Health, happiness and self-disciplined goals

Blog Post No. 157

23rd October 2017

Copyright (c) Dr Jim Byrne, 2017

Dr Jim’s Blog: Health and happiness are the most important goals in (a moral) life

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Introduction

It’s been quite a while since I posted a blog, because I’ve been extremely busy.  I am still very busy, finishing off the writing of a new book, but I thought it was about time I shared some ideas with the world.  The main theme of this blog is health and self-healing, using food and physical exercise.

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Writing about diet and exercise for mood control

Front cover, 8For the past few weeks, Renata and I have been writing our book which is titled, How to control your anger, anxiety and depression, using nutrition and physical activity.  We have finished writing the five sections, and I am working on constructing a comprehensive index for the back of the book, to make it optimally user-friendly, as a resource.

Several days ago I constructed the index section on diet and nutrition, and type of diets.  And, by finishing time last Friday, 20th, I had just completed a section on Essential fatty acids (EFAs). And today, Monday 23rd, I will begin to work on the index entries for the section on physical exercise.

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Self-healing

Last Thursday, I turned my body, suddenly, while leaving my feet relatively stationary, and pulled a muscle in my back.  Did I run to the doctor?  No!  Did I get some ‘painkillers’ from the chemist?  No!

Why did I not go to the doctor?  Because the doctor would have simply recommended “painkillers”!

Why did I not buy my own painkillers from the chemist?  Because most of the painkillers used today are what are called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). And the problem with NSAIDs is that they cause ‘leaky gut syndrome’, which not only allows whole molecules of food to enter the bloodstream, and trigger various forms of inflammation in the body (paradox of paradoxes!), but they also compromise the blood/brain barrier, which can precipitate mood disturbances!

So, what did I do with my terrible back pain?  I got out my copy of ‘Body in Action’, by Sarah Key, and did five of her exercises for improving the functioning of the muscles and joints in the lower back.  (I’ve done this several times in the past, and I know it always works).

I did the exercises on Thursday and Friday, and by Saturday the back pain had gone – completely!

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Sharpening the saw

Rest and recuperation are very important parts of my self-management of health program.  So, on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday afternoon, I had a siesta (of three hours each time).  I had been feeling tired because of overworking on the index of our new book on how to control anger, anxiety and depression, using diet and exercise systems.

CreasespaceCover8, diet-nutrition.jpg

I also had a restful evening with Renata, and I was in bed by 9.45pm.

By 5.45am today (Monday 23rd Oct) I was fully rested, and so I got up and made my breakfast.  A solid bowl of chunky salad.

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Food for health and mood control

Book-cover-frontI chopped up the following ingredients into small chunks, of perhaps 3 or 4 mm at the widest point:

3 oz of red cabbage; 6 oz of cucumber; 1 spring onion; 1 organic carrot; half an organic apple; and put them into a soup bowl.

(See the Appendix on Diet and Nutrition, in our book: Holistic Counselling in Practice.***)

Then, I added a teaspoon of Maca powder; a dessertspoon of ground flaxseed; two dessertspoon’s of mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, ???), ten almonds, three walnuts, four hazelnuts; ten blueberries; 2 ozs of cooked beetroot (diced); two small tomatoes (halved); and half a kiwi fruit (diced).

I then added some brown rice miso, and some sauerkraut.

After consuming that breakfast, I meditated for 30 minutes.

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Physical exercise for health and strength and mood control

Standing pose 2Let me now describe the exercises that I went on to do, after meditating:

Twenty minutes of Chi Kung exercises.

Followed by a couple of minutes of ‘The plank’ exercise, which is like ‘stationary press-ups’: https://youtu.be/kiA9j-dR0oM

Then I did my own press-ups and sit backs, for about 5 or 6 minutes.

I then moved on to do fifteen minutes of my old Judo Club calisthenics (or whole body warm up exercise), which combine strength training, stretching of muscles, and aerobic exercise, all in one.

Then ten minutes of Zhan Zhuang (pronounced Jam Jong, and meaning ‘Standing like a tree’).  These are body poses which work on our postural muscles, affecting strength and speed and balance. They create a calm and happy mental state.  And they also relax the body and establish whole-body connection.

powerspinFinally I did some strength training using the Powerspin rotator, to build arm, shoulder and upper body strength.

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Reflections

This is clearly a time-consuming start to the day, compared with a bowl of cornflakes, a cup of coffee, and a brisk scratching of the head!

So why do I do it?

Because, I value my health above all things.  Without my physical health, I am unlikely to be happy.  And I am unlikely to be emotionally stable.

The people who do the least exercise, and who eat the worst diets, have the worst physical and mental health outcomes. (I have not seen a general medical practitioner for more than twenty-five years! And I am not about to start now!)

Most people leave their health (physical and mental) to chance, and to the vague belief that there are people who can “fix them up” when they fall apart.  Sadly this myth is totally misleading.  Once you’ve ruined your health – from sedentary lifestyle, poor sleep, and inadequate diet (such as one based on junk food, or an unbalanced diet, or too much alcohol [over the government limit], caffeine, sugary foods, gluten, and other toxic substances) – it is then ruined!  And a ruined body-brain is a burden to haul through life!

It takes self-discipline to get on a good diet, and to begin to do regular physical exercise, and to go to bed and have eight hours sleep, without mobile phones or laptops or tablets, and so on.  But the alternative to developing that self-discipline is a life ruined through serious illness, emotional distress, and early death.

Some people will argue with me, and insist that there are some things called “medicines” (and “surgeries”) which can be used to resuscitate their body-brain-mind once they have allowed it to fall into ill-health. The editors of What Doctors Don’t Tell You, strongly disagree with that fantasy!  See the article titled ‘Don’t trust me (I’m Big Pharma).***

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POSTSCRIPT: Of course, it takes time to build up expertise in ‘extreme self-care’; and it’s a good idea to do that one step at a time.  Gradually, over a period of time, this will build up into significant changes, and huge improvements in health and happiness.  And you don’t ever have to adopt the kind of ‘monkish’ approach that suits me.  Some simple changes in what you eat, and how you exercise your body (brisk walking for 30 minutes per day is enough!), will make a huge difference over time.  You can find out more about how to begin these small, easy steps in our book: How to control your anger, anxiety and depression, using nutrition and physical activity.

honetpieIf you want me to help you to figure out how to live a happier, healthier, more emotionally buoyant life, then please contact me:

drjwbyrne@gmail.com

Telephone: 01422 843 629 (inside the UK)

or 44 1422 843 629 (from outside the UK)

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I hope you have a very happy and healthy life!

Best wishes,

Jim

 

Dr Jim Byrne

Doctor of Counselling

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

Telephone: 01422 843 629

Email: drjwbyrne@gmail.com

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Freud, sex, celibacy and homesexuality

Blog Post No.91 

Published on 16th September 2016 (Previously posted on Monday 14th July 2014)

Copyright © Dr Jim Byrne

A counsellor’s blog: Was Sigmund Freud a celibate and repressed homosexual?

Introduction

In this blog post, I want to look at some reflections upon my own approach to managing my own health; plus managing my enquiries into human knowledge, using the example of books about Freud.

Key_Sarah_BodyInAction.jpgAs we approached last weekend, Renata and I decided we needed a break and so we decided to visit Manchester on Saturday 12th July.

On Saturday morning, I pulled my back out, and was in pain and unable to even dress myself.

I was in enormous pain, and our outing to Manchester seemed to be hopelessly compromised.

However, I remembered what I had learned from Sarah Key’s wonderful book (Body in Action), on previous occasions, and so:

  1. I did not take any pain killers; (all painkillers cause stomach damage!)
  2. I did not call a physician; (physician heal thyself!);
  3. But I did get an exercise mat out and began to do Sarah Key’s exercises for back problems.

Thirty minutes later, I was ready to take the train to Manchester, taking care not to jar my back by sudden movements.

On the train I dipped into one of Renata’s books on nutrition, and realized that one of my client’s might be helped by omega 3 supplements (for early waking – which is normally attributed to depression).  Indeed, the author went on to suggest that other symptoms of omega 3 deficiency included emotional sensitivity (depression, anxiety, mood swings).  This is all part of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy – the treatment of the individual holistically.  Instead of psychiatric drugs, many individuals could benefit from omega 3 supplements – like krill oil!  Or a significant change of diet, especially the elimination of grains, dairy and legumes, which all seem to cause inflammation in the body which necessarily affects all aspects of the body-mind.

In the bookshop!

Bays-theorem.jpgOn Saturday, in Waterstone’s bookshop, on Deansgate, Manchester, I found a book on Bayes Theorem – which seems to boil down to the idea that in any scientific enquiry, we should start with a ‘guess’ and then collect evidence or data to modify our beliefs arising out of that guess.  In theory, we will continually refine our approximations to reality.

I think I have worked like this for a long time: having a hunch, and then trying to stand it up or knock it down, or to allow it to be modified by ongoing experience.

Recently I picked up this piece of information: From the age of 40 years, Sigmund Freud was celibate!  Yes, celibate.  The man who sexualized the whole of human psychology and personality was not (it seems) actively sexual from the age of forty years onwards!

This caused me to wonder, and ponder.  How does this fit with the rest of what I know about Freud; which, admittedly, is not a great deal.  I have probably read more Freud than most non-psychodynamic counsellors, but I am far from being expert in understanding the man or his works.  (See my writings on Freud’s work on New Writing on CENT theory.***)

The sexualizer of children was celibate

sigmund-freud7.jpgToday, I looked up Freud’s date of birth.  Here it is: May 6, 1856.

So he was forty in 1896, at which time his main theory of the source of hysteria in his clients, male and female, was early childhood sexual abuse by family members, or premature sexual excitement (too early initiation into sexual passion).

One year later, when he had been celibate for at least one year, he abandoned that theory, and proposed instead that children were sexual beings, who projected their (non-conscious) sexual phantasies into the physical world, and mistook their phantasy for reality. A parallel here is with celibate Catholic priests, who often ‘discover’ that children ‘want’ to have sex wit them, which is really a projection of their own dammed up sexuality onto the child!

If you want to get a sense of how horrible and extreme is the emotional damage done to the child victims of ‘priestly’ sexual, emotional and physical abuse, then you must read Hanya Yanagihara’s harrowing novel, A Little Life.  This story follows the life of Jude St. Francis, a very damaged person, who was thrown on the rubbish by his mother, when he was a little baby, and then ‘rescued’ by a group of monks (and at least one priest), who systematically abused him, sexually, physically and emotionally, for fifteen years.  The long-term consequences on the life of Jude are unbelievably horrible.  Every man who contemplates celibacy should be forced to read this book, and write an essay on the horrors of male celibacy, and the very idea of ‘sexualizing’ children!

So, here is a celibate man (Freud), attributing to children a sexuality that we (non-Freudians) do not normally believe to be real.  (Humans are subject to age-related developmental stages; and sexuality comes along quite late in the day; at puberty).  And I have argued elsewhere, in one of my longer papers, that in order to make his theory plausible, Freud had to redefine ‘sexuality’ to include everything that we would normally think of as love or friendship.

So what do we know about Freud’s reason, or motive, or cause of his celibacy?  I did an online search and found this:

“Freud held the opinion (based on personal experience and observation) that sexual activity was incompatible with the accomplishing of any great work. Since he felt that the great work of creating and establishing psychotherapy was his destiny, he told his wife that they could no longer engage in sexual relations. Indeed from about the age of forty until his death Freud was absolutely celibate “in order to sublimate the libido for creative purposes,” according to his biographer Ernest Jones.”  (Sigmund Freud biography, a webpage at http://www.wien-vienna.com/freud.php).

Schimmel-on-Freud.jpgWas Freud an adulterer or a homosexual?

There were rumours (not least from Carl Jung) that the reason for Freud abandoning sexual relations with his wife was that he was having an affair with his sister in law.  However, the two activities (of sexual relations with his wife and his sister in law) would not be totally incompatible, and as such this seems to me to be an unlikely explanation.

On Saturday, I was reading about Bays theorem for a while  When I went to join Renata, she drew my attention to a relatively new book on Freud, titled: Sigmund Freud’s Discovery of Psychoanalysis, by Paul Schimmel (2014), published by Routledge.

I read the blurb on the back cover, which suggested that Schimmel had identified a parallel between Freud’s personal life and his theory of psychoanalysis.  This was interesting for me, because, in my own research, I had found a strong parallel between the childhood experiences of Dr Albert Ellis and his later theory of Rational Therapy.  (And this morning, I stumbled over a statement in a book on the common factors approach to counselling and therapy in which the author says: “the therapist has nothing to offer but him (or her) self”.  Too true!  Therapist do what therapists are!)

I dipped into Schimmel’s book, and found a statement in which he is analysing some of Freud’s correspondence with Fliess, with whom Freud had a passionate, fifteen year correspondence.  Schimmel quotes Freud as saying that his own (that is, Freud’s) letters suggest a romantic homosexual attachment to Fliess.  Now that, I suddenly realized, is a much better explanation of Freud’s celibacy – his lack of interest in heterosexual love.

I then realized it would take me months to track down the details of this case, and that I have much more urgent priorities to deal with, so we left Schimmel’s book on the shelf, and headed for the Eight Day for lunch.  (Aubergine and tofu bake, with salsa verde; and a big mug of organic coffee!  Yummy!)

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That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

jim.byrne@abc-counselling.com

Telephone:

01422 843 629 (from inside the UK)

44 1422 843 629 (from outside the UK)

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