thoughts and the Mental Control Paradox
Rationalization in mental health
If someone you cared for was being put down and criticized, you would probably do everything you could to stop it. You may even try to defend them and make them feel better. This is a natural response when those we love and care about are treated poorly. In work with clients and students, however, I find they are often not as gracious with themselves. I work with clients to help them become aware of their inner dialogue, and many are surprised to uncover that their self-talk borders on “bullying” and verbal abuse. While some levels of self-criticism may be helpful for greater self-awareness and psychological growth, excessive amounts of self-criticism can be toxic and cause even more suffering. Research supports this as well: high levels of self-criticism are correlated with mental health symptoms like depression and anxiety. The Inner Bully As the Greek philosopher Epictetus (55-135) stated, “Men are disturbed not by the things that happen, but by their opinions … [Read more...] about How to Silence Your Inner Bully
Since 1969, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) and other advocacy groups have been working to improve quality of life for, and end stigmas and bias against, overweight men and women. The value of accepting yourself at any size lies in better mental health and more dignity and self-respect, but as it turns out, size acceptance can also lead to better physical health and, quite possibly, weight control as well. Accepting yourself at your current weight is simply a change in approach toward weight control. It’s a non-diet method wherein you shift your focus from weight loss to good health, regardless of your size. The non-diet approach to good health and weight control includes mindful, or intuitive eating. That means teaching yourself to eat in response to your own internal cues of hunger, fullness and appetite, rather than formally restricting the type or amount of food you eat. It is actually a less restrictive approach. Health at Every … [Read more...] about Size Acceptance, Intuitive Eating, and Weight Control
Source: David Niose photo You can’t go far these days without hearing about the benefits of mindfulness. In venues as diverse as mental health, education, athletics, the corporate world, and prisons, mindfulness practice is embraced as a means to an end, whatever that end may be. Because the core concept underlying mindfulness—the art of being fully present, without judgment, in the here and now—can arguably be made useful in almost any societal context, an entire industry has arisen around it. The ubiquity of mindfulness, however, should not be mistaken for unanimity. Just ask Ronald Purser, author of McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality, a scathing critique of the modern-day gurus and institutions profiting from the mindfulness industry. Today’s mindfulness complex is far from revolutionary, he argues, but instead should be seen as a tool of the existing power structure. Mindfulness … [Read more...] about Does Mindfulness Mold Conformity?
Is a vegetarian who eats a hamburger really a vegetarian? In interviews conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, almost two thirds of self-identified vegetarians had eaten animal flesh in the past 24 hours, and an astonishing 27 percent had eaten red meat. Source: Angus Third Pounder/Adam Kuban/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 When I reported this data to my autistic daughter, Sam, she could not wrap her mind around it at all. How could all of these people lie, either to themselves or to the interviewer? It got me thinking about the strategies most of us develop to rationalize our behavior everyday. Sam has not created such coping mechanisms, and I doubt she will. In my observation, the autistic brain does not seem able to cultivate what is, depending on one’s perspective, the art of self-preservation or the art of self-deception. Everybody holds inconsistencies and contradictions within themselves. Some of these contradictions constitute … [Read more...] about Why Are Most of Us So Good at Deceiving Ourselves?