Thursday, September 14, 2006

NEW CDC STUDY - OVERWEIGHT/OBESITY = DISASTER

I just listened to a new CDC report that shows 60.5% of American adults are either significantly overweight or obese. WOW! What is going on in the U.S? President Bush should use the same energy he talks about in fighting terrorism toward fighting this internal U.S. problem. Where is the media in its focus on this disease ridden problem we are facing. They certainly report results, but that's it.

As a type-2 diabetic I'm disgusted with seeing and hearing that obesity is worsening. There are currently 23 million diabetics in this country with the numbers apparently increasing dramatically every year. I can tell you at times its tough to stay on course with my eating and exercise habits, but I force myself to do it because to do otherwise can be deadly.

What's happened to being able to help ourselves. Apparently most Therapists in all modalities (i.e. pharmaceutical companies, general medicine, psychiatry, psychology, social work, hypnosis, NLP, nutrition etc. etc.) are helpless in creating solutions for obesity. I believe it's time for every individual to take a hard look at themselves and ask themselves the question - What is wrong with me that I can't take some action to help myself? I get so angry thinking that people have actually learned to become helpless when it comes to this problem There are so many self-help techniques (skills) that everyone can learn and use - and they are FREE! I'm afraid that if a grass roots effort is not launched soon, to head off significant overweight and obesity problems, we are doomed to experience illnesses in the U.S worse than any we've experienced in the history of the United States.

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11 - What Can We Possibly Say?

Pearl Harbor was described as a Day of Infamy. How should we descibe 9/11? Perhaps a day of Tragedy? Or a day of Sadness? Or a day of Awakening? Perhaps all of the above have a place in our memories.

I remember that morning all too well. I took the train into New York City as I did every morning and immediately turned on my computer. The first tower was hit just after 9 a.m. and my feeling were somewhat jittery and my belief was that a real accident occurred. I wonder how many of you thought the same and didn't panic. Then, the second tower was hit 20 minutes later and there was immediate panic on my part. I remember that I kept talking to myself trying to make some sense of an event that was too difficult to comprehend. Aaron Brown was the CNN announcer and I very much appreciated his kind demeanor describing the events as they were happening. Seeing people jumping from the buildings and then watching the towers collapse was just too much. The images just wouldn't go away.

I also remember trying to reach my wife who was in another office in New York and my daughter who was at school in a suburb of New York City called Hastings-on Hudson. All phones including cell phones were useless. Strangely enough, my wife was able to communicate with a friend who lived in the midwest who in turn was able to reach my daughter and myself. Imagine having to call out of town and have the conversation told through a third party. This was too surreal.

Everybody was safe for the moment. I remember Aaron Brown saying there were 9 planes missing. O' My God! Were we really at war? As an experienced therapist I could only imagine that if I was confused, what was happening with all the people trying to get away from the downtown New York area (ground zero)? What to do? Rumors were rampant (i.e. the Empire State Building - 4 blocks from my office was threatened) Grand Central station (the train I needed to get home) was rumored to be closed. I went there anyway and strangely enough, except for the daze everyone was experiencing, everything seemed calm. In fact, the train was waiting for me and the trip home was easy. Seeing my family gave me a tremendous sense of relief.

So now it's five years later and after watching memorials all day today, I ask myself again - What are my thoughts and feelings? The only event I can equate it with emotionally was when our President, John F. Kennedy was shot in Texas in 1963. I was glued to the TV 24/7 just as I was on 9/11. I'm sure you were too.
So whatever you'd like to call the day of 9/11/01, allow yourself to experience your thoughts and feelings that day so you remember it well.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Using Self-Talk As Your Own Therapy

During a recent discussion with a colleague,who runs group therapy sessions, told me about a patient who reported to him that his ability to perform sexual functions had abruptly (and "magically") changed immediately after he had accidentally spoken a certain phrase aloud ("it's the right thing to do"). Desirous of helping other patients, he suggested to several of them that they utter specific positive proclamations aloud (about their work, their intentions, their self worth, etc.) to themselves before attempting troublesome activities. Without exception, they reported performing at a measurably higher level after having talked aloud. My colleague termed this phenomenom "verbal influencing of the unconscious". The self-talk method was well defined in Shad Helmstetter's "What to Say When You Talk To Yourself", but the concept that my colleague uncovered of uttering suggestions to oneself intrigued me.

I decided to embark on a mini research project with my own clients and found out that listening to people talk about themselves gives a good indication of how their parents talked to them, and judged them, when they were children. Parental judgement is the source of most ideas about the self and, unless a major force interrupts the flow, it is the way people unconsciously think and talk about themselves for the rest of their lives. I also determined that one of the major forces which can interrupt this flow is the simple realization that we are not necessarily the way we say we are and the particular way we speak about ourselves has more to do with the way our parents verbally described our childhood behavior than it does with our real adult capacity or any need to behave that way now. The realization of this truth, enables us to change the way we think about ourselves and to conform to the way we are or should like to be.

Self-Talk is a wonderful method of making this change. It is a practical, easily controlled method that can be practiced by anyone at almost any time. It is an extraordinarily powerful tool for personal change. The important factor about any kind of self-talk is that the words should be uttered aloud; that is loud enough to be audible to one's own ears. In this way the idea you are telling yourself is reinforced by the movements of lips and tongue and by the auditory impressions conveyed through the ear. Say it simply, without effort, like a child murmuring a nursery rhyme.

As a therapist, I believe it's important that I give my clients tools to use so they can get on with their lives. Too often my clients come to me with such poor "negative" self-talk and without skills to change it. In these situations I ask myself, why bother with therapy. Just teach these individuals a skill called Self-Talk and they can be their own therapist. Interestingly, it is Emile Coue who created the formula "Tous les jour, a tous points de vue, je vais de mieux en mieux". In English, "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better".

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thoughts About Leaving Your Job and Landing the One You've Always Wanted

First, "Just get on with it". Find yourself a mentor who is unbiased, knowledgeable who can hold you accountable. If money is not an object, find an experienced business coach or a therapist with business experience to help you through the process. I've seen too many clients who go through this process and fail to leave their jobs on good terms. In fact, many alienate their families by keeping everything secretive.

I say "Tell the World" if you get fired don't take your firing personally. Yes, tell your spouse, your kids and all significant others. There is no shame in being unemployed. And, you'll need their support. This is the time to face your fears as our late President FDR said, The only thing you have to fear is fear itself".

When you are ready to get on with it, design a network of friends and business acquaintances to help you move forward. Studies show we can't communicate with more than 10-15 people at a time, so if you want to land that dream job, choose your personal "board of directors" and get them working on your behalf immediately. Let them know what you are looking for so there is clarity at all times.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Thoughts About Having a JOB

Did you know that 87% of Americans who are working have prepared resumes out in the marketplace? Or, that since 1984, some 30 million Americans have been permanently separated from their jobs and paychecks against their wishes? Or, as recently stated in a New York Times article, millions of men have dropped out of the regular work scene and are turning down jobs they think beneath them or are flat out unable to find work for which they are qualified?

Job loss and the socio-economic pain that accompanies it is a huge story that promises only to get bigger as Corporate America continues to squeeze every last penny of profitability and an aging workforce finds it more and more difficult to find and land an ideal job.

No wonder so many adults are taking anti-depressants to be able to function. Many of my clients find themselves angry, frustrated and yes almost in a state of paralysis as a result of their job situation. Loyalty! forget about it. Too many Americans are frightened individuals who over time have become helpless. I would ask, "how productive can these people be at their current jobs when they are constantly looking for something else?" I've trained many salespeople in Corporate America for the past 25 years and find a very high percentage of them act as though they are resting at a "pit stop" on the way to something else. What is that something else? They have no idea, and very few take the necessary steps to find a mentor, coach or therapist who can ask them the hard questions and hold them accountable.

I believe it's time for grassroots Americans to recognize their passions and take charge of their careers, relationships and yes find themselves a true mentor to help them get past their paralysis and land that ideal job. Think about it!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Watching The News About The Mideast

Watching the news today leaves me very frustrated and angry. I can't help but think of the name of my blog site - Self Help Live - and wonder how anyone in the Mideast could possibly help themselves. The issues are so deep and the leaders of all the countries so divided. The poor people seem to be helpless.

This made me think of some of my past clients who suffered from "learned helplessness" a serious diagnoses for individuals who are incapable of making decisions about almost anything. Specifically, I remember a nice lady we'll call Barbara. Barbara had a friend dying of cancer and would visit her several evenings a week only to experience a barrage of verbal abuse on each occasion. When I would question Barbara as to why she continued to visit her friend and absorb this abuse, her response was always the same; "My friend would never forgive me if I didn't visit her in this terrible time in her life". Yes, Barbara learned to become helpless.

I can't help but wonder if all the countries involved in this mess in the Mideast suffer from the same illness. This includes the United Nations and the United States. Have we finally reached a moment where every country and its' leaders suffer from Learned Helplessness? This is as close to paralyses as one can envision. I somehow realize that different ideologies and viewpoints are at work but witnessing the destruction of countries and the many lives that go with it seem to make it impossible for any kind of reason to prevail. Maybe it's time for new leaders throughout the region who know how to negotiate without weapons. Or is it too late for that?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Imagination and Persistence - Ingredients for Success

I've been giving a lot of thought to why so many Americans seek to find success but consistently fail at finding it. As far as I'm concerned it all comes down to one's use of their imagination, or lack therof. My research clearly shows that individuals who utilize their imaginative abilities to find happiness, job satisfaction, good relationships, improve their sports abilities will persist longer and therefore succeed significantly better than those individuals who only use their imagination to visit the beach.

Too many Americans start tasks and leave them before completion (i.e. start a weight loss or exercise programs and quit, go to school and dropout). This not only creates tremendous stress in those individuals, but leaves them with low self-esteem and feelings of failure. Many of these individuals spend a great deal of money on some form of therapy with counselors who do not hold them accountable for their behaviors.

Perhaps it's time for these individuals to look within and realize they have it within their own imagination and abilities to find help. Yes, self-help techniques such as self-talk, self-hypnosis and imagery exercises practiced every day for 3-5 minutes can change one's life in a positive way. One can find books and tapes that teach these skills which cost very little and can make an immediate impact. Think about it!