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A mother’s love: Love like no other

mothers loveIt’s February, the month of love, when we celebrate valentine. As in the last article, family is truly where love starts from. A person cannot give what he or she does not have as such, even as family is the first agent of socialization, it is also the first place where a person learns what love means. Right from birth, the attachment a child has with the mother is very crucial in the formation of interpersonal relationships with others in future. There is really nothing like the love between a mother and a new born infant. Such love is revealed in touch, stares, caring, sucking and feeding. While these activities go on, the child may either learn to trust or mistrust the care giver. Babies of responsive mothers develop trust while babies of unresponsive mothers may develop mistrust.

This may seem like a whole lot of psychology, but research shows that attachment in childhood influences personality and interpersonal relationships in adulthood. Just like a newborn infant seeks attention, we older “babies” are no different. Love thrives on attention. The amount of time you spend with your loved one be it your friend, spouse or family member determines the quality of such a relationship.

The best inheritance a parent can give to his children is a few minutes of their time each day– M. Grundlermothers love 2

Extending love to the younger generation contributes a lot to our own fulfillment as adults. Extending your attention, care, love, time and resources to your child or another leaves a lasting impact on that life which may culminate into eventual success.

The mother-child love is so strong that it comes with a lot of benefits. An enormous amount of literature and research have highlighted some of the following as benefits of a secure and strong bonding between a mother and a child.. You would love this:

  • Children grow up to become sociable with good interpersonal skills and less aggressive behaviors.
  • Strong bond determines whether a child develops a stable romantic relationship later in life.
  • Exposure to less stress occurring as a result of consistent responses to your child’s cries and frustrations optimizes brain development. On the other hand, high levels of stress may result in irreversible brain damage.
  • Children with a securely attached parenting are able to control their emotions.
  • They have a positive self-concept and high self esteem.
  • As adults, they are able to make positive assumptions about others as such they have better relationships.
  • When relating with others, they engage in more helping behaviors such as showing gratitude, appreciation, care, comfort, and volunteering.mom-kisses-child1

The above mentioned can only be made possible through a responsive parenting and bond between a caregiver and a child. The reverse is usually the case when parents are absent, negligent or abusive.

One way you can be more responsive to your child’s needs is by monitoring your child’s progress.

As the cell is to the body, so is the family to the society. You can learn more tips on parenting by following @drmorayojimoh on twitter.

 

 


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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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Conquering Bad Habits

A persons personality can be described as a collage of habits which the person expresses. We are our habits and our habits make us. The more good habits we have, the better people we tend to be. Bad habits, which are negative behaviour patterns, however, hold us back from reaching our full potentials. Bad habits, as we know, are detrimental to our well-being; they affect us physically (e.g smoking and its adverse effects on the lungs) and mentally (habitual lying, See our previous post The importance of being honest ). You can conquer your bad habits of procrastination, overspending, smoking or even nail-biting and picking your nose, but first you have to assess the origin of such habits and circumstances that trigger them.

Some bad habits, such as smoking and overspending, often start when a person is under a lot of stress. Gratification is often used in such circumstances to take our minds off the stressor. This may not sound so bad initially, but this is how most bad habits begin. The reason being that when we gratify ourselves, the pleasure we feel is initiated by the release of dopamine from from the limbic system to the  pleasure centers of our brain. Behaviours that trigger this release are then more readily reinforced as we naturally enjoy pleasure. The problem is it is more difficult to be moderate which such behaviours and they soon interfere with our lives and become bad habits.

Most of the time, bad habits tend to ease the ‘here and now’ and provide immediate satisfaction, not thoroughly thinking of the future consequences or effect they’d have on us. This is seen especially in procrastination, which most of us are often guilty of. So if you are serious about conquering your bad habits and you are ready to make a firm resolve, the following actions are necessary:

1. Increased Will power

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You have to make a strong resolution that you are willing to stop whatever bad habit it is. You have to remind yourself of it’s adverse effects in your life and that you can indeed control this behaviour. This is something you do daily to increase your willpower and subjugate the habit. Remind yourself that you are in control of your actions and not vice versa. You can even write it down in a diary or somewhere you can see it each day as a reminder. Stop for a second now. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and tell yourself, “I am in control!”.

 


its-possible-to-rewire-your-brain-by-breaking-out-of-the-way-you-naturally-think2. Re-wire your brain

Some say we are creatures of habits and this is due to the way our brains are wired. The more we do an action, the stronger the neural connections relating to that action. This is how practice makes perfect. However, this is also how we automatically or subconsciously find ourselves indulging in our bad habits, the neural connection is usually strong. An environment or situation, that your brain has associated with you carrying out a certain action, could even trigger bad habits. Therefore, you have to re-wire your brain. Associate healthier actions with environments or situations you used to associate with bad habits. This is something you have to do daily for about a month (some say between 21 and 28 days before a bad habit is broken) in order for new neural connections associated with the situation to be established.

 

3. Reflect

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Take time out to reflect on your actions and how they affect your body and well-being. Reflect on who you are now as a person due to this bad habit. Understand that at this moment you’re doing fine without it. Imagine the future consequences of your bad habits. The anxiety caused by too much procrastination or the disappointment you’d feel when you realize your broke again due to overspending. Whatever situation you can relate with. Stay relaxed and imagine how you’d feel if you finally got rid of this bad habit. Experience the momentary joy. Realize when your body begins to crave for this bad habit and what alerts your senses to it. Once you are able to do this, you’d find that you begin to know the initial physical and mental signs that often lead to you indulging in this habit again and can make a conscious decision to stop before you begin to consider it. (For a full mindfulness meditation experience go to  http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org/?page_id=1008)

 

4. Have a support group

Confide with your friends and family if you can and tell them about the difficulty your having is stopping this bad habit. support-groupYou’d find that some of your friends may be going through something similar or even the exact same problem. They may have other ways of dealing with bad habits that they could share with you. Meet with a group maybe once a week to share ideas and to find support. This is one of the most effective methods of conquering bad habits. Find people you can relate with and vice versa and help each other.

Moderation is key

Remember to do all things in moderation. Not too little and definitely not too much. Especially things that bring us pleasure. Discipline is very important if we want to prevent ourselves from bad habits. Be moderate.

If you try or you’ve sincerely tried all these and you persist in relasping, it is advised that you seek a psychotherapist as you may not just have a bad habit but an addiction.


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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