Religion and Mental Health
Studies have shown that people with faith are more content with fewer mental issues compared with secular people. It's not that easy, though, because you have different faiths, more correctly, different religious orientations. You have four different kinds of religious orientations, and only one is associated with better mental health than among secular individuals.
I will briefly explain the four various ones; extrinsic, intrinsic, quest, and fundamentalist orientation. Extrinsic religious orientation is a way to incorporate the faith that is beneficial and practical. It's only called on when needed. Because of that, it is not well integrated with life. Quest orientation has to face complex existential questions. It is seeking answers while being curious and open. Religious fundamentalists can be described as resistant to modernity and rigidity. They may be at increased risk of psychopathologies like depression, anxiety, guilt, or low self-esteem. They are less likely to seek help or only seek help from therapists that hold the same religious orientation.
That leaves us to the intrinsic orientation. I contract to an eccentric; an intrinsic orientation tends to view religion as a reference or framework from which other aspects of life are perceived and understood—for example, a strong ethical and moral commitment that stresses the love for your neighbor. Religion is the supreme value the answer to life's most essential questions—a sincere devotion to the divine.
Studies have found that only the intrinsic religious orientation makes a person a little bit more content with life with less depressed symptoms, comparing with a secular person. Happier? Happiness is hard to measure; therefore, I don't like to use the term. Happiness, as I see it, is a byproduct of a well-lived life with some luck involved.
Chris - IronCouch.com
Balance in Life
Balance is one of the hardest things to accomplish in life. For a few, it's natural; it happens without deliberate planning. These people seem to have a certain character, less competitive, and secure employment. For others is a constant battle if you don't put down some ground rules which shouldn't be written in stone but not far from it. This requires planning and discipline> I know first hand how easy it is to work in the evening and in the weekends when you have things you feel should be done. One of many problems of working "24/7" is that every day tends to become the same; Friday evening is is like Tuesday evening and Sunday becomes like any Thursday. This is especially prone to happen if you are self-employed. To prevent this from happening or already there, it requires a plan and motivation to turn things around.
By claiming a balance between work and the rest of your time, you will improve your life. Even if we enjoy our work, we need a break to look forward to something outside work. This planned well, lead to increased efficiency while working. How is it done? If you are self-employed, decide how many hours weekly you want to work. It could be 30, 40, 50 and maybe up to 55, but not more. 55+ hours you dip into becoming a workaholic, and then it is impossible to get any balance in life. Then, plan when you prefer to work these hours, Monday-Friday or Monday-Saturday. Whatever schedule fits you and your family best. After you decided, look at it critically. Is it doable? Where are the pitfalls? Is my spouse okay with these hours? If not, compromise and adjust. Every week evaluate how it worked and see if you like/need to make any modifications. Do your best to resist work more and make it harder to do so by leaving your work at work, at the office, or/and inform employees and clients that about your new working hours. It will be an adjustment period. Do your best to follow through. As a result, you will become more content down the road and feel that you are better at focusing and increasing productivity while working.
In this third and final post about friendships, I will talk about being a good friend throughout your life.
First, you have to decide what kind of friendship you want, causal, intermediate, or deep. If you want a deep friendship and notice your friend only looking for a casual one, there is usually no big issue. After a short while, you go your separate ways without investing much energy or time. The big problem occurs if the dynamic changes. One part changes how they want to have the friendship, and the other continues to think everything is as it has been. The change usually happens gradually and unconsciously. The former usually have gone through life-changing events like a romantic partner or children. One can discuss why this happens, was the commitment never as deep in the first place? Or have the priorities changed? It is very complex and has to do with deep psychological issues.
One can't prevent this from happening. The main thing we can control is being the best friend we can be. If we feel during a period, for example, the next six months I can't be an as good friend as I want because of x and y we should tell our friends that. Self-awareness! By doing that, we explain, which is highly appreciated. And most likely, our friends will ask if they can help out in any way. If you are like me and think friendships are of great importance, you might sometimes feel your friends are unwilling to put in as much effort as you. That is fine, most of the time. We all go through cycles in life. You might reach a breaking point, though, when the friendship annoys and creates frustration to a much more significant degree than it gives you positive feelings and joy. Then it is time to evaluate, but first, you bring it up with your friend in a nonaccusing way. Talk about how YOU feel and wish that you two could spend more time, etcetera. If you have done this two times during a 1-3 year period without any changes, you have two options. You accept the ways things are/have become, or you call it a quit. The risk here is that you hope for a change that won't happen, and you drag it out too long as I have done in the past.
A recipe for long-lasting friendship is to treat it as a marriage, you can argue and disagree, but there are certain things you do and some you do not do. If you do "the don'ts," it breaks. Unfortunately, some people don't get this due to psychological issues. Therefore, they end up not being good friends or a good spouse. Of course, it is not a bulletproof approach, but it might help.
I wish you long-lasting and happy friendships.
Unfortunately, friendships change during the life span. Sometimes it is just about growing apart. Occasionally, it is about one side who doesn't keep up their part of the relationship, meaning being busy and thinking less about keeping in touch even though things happen with no bad intentions. What I personally experienced and which I believe is more common than people realize "the third" person entering the relationship between old friends and intentionally or unintentionally putting a wedge into the friendship. The "third party" is a romantic boy or girlfriend who will eventually become a spouse. When this happens, the initial friendship might suffer tremendously because if the friend has to choose between the longtime friend and the spouse, the friend most of the time draws the short straw. Exemptions are if the person is strong and make it crystal clear to their spouse that "Jamie is like family, I hope you don't have a problem with that?" I know this is wishful thinking and seldom happens. Most likely, things will evolve, as with one of my old friends who married a very dominant woman who was jealous of our relationship and wanted my friend to be exclusive to her. He conformed to her wishes (demands), which was more than I could put up with, in the long run, and our relationship ended. I treat my good friends like brothers and can't accept being treated like an "acquaintance" because that is the only way a spouse agrees with continuing the relationship. What is interesting with my old (former) friend is what, if I understand it correctly, The only friends he has a relationship with after being married for ten years are three men who are also married dominating women like himself. They have a casual superficial friendship only as deep as their wives allow them to go. It is upsetting why a person agrees to sell himself out. Yes, some men and women accept and are drawn to a dominating partner and become the pushover. Sometimes, they are based on deep psychological issues, like marrying a woman/man like their mom or dad. It never leads to an honest and healthy relationship. Furthermore, a family dynamic is far from a good environment for children to grow up in.
In the next post, I will talk about being a good friend throughout your life. Remember, you have limited influence on how your friends treat your friendship. You can only show how to behave and act like a good friend yourself and hope it will be contagious. As mentioned, the real test of a friendship is in our late twenties or thirties when we settle down and get married.
This is the first out of 3-4 blogs about friendships
In my view, friendships are underrated, and many do not take them as seriously as they should. My book (work in progress and yet to be named) is about the two forms of relationships a majority of people have throughout life; romantic relationships with partners and good friends. As mentioned, in my opinion, the latter isn't taken seriously enough. It differs from culture to culture. For example, if I talk about the culture, I'm most familiar with, the Swedish regarding friendships which is a "bit cold." For example, not to attend a friend's parent's funeral. Neither invites good friends to their child's wedding.
Furthermore, workmates are usually not on the guestlist for a colleague's wedding. These examples are not empirically validated, just what I experienced and know about the Swedish mentality. Why is it like this? It has to do with treating and categorizing people differently and being politically correct. There are family and relatives in Sweden and then further down the list friends and colleagues. I have a problem with this, or I wouldn't write about it. For me, a good friend isn't just a "mate" I always try to treat my good friends like a sister or brother.
Israel has a different "friendship culture" compared with Sweden. Due to the mandatory military service after high school, boys do three and girls two years. It forms deep, many times lifelong relationships. You have friends for life, even after the service you meet (if you are a male) every year for about three weeks to do reserve service, into the late thirties depending on your civil status. In Israeli society, people rely on their army buddies; they call them up if they need help. Israel is a small country. Even though one doesn't know everyone, society is built on connections and favors (which contributes to a high level of back-scratching and corruption). As an outsider coming to Israel at age 46 with no Israeli military service, I have a different experience. I have had three friends in the past who behaved like really good friends after knowing them for only a short time. I thought I had good friends for years to come. All three, in different ways, didn't keep the (my) unwritten rules of friendship. We aren't friends anymore because I became deeply insulted, and when confronted, I was only met with a "blank stare" and defensive B.S. Of course, this could be culturally related, and from my side, having high standards on how a friend should behave.
The bottom line is what I write extensively in my book is about commitment and effort, which differ tremendously between the romantic and the friendship relationship for most people.
I wish everyone Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Healthy New Year!
It's the time many of the year for us reflect on the past year and thinking of the year ahead. How was it for you? Are you in a better place comparing with last year? My guru, Dr. Irvin Yalom, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and best selling author says that we should try to live so we don't pile up regretts and to stop wishing for a better past. Wise words, it so easy to think; "I should have done that, why did I do that? If this happnes it will change everytrhing" It is endless how we think about the past, the future and less on the present. Yes, I know, it is difficult to stay grounded in the present and not go back or forward with our thoughts. Some are better than others not to dwell about the past and worry about the future.
I good way to get a fresh start on the new year is to write down five things you would like to improve 2020; personally, fitness, family, professionally, and your community. Write down what you like to accomplish and how you will do it. Remember; Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments. Do make the goal too ambitious it is better with smaller, reachable ones.
Our lives are filled with screens. It has happened in only twenty years' and radically changed our lives. At the beginning of the 1959s, Carl Jung wrote about his trips to the U.S. He described how stressed people were and the skyscrapers that prevented sunlight. Furthermore, he stated that everything, every invention to improve our lives, can potentially harm us. That is what we have seen in the last two decades. The smartphones and internet are great tools to enhance and simplify our lives used the right way, the right way. Unfortunately, most people have lost control of it, and the iPhone and internet control humans.
We have developed a severe addiction, and everything else has taken the backseat. You see families at restaurants eating, and then instead of talking to each other, they have their faces buried in their phones. As I wrote in my previous post, we need to be role-models for our kids. This means do not tell your children to cut back on their screen time before you have done it yourself! Let the kids see that instead of sitting with your phone, you read a book or magazine, printed copy! You do a hobby, and you are leaving your phone at home when you are going for a walk or work in the garden. Discuss with the family to have one day or half a day (to begin with) of electronic fasting weekly. Yes, it will be a hard sell but stay firm. It is all about breaking a habit, and we all know bad habits, especially the old ones, die hard. Be patient, and a suggestion is to talk to your children's friend's parents to do the same. It will be easier if your kids and their friends "suffer" equally from the same rules. They have something to whine and complain about, bond over, and from that, something creative can be born. As a bonus, you get to know your children's friends' parents. Do not hesitate to do this. Down the road, you are doing the children a huge favor.
I have a theory about why we like to watch series like The Walking Dead. The kind of living which is displayed is simplified, back to basic, survival. The characters don't know if they will be alive tomorrow or not. This makes you live in the present, not thinking about the future or have excessive thoughts about the past: no social media, no internet, and no smart phones.
Is that a life to envy and longing for? Both yes and no, not to live with a constant fear of being killed but a life of simplicity. Living without the addiction of the internet and the smartphone, instead use the phone to call an old friend and talk, read a book, or do a hobby one hasn't done for a while mainly because of the addictive internet. If you are older than forty, you know how life was before Google and the iPhone. I don't say that life was better back then. It is not fair to compare, but we had more choices. We could visit friends, improve our skills, play an instrument, carpentry or play catch with our kids. We still have those options, but I know firsthand how easy it is to get stuck in front of the computer to watch another three episodes of a sitcom. I'm saying this as a person who had a life before the internet and social media. How hard is then for the younger generations who grew and are growing up with the constant accessibility and availability of things just a couple of keystrokes away? I can still remember when I grew up in Sweden with only two TV channels and have to wait a week for the next episode of Dallas or How the West was Won (The Macahans).
What can we do to limit our use of the internet and smartphones? How do we break the cycle of our children's addiction to it? First, we need to do role modeling; "don't do what I do, do what I say." is not working! As adults, we have to look over our habits and make a plan on how to tackle them. When we figured out how to cut back on our own screen time, then, not before we sit down with the children, discuss their excessive screen time. Like an alcoholic to quit drinking, it makes it easier to replace drinking with something else. The same with the kids, think about what they could do instead of the screens. Younger children you can read to, interest them in doing creating things like puzzles, playing pretend games, outdoor playing. The older you ones you could encourage to read, try to find books they would be interested in. Do you have a hobby your son or daughter would be interested in doing as well? Family movie night is a good habit; it could be alternated with the board-game night. Try to implement these things with clear rules when screens are, and not allowed. It will be an unhappy adjustment period with plenty of whining and complaining from the floor, stay strong, and do not get manipulated to cave in. It is important to get the kids to understand and discover other things besides the screens.
Your "hobby" isn't good for you...
Have you established a hobby out of your drinking habits? Do you treat drinking alcohol like you going to the gym or playing tennis? Do you deliberately not do things regularly because it requires you to drive and you can't drink then. This doesn't apply to you who live in countries where you can have 2-3 drinks and still be below the legal limit. In countries like Sweden and Israel, you can't even drink a bottle of beer and drive legally.
If you drink more than three times a week, I would say you have established a habit I would call a "bad hobby." I am not talking about having a glass of wine for dinner or a beer. What you need to pay attention to is if you like to drink two glasses or more of wine every evening, if yes, you established a bad habit. Ask yourself, why do I want to drink alcohol? It's tasty, it makes you relaxed, or do you want to feel the buzz? A study in the reputable medical journal The Lancet last year looked at alcohol, and the effect is having on humans. They concluded that there is no safe level of drinking because we are all different, and there are many variables that interact if alcohol is damaging to your body or not. Furthermore, the study showed that alcohol has no positive effects on the body, quite the opposite.
From personal experiences, I know how easy it is to establish this new hobby I call drinking. I like the buzz and alcohol makes me cheerful so for a period I had a couple of drinks 4-5 times/ week, and until I realize how it affected my life, I was looking forward to those drinks before supper and apart of me wanted 1-2 more. I was on my way to establish a hobby that wasn't good for me. Nowadays I drink maybe 4-5 times each month and pay attention to the frequency and amount. The drinking hobby doesn't happen overnight. It takes time to develop. If you take a hard look at your drinking life, you know if you drink a little bit too much, way too much or not too much. It will be much harder to cut back if you have a drinking buddy, for many, that's a spouse. This takes everything to a different level and makes it much harder to cut back or stop drinking altogether because you do share the hobby. You have something in common. And as the saying goes: Misery likes company.
How to change, cut back on your drinking. It's hard to tell if you have become an alcoholic or not. If you are aware of that you drink way too much I suggest that you get professional help. For some it's not be easy to know if one drink too much or not. You might live in denial and do not think you drink too much. Please, ask someone close to you who knows how much you drink. Be brutally honest towards yourself. You might have to stop drinking altogether, or you be able to cut back considerably. If you can lower consumption yourself, I suggest you get busy with something that makes drinking impossible. It could be going somewhere that requires driving 2-3 evenings a week, and activity that would suffer if you drank. Replace the drinking hobby with another hobby. Again, any doubts, please consider professional help. Drinking alcohol is complex issue, and for many it causes misery. This post is very generalized and only cover the topic briefly. Good Luck!
Free Speech III
Please, scroll down and read the two previous posts first. I have discussed Dr. Jordan Peterson in the two previous posts. Why he is hated by so many, I will know talk about why he is liked by so many.
One explanation is that he is filling a gap for many, not only for young men but also for older men and women. He is somehow putting things back to order in the minds of people. The society in countries like Sweden has lowered their ceiling what is politically correct to express. If you have listened to Dr. Peterson, you have heard him talk about the atrocities down by the communist regimes in Mao's China and Stalin's Russia. An estimation is that they killed more than 80,000 000 of their people. When I went to school in the seventies, we did not learn much about these genocides. The main reason was probably Sweden's socialistic government (which had been reelected for 40 years) which claimed to be neutral but leaned to the left. We had Swedish political leaders who were good friends with people like Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat. Therefore the educational material like books did not bring up the slaughter by the communistic regimes. Today, 2019, the Swedish mentality is still tainted by this. One example, it is unacceptable for a person to get away with openly support the national socialistic ideology, basically being a nazi. In Sweden, we have one of the best-known actors and one of the most recognized athletic team coaches belonging to one of the more extreme Swedish communistic parties. No one publicly questions their philosophy, believes, and affiliation. Even though any grown-up who finish high school understands that the communistic society has failed and failed again and taken millions of lives. This behavior we call (as you know) double standard. It seems to become more and more common. What can you do, and what can I do is to speak up against injustice and censorship. And, what I am telling my kids, treat others the way you want to be treated!. Have a Great Day!
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