fbpx

Vote and Let Go

It’s your duty to vote. Once you have done your duty, you need to move on. The election probably didn’t come out exactly the way you hoped. It never does. But it is unproductive to worry about what will happen next. You make your voice heard at the ballot box, and then you leave the people elected to get on with their job.

I am happy that people are fighting to make the world a better place through political campaigning. But it is a demanding task full of struggle, bad arguments and dirty tricks. If you suffer from emotional trauma, you need to take care of yourself and let others do the political fighting between elections. You’ve done your part.

You can Rewire Your Brain

You can rewrite a traumatic memory. Important events are stored in the brain as a combination of the facts and an associated feeling. Scientists are hoping to treat trauma by manipulating neurotensin levels in the brain, but there is another way. Trauma therapists have known for many years that it is possible to regenerate images in memory, and neuroscience is slowing discovering what happens in the brain.

It turns out that every time we access a memory, it gets weaker. Normally, we automatically re-write the same memory. That’s why we don’t notice the process. But when working with a therapist in a situation of emotional safety, we can re-write the memory with a different feeling.

If you want to know more about this process, and how it can help you, I’ll be happy to tell you more. You can book a time to talk at no cost on my website. I hope to hear from you.

Finally an Official Framework for Improving Workplace Mental Health

Toxic workplaces are bad for your health. You knew that, and I knew that. But now even the U.S. Surgeon General has realized it. Normally, the Surgeon General gives advice on smoking, pandemics, and cancer. But yesterday, they issued guidance telling companies to pay more attention to mental workplace conditions.

Some companies take good care of their workers, and they are the ones who have enough employees and low turnover. Others are doing less well, and those are the places that complain about not being able to find workers.

The Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being is a well-written document with both solid arguments for why it matters and what you can do about it. If you are in a leadership position, I encourage you to read it. If you work in an organization doing less than ideally on workplace conditions, I suggest you send a link to HR. You find the report here: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/workplace-mental-health-well-being.pdf

Software Doesn’t Prevent Bullying, But Self-Esteem Does

Can you prevent bullying with software? I’ve just heard of a startup that offers a system to schools with regular surveys and communication features. Their idea is to build a “social graph” and identify the children who have few connections. These are most likely to be bullied. I don’t think this will “solve bullying” as their marketing claims, but it might have a positive effect in directing teacher attention to the children most at risk.

What I know is that you can reduce bullying by building up self-esteem. A child with high self-esteem is less likely to be a victim of bullying. These children can also much more easily brush off any bullying that does happen without suffering long-term effects. Additionally, children with higher self-esteem are much less likely to bully others.

I work with self-esteem in both children and adults. I call this “bullying vaccination,” and this is one vaccination guaranteed to be without side effects. Contact me if you want to hear more about how I can help you, your child, your school, or your workplace.

Netflix is Bad for Your Mental Health

To save your mental health, reconsider your Netflix subscription. A new “true crime” Netflix show is, unfortunately, very popular. And the Netflix recommendation engine will relentlessly promote their most popular shows. If you give in and watch an episode, your mental health will worsen.

Dark and unpleasant content affects everyone, but those who have suffered trauma are affected most. Fictional crime is bad enough, but “true crime” is based on things that actually happened. That makes these shows even harder to shake off.

The painful problem is that most people with traumatic experiences from long ago think that time has healed them. It doesn’t. Time allows the brain to push the memory into the background, but the body still remembers. That’s why some things hit you surprisingly hard. Stay away from “true crime.”

Be Careful How You Use Your Brain

Human mindpower is a double-edged sword. It is inspiring to hear those who power their way to success despite many obstacles. Unfortunately, human mindpower can also be used to bury and ignore traumatic experiences. Because the body remembers, these experiences can hold the victim back for years or decades.

In my practice, I often see clients who insist they just need a little help with one specific thing. Almost always, it turns out they suffer from the after-effects of traumatic experiences. They believed those things were so far in the past they couldn’t possibly matter anymore. But our entire history matters. Get in touch to hear more about how I work and how can help you or someone dear to you.

Seek Diversity

Remember to seek out diversity. In my RIM workshop last week, I had participants from three different countries, and the diversity was very inspiring. People with different backgrounds contribute differently. The more diverse my class is, the more interesting our discussions become, and the more I learn myself.

That’s why enlightened organizations seek diversity: It enables them to make better decisions. Of course, if you are in a leadership position and following me, you already know that. But even if you are not hiring, you can still actively seek out people different from yourself, at work and in your private life. It will inspire and enrich you.

Increase Your Positive Thinking

Today you’re only supposed to think positive thoughts – September 13th is Positive Thinking Day. The idea of such a day seems ridiculous – what if your car breaks down or your train is canceled? But the deeper reason behind it makes excellent sense.

We are bombarded with negative messages. Advertisers want us to be unhappy and promise that if only we bought their product, we would become happy. News media focus on bad news because more people click on those stories.

To avoid sinking into despair, you need to fight back. It’s all well and good to celebrate Positive Thinking Day. But it’s better to create a habit of explicitly looking for the positive each day. Spend a few moments before bed to review your day and find something positive that happened. It will improve your mood – and your sleep.

Find Another Tribe

There are two kinds of bullying, and you fight them in different ways. Active bullying is when people do something, like yelling or hiding your tools. This is the kind of bullying everyone can see and that you can report to your boss or HR. Passive bullying is when people don’t do something, for example when they invite everybody else to an event. It is hard to report this kind of bullying, but you can still fight back.

The important thing is to have strong relationships outside work. Many people invest most of their time and energy in their jobs, and the people at work become your tribe. We have a deep ancient fear of being excluded from our tribe. In a hunter-gatherer society, exclusion could literally be life-threatening.

If you are the victim of passive bullying at work, join another tribe. It can be your church, an environmental organization, or a sports or crafts club. You do not have to depend on being part of the tribe at work.

Does Therapy Work for You?

Some people are cutting back on therapy to save money. If you have unprocessed traumatic memories, that is one of the worst places to save.

You physical and mental health is the foundation of your life. If you are in therapy, think about the benefits you get from it. After a session, do you feel lighter, more in control, and better able to handle your life? If so, therapy should absolutely be a priority.