Monthly Archives: March 2014

Why the long face? Sadness makes us seem nobler, more elegant, more adult. Which is pretty weird, when you think about it

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…[s]urely what people want is to be happy. Whole philosophies (I’m looking at you, utilitarianism) rest on the premise that more happiness is always and everywhere a good thing. There is a Global Happiness Index, measuring how happy people are (Denmark tops the league). Bhutan even has a Gross National Happiness Commission, with the power to review government policy decisions and allocate resources…

…It’s good to be happy sometimes, of course. Yet the strange truth is that we don’t wish to be happy all the time. If we did, more of us would be happy – it’s not as if we in the affluent West lack tools or means to gratify ourselves. Sometimes we are sad because we have cause, and sometimes we are sad because – consciously or unconsciously – we want to be. Perhaps there’s a sense in which emotional variety is better than monotony, even if the monotone is a happy one. But there’s more to it than that, I think. We value sadness in ways that make happiness look a bit simple-minded…

See link for entire article:

http://aeon.co/magazine/altered-states/any-fool-can-be-happy-sadness-takes-strengt

 

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A Mad World…A diagnosis of mental illness is more common than ever – did psychiatrists create the problem, or just recognise it?

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When a psychiatrist meets people at a party and reveals what he or she does for a living, two responses are typical. People either say, ‘I’d better be careful what I say around you,’ and then clam up, or they say, ‘I could talk to you for hours,’ and then launch into a litany of complaints and diagnostic questions, usually about one or another family member, in-law, co-worker, or other acquaintance. It seems that people are quick to acknowledge the ubiquity of those who might benefit from a psychiatrist’s attention, while expressing a deep reluctance ever to seek it out themselves…

…While a continuous view of mental illness probably reflects underlying reality, it inevitably results in grey areas where ‘caseness’ (whether someone does or does not have a mental disorder) must be decided based on judgment calls made by experienced clinicians. In psychiatry, those calls usually depend on whether a patient’s complaints are associated with significant distress or impaired functioning. Unlike medical disorders where morbidity is often determined by physical limitations or the threat of impending death, the distress and disruption of social functioning associated with mental illness can be fairly subjective. Even those on the softer, less severe end of the mental illness spectrum can experience considerable suffering and impairment. For example, someone with mild depression might not be on the verge of suicide, but could really be struggling with work due to anxiety and poor concentration. Many people might experience sub-clinical conditions that fall short of the threshold for a mental disorder, but still might benefit from intervention.

See link for interesting article on psychiatry…and bits about the importance of psychotherapeutic intervention…

http://aeon.co/magazine/being-human/have-psychiatrists-lost-perspective-on-mental-illness/

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60 Seconds to a Stress-Less Life – Creating the Space

Free psychology

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The Now Effect is based on a very simple quote from a psychiatrist and holocaust survivor named Viktor Frankl. He said, “Between stimulus and response there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom.” But for most of us that space is non-existent as the speed of the day skips right over it. From the moment we wake up, the brain already has a routine preplanned that skips over the spaces where life is unfolding. It knows that maybe after we wake up, we make breakfast, drink our coffee, read news on our phones, take a shower, get dressed and the rest of the day unfolds like this. Sadly, for many of us our lives go on like this until some crisis wakes us up. But we don’t need a crisis, right now we can train our…

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How to Get From Distraction to Satisfaction…mindfulness

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Multitasking can leave us feeling disoriented at the end of the day. What’s worse, this frenetic shifting between two or more things can rob us of a sense of satisfaction.

Daniel Goleman looks at three ways we can reduce multitasking at work. See the link:  

http://www.mindful.org/at-work/how-to-get-from-distraction-to-satisfaction 

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Is Depression Just Bad Chemistry?

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“Much of the general public seems to have accepted the chemical imbalance hypothesis uncritically. For example, in a 2007 survey of 262 undergraduates, psychologist Christopher M. France of Cleveland State University and his colleagues found that 84.7 percent of participants found it “likely” that chemical imbalances cause depression. In reality, however, depression cannot be boiled down to an excess or deficit of any particular chemical or even a suite of chemicals. “Chemical imbalance is sort of last-century thinking. It’s much more complicated than that,” neuroscientist Joseph Coyle of Harvard Medical School was quoted as saying in a blog by National Public Radio’s Alix Spiegel.”

See link: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-depression-just-bad-chemistry/

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Angry and Stressed People ‘may risk heart attacks’

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   Here’s a short article talking of some research that may be helpful to talk about with patients and clients

“Having a hot temper may increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, according to researchers.

…[R]age often precedes an attack and may be the trigger, say the US researchers who trawled medical literature.They identified a dangerous period of about two hours following an outburst when people were at heightened risk.

…[E]xperts know that chronic stress can contribute to heart disease, partly because it can raise blood pressure but also because people may deal with stress in unhealthy ways – by smoking or drinking too much alcohol, for example.”

See the link:       http://www.bbc.com/news/health-26416153

 

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Thoughts and experiences…

Free psychology

“You know these things as thoughts, but your thoughts are not your experiences, they are an echo and after-effect of your experiences: as when your room trembles when a carriage goes past. I however am sitting in the carriage, and often I am the carriage itself. In a man who thinks like this, the dichotomy between thinking and feeling, intellect and passion, has really disappeared. He feels his thoughts. He can fall in love with an idea. An idea can make him ill.”

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