Category Archives: Psychology

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday

Is it possible to rid of worries completely? Is it possible to let absolutely nothing bother you? How difficult would it be to achieve complete imperturbability? The trouble is things such as stress, anxiety and worries pretty much define relaxation, calm, peace and relief. So it appears that you can’t quite have one without the other.

The real issue here is that of habit. Worrying by itself isn’t a problem, however, once it is habituated it can throw up concoct of side effects. Like most things it is a learned or conditioned behaviour that is bestowed upon us by the society at large. Age old cultural conditioning has made us believe that happiness must be “earned” by grovelling through a period of misery. This scaremongering eventually percolates through the physiological fabric and as a result becomes the de facto method for negating happiness.

The trick is to learn to rearrange the mental clutter. Cultivate a habit of postponing worries and thus begin the process rewiring the brain not to dwell on worries in the present. Plan to worry later! It is a technique that has known to work as it bypasses the physiological obstacle of negating happiness. The mind is tricked into thinking it hasn’t given up worrying. The result is that you lose the habit of worrying in the present.

I am not for one moment suggesting that one should not deal with pressing matters and genuine concerns that causes these worries… A little anxiety is a useful thing – if it wasn’t for the motivation of a little anxiety, we would never catch a train, pass an exam or meet a deadline. But is there such a thing as too much anxiety? The answer is, there certainly is. There are people who constantly worry about money, their job and their health and anything else they can think of. Their anxiety becomes so all-embracing that it takes over their whole lives.

The simple truth is habitual worrying only leads to inertia. Certain types of worries and anxieties need reprioritisation and remedial actions whilst other types require acceptance. An ability to disconnect, disengage and a bit of stoicism often helps.

Life is a journey and it is not the arriving at the destination that matters but the process of the journey itself. So reprioritise, take positive actions and accept the inevitable for today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Further information on General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

You must choose

It is perversely amusing to watch someone, who up until now has been used to meandering through life perfecting the art of choosing from a range of options from terrible at one end to less than average at the other, to appear utterly clueless when presented with options that are both blissfully pleasant and strikingly attractive. These are uncharted territories. The selection criteria for preferring one over the other are confusing & unclear. The only aspect that is clear is each option is as good as gold and both exhibit the potential to transform into be what this person has been yarning for.

Going by previous decision making processes, it is clear to see that this person  has a tendency to choose options that require greater amount of effort and discipline. As if the twisted inner psyche somehow yields in inversely proportional levels of satisfaction to the overall effort required and likelihood of eventual success.  His/her previous such rationale defying act of indulgence (does sound like that – doesn’t?) ensued a spectacularly unfavourable outcome. What will he/she do now? What are the odds?

What do you do when heart is equally split? You can’t have both. You must choose.

If you are reading this, I’d love to hear your thoughts

World is not enough

Life sometimes can be such a mystery. At times it can be sickeningly and delightfully joyous and yet at times so frustrating. It is only when we accept its mysterious ways that we can begin to feel comfortable. It is perhaps no coincidence that quantum physics underpins it all.

One cannot apply calculations and come up with prediction models to try to explain its mysterious ways. Easier said than done. Pragmatic as though we may sound most of the time, we still endeavour to do just the same. How foolish. As if “Murphy’s Law” simply didn’t exist. How dare they?

There isn’t really any mystery to it so long as one does not try to decipher the perceived mystery in the first place. Take a chance. Go on, take a God damn chance. No matter how precariously stacked the odds might be against you; take a chance. Likelihood is an infuriatingly disadvantageous concept since it’s very definition gives you a shot. Unless you give it a shot, the chances of likelihood squashing all hopes is remarkably and overwhelmingly high.

Oh… mmm, I don’t know her/him enough yet” is simply a false economy for you could never know someone enough. And when you think you do it is either too late or even worse you’re proven embarrassingly and more often than not, painfully wrong. Past experiences profoundly shape the cognitive side of human psyche – quite rightly so. No one enjoys being burnt twice. However, the flip side of it is that past experiences should not stultify cognition out of recognition. Not everyone is the same. Not everyone is out there to get you. No two experiences are ever the same. Sometimes if it feels right, then it is probably right. Don’t be afraid. You can never know somebody enough by sitting on the other side of the fence. Go on, step out, be positive and reach out for sometimes even the world is not enough.

Don’t wait too long

This morning I woke up with a strange dream. Luckily the details are fairly clear so it gives me an opportunity to carry out some sort of introspection. I remember being on a hill with breathtakingly beautiful views. I get out of the car to let the fresh morning air cleanse the soul. In that serene moment I notice two gentlemen arguing. The suited and booted gentleman appears very condescending in his behaviour whilst the other gentleman appears to be apologetic. Whilst I cannot remember how I concluded who was being unreasonable, I do remember being clearly upset the suited and booted fellow for his atrocious and inexplicable behaviour and scant regard for the other gentleman. This upsets me and I begin to procrastinate my moral responsibilities. Should I simply walk away or step in and try to defuse the matter? Should I care? Should I simply get back in the car, find a different spot and carry on feeling cleansed by the fresh morning air? An eternity later I finally decide to exercise my moral code. I walk up to those two fellows and realise that I had been right all along. The suited and booted fellow is simply being terribly unkind to the other; demanding things of all sorts that the helpless chap simply cannot give and thereby proceeds to kick him with utter disdain. At this stage I finally decide to take things into my own hands in an effort help the poor guy. Precisely at this moment, it all begins to get rather strange. From being fit and healthy; all of sudden I see myself in a wheelchair unable to put up a fight…. I try my best but sadly in a losing cause. The suited and booted fellow continues to torment the helpless, hapless guy; who incidentally is also in a wheelchair now.

At this moment everything becomes perfectly clear. The tormented fellow in the wheelchair is none other than myself. We are the same person! I woke up in a cold sweat in the morning. All through the day I had thought about this rather disturbing dream and finally I have come to the following conclusion….

If your heart is egging you on to fight against everything that is wrong and unethical and stand up for everything that is right and good… then do it. Don’t wait too long for you never know when the wheel turns and you end up on the other side screaming for help… but everyone is busy feeling cleansed by the fresh morning air. Don’t lose your basic moral values and responsibilities….

A theory of love

According to Francesco Alberoni’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francesco_Alberoni) socio psychological theory, falling in love is a process akin to religious or political conversation. People fall in love when they are ready change, or to start over again.

Falling in love is a rapid process of de-structuration/reorganisation called the nascent state. In the nascent state, a state of pure creative energy, the individual loses his or her previous identity, and becomes highly fluid and capable of merging with another person to create a new “us,” a unit of two that is highly charged with solidarity and eroticism. The new couple realises their dreams, aspirations, and unexpressed potential through one another, and develops a shared life project and common view of the world. Individuals in the nascent state put one another through tests, which if successful eventually give way to a solid love relationship, and the forming of new identities and life structures formed by the merging of the two individuals.

Alberoni does not consider falling in love as a regression, but instead as a launching of oneself towards the future and change, and as fundamental to the formation of a romantic partnership. ‘Falling in love transforms their whole world, it is a sublime experience, an act of folly… the discovery of one’s own being and one’s own destiny’.

Others would agree that ‘falling in love, being by definition an intense experience of change… is itself in some way also a therapeutic experience’; while arguably ‘the most severe form of love disturbance is the inability to fall in love’.

Another interesting side effect is impatience. There are many things in life where patience is the only way forward. In fact this is pretty much the most important ingredient of success. Without patience nothing comes your way. However, there is a fundamental difference between the way the heart and the brain operates. The way I see it, the brain (or the mind) is able to control pretty much every aspect. It maintains an equilibrium when opposite forces are concerned. Such as opposing forces of desire and piece by piece execution of a long-term strategy to achieve something. The brain rather brilliantly, gradually and deliberately shapes desire into part of this execution to achieve what it needs to achieve; thereby resolving conflict of interest.

But what of patience when the heart is involved? Try to tell a teenager’s (for that matter even a grown up) heart patience is a virtue and that it must wait relentlessly day and night. It would kill the poor thing!

If you’ve given away your heart, as far as I am concerned, it is pretty much game over. From this point on it overrides the brain. It deprives you of sleep. It deprives you of rational thoughts. It deprives you of your of common senses. It makes you want to take chances. It gives you goose bumps. It turns your knees into jelly, it turns your eyes dreamy…. for you have my friend, fallen in love! Oh yes!

Are you ready to change? I am!

What is love?

I came across a wonderful article today which truly moved me. In this article the author discusses what love really means. What exactly constitutes love?

  • I love chips
  • I love Scotland
  • I love my own children
  • I love my job

He claims that love in each of these sentences describe different experiences. At first it may appear loving your children isn’t perhaps quite the same as loving the feeling of eating chips; in truth they aren’t quite so different.  Being in love means different things to different people. There are people who might be obsessed or overly possessive. This class of people generally find it difficult to cope with separation and merger. They don’t see the person they love as living breathing individual with their own feelings and desires.

Fundamentally as you grow up you have to deal with scenarios that are not always aligned to your idealistic views. Although at first glance loving someone because “the way they make you feel” seems reasonable; it really isn’t. Loving someone must also incorporate recognition of that person… that is, a person with his or her own feelings, emotions, ideas and opinions. When you are separated by distance and time, you end up caring for that person’s feelings and emotions a lot more than yours. To be able to place that person’s needs above yours calls for a special kind of love; which not everyone is capable of.

Sadly internalised parental criticism is a topic that is familiar to me. I am not entirely convinced if anyone truly and successfully exorcises this particular demon. I have understood it, I have mostly accepted it but it still hurts. So if you are reading this post ask yourself this question. Are you still longing for something that you never quite received? Do you still love them in any meaningful way? If you do, you ought to be able to look beyond the past and take yourself out of the equation. And then you ought to see that not your Dad but John worked his butt off day and night and yet still found time to make sure your homework was checked… not your Dad but John still made sure the bills got paid… not your Mom but Sally sold all her belongings and prized possession to build the roof over your head.

Now without totally disregarding yourself and how weighed down you feel by all that internalised frustration, anger and regret; can you see the pain and disappointments they put up with? If you can, then perhaps you do really love them in a meaningful way.

However, this is just an interpretation… I am no way suggesting this is definitive but merely proposing an alternate view.

Personally for me love is not just about being giddy with a fuzzy feeling and that tingling sensation all over. Love is about sacrifice, devotion, compassion and compromise. Love is swallowing your pride and staying true to the cause. When you eventually reach the summit, there is nothing more than the bittersweet agony of the journey. The sheer relief and utter joy.

Love is bloody hard work!