Try it! It's good for you!

ScienceDaily reports that analysis of numerous published studies confirm, yet again, that exercise lifts depression and anxiety. We've long known that exercise is recommended to help people feel better, and there's no reason now not to embrace the idea that when you're feeling blue or concerned, a quick walk or a trip to the gym can help lift that mood.

It also takes you away from the potential of overeating because of stress, gives you overall fitness benefits, and exposes you to either the natural world or other people in the gym.

One of the researchers, Jasper Smits (who is the Director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas), recommends that all doctors encourage their patients to increase their level of exercise. He says: "Rather than emphasize the long-term health benefits of an exercise program -- which can be difficult to sustain -- we urge providers to focus with their patients on the immediate benefits. After just 25 minutes, your mood improves, you are less stressed, you have more energy -- and you'll be motivated to exercise again tomorrow. A bad mood is no longer a barrier to exercise; it is the very reason to exercise."

Try it...we think you'll be pleased with how you feel.

And, if you'd like to work with CFM to better understand your moods and how to improve your state of mind, give us a call at 301-593-8333.

For complete article, please click here.

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On Morality, Prudence and Inclination

My partner (a lifelong learner) is taking a class on business ethics with Dr. Margaret L. Cohen, at UMUC, who authored the overview provided below on motivations for behavior. Dr. Cohen explains the concepts are straight from the philosopher Immanuel Kant, and the analytic tradition in philosophical ethics.  Why is this relevant? Let me explain.

Abraham Maslow constructed a pyramid to illustrate the hierarchy of human needs. Our most basic needs are for those few things that keep us alive: food, water, air and shelter. As we progress in our personal growth, we continue through four additional stages, including safety needs, social needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization. Our growth, beyond physiological and safety needs, is mightily affected by our behavior, our attitude, and our morality. As we consider what we do each day on our growth journey, isn't it appropriate to be able to be honest with ourselves, and truthfully evaluate the real motivation for our behavior?

Dr. Cohen's outline of motivation is extremely relevant as a tool to help us 'see' what we're really doing. I wanted to share it with you, and hope you find it useful. But first, a special thanks to Dr. Cohen for letting me reproduce her work here...

* * * * * *

Morality, Prudence, and Inclination

Consider the following motivations and reasons for doing something:
* I am eating a ½ gallon of chocolate chip ice cream, because it tastes good.
* I am watching Survivor, because I enjoy watching people deceive one another. * I am running five miles a day, because I can’t get enough of that “runner’s high.”
* I am having a romantic relationship with my sister’s husband, because that man
really “turns me on.”

These are what we will call “inclinational reasons.” We do something because it makes us feel good in some way. Of course, sometimes doing these things will hurt us in the long run, or be morally questionable.

Consider the following motivations and reasons for doing something:
* I am cutting down on saturated fats because I want to protect my heart.
* I am exercising regularly to maintain bone density.
* I have been working late for the past year, so that I can get a promotion.
* I am going to college so that I can have a better life.

We will call these “prudential reasons” for acting. They are based on a broader conception of our longer-range well-being. These reasons may run counter to inclinational reasons in particular circumstances. They may also run counter to moral demands.

Consider the following motivations and reasons for doing something:
* I am going home early each day, so that I can help my child with his homework, and take him to physical therapy.
* I am helping my neighbor fix his car because I promised her I would do so.
* I am going to Iraq because I enlisted in the army and have been deployed there.
* I am reporting my employer’s dumping of toxic wastes in the Potomac because the dumping must stop to avoid increased human illness.

We will call these “moral reasons” for acting, because they have as their basis
-- a concern for the well-being of others
-- a concern to keep or fulfill one’s commitments
-- a concern to perform one’s familial, promissory, or civic duties

Acting for moral reasons may require actions against one’s best interest, and also frustrating or not satisfying inclinations. There may be times, however, when by coincidence, acting for moral reasons may also be in one’s best interests or satisfy one’s inclinations.

For example:
    If one is doing the right thing only if and so long as it makes one feel good, or serves one’s own interests, then one is NOT acting for moral reasons.

    * * * * * *

    Need help moving towards moral motivation? We're here to help.
    Contact CFM at any time.


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    Express Yourself!

    I was just reading a blog post about a man who tells about how he was served huge portions by his wife through their marriage, and gained something like 50 pounds. She had an eating disorder that he wasn't aware of (bulimia), and threw up after most meals. With her bulimia, she managed to keep her weight fairly constant ... he ballooned up over time.

    For us, as outsiders, maybe it's easy to see how dysfunctional this was and we might question how or why he didn't ask for smaller portions, eat less of what she put on his plate, etc. But often in relationships we believe the other person is working in our best interest, so we let things go.

    Are you in a relationship where the other person may be doing something that affects you negatively, yet you're not really able to talk to them about it? It could be food-related, or about spending money, or anything that causes you unease.

    It's important to keep your 'voice' in all your relationships. If you're suppressing how you feel, or unnecessarily rationalizing or making excuses to make the other person's actions seem acceptable to you, you're doing yourself and the relationship a huge disservice.

    The good news is that it's never too late to start a conversation to express your thoughts and feelings. Need help getting started?

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    New Guidelines for Mental Health Therapy

    For the first time in more than 10 years, the American Psychiatric Association is proposing changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which fundamentally outlines what constitutes a mental disorder, and will guide treatment for patients.

    The eagerly awaited revisions — to be published, if adopted, in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, due in 2013 — would be the first in a decade.

    As noted in a recent report in the New York Times, significant changes would include adding “a childhood disorder called temper dysregulation disorder with dysphoria, a recommendation that grew out of recent findings that many wildly aggressive, irritable children who have been given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder do not have it.”

    Controversial additions include “risk syndromes”, meant to identify the potential for developing a disorder, “hypersexuality”, and “binge eating disorder.”

    Thoughts? Comments?

    For the full story, please visit
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/health/10psych.html?em.
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    Embodied Cognition

    The New York Times today reports on a recently published research project that affirms a long-believed connection between how our bodies respond to our thoughts and what we 'hear'. Along with other scenarios, they tested abstract time concepts by asking participants to recall something in their past, or imagine something in their futures. As they did so, the participants leaned slightly backwards to reveal past history, and somewhat forward when thinking about what could be. This research is part of a field called embodied cognition. “How we process information is related not just to our brains but to our entire body,” said Nils B. Jostmann of the University of Amsterdam. “We use every system available to us to come to a conclusion and make sense of what’s going on.”

    An interesting reminder about how our bodies respond to our thoughts, whether those thoughts are specific to body motion or not. Think about how your body posture or movement helps others key in to what you're really saying! Want to know what you're saying when you're not talking? Schedule an appointment with CFM to learn how you are really communicating, and how to manage those messages for the best results.

    For more information, please see the story at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/science/02angier.html.
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    Love and Communication

    There are many effective ways to communicate your thoughts and feelings. Gottman, in his 25 years of research on couples suggests that couples who are successful in staying married learn to repair destructive communications. This can include apologizing, reopening discussions, and taking responsibility for negative communications. In communicating, listening, tone, tempo and non-verbal communication are all very important.

    As you go through your day, think about how you communicate with those you love. If you feel that you're not being heard, or perhaps they feel you don't 'hear' them, CFM can help you learn the tools to improve not just your communication, but your relationship and your life.
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    Giving Your Word

    Be True to your Word

    An important component of self-growth is taking on the responsibility to keep your word. When you make a promise to someone, or to yourself, fulfilling that promise is an honorable action and shows you can be trusted. What happens when we give our word and don't keep it? Other than the other person's disappointment in us, I think most of us have had the sensation that accompanies this...the feeling of sadness, or failure, or a sense of depleted self-worth. Next time you take the step to change your life in some way, whether for weight loss or improved mental health, or even building a better relationship with your partner, recognize that this is a commitment - a promise - you're making. Honor yourself by keeping it, and you'll see that those negative feelings do not appear.

    Giving your word and keeping it is the basis of all relationships. It is the foundation for trust between two people. Relationships of all kinds -- business partnerships, friendships and marriage -- are based on the fact that we gave our word to behave in a certain fashion.

    Giving our word has a deeper and more significant effect on us than we might imagine.

    Giving our word is the basis of our creativity, and our personal integrity. It is at the core of our ability to expand our horizons, to create better lives, and to give others a sense of safety in our relationships with them.

    Are you having trouble honoring the commitments you make to yourself? Let's change how you're thinking about your word and find a happier 'you'.
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