Tag Archives: Self-help

Three Ways to Shrug Off Nastiness

Three Ways to End Hurtful Discussions

Another’s stupidity or angry ranting always pushes you to raise your voice and fight back; but fighting angry yelling by yelling back never works. Never.

The louder one yells, the less one is heard, the more anger grows.

Image by http://funny-pictures.picphotos.net/

Emotional fitness thoughts and tips

We are told to “Let it all out.”  Not good unless done the way Aristotle suggests in his famous quote: “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

What to do?  The following three  tips are based on both the wisdom of the aging and the most current research about how to follow Aristotle’s advice:

Emotional Fitness Tip One:  The angrier you or another are, the more important to respond softly and with compassion. Anger always covers hurt or fear.  Always. Responding to the hurt or fear diminishes anger and makes finding a solutions more likely.  When that seems impossible, take a time out.

If a time out  is not possible, such as, when  a boss is ranting at you; listen without responding except to say “Yes” when you can agree.

Emotional Fitness Tip Two: Strong self-soothing skills make soft and compassionate responses more possible. Try this one:

Soft face poster

Such exercises only work if practiced diligently and at first when not angry.  EFTI’s self-soothing exercises are designed to be practiced quickly so they can be put into play over and over again each day.  Go here to learn four of the easiest. 

Emotional Fitness Tip Three: Stay safe.  Know how to defend yourself if physical attack seems likely. If I could wave a magic want over our educational system, it would be to include Peace Dojos teaching conflict resolution and self-defense as required courses beginning in kindergarten.  Many colleges require passing a  swimming tests in order to graduate.  I would like all high school graduates and GED holders to be required to have a certificate of accomplishment from a Peace Dojo before moving on to college.


Remember what matters: view anger as a signal  something is wrong.   Start with yourself.

As  most of what makes us angry starts in our feelings about ourselves, ask “What is hurting me.”

Are you jealous? Jealousy is a major source of world violence and that includes jealousy of those who seem smarter, happier, or in almost anyway better than we feel we are.

Then there is fear we might become like someone not valued by others: think of anorexia, homophobia not to mention not wanting to be over 30.

Being a sinner or seen as a sinner is part of this type of fear. This fear or worry is  part of religious divides. But is also part of each person’s personal idea about what is moral behavior.

For the religious fear of sinning can lead to fanaticism, but also to failed efforts to stay good. Wonder why sometimes the most religious fall from grace? Think of priests, ministers, or rabbis who commit adultery or worse abuse children.  Knowing their darker sides, they tried to stay strong thought faith, but failed.

Also,  remember we all want to be in control.  We believe our fate is in our hands, particularly in Western culture that constantly tells us “Just do it,” or “Follow your dream.”  Fact: We do not control all.  When our control is threatened, our anger grows.

The failure of control is  part of our  righteous indignation when we see an obvious injustice.

Another  question to ask yourself when angry, particularly about what you see as an injustice against another is to ask youself  who you “identify with.” Who grabs your heartthe  most.

These are the questions one must also think about when anger is growing in another.  Some when seeing an underlying cause of another’s anger are tempted to speak about that. Don’t. Instead, wait until the person’s ranting and anger seems to be cooling down a bit. Then ask, “What can I do to help?”

I hope all the above helps you deal better with anger. If so, think of sharing it with someone who can make good  use of it and who will not feel you are attacking them.

As always for all you do, thank you.



Get a free digital download of Soft Face and Strong Body. Then post it where you will see it and it will remind you to practice this amazing self-soothing exercise.


Word Press Daily post prompt

This  DAILY POST Prompt  inspired this blog post: Discussion Enders; We’ve all had exchanges where we came up with the perfect reply — ten minutes too late. Write down one of those, but this time, make sure to sign off with your grand slam (unused) zinger.

My response?  Zingers only fuel anger and there is too much anger and too mucn taking even petty revenge by zinging someone.




I name and talk to inanimate articles.  I talk to God.  I write nonsense.  I don’t always make sense when I talk.  I have planned  how to kill myself.

Normal is mostly a setting on a washring machine or dryer.

Normal is mostly a setting on a washing machine or dryer.

I have other not normal ways.  Depending on how I talk to a shrink,  any number of DSM labels could be pasted on my forehead.  In case you wonder about those initials, they stand for the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders  .  The bible used by shrinks and other mental health professionals to decide normalcy.

I am a mental health professional and I use the DSM.  You have to if you want insurance companies to pay you. A great many people do not like the DSM.  I find it handy, but usually misused.  The manual has been updated numerous times and has just undergone another revision.


Here’s an example of over diagnosing.  I recently had a change in some of the medications that keep my heart beating regularly. Particularly, if  my husband or pictures of Johnnie Depp get the old ticker pumping too fast.  Aging sucks.

Anyway, the new medication threw me temporarily into the dark pit of depression. Really dark, like don’t get out of bed, hate anyone who talks to you, cannot stand to be touched, think death might be preferrable kind of depression.

I reported this to my doctor asking for a change of medication. She asked me to take a five sentence test; she and the test then said “Major Depressive Disorder. See a shrink.”

I knew that was exactly what the test would say, but I also knew with all my heart, it was the medication.  She did admit that could be and we agreed, I would not see the shrink and give my body a bit of time to adjust.  It did and two days later I was my usually functional happy at times, not happy other times.

I made my doctor re-move the  Major Depression Disorder label from my medical chart.”  She did so reluctantly. I did it to make the point a more  appropriate label might have been: mood disorder due to a general medical condition, or  substance-induced mood disorder.

Depending on how I talk to a shrink I can garner a great number of DSM labels. The only ones that seem correct to me are ADHD now just called ADD; Dsygraphia and Dyscalulia – two learning disabilities;  Generalized Anxiety Disorder as I am a worrier.  A few other lurk around the corner I could easily become addicted to some things, I am sometimes obsessed with getting things perfect, I do get the moody blues occasionally, and so on.

Many shrinks and other critics of the newest DSM cite examples of new additions like “mild anxiety depression,” “psychosis risk syndrome,” and “temper dysregulation disorder,to make the point that previously “healthy” people  out to be  mentally ill.

“It’s leaking into normality. It is shrinking the pool of what is normal to a puddle,” said Til Wykes of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London.

So what? After all every one of us is a combination of normal and not so normal traists and ways. What to do? Read on.

Emotional fitness tip

The DSM IV used what is called the Global Assessment of Function to decide if a person had a mental disorder. That has now been taken over by what are called specifiers for the various disorders.  The intent is to become more precise and accurate in describing an individuals disorder.  A good thing, but also complicating.

My KISS side thinks to let go fo the GAF completely is a mistake.  A quick severity needssurvey  helps  both clinicians and clients in thinking about when a mental disorder might be controlling the person.

I never made a diagnosis without including the client in reaching it. The GAF was the first thing I turned to.   Here is the GAF:

Worried about being normal, first check out your how you do what needs t be done

Worried about being normal? First check out how you do what needs to be done.

And of course, this can cover up or hide  a great many serious mental disorders. Robin Williams functioned well if viewed from the outside. Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and any host of suicides shocked the world as Robin has.

A smart therapist friend noted that Robin William’s suicide has created more attention than any death since the assassination of John Kennedy.  I suspect that is because all of us have hidden or not so hidden sorrows that make us wonder if suicide is not an option.

As Neil Diamond notes in Song Sung Blue, “Song sung blue, every body sings one; song sung blue every garden grows one.”

His  song suggests that singing a song can cure the blues.  Not the major depression type.  When a song  doesn’t work, professional help is needed.

The Tip: If you are not functioning well for any reason, find a competent mental health professional. Not always easy, but here’s a test to start you thinking about who to see when interviewing candidates.

Rate yourself on the GAF, and after describing your symptoms state your GAF score.  If the professional is interested, respectful, and willing to hear you on that one, he or she might be competent.

There is a hooker.  Some things can quickly throw you off balance and cast you so far down into the pit of blackness, you murder yourself in an effort to escape. That is probably what happened to Robin Williams.  I suspect that  something  most of us could have bounced back from grabbed him  and that combined with the years of battling within while meant too much despair.

Maybe in time, my chosen profession will have all the answers, for now we often grope in the dark and help some fail others. Please remember that expecting too much of life or of anyone trying to help you live a good life increases the odds unhappiness will have a stronger hold on you.  Reality check your expectations and toughen your protective shield. My Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises help, but like Singing, you need more help if a major mental disorder is part of you life.  Sing when you can, practice all my exercises, but also get professional help.


We all have our struggles. If they do not include dealing with suicidal depression understanding the blackness others live with becomes a barrier.

What to do when you don’t understand another’s  pain or find yourself irked by another’s complaints? Practice kindness. You will help yourself as well as the other person. If you like this post share it with another.  That is practicing deliberate kindness and deliberate kindness strengthens more than the also helpful random acts. .

As always, thank you for your support.


This post fits in with Today’s Word Press’s DAILY PROMPT:  The Name’s The Thing – Have you ever named an inanimate object? (Your car? Your laptop? The volleyball that kept you company while you were stranded in the ocean?) Share the story of at least one object with which you’re on a first-name basis.



When to call 911




Robin William’s suicide changed the post I planned, but the topic is the same.  Tired of  living? I often am, but I don’t know for sure what comes next. If you are looking for a sign not to kill yourself tonight, here it is. For some, and I am guessing Robin was one, it doesn’t matter what comes next; life and pain has worn them out.  Suicide seems the only option.  Which is one reason I  advocate assisted suicide.

Imagine if Robin knew he could have company at his death, hold hands with a loved one and pass on peacefully with the aid of suicide doctor by asking for help dying. That option might have kept him alive.

Then again knowing he could have had a physician at his side might not have worked.  At its worse depression rants against anything but the relief of  death.

Two things keep most suicidal thinkers alive.  The hope things might get better and knowing others care.

As a mental health professional,  I have known many who wanted to die. Those that actually committed suicide were not patients or clients of mine, but personal friends,  Sad to say, I had long lost contact them.

One of those friends taught me a lesson that has helped me deal a bit better with those who do kill themselves. This  friend was in a locked psychiatric ward after having been accidentally discovered trying to kill herself by putting her head in her over an d turning the gas on. Her brothe , thought to be in another town but who had the key to her apartment, unexpectedly went to her apartment. He saved her life, but only temporarily.

After three days on the closed ward, she succeeded in escaping the locks, making it to the roof and jumping to her death. Very often, those truly tired of living  succeed in killing themselves one way or another.

Teen suicides always seem extra painful for me.  Teens often commit suicide without fully appriaciating that death might well mean no awareness of anything.  

A teen can get  trapped into committing suicide by fantasizing  s/he will see how others cared. They imagine watching their funneral and think that they will be around to witness it after their death. Maybe, but I am betting not.

For some teens it is expecting to enjoy a fantasied revenge by seeing the pain caused others.  Tthis kind of thinking is  delusional.

The saddest suicides, howeiver,  as far as I am concerned, are the Plea-for-help attempts  that end with the person dead instead of  being saved.


Personally, I want to live as long as I can talk and take some care of myself. My Living Will states very clearly to pull the plug if I cannot tell whoever is tending me  to do so and there is little or no hope of change.

I do not want my death prolonged and that is the dilemma many face with the severely injured, ill, or elderly. The line between prolonging life and prolonging death is often difficult to determine.

I have thoughts lots about how to “Go peacefully in to that dark night” on my own when I feel like I just cannot go on:Vodka and pot or maybe a long walk on a snowy, snowy night.

As a mental health professional, I have also trained others on assessing and dealing with personal depression or another person’s depression.  Not so easy and particularly hard when a chemical depression is involved.

Here is today’s Emotional fitness tip:  Safety first and always.

Personally reaching the end of your rope and  planning your death? Get professional help and now.  Call a hot line, go to the nearest  emergency room.  The life you save will be your own and because things do change you might find yourself living a better life than you ever imagined possible in days to come.

Worried about someone else’s depression and suicidal threats.  Take all threats seriously. Use this EFTI poster coach to guide you as to the need for immediate action and what to do when you are worried, but an emergency does not exist.

When to call 911

Life is hard and what makes it hardest for some, is the struggle seems never ending.  If you know a mixture of pain and pleasure be grateful.  If the painful times predominate, consider a chemical depression is operating.

Drink and drugs seem to make life a bit more bearable and reach the point when you need them to function even marginally well. That is another sign a chemical depression might be operating.

There is also a type of suicide that comes when one “Has it all.”  Being told you have every thing you need to be happy but still struggling iwth blackness intensifies the despair and the loneliness and increases the risk of suicide. Robin had this extra burden to carry along with his chemical depression.

Finally, some are good at hiding their depression.  We had several foster children who seemed to ooze depression.  One committed suicide long after leaving our care. I was not surprised. However, when another of our foster children made an attempt and we were discussing it with the others then in our care, one said, “You mean it’s not normal to be unhappy all the time and think about killing yourself every day.”

Scared me because he was one of the ones who always seemed  face. After his comment,  I had him take the Beck Depression Inventory.  His score indicated major depression. Until I showed the test results to his probation officer none of us suspected how depressed he was.  The link takes you  to a self-help version of the inventory.


We all have our struggles. If they do not include dealing with suicidal depression understanding the blackness others live with becomes a barrier.  Such barriers are common place for we walk only in our own shoes and that is the Curse of Personal Knowledge.

What to do when you don’t understand another’s  pain or find yourself irked by another’s complaints? Practice kindness. You will help yourself as well as the other person. If you like this post share it with another.  That is practicing deliberate kindness and deliverate kindness strengthens more than the also helpful random acts. .

As always, thank you for your support.


This post fits in with Today’s Word Press’s DAILY PROMPT:  A Bookish Choice A literary-minded witch gives you a choice: with a flick of the wand, you can become either an obscure novelist whose work will be admired and studied by a select few for decades, or a popular paperback author whose books give pleasure to millions. Which do you choose? Fame and fortune offer little protection against suicide as Robin Williams’ sad death demonstrates.  I’d love some fame and a bit more money, but …..