Category: Healthy Mind

How to Overcome the Fear of Aging

How to Overcome the Fear of Aging

Aging, like sickness and death, is part and parcel of life. Everyone who is born must eventually age and die. This is the natural cycle of life. However, not everyone ages in the same way. Some age gracefully. Others age with fear.

Fear is Optional

If you are fearful of aging, you should know that this fear is not inevitable. It is there only because of your own past experiences, your own beliefs and your own attitude towards it. In the end, it is a matter of choice. Aging is inevitable but fear of aging is not. Aging of this body is a physical phenomenon. That is why it is inevitable. Fear, on the other hand, is a mental phenomenon. It is optional.

Identify Your Fears

If you are fearful of aging, you should try to be more specific and identify what it is that you are really fearful of. Generally, those who fear aging are actually fearful of sickness and death. Those who believe that they can age with a healthy and functioning body have little fear of aging. Those who think of the possibility of sickness and death as they age become fearful.

Having identify our specific fears, it then becomes possible to do something about it.

Fear of Sickness

If it is sickness, then we can start to live a healthy lifestyle. It is never too late to start a habit of living healthily. If you smoke, stop smoking. If you drink alcohol, and especially if you drink heavily, then tone it down. Drink less. Scientific studies have actually shown that a small amount of alcohol is good for your physical health but too much is harmful. Sleep early and wake up early. Sleep well. Exercise regularly. Eat healthily. Drink lots of water. Practice yoga or tai chi. Learn to meditate. All these improve the quality of your life, making you healthier mentally, emotionally and physically.

Fear of Death

If your fear is death, then once again you have to be specific. Is it the process of dying that you are afraid of, or is it death itself? If it is the process of dying, then the real fear for most people is actually the fear of a painful dying process. If that is the case, we have good news for you. Science and medicine today have reached a point where we can almost always minimise pain in the dying process. In most cases, we can even totally eradicate pain. However, even without medicine, pain can still be managed well. Physical pain may be inevitable but mental suffering is optional.

The question then is how do we free ourselves from mental suffering in the presence of physical pain? The answer to that is a strong mind. We can train our mind to be strong and resilient. It is a skill, and like all skills, it takes practice. The most common and popular mind training is meditation. So, learn to meditate, and learn it well. Gain mastery over your own mind. Then you will have little to be fearful of.

Fear of the Unknown

Lastly, if it is death itself that you are afraid of, then it is most likely because death is a big unknown. What happens to us after death? This is a spiritual question, and you will need a spiritual answer. It all comes down to your belief system. So, when you talk about death, and especially when you want a solution to this type of fear about death, then you must re-visit your spirituality, and the very nature of who you are.

Are you simply this body or are you more than just this physical body? When you die, is there a part of you that continues on? This is your quest. It is a journey that none can take for you. Only you can do this for yourself.

Facilitating Children with Emotional Literacy

Facilitating Children with Emotional Literacy

Many children today need help in emotional literacy. According to the National Health Morbidity Survey III (NHMS, 2006), about 20% of Malaysian children and adolescents have some form of psychological or behavioural problems that are preventing them from fulfilling their full potential.

Do you know a child who…

  • is not realising his/her full potential – academically or socially?
  • has nightmares or has disturbed sleep?
  • is at risk of being/is excluded from school?
  • has suffered trauma?
  • has suffered emotional, physical or sexual abuse?
  • is (or in the process of being) adopted or fostered?
  • suffers because of separated/divorced parents?
  • suffers from anxiety, stress or phobias?
  • has suffered a loss or bereavement of any kind?
  • is withdrawn or continually unhappy?
  • finds it difficult to make friends?
  • quarrels frequently with peers or siblings?
  • bullies others or is bullied?
  • displays inappropriate behaviour?
  • doesn’t play?
  • is ill or disabled?

Then you need to know how play and creative arts therapies can help.

Therapeutic Play – how does it work?

Therapeutic play (including play therapy) is a well established discipline based upon a number of psychological theories. Research, both qualitative and quantitative, shows that it is highly effective in many cases. Recent research by Play Therapy UK suggests that 71% of the children referred will show a positive change.

A safe, confidential and caring environment is created which allows the child to play with as few limits as possible but as many as necessary (for safety).

This allows healing to occur on many levels following our natural inner trend towards health. Play and creativity operate on impulses from outside our awareness – the unconscious. No medication is used.

During the sessions, the child is given strategies to cope with difficulties they face in life and which they themselves cannot change. It provides a more positive view of their future life.

A session may last from typically 30 to 45 minutes. A variety of techniques, including the “Play Therapy Toolkit”, are used according to the child’s wishes and the skills of the practitioner.

Little white lies may be bad for your health

Little white lies may be bad for your health

ILLINOIS, Aug 9 — How to be healthy? Exercise, eat your vegetables, and refrain from telling little white lies, according to a new study.

In early findings from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, US, researchers studied 110 participants who were told to stop telling either major or minor lies for 10 weeks. The control group was given no special instructions about lying. When those in the no-lie group told three fewer white lies than in other weeks, they complained less of headaches, sore throats, tenseness, anxiety, and other problems than those in the control group.

“Recent evidence indicates that Americans average about 11 lies per week,” said lead author Anita E. Kelly in a recent press release. “We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health.”

Kelly presented her research on Saturday at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Linda Stroh, a professor emeritus of organizational behavior at Loyola University in Chicago, told “USA Today” that the findings are similar to her own research on trust. “When you find that you don’t lie, you have less stress,” she says. “Being very conflicted adds an inordinate amount of stress to your life.”

Some of the ways people refrained from lying in the study included avoiding exaggerating the truth about daily accomplishments and not making false excuses for running late or not finishing tasks. — AFP/Relaxnews

Meaning-based Therapy may aid terminal patients

Meaning-based Therapy may aid terminal patients

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Psychotherapy focused on spirituality and finding meaning may help improve quality of life and well-being in terminally ill cancer patients, suggests a new study from a large cancer treatment center.

The talk therapy sessions only seemed to provide a short-term benefit — though researchers said that was reasonable given that many of the study participants were near the end of their lives, with progressively worsening disease. The study’s lead author said that while hospice and palliative care doctors and nurses are well-versed in treating pain and nausea, for example, there hasn’t been definitive evidence on the treatment of non-physical symptoms in very ill patients.

“What palliative care clinicians have not had up until now are interventions that have shown some effectiveness in dealing with issues like loss of meaning, feeling demoralized (and) a loss of sense of spiritual well-being,” said Dr. William Breitbart, from New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

“This is a new tool,” he told Reuters Health. “It gives more structure to what people are already attempting to do.”

For full story, click here.