Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961) was a positive psychologist and one of the fathers of modern psychotherapy. A former student of Sigmund Freud, he saw an chance to expand one’s consciousness in virtually any manifestation of neurosis or depression.
Bright Side has 20 of insightful quotes from Dr Jung, which one do you like best? My favourite is #2. Be sure to leave us a comment!
It is well known that an unhappy childhood can lead to mental health issues in later life. What's becoming clear to researchers now is that chronic stress and anxiety during childhood can trigger dramatic changes in the body, which contribute to our risk of developing diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke, reported the BBC Radio 4.
Chronic stress in childhood is also associated with a shortened life span, through its impact on the developing brain and the immune system. Health-harming behaviours like smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use, are also more common among those who have endured traumatic experiences in childhood.
However, while we can't change the past, we can change our response to it.
Mindfulness therapy works as well as some anti-depressant drugs with no harmful side effects, according to The Independent. People suffering from depression who received mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) were 31 per cent less likely to suffer a relapse during the next 60 weeks, the researchers reported in a paper in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Professor Willem Kuyken, the lead author of the paper, said: “This new evidence for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy … is very heartening. While MBCT is not a panacea, it does clearly offer those with a substantial history of depression a new approach to learning skills to stay well in the long-term."
“It’s a sort of mental training. It’s about training the mind so people can see negative thoughts, negative feelings, the early signs of a depressive relapse, and learn the skills to respond to those in a way that makes them more resilient.”
But Professor Kuyken, an Oxford University clinical psychologist and director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, also stressed that different people required different treatments and mindfulness should be viewed as one option alongside drugs and other forms of therapy.
Weight loss advice tends to be one of two things : Fewer calories in, more calories out or do more exercise. However, we are ignoring something that can cause results to vary vastly - our brain.
Psychologist and novelist Michael Graziano writes in the Aeon that hunger is like a mood. He says: "Hunger is a process that’s always present, always running in the background, only occasionally rising into consciousness. When it slowly rises or eases back down, even when it’s beneath consciousness, it alters our decisions. It warps our priorities and our emotional investment in long-term goals. It even changes our sensory perceptions – often quite profoundly."
For instance, when you are hungry, the burger on your plate looks tiny, already, you are thinking of having another one. But when you are full, the same burger may look enormous. Dr Graziano, who is a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University, says: "It isn’t just the food itself. Your own body image is warped. When the hunger mood rises, you feel a little thinner, the diet feels like it’s working and you can afford a self-indulgence. When satiety kicks in, you feel like a whale."
Ironically, the very act of trying to lose weight makes us more likely to put weight on. We may have enough self control to eat smaller main meals, but we forget how much we snack. And the same goes for exercise. If we've done a big session at the gym, we might whisper to the chocolate chip muffin, yes I've earned you today.
Dr Graziano writes: "The obesity epidemic is not an issue of calories or willpower. I began to suspect that our problem with obesity is a problem of poisoning the normal regulatory system. We possess a system that’s intricate and beautifully calibrated. It evolved over millions of years to be good at its job. It should work in the background without any conscious effort, but for more than two-thirds of us it doesn’t. "
For over a year, he experimented with his own diet and lost over 20kg. He noticed that 3 bad habits appeared to consistently boost his hunger. He calls them the super-high death-carb diet, the low-fat craze, and the calorie-counting trap.
He said: "The super-high death-carb diet has become normal US fare. We get up in the morning and eat a croissant, or pancakes with syrup, or a muffin. Or cereal and milk. The cereal is all carbs. Then comes lunch. Suppose I’m unhealthy and eat a fast-food, McDonald’s lunch. We think of it as greasy food, but beyond the grease the burger has a bun and the ketchup is sugar paste. The fries are all carbs. The large soda is sugar water. The grease is only a tiny part of the meal. Maybe you feel morally superior and prefer a ‘healthy’ lunch, a deli sandwich that’s mainly French bread. And chips. And a Snapple. All carbs."
A low-carb diet makes you lose weight because you eat less. Or (perhaps more accurately), the ridiculous, super-high death-carb diet stokes up the hunger mechanism and your eating goes out of control.
As numerous studies have now established, fat reduces hunger. Take it away and the hunger mood soars. It’s not a simple relationship, and the effect is gradual as the hypothalamus learns associations over time.
But the most insidious attack on the hunger mechanism might be the chronic diet. The more you try to micromanage your automatic hunger control mechanism, the more you mess with its dynamics. Skip breakfast, cut calories at lunch, eat a small dinner and you poke the hunger tiger. All you do is put yourself in the vicious cycle of trying to exert willpower and failing.
Dr Graziano said: "In some ways, the hunger system is like the breathing system. The brain has an unconscious mechanism that regulates breathing. Suppose that system got shut down so that it was up to you to consciously control your own breath, adjusting its rate and depth depending on factors such as blood oxygen, carbon dioxide level, physical exertion, and so on. What would happen? You’d die in about 10 minutes. You’d lose track of the necessities.
"The intellectual, conscious mind is not really good at these matters of regulating the internal environment. It’s better to leave the job as much as possible to the dedicated systems that evolved to do it. What you can do with your conscious mind is to set the general parameters. Put yourself in a place where your automatic systems can operate correctly. Don’t put a plastic bag over your head. Likewise, don’t eat the super-high death-carb, low-fat diet. Don’t micromanage your brainstem by counting every calorie. You might be surprised at how well your health self-regulates."
It's a month since music legend David Bowie passed away from his battle with cancer and lots of famous and not so famous people have been writing touching tributes. One of the more unusual ones that went viral was an open letter by a palliative care doctor in the UK.
In it, Dr Mark Taubert thanked the singer for opening up a discussion about end of life care with a patient of his who had received a terminal diagnosis. He writes:
"So back to the conversation I had with the lady who had recently received the news that she had advanced cancer that had spread, and that she would probably not live much longer than a year or so. She talked about you and loved your music, but for some reason was not impressed by your Ziggy Stardust outfit (she was not sure whether you were a boy or a girl). She too, had memories of places and events for which you provided an idiosyncratic soundtrack.
"And then we talked about a good death, the dying moments and what these typically look like. And we talked about palliative care and how it can help. She told me about her mother’s and her father’s death, and that she wanted to be at home when things progressed, not in a hospital or emergency room, but that she’d happily transfer to the local hospice should her symptoms be too challenging to treat at home.
"We both wondered who may have been around you when you took your last breath and whether anyone was holding your hand. I believe this was an aspect of the vision she had of her own dying moments that was of utmost importance to her, and you gave her a way of expressing this most personal longing to me, a relative stranger.
Dr Taubert also took the opportunity in his letter to raise awareness of what palliative care can do and the importance of advance care planning - planning heath and care decisions prior to things getting worse and before becoming unable to express them. While these sorts of discussions may not be pleasant for the person who is sick or for their family, it is just as important to die well as it is to live well.
Dr Andrew Weil (above) is a pioneer of fusing western medical science with ancient traditions of mindfulness and meditation. In this video, he explains and demonstrates "The Relaxing Breath", which has its roots in pranayama, a type of breathing used by yoga practitioners.
The gist is this: Place your tongue against your top teeth and the roof of your mouth. Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 7 and breath out through your mouth for 8, making a whooshing noise. This is 1 cycle, Don't do more than 4 breath cycles when you're trying this out for the first time as changing the way you breathe (by breathing more deeply) can make you dizzy. Dr Weil stresses that it is important to make it into a habit, so do 4 breath cycles twice a day for a month.
Holding your breath in this sequence allows oxygen to fill your lungs and then circulate throughout the body. It is this that produces a relaxing effect in the body and is “a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system,” according to Dr Weil.
And the possibilities are endless. If you do it religiously for 2 months. it will start lowering your heart rate and blood pressure even while you are not doing the breathing technique. Dr Weil says you can also use it in emotional situations or during cravings for food or nicotine. He said: "Once you finish 4 cycles, the craving will have passed."
Some internet users found this breathing technique helped them to falls asleep in under 60 seconds, while others found it has helped with dealing with anxiety.
After a few months, once you've got the hang of it, you can increase it to 8 breath cycles.
World-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking is known for providing us with complex yet invaluable insights into space, time, and the nitty-gritty of theoretical physics. However, in a recent talk, the iconic physicist gave a poignant message to people suffering from depression, making a poetic comparison between depression and a black hole.
Prof Hawking said: “The message of this lecture is that black holes ain't as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought.
“Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly to another universe. So if you feel you are in a black hole, don't give up – there's a way out.”
He gave the speech in front of a crowd of over 400 people on January 7 this year, as part of the Reith lecture at the Royal Institute in London. Prof Hawking, who turned 74 the day after the lecture, has lived with motor neuron disease for almost 53 years – despite being told he had just two years to live when diagnosed in 1963.
Speaking to the same audience, his daughter Lucy noted Hawking’s incredible mental fitness – both intellectually and emotionally. She said: “He has a very enviable wish to keep going and the ability to summon all his reserves, all his energy, all his mental focus and press them all into that goal of keeping going.
“But not just to keep going for the purposes of survival but to transcend this by producing extraordinary work – writing books, giving lectures, inspiring other people with neurodegenerative and other disabilities.”
All entries complied by osteopath Dr Wei Chua unless otherwise stated.