Overcoming a Major Set Back in Life

Below are seven steps and ideas to get your body and mind back on track, from overcoming a major set back in your life.

1. Try and keep the circumstances or situation in perspective. Will this be as big an issue in 10 years as it is today?

2 Evaluate the situation in light of your entire life.

3. Focus on what you have, not what you lost. This isn’t any easy step when you are neck deep in pain, sorrow or grief, but continuing to focus on what is no longer tends to keep you locked in the past and a state of ‘no positive action’.

4. Do something, anything to re-focus your thoughts, energy or activities in a positive or more healthy direction.

5. If it is a loss of a relationship or loved one, remember all that you had with them that was good and positive.

6. Remember you can’t change what has happened, but you can change the future. You change your future in your present moments. You also create all of your positive or negative memories in your present moments.

7. Keep in mind the concept that you don’t always get to determine what comes into your life, but you always get the choice of how to react or respond to it.

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Narcissism at the Gym

Arab looking in mirror at gym

Narcissistic personality disorder

Although most individuals have some narcissistic traits, high levels of narcissism can manifest themselves as a pathological form as narcissistic personality disorder, whereby the patient overestimates his or her abilities and has an excessive need for admiration and affirmation.

Campbell and Foster (2007) review the literature on narcissism. They argue that narcissists possess the following “basic ingredients”:

Positive: Narcissists think they are better than others.

Inflated: Narcissists’ views tend to be contrary to reality. In measures that compare self-report to objective measures, narcissists’ self-views tend to be greatly exaggerated.

Agentic: Narcissists’ views tend to be most exaggerated in the agentic domain, relative to the communion domain.

Special: Narcissists perceive themselves to be unique and special people.

Selfish: Research upon narcissists’ behaviour in resource dilemmas supports the case for narcissists as being selfish.

Oriented toward success: Narcissists are oriented towards success by being, for example, approach oriented.

Narcissistic traits

-An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
-Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
-A lack of psychological awareness (see insight in psychology and psychiatry, egosyntonic)
-Difficulty with empathy
-Problems distinguishing the self from others (see narcissism and boundaries)
-Hypersensitivity to any sleights or imagined insults (see criticism and narcissists, narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury)
-Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
-Haughty body language
-Flattery towards people who admire and affirm him or her
-Detesting those who do not admire him or her
-Using other people without considering the cost to them of his or her doing so
-Pretending to be more important than he or she is
-Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating his or her achievements
-Claiming to be an “expert” at most things
-Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
-Denial of remorse and gratitude

Hotchkiss’ seven deadly sins of narcissism

Hotchkiss identified what she called the seven deadly sins of narcissism:

Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.

Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.

Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.

Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.

Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.

Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.

Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other.

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Body Image – Men

Your body image is what you think you look like. This may have no bearing at all on your actual appearance. Around one in four Australian men in the healthy weight range believe themselves to be fat, while 17 per cent of men are on a weight loss diet at any given time. Men also worry about being muscular. A desire to fit the ideal masculine image of lean muscularity means that over-exercising and the use of dangerous and illegal drugs (like steroids) are on the rise.

It’s estimated that about 45 per cent of Western men are unhappy with their bodies to some degree, compared with only 15 per cent some 25 years ago. Gay men and athletes are particularly vulnerable to poor body image or feeling insecure about their bodies.

Self-destructive behaviours
A negative body image encourages a range of self-destructive behaviours, including:

* Dieting – around 17 per cent of men are dieting at any given time.
* Eating disorders – one in 10 people with anorexia nervosa is now male, while 4 per cent of men are purging (vomiting, also known as bulimia) and about 3 per cent of men have problems with binge eating.
* Exercise dependence – around 20 per cent of regular exercisers (approximately 5 per cent of the population) are addicted to exercise, either psychologically or physically.
* Steroid abuse – around 3 per cent of Australian teenage boys use muscle enhancing drugs (like steroids).

A range of causes
Some of the factors that contribute to a negative body image include:

* Teasing in childhood and adolescence (for being too thin, too weak or too fat).
* Peer pressure among teenage boys to be tough and strong.
* A cultural tendency to judge people on their appearance.
* The emphasis on male sports players as role models for boys.
* Advertising campaigns and media coverage featuring idealised male images.
* Promotion by society of the ideal man as always being strong, lean and muscular
* Well-meaning public health campaigns that urge people to lose weight.

The figures could be higher
Most experts believe the real figures on eating and exercise disorders among Australian men could be much higher. Men are less likely to seek medical help than women for any type of illness. Since worrying about weight and body shape has always been seen as a ‘female’ problem, men are even less likely to ask for help, for fear of looking weak and effeminate.

Healthier choices
A negative body image develops over the course of your life, so changing it can take time and effort. Suggestions on improving your body image include:

* Reflect on your experiences and try to unravel the influences on your body image from childhood.
* Try weighing yourself less often.
* Make a pact with yourself to treat your body with respect, which includes eating well and not embarking on punishing exercise routines, or taking drugs.
* Try to strike a healthy balance between being concerned about how your body looks vs the way it functions.
* Get informed by reading up on body image issues.
* Develop a range of reasons for exercising (such as stress release or improved concentration), rather than concentrating only on changing your body shape.

Type of help available
If you are feeling depressed about your body, or if you are developing destructive behaviours (like crash dieting, binge eating or compulsive exercising), then professional help is a good idea. There are counsellors and psychologists, trained in the areas of body image, who can help you change negative beliefs and behaviours.

Where to get help

* Your doctor
* Counsellor
* An Accredited Practising Dietitian, contact the Dietitians Association of Australia
* The Eating Disorders Foundation Victoria (03) 9885 0318 non metro callers 1300 550 236

Things to remember

* Body image is the way you perceive, think and feel about your body.
* Poor body image is becoming a male problem too, with around half of all men feeling unhappy with their body shape or size.
* Figures on male anorexia, bulimia and exercise dependence could be much higher, since men are traditionally reluctant to seek medical help.

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Mental Health


Are You Bipolar?

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior–from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. More than just a fleeting good or bad mood, the cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks, or months. And unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function.

During a manic episode, a person might impulsively quit a job, charge up huge amounts on credit cards, or feel rested after sleeping two hours. During a depressive episode, the same person might be too tired to get out of bed and full of self-loathing and hopelessness over being unemployed and in debt.

In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria are common. People experiencing a manic episode often talk a mile a minute, sleep very little, and are hyperactive. They may also feel like they’re all-powerful, invincible, or destined for greatness.

But while mania feels good at first, it has a tendency to spiral out of control. People often behave recklessly during a manic episode: gambling away savings, engaging in inappropriate sexual activity, or making foolish business investments, for example. They may also become angry, irritable, and aggressive–picking fights, lashing out when others don’t go along with their plans, and blaming anyone who criticizes their behavior.

Common signs and symptoms of mania include:

* Reckless, intrusive and aggressive behavior
* Denial that anything is wrong
* Abuse of drugs and alcohol
* Increased sex drive
* Excessive spending
* Increased energy and restlessness
* Abnormally euphoric mood
* Little sleep needed
* Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic OR extremely irritable
* Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
* Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
* Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
* Racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
* Highly distractible, unable to concentrate
* Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
* Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
* Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)

Why YOU Think you are JESUS: The Spiritual ‘Delusions’ of Bipolar Disorder

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Mental Fitness


One cannot consider himself totally healthy if he is mentally declining, emotionally unstable or energetically unbalanced.

A de-conditioned mind can exhibit symptoms from poor memory, slow thinking and difficulty learning to more serious problems such as Alzheimer or Parkinson’s disease. Mental fitness is therefore just as critical, if not more so (your mind controls your body), as a fit body.

The mind like the body, if not used, will begin to deteriorate, diminishing one’s longevity, independence and quality of life. Think of the mind as a muscle that requires consistent stimulation in varying ways each day to stay mentally fit. If we neglect to exercise our muscles, they become soft and weak. If we fail to use our mental muscle we become susceptible disease. It is not however predestined that one will lose his mental capacity. In fact research strongly suggests that regular physical and mental exercises can keep the mind clear, sharp and functioning optimally throughout your entire life. Begin a regimen to maintain mental vitality.

Key ways to keeping your mind healthy

# Exercise your mind
1. Read stimulating books and magazines.
2. Do crossword puzzles.
3. Do calculations in your head.

#Reduces or eliminate drug and alcohol consumption
1. Cut back on drinking and going out drinking on the weekends.
2. Do something new, Instead of parting on the weekend, go for a scenic drive or a walk or a run at the beach, or even a hike up the mountains, this will get your mind and body away from drugs and alcohol.
3. If someone or something is a bad influence on you, you might consider changing your circumstances.

#Follow a regular exercise program, learn to reduce stress in your life
1. Hire a trainer.
2. Do fitness classes.
3. Join a martial arts gym.

# Maintain a health, holistic diet
1. Eat more veges and fruits.
2. Cut back on sugar.
3. Cut back on fast food.

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