Mental Illness and Addiction: The Basics

Guest Post

mental-illness-addictions

Image via Pixabay by maialisa

Mental illness and addiction often go hand in hand, leaving many people at risk without even realizing it. The general lack of education on mental illness leaves people unknowingly putting themselves in harm’s way.

If you or a loved one is struggling with either a mental health disorder or an addiction, it is very important to understand the connection between the two, symptoms of each, and what you can do to prevent or treat each condition. Here is just a little basic information on addiction, mental illness, and how they connect.

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Improve Your “Self-Esteem” in 6 Steps

Improve Your “Self-Esteem” in 6 Steps

“I have low self-esteem.”

“I want to work on my self-esteem”

“Can you help me with self-esteem?”

Self Esteem Tips Improve Thinking

I hear these statements and requests all the time from my clients. But what is this “self-esteem,” and what can someone do if it appears to be “low”?

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Posted in Therapy and Psychotherapies | Tagged , , | 2 Responses

Top 7 Tips to Beating Stress

Beating Stress — Top 7 Tips

Stressed out? You’re not the only one–far from it! Sudden life changes, tough workplaces, troubled relationships, frightening medical concerns, and a long list of other sources of anxiety send enormous numbers of Americans to therapists and even emergency rooms every day. We are the only animal we know of that can think about the past and plan for the future, and while we enjoy the many benefits of technology as a result, we also pay the price: a lot of distraction from the present moment, and with it, a HUGE amount of stress from ruminating about the past and worrying about the future.

Beating Stress in Your Life

The good news is that this problem of stress has been around so long (thousands of years at least), that some of the best minds on the planet have been working on ways to mitigate it for equally long. Obviously, if stress becomes so severe as to cause serious psychiatric concerns such as depression, you need to see a mental health professional (my site has mental health links that may assist in finding help and support). Otherwise, there’s a lot you can do to handle your stress better.

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Mindfulness is Stupid!

Mindfulness is StupidMindfulness is stupid in many ways. It’s stupidly easy. It’s stupidly simple. And in some cases, it’s just plain stupid.

Our minds make mindfulness meditation complicated. Really, it’s just sitting still paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment. Stupid-simple. But our minds want things fancy. We try to achieve some special state, or having encountered a state we think is desirable, we try to maintain it. But mindfulness meditation is not about achieving or maintaining any particular state. Mindfulness meditation is about being fully present and joining in with our experience, just as it is–“nothing special,” as Zen master Charlotte Joko Beck used to say.

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Fame: So You Want to Be A Big Shot?

Fame: So You Want to Be A Big Shot?I recently have had the good fortune to be in contact with a moderately famous person whom I’ve admired for much of my life. What I notice is that my first impulse, having some access to him, is to pester him as much as possible. This is unfortunate, but telling. Fame makes us strange–both the person who becomes famous, and their fans. We don’t act normal. They become reclusive or worse. We become toadying and star-struck. It’s all rather embarrassing. And yet many of us crave fame, perhaps even more than wealth. Why?

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Posted in Everyday Mindfulness | Leave a comment

Change Your Perception About Change Itself

Change our Perception about Change
What do we mean by “change” in psychotherapy or personal growth?

What I mean by “change,” as in “changing oneself,” differs significantly from what most therapists mean, and probably differs from what most people mean. When I say “change” I basically mean, “stay exactly who you are, but learn some new skills.” Learning new skills changes the context in which you function. Old behaviors may not go away, but they do less harm and more good, as defined by your own values system. And of course, so much of what we long to change in ourselves, has to do with the inevitable changes that happen constantly in the world around us.

To illustrate what I do and don’t mean by internal “change,” my superb webmaster Sean Cook engaged me in an email dialogue. What follows in this special blog post is the text of that dialogue. It’s admittedly kind of heady. I welcome comments and questions, as always.

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Posted in Therapy and Psychotherapies | 2 Responses

Distraction < Mindfulness

Danger of DistractionIn a recent viral video clip, Louis CK hilariously and profoundly excoriates cellphones as a massive source of distraction from our true experience of life. Personally I love my cellphone.  And I love social media, and computers in general, and many other sources of distraction.  At the very same time, I recognize that these powerful technological tools potentially derail mindfulness, as the embody the very opposite of mindfulness, distraction: avoidance of our experience of this moment.

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Posted in Everyday Mindfulness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Mortality: Life May Be Shorter Than You Think

Mortality - Life May Be Shorter Than You Think

 

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying.

 

We’d all like to believe that we will live well into our 90s, or at least our 80s.  But it’s not possible for all of us to live that long. None of us think WE will be the ones to get cancer early or die from other causes. But we will. A significant percentage of people reading this will not be here in 5 years.

That includes you, and that includes me as well. We don’t like to think about that fact. But there may be positive, life-affirming reasons to take very seriously our mortality, and its unpredictable nature. For one thing, when we really accept that time may be short, we forgive others more quickly and we keep our priorities straight. But accepting our situation regarding death confers us many such advantages.

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Posted in Everyday Mindfulness | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Responses

Resilience: Beyond Punishment and Reward

Resilience: Beyond Punishment and RewardPersistence. Resilience. What is it that makes some people persist in the face of great difficulties, when others simply give up? What makes some people highly resilient, refusing to give up even after many difficult experiences?

Given how much we tend to demand of ourselves and others, given how much we ask from our lives, it’s worth having a second and third look at what this whole resilience and persistence issue might be about. We just might be able to learn to be more resilient and persistent, if we want! Do you want to be like those steel cables in the picture, strong, resilient, flexible and unbreakable? Do you want to accomplish your immediate goals, and make incremental progress on your loftiest goals? If so, read on.

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Posted in Leadership, Success and the Workplace | 8 Responses

Blogging Sucks

Blogging Sucks, Rant AlertTherapy, the Human mind, and life in general are not all that suck. Blogging and blogs suck. So I have to find a cute visual to go with my blog post? Oh, joy. I can break copyright laws again and hose off someone’s hard work, thanking them for it by misusing their photography or art without permission. And I get to use this super-unfriendly WordPress program that screws up half the time? So tempting I can hardly resist. Link my own text with my own prior work? Completely necessary for internet style and not at all narcissistic. Whoops, I’ve got about as much down here now as most people are willing to read — better add one of those fancy little breaks that makes this paragraph a teaser so the whole post isn’t visible at once. Because I just love communicating with my fellow humans in a formulaic way that demands futzing with technical doo-dads and employing advertising tricks and manipulation.

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Posted in Anger and Hate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses