Category Archives: Basic & General

Watching the Mind-Train

Meditation Exercise: The Mind-Train

Following my favourite Leaves on the Stream (see here), I am introducing another mindfulness exercise. It is an eye-closed exercise (though possible to do it with eyes opened when you are familiar), so please read the instruction first.

Imagine you are standing at a railway bridge gazing down at three sets of train tracks. A slow mining train is on each set of tracks moving away from you. Each train is composed of a string of little coach/car. Seemingly endless, all three chug slowly along underneath the bridge.

Now, as you look down, imagine that the train to the left carries only ore composed of sensations, perceptions, and emotions (e.g. sounds you hear, hot sensation you feel, sweaty palms, sadness you notice, itchiness you feel etc). The middle train carries only your thoughts (your evaluations, predictions, and self-conceptualisation etc). The train on your right carries your urges to act (e.g. your pull to look away, your urge to scratch your face or stop the exercise, your efforts to change the subject). Looking down on these three tracks can be seen as a metaphor for looking at your mind.

Now, find a comfortable chair to sit in for a while in a spot where you won’t be disturbed and you can be quiet. Begin the exercise by thinking of something you’ve been struggling with lately, then close your eyes and picture the three tracks. Your job will be to stay on the bridge and gaze down at these three trains moving away from you. Take at least 3 minutes just to watch what comes up for you.

Mind train. (Forgive my very basic skills, it's not as simple in my imagination!)

Mind train. (Forgive my very basic skills, it’s not as simple in my imagination!)

Are you a jealous person?

Think that you are always jealous? Think that your partner is always overly jealous and controlling? Obsessively checking his/her facebook/instagram? Always fighting because of “unimportant” persons? Constantly wondering what s/he is doing when he doesn’t reply to your message?

Here is a quiz on jealousy, it is possible to do it “on behalf of” your partner when you suspect that your partner might not be “healthily jealous” in your romantic relationship (yes, some level of jealousy is good and healthy to your relationship, but not when it turns detrimental to your relationship).

I do want to apologise that the questionnaire has assumed that every person is in a heterosexual relationship.

 

N.B. Feel free to contact me regarding the results by leaving your email in the form or leaving a comment below. However, I would say that the result of the questionnaire is not the main thing, instead, look at those items and find out if your partner’s or your jealousy is detrimental to your relationship, and if the answer is yes, do get in touch to find out what can be done.

Statistics: Smoking Status Among Malaysian Adults

  • In 2015, about 22.8% of Malaysian adults (aged >15) were smokers. (That’s more than 1 in every 5 adults!)
  • In 2011, 23.1% of Malaysian adults smoked, so yes, it had reduced slightly.
  • 43% of men and 1.4% of women smoked.
  • The prevalence among female smokers has increased from 1.0% in 2011 to 1.4% in 2015.
  • Among the smokers, a third (34.9%) smoked 25 or more cigarettes, 24.2% smoked 14-24 cigarettes, 18.5% smoked 10-14 cigarettes, 16.4% smoked 5-9 cigarettes and 5.9 smoked less than 5 cigarettes a day.
  • Among the three main races, the Malays had the highest prevalence at 24.6%, followed by the Indians at 19.7% and the Chinese at 15.4%.
  • Overall, 37.1% of Malaysian adults were exposed to secondhand smoke at home (not including children yet!)
  • More than half (52.3%) of adult smokers had tried to quit smoking in the past 12 months.
  • Smokeless cigarettes used has increased from 0.7% in 2011 to 10.9% in 2015.
  • (Worldwide) Tobacco use, a major preventable cause of premature death and diseases, kills 6 million people worldwide annually, 10% of these deaths were among non-smokers who were exposed to the second-hand cigarette smoke.

Unless otherwise stated, all these data were reported in 2015, retrieved from National Health & Morbidity Survey 2015. 

寻求关注 & 社交网站

记得大学时,在读到关于厌食症的时候,列在课本中的其中一个厌食症的原因是“寻求关注” (attention seeking)。当时候的第一个反应是,谁那么可怜,把自己弄这那样,就为了要别人的注意,要父母的照顾,要家人的陪伴(就算只是带她去看看医生而已)。毕业后的几年职业生涯中,我发现自己开始发现、并理解缺乏关注,正是引致很多心理问题的根源之一。

他人的关注,是人类作为群体动物需要的。想象要是一个人完全不需要别人的关注,没有因为别人的关注而快乐或满足,也没有因为缺乏别人的关注而失落或难受,那这个人将消失,从进化论而言,他也会绝种。

而缺乏归属感(sense of belonging),缺乏存在感的人,需要特别寻求别人的关注,可惜的是,我们给予任何一个人的注意力,似乎是与生俱来的,就像你看见一间餐厅,里头空无一人,其隔壁是个座无虚席的餐厅,你本能地会愿意走进隔壁这间… 我们给予别人的注意力,很多时候也是这样的,令人喜欢的人,越是令人喜欢,缺乏朋友的人,越是交不上新朋友。

所谓归属感,就是重视的人给予的正面的关注。所以如果一个家让你感到孤独寂寞,没有归属感,那很可能这个家(过去)没有给你正面的、你所需要的关注。

本来事情已经可以相当复杂,从年纪很小就说谎、青少年时期的叛逆,到厌食症、自残、抑郁症等,“缺乏关注”或“缺乏归属感”都很可能是诱因之一,这二十几年科技的发达,近十年社交媒体的普遍,让事情更复杂,更、难、搞!

社交网站使一切变得“方便”(也变得非常不真实)。你可以从中获得许多关注,你也可以自由地、“偷偷地”去关注其他人。

但是,在许多比较极端的情况里,如果没办法使别人喜欢我,那我宁可被讨厌、被生气、被害怕,我也不愿意被忽略,我也不愿意没有人关注我(因为至少当这些人在讨厌、生气、害怕我的时候,他们是正在关注我的!)

所以这些寂寞、不快乐、缺乏归属感的人,可以是危险的,可能造成伤害或犯罪。当然这也包括美国的大规模射击(mass shooting)。网络的出现,让缺乏归属感的人可以轻易地、快速地获得成千上万、甚至全世界的关注。或许我们应该停止“奖励”这些犯罪行为,因为他们要的,正是大家的关注(行为强化理论来说,这就是奖励)。

那我们该怎么办呢?该怎么应付这些缺乏归属感、寻求关注的人们呢?

不是在事故发生后,才去关注他们,这往往只强化了他们的不正常行为。而是在平时,放下手机、截断网络,面对面坐下,坦诚地交谈、关心彼此。或许这个文明病的处方,就是每天一小时,和你重视的人,get offline(离线)一起相处!

给自己无条件的爱

你爱自己吗?那是无条件的爱吗?

你有想过以上这个问题吗?

你是否可以想象,一个你很爱的人或宠物,是你很喜欢也很疼爱的,这可能是你的孩子、妈妈、家人、侄女、伴侣、弟弟、一个小宝宝、小宠物、或者你很爱的一个物品,就算它坏了你也会想尽办法修理它,如不能也会把它珍藏起来的…

现在,请闭上眼,想一想你对他/她/它(以下用“她”代替)的爱…… 不管她变成怎么样、做出什么、不做什么,你依然那么爱她… 你愿意拥抱她,表达你对她的爱,满满的爱…

现在,你可不可以想像,把这个“他/她/它” 换成你自己?

拥抱这个你,对你自己说“我爱你,无条件的爱你。不管你做了什么,或什么也不做,变成怎样,我依然这么爱你,而且我会一直爱着你…”

感觉怎么样?

生活中最常看见的无私、无条件的爱,通常呈现在妈妈对孩子的关系中,有时也在伴侣、家人之间出现,偶尔甚至出现在陌生人之间。

有没有想过,你自己的痛苦悲伤是怎么来的?你的幸福快乐又是建立在什么之上?

今天老板给你的工作很好的评价有升迁的机会,你感到开心。今天男朋友给了你一个惊喜,你欣喜不已。今天同事说你的裙子很好看,你也感到开心。今天终于给自己买了一台新车,兴奋不已。今天带孩子到郊外野餐,天气很好风也很大,可以放风筝,家人玩得开心,你也很开心。

今天老板批评你做事粗心,你失落并对自己失望。今天丈夫忘了你们的结婚周年纪念日,你大发雷霆。今天同事说你的新发型好像不太适合你,你有点伤心。今天才买了两个月的新车被刮花了,好伤心。好不容易把郊游的东西准备好,一家人正要出门,天空不作美,下起倾盆大雨,孩子伤心大哭,你不知道该对谁生气。

我想再问一次,你的快乐与悲伤,是如何得来的?

上面的例子,生活常出现。它们都有个共同点,就是我们都习惯把情绪交给了外面的世界、环境、人物、东西、事情,几乎都不是我们可以直接控制的。

有没有什么,是不需要别人或外在因素,是你自己内心可以得到的满足与快乐呢?就算全世界都让你失望,你还是可以找到的快乐泉源?

如果你想得到一两件事物的话,那很好。如果不能,我有些小建议…

信仰可以是其中一项。除此,做一件自己喜欢做的事、感受大自然、培养新的爱好、做自己喜欢做的运动(而不是为了别人或上载脸书而做的)、去一趟轻松的旅游、看一本好书、看一部好电影、冥想静坐、放空发呆、给老朋友打个电话、去陪一陪老人家聊天、写日记…… 好好地和自己相处,好好地听听自己心里的声音,好好地爱自己… 不管别人是否爱你、喜欢你、批评你…

回到一开始的问题:你爱自己吗?无条件的爱吗?

还是当你做得好,你才爱你自己;当你被称赞,你才爱你自己;当别人爱你,你才爱你自己?

本森放松法 (The Benson Relaxation Method)

要素

  • 重复单词、声音、短语、祷告词或肌肉活动(muscular activity)。
  • 被动地、忽视各种想法(这些想法无可避免地出现在脑海中),并耐心地把注意力放回到你重复的点。

方法的总结:

  1. 选择一个单词(比如“一”、“和”)、短句或祈祷词。
  2. 安静地坐在舒服的位置。
  3. 闭上眼睛。
  4. 放松肌肉,逐步地从脚到小腿、大腿、腹部、肩膀、头部和脖子。
  5. 慢慢地、自然地放松的当儿,在你呼气的时候,在心里重复你的单词、声音、短语或祷告词。
  6. 采取被动的态度。不要担心你做的好不好。当其他想法出现时,简单地对自己说“哦…”,然后轻轻地回到你的重复点。
  7. 持续十到二十分钟。
  8. 结束时不要马上站起来。继续安静地坐上一分钟左右,允许其他想法自然地回来。然后睁开眼睛,站起来之前再坐一分钟。
  9. 每天练习一到两次。适当的时间是早餐前和晚餐前。

你也可以在运动时引起放松反应。比如你在慢跑或走路时,注意你的脚在地面上的节奏-“左,右,左,右”– 当其他想法进入你的脑海,说“哦…”,然后返回“左,右,左,右” 当然,眼睛要睁着!类似地,游泳者可以专注于他们的划动、骑自行车者专注于车轮的呼呼声,舞者专注于音乐的节拍,其他也可以专注于他们的呼吸节奏。
(改编自Don Robertson的AHPC培训手册)

11分钟放松录音