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It All Starts With You

It is still early in the New Year and yet most people are probably already struggling with their New Year resolutions. A number of people have given up on the idea altogether as each year they see themselves failing to attain the heights or landmarks they’d set for themselves. The first and most important thing is NEVER QUIT. We all struggle with our resolutions mainly because we fail to realize the vital first step to take, which is self-focus. In order to improve, one must reflect deeply on one’s self and ask questions like “what have I been doing wrong”, “what can I do better” and “what am I doing today that takes me closer to who I want to be tomorrow?” It is certain that the more you ask yourself these reflective questions the more you shall realize that IT ALL STARTS WITH YOU.

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Here are some things you will discover that will not only help you live up to your New Year resolutions but will ultimately improve you:

1. Negative behavioural patterns: As you reflect on yourself, you will begin to realize the harmful behavioural patterns 052713bucks-carl-sketch-blog480which continually hinder you each day from improving yourself. The Are-you-happy- bad habits you’ve hung on to for years, your approach to work and not getting enough or too much rest. Focus on the causes and effects of your present predominant behaviours. A diary or a jotter could be a very helpful way to keep track. Find out the harmful behavioural patterns that are taking you nowhere and immediately instigate a significant change in your daily routine. This leads us to the next point…

invest-in-you2. Self-investment: You will realize that a major hindrance in achieving ones goals is lack of self-confidence which corresponds to a lack of self-investment. You must invest in yourself; it is the only way you can improve yourself. Either you do so by starting frequent exercise, buying more books and reading widely or learn a new language. Each day, you must do something for yourself that would make you feel better and be better. Spare no expenses in self-investment in order to create the YOU and you will love. The more you invest in yourself, the more confident you will be and the more able you will be to achieve your resolutions.

You will also increase your…

  1. Personal Value: This is the aspect of yourself that no one else but you can touch, increase or decrease. You needvalue-1 to realize that no matter how many times you have failed, you never lose your value. Focus on the things about you that you can improve and forget about the things you can’t. Incessantly focusing on things we can’t change causes us to be insecure and underrate our own value. Accept who you are and then go on to improve your value by letting go of anything holding you back. Think of how you can increase your value in order to benefit others and not just yourself and you will not only value yourself but others would value you.
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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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Understanding Autism

Have you ever wondered what exactly autism is? Do you know someone who you think might be autistic? Would you like to understand and relate better with him or her? Are there any available treatments for autism?

Most people have heard of Autistic disorder, more commonly known as Autism, and may have a vague idea of some behaviours to expect from an autistic person. A typical example would be Dustin Hoffman’s award winning portrayal in the 1988 hit movie “Rain Man”. What this article aims to do is not just to give more information about autism, but to elicit a deeper understanding of the disorder so that one can relate better with such people.

According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM-IV), autism should be diagnosed when a person has at least six or more symptoms from the 3 major symptom areas which are Social interactions, Communication and Repetitive and rigid behaviours. It is also noted that these Symptoms should be apparent before 3 years of age. Autism is found 4 times more often in boys than girls. Now to explore these areas and how one can cope with people expressing these symptoms. 

Autistic people have problems with social interactions so you’d find that they don’t express themselves the way A child alone in a school playgroundnormal people do in their speech and gestures and they don’t keep eye contact. They prefer to keep to themselves and seem to lack empathy. This makes it difficult for them to make friends and in fact it doesn’t often seem like they are interested in doing so. Having an autistic child in a normal school setting my not be the best option as they do not enjoy crowds and that much attention either. As they do form attachments to caregivers, it would be preferable for their caregivers to teach them and spend time with them in their homes, a place where they are used to already. Caregivers also have to understand what behaviours to expect and realize it is not their fault that the child seems indifferent or does not want to play with them. It could be frustrating but autistic people need patience, along with the presence and attention of the caregiver.

They also have language problems. Either their sentences are incomplete or they keep repeating the same word over and over. They rarely gesture when they speak so particular attention would have to be paid when they are trying to communicate. Again this requires a lot of patience and understanding. One can try to probe them when they think they have an idea of what the autistic person is trying to say. However they should not be hurried or forced to speak faster or clearer because it would not help the situation.

94387630Finally, they’d have one or more repetitive behaviour patterns. A common one is having specific items that they stick to, like seating on the same chair and the same spot, using the same cup each day and playing with the same toys. They also stick to a strict routine each day, doing the same activities in the same pattern, and have compulsions, such as arranging items in a particular order. It may seem weird but one should not interfere as it may make them very anxious. They have limited interests due to their strict daily pattern so finding what would keep them happy would not be difficult. However, it may be difficult to watch them do repetitive body movements such as turning their heads or flapping their hands again and again. This does not mean there’s a problem as they reward themselves internally for such behaviour. One should just observe to make sure they do not harm themselves in the process.

It is important to treat autistic people not like they have a disorder or like they are weird, as they still have feelings, but as a different type of people. However, there is a possibility of improving their condition and making them closer to normal.

 

Neurofeedback and Autism

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Neurofeedback is one of the treatments that could help improve an autistic persons condition. It is the monitoring and normalizing of the persons brainwave activities through an electroencephalographic (EEG) brain scan. Of the few and limited treatments for autism, in a small number of studies, improvements in speech and social interaction have been found after people with autism used neurofeedback compared to those who didn’t. So it is definitely a treatment one can give a chance in order to improve an autistic persons quality of life. (For more information on neurofeedback visit http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org/?page_id=724 )

April is Autism awareness month, spread the knowledge about autism!