The Gifts Within Anxiety And Depression

ocean

When you feel anxious or depressed, do you try to get rid of these feelings, or do you learn from them?

Getting rid of anxiety and depression is big business – especially for the pharmaceutical companies. Drug sales for anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants are huge. This is very sad to me, because, while there are circumstances where these meds are medically called for, much of the time they are prescribed in an effort to simply get rid of our painful feelings. The problem with this is that it leaves us without the roadmap we need to navigate life in a loving, meaningful and joyful way.

Anxiety and depression have major information for us. Let’s compare these feelings to the pain you would feel if you grabbed a hot pan with your bare hand or cut your finger slicing your veggies.

The physical pain of the hot pan or the knife cut is giving you important information. It’s telling you to STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING! If you numbed your hand before grabbing the pan or cutting the veggies, you could badly burn your hand or badly injure your finger. We NEED these painful feelings to let us know when we are doing something that is harmful to us.

The same is true of anxiety and depression.

What might these feelings be telling you?

One of the main things they are telling you is that you are abandoning yourself in some way. There are many forms of self-abandonment that result in anxiety or depression: Continue reading

Reality Gets an Unlikely Savior: Infinity

space

By Deepak Chopra, MD and Menas Kafatos, PhD

Infinity has been getting a bad reputation recently. It has become the sticking point in the story we tell ourselves about reality. The trouble begins with a split between what is real and what is unreal. If you send someone to the store to buy three apples, and they return with only one, it matches reality to say, “you only brought me a third of what I wanted.”  This statement matches the way numbers are meant to behave. Numbers are pure in the sense that they are abstractions, ever-existing and perfect as the ancient Greek philosophers thought. They cannot be disturbed by real-world events. Yet they are reliable because they allow us to engineer the real world, from building bridges and cathedrals to manufacturing microchips. They are rational because they strictly obey mathematical order and perfect logic.

These three virtues are wobbly when it comes to infinity, however. Getting one apple instead of three represents a one-third return, and when written in decimals, one-third is .33333 out to infinity. In other words, it is an endless number, and “endless” isn’t something we can actually conceive. There is a mismatch between the real world and mathematics, and when it comes to advanced mathematics, the kind applied by physicists and cosmologists, the misbehavior of infinity becomes serious. (Actually, this is one kind of well-behaved infinity, because rational numbers like 1/3 can be known to any order and predicted in advance—the repetition of three continues ad infinitum. An irrational number like pi (π) is a different kind of infinity, since its digits are unpredictable and do not repeat.)

The noted physicist Max Tegmark wrote an article for Discover magazine in Feb. 2015 titled, “Infinity Is a Beautiful Concept – And It’s Ruining Physics.” The ruination exists on two disturbing fronts. The first front is theoretical. Physicists need valid, provable theories to explain the biggest and smallest things in nature. As it turns out, the smallest things, subatomic particles, wink out of sight and vanish into the quantum vacuum. The biggest things, including galactic and intergalactic matter and the universes itself, emerge from the same vacuum, and our universe was set on a course of seemingly almost infinite inflation a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang. The rub is that when calculating the behavior of cosmic inflation, infinity keeps intruding and destroying any reasonable prediction. To quote Tegmark, “. . .inflation always gives the same useless answer: infinity divided by infinity.”

The reasons for arriving at this useless calculation are technical, but the upshot isn’t: reality comes down to an inconceivable concept. Infinity also intrudes in the fashionable theory of the multiverse, which derives our universe by supposing that it is only one in an infinite, or nearly infinite, number of alternative universes. But for this to be true, there have to be reasonable calculations of the odds for producing our particular universe with all its vast number of stars and galaxies, and these don’t exist. There are infinite reasons for why the Big Bang produced the universe that led to life on Earth and infinite reasons why it might not have happened. This is surely a very unsatisfying situation. Continue reading

5 Simple Ways to Develop a Fitness Habit

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 12.16.37 AM

Developing and sticking to a new fitness routine can feel overwhelming but it is actually much simpler than it sounds. The first step is to define your fitness goal. No matter what your reason, defining it from the start, and making it incredibly personal and relevant to you, is how to begin creating this positive habit in your life. Here are some simple ways to help you meet your personal goals: Continue reading

If Trumpism Is the Disease, What’s the Cure?

flag

By Deepak Chopra, MD

The machinery of politics is geared up to defeat Donald Trump on the Democratic side, and there’s hope, after Trump revealed his propensity for self-destruction, that the Republicans will either abandon him or keep a safe distance. Enough condemnation has been directed at him to sink a dozen candidates, and his extended Teflon period may quickly draw to a close.

But the larger issue isn’t Trump’s viability as a candidate, troubling as that is, but the rise of the movement he represents. Every term of condemnation applied to him–bigoted, racist, sexist, xenophobic, authoritarian, mentally unbalanced–fuels the approval of his supporters. A hopelessly divided, hostile electorate has become a diseased electorate. That’s the thing that should disturb us the most, because disease conditions need a cure or else they continue to fester.

To clarify the point, I think back to my early days in Boston as an underpaid medical resident with a young family to support. Like many in my situation, I moonlighted to make ends meet, working at a famous private clinic in the Boston area. My status was on the bottom rung, so I found myself doing workups on the entering patients. One day I did the physical for the leader of a huge labor union, a nationally known figure. To my alarm, he was overweight, a heavy drinker and smoker, and suffering from various symptoms, the most serious being his high blood pressure and bad heart.

I finished the exam and immediately rushed to my supervisor with the bad news. He blanched, saying, “You didn’t tell him any of these things, did you?” I said no, and the supervising physician looked relieved. “We don’t want to let him know that anything is wrong,” he said. “He’s doing okay the way he is, and if he really knew what was wrong, it would probably kill him.” Those were the days, in the early Seventies, when medical ethics still considered it discretionary to tell a patient any grim news, but the net effect was that denial by the doctor led to ignorance by the patient.

The same, and worse, applies to a diseased electorate. On both sides the racism, bigotry, greedy elitism, reactionary attitudes, and sheer malice that has been a feature of the far right for decades somehow became normalized. A very sick patient was being coddled as if he was healthy. In the case of the union leader, keeping him in the dark was done supposedly in his best interest. The far right has been treated with denial out of fear and repugnance. After “nice” Presidents like Reagan and George H. W. Bush deliberately fueled the festering malignancy of the far right, Southern racists, and religious fundamentalists, moral lines became hopelessly blurred for the vast majority of politicians running for office. Continue reading

Intimacy

intimacyHi everyone!  Today I want to cover the topic of intimacy, something vital to each of our lives, and a topic that is a big part of love addiction and codependency.

A lot of us have found that in relationships, we have lost ourselves, and a big struggle is trying to rebuild our behavior patterns in relationships so that we can have healthy relationships where that doesn’t happen.  We have also found that the people we choose to be intimate with are unavailable to us emotionally, or maybe we have even found someone to be intimate with, but we push them away and sabotage our relationships.  Intimacy can be scary! Continue reading

How to Get Reality Back on Track

cornfield

By Deepak Chopra, MD and Menas Kafatos, PhD

Reality, that most important concept about everything that exists, has gotten out of kilter, and yet very few people have noticed or are paying attention. The problem goes deep into the heart of things, however, so deep that future generations may look back and wonder why this generation didn’t wake up. The reason isn’t mysterious, actually. It has to do with how much we have come to rely upon contemporary science and to trust it: science has been appointed to inform us about what is real and what isn’t. Myths, superstitions, personal prejudices, and obsessions are unreal, while facts, data, and measurements are real.

Nothing seems more secure than science in most people’s minds. As long as technology keeps progressing on all fronts, it’s commonly believed that the most intractable problems, such as curing cancer and reversing global climate change, are open to scientific solutions. But what if reality has something else in mind? Quite apparently it does, if you bother to look deep enough. Reality has decided to bring physics, for example, to a profound crisis, not on one front, which might be easily circumvented, but on almost all fronts. This sounds like a drastic statement, but it’s actually a foreshadowing.

Judging by the current state of affairs, certain difficulties are now at least forty years old without solution and sometimes a century or more.  To name the top seven dead ends that science faces,

  1. No one knows where the Big Bang came from.
  2. No one knows how life began.
  3. The origin of time, space, matter, and energy remain obscure.
  4. The relation of mind and brain is as up in the air as it was at the time of Plato and Aristotle.
  5. The nature of consciousness and how it evolved–if it evolved–cannot be agreed upon.
  6.  The process by which the brain creates a three-dimensional world of sight and sound using only chemical and electrical signals is totally mysterious.
  7. The two leading theories in physics, General Relativity (which explains how large objects work) and quantum mechanics (which explains how tiny things work) turn out to be completely incompatible.

In previous posts over the past five years we’ve gone into detail about each of these difficulties, and as much as mainstream science resists any crack in its armor, a host of leading thinkers acknowledges exactly what these problems are. But let’s back away from details to look at the big picture. If there are seven dead ends in our understanding of reality, isn’t something drastically off kilter? If the answer to that question is obviously yes, then why doesn’t science self-correct and change course? We emphasize “science as it is being currently practiced,” because quantum reality is drastically different from the outmoded assumptions of classical physics that still dominate in the everyday work of physicists. Why this gap exists is a complex issue, but let’s ignore the details once again and give a simple, workable answer: inertia. Science advances through the momentum built up over the decades, and like a car rolling downhill, inertia will keep things moving even if the engine is dead. Continue reading

Should you Separate to Save your Marriage?

bed

A friend of mine told me recently that she and her husband had a trial separation a few years ago. I was shocked! I always thought of this husband and wife as the ideal married couple. I had no idea they ever had issues.

In addition, I was shocked that they decided to separate for a short while, and also that it helped bring them back together.

Long story short, the husband had been lying to his wife for several months regarding his standing in college. When the letter came in the mail saying he had lost his scholarship, she was so hurt. Not only had he been failing his classes, he had dropped out but kept telling her about how well he was supposedly doing.

It was a rough time for them. He had lost her trust, and he didn’t know what to do. It was hard for the wife to be in the same house with him because of the cloud of hurt feelings over her head. Things like this tend to get into every other facet of the relationship. She kept thinking, What else had he lied about? Or what will he lie about in the future?

In the end, they decided she would take the kids and stay with her family until he fixed things with school, and then they both would decide how to move forward.

It was not an easy transition to separate, and also it was not easy to come back together again. But the break gave her some space so she could forgive him, and the break gave him some space to focus on what he needed to change.

When she came back into their home, she could see the changes in him, and she appreciated his effort. He also was glad to have her home and vowed never to keep secrets from her again.

Marriage is not for wimps! And sometimes taking a break from each other takes more strength than sticking it out. Separation could even be the way to save marriage instead of leading to divorce.

You may be thinking, isn’t it counter intuitive to be away from someone you are trying harder to love? Don’t you have to be together to work on the relationship?

But, when you can’t say anything nice to each other, you can’t agree on things, or there are bad feelings that just won’t go away, sometimes spending more time together as a couple just makes things worse.

You may be ready for a period of separation if: Continue reading

One Woman’s Survival Story: Marriage Separation

woman

She didn’t know anyone whose marriage had survived separation, but here it was, staring her straight in the face. The woman, we’ll call her Wendy, had only been married a few short years but it was obvious that things were getting stale.

He wanted out. Separation. Relationship halt.

She didn’t see that coming. Aside from things being stale in their young marriage, there wasn’t anything major going on. No affairs or big fights. Nothing that would indicate that her husband was particularly unhappy with her. So when he wanted to move into another apartment, she was in shock. Now what?

When married couples contemplate such a move, it can be scary. Being separate typically means there are big problems, and big problems can lead to divorce. Separation just prolongs the questions. Will this work out? Will we find our way back to each other again?

Wendy kept their separation a secret save for a few who were closest to her. Mostly, she cried alone at her house, or at her desk at work. She cried a lot. Likely she thought about all the things she should have done while they still lived together. Regrets loomed.

Was it all too late? Continue reading

Does Marriage Counseling Really Work?

city

You may have heard that marriage counseling is the best thing a couple has ever done and how it saved their marriage.  You may also have heard that it was a total waste of time and money.  The reality is that marriage counseling does work for some couples, but not for others.  Whether it will help your marriage depends on you, your spouse, your counselor and your desire to save your marriage.

Marriage counseling is usually not an easy choice to make.  By the time you consider counseling, your marriage is often in trouble and you may be wondering if trying to save it is even worth the trouble.  Even couples who are ready to file for divorce can benefit from counseling, if both spouses are willing to make an effort to try and rekindle their love and passion.

To find a counselor, you can ask your family doctor or a minister for recommendations or search your local phone book.  Family and friends could be good places to ask, too, but many people don’t want others to know they are considering counseling.  If you have already spoken to a lawyer, you may even ask him/her if they have a recommendation.

Remember that once you have your list of marriage counselors, you may need to meet a few before you find one that you and your spouse are comfortable with.  Your sessions will involve very personal discussions and for your counseling to be effective, you both need to be able to share your thoughts and feelings openly.  

You will also need to respect the counselor so you can take his/her advice and not feel as if you are being put down for your feelings or criticized for choices you have made.

When you are searching for your counselor, you may want to ask the following questions: Continue reading

Applying Musical Terms in Our Life to Create Expansion- Part 1

guitar

Music is a universal language. There are things music can communicate in just a few notes that would take a lifetime to communicate in words.  When we hear something harmonious in a musical piece it can bring feelings of elation, elevation, love, peace, joy and can touch our emotions in so many ways.  On the other end of the spectrum, when dissonance in a musical piece is present it can create feelings of uneasiness, anxiousness, fear and contracting feelings… Dissonance, in small doses, has a role in music and our life.  I am sure we have all experienced the music of a chase scene in a film that tap into this theory.  So how can we use harmony and dissonance to create expansion in our lives?  Let’s Explore!

Harmony

So, what is harmony?  According to www.dictionary.reference.com:

har·mo·ny

1) agreement; accord; harmonious relations.
2) A consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.
3) Music.
a. Any simultaneous combination of tones
b. The simultaneous combination of tones, especially when blended into chords pleasing to the ear; chordal structure, as distinguished from melody and rhythm
c. The science of the structure, relations, and practical combination of chords

Dissonance

So, what is Dissonance?  According to www.dictionary.reference.com:

dis·so·nance

1. Inharmonious or harsh sound; discord; cacophony.
2. Music ..
a) simultaneous combination of tones conventionally accepted as being in a state of unrest and needing completion.
b. An unresolved, discordant chord or interval.
An unresolved, discordant chord or interval.
3. Disagreement or incongruity.

In reading these definitions did it bring to mind different areas of your life that are in harmony and others that are in dissonance?

Let us move through a three-step process together: Continue reading

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...