The Benefit of Laughter

The Benefit of Laughter

Did you know that healthy children can laugh 400 times in a day but adults only average 15 times? It seems that we all need more laughter in our lives. But, does it really matter? Is laughter the best medicine?

The Benefit of Laughter

Well, research indicates that laughter is beneficial for our stress levels and our overall wellbeing. There are immediate short-term benefits and there are great long-term effects:

Short Term:

  1. Reduce stress: Laughter changes the perspective of stressful events and we can view them more as challenges and therefore less threatening. The relaxation of your muscles makes you less tense which reduces the symptoms of stress.
  2. Stimulation: Laughter increases your breathing and the oxygen boost stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles. And, the brain releases more endorphins.
  3. Exercise: Laughing is an exercise for the diaphragm, abs and shoulders and also leaves them more relaxed.
  4. Contagious: Laughter is contagious. It effects the others around you and brings increased benefits to a group. You will laugh more at a comedy with a group than on your own.

Long Term:

  1. Immune system: The positive thoughts that accompany laughter releases neuropeptides that help fight stress and general illnesses. While you have banished the negative thoughts that would otherwise flood your body with harmful and stress producing chemicals.
  2. Pain: Laughter is believed to produce natural painkillers to ease pain.
  3. Depression: Laughter provides a long term and beneficial effect by reducing the symptoms of depression.
  4. Fake it: Research indicates that the positive effects of laughter are not dependant on whether it is real or faked. Like many things, faking it works and, as a bonus, usually leads to it becoming real over the long term.
  5. Social: As in ‘contagious’ above, the group benefits of laughter can lead to an improvement in the quality of your social life.

You don’t find that much is funny in life? Just give it a try and try to find the funny side. Laugh at your bloopers instead of cursing. Enjoy a good comedy – live is often best. Observe yourself after a good laugh. Feeling good and relaxed? That’s laughter at work.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a modality that has evolved from Cognitive and Behavioural therapy. CBT has been shown to be a very effective way of treating depression and anxiety. It’s success has been demonstrated through all age groups. CBT has many tried and tested methods which the patient and therapist work with to bring about an effective treatment.

CBT basically works with how a person thinks. In CBT it is believed that it is the thinking that influences a person’s mood and behaviour. By learning to evaluate their thinking the patient can adapt their way of behaving and experience improved emotional and mental wellbeing.

At a deeper level CBT can work with the core beliefs that a person may have, these core beliefs may have developed from childhood. By modifying the way a person thinks CBT can modify how a person thinks. For example, a core belief of; “I am useless at everything’ can be adjusted so the patient develops a more positive view on their abilities. CBT has been extensively researched and its effectiveness has been proven throughout the medical world.

If you would like to know more, Liz McCaughey has been trained in CBT.

Or you can make an appointment online.

Dark Thoughts of the Mind

Dark Thoughts of the Mind

Dark Thoughts of the Mind

We all know what it’s like to be depressed, but having a major depressive disorder (MDD) is a different beast altogether. Depression, in the clinical sense, is a deeply debilitating condition that features a number of serious symptoms. Physically, depression can severely impair our energy levels, making it difficult to complete routine activities. The psychological toll of depression can be understandably immense, as people find themselves trapped in an abyss of dark thoughts and emotions for extended periods of time. It can be an extremely daunting condition, but there is always the hope of finding an effective treatment.

Identifying Depression

Many people aren’t clear on the difference between being depressed and having depression. This creates multiple complications, as it can promote a lack of empathy toward the depressed while also preventing people from seeking treatment. MDD is diagnosed by the persistent presence of multiple symptoms for a period of at least two weeks. A depressed mood is one of the primary signs, but it is far from alone. Other symptoms include disordered sleep, diminished interest in usual activities, a lack of energy, a sense of worthlessness, and suicidal ideation. A professional diagnosis is required to accurately identify MDD, primarily because people suffering from the disorder often experience impairments in self-awareness.

Treatment Options

There are many ways to approach the treatment of depression. Medications are often involved, though it may take several changes in type and/or dosage before an ideal effect is found. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is also a common and often effective treatment for depression. CBT involves changing the way we think about things and is guided by a therapist using proven methods. Mind-calming exercises like mindful meditation can help us deal with dark thoughts by teaching us to move our focus away from bad memories and worries about the future. The best treatment option for many patients is usually a combination of methods, as determined through regular professional consultations.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Story of Your Life

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Story of Your Life

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Story of Your Life

The topic of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can seem cold and complex on the surface. In a broad, clinical sense it refers to a category of psychological treatment methods that aim to change our patterns of thinking. We can also think of CBT in a more personal context. For example, we may consider it to be the process of rewriting our life stories.

Our Personal Stories

Each person has a unique life story that is comprised of a series of events, emotions, lessons, and anticipations. It defines who we are, how we experience the world, and how we expect life to unfold in the future. Mental health problems can be deeply rooted in our life stories, and CBT can help us address these issues by rewriting parts of our tales. CBT isn’t a time-traveling tool. We’re not able to change the events themselves. The focus is instead on changing the ways in which we relate and respond to these events.

Becoming an Engaged Author

We can’t change the past, but we can certainly change how we think about it. CBT is more about altering how we write our life story, rather than what is written. The process of writing our life story is largely passive, although people undoubtedly put their own spin on memories (sometimes consciously, sometimes not). We tend to not pay attention to the manner in which we record, replay, relate, and respond to our life stories. We’re usually focused on the content alone. CBT helps us become more aware of the ways in which our “writing style” impacts the story, allowing for more engagement in the writing process.

How CBT Changes the Story

Our behaviors are directly linked to our cognitions (mental constructs, like thoughts, emotions, and memories). These cognitions contribute to the formation of our life stories. Mental health can suffer because of irregularities in the formation and functioning of these cognitive process. We may, for example, develop an irrational fear of birds because of a single bad experience as a child. If this fear is left unexamined, our life story would likely be framed in a negative light whenever birds are involved. CBT could help us identify the source of our fear (the first bird incident), and eventually to eliminate it with verified treatment methods. We would then be free to reevaluate our past experiences involving birds with a new perspective, allowing us to rewrite our life stories, one event at a time.

Mindfulness – Dealing With the Chaos

Mindfulness – Dealing With the Chaos

There’s no getting around the fact that life can be chaotic. Between jobs, families, social lives, and life’s little surprises, we may often feel like we don’t have a moment to ourselves, but this simply isn’t true. Technically, the moment is always available to us, though we’re usually too distracted and chaotic so we don’t notice when it appears.  Mindful practice can teach us how to deal with the chaos. Mindfulness can help us place more focus on things that actually matter in the present. Mindfulness – Dealing With the Chaos

Making a Commitment

Being mindful is something that we should aspire to in day to day life. However, when first being introduced to the concept, it’s best to practice a focused technique like mindful meditation. It would be great if we could get in at least 30 minutes of daily practice. But even 15 minutes a few times a week will be enough to have a positive effect on our overall well-being. Making the commitment to stick to a schedule of mindful meditation on a regular basis. This will be an important step toward calming the chaos of an unexamined life.

Calming the Body

A key part of most forms of meditation is the relaxation of the body and Mindfulness meditation is no different. A calm body creates fewer distractions for the mind. This allows us to more easily ignore mental processes that interfere with our connection to the present. We can achieve physical calmness by sitting in a comfortable position, closing our eyes, and intentionally relaxing each part of the body in sequence (usually starting at the head or the feet).

Finding the Moment

With a relaxed body, we can then bring our attention to things that are happening in the present. This is the goal of mindfulness. We want to dedicate as much focus as possible to life as it happens in the moment. After achieving an acceptable level of physical calmness, we should pay close attention to something that is happening in real time. Our own heartbeats or breathing patterns can suffice, as can external cues like the sounds of nature or the feeling of air on your skin. This helps us to connect to the present more directly and trains us to calm much of the chaos in the brain. With enough practice, our brains will begin to adopt a mindful perspective in daily life.

Manageable Compassion

Manageable Compassion

The following information is provided by the Lucis Trust.  The Triangle article can be read in full on the Triangles Blog. The Lucis Trust is a nonprofit service organization incorporated in the United States in 1922 by Alice Baileyand her husband Foster Bailey, to act as a trust for the publishing of twenty-four books of esoteric philosophy published under Alice Bailey’s name, and to fund and administer activities concerned with the establishment of “right human relations”. These include the Arcane School, a school for esoteric training, World Goodwill, Trianglesa lending library, The Beacon magazineas well as the publishing company.

Manageable Compassion

Compassion is a hard thing to manage.  As kind and caring people you like to be of service and help people.  However, I am sure a lot of you have been disappointed that the help has been a waste of time. The person you have given the help to, has not benefitted from it. And usually because they probably didn’t really want your help.  

Or even more painful, they have not only rejected your help but have rejected you as well.  What started as a kind gesture eventuates into a waring feud.  This is not meant to be a blame game and whatever happens, you have to continue to show compassion and also forgiveness.

However the next time you want to rush in and help someone that you may have helped a few times before ….   PAUSE … and have a think about what is written in the short article below.

This article is taken from a recording by the Lucis Trust ‘Triangles Group’. You can find out more about the Lucis Trust and their Goodwill activities by clicking on the links in the box above.

Compassion & Feeling

Compassion is one of the three higher states of the feeling nature, as taught by Patanjali in the book written by Alice Bailey: Light of the Soul

Compassion is the third aspect of the three and works out upon the physical plane. Alice Bailey

said that the means to work effectively with this quality of compassion was by calling upon the love, or second aspect of the soul, the love petals of the egoic lotus, and through that means to become open to the hearts of others and indeed become one with them. 

This is wise action. 

It is not working with others on the plane of feeling for on that level that they will be unlikely to hear. Then over time, with faith in the response, change can be realized through soul stimulation. 

Tough Love

Of course this is not meant to concern turning a blind eye or a deaf ear to the feelings of others but sometimes approaching certain situations with the attitude of “tough love” is not a bad idea. 

And Alice Bailey said she learned that sometimes we have to leave certain people to God.

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