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Mental Health Blog by Ryan S.

Living life with a mental illness, however I get out of bed every morning and fight; I may not win every day, but I fight. I love helping others who battle mental illness along with family and friends who struggle to comprehend mental illness. I enjoy speaking to one or thousands of people using my own unique speaking method that provides an easy to understand look at mental health along with a bit of fun.

Dealing with Child Anxiety takes more than just therapy

Children often go out and play --- activities that are normal for their physical, intellectual, and emotional development. They go to school, do homework, do some errands, and play again. They interact often with peers and are always on the go. In some cases, children get a chance to feel the surge of anxiety in and around their busy environment. Child anxiety often shows up in school events (like sport games or a science test), and even because of peer pressure. Although a little worry and a little sense of competition may boost a child's performance in school, a positive fact since anxiety is often considered a negative response to challenging situations or problems.

But experiencing child anxiety in ill-suited situations can cause the kids to be extra stressful and distracted. It is a known fact that children are easily scared of anything. From spiders, frogs, monsters under their beds, dogs, or to the dark, they feel this rush of anxiety that makes them extra alert. Anxiety, in this case for children, is likewise general in nature—constant alertness. But it is essential that there exists a balance of anxiety that would not intervene with their daily normal functions.

Unfavorably for some, children also have different child anxiety disorders. Sometimes, children feel worried about something, making them think that they may fail in some way or another. This is an example of generalized anxiety disorder. Excessive worry for children can be treated by sharing them definite thoughts and giving them inspirational words, giving them an opportunity to learn how to “self talk” in a positive way. Other disorders also include panic disorder, often caused by panic attacks due to either psychological or physical harm. Another would be seperation anxiety disorder, that is common in young children who are extremely attached to either parents or siblings. Social and other specific phobias are also implications for such disorder, and is focused on fear of things or certain situations. A child with selective mutism often generates a feel of being alone. They usually do not converse with anyone or participate in any social interaction (in school or at home). Another would be having obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as a child, since it can also affect their way of living, and this specific disorder is mostly carried out through adulthood.

Coping with anxiety can be easy and effective if the method is proven to be safe and known by medical institutions. The support of parents is also important in effective treatment of serious emotional and psychological conditions. Other methods to manage stress in children include cognitive- behavioral therapy such as role playing, relaxation training, healthy thinking, exposure to positive and rational thoughts, and also family therapy --- which is acknowledged as one of the most effective ways for coping with anxiety.

Coping with anxiety in children takes time and effort from the therapists, doctors, and parents alike. Engaging them in proper social activities, helping them help themselves, and also praising them and constantly giving them gifts or goodies will give them more encouragement and support.

 Reference: ZIP Articles

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Recovery From Addictions, Part 5

In Part 1 of this series of articles, I defined substance and process addictions, and described the four major false beliefs that underlie most addictions:

1. I can’t handle my pain.
2. I am unworthy and unlovable.
3. Others are my source of love.
4. I can have control over how others feel about me and treat me.

In Parts 2,3 and 4, I explored in depth each of these false beliefs and how they contribute to addictive behavior. In this final part of this series, I address the way out of addictions.

Recovery from addictions is based on two major shifts in your thinking and behavior:

• Shifting your intention from avoiding responsibility for your feelings to learning about loving yourself. This means shifting from your wounded self/ego/mind having dominion over your choices to your loving Adult/spiritual Guidance having dominion over your choices.

• Learning to access your personal spiritual Guidance so that you can fill yourself with the unconditional love and compassion of Spirit rather than turning to addictions to fill the emptiness and take away the pain.

As long as getting love and avoiding pain is your highest priority, you will not be able to recover from your addictions. When you decide that being loving to yourself and others is your highest priority, you are on your way to healing from your addictive behavior.

Your intent is everything – it completely determines your actions and the resulting outcome.

If your intent is to get love and avoid pain in order to feel safe, you will continue to resort to addictive behaviors as a way of having control over getting love and avoiding pain.

When your intent is to be on the spiritual path of evolving in love and fully manifesting yourself, then you will bring the following Six-Step Inner Bonding® process into your life throughout the day.

1. You will stay tuned into your feelings throughout the day so that you know the minute you feel anything other than peace and joy. You will be present within your body to your feelings just as you would be present to the feelings of a baby.

2. You will immediately move into a compassionate intention to learn about what you are thinking or doing that is causing your distress – your anger, fear, anxiety, depression, hurt, guilt, shame, stress, emptiness, aloneness, loneliness, and so on. You will become a loving Adult by opening to your spiritual Guidance – the wise and loving presence that is always here for you - allowing that love and wisdom to come into your heart.

3. You will explore with your Inner Child – your feeling self – about what you are thinking, doing, or believing that is causing the distress. You will discover your false beliefs and your resulting unloving behavior that are causing your pain.

4. You will open to learning with your spiritual Guidance, asking “What is the truth about these beliefs?” and “What is the loving action?” You will allow the answers to these questions to come when they will, not trying to control the process.

5. You will take the loving action you are guided to take, which can take many different forms – from lovingly holding your Inner Child, to getting more exercise and eating better, to speaking your truth or moving into compassion with someone else.

6. You will evaluate your actions to see how you feel now. If you are not feeling better, you will seek another loving action until you feel peaceful within.

If you do these steps each time you feel any distress instead of turning to your habitual addictions, you will gradually move beyond addictive behavior.

You always have these two choices regarding your intent – to control or to learn. You – only you - are in charge of which of these you choose. If you do not consciously choose the intent to learn about loving yourself, you will unconsciously and automatically choose to try to have control over getting love and avoiding pain through your addictive behavior.

Choosing the intent to learn about loving yourself and practicing Inner Bonding® throughout the day is a powerful path to becoming addiction-free.

Reference: ZIP Articles

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Recovery From Addictions, Part 4

In Part 1 of this series of articles, I defined substance and process addictions, and described the four major false beliefs that underlie most addictions:

1. I can’t handle my pain.
2. I am unworthy and unlovable.
3. Others are my source of love.
4. I can have control over how others feel about me and treat me.

Part 2 was about the first of these beliefs – learning how to handle pain. Part 3 addressed the second and third beliefs – “I am unworthy and unlovable” and “Others are my source of love.” This section, Part 4, explores the fourth belief, “I can have control over how others feel about me and treat me.”

If I had to choose one false belief that causes the most pain for most people, it would be the belief that we can control how important people in our lives feel, think and behave.

In my work with individuals and couples dealing with addictive behavior, I encounter this belief and the many ramifications of it over and over. It seems very difficult for most people to accept the truth about their lack of control over others. The pain, frustration, loneliness and aloneness that result from not accepting your lack of control may be the underlying cause of your addictions.

Take a moment right now to reflect about what you think and do that is a direct result of this belief.

• Do you judge/shame yourself to try to get yourself to act “right” so that others will like you? If you do, you are operating from the false belief that you can control how others feel about you by how you act. You are also operating from the false belief that self-judgment will work to control your own behavior. Judging and shaming yourself can lead to addictive behavior to avoid the resulting pain.

• Do you act “loving” to others with the hope that others will act loving to you? If you do, you are operating from the false belief that your behavior controls others’ behavior. It is wonderful to be loving to others because you feel good when you are loving, but when you have an agenda attached of being loved back, then your “loving” is manipulative – you are giving to get. The hurt you feel when others don’t love you back can lead to addictive behavior.

• Do you get angry, judgmental and critical of others? If you do, then you are operating from the false belief that anger and judgment will have control over how others feel about you and treat you. You can certainly intimidate others into complying with your demands as long as they are willing to do so, but you cannot control how they feel about you. And they will comply only as long as they do. At some point they might leave, so ultimately you have no control over them. Your resulting stress may lead to addictive behavior.

• Do you give yourself up, going along with what another wants of you, such as making love when you don’t want to, or spending time in ways that you don’t want to? If you do, then you are operating from the false belief that giving yourself up will have control over how another feels about you and treats you. A loss of a sense of self can lead to addictive behavior.

• Do you withdraw from another or resist another’s requests? If you do, you are operating from the false belief that you can change/control another’s behavior toward you by punishing them through withholding love. The deadness of withdrawal can lead to addictive behavior.

In important relationships, most people do some or all of the above behaviors, resulting from the false belief that you can control how others feel, think and act.

If you really accepted the truth of your lack of control over others, what would you do differently? If you deeply, totally, completely accepted the truth of your lack of control over others feelings and behavior, you would be left with what you CAN control – yourself.

I have seen over and over that people finally take loving care of themselves only when they fully accept the truth of their lack of control over others. It is truly amazing the rapid progress the people I work with make when they finally accept this truth.

Shifting out of this one false belief and into the truth will go a long way toward healing your addictions.

Reference: ZIP Articles

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Recovery From Addictions, Part 3

In Part 1 of this series of articles, I defined substance and process addictions, and described the four major false beliefs that underlie most addictions:

1. I can’t handle my pain.
2. I am unworthy and unlovable.
3. Others are my source of love.
4. I can have control over how others feel about me and treat me.

Part 2 was about the first of these beliefs – learning how to handle pain. This article addresses the second and third beliefs – “I am unworthy and unlovable” and “Others are my source of love.”

As small children, most of us decided that it was our fault when we didn’t get the love we needed. We decided that there must be something basically and intrinsically wrong with us that caused our parents or other caregivers to not love us or to abuse us. Since we were too small to give ourselves the love and attention we needed, we were naturally dependent upon others for our survival. Deciding it was our fault that we were not being loved gave us the feeling of control: we could change ourselves and become the “right” way in order to get the love we needed. We put aside our wonderful essence and developed our ego/wounded self to try to have control over getting love and avoiding pain. We went about trying to get the love we needed from others.

The problem is we became addicted to trying to get love from others and never learned that we can, as adults, access love directly from our Source.

Are you operating from the false belief that you can’t do this for yourself – that you can’t access the love you need directly from your Source? Do you believe that you are somehow defective and that the Source of love that is God will not come to fill you with love, peace and joy? Do you believe that you were born flawed and are therefore undeserving of receiving love from your Source? If you are operating from any of these false beliefs, then it is likely that you are still looking outside yourself for a dependable source of love.

If you could see love, you would see that we live in a universe of love – that it is all around you as well as within you. Your feeling self – your inner child – needs that love to survive and thrive. It is everywhere, yet your Child may be starving for love.

When you don’t know how to access the love that is always available to you, and you believe that it won’t be there for you anyway because you don’t deserve it, it is likely that you will turn to outside sources. You might use food as a substitute for love, or alcohol or drugs. You might use things – toys, clothes, objects – as substitutes for love. Or, you might think that another person needs to be your dependable source of love – that you need sex or attention or approval to fill the empty place within that needs love. You might sense that love exists within that other person, and you might believe that he or she has more ability to access love and bring it to you than you have. Many of the people I work with tell me that they cannot love themselves as well as someone else can, so they keep trying to get someone else to take responsibility for their feelings and needs. They keep trying to hand over their inner child to someone else, thus creating inner abandonment.

The inner abandonment that comes from using substances, things, activities or people as your source of love is the real source of your pain. As long as you are making something or someone outside yourself your dependable source of love, you will be creating - through your self-abandonment - the very pain you are trying so hard to avoid.

As children, our parents were supposed to bring us love from our Source. As adults, we are supposed to be doing this for ourselves. But when our parents didn’t show us how to do it for ourselves because they were not doing it for themselves or for us, we never learned how access our true Source of love. Without this access, you will remain stuck in your addictions, trying to fill the inner emptiness that can only be filled with love from your Source.

In the next section of this series, I will explore the ways you might be attempting to get others to fill you – coming from the false belief, “I can have control over how others feel about me and treat me,” and in the final section, I will show you how to access love from your Source.

Reference: ZIP Articles

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Recovery From Addictions, Part 2

(This is Part 2 of a 5-part series on addiction).

In Part 1 of this series of articles, I defined substance and process addictions, and described the four major false beliefs that underlie most addictions:

1. I can’t handle my pain.
2. I am unworthy and unlovable.
3. Others are my source of love.
4. I can have control over how others feel about me and treat me.

This article addresses the first of these beliefs, and goes into the process of learning to manage your pain. Learning to manage pain is essential if you are going to move out of addictive behavior, since the intent of most addictive behavior is to avoid pain, coming from the belief that you cannot handle your pain.

Small children have few skills in managing pain. Parents are supposed to be there to help them with painful situations. Loving parents help children with pain by lovingly holding them, acknowledging their pain, hearing their pain, and soothing them in various ways, such “kissing it and making it better” when there is a cut or scrape, and being in compassion for difficult situations. Compassion toward a hurting child helps the child move through the pain and move on.

However, many adults had parents who, not only did not help them with their pain, but were the cause of the pain. When parents abandon children with physical, emotional, and sexual abuse or neglect, children are on their own regarding handling their pain. They are not receiving help and they have no role model for managing pain. When this is the case, addictions become the way to manage pain. Children learn early to eat, drink or take drugs to manage their pain. They learn early to numb out or act out with destructive or self-destructive behavior to avoid their pain. They may even learn to block out emotional pain by inflicting physical pain on themselves, such as cutting themselves.

In order to move beyond destructive and self-destructive behavior, you need to be in a process of developing a loving inner parent - a loving adult self - capable of giving your hurting inner child what he or she never received as you were growing up. The loving Adult is who we are when we are connected with a powerful spiritual source of love, strength and wisdom.

Your inner child is your feeling self. When you are experiencing the unbearable pain of rejection, loneliness, aloneness and abandonment and the unbearable terror of helplessness, it means that you are that child, with no inner adult to help you handle these terrible feelings. As an alone and terrified child, you will reach for whatever addiction has worked to sooth or block out the pain.

The reason the 12-Step programs have worked so well is because they help people to open to a spiritual source of strength. Without this source of strength, there is no way to manage the pain without the addictions.

We teach a Six-Step process, called Inner Bonding, which works very well along with the 12-Steps to help people in recovery from addictions. (See www.innerbonding.com for a free course). The key to recovery is to create a loving and powerful inner adult self, capable of connecting with a spiritual Source of love and compassion. The loving adult learns to bring to your hurting child all the love and compassion you didn’t receive as a child.

Love and compassion are not feelings that are generated from within the body. These feelings are the essence of what God/Higher Power is. God is love, compassion, peace, truth and joy. When you open to learning about what is loving to yourself, with a personal source of spiritual Guidance, you will begin to be able to bring through the love and compassion that you need.

Love and compassion is what you need when you are hurting. Substance and process addictions do not fill the place within that needs love and compassion. Addictions merely block out the pain of the inner abandonment you feel when you are not giving yourself the love and compassion you need. The needed love and compassion is not going to come from another person. No matter how much you wish that someone could give to you what you didn’t get as a child, it is not going to happen. You need to learn how to give it to yourself. When you do, you will be well on your way to recovery from your addictions.

Learning how to heal core shame and give yourself the love and compassion you need to recover from your addictions is the focus of the remaining articles in this series.

Reference: ZIP Articles

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