Do get angry:it can be good for you!

Anger, is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored, than to anything on which it is poured.”
― Mark Twain

 

Do get angry:it can be good for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the benefits of getting angry?

Scientists at Harvard University have recently published research, citing the benefits of anger. In principle they agree with Mark Twain in as much as there are definitely negative effects of anger, but conversely, there are also positives attribute gained from getting angry.

The Harvard university study, that gathered information on emotions of almost 1000 people, nine days after the 9/11 terrorist attack, and came to the conclusion that those interviewed who felt outrage and angered, by the terrorist attack, felt more optimistic about the future, than those who expressed fear of more terrorism. In this context, anger is seen as a positive, inasmuch as, it unites people under a common cause in this case feeling outraged at the terrorist attack. Male participants of the study were shown to have more anger than women, but again were generally found to be more optimistic.

The research found that media coverage of the terrorist attack was reported from a standpoint that would make people angry, and thus less afraid of being hurt by another terrorist attack.

How anger affects   your well-being

Psychologist working at the University of California, Berkeley Dr Brett Ford, whilst studying anger responses in the laboratory found that if research participant was made angry, rather than stress and anxious, they showed a lower biological response, in terms of blood pressure and levels of stress hormones. Ford’s research was added to by Dr Maya Tamir, at the University of Jerusalem. Her findings found that people who tend to feel angry rather than happy, when confronting, someone in a stressful situation, tend to have a higher well-being.

Tamir’s, research revealed that participants who got angry, generally had a higher emotional intelligence; this is counterintuitive to what one would naturally think.

How getting angry  can activate change.

Anger can be looked as a positive force if one considers people such as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. A good example of this is Rosa Parks, who was ordered to give up her seat in a coloured section of the bus she was riding on  in Montgomery, Alabama, by the bus driver, in order to give it to a white person, because a segregated seating on the bus in the white area was full. Refusing to obey the driver she was arrested. Thus giving birth to the Montgomery bus boycott, which became a symbol of the modern human rights movement. If Rosa Parks had not become angry this may not have happened.

 

 

 

Is individuality dead?

In a recent New Scientist Magazine, an article, posed a question is individuality dead? The author Alex Pentland, stated in the article, that a study carried out by social scientists, using a smart phone app, found some remarkable results.individuality_peer group_eleoscounselling

Using big data, the study looked at mobile phone habits, credit card purchases, and social media interaction, and came to the conclusion, that the driving force between any adoption of a new behaviour is motivated by the interaction with peers.

The article states that we learn more than we think of our peers, the study postulated that social learning pays an equally significant part in us as humans, as our genes or our IQ.

The next time you abandon instructions for a piece of flat pack furniture, or are trying to learn something complex, such as a piece of software, and instead of reading the instructions, ask your friend to show you how to do it, you are, fundamentally, relying on social learning. It makes sense if you think that learning from somebody, who has already mastered the task, can cut out the arduous chore of using instructions and getting it wrong yourself.

The case in point, how many times do you Google or YouTube something to find out how to do it? I know I do this all the time, as often instructions online is straight to the point, and therefore, show you how to get on with the task in hand. I have recently learned to use formulas within Microsoft Excel, the video instruction was clear, precise, and informative. What’s more, it enabled me to complete a complex graph quickly, I know that if I’d of sat and work through a manual, I may have lost patience, not only with myself, but also with the manual.

 

The study looked at how important individual choices are, compared to shared habits, the researchers looked at patterns of communication and found out that communication is the single most important factor in productivity and creative output. The idea of a collective intelligence is muted in the argument. I do wonder, how much of this will be integrated into the workplace, as it is often the person who shouts loudest gets listened to instead of the quiet person at the back of the room with the bright idea, how many times have you experienced this?

The conclusion of the arguments stated that it was about time we rethought our ideas of individuality, I would argue that some of the greatest individuals on this planet, have been free thinkers and consequently swam against the flow of conventional thinking, if you consider someone like Albert Einstein.

The idea of a collective consciousness is nothing new, the existential philosopher Soren Kierkegaard spoke of the herd mentality. Maybe this is what this article is trying to prove.

The silent pain miscarriage

eleos counselling_miscarriage menA recent article in the Independent paper by Julia Hartley- Brewer, highlighted, an often not talked about issue for men.

The article spoke of the impact of a couple’s miscarriage has, not only on the woman also the man. The article quotes Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg and his recent announcement that is wife is expecting a baby, but how the couple has unfortunately suffered three miscarriages.

Zuckerberg was commended for his honesty and bravery of talking about the effects of the couples, three miscarriages, has had on him, in his Facebook posting.

The article is quoted as saying that 25% of men, whose girlfriends or wife’s miscarry, never speak about the grief that they feel, often it’s the fear of upsetting their partner, which keeps them from talking. For some it is the sense of the trauma of seeing their partner bleeding, this in itself, can be overwhelming for some men. These emotions can be compounded by the man’s feeling of powerlessness unable to do anything to help the woman they love.

It is an expected convention that men, simply get over a miscarriage, and life gets on with itself. Often men report returning to work traumatised and unable to cope, therefore, even less likely to talk to colleagues and friends, because often pregnancies in early stages is not often not announced, to friends and family, so the loss becomes even more private.

Men can often put on a brave face when faced with emotional traumas using black humor, as a way of shrugging off, the personal loss.

Hartley- Brewer suggested in her article the best way for men to cope is to see a counsellor.

It’s worth remembering that no matter how rich and famous you are the tragedy of a loss, such as miscarriage, can affect everybody, even the CEO of a multi-million dollar social media network such as Mark Zuckerberg. Grieving the loss of what could have been is natural, this is where counsellor can help.

 

Samaritans suggest and new look at the causes of Male suicide

depressed man_eleoscounselling_blog pictureA report released by the Samaritans organisation, in June this year (2015), highlights the problem of men turning to alcohol instead of talking about their problems. What is more worrying, according to the report, this increases the risk of suicide.

The Samaritans suggest that the government should reconsider their response to the nation’s unhealthy drinking culture.

It is well known that the biggest killer of men between the age of 18 and 34 is suicide. What the Samaritans are suggesting is that there should be more communication between mental health teams and drug and alcohol teams. Unfortunately, with recent austerity measures, agencies such as drug and alcohol and mental health teams are being cut to the bare bone. The question here is how one gets men to engage, in talking about themselves (fundamentally, how does one get men talking).

An interesting point is raised in the report, commenting that masculinity plays a great deal in the way men see themselves. The report suggests that men will often compare themselves, to their perceived model of what a man should be, often this can be a distorted image, of a man being powerful, white, rich, good-looking, and heterosexual. The reports suggest that when men are not reaching this model, often they can become filled with a sense of shame guilt and ultimately defeat.

Being a breadwinner is often central to being a man, particularly for blue-collar workers. Frequently, the loss of control due to a depressive episode or crisis will make a man feel chaotic, this often, can push men towards suicidal behaviours in an effort to regain some sort of control over their life. Regularly men, searching for relief from the psychological pain and the feeling of loss of control, will seek out substances such as drugs or alcohol, or both, as a way of coping.

Throughout childhood, boys are taught to be a man, looking to his father for guidelines, for how this is. Undoubtedly some of these messages can be, mixed. Furthermore, if the young boy’s father is not around, some of these messages can come from external forces, such as culture, social media or TV.

The report suggests that men in midlife, often seek out their partner as emotional support, suggesting that the man loses support from his peers after the age of 30. The report goes on to say that men traditionally seek out companionship, in doing an activity, but these relationships can often be superficial.

Traditionally, men have a poor view of psychotherapy/ counselling, coming to therapy only in extreme circumstances. This is something that we at Eleos counselling are working very hard to correct.

At the time of writing, unemployment in the UK is higher amongst men than it is amongst women. Traditional jobs, such as manufacturing are changing rapidly, with the onset of new technology. Added to this uncertainty, such factors as zero hours contracts, temporary employment, and for some, self-employment, to name but a few.

Perhaps one of the ways to engage men in any of form meaningful communication regarding their feelings, is to offer group therapy. The idea of self-supporting groups is not a new one, you only have to think of the 12 step program, and the tremendous support that gives, to see this could work, if marketed correctly.

Traditionally, men in the UK are Conservative bunch, the report suggests that men in the UK are caught between the strong silent type and the new man; being able to speak about one’s feelings openly. At Eleos counselling, we are looking at new ways of engaging men in therapy, rather than being reactive, we would like to be more proactive.

If this article has raised questions for you and you would like to talk to someone, then possibly Eleos counselling can help. If you would like to clink on the link below to be taken to the Eleos counselling main website.

www.eleoscounselling.com 

When your anger gets the better of you.

blog picture_angry farmer_eleoscounselling_ anger managementAnger can be a difficult thing to control, recently at Eleos counselling we are developing an anger management course for young people. We feel this is very important as teaching young people how to control their anger now will reduce the amount of angry incidences, not only in school, now, but later in life, when they have to interact with others, with authority, and form relationships with others.

It’s a fact, the more heated the disagreement, the more our inner pressure gauge goes up this can build up to breaking point, is at this point anger and rage can rear its ugly head.

This reminds me of a short story, I once read, about very religious and God-fearing Quaker farmer who owned a disagreeable cow. Every time he went to milk her it would be a battle of wills.

Early one morning, at milking time, the cow was unusually short-tempered, but the farmer was unwavering in his attitude to ensure the milking session, went, without so much as a bad attitude. As the farmer started to milk, the cow trod on the farmer’s foot with all her bulk. He winced silently, but mumbled under his breath freeing his foot, and then sat back on his stool to milk. The cow, then squished her tail in his face like a long fibrous whip. The farmer just merely leaned away so to avoid the cow’s tail, next she kicked over the milking bucket, by then half full with milk. The farmer started to mutter a few words to himself; but never lost his temper. Once finished with the ordeal of milking this cow the farmer inhaled a sigh of relief, picked up his bucket and stool and as he was leaving, the cow lets off a kick, kicking the farmer against the barn wall, catapulting him 12 to 15 feet. That, unfortunately, did it, the farmer, raised to his full height, walked in front of the cow stared at her big brown eyes and then he shook his long scrawny finger at the face, of the dairy cow, and he shouted, you know I’m a Quaker, but I can sell you to an unbeliever.

It’s not at getting angry, that’s the problem, it’s how we express that anger. Sometimes, that can be inappropriate, telling the boss where to stick his job might cause some relief, temporary, but when you have no paycheck at the end of the month, to pay the bills that may cause you a problem.

If you would like to know more about anger management, then please go to our website at www.eleoscounselling.com

Plug into your virtual therapist?

An interesting article appeared in the new scientist by reporter Samantha Murphy in the article Murphy suggests that the interactive role-playing game “second life” could offer an innovative way of working for psychotherapists/counsellors. In the piece, Murphy suggests that an avatar; a virtual caricature of oneself, could see clients in a virtual office.eleos counselling_second life_article picture

This may not sound as far-fetched as one would imagine, think of the advantages, the client could log on from anywhere in the world and have a virtual therapy session, at any time of day or night.

The article did make some interesting suggestions, on how this may help clients. One suggestion was working with clients with phobias such as agoraphobia; in severe cases the client would not be able to leave the safety of their own home, but using a virtual space the client could experience what it’s like to be outside, whilst in the comfort of their own home. The article suggests that the therapist may be able to guide the client through stressful environments and help them manage this in virtual space. Effectively, the therapist could create stressful environments and help the client manage this using their avatar (their virtual person).

Another interesting suggestion was that it might be able for the psychotherapist councillor to reconstruct stressful environments for sufferers of PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder). Here again, the therapist would construct a virtual moment in time and help the client work through this in virtual space. Using virtual reality the client can really work in   the moment and the here and now. With the ability to be able to freeze time, in the virtual world, the therapist would be able to ask the client how they feel at that moment. Of course, how this all looks and how the therapist would hold professional boundaries in this virtual world is yet to be decided. Another factor, to be considered is would people, embrace new technology such as a virtual world quickly, or will this be a passing idea, time will only tell.

This is certainly pushing the boundaries, Eleos Counselling is very interested in embracing new technologies and has done since its inception in 2013. How working in virtual reality will really look like is yet to be seen, but please watch this space and we will keep you updated on our progression into the world of virtual reality.

 

New research looks at depression as a symptom of brain inflammation?

eleos counselling blog_brainLast week an article published in New Scientist threw a different light onto the subject of depression. Research carried out by the University of medicine in Germany, suggests that depression could be a reaction to an infection, causing the brain to become inflamed.

Although this study was very small research scientists are excited by the results. It is thought that stress may cause an inflammation which spreads to the brain. Although the brain has its own immune system, the blood-brain barrier, it is thought that some infection can go past this and cause cells in the brain’s very own immune system called microglia to kill off neurons.

What is also interesting is that the researchers speculated that Alzheimer’s disease can be a result of microglia killing off brain cells, due to ongoing infection. Research carried out in the UK at Southampton University suggest that an anti-inflammatory drug called Etanercept, which is normally used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, can help reduce some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s such as poor memory.

One comment made in the article is that categorising depression as a medical problem, rather than a psychological problem, in of itself can cause a stigma for people suffering with depression.

What was not clear from the article is whether depression causes the inflammation or the information causes depression. The article does state that poor diet, obesity, smoking and inactivity can cause an increase in the risk of inflammation. Ironically, a overeating, under exercising, and a bad diet are often some of the things that a depressed person would use to self soothe themselves.

The articled stated that more research needs to be carried out, to make a definite link between depression and inflammation, whether this will result in a new form of treatment for depression, one would have to wait and see.

 

Terminator star says he won’t be back to couples therapy.

Movies_____Terminator_2_judgment_day-Arnold_Schwarzenegger_086750_It was reported in the London free newspaper Metro that Terminator in  an interview with Arnold.shock jock DJ Howard Stern, blamed his divorce from his ex-wife Maria Shriver on the therapist, that was helping the couple, after the omission that Schwarzenegger fathered a child with the couple’s housekeeper.

Mr Schwarzenegger, cited the experience as totally counterproductive, and how he was convinced by his ex-wife Maria Shriver to see the therapist.

One caveat that Schwarzenegger did add to this interview is that he feels that couple should get help, when they need help.

Fortunately, not all experiences of couple’s therapy are as negative as the terminator stars. Couples often enter relationships with unfinished business from their past, whether that’s childhood wounds or past hurts from a romantic involvement.

Unfortunately, lots of couples try to work out past hurts within the marriage, this in itself causes ruptures which cannot be repaired without professional help.

There is no doubt that couples therapy can save relationships, with divorce rates high, furthermore, statistical evidence supporting, what is commonly felt as an overall increase in divorce. In fact, there are 13 divorces in England and Wales every hour. With half of these divorces happening within the first 10 years of marriage.

And like the terminator star’s own divorce, one in seven divorces, within the UK, cites adultery for the breakdown of the marriage. One harrowing statistics, is that 42% of all marriages will end in divorce.

Couples therapy, gives each member of the couple time to air grievances and unmet expectations, and emotional hurts, in a safe confidential place.

Indeed, like Mr Schwarzenegger’s marriage, infidelity, can be difficult to overcome, for a couple, but with professional help it can become easier.  Having that third person in the room, in the form of the therapist, who is not emotionally invested in the relationship, helping the couple, rather than judging them, can be of enormous help.

 

 

Does our actions write our obituary?

Alfred Noble, inventor of dynamite, and the man who had spent a large part of his life profiteering from the sale of weapons. Awoke one morning, in 1888, to find his own obituary in print, in his morning paper. Nobel’s obituary had been indeed printed in error. Alfred Nobel’s brother had died and a foreign reporter had mistakenly reported the creator of dynamite’s death.eleos counselling_Martin Luther King_Nobel Peace Prize

Indeed, anyone would be disturbed in reading one’s own obituary, but Nobel was indeed confronted with how the world saw him, as the inventor of dynamite and inventor of weapons of mass destruction.

As far as the general public was concerned, this is exactly what Nobel’s life had been, making money out of human misery. Unfortunately, none of Nobel’s true intentions were not reported, in the article, his desire to break down barriers, were neither considered, nor seriously taken in the tribute.eleos counselling_Mother Teresa

In reading his own obituary Nobel was shocked into action. He wanted to make clear to the world his true intents and purposes of his life. The Nobel Prize is now one of the most highly prestigious awards one could receive, as recognition of one’s contribution to humanity, through the sciences, and most notable through peace. With such luminaries as Dr Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa receiving the prize.

 

In reading this story one has to ask oneself, if I was to wake up and read my obituary what would it say. .

 

Become a superhero? How your body language can alter how you feel

Aeleoscounselling_blog_hero recent article in the New Scientists writer William Lee Adams speculated whether self-confidence can be increased. Self-confidence is something that is often thought to be something one has, or one doesn’t. However, social psychologist Amy Cuddy, would disagree, her TED talk, lecture, currently ranks as the second most viewed TED talk. Speaking of self-confidence, Cuddy recommends standing with your hands on your hip and stretching, to increase self-confidence before any stressful situation, such as a job interview. With her mantra “fake it till you make it”. In fact, there is something to be said for the body language of people, especially those people who are depressed.

Researchers found that people who are depressed tend to hunch, as if threatened. Observing primates in the wild, and in captivity, gives rise to the view that spreading one’s arms out, and making oneself big is a dominant/confident position, and thus this is the origin of Cuddy’s hypothesis.

An interesting point was brought up by the article stating that lower status people, whilst amongst friends or in a work environment are always monitoring the higher ranked individuals, in their group. The research suggests that, because of this constant monitoring, an additional cognitive load makes it difficult for them to stay focused and achieve personal goals. This constant monitoring, in of itself can cause more depression, as goals are not met, or fall short of expectations. Research carried out suggested that more confident people have high levels of testosterone and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It was found that less dominant/depressed people have high levels of cortisone.

Of course, being overconfident can have its downside, a recent radio programme investigating air disasters, stated that because hierarchy is hardly ever challenged, particularly in the work environment, and most notably in airline infrastructure, this in of itself, can cause problems. One of the worst air disasters on record the Tenerife air disaster is such a case. For those who don’t remember the 80s, the crew was asked to go to a holding pattern before landing, the commander took the plane over dangerously high terrain, contrary to the orders from the control tower. It is now considered that if someone had questioned the flight commander, this would not have taken place; this disaster was compounded by dubious instructions from the Spanish air traffic controller.

Clearly, confidence is a complicated issue, too much and problems occur, too little and one can become stressed and thus doesn’t get that killer job one has been looking for.

 

If you’re worried about your self-confidence, there may be psychotherapy can help.

Eleos  Counselling is a  counselling organisation offering counselling, in Crawley West Sussex.