Category Archives: Behavior Self-Help

Stop Running from your Fears

Stop Running from your Fears

Tony was a regular boy. He would show up once in a while in our neighborhood to play and join in our games. Sometimes everything went smoothly for Tony and playing was fun; other times other kids would tease him, would taunt him and would threaten to harm him. When the latter happened, Tony would retreat sheepishly and leave. Tony did not have a regular home, he was an orphan. He lived at a city sponsored school/orphanage and would come to our neighborhood to visit a family who had befriended and was nice to him.

There came a time when we did not see Tony for a while. When he showed up next a boy in the neighborhood decided to repeat the intimidation routine on Tony. As the boy approached him and talked rough to him Tony just stood there. This time Tony did not retreat and did not sheepishly look down. Tony remained calm and firm looking straight into the eyes of the other boy. I will never forget the next two statements uttered by this elementary school age boy, “I’m not the same Tony as I used to be. You cannot push me around anymore.” The other boy stood there somewhat confused and not knowing what to do. Tony was not playing his usual part. Tony remained calm but resolute on his gaze. The other boy turned around and left him alone and did not bother him again.

Life can be difficult and filled with challenges and stresses, regardless of our age. Tony, in spite of his young age, taught me two valued principles in handling life. One, stop running from your fears. Second, stand up to the fears and challenges of life.

Stop running from your fears

All of us have moments of vulnerability. The stresses of life, an unkind word or act, the voids we carry in our heart, these factors and others may create in us feelings of anxiety and fear, even panic. Only those who have spent never-ending nights in anguish due to perceived danger can attest of the torturous experience fear can cause. During these most agonizing moments, our first instinct is to flee, to find refuge somewhere, somehow. But as experience has taught, very little refuge can be found when we flee something that is inside us. There is no place distant enough to protect us because wherever we go, there is the fear, the anxiety. In order to stop running from our fears we need two things: new internalized knowledge and new skills. The new piece of knowledge I would like to offer is that wherever we go, there is the fear. So, we must make a conscious decision that we will stop running from our fears and realize that we will feel uncomfortable sensations, but they will not harm us. What does that mean? This means that we can handle the sensations and be bold. By internalizing this information we can stop the vicious cycle.

Stand up to your fears

Just like Tony, as we look at our fears straight in the eye, we will find out that we have more control of the situation than we previously thought. There are different skills you can use. First, distract your mind by bringing your focus to the moment. Use a car key or something with a rough surface and rub your thumb on the rough area of the object. Keep the focus on that item while telling yourself that you are safe and that you can handle any feeling that comes your way. Second, if you can move around, do so to allow your body to use some of the energy that has suddenly become available. Third, practice to mentally go to your happy and relaxing place where you have previously built happy memories. If at any time you feel the sensations are coming faster than your distracting efforts, pause and confront the sensations by mentally or verbally inviting them to come at you with all they have. Like I said, fear is a sensation and even though is uncomfortable, it will not harm you. So, be brave for it will be then when you will realize that you are bigger than your fears and you will stop feeding the wolf that has been chasing you for so long.

There is a poem I discovered many years ago while still in elementary school that has been a source of perspective and inspiration. It is called Desiderata by Marx Ehrmann. The poem starts, “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself… It continues, “Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings… Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself…”

A Habit

Years of practice might have reinforced the response to become agitated when faced with stress and difficulty. But as human beings we have the power to change the course of our lives. Most of the time it takes time and practice. Sometimes, we can be the recipient of a miracle and the change can happen suddenly. Regardless, we need to change the focus from running to stopping and standing tall to a better and more tranquil life. Be bold, be brave. The sensations are uncomfortable vexations, but you can handle them. The more you do it, the freer you will feel. Best wishes.

Creating Good Habits

Creating Good Habits
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It has been said that we, human beings, are creatures of habit. All of us have experienced the routines of going to bed, getting up, times when we eat, what we eat and a host of many others. We can experience these routines or habits at a mind level or at a physiological level. Think of many who cannot resist a cookie, or a can of Mountain Dew, or cigarettes, or alcohol or a porn image. At this point, I would like to go a step further and say that we are not only creatures or habit, but we are creatures of addiction. Because of our natural dependence on sensory feedback and the ability to feel pleasure, we are capable of getting addicted to many harmful things, however, we are also able to getting addicted to good things.

A good piece of advise

Jeff Benedict, in his book ” The Mormon way of doing business,” shares an excerpt from a letter written by J. Willard Marriott (founder of Marriott International and the hotel chain) to his son Marriott Jr. In this excerpt J. Willard gives his son two pieces of advise for a successful life. One, Always create good habits for bad ones will destroy you. Second, Pray when you need to make a difficult decision.

I read that excerpt a few years ago and it stills hits me between the eyes. There are many things I cannot control, but I realized then that I have been given full control of my habits. The habits we encourage in our daily lives will eventually dictate the path we take and the amount of happiness or misery we enjoy in this journey called life. In April 2010, USA Today published the results of a 20 year study where 5,000 British adults were followed. The study focused on four common bad habits: smoking, drinking too much, inactivity and poor diet. The results showed that such habits substantially increased the risk of death and made those who engage in them seem up to 12 years older.

Our family of origin

As children and later during our adolescent years we are a captive audience to our family of origin, meaning our parents and siblings, in at least two ways. One, we are recipients of our parents’ genetic inheritance. Two, we learn habits as we observe and participate in the different activities in our home. Our genetic inheritance includes various degrees of tolerance towards addictive behaviors as well as propensities to other illnesses. Our capacity to learn and absorb at home can be reflected in the simple use of the words “please” and “thank you.” The use of good manners is greatly fostered when such expressions are repeated over and over in our families of origin and when children have the opportunity to practice them among family members. Regardless of our genetic factor and the examples we carry in our memories from our younger years, our individuality and our capacity to direct our lives is never relinquished. This means that we still own our thoughts and actions, and consequently, we can choose the direction of our lives. As Mr. Marriott said, ” create good habits, for bad ones will destroy you.”

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Life happens

I remember talking to a man in his 50’s. He told me he had been in and out of jail for most of his life, and there he was, he said, with nothing to show for. Drugs had dominated his life, however, the next statement was quite revealing. He said that he did not want and was not ready to change until now.

On a different occasion, I was present when and older gentleman told of his knee pain history and how he was able to find relief through pain killers. There came a point, he said, when he realized he was becoming dependent on those pills. He went to his doctor and told him not to give him those pills anymore and to explore other ways to manage his pain.

The caffeinated soft drink advent in the U.S. has created a devastating trend of caffeine dependence, obesity, tooth decay, weakening of the bones and other ailments. I have seen young and old become mesmerized by the clicking sound of an aluminum can being opened. I have heard those sounds at all times of the day in offices: morning, afternoon and night. Nonetheless, I have witnessed individuals that have kicked the soda pop habit and turn to healthier levels of consumption or nothing at all. It has not been easy, but they have succeeded.

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Creating new habits

Counsel in creating good habits is varied and extensive. I would like to share my view. The number one piece of information I would like to emphasize is the fact that you are a worthwhile individual. There is no one like you. You are unique in your physique, your talents and influence for good. No one will ever replace you on this planet because there is only one of you. Second, no one will ever have any influence in your mind and brain unless you allow it. Viktor Frankl in his outstanding book ” Man’s Search for Meaning,” his story as a concentration camp prisoner in Nazi Germany, concluded that everything can be taken from a man or a woman, except the power to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. Third, learn self-discipline. One important aspect of self-discipline is the need to release any tension connected with the task at hand. Meditation, mindfulness, exercise are a few techniques used to relieve tension. Once tension is manageable it is important to tackle the task. In other words action. There is no substitute for action. The more we do, the more time we will have and most importantly, we will be on our way to creating new habits. You are worth every effort. Move forward. Best wishes.

Learned Behaviors

Learned Behaviors

Learned behaviors

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Learned behaviors

The interactions and engagement of fired off neurons through the dendrites in the body or neurotransmitters from our brain to our body; takes on a different shape or reality and actually dictates whether or not we have a lucid active brain. Any learned behaviors like meditation help our brain become more lucid and active, helping us to maintain healthy brain cells that send instructions throughout the body. Most important is to keep our brain oxygenated with proper nourishment and drink, because the brain absorbs more oxygen than any other part of the body.

Learned behaviors are what we learn through education, environment, mimicking, and other external environments. Learned behavior is part of evolution because in the Ice Age humans mimicked behaviors, facial expressions, postures, and sounds, they were learned from the existing surroundings and external environment.

Learned behavior is a categorized behavior that is carried out by cause and effect relationships, it is part of the human life cycle. Cause and effect relationships are learned when we start our educational journey through institutions throughout our lifetime. Some of the cause and effect relationships are unconsciously performed; however, the majority is learned behaviors that we are exposed to in our educational journey. Education and learning are major players in our wellbeing and health.

During meditation which is a learned behavior and a social construct (

that is accompanied by a human interaction. The body also consciously engages a part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord and limbic overlying nuclear structure with patterns of behaviors, physiology, and functional controls in the body. The functional controls that I am speaking of are the breathing, appetite, heart rate, digestive functioning, sexual drive, and impulsive reactions.

Different states of mind

Consciousness – Quality state of being aware with the ability to feel, be alert and comprehend situations. (Learned behavior)
Unconscious – A state that lacks responsiveness like being comatose or fainting where the subject is unaware of their surroundings, no sensations or awareness. Sleep is similar to being unconscious however; during sleep a person can be responsive if touched, so it is more subconscious behavior than any other state of mind.
Subconscious – Existing beneath the one’s consciousness although active it maintains one’s thoughts and innermost feelings (psyche) and beliefs; it could be drawn out by hypnotism or meditation.
Altered state of mind/consciousness – A state produced by psychoactive drugs or spiritual or meditative states. It could also be induced by lack of Oxygen to the brain or reduced blood flow.

Metaphysically Prayer or meditative states help a person increase your mental and physical functions, helps to reduce pain, lessens depression and anxiety, reduces risks of stroke, and increases the blood flow and oxygenation in the frontal lobe of the brain and increases the immune system functionality (

We briefly talked about dimensional states in “Wonderful Water” ( and the way we have conscious, unconscious, sub-conscious, and Para states. They are part of the natural and learned behaviors in the dynamics of human beings. We follow a life span dynamic of infant through adulthood that maintains learned behaviors throughout our lives.

Our brain is dependent on learned behaviors because inactivity could cause brain cells to die and if that occurs the instructional part of the brain becomes marred and unable to send proper instructions to our organs, muscles, tissue, and major parts of our body. It is vital to our functioning, living, and breathing.

Volume 1, Issue 31, 3-29-2013