Friday, October 6, 2017

Examining your automatic thoughts: The barricade to rational thinking and wellness

I can still vividly recall my mother’s frustrated query, “If everybody else jumped off a bridge would you?” Sure, most likely, after all peer pressure was a bitch. As we pass through adolescence, reach adulthood, and continue through those early adulthood years our prefrontal cortex continues developing until it reaches maturity. This is generally in the upper part of the mid-twenties for us fellas and the lower part for the ladies. At this point bridge jumping should only occur after careful deliberation and consideration of all potential consequences. Yet, in an abstract way so-called rational adults jump off bridges everyday.

I try to function as a rational, logical being. In doing so I give attention to my thoughts and actions to ensure that they comport with that goal. In this process I confront presumptions or practices which are culturally ingrained but may no longer be rational or logical but nonetheless are still commonly practiced.

One such incident a few days ago piqued my interest in this topic again. It serves as a paradigm for the thinking process which is habitualized in harmful practices. A friend asked me to help him move a recently purchased refrigerator, which we did.

We placed it in the corner of a garage where it was to be stored until the kitchen renovation was completed. He wanted to tie the door shut. As my eyes rolled I asked, “Why!?” The response was the same irrational mantra I have heard for over 40 years - so a child can’t get trapped in it.

He was operating perfunctory rather than making a logical assertion based on the circumstances. What he did was commonplace. He acted based upon the past acts of others. The attention paid to securing the refrigerator door was not based upon a rational examination of the circumstances but rather the lemming approach of stepping in line with the rest of the group.

When the group’s behaviour is not consistent with the promotion of positive health and relationships then this can adversely affect your wellbeing and enjoyment of life.

I am not advising to confront and challenge the group. I still helped tie the refrigerator door shut. It did no harm to me and I knew it was an absurdity. But I was aware of this.

This week I attended an event where coffee [caffeine] and doughnuts were available. I didn’t protest but I certainly didn’t partake. I am acutely aware of the harm these substances can do to my body and cognitive processes.

The point is to be aware. Act with purposeful intent. Stop drifting through life allowing the winds of others to steer your course. If you can utter the phrase “at-fault accident” without the feeling of unease or laughter then you are not fully aware. If you don’t understand the silliness of tying a door shut on a modern refrigerator go clean yours out, crawl inside it, then try to imagine a way in which you could become trapped.

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Parents who would like to achieve the best outcome for their children in a contested child custody case should visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. Attorneys may request a free consultation to learn how I can maximize their advocacy for their clients.

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©2008, 2016 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Domestic Violence, the efficacy of Protective Orders and obtaining justice for victims

Domestic Violence [DV] isn’t bound by social or economic classes, race, education level, population density, or even gender. Rather, it appears to be a construct of a society that encourages and promotes the concept that “might is right” which then tolerates violence between parents.

Yet, we do have a framework of laws intended to punish those who perpetuate violence against a household family member or intimate partner and is intended to protect the targets of their violence. Targets of DV may obtain a Domestic Violence Protective Order [DVPO] which is intended to bring about a cessation of or the threat of violence. But as violence and intimidation continue this method of addressing DV must be questioned.

I question today whether DVPO’s protect or, worse, magnify the violence or threat of violence, and if those laws and court involvement are all just efforts, resources, and time wasted. I use a recent case in Lebanon, Indiana as an example.

A perpetrator follows the other parent to a location at the opposite side of town and initiates a physical attack. The target returns home. Subsequently a unit from the Lebanon Police Department arrives there and the target is again threatened but the perpetrator is restrained by the officer. The perpetrator is arrested and charged with numerous counts including domestic battery.

Contingent upon release from custody is the issuance of a No Contact Order on behalf of the attacked parent and the infant who was also battered by the perpetrator. The parental target also obtained a DVPO. Child Protective Services sought to establish and facilitate parenting time between the perpetrator and the attacked infant. The prosecutor objected but eventually supervised visitation was established. Upon returning the infant from the first visitation session - which was in August - the perpetrator left two handwritten notes directed to the other parent tucked in the diaper bag of the infant. The No Contact Order was still in effect at that time.

The perpetrator has since been observed following the targeted parent and screaming an obscenity at him. Also at one point was videotaped burglarizing the home of the targeted parent. Additionally, for the past month the perpetrator has repeatedly sent text messages to the phone of the targeted parent including at one point when the phone was physically in the hands of a law enforcement officer.

Complaints were made to the Lebanon Police Department and the Office of the Boone County Prosecutor. Yet the perpetrator remains free to further harass and torment the other parent and get to see the child.

Part of the stipulation of being released on the perpetrator’s own recognizance is the requirement to refrain from illicit drug use and to submit to drug tests. Yet the perpetrator has subsequently tested positive for methamphetamine and refused to submit to further screenings.

Finally, at one hearing in the Boone Circuit Court, which issued the DVPO, Magistrate Sally Berrish ordered the targeted parent to sit next to the perpetrator.

So the question becomes should one even bother obtaining a DVPO or is it just a waste of time? To do or not to do; that is the question.

The outcome in a situation like this is easy to predict. It is basic psychology that we should not want to be our practice but others have incorporated with their children. The child breaks a rule and is threatened with punishment but the punishment never comes even as the rule is repeatedly observed being broken. From the child’s viewpoint there is no consequence to his unruly behaviour. Thus, it is likely to continue and increase in severity.

So what if a DVPO wasn’t issued? Again, we go back to children. The child who hasn’t been caught violating a rule may still do so but will likely do so cautiously. There may be trepidation from the feeling of “next time I may get caught”. Or the unruly behaviour may cease as a result of “I best quit while I’m ahead”. There is clearly a different dynamic at play in the mind of one who has been repeatedly caught but not faced any consequence and one who has repeatedly not been caught.

As the actions of the perpetrator become more hostile and brazen the targeted parent has expressed a fear of remaining in this town.

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©2008, 2016 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fat reduction products and how to lose fat in specific areas

I was recently speaking with a client about cognitional, false assumptions, priming, and various techniques used to swindle people out of their money. The discussion turned to the marketing and advertising scams, usually perpetuated through late night television, which relate to fat reduction and body sculpting. Specifically, it was the products that supposedly “target” body fat in a specific area and allow any overweight person to attain a finely sculpted body. I expressed my bewilderment as to how any rational person could be suckered by these scams. But my client was not as overwhelmed by that feeling as I was and queried me on the issue.

Sometimes you can be so close or knowledgeable about an issue that what may seem obvious to you isn’t to others. Apparently this is one such instance. So here I will briefly explain.

Body fat is stored in fat cells comprising adipose tissue that is subcutaneous throughout the body, traverses muscle tissue, surrounds organs, and may also coat the inside of the circulatory system in the form of plaques rather than adipose tissue. Look at a cut of pork or beef meat to see the fat surrounding and traversing the meat. There is generally a fat layer surrounding the muscle [meat portion] but also some veins of fat within the muscle.

Fat is a store of energy at about 3500 calories per pound. Depending upon your evolutionary ancestry the predisposition to fat retention and placement has largely been decided upon by the survival of the most adaptive theory. Peoples from northern arctic areas will be more likely to have a metabolic setting that encourages fat retention as their ancestors likely had a higher appetite and lower metabolic rate and thus were more likely to engorge themselves in times of feast which allowed them to survive during the times of famine.

In our modern society there is evolutionary pressure to reduce fat retention as food supplies are ample as is heating in cold climates. Thus, there is no longer a survival benefit to sacrificing longevity for the benefit of immediate survival and reproduction.

Unspent processed calories are sent to the adipose tissue by the blood stream and stored as fat. The calorie calculation is very simple: calories processed less calories expended equals the net gain or loss. Here is the important part as it relates to those products that supposedly target specific fats. The blood does not select where to store the fat.

Here are two ways to think of it. For adding fat, imagine dumping a bucket of water on dry ground. The water will flow across the surface filling in cracks, depressions, and other porous areas until it has been reduced to the point that procession ceases. It proportionally filled areas of deficit. The bucket doesn’t decide to fill one depression completely while only filling a crack half way before having the water flow past to some other selected crack. For reducing fat try a straw in a glass of water. Suck differing amounts of water from the bottom, a side, the middle, and near the top. You will notice that there are no pockets of air where water used to be in the glass. This is because the water is uniformly removed regardless of from where in the glass it is taken. These scenarios do not apply to adding or removing fat from the circulatory system.

So think of using a specific muscle to the point that it’s energy requirement exceeds what is in the blood stream. Let’s use legs as an example - hiking. Now think of this in evolutionary terms. There were two hikers traversing a path through a blizzard for days upon end without food. One had a metabolism that only took fat from the muscle in use and the surrounding tissue to convert to energy. The other had a metabolism that took fat uniformly from any adipose tissue the bloodstream encountered which most efficiently delivered it to the cells needing energy. Who do you think survived and reproduced?

Thus, fat reduction becomes very simple. If you want to lose 50% of your belly fat then lose 50% of the fat in your body. You won’t ever need to do a sit-up to accomplish it. Just observe that simple equation: calories processed less calories expended. In an upcoming post I will explain more about the calories processed less calories expended equation.

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Parents who would like to achieve the best outcome for their children in a contested child custody case should visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. Attorneys may request a free consultation to learn how I can maximize their advocacy for their clients.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Most disease may be communicable and affecting your well-being

When proceeding through a divorce or child custody battle it is well established that your health may be compromised. The stress of these events can dampen the immune system making the body more susceptible to communicable diseases. Likewise, there may be a psychological impact that can adversely affect health. Finally, this period of transition may result in initiation, resumption, or increase in poor health habits as well as associations with people who model poor behaviours.

In health classes and throughout medical literature you may have encountered diseases being classified in one of two categories; communicable and noncommunicable. Under an absolutists' view disease is readily classified into one of the two categories. I contend and endeavor to demonstrate here that such a dichotomy does not adequately represent the factors relevant to the proliferation of disease and that the spread of disease once considered to be noncommunicable is actually communicable.

I recently wrote about societal scripts and perceptions in Turning Negatives Into Positives Through Cognitive Modification where I made the point that the scripts that have molded our lens of consciousness can be modified. In this article I am again going to dispute some societal scripts. It is my premise that what are labeled as non-communicable disease are actually communicable.

Typically it has been ailments passed through infected fluids secreted by mucus membranes that are held to be communicable diseases. Communicable diseases may be subdivided into viral, bacterial, fungal, sexually transmitted, or contagions of insect or parasite origin. They are spread via various modes of transmission. Mononucleosis through saliva. AIDS through blood. Influenza through sneezes and coughs.

Ailments such as cancers, coronary artery disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, or Alzheimer's Disease are said to be non-communicable. They are dysfunction within the body due to environmental or lifestyle influences.

So let's examine what it means to be communicable. Communication is the transmission and receipt of information. Information can be transmitted through a diverse array of modes. Typically we think of speaking and writing -- we hear it or read it. Think of the blind who feel it. Think of how you determine if a food contains an alkali metal [salty], sugar [sweet], hydrogen [sour], toxin [bitter], or meaty/fermented [umami]. Think of encountering a stranger and determining his or her mood or level of friendliness. You can see from these brief examples that we are involved in communication continually without being conscious of it.

A virus, bacteria, protein or DNA strand are all information. Thus, when passed to you as an infective agent the information the agent contains is communicated to your body. It isn’t really the material passed to you that ails you but the information about contagion replication and your body’s defenses which allows the agent to divert your body’s resources to its benefit which it does. But what about the material passed to you that may ail you but doesn’t contain self-replication information?

What I am referring to here is the materials you deliberately put into body. This is the food and beverages, the drugs, the topical applications [soaps, lotions, cosmetics, deodorants], and the airborne particulate matter [air fresheners, esters, non-methane hydrocarbons].

For purposes here I will limit the array of these materials to commercially available products. So it’s the food and beverage products, the pharmaceuticals, the toiletries, and indoor air additives to which I will refer. All of these are advertised which influences our decisions on whether to use these products. The influences on our decisions whether to use products are most likely resulting from cultural exposure. Commercial advertising is usually limited to influencing immediacy of action or brand preference.

Our families, friends, cults, community, and even national identity can affect our decisions. Take cigarette smoking for example. Rates of smoking differ widely by country, family, community, and specific demographic. It has also changed dramatically over time. I see this in movies spanning nearly 100 years. What was once treated as part of the typical accoutrements of a social gathering is now rarely offered or accommodated in some areas.

A “no smoking” sign sends a message. A parent smoking in the home as a toddler looks on sends a message. When friends at a party pass a bottle and everyone takes a pill or drink a message is being transmitted and received. When an event host offers doughnuts or hotdogs that sends a message. When people give praises about the scent of perfume imbued homes that sends a message. Likewise when admiration is shown for someone covered with cosmetics that sends a message. When someone refuses to engage in an unhealthy activity and another gives a disapproving or puzzling look that sends a message. These actions all communicate thoughts about whether one approves or disapproves of a cultural norm which affects health.

Now I take you back to cancers, coronary artery disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, or Alzheimer's Disease which are generally thought to be non-communicable. These conditions and many others like them are nearly wholly environmentally triggered. That is, it takes the act of breathing, eating, or absorbing something for these conditions to develop. Now think about what triggers them.

What I have broadly referred to here as “food” actually includes garbage made to appear as food. Eating from this niche of consumables along with the manner and amount of consumption, and the modes of delivery, are largely responsible for those ailments. Other significant contributors are drugs -- especially if delivered via smoking -- and chemicals in topical applications.

The decision whether to inflict harm upon our bodies by using these items is influenced significantly by information communicated to us about them. It my be the facial expressions of our social group, highway signage, or what was inculcated through the daily practices of our parents. Also consider the influence of popular culture such as movies. In one I recently watched a character offered fruit juice to another who rebuffed the offer and requested soda instead. This was met with a scolding about soda being loaded with sugar. This demonstrates a clear cultural perception that fruit juices and sodas are on different ends of the healthful spectrum. But, fruit juices, other than citrus, are nothing more than sucrose extract of fruit - table sugar. So, I contend that ultimately these ailments are also communicable diseases.

Looking back to the viral, bacterial, or fungal pathogens we find preventative measures in protective wear, hygienic practices, and vaccines. These cannot protect us from this new class of communicable diseases though. There are analogous options though.

Protection from receiving the harmful information can first come from blocking it. As I previously said this information is advertised. For numerous reasons television broadcasts should not be viewed. Likewise advertisements encountered during internet usage should be ignored.

Next one should clean out his or her immediate environment. This means removing the harmful influences or staying away from them. This includes people as well as products. Places such as bars should be avoided. Paying for gas at the pump rather than being exposed to all the harmful products in the convenience mart can reduce the perception that those items are acceptable.

Psychologically, exposure tends to breed acceptance. This is when one is said to be conditioned. It’s the practice that cults use through the adoption of rituals, ornaments, symbolism, media and socialization. When cult images adorn the home, texts related to the cult are present and read, music or television programs are cult related, and the social network is limited to cult members then the message becomes inculcated.

If cult ideology, which is typically absurd and is delivered in a purposeful and blatant manner, can be inculcated through exposure then just imagine how easy it is to come to accept the cultural norms that are discretely applied. Fruit juice is an example of that. There is a cultural assumption that fruit juice is healthier than table sugar but the body treats them the same. Of course there are much broader cultural norms when it comes to consumables.

It is generally considered polite to accept and eat food products when offered. Likewise, the same was applied ubiquitously to alcohol, cigarettes and arsenic. People accepted these when offered purely as custom even though all were harmful and promoted disease. Well, I guess people refused arsenic because it would kill them. Over time society would come to reject smoking tobacco and consuming alcohol as a perfunctory element of polite socializing because it was apparent that they promote death also. The same is slowly and sporadically coming to fruition in regards to garbage manufactured to appear as food. Thus, the disease effect of the message communicated that these deadly practices were part of good and polite living has diminished as that message has been rebuffed.

A final consideration is the type of people with whom you may associate. Steer clear of people who are depressed, angry, hostile, negative, or despondent. They tend to overtly and covertly send messages about the world that can have a negative psychological impact and consequently have an adverse effect on your immune system. If you are in a child custody battle and participate in online forums related to this topic you may well notice a general victimhood attitude and worse. Just like association with a cult can adversely affect health so can the exposure to self-pity and outwardly directed action often espoused among these groups which behave quite similarly to cults.

Disease is almost purely a result of deliberate action -- the effect of choosing. So, to avoid “catching” one of the diseases primarily thought of as non-communicable you should choose wisely about the information to which you allow yourself to be exposed.

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Parents who would like to achieve the best outcome for their children in a contested child custody case should visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. Attorneys may request a free consultation to learn how I can maximize their advocacy for their clients.

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©2008, 2014 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Genetically Modified Organisms [GMO] in the food supply, your wellness, and whether you should eat them

Sometimes you encounter an option that is self-evident and which you do not need explanation or further evidence before deciding. Whether to eat foods containing GMOs for some people is one of those. So this article is for those who need guidance or have opted to eat GMO impregnated foods but still wonder.

Clearly GMOs in the food supply is controversial and a subject of debate. To be clear I will say that GMO impregnated foods are safe as the FDA applies the term “safe.” What that basically means is that a substance does not proximately cause death or injury. “Safe” does not mean “harmless” or “less harmful”. The cumulative effect of a safe substance can still be molecular damage or transcription errors in DNA. Think of having medical diagnostic x-rays of your body produced. When that is done a state health department has determined it to be “safe”. Notice however that those administering the procedure shield themselves behind protective barriers during the safe procedure.

Like so many health related issues there are reports or studies that appear to directly contradict each other. The GMO issue is no different. The reason for this is that ethical considerations bar the cloning of humans to be test subjects and controls for the purpose of measuring risk of a single variable by confining them to a controlled environment to observe the effect of that one variable during their entire lives. Thus, the evidence becomes like a polygraph examination -- the conclusion is not an absolute but only a subjective interpretation of the evidence. Who pays for the research often affects the bias or subjectivity of the researcher.

In the realm of GMO foods it is the food manufacturers who have been the financial backers of much of the research. This is a consequence of them being the ones seeking approval from the FDA which requires them to conduct the research. They also have access to the raw data produced before the subjective interpretation.

This is where my analysis gets very simple. I am not going to bother with a meta-analysis or citations to any particular study. Instead I offer one anecdote for you to use in deciding whether to eat foods impregnated with GMOs.

One day I was having lunch during a professional meeting and conversing with others seated alongside me. Two of the gentlemen worked for an Indiana based food processor. We got onto the subject of GMOs and ethics. After listening to their defense of their jobs following my likening of them to Mengele I asked one question: Do you eat the GMO foods you make?

The first gentleman replied that he does not and does not intend to eat them. The second affirmed the same and also included that there was no way that he does not allow his children to consume any nor his wife, especially when she was pregnant.

That was years ago. I have not done any research on GMO foods since then because I had already talked to the designers who had access to all the raw data on GMO foods. Their decision to not use the products they design, out of consideration for the well-being of their families and themselves, was all the information I needed to decide.

Genetically Modified Organisms, GMO, is it safe to eat GMO foods, do GMO food designers eat their own food,

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Parents who would like to achieve the best outcome for their children in a contested child custody case should visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. Attorneys may request a free consultation to learn how I can maximize their advocacy for their clients.

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©2008, 2016 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Turning Negatives Into Positives Through Cognitive Modification

As I listened to a recent lecture the professor mentioned “but, of course, not every moment of that is going to be enjoyable.” I was immediately struck by that caveat, especially the emphasis that the presumed displeasure seemed to be a natural consequence. He was referring to infant rearing. The conflict that I felt with that life script or schema for child rearing underpins the essence of cognitive behaviour therapy [CBT] – reality is only what the brain perceives it to be.

At another time I will write about how every moment of rearing my son was pleasurable. In today's posting I am instead going to articulate the primary foundation that I provide to clients receiving CBT. While much of what I provide here is still discussed during individual therapy, understanding the cognitive process is substantial and better achieved with advanced knowledge of general principles.

Whether the symptom is child custody or relationship conflict, financial disorder, employment dissatisfaction, mood disorder, body shape problems, or other wellness issues the basis lies in cognition. It is the manner in which we perceive the world that affects our actions and it is those deliberate, yet often reflexive or habitual, acts which account for these outcomes.

Our perceptions are based upon the emotional attachment given to memories. This is a point of particular importance. Emotional attachment is a significant driving force.

The societal scripts that are inculcated by our brains have the greatest staying power when attached to an emotion. The purveyors of these scripts do so to maintain order, regulate group dynamics, and best serve their interest or that of those advocating them.

So let's jump right into this with statutory law and prison. We are told that laws exist to maintain order, preserve the peace, facilitate cooperation, and provide for the common welfare of the community. While we are encouraged to abide the laws our motivation to do so is based upon fear. The fear of prison, stigma, loss of employment, loss of physical freedom, and loss of connections to loved ones is perpetuated through culture.

This lever of compliance breaks down when the perceived reward exceeds the perceived consequence. Or . . . when the perceived consequence is diminished.

Fix in your mind your impression of prison life. Do you imagine fighting, cramped miserable conditions, incessant noise, horrible food, abusive guards, and a general threat to your health and safety? What about your family connections?

Now I want for you to jump to the opposite end of the spectrum. Imagine that you are living in a gated community with a diverse population. There are sporting facilities, cafeteria, health clinic, library, and other amenities all within a brief walk. Unemployment is zero, the grounds crew keeps the community clean, and maintenance crews quickly tend to any issues in your home. Residents of this community extend their life expectancy while living there as compared to those outside the community. In the evening you may sit by the ball court, sipping on tea or lemonade while watching others stroll the pathways or workout while the sun sets. The neighborhood health clinic doesn't require appointments, often provides same-day service and dispenses its own meds. The kicker of it all is there is no charge – housing, food, healthcare, recreation, entertainment, and even clothing. It's free.

Thus, whether prison is good or bad is dependent upon perception. If it is viewed from the perspective of deprivation – what one has to give up – then it may be perceived as adverse. However, if one changes cognition to see what is obtained then the perception becomes that the experience is positive.

Here is how this plays out. The deprivation view is that incarceration is a loss of freedom. Additionally, a common view from some people is that prison is a dangerous environment where safety is lost. I see these people as a paradox. They may lock themselves in cars, in their homes, or in office buildings. Their housing community, apartment building, or workplace may have guards posted or patrolling. It seems as though they perceive their environment as being unsafe and under constant threat. The beneficial view is that prison is a respite from the responsibilities of living in that larger, dangerous society which is prohibited from bringing its problems into the inmate community. Prison, after all, is the ultimate gated-community with around-the-clock armed guards patrolling the perimeter and guards posted at the entrances or roaming throughout the housing units prepared to respond at a moments notice to any threat against a resident.

Those on the outside may see that one in prison is deprived of preparing whatever he wants to eat. On the inside I was given the privilege of being able to go to the diner with friends three times a day and have our meals served to us at no charge.

How horrible it must be to be in prison deprived of the opportunity of trying to select and pay for a healthcare plan, schedule an appointment with an in-network provider, obtain a necessary referral, get time off work for treatment, then go pick up a prescription. In prison I was stuck with walking to the hospital, being seen that day, receiving evaluation or treatment, taking hold of any prescription, and then heading off to work. Entirely without payment, employment consequence, or limitation. It was my Constitutional right.

As you may not plan to engage in an intrusion into the domain of a financial superior, such as manufacturing, transporting, or delivering drugs outside of the pharmaceutical protocol, then prison may not be on your horizon. For you I will provide some other example to illustrate this premise – that you only experience what you perceive.

You don't give up doughnuts, french fries, and hot dogs. Instead give yourself an opportunity to truly taste delicious foods, feel more elated, and savor succulent flavours more often.

You don't give up having the ability to see your child on a daily basis. Instead, you give yourself one evening a week dedicated solely to your child. You give yourself time during the week to take care of the mundane chores of living and make alternating weekends special times where your child gets your full attention.

Your spousal figure doesn't argue with you to keep you from getting your way. Rather, he or she cares enough about you to use his or her time and effort to convince you to adopt an alternate position.

Here is why I congratulate people when they get fired from their jobs. You don't get fired from a job and lose your income. Instead, you appreciate that someone made an assessment of your satisfaction with the job, determined that you would be happier elsewhere, and you took advantage of the push to change. Also, you appreciate the fortitude that you exhibited by building some savings and reducing obligations which allowed you to take a hiatus from working which builds your esteem.

These few examples are not intended to be extrapolations from a how-to list of negative thoughts changed to positive ones. If it was that simple then therapy, which is guided exploration, would be unnecessary. These examples are the outcomes.

The path to these outcomes lies in determining the emotional attachment given to the stimulus and if those are objectively valid. That is, are the feelings you have given to a merit-based job termination a universal consequence of a firing.

I used to eat doughnuts. I enjoyed eating doughnuts. The aroma alone could elevate my mood. There is a doughnut shop within view of my house. Sometimes I experience a fleeting thought that I should get a doughnut. It comes from deep within my mind based on long past experiences.

Going to the doughnut shop when I was young and getting to select my portion of the dozen meant that I was spending time with my father. It was during the weekend when he would set aside some time for this activity with my sister and I. It even continued into my adolescence on Sundays after I completed my newspaper delivery.

I don't recall much from my childhood but I know he was there for dinner most nights but that it didn't necessarily correlate to being home for the evening. We had our weekend morning but the rest of the time could be dedicated to working around the house or going back to the office. I estimate that time at the office accounted for about 60 hours in a typical week.

Thus, doughnut mornings where significant to me and I formed a strong emotional attachment to doughnuts and subsequently the feelings experienced while eating them.

While improving my wellness doughnuts clearly had to go. It took recognizing that emotional attachment to do it. I yearned for a meaningful father-son relationship. Even into my early 40's I wasn't able to actively listen to the song Cats in the Cradle without crying.

Objectively I assessed the doughnut eating experience. It was a blast of sugar tinted by flavours that nearly obscured a somewhat metallic taste which provided brief exuberance. This was followed by a depressed state that wasn't sadness but more akin to just blah. I think that is the technical term. The “Blahs” may be mentioned in the ISDM-IV. Then there was the lethargic feeling as that artificially flavoured sugary lump of dough traversed my colon having stimulated neurotransmitters and my immune system.

I also made the realization that the father-son relationship I had was what it was and eating doughnuts wasn't going to change it. My father valued his employment. He cherished the “Vice-President” title, the corner office and, I suspect, the attention of the employees with greater appreciation for that of the females.

I had an option of trying to build a meaningful father-son relationship well into my adult life or seeking solace elsewhere. I don't even like it that a so-called food was the basis of a father-son relationship. I opted for satisfaction in a strong father-son relationship. It was through a position flip though. I am the father in my exceedingly gratifying father-son relationship which doesn't include doughnuts. A Chinese buffet may be in there though. On a good day it could still include me yanking on the connective tissue in a crab claw to pinch my son's face or nearly poke out an eye as he struggles to evade the Crustacean attack.

The scripts that have molded our lens of consciousness can be modified. We are not automatons destined to follow a particular course or view the world in a particularly skewed manner. Our reality is what we perceive it to be. When properly guided we are able to see all situations objectively, without the interference of emotion, and in a manner that facilitates a positive outcome.

Whether you have seen the glass half full or half empty becomes irrelevant once you master perception and are able to see what I see – that I have a pitcher and ready access to the tap.

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