Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Are you living life or watching it?

Are you living life or watching it?

Notice the difference between two groups of people in our culture. One group is actively watching life, while the other group is actively doing life. I discussed this gap recently about why some guys watch as much as 35 hours a week of ESPN sports on TV and totally ignore their family. During our conversation we determined that people who spent that much time watching sports were really doing the same thing as anybody else watching sitcoms, soaps or movies. It was entertainment, no more, no less. Even though the behavior might look like a serious study of the sport, in reality it was about watching TV. Entertainment is to relax and turn your mind off, which can be a useful activity. Yet some guys justify that they “need” to watch the sporting event so that their support will supernaturally go through the screen to somehow help their favorite team win! Not even realizing that the players don’t really hear the cheers when they score or groans when they miss the shot because they are so focused on staying in the game.

Now, contrast watching sports with playing sports, which involves tremendous activity and sweat. There is a major difference! One group is having the time of their lives by pushing themselves to a new level of exertion and competition. The other group is quietly watching a satellite or video taped episode of someone else on the field playing their hearts out. Here are some of the startling differences she and I discovered as began to contrast these two common, but misunderstood activities.

Amusement Recreation

Watching Doing

Leisure, (no sweating) Active, (sweating)

No discipline required Discipline required

No health benefit Some health benefit

Isolation, (mostly alone) Social connection with others

No teamwork required Teamwork required

Tendency to self-focus Tendency to focus on others

(“I want to watch this”) (“Let’s vote on what to do”)

Connect to media image Connect to real people

Empty feeling afterwards Energizing feeling afterwards

There is one other major difference between the two groups, and that is what you wear. Think about if for a second. You can participate in amusement by wearing ugly or baggy clothes, perhaps even your pajamas! Recreation involves some type of dress code, uniform, or equipment. For instance, most golf courses require you to meet a very specific dress code to play, as do many tennis courts. Scuba divers need a certain type of equipment, as do bowlers and mountain bikers, and of course everyone knows that basketball players wear their favorite brand of shoes! Recreation is doing something with others and creating an experience that results in creating more value for you and those that you share it with. Recreation keeps you young at heart and is usually good for your heart. Amusement tends to shut off your brain and body; which can lead to the multiple health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Does this mean that you should never watch the game on TV? Nope. It means that you have to get honest with the real reasons behind your behavior. Understand what motivates you to do things, especially any activity that might stand in the way of a more successful life. Even seemingly innocent things, like watching football or ice-skating could become a roadblock. Leonardo DaVinci was likely thinking through the same issue when he said, “Just as iron rusts from disuse, so does inaction spoil the intellect.” Ask yourself, “Does this activity help me have a more successful life?” Sometimes it’s hard to tell, so here’s the balancing formula to protect re-creation, while still taking advantage of the benefits from amusement.

Use of Media, (watching life) with Life Experiences, (living life)

Ù

Learn to be honest with the real reasons behind why you do things. If you want to relax by watching a sailing regatta; good, enjoy it! Make some popcorn. Light an aromatherapy candle. Stretch out on the couch. Take a mental break. All of these things help you because they can soothe your soul. However, if you end up agitated that the wrong crew won, or just spend three hours surfing through channels looking for something else to watch to escape the pressures of your life; then you missed the benefit and value those three hours could have given you. You wasted your time. And when you waste time, you’re wasting your life.


-Dwight

Dwight Bain Bio:

Author, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Critical Incident Stress Management expert with the Orange County Sheriffs Office, founder of http://www.stormstress.com/ and trainer for over 1,000 business groups on the topic of making strategic change to overcome major stress- both personally & professionally. Corporate clients include: Toyota, State Farm, DuPont, Bank of America & Disney. Organizational clients include the US Army, Florida Hospital & the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Quoted in: Investors Business Daily, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution & Orlando Sentinel. http://www.dwightbain.com/

Contact Info:
Media interviews-
schedule through Kristi Keaton- office: 407.647.3900 cell: 321.356.0571 email:mailto:Kristi@DwightBain.com
The LifeWorks Group, Inc. mailing:1850 Lee Road, Suite 250, Winter Park, FL 32789
main office:
407-647-7005 dedicated FAX: 407.647.8874
author email: Dwightbain@aol.com

The Holly Jolly Season; The Happy Time of the Year! Or is It?

Summer flew by, children started school, and bang, Thanksgiving and Christmas lie but a few short weeks ahead. The time has changed, humidity has dropped, and the Florida temperature is a Chamber of Commerce dream. We look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas as holidays of fun, family gatherings, gift giving, and great meals. What could be better than family gatherings, exchanging presents of love, and wonderful home cooked meals? We all expect that this time of the year will be one of the best times of the year, and it should be. Who would suspect that Thanksgiving and Christmas are times of the year that our children will experience some of their worst depressions of the year?

Fact is, the results of a study conducted by the NYU Child Study Center with over 400 teens reflected that there is “extraordinary crisis of untreated depression and anxiety among American adolescents, particularly adolescent girls”

The study indicates that during the holiday season a portion of our teens tend to become depressed, and this depression leads to unacceptable behavior in our teen population. Depressed adolescents tend to consumer alcohol, use drugs, and become involved in sexual behavior at a higher rate than those teens who are not depressed. The behavior is far more evident in girls. The statistics reported by the NYC Child Study Center are significant:

70% of depressed girls drink vs. 58% of girls who are not depressed

55% of depressed girls take non-prescription drugs vs 39% of girls who are not depressed

35% of depressed girls are sexually active vs. 23% of girls who are not depressed

We find ourselves asking the question; Why would the holidays be a time that my child would be depressed? The answers often elude parents. Outside of the reasons one might expect, such loss of a parent or grandparent or other loved one over the holidays, what factors could cause your child to be one of the statistics that the study reports?

Let’s take a look at the holidays from your child’s perspective.

The teens are out of school for 4 to 5 days at thanksgiving, and 10 to 14 days at Christmas; This could mean separation anxiety from friends and from boy friends and girl friends. This is especially true if the family is traveling out of town to visit other family members. Believe it or not, this puts tremendous pressure on a teen’s perception of their relationships.

Holidays are a time of celebration for those who have boy friends and girl friends. It is also a time of reminder for those who do not have a boy friend or girl friend that they are alone. Some consider themselves losers if they are not in a relationship. While we find this to be more evident in girls, it also has an effect on boys, and if they are depressed, they often turn to risky behavior to cover this up; drugs, sex, or alcohol.

The holidays are also a time of expectation, especially Christmas. Our teens have an expectation for not only receiving gifts, but also buying and giving gifts. All too often, they place more emphasis on what they get than what they give. In a perfect world, we want our children to see the holidays as times of Thanksgiving and worshiping the birth of Christ. Unfortunately, in some venues, the holidays have become times of excess. Our teens are under tremendous pressure to “keep up with the Jones’s” they must give and get at a level that adults often do not realize. If they are unable to do that, depression can often be an end result.

What you can do:

Recognize that the holiday season brings an opportunity for your teen to become depressed. Look for these symptoms:

Irritable, Moody attitudes

Schedule changes, curfew breaks, school skipped,

Complaints about not enough spending money

Angry about going out of town for the holidays

Spend time discussing what the family holiday travel plans will be well in advance

Discuss and get a clear plan in place for the time that the teen will be out of school during the holidays

Be realistic when discussing the present exchange at Christmas. Encourage your child to give a gift to Jesus in the form of a tithe to your church.

Arrange for your entire family to serve at least one night at a shelter, serving a holiday meal.

If you child has a boyfriend or girlfriend, arrange for the friend to join in serving at a shelter. We find that this always helps our children get a handle on their own blessings.

If possible, try to arrange for a chaperoned date for the friend and your child so that they know that you appreciate their friends. This could serve as your child’s gift.

Written by: Jessica Gilstrap

Jessica Gilstrap is a licensed mental health counselor who has counseled and helped adolescents and their families for the past eight years. Her focus has been with children and women experiencing sexual abuse, eating disorders, and body image problems. Jessica received her Master’s in Counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary, and completed her internship at Northland Community Church in Orlando, Florida.

The Holly Jolly Season

It is the Happy Time of the Year

Friday, November 18, 2005

What are the psychological dynamics behind women and worry?

Women worry about many different topics, from men to body image to relationships to their mother's approval; yet the same psychological drive is fueling this stressful emotion no matter what triggers it. I believe the real source behind the worry most women feel is control.



Not control in the sense of being a manipulative monster, (like Jane Fonda's character in a recent film), rather it's the need to know what's happening around her so she can feel empowered and in control of her emotions and environment.



Think of it this way. When control goes up, worry goes down because the more a woman can understand the more she will automatically feel a sense of security and confidence inside. However, as a situation begins to feel out of control, worry dramatically increases, leading to more serious conditions like Social Phobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorders or even Panic Attacks if left untreated.



Women process information verbally which is why they need to talk through so many issues to feel comfortable. When a woman feels connected through communication she feels confident and alive, instead of afraid. Guys would do well to figure out that they could make rapid improvement in their relationships simply by listening, instead of lecturing the women in their life.



Written by: Dwight Bain, Author, Speaker & Certified Counselor



Contact Info:
The LifeWorks Group, Inc.


mailing:1850 Lee Road, Suite 250, Winter Park, FL 32789
main office: 407-647-7005 dedicated FAX: 407.647.8874
http://www.dwightbain.com/





Thursday, November 17, 2005

Are there any psychological benefits to pet ownership?

Written By: Dwight Bain, LMHC
 
Loneliness is listed as one of the greatest problems facing people in this country because it decreases mood and robs motivation. 
 
Feeling disconnected can create an anxious mood, while isolation and social withdrawal can create a feeling of depression that steals energy to change.  Both of these problems can be solved through the power of connection.  Psychologically we all need to feel connected in secure and stable relationships to maintain a positive sense of identity and worth. 
 
Sadly many people don't have positive relationships with friends or family because of death, divorce or dysfunction, yet they still feel a positive connection inside.  What's their secret?  Simple, they have learned the power of connecting to pets in a relational way to avoid loneliness and depression.
 
Here's what you and I can do to understand how to connect with our pets while feeling better in the process. 
 
First, research your daily schedule and lifestyle, then list out which type of pet most closely fits your personality as well as budget.  Tropical fish are relaxing and don't have to be walked once a day.  Parrots can learn clever phrases but won't chew up your shoes.  Dogs can't say hello, but are always excited to see you and earning the affection of a cat's purr is one of the simple joys of life. 
 
Next, invest some time checking out the health benefits of pet ownership which may bring the dramatic improvement of reduced stress and renewed connection to a feeling of emotional wellness and peace.  Remember that different personalities attach through different types of pets, so do your research, visit a few pet stores, Internet websites or Web blogs to learn as much as possible to help you in your decision. 
 
Gathering strategic information on the breed you are considering will guide you through the process of understanding all the factors involved, which will help you avoid disappointment by finding the very best fit possible as you begin enriching your life with the psychological benefits of owning a pet. 
 
Here's the bottom line on pet ownership.  Every relationship adds value, but few are as easy as connecting to a new best friend who prevents loneliness while bringing a better quality of life.
 
(Additional note: could you tell that our home is full of life and laughter because of 7 pounds of energetic fur wrapped up into a Yorkie named, "Sugar"!)
 
 

Dwight Bain Bio:
Author, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Critical Incident Stress Management expert with the Orange County Sheriffs Office, founder of www.StormStress.com and trainer for over 1,000 business groups on the topic of making strategic change to overcome major stress- both personally & professionally. Corporate clients include: Toyota, State Farm, Du Pont, Bank of America & Disney. Organizational clients include the US Army, Florida Hospital & the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Quoted in: Investors Business Daily, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution & Orlando Sentinel.  www.DwightBain.com