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Unlearning Helplessness

Have you tried so hard but it all seems not to work out?

Are you constantly in a bad or low mood?

Are you taken over by negative thoughts?

Do you feel like you are falling apart?

Do you feel like giving it all up?

Let’s take a moment to seriously ponder on these questions about ourselves or about people in our lives that are currently in one or more of this conditions and are looking to find a positive way out. We all definitely have different moments in life; sad ones, happy ones and of course, the memorable ones that are absolutely unforgettable which could be either good or bad as well.

As humans, we are constantly learning from every single experience that life brings our way. We learn from the achievements, from the failures, from the successes, from the promotions, from the disappointments, from the heart breaks, from the struggles, from the victories, from the tests/trials, from the opportunities taken or missed and generally from every encounter past, present or future. Each of these experiences imprints certain lessons in us.  

We can either learn to persevere and pull through in spite of the challenges or we can learn to become helpless and even unwilling to try anymore.

Learning helplessness occurs quite slowly and unknowingly until the individual is unable to achieve so much or overcome certain challenges encountered no matter how much they try. When people learn helplessness, they begin to feel hopeless and wallow in self-doubt, feelings of guilt, low mood, extreme sadness and the likes.  

Certainly, we may all feel a bit low at some point in our lives particularly in situations of bereavement, disappointments or some other related challenging situations. However, when an individual appears to persistently be immersed in low mood, sadness, negative thoughts, helplessness, hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness and guilt such that it interferes with normal functioning, then there is a need to seek professional help.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is to be aware of our emotional functioning as much as possible by being mindful and by carrying out a self-appraisal during and at the end of every day.

Depression creeps upon people when they are most unaware

Now, no matter how much helplessness you have learned over the years, it is time to unlearn them by being purposeful about how you interpret life’s lessons and how well you are able to take charge of your life.

Don’t give up on yourself, there is so much out there for you if only you give hope and yourself another chance and make the most of it and if you seem to fail again, give yourself yet another chance again and again!

For more information about mindfulness, kindly visit our website on www.mobilehealthconsult.org.

For more information about getting help for depression and to take advantage of our non-drug/non-invasive approach in the treatment of depressive disorders, kindly visit our website or send an email to mobilehealthsonsult2000@yahoo.co.uk to be scheduled for an appointment.

Remember to follow me on twitter @drmorayojimoh for more interesting updates on #UnlearningHelplessness.

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What’s Your Style?

“We may not be able to prepare the future for our children,

but we can at least prepare our children for the future”. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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If you are you a parent or plan to become one someday, you will definitely want the best for your child. The question is, how much are you willing to invest in order to see your child become the “best”? – Take a moment to think deeply about this.

A lot of people believe that their parents were strict with them while growing up and vowed to treat their own children better but may be shocked to realize that they may do same or worse in raising their own children. Some others, on the other hand, are thankful to their parents for the parenting style that was adopted in raising them.

Parenting is a huge responsibility which should also be seen as an adventure.

Here are 4 different parenting styles: The first three was classified by Diana Baumrind (1967) while the fourth style was by Maccoby and Martin (1983).

Authoritarian Parenting Style:

Authoritarian_parenting2Refers to an extremely harsh or strict method of parenting where the children don’t have a say in the home and cannot express themselves but are rather expected to follow the stated rules and regulations. A loving parent-child relationship is non-existent here. This style of parenting will in turn produce children with: low self-esteem, anger problems, anxiety, depression, they may tend to be socially withdrawn, they may conform easily and be fearful.

 Authoritative Parenting Style: 

authoritativeThis is a more balanced method of parenting with proper parent-child relationship. The parents are firm with the children in a loving and understanding manner as they seek to build a sense of responsibility and independence in their children. Children from such parents will become independent individuals, disciplined, social, they will tend to have good interpersonal relationship skills and are usually emotionally stable.

 

Permissive Parenting Style: 

permissiveHere, anything goes as the parents “allow” any behaviour the children may exhibit as long as the children are happy because they genuinely care about the children but are somewhat excessively non-restrictive or relaxed about controlling the behaviour of the children. In this method, parents may have to bribe or give special treats to their children before they can get them to do what is expected of them. Children with such upbringing will eventually become demanding, spoilt, aggressive, always wanting to get their way and lack self-discipline/ self-control.

 Uninvolved Parenting Style:

univolvedIn this style, the parent neglects the child and is often detached from the child emotionally and in some cases otherwise. Love and affection is not being expressed to the child by the parent as it ought to be. The parent sees his/her sole responsibility as providing only basic needs such as food and shelter for the child and expects the child to take care him/herself afterwards. This style of parenting will produce children that will tend to feel lonely, have low self-esteem/self worth, may become drug/alcohol addicts and antisocial.

 

Which of these styles do you think best describes your parents’ method of raising you?

Could it be the authoritarian, authoritative, permissive or the uninvolved parenting style?

What influence do you think their style of parenting has had or is having on you as an adult?

 

 

Comment below on your experience. Kindly follow @DrMorayoJimoh for more mind blowing updates on parenting and child development throughout the month of March.

 

“If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement he learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.

If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world”.

– Dorothy Law Neite


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Bringing Out the Best in Children

Preschoolers can be difficult to manage… The same may apply to all children. They have so much energy to throw around and getting them to sit still is much like a herculean task to not just parents but teachers as well. Children, especially the younger ones, use play as a medium to release tension  and ease as such when they feel anxious or uncomfortable, they try to engage in one form of playful activity or the other. However, you don’t want your child or pupils running about when you need their full attention.

So how can you get their attention?

How can you get them to sit still and learn?

How can you get them to be calm?

How can you help them regulate their emotions?

MINDFULNESS is the SOLUTION! 

child-meditation Mindfulness is being fully aware of this present moment, fully accepting it without judgment. It is paying full attention to your thoughts, feelings and emotions HERE and NOW. It involves deep breathing and calming techniques. These days, mindfulness has proved to be the answer to many questions. Enormous research has shown how mindfulness can help adults improve their brain function, reduce stress and enjoy better relationships. In recent times, researchers and practitioners have begun to focus on how this practice can be beneficial to children and adolescents in primary and secondary schools, children with cancer, learning disabilities, autism, etc. mindful childA number of schools in the United States are incorporating Mindfulness Programs into their school program- Mindful Program at Maryland High Schools. A recent research by University of Florida shows that stressful events in the environment can take a negative toll on a child’s mental and physical health which includes the onset of learning difficulties. As such mindfulness aims at reducing the effects of stress. Other benefits of Mindfulness include:

  • Building resiliencehappy child
  • Strengthening character development
  • Increasing focus and concentration
  • Improving  brain function
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Reducing stress levels and improving  coping ability
  • Inducing calmness and relaxation
  • Self regulation and control
  • Increasing their capacity for empathy and compassion

Mostly the same benefits that accrue to adults can be experienced by children ages 3 and above.

Mobile Health Consult is offering a Mindfulness program for students tagged “SMART MIND”. For more enquiries, consultation and procedure for enrollment, kindly log on to http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org/smartmind/

The only way to know what mindfulness is, is to experience it! Sign up for a FREE Training now on: 

http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org/values/therapy/mindfulness/

SPREAD the word! Be MINDFUL


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Improve Your Thinking

Mental-health-007-300x180Our greatest friend and also our most devious enemy could easily be our own thoughts. It is the most sheltered part of our being and is who we really are. Both good and bad experiences shape our thought processes which in turn shape our perception of other people and the world around us. A majority of good experiences usually initiates more positive thoughts but bad experiences or stress could really adversely affect one’s thoughts and damage one’s view of life. More importantly, we find that our actions are usually extensions of our thoughts. Negative thoughts usually elicits negative actions. Therefore it is important that we monitor and pay attention to our thoughts.

Thought patterns

These are created when we have the same type of thoughts again and again, creating a habit of thinking in that particular
way. The battle we have withing ourselves have to do with these thought patterns because they determine how happy, confident and active we are each day. How ready we are to take on lifes challenges and hope for the future. This is when our thought patterns are in tune with our desires. As we know, sometimes our thoughts conflict with our desires. For example, someone who has a pessimistic view to life believes he or she is more likely to fail at a certain task at hand. However they are aware of how much joy they’d feel if they completed the task, but even this joy is usually not enough to eradicate their negative thoughts of failure. At the end of the day, if they let their negative thought pattern prevail, they end up quitting the task.No-Negativity-Stop-Negative-Thoughts-Coral-Springs-Counseling-Center

We all have the inner negative thoughts we have to battle when we set out minds to do something. Those thoughts that remind you of when you tried something similar in the past and you failed or reminds you of how you never get anything right or complete any tasks. These Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS), as neuropsychologist author Daniel Amen calls them, invade our minds usually when we are concerned about the outcome of an event to make us anxious by exaggerating the negative outcomes that could possibly happen and undermining our ability to deal with them. Negative thinking makes us focus on the negative things in life and magnify them while we filter out the brighter side. These negative thought patterns are especially difficult to get rid of because they are formed over time.But do not give up hope, they can be “killed” if we pay attention to our thoughts and realize that because we think something bad will happen does not make it true.

Thinking healthily

First realize that your mind is supposed to be your safe haven and your thoughts your best friend. It should be filled with positivity, encouragement and hope. We cannot control alot of external factors in our everyday lives, but we have, or should have, full control of our own thoughts.The quickest way to begin thinking healthily is to remove ‘absolutes’ from our thinking. Words such as ‘always’ and ‘never’ can be very harmful by causing you to give up and despair. “I always make the same mistake” “I can never do this” “I will be forever alone” Such thoughts encourage self pity, anxiety andpositive-people depression. Instead, though we realize our shortcomings, we should also acknowledge that we can indeed improve on them and be better. “I can never do this” should then become “This is very difficult, but since i have to do it i’m going to keep trying”. “I always make the same mistake” becomes “I make this same mistake a lot and i don’t like that, i’m going to try my best not to do so again”. This way you remind yourself that you can control the outcome and that you’re not powerless against the circumstances.

You also have to pay attention to your thoughts. Ask yourself what you think about the most each day and why. Trace the genesis of your most common thoughts and begin to break negative thought chains. This is a daily practice as thought patterns were also formed over time and are hard-wired in our minds. Each day as soon as we are conscious of a negative thought pattern we must redirect our thoughts in order not to further solidify such patterns. You’ll figure that there would be more room for innovative thoughts and ideas and a wider perspective in situations. Maintaining control over your thought patterns and having positive thoughts as much as you can is the basis of thinking healthily. 

Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Be satisfied with things you genuinely cannot change. Pay attention to your thoughts and stay positive.


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The Importance of being Honest

Take a moment and try to remember the last time you told a ‘small’ or a ‘white’ lie…

Do you remember how it felt?

Now, take another moment and try to remember the last time you told a major lie…

Do you remember how it felt?

If you were caught, can you recall how you felt at that time? Not a very good feeling I presume. person_ashamed1

Whatever the size of the lie, big or small, lying makes us feel uneasy. There’s a valid reason why Benjamin Franklin professed Honesty as the best policy. It affects us psychologically, emotionally and even physically. Here are a few points to emphasize the importance of being honest.

1. You become less anxious when you’re more honest. There’s no such thing as a relaxed liarrelaxed-woman
. Studies have found that lying triggers the release of stress hormones. These hormones make us anxious and increase our heart rates and blood pressure. Hence the more we lie, the more anxious and stressed we become. Honesty makes us more relaxed generally, psychically and mentally.

handshake2. Honesty improves self-confidence and trust. When we lie often, especially about ourselves, we get caught up in that fantasy that we become dissatisfied with our present selves and begin to lose confidence. It’s almost like one has to lie to look good, and deep down is aware of that. You begin to depend on lies instead of your ability to improve yourself and cope with the circumstances. In addition, others would soon begin to realize that you lie often and consequentially lose confidence in you and brand you as dishonest to others. You also begin to lose trust in yourself. On the other hand, an honest person is almost always acclaimed by his or her peers and has a lot of peoples trust. He would have a lot of responsibilities due to this trust, which will in turn boost his or her self confidence. Being honest makes us self-affirmed.

3. Honesty improves relationships. In all types of relationships, once trust is broken it is normally difficult to fix. laughing-coupleContinuous dishonesty goes the extra mile to damage almost every relationship you are in. This would be evident soon enough to make you unhappy and could cause you to sink into depression. Honesty does the exact opposite. It solidifies every relationship you’re involved in and improves the likelihood of you forming new good relationships with people you meet. Good relationships ultimately improves our overall happiness and well-being.

There is no little or ‘white’ lie. Habitual lying begins from lying about the little things and almost always ends up with one lying about the bigger things which could cause substantial damage in ones life. On your road to habitual honesty, start by telling the truth about the littlest things and in time you’d find that recourse is always telling the truth.

The truth shall set you free! That’s psychotherapy is very effective, it’s based on complete honesty. It’s the first step towards solving any problem. Be honest, with yourself and with others.

Life comes down to honesty and doing what’s right. That’s what’s most important.

– Bob Feller


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Keep that Stress at Bay!

Do we really know the impact of stress?

Do we know that stress can make our brain more susceptible to mental illness?stress

Stress, no matter its cause has been found to alter brain activities in ways that can have a long-term lasting detrimental effect on our mental health. There are several ways stress produces lasting damage to our mental health and one of these is by indirectly interfering with the normal functioning of our bodily chemicals which are called neurotransmitters. These chemicals in turn directly impair the function of the pre-frontal cortex of our brain, which is the area known to be home to higher level of thinking in man. Now what happens is that when these normal functions are disrupted, our reflective tendencies become inhibited while our reactive tendencies takes over and these automatically results to being consumed by feelings of anxiety, aggression and even depression.

Stress however does not only have damaging effect on our mental health but it also has negative lasting effect on our body, mood and behaviour.

Ways stress can affect our body:

  •   Having constant headaches
  •   Chest pain
  •   Experiencing fatigue
  •   Change in sex drive
  •  Developing sleep problems
  •   Stomach upset, and having muscle pain.

Ways stress affects our mood:

  •   Producing feelings of anxiety
  •   Restlessness
  •   Lack of motivation or drive
  •   Causing irritability
  •   Anger outburst and overwhelming feelings of sadness.

Stress doesn’t leave our behaviour out of its reach as it also finds a way to cause overeating or under eating, social withdrawal, which can in turn lead to drug or alcohol abuse.

Here are 5 tips to help you “de-stress”:

1.  Remember: This Too Shall Pass! Stress can lead to excessive worry, nervousness, dread, upset stomach, or difficulty breathing. The first step to overcoming negative feelings and stressful situations is recognizing that you are experiencing a very common emotional state most commonly identified as anxiety and that in fact it WILL PASS! Fighting the anxiety can make it stronger. Paradoxically, accepting that you are feeling anxious helps activate the body’s natural relaxation response.

2.  Diaphragmatic Breathing: This is an effective way to activate relaxation response as its goal is to decrease the heart rate. It’s been observed that a rapid heart rate can be lowered with deep breathing techniques. The most commonly utilized strategy is breathing by contracting the diaphragm, a horizontal muscle in the chest located just above the stomach cavity.For more information, visit http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org

3. Check Your Diet: Little do we know that what we drink and eat impacts greatly on our emotional state and food containing caffeine and alcohol have been found to be highly associated with stress/anxiety triggered state. When any of these is consumed on a regular basis, it can cause anxiety, trigger panic attacks, and increase feelings of nervousness and irritability. In light of this knowledge, it is important to decrease consumption of these stressor ingredients and also create a log for our daily meals which we would decide to carefully observe so as to take note of those causing more harm than good whenever they are consumed.

relaxed-woman4. Get Moving: Maintaining a regular (healthy, non-obsessive) exercise routine. Being on  the move daily and getting more involved in sporting activities has been proven to reduce stress, improve mood, enhance self-esteem, and increase energy levels. You can choose any of the various sporting exercise that best suits you and make a decision to commit yourself to it dedicatedly.

 5. Get More Sleep: You will be surprised at how losing just a few hours of sleep can increase the feelings of stress, anger, sadness, and exhaustion and so getting the right amount of sleep on a daily basis is absolutely important if we desire to be rid of stressful and anxiety prone situations.

Now that you have the tips to keeping stress at bay at your disposal, be sure to make them a part of your lifestyle

Have a stress- free day!


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Preventing domestic abuse

domestic-violenceDomestic violence is no new topic. There are several cases daily of emotional, physical or sexual abuse from different parts of the world. Some end up in divorce, serious injury to the victim or even murder. Why would anyone be in such a relationship one may ask. Most times it starts after “I do” has been proclaimed and the couple are living as man and wife. The true colours of people are usually revealed after marriage, were for most its too late to pull out as it may cause scandal, or one chooses to persevere for the sake of the children or financial support or any other reason. No one has to be in an abusive relationship and there are signs that one could use to determine whether or not their partner has the tendency to be abusive.

1. Desire for Power & Control

Mostly in abusive men, there is usually a strong desire for power and control that they exert on their lovers when they feel inadequate. When things are getting out of their control, they turn their frustrations into violence behavior towards their lover. They also are abusive when they feel they are losing control of their significant other, or they feel inferior because they are earning less, they feel jealous or anything that affects their ego and self-esteem. This often leads to obsession, were they forcefully restrict their partners from the ‘outside world’ out of fear of losing them and constantly keep them in check. It is important to know just how big the ego of your significant other is and their hunger for power and control. An indication is if they do not like to ‘share’ power with you. They make all the decisions and set all the rules and are aggressive (even passively) when they are not in control. This is a vital sign.

Child_s640x4272. Violent background

Abusers have often been found to come from homes where they have been abused or observed one of their parents being abused. This influences their approach to relationships as they tend to repeat what they observed in their own relationships. It now becomes a form of learned behaviour, especially if the abused did little or nothing about it (positive reinforcement). Violent temperaments have also been found to be hereditary, meaning that the child of a violent man has a tendency to become violent himself from when he is young or in the future. Correlations have been found between juvenile delinquents and abusive behaviour in adulthood. Know very well the background of whoever you’re getting yourself involved with and look out for histories of violence within the family.

3. Substance abuse

There are several cases of alcoholics and drug abusers being abusive. Abuse of drugs and alcohol makes it less likely for one to control their violent impulses. Reasoning is reduced so they become more impulsive. Substance abusers lack self-control and, because they are often not themselves, end up doing things they’d regret when they are sober. This indication would be clear most of the time, act on it!

1-green-finger4. Blame

A major reason why abuse goes on in a relationship is blame. The abuser blames his or her violent behaviours on their partner, saying it’s their partners fault that they are harming them. On the other side, in a number of cases we find that the abused also blame themselves for the abusers behaviour towards them. Telling themselves or others that if they didn’t act in a certain way they would not have been treated badly by their partner. Either way, it deeply affects the self-esteem of the abused and positively reinforces the abusers violent actions. It is important to note that no one else is to blame for our actions; only we are to blame. Never blame yourself for someone else’s bad actions. Beware if its always your fault when something goes wrong in your relationship, and when necessary it is vital you stand up for yourself.

These four signs are often obvious, so do not ignore them.

                                                              Do not be silent in abuse; speak out!

Domestic abuse occurs most of the time when the abuser believes he or she would get away with it. No one deserves to be in an abusive relationship and it can be prevented if we are all mindful of ourselves, our thoughts and our actions.