many years ago, i learned a little about validation therapy but i keep forgetting about it. it is a form of therapy that works with very old people, especially people with severe alzheimer’s. of course, the types of therapy that work in these situations always have something in it that can be very powerful in other types of therapy, as well. today, my friend barbara posted a video about it. can you watch it without crying?
hey everyone – if you’ve been wondering why i haven’t done lots of updates lately, it’s because i was getting ready for what is the most significant voyage for me since 33 years ago, when i took my 4-year-old son and emigrated from germany to paraguay. my mother is moving into a seniors’ home and i’m going to germany to help her. such a big change. she is getting older and ready to let go of a lot of things. she will move from a huge apartment in which she has lived for 52 years into a tiny little apartment, fortunately just minutes away from it. hopefully we’ll find a good home for my father’s gazilion pieces of artwork which he left behind. going to germany is always very strange for me – so well known yet so far away, and not just geographically. usually when i come back from germany i’m utterly exhausted emotionally. my hope for this voyage is that i will go there with a servant’s heart and deal with all the physical and emotional work there happily and lightly, that i will have lots of deep and loving connections with my mother and dear friends and family, and that i will not have any panic attacks on the plane. fortunately, capt. tom is helping me with the latter. so – i’ll be away for four weeks. don’t know how much opportunity i will have to blog. let’s see, shall we? i’m sailing into a lot of unknowns …
a beautiful body, a calm mind, health into old age, a job that makes you bounce out of the bed in the morning with excitement – aaah, we all want it. and for many of us, these dreams area attainable.
what often stands in the way is our sluggish attitude towards changing our ways to make those great things come true.
once in a while this really bugs me and i sit there frowning, pondering the mysteries of motivation. today i went on a hunt to see what other equally puzzled people have found. here are five researchers who are working on interesting angles:
jeff stone: how hypocrisy motivates change
in their article, stone and fernandez wrote:
“the dissonance and the need to restore consistency are induced by subsequently making people aware of the fact that they themselves have failed to practice the target behavior in the past. mindfulness for past failures is accomplished by having people examine or generate a list of their reasons for not performing the behavior when they had the opportunity.”
when a person has the realization, the co-authors wrote, they begin to feel discomfort which then leads them to feel motivated to make a change.
one study in particular asked students to help develop an aids prevention and education program. during the process, students talked publically about important safe sex acts and half of them were later asked to write down their own personal behaviors. others were also asked to video tape messages about safe sex.
“it’s really most effective when people publically advocate to people and allow people to discover on their own – or lead them to discover on their own – that they don’t perform the behaviors that they tell others to do,” stone said.
the researchers found that those students who were realized that their words did not necessarily follow their actions were most likely to report that they would change.
this is tied to a person’s perceptions of self-integrity and also to honesty and sincerity. “following a hypocritical act,” the co-authors wrote, “maintaining or restoring these perceptions of self-integrity requires that people act in a more honest and sincere manner than in the past. thus, when they behave like a hypocrite, people become motivated to be honest and sincere about the norms for behavior, which is most directly accomplished by bringing their behavior into line with the proposed course for action.”
what motivates older people?
an excerpt from the online book when i’m 64 by the committee on aging frontiers in social psychology, personality and adult developmental psychology:
older people might have unique motives for change: for example, they might be especially and uniquely family oriented, and thus, wish to be less of a burden to their families, or they might be motivated to maintain an exercise program in order to retain physical functioning. or they might be uniquely motivated by a behavior change that would promote global good. for instance, older adults might be willing to make a contribution to the needs of one generation in hopes that their contribution might flow through to other generations.
stephen intille – cell phone health
dr. stephen intille from MIT is
developing and evaluating software for a common mobile phone that uses context-aware, tailored, just-in-time presentation of information and operant conditioning, a training technique, to encourage brisk walking. the system uses subtle audio cues as positive reinforcement. the prototype is an example of a ubiquitous computing health intervention that presents behavior-specific prompts and encourages incremental behavior change using successive approximation. to evaluate the effectiveness of the system, it is being deployed in a population of finnish mobile phone users. the impact of the technology on physical activity and feelings about fitness and readiness to engage in physical activity will be measured.
fear, romance and motivation
vladas griskevicius (university of minnesota) suggests that the effectiveness of persuasion tactics can be dramatically changed by two primal emotions – fear and romantic desire.
in the forthcoming paper “fear and loving in las vegas: evolution, emotion, and persuasion,” griskevicius and his co-authors find that the emotion we are currently feeling has a strong effect on whether we decide to conform or to go against the grain “being afraid especially leads people to go along with the crowd, activating a ‘safety-in-numbers’ psychology,” says griskevicius. “a feeling of lust, however, motivates people to go it alone, activating a desire to be seen as unique. feeling scared or amorous can greatly change the way people make decisions.”
the thought of acquiring power motivates people to act. in the wake of barack obama’s “yes we can” victory, a study has emerged from stanford about what motivates people to take action. the prime mover, say researchers, is acquiring a position of power.
specifically, it is people’s new, more elevated perception of themselves after assuming a position with more power that inspires them to take more risks and pursue goals more confidently. taking on a formal position of power”be it managerial, political, or cultural”gives people the illusion they have more control over their organization and their world, which, in turn, can propel them to go for the gusto. in the best-case scenarios, this can lead to achieving unimaginable accomplishments. in the worst, it can lead to poor decision making and devastating losses.
image by soylentgreen
here’s part 2 of eating disorders carnival #23, a monthly blog carnival about eating disorders, body image and related issues. part 1 is here.
intuitive eating: challenge the food police
through thick’n’thin has a series of posts where the book “intuitive eating” by evelyn tribole and elyse resch is discussed. the book contains ‘the in-body experience’… 7 steps to reclaim the normal eater within’. here is step six – challenge the food police
scream a loud ‘no’ to thoughts in your head that declare you’re ‘good’ for eating under 1,000 calories or ‘bad’ because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. the food police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created. the police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loudspeaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. chasing the food police away is a critical step in returning to intuitive eating.
it’s almost january and you’re planning a weight loss journey. a typical january first: here you are, totally hating being overweight. you wake up every morning totally uncomfortable. you dread spending another day carrying around this excess body fat! it’s the time of year to begin again and your thoughts turn to self-improvement. “that’s it!” you say. “i’ve had it!” join online wellness association member, kelly lacost, as she prepares you for your 2009 weight loss journey.
binge eating to become official
if you hate yourself because for years, you’ve done things like get up at 1am and empty a carton of ice-cream, drive from one fast-food place to another so that they won’t notice how many hamburgers you eat in a row, or have a double piece of pie after five helpings of dinner – well, it’s not clear whether you REALLY have problems. at least not according to the holy grail of psychiatrists, the DSM-IV, which includes binge eating disorder as an “eating disorder not otherweise specified”. that’s about to change.
it’s estimated that anorexia affects about one percent of the U.S. population and bulimia 4 percent. binge eating disorder eclipses both, affecting about 10 percent of the population but it has yet to be recognized as a diagnostic eating disorder unto itself. despite the vast range of eating disordered behaviors, there are exactly three disorders one can be classified with: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and eating disorders not otherwise specified (ED-NOS). binge eating disorder falls into the latter category, a vague catch-all diagnosis for people who don’t fit one or more of the criteria for anorexia and bulimia. those classified with ED-NOS can range from a morbidly obese binge-eater to a 90-pound girl who meets every criteria for anorexia, except she still menstruates.
the rest is here, at the f-word.
seniors and body image
i found this blog the other day and thought i should include it here. this post is 2 ½ years old but still interesting.
last year a 63 year old woman i was working with at the time told me that she hated herself because she is so fat. hated herself! and, she added, that if she ever lost weight she still wouldn’t be able to like herself, because she is old! to me, both fat and old, that was a tragedy. what chance is there that a 63 year old woman is going to finally get either thin or young? which means, for her, what chance is there that she will ever be able to like herself? and, what can she accomplish in the world if all of her energy is expended on hating herself? is she going to fight for fairer wages when she is busy counting calories and calling laugh lines wrinkles?
what, do you suppose, would happen if we took all that attention that we now spend on hating ourselves and avoiding mirrors and wearing vertical stripes and counting calories and reviewing everything we’ve eaten so far this week to see if we can “afford” two cashews and breaking out in rebellion and then hating ourselves for eating all of the cashews — what would happen if we took that pathological self-involved energy and turned it outward? if we stopped weighing ourselves and started weighing the politicians and corporate CEOs and far right demagogues who profit from our unhappiness?
the rest is here. don’t forget to go to the last post on this blog; it’s quite moving.
black and beautiful
black is beautiful – or is it? weight and wrinkles are not the only things people are concerned about when it comes to body image. a girl like me is a short student documentary concerning the issues of identity and standards of beauty.
love your body
i missed love your body day back in october! really hope i’ll be present for it this year. fortunately, anastacia caught it – and wrote a beautiful letter to her body.
in honor of love your body day (which i just found out about this afternoon via jezebel), i have written a letter to my body. i’m posting it here with the hope that, if i falter or forget, i will have the strength from reading this to straighten myself out.
i’ve been thinking about you quite a bit lately and shaking my head with wonder that i have treated you so horribly for 31 years. i have taken you for granted, thinking that i can do whatever i want without repercussions. i just assume you will cooperate and adjust and it’s untrue and unfair; it has never worked. you have tried so hard to tell me, to warn me, to force myself to open my eyes to the fact that you’re tired and you will not cooperate if neglected. you’ve bitch slapped me about the drinking, the drugs, late nights, self-starvation and an infinite number of ways i mistreat you, and i never noticed or cared. it has taken a long time, but i am finally starting to listen, to open my eyes, to treat you as an ally, to work with you and not against you. and even though i have done nothing to deserve it, you are cooperating with me. (i would, however, like to file a grievance against my intestines. we shall address this privately.)
eating disorders, a mental health issue
last but not least, laura collins points out that an eating disorder is a mental health issue and asks the provoking question maybe we need to start stigmatizing for not having a mental disorder?. she’s concerned about parents who slink away from discussing their childrens’ mental health issues and wonders what’s really so bad about it when, according to some statistics, 50% of young people are dealing with them. here’s what she says about the brain:
it’s an organ. it interacts, more than any other physical system, with the world. it learns, it changes, it responds to the society and circumstances of its time and place. its vulnerabilities are also its strengths: we humans often respond to the world in miraculous ways. we create art, we shelter babies, we invent unthought-of of things, we stare down dangers – these require a nimble mind. a risk-taking and highly responsive mind also at risk for malfunction, just as complex machinery fails more often than a simpler tool.
a commenter challenges her:
i agree that mental illness is very real but i have a hard time believing that half of young adults suffer from it. i get annoyed when people who don’t have an illness claim to have it. it trivializes those of us who actually do suffer from illnesses.
what do you think? is mental illness easily trivialized? do you see eating disorders as a mental illness?
thanks to all the wonderful, thoughtful contributors. i’m looking forward to the next eating disorders carnival on january 31. in the meantime, do you have, or do you know, a post that would be a good addition to this carnival? if so, please submit it here or drop me a line.
it used to be when you turned 60, you could go to university for free. a wonderful tradition and one that, i’m sure, didn’t cost the university very much at all. and then one day … well, read on. this is a letter to the editor by my friend ruth.
on january 1, 2008, i turned 60 years old.
i have worked since i was 17 years old, raised 2 biological children, 1 adopted child, several foster kids. i have owned and operated several small businesses and put 2 ex-husbands through university.
i was elated to learn that SFU had a seniors’ program whereby those who were 60 or older could attain degrees for free. i called the seniors’ advisor in february, paid my initiation fee and waited until now to register for two part time courses commencing this fall. all of this i was instructed to do.
today, i called the seniors’ advisor and was informed that the 36-year old tradition of offering such courses to seniors at no fee, had arbitrarily changed – without notice – in april 2008. again, there was no notice of this change, and to date, the university has not offered to return the initiation fee.
apparently, the president of the university and the board of directors made this decision, out of the blue, without even informing the faculty advisor or the chair of the seniors’ programme.
as it stands now, all seniors’ degreed programs are a fee for service unless one applies for low-income assistance, and even then, the assistance is minimal.
i would suggest to the president of SFU that this type of foolishness is tantamount to misrepresentation and theft, as fees have been accepted by the university under false pretenses.
why a person 60 years of age would pay for a degreed course, is beyond me. we’ve all had our careers. most of us would attend university for the purpose for which it was intended … vis a vis … to learn!
it is strongly suggested that SFU reverse its decision and at the very least, as a gesture of goodwill to a community which is growing – seniors – at least give one year’s notice of such a change so that seniors can make other educational arrangements. additionally, the return of funds accepted by SFU under false pretenses might be worth considering. unless that happens, i suggest SFU is guilty of theft and i for one am seriously considering picketing outside the harbour centre campus.
i’ve always had an inherent disdain for high academics. spending too much time in the airless halls of acadamia obviously leads to brain damage. it is incumbent upon the board of SFU to do the right thing. if they are going to end a 36 year tradition, have the decency to give notice.
i did just a tiny bit of background research and found in april, stephen rees already warned this might be a problem (but who listens to a blogger?). distastefully, the non-credit SFU seniors program says nothing about this change and just quietly mentions that “seniors pay the same tuition and student fees as all other students at the university”
this is an entry for my participation in the 2008 blogathon, a 24-hour marathon of blogging. please support the cause and donate – however much, however little – to the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch). to donate, email me or use this URL: www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=d2252. you should be able to get there by clicking the link; if not, just copy and paste the link into your browser. it will take you to the appropriate location at canada helps.
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