Posted by: James A. Miklos, Ph.D. | December 16, 2015

Moving Beyond Depression

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Introduction

Do you feel blue this time of year?  Christmas time and through the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere tends to be when we have the least amount of good sunlight, we eat lots of sugar, drink alcohol, eat processed foods, stress over numerous things.  All of these things gives us a recipe for depression.  You may be asking is there a solution?  Yes! Not only is there a solution but also a natural one as well, and the good news it works!  Here is what you need to do.

Considerations

First let’s consider what are some of the causes of depression.  I listed above some of the factors that can contribute to depression but do not necessarily lead to depression they simply tip the bucket over so to speak.  Some of the causes of depression can involve family heritage issues such as ancestors with darker pigmented skin need more sunlight therefore a lack of it can trigger depression because of a lack of vitamin D.  Other family heritage issues can include dispositions to weaker functioning liver, nervous system, digestive system, and possibly kidneys.

Other issues can include past trauma, lack of emotional and physical support growing up where there may have not been parents that were emotionally supportive or present for you, this can even go back as far as infancy or even in utero!

Depression is defined by WordNet as sad feelings of gloom and inadequacy. Very simplistic but it gets the point across. I would simply put it, pervasive and persistent ongoing sad feelings of hopelessness, powerlessness, along with gloom and inadequacy.

Depression in simplest terms is when anxiety, fears, phobias have been piling up and not resolved, where a person has repressed their emotions, and for a prolonged period of time they have not been able to move forward then hopelessness can take hold, which then forms depression.  There are numerous forms of depression but all in all this would in a general way sup it up.

Symptoms of Depression – Quiz

Using a scale from 0-5 (zero not at all to 5 the most intense) rate how you fair

  1. My future looks hopeless
  2. It’s difficult for me to focus on things.
  3. Pleasure and joy have gone out of my life.
  4. Things that used to be important to me I have lost interest in.
  5. I feel blue, sad, or unhappy.
  6. I feel like a failure or worthless.
  7. I feel like I’m more dead than alive.
  8. I think a lot about death and dying.
  9. I do things slowly.
  10. I have difficulty in making decisions.
  11. I’m agitated and have to keep moving around.
  12. I feel like have no energy, I feel fatigued.
  13. I feel I deserve to be punished.
  14. I’m getting too much or not enough restful sleep.
  15. I feel trapped.
  16. Without trying to diet I lose weight.
  17. Even when good things happen to me I feel depressed.

If 8 or more of the questions you answered were a 3 or higher than more than likely you have some form of depression.  Good news there is a cure!  Here is a list of things you can do to increase your ability to recover and begin enjoying life again.

Things to do to help alleviate depression:

  1. See a qualified therapist for fast track recovery, especially one that has training in both psychology and natural remedies.
  2. Avoid eating sugar, especially processed and artificial sweeteners.
  3. Eat more living foods such as vegetables and fruits. Be sure half of your plate is living food and the other half protein based food.
  4. Supplement with a high quality Omega 3 EFA.
  5. Take high quality vitamin D supplement.
  6. Daily take a high quality human microflora probiotic for best results.
  7. Eat naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi, kombucha (a fermented drink), as well as fiber-rich prebiotic foods like jicama (Mexican yam).
  8. Sleep in a room where there is white-noise, total black out in the room, turn off all electronic devices including wifi.
  9. Use a qualified LED light source that is therapeutically to reduce depression in winter months known as the SAD Effect, for about 20 minutes a day during winter months.
  10. Get fresh air for at least 20 minutes daily.
  11. Move your body for at least 30 minutes a day (better known as exercise).
  12. Involved yourself with family and friends that give good healthy positive support at least once daily for a few minutes.
  13. Meditate and pray daily on things that offer hope, such as scripture.
  14. Use personal type therapies such as EFT, here is a link for a demonstration:  https://www.youtube.com/v/VrY-HI0Nt_Y%26hl=nl%26fs=1%26rel=0%26hd=1%26autoplay=1
  15. Laugh daily even if it’s fake!

Conclusion

In conclusion depression has always existed but in modern times it has escalated due to our industrial and technological comforts and the time we use to strive for them.  A total person, natural approach will give lasting results versus just possible temporary relief.  Reach out for help that is your first step to getting better.  I understand that when you are depressed you don’t feel like reaching out but the question is do you want to feel better?  Do you want to have a life and one abundantly?  If not, then consider those you love and do it for them!

For more information check out my website at www.newhopecounselling.com as well as my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/newhopecounsellingcentr/ .  I also offer a free 15 minute telephone consultation if you would like one just call 1-877-663-HOPE (4673) and press #1.

New Hope Logo-Final-1

Posted by: James A. Miklos, Ph.D. | March 23, 2011

Perceptions: Can We Trust Them? – Part 1

Recently I watched a comical skit that portrayed, yet exaggerated, how people’s perceptions can be flawed.  In this skit a gentleman goes into a clothing store with his receipt, wanting to return an item of clothing he recently purchased.  He is polite and kind to the cashier.  When he tells the cashier he would like a refund she retorts, “How dare you talk to me in that abusive language!”, to which he calmly corrects her misperception.  She then calls the manager and the two of them threaten to call the police if continues being abusive.  The situation further escalates to other customers verbally attacking him as well.  This comedy skit illustrates to us that people can be off in their perception of others.

How many times have we been wrong about people and circumstances?  How many times have we jumped to conclusions based on perception rather than hard fast evidence?  How many times have we been misunderstood, misjudged, accused and condemned without having a voice?

Have you ever jumped to conclusions incorrectly?  Would you like to know why this happens and how to avoid it in the future?

We gather our information from our 5 physical senses:  hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching.  Senses have taught us from conception onwards.  We have learned how to perceive our environment based on internal information that we have gathered from our senses.

In The Beginning…

Without getting into all the details about biological function, it’s important to say that genes do not determine our physical or spiritual destiny.  Genes are within every one of our cells.  Genetic material is a huge library, it is a storehouse, but it is not the brains.  There is no intelligence within our genes, because our genes are the gonads of the cell.  The brain of the cell is the cellular membrane along with the interaction of proteins.[1] The cell receptors which are located within the cell membrane respond to the external environment based on the information it receives and it reacts based on its’ beliefs about it.  In other words the cell’s actions are based on its internal perceptions!

What does that mean for me? Let’s continue and you will see its relevance to the big picture.  Dr. Nigel Plummer, of Prime Nutritional Supplement Development And Manufacturing Company in the UK, states that two months prior to ovulation before conception takes place genetic information is already sequenced based on the unconscious perception of  the parents’ environment.  The mother’s ovaries sequence the DNA within the ovum to help with survival based on the mother’s own belief systems and perceptions of the environment in which she is living in.  So to the father’s testicles sequence DNA within the sperm based on his perception of the environment on a subconscious level.  The result being that the child’s traits are determined to some degree based on their parents unconscious or subconscious beliefs.

From that point on we begin learn from our environment within the womb.  We learn emotions from our mother through the nervous system and through her hormonal releases.  This creates within the child core beliefs on a spiritual and physical level.

Dr. Stephen Porges in his work, The Polyvagal Theory[2], explains how our in utero experience creates beliefs within our vagal nervous system, which is part of the Parasympathetic Nervous System.  These beliefs are based on perceptions of the environment which was in essence taught to us through our mother’s own nervous and hormonal systems.

Once we come into this world we continue learning, but not cognitively, rather we learn through our senses.  We learn from the emotional resonance of our primary caregivers, whether or not our parents are present physically and emotionally we still learn from their facial and vocal cues.

Jumping ahead, cognitive learning centers of the brain really don’t come online until around the age of 12 and then not yet fully until about 25 years of age based on average human brain development.

According to science, our perceptions are based on deep core beliefs that started as far back as 2 months prior to ovulation before we were even conceived.  From a spiritual perspective the Bible tells us that our core beliefs come from grandparents and even great grandparents.

Some of our beliefs are obviously good and have served us well, while others unknowingly undermine us and cause us some trouble.

I Spy With My Little Eye Something That Is…

I remember playing this little game as a child with my mother and sister, it was a lot of fun and since then I have played it with my own children.  This little game is based on perception of what we see and how we see it.

As we know perceptions form our beliefs and continually are reinforced on an unconscious level.  Why do some people irritate us?  Why do we react and later realize it was irrational?  Core beliefs!  In addition to the understanding that we have formed our beliefs based on our experiences and perceptions of how we related to the world around us, each of us have also experienced some form of psychological and possibly physical trauma.

I heard a story recently of two police officers that experienced a traumatizing event in their line of duty.  Both of them were shaken up, one was more resilient than the other and was back to work before long, while the other developed PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  Why?  Because of his personal development prior to conception and onward.  Some studies indicate that resiliency is based on nurture and its consistency in childhood.

As we walk through life we need to become aware of our selves.  This is impossible to do on your own without any outside help.  People who believe they can figure it out on their own are living in an illusion of perception.

Recently, I was at an EMDR workshop and in these workshops we paired off and began working on our own past traumas.  To my ongoing amazement, I had a moment of revelation where I saw an aspect of myself that I had not seen previously.  This brought me to the very vivid realization that I, and really all of us, live in some form of false reality because our perceptions are off.  How then can we really live?  How then can we reach our true potential?  How then can we fulfill the divine destiny for our lives?  We all need help and not self help.  We need personal help from a qualified individual.  I believe in having a team that aids and mentors me in various aspects of my life.  Such aspects as: a pastor for spiritual growth and development, financial coach for financial self-development, personal trainer for physical exercise, a natural health practitioner for my wellbeing, etc.  But, the thing that really sticks out for me is that I need to clear out and transform my erroneous, self-destructive, self-sabotaging beliefs.  This I realize is done in two ways spiritually and through psychotherapy.

Often people are afraid of psychotherapy, but really it’s one of the greatest things since sliced bread.  Change your perceptions and you will change every aspect of your life for the better!

Posted by: James A. Miklos, Ph.D. | January 5, 2011

Letting Go Of Our Expectations

In life we all face the question, ‘Why do bad things happen to good or innocent people?’ This question can be answered in a lengthy philosophical and theological explanation but generally will not provide the emotional resolution we need. After some form of loss (be it death, loss of health, loss of a job, loss of a friend, a betrayal, or the loss of an expectation) we all grieve and can be filled with deep sadness that leads to hopelessness and anger. Loss also involves a great disappointment of our expectations.

In this life we all face irresolvable issues that evoke hopelessness. Besides having the understanding of the 5 stages of grief we need to also understand how to let go of expectations that have been lost. The Serenity Prayer (modified from the original version by Reinhold Niebuhr) that is posted on the Alcoholics’ Anonymous website, gives us simple but concise insight on letting go!

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can,

and (the) wisdom to know the difference.”

Four points can be taken from this prayer that will help enable us to have a life filled with gratitude, rather than grief; then hopefully circumstances will make us better rather than bitter.

God grant me…

This prayer gives us an understanding that we need to first and foremost have a spiritual relationship with the Creator and ask for His help. Without divine help we will always wrestle with loss and its injustices.

Accepting the things that I cannot change…

Acceptance of things that we cannot change is very important for our healing process though sometimes difficult. This statement shows us that at times we feel powerless, and powerless to change things. Powerlessness is a feeling that we dislike because it leads to hopelessness and fear. Only through trusting in the Creator is there any consolation of hope, even concerning things of the afterlife. One key statement helped me in my own healing process was this, “Let go of all hope for a better past.” In our grief of loss we are hoping for a better past, which is futile if you really think of it, but it is an inner decision that we need to make in order to heal. Also, it is just as important to be at peace, trusting in the Creator in the journey of life.

Courage to change…

Within our grasp are things that we can change but too often, because we are afraid, we feel powerless and helpless to make the necessary changes. We fear failure in our efforts and therefore we shutdown and avoid doing what is necessary.

I remember a time when I was approached with an opportunity to host a spiritual conference. I made excuses as to why I couldn’t do it. This became a huge challenge for me. Instead of pursuing it I became busy doing a lot of other things in order to avoid the very thing I needed to do. I needed courage. Thank God for my wife who confronted me with my avoidance and who encouraged me to do what I needed to do. The outcome was rewarding but the journey wasn’t easy. So are many things in life that we need to do but often we avoid them because we are afraid. Mark Twain once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.”

Wisdom to know…

…the wisdom to know the difference. This statement shows us that we need sound understanding and discernment to know what we can and what we cannot do in life. Wisdom goes beyond knowledge because knowledge gives us information but wisdom gives us understanding, insight, discernment, and the ‘how-to’. Wisdom gives us choices. One of the greatest gifts we have given by the Creator is the power of choice.

People are often not aware that they have the power to choose and this is usually because of their past experiences in life. This can be because as children they were neglected or abused by their primary care givers. When children experience neglect or abuse they develop beliefs that they don’t have choices or they believe they are weak, powerless, or helpless. This is then carried into adulthood and often debilitates them on some level, and when faced with loss they often fare the worst.

The Serenity Prayer teaches us some very important things on how to handle our life’s experiences and expectations, and by doing so we will then be empowered through the gift of choice.

Posted by: James A. Miklos, Ph.D. | May 2, 2014

Getting Unstuck!

Getting Unstuck!

Most of us at some point in our lives will feel stuck.  We can feel stuck in our careers, stuck in personal development, stuck spiritually, stuck mentally and emotionally, and even stuck in our physical health.

First, let me say that there are no magic pills, words or the like that can fix everything in our life once and for all.  Life is a journey, it is a walk and our involvement in our wellbeing is essential.  All too often people look to the one thing that will fix their life.  Rather, it’s about balance.  Just as we have daily habits through which we move through so it must be to modify or even create new ones.  If we are to feel healthy and live a fulfilling life we need to understand the habits that create and make our world.  Habits start in the mind.

What are you thinking?  I don’t mean just on the surface but what inner phrases, images, etc. do you repeat on a regular basis from awake to sleep?  It takes time to retrain your mind, but it must be done and there are many tools available to do so.  There are naturopathic means, meditations, prayers, spiritual worship, community, supportive friends and loved ones, therapists, devices, and so goes the list.

Let’s take a look at some healthy healing, rejuvenating habits that we should have in our lives.

  1. Deep Breathing
  2. Drink Water
  3. Regular Routine
  4. Regular Movement
  5. Oxygen
  6. Hydrotherapy
  7. Positive Self-Talk
  8. Healthy Social Support
  9. Life Coaching

Deep Breathing

On a daily basis not only should we do deep breathing hundreds of times a day but we should establish a qualified breathing exercise.  I use and advocate heart coherence breathing by HeartMath.

Drink Water

There are many debates as to how much water a person should drink daily, some suggest 2-3 Litres of water.  But, there must be other considerations like:

  • only drink water when you are thirsty
  • must be clean water like spring water, Reverse Osmosis water that has been remineralized
  • drinking herbal teas can be good but not to be your major source
  • avoid soft drinks, bottled juices (unless organic), artificial drinks of any kind

Regular Routine

For mental and emotional wellbeing a regular routine is essential or imbalance will occur.

We need routine in:

  • Eating 3 regularly scheduled meals and taking time for about 1 hour per meal.
  • Going to bed before midnight, preferably around 10 pm range and to have approximately 8 hours of sleep per night
  • Sleep in pitch black rooms and with no radiation

Regular Movement

  • Daily movement/exercise will lower anxiety and depression
  • 30 minutes daily for at least 5 days a week where you can talk but not sing
  • Increase Endorphin levels in the brain and body

Oxygen

  • For proper function of brain and mood
  • To be outside in the open air, fresh air for 30 minutes daily

Hydrotherapy

For proper elimination and function we need to daily do some kind of hydrotherapy

  • Shower
  • Steam inhalation
  • Bath
  • Steam room

Positive Self-Talk

Being very negative will disrupt healthy brain function creating toxic hormones and other chemicals within the brain and body while lowering healthy hormones and chemicals.

  • Think and speak positive self statements
  • Willfully choose to be grateful and to express gratitude
  • Forgive those that have offended you
  • Choose healthy meditations on a regular basis

Healthy Social Support

We as humans are social beings, we were never created to be living in isolation.  For some there is great difficulty socializing and connecting with other people, while for others it comes with great ease.  The most important point to make is that we need good, healthy social support.  Support that looks like:

  • having a spouse/partner to confide in
  • having family to speak with
  • having close friends or co-workers to confide in
  • involvement in a worship community, community organizations, and support groups
  • to be a person who makes friends easily

Life Coaching

The basic philosophy behind life coaching is that we have a vast array of energy, knowledge, ability and genius that is waiting to be set in motion. It has been said, “without personal mentoring it would have taken me 50 years to get to where I am today”.

Life coaching is about moving your life forward in a positive powerful and swift way, achieving your unrealized potential.

We need personalized support where a qualified person(s) is able to speak into our life, even if it involves correction.

Conclusion

Getting unstuck and moving forward in every area of life is what we need.  We only have one life to live so why waist it trying to figure everything out on our own.  Invest the time and the money – you’re worth it!

Posted by: James A. Miklos, Ph.D. | May 2, 2014

Getting Unstuck!

Getting Unstuck!

Most of us at some point in our lives will feel stuck.  We can feel stuck in our careers, stuck in personal development, stuck spiritually, stuck mentally and emotionally, and even stuck in our physical health.

First, let me say that there are no magic pills, words or the like that can fix everything in our life once and for all.  Life is a journey, it is a walk and our involvement in our wellbeing is essential.  All too often people look to the one thing that will fix their life.  Rather, it’s about balance.  Just as we have daily habits through which we move through so it must be to modify or even create new ones.  If we are to feel healthy and live a fulfilling life we need to understand the habits that create and make our world.  Habits start in the mind.

What are you thinking?  I don’t mean just on the surface but what inner phrases, images, etc. do you repeat on a regular basis from awake to sleep?  It takes time to retrain your mind, but it must be done and there are many tools available to do so.  There are naturopathic means, meditations, prayers, spiritual worship, community, supportive friends and loved ones, therapists, devices, and so goes the list.

Let’s take a look at some healthy healing, rejuvenating habits that we should have in our lives.

  1. Deep Breathing
  2. Drink Water
  3. Regular Routine
  4. Regular Movement
  5. Oxygen
  6. Hydrotherapy
  7. Positive Self-Talk
  8. Healthy Social Support
  9. Life Coaching

Deep Breathing

On a daily basis not only should we do deep breathing hundreds of times a day but we should establish a qualified breathing exercise.  I use and advocate heart coherence breathing by HeartMath.

Drink Water

There are many debates as to how much water a person should drink daily, some suggest 2-3 Litres of water.  But, there must be other considerations like:

  • only drink water when you are thirsty
  • must be clean water like spring water, Reverse Osmosis water that has been remineralized
  • drinking herbal teas can be good but not to be your major source
  • avoid soft drinks, bottled juices (unless organic), artificial drinks of any kind

Regular Routine

For mental and emotional wellbeing a regular routine is essential or imbalance will occur.

We need routine in:

  • Eating 3 regularly scheduled meals and taking time for about 1 hour per meal.
  • Going to bed before midnight, preferably around 10 pm range and to have approximately 8 hours of sleep per night
  • Sleep in pitch black rooms and with no radiation

Regular Movement

  • Daily movement/exercise will lower anxiety and depression
  • 30 minutes daily for at least 5 days a week where you can talk but not sing
  • Increase Endorphin levels in the brain and body

Oxygen

  • For proper function of brain and mood
  • To be outside in the open air, fresh air for 30 minutes daily

Hydrotherapy

For proper elimination and function we need to daily do some kind of hydrotherapy

  • Shower
  • Steam inhalation
  • Bath
  • Steam room

Positive Self-Talk

Being very negative will disrupt healthy brain function creating toxic hormones and other chemicals within the brain and body while lowering healthy hormones and chemicals.

  • Think and speak positive self statements
  • Willfully choose to be grateful and to express gratitude
  • Forgive those that have offended you
  • Choose healthy meditations on a regular basis

Healthy Social Support

We as humans are social beings, we were never created to be living in isolation.  For some there is great difficulty socializing and connecting with other people, while for others it comes with great ease.  The most important point to make is that we need good, healthy social support.  Support that looks like:

  • having a spouse/partner to confide in
  • having family to speak with
  • having close friends or co-workers to confide in
  • involvement in a worship community, community organizations, and support groups
  • to be a person who makes friends easily

Life Coaching

The basic philosophy behind life coaching is that we have a vast array of energy, knowledge, ability and genius that is waiting to be set in motion. It has been said, “without personal mentoring it would have taken me 50 years to get to where I am today”.

Life coaching is about moving your life forward in a positive powerful and swift way, achieving your unrealized potential.

We need personalized support where a qualified person(s) is able to speak into our life, even if it involves correction.

Conclusion

Getting unstuck and moving forward in every area of life is what we need.  We only have one life to live so why waist it trying to figure everything out on our own.  Invest the time and the money – you’re worth it!

Posted by: James A. Miklos, Ph.D. | February 15, 2013

Happy Wife, Happy Life: keys to a successful marriage

“I’m leaving!”  “I think we should get a divorce!”  “Why did you sleep with her?”

More than ever in recent history has there been more divorces and separations than in our present society.  Over 50% of all marriages fail, over 90% of all common-law relationships fail.  Why?

The moral fiber of our society has crumbled where only our personal desires on a very self-centered level prevail, the boundaries of individuals and society are almost non-existent, and where there is no virtue of love there is no sacrifice or self-denial where the meeting of your spouse’s needs are no longer met or terribly misunderstood.

The break up of a relationship is either where one person has had enough of their partner’s behaviour or lack of it and leaves or when adultery occurs and is discovered.

Adultery is a difficult matter because of the betrayal that is involved.  To convince the offended spouse to work things out is difficult. But for the sake of the children it is important to work things out where possible.

One major reason that break up of marriage occurs is because of basic emotional needs that are not being met and more than likely this has been the case for quite some time.

In case you haven’t noticed, the needs of men and the needs of women are quite different.  Hollywood and other media have for decades been preaching their gospel of free love!  Love is never free and there is always a price tag on it.  Love is much like merchandise, when we go into a store we can either purchase it or steal it in order to have it.  In either case ultimately you will pay for that merchandise is some manner.  As the saying goes, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later!”  Even in the don’t pay a cent events of many furniture store  you still have to pay!

Love is worth it! Genuine fulfilling love first comes from God, by very nature that it exists, and when I’m saying love, I don’t mean sex.

Let’s consider a few things.  In the English language we basically have only one word that says love, in other languages, like the Greek language there are four words for love: Agape, Phileo, Storge, and Eros.

Agape is a divine love, a supernatural love that involves a giving out of compassion looking for nothing in return from any one. It is an unconditional love.  This word was first used around the time of Christ to reveal this selfless love.

Phileo love is what we are all very familiar with, it is a scratch my back, scratch your back kind of love.  It is a conditional love.  A love of mutual friendship.  We use this word in words such as: philanthropist, acidophilus.

Storge love is that of physical affection separate from sexual expression, such as a mother or father hugging and kissing their child.  A friend hugging another friend.

Eros love is sexual love.  In English we have transliterated this word into erotic.

Now, it is quite obvious, I think, that eros love needs to exist in a marriage in order for it flourish.  But!  If you don’t have the other three loves we discussed then eros won’t work!

This is one of the greatest of ignorances that can exist in our society.  Meeting each other’s emotional needs is imperative to agape, phileo, storge and eros loves, otherwise the marriage will breakdown and fail!

Another very important point is to understand the differences between love as a virtue and love as an emotion.  We can see that in the above descriptions of love but I wanted to spell it out a bit more, define it if you will.

In our society we have emphasized the emotions of love, ‘feelings’, instead of the virtue of love, which involves, wisdom, integrity, and good overall character of a human being.

All too often when couples come to me for counseling I hear most singing their own praises of their virtues of love and all too often they are living in a pipe dream.

Humility and meekness are key virtues of human character that allows us to change and become better and happier people, yes, even in marriage!

Ok, let’s have a brief look at some of our basic needs in marriage.  First, we will look at the man.

The man’s five most basic needs in marriage tend to be:

1. Sexual intimacy

2. Recreational/fellowship companionship

3. An attractive spouse (what pleases a man is subjective)

4. Domestic support

5. Admiration

The woman’s five most basic needs in marriage tend to be:

1. Affection (verbal and physical)

2. Conversation (fellowship)

3. Honesty and openness

4. Financial support

5. Family commitment

There is much to be said on each point, which can be explored further at a later time but this information is more fully explained in the book, “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard Harley.

Underlying these emotional needs is the deep need for mutual respect, which is an attitude held and conveyed to each other.

Marriage is worth investing in.  Most marriages don’t last or thrive because too often people think they will just live happily ever after or they have a let’s see approach.

Commitment on both people’s parts is imperative to make the marriage work.  If you are not committed to each other and the marriage then the marriage will probably fail in this current societal environment.  Whatever you invest in and value you will spend time and money to make it work and marriage is the best investment you will ever make if you maintain it and work at loving each other the way your spouse wants to be loved!

Posted by: James A. Miklos, Ph.D. | October 5, 2011

How to Stay Happily Married For Life

In my years as a counselor and as an ordained minister I have performed marriages for couples and I have counseled still many more.  I have seen many of the same challenges for couples over and over again.

Institution of Marriage

The institution of marriage has been around as long as the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve have been.

In the beginning… there was marriage.  What is marriage versus simply living together?  Marriage and cohabitation aren’t the same, even by definition.  Cohabiting with someone does not involve commitment, loyalty, and faithfulness for life.  Animals cohabit for the sake of reproduction and rearing of a family.

Marriage isn’t marriage unless the following happens:  there is a presiding legal authority (preferably one also of spiritual authority), at least two witnesses, an exchange of words consisting of promises in front of those mentioned and….once that is complete, then the presiding authority legalizes the marriage.  There is now a covenant bond between the two.

Covenant is more of an ancient term, which is stronger in its implications than a contract between two parties.  The word covenant, at its root, means ‘to cut’.  This signifies that blood is involved.  To understand more about covenants it would be advisable to read some of Dr. Livingston’s stories of his missionary travels in Africa.[1]

Unfortunately, in western civilization, marriages (and in particular happy marriages) are becoming less and less popular.   When children are raised in a secure home where both parents love each other and are evenly tempered we see happy and secure children and a happy and secure marriage.  At the writing of this article I am celebrating with my wife our 28th wedding anniversary.  I am glad to be married and am glad to be married to the woman I love and who is my best friend.

John Gottman, Ph.D. has said that he can usually tell within a few minutes of seeing a couple if they are going to stay together or not, based on how they fight.[2]  All couples fight.  Yes, there are disputes and disagreements, but it is how you fight that makes all the difference.  This is dependent on each person’s emotional maturity or EQ (Emotional Quotient).

Steps to emotional maturity as a couple requires each person to begin taking steps toward getting qualified help to increase their EQ or emotional maturity.  Without having both persons involvement usually means a failure of the relationship.  In our society that has a lack of proper boundaries almost everything is ok to believe or to do.  The motto of the day is ‘if it feels good do it!’.  As a result of this prevailing thought, couples need to be better equipped through education and counselling to help make their marriage an oasis in a troubled world.  Marriage should be a taste of heaven on earth.

First, you should realize that you are an equal partner of the marriage and therefore have equal responsibilities.  Second, fighting is ok when you do it properly. Third, understand what love is.  Fourth, understand and meet your spouse’s needs.  Fifth, consider what bad habits you have that are counteracting all the loving efforts you are doing, then work on ridding yourself of them.  Sixth, get your priorities right.  Seventh, be sure to get regular qualified help through counseling, workshops, etc.  Eighth, agree on the 5 basic essentials of life, and Ninth, get your spiritual life in order.

Doing the above 9 things will insure continued passionate love in your marriage.

In this month’s blog I will begin with the first essential element to making marriage work.

Equality

Equality isn’t just ‘human rights’, it’s for insuring passionate enduring love in your marriage.  Let’s start by talking about what equality should look like in marriage.  Equality needs to be objectively understood.  Many times it takes a qualified person to help you to understand what it should look like in your relationship.  For now let’s just say it primarily involves justice.  This takes a couple sitting down and discussing as two mature adults what their beliefs are, their likes and dislikes and what they are willing to do or not to do.  These desires and requests should be respectfully considered by each party and discussed again until mutual understanding and willingness is reached.

Equality in love has to do with needs being met, support being equivalent, and respect of each other being primary.  Equality needs to be understood as full disclosure and mature discussion along with resolution of issues and of the person themselves.  There should be no skeletons in the closet!

Equality never holds the belief ‘I am just as good as you are’ rather the belief that ‘I will honour you and defer to you putting you above myself’.  It goes without saying that this should be reciprocal.  Sometimes it will take a qualified outsider to help sort things out.  There is a scripture that I believe says it best, Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor…[3].  Equality in marriage isn’t necessarily that each partner needs to do the same thing as the other but rather equally carry the load of responsibility.

Let’s look at personal responsibility in light of equality.  Each person in the relationship needs to take equal responsibility for the function or dysfunction of their relationship whether or not they feel responsible.  In my years of counselling I have observed that where a marriage is in trouble the fault seems to lie somewhere in the middle.  In other words, marital difficulty tends to be 50/50…sometimes it has other proportions, one being more guilty of sabotaging the marriage than the other, but it is never 100% one person’s fault.  It’s vitally important in order for a marriage to work that each individual stop blaming the other for how they feel.   This is very difficult because we usually feel hurt and other various feelings as a result of what another person has said or done to us.  However, it is important to realize you have a choice how you think and perceive situations.  My pain is my pain.  Yes, it may have come from a hurt, a lack of meeting expectations, or a betrayal but you still have choices.  When I feel the pain it’s not my partner it’s me.  I am experiencing the pain.  All too often I see the blame game going on of past pains that have occurred, and all too often the pain is also associated with some childhood abandonment issue, abuse, neglect, etc.  Taking responsibility for your feelings is a sign of emotional maturity.  Don’t blame – regain your life by accepting the pain as yours and get help to move forward.  This in turn will liberate and empower your life.

Where there is equality there is responsibility, and where there is responsibility there is humility, and where there is humility there is true love.


[1] Trumbull, Henry Clay.  The Blood Covenant; A Primitive Rite and Its Bearing on Scripture (original 1885),(Paperback – Oct 2010)

[3] New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif.

Posted by: James A. Miklos, Ph.D. | May 12, 2011

Truth or Consequences? (Perceptions – part 2)

In my last article I discussed in brief about perceptions, where they come from, recognizing them, and how to change them.  How to change them… Hmmm?

My wife and I went to visit some friends and shortly after arriving our hostess began to tell me all about the self-help books she had been reading and how she now understood her problems and how to solve them.  She was very proud and defensive of her new discoveries, possibly because she knew of my doctorate in psychology and perceived that she needed to defend herself.  As we talked I could see that she was quite afraid of delving into her own issues with someone else.  All too often people are their own therapist.  I think it’s great that people are trying to improve themselves and make headway in their own lives, but one very important piece of information is missing!  We cannot see the forest for the trees no matter how brilliant we are!  Being our own therapist is about as good as being your own coach in figure skating while trying to qualify for the Olympics.

I think of how often when I see couples in my office that one of them will tell me that they don’t need any help, it’s just their partner, because they say, “I’ve already worked on my own stuff.”  This is a flag signaling their own defensiveness and believe they don’t need anymore help, simply because of fear.  I haven’t yet met a person that doesn’t need help!

I’m Not Crazy!

At times when clients first come to see me they experience shame and the fear that they are crazy.  The fact that they are so concerned tells me deep down they know something is wrong with them, and this becomes painful because it means to them that they are flawed.

This is what I say… “When you go to the local grocery store do people stop and stare because they see you are crazy?”  They tell me, “No”.  Then I ask them,  “When you are at the store do others let you know they have problems that they need to work on”?  And again they answer “No.”  I then proceed to ask them, “Who and what is normal?  Is this world normal? Only God is normal and the rest of us hopefully are working on getting there.”  Remember, normal is a setting on your washing machine and that is about it.  What we perceive to be normal is based on our past consistent experiences.

Most people understand the slang, crazy to mean one who has gone into a psychotic state where they are either hearing things, seeing things, or have gone into some delusional or catatonic state.  People who have gone into a psychotic state are those who have lost the differentiation of the sense of self and the real world.

Not being perfect is human and for some of us that’s hard to swallow.  Humility involves honesty, being honest with ourselves can be painful but it is well worth the reward.  If we can accept the fact that we are imperfect and are in need of both qualified human help and divine aid then we are on the road to wholeness.

Fear of ourselves

Often people’s fears show up in different ways, some exaggerate who they are, others quietly put their heads in a hole, others will defend themselves, others rationalize, there are many ways in which people express the fear they have of themselves.  Anna Freud’s Defense Mechanisms help define how we hide ourselves for fear of finding out how much help we really need.

Defense mechanisms all share two common themes:

  1. They are unconscious reactions
  2. They distort, transform, and/or falsify reality

This distortion of reality, which takes place in us, is due to our core beliefs that create perceptions which lessen our anxiety, and in turn reduces our tension level.

Anna Freud’s Defense Mechanisms:

  • Denial: claiming and/or believing that which is true to be false.
  • Displacement: redirecting emotions to a substitute target.
  • Intellectualization: taking an objective viewpoint.
  • Projection: attributing uncomfortable feelings to others.
  • Rationalization: creating false but credible justifications.
  • Reaction Formation: overacting in the opposite way to the fear.
  • Regression: going back to acting as a child.
  • Repression: pushing uncomfortable thoughts into the unconscious mind; forgetting.
  • Sublimation: redirecting ‘wrong’ urges into socially acceptable actions.

We all have a fear of ourselves and that is why we exhibit defense mechanisms.  To accept that we are flawed as humans is a struggle for us.

This is much like the biblical concept of sin; we have all fallen short of the glory of God[1].  We struggle with our selves because of the deep inborn shame that we possess.  But, if we are able to face our true selves then we can have hope.  True hope is not based on denial but rather on the understanding that there is hope for every one of us no matter the past or the present.  A very important key to personal progress is understanding the process:

  1. Realizing you need help from someone other than yourself
  2. Realizing you are flawed
  3. Believing that there is hope for you
  4. God loves and believes in you even if you don’t
  5. Transformation from who you were to who you were meant to be
  6. Keep on in your journey of transformation

Psychotherapy

Don’t quite understand the meaning of this word?  In short, psychotherapy is the use of various modalities of mental and emotional processes that brings healing to the mind.  This word comes from the Greek psycho for mind and therapy for healing.

There are hundreds of modalities of psychotherapy.  Some of the ones that I utilize are EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Ego State Therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic, and dream interpretation and analysis.

Psychotherapy is the best therapy in my opinion not just because I do it, but because the mind controls so many aspects of our lives.  The unconscious and conscious mind affects our body, our choices, our relationships, our money, and our overall health.  Through the use of psychotherapy I have seen people’s bodies begin to function normally again, relationships restored, monetary arenas in life transformed, just to mention a few results.  The benefit of psychological treatment often outweighs purely physical forms of treatment.  The reason?  Because the mind is the boss, the mainframe computer, the processor, our main command center.  Our beliefs determine our health and much of our world we live in.

The benefits of psychotherapy outweighs the cost.  There was a time in my life where I thought psychology was a royal waste, but through divine guidance I have been proven wrong.  The personal benefits that I have gained from psychotherapy are difficult to list because it has been so vast for me. My desire is to encourage you to make the investment in yourself, it will ultimately pay you dividends in all areas of your life.  If you say, I can’t afford it! you may want to reframe that statement to, How can I afford this?  The wise seek wisdom and pursue it.


[1] Romans 3:23, The Bible

Posted by: James A. Miklos, Ph.D. | October 15, 2010

Staying Healthy: Emotional Stress And The Immune System

In the dead of winter about 10 years ago I went through a number of emotionally trying situations all taking place within a relatively short period of time.  My wife tried unsuccessfully to console me.  It was a difficult time.  We just had a number of things happen in our church that were emotionally painful.  Even though logically I could analyze what had happened yet emotions tend to override all logic.  These incidents resulted in about two months of illness including high fever, swollen tonsils, sinusitis, and abdominal issues culminating into Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

The spirit, mind, body connection is so evident to me as I live my life but it was not so evident back in those days.  When we face emotional stress such as dealing with a difficult person, being fired, losing a job, or an environment of constant conflict this eventually results in different forms of illnesses.  Some of these illnesses are acute and some are chronic, possibly not showing up until months or years later.

Is there a solution?  Is there hope?  Absolutely yes!  I remember one time talking with my holistic health care provider and asking him if there was hope for me.  He smiled reassuringly and told me that I was going to be healthy and not to concern myself over it.  There is hope for you!

Immune System

The immune system is quite complex and to fully explain it here would be impossible.  However, I will attempt to give you some key components so that you can understand some of its basics.

The immune system works from the bone marrow all the way to the outer layer of the skin.  Even though the following organs and tissues have other purposes, yet the immune system is supported and operates from these:

Thymus

The Thymus is located under the breastbone and is at its peak during adolescence.

Bone Marrow

Produces lymphocytes—T-cells and B-cells and sends them through the lymphatic system to secondary organs.

Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system runs throughout the entire body and consists of nodes.  Many of these are in the chest, neck and head.  They are connected to our organs, in particular the spleen, tonsils and thymus.

Intestines

Here is where many white blood cells reside and are tagged for “specific service”.  When our intestines do not function well our immune system loses its potency. Intestines are particularly vulnerable to disturbing emotions.

Spleen

The spleen is found in the left upper quadrant of our abdomen. Its function primarily is to remove old red blood cells and to hold a reserve of blood in case of hemorrhagic shock. The spleen also synthesizes antibodies and removes certain kinds of bacteria through blood and lymph node circulation.

Tonsils

We have two tonsils, one located on each side of the back of the throat.  Tonsils are part of the Lymphatic system and are said to tag white blood cells for certain tasks.  Tonsils are the first line of defense.

Liver

The liver is located mostly on the right side of the body and primarily sits under the ribs though it does extrudes beyond that.  The liver a multi-functioned organ which directly and indirectly effects our immune system.  The liver is a mediator of systemic and local innate immune regulation.

Appendix

What was once considered a useless appendage in our body now is showing its value in helping to maintain a healthy immune system.  Some new research indicates that the appendix harbors and protects bacteria (probiotics) that are beneficial in the function of the colon.

Emotional Stress and Illness

Unfortunately mainline medicine (allopathy) treats primarily the symptoms that arise in our bodies.  But, there are many physicians who are now asserting that between 80-95% of all ailments reported by patients are the result of unresolved emotional issues, grudges, and emotional stressors.  Natural health care practitioners are trained to treat the cause rather than the symptom.

In an earlier blog I wrote about how the spirit affects the mind and body, the mind effects the spirit and the body.  In the end the body is affected and will eventually “kick back”!  According to biblical teaching all physical illness is the result of spiritual ailment(s).  When we are spiritually, mentally, emotionally ill we eventually become physically ill.  In acute cases we may suddenly get a virus, or some infection due to an emotional shock or overload of some kind.  In chronic disease cases this is due to long held unresolved emotional issues.

In the beginning of this article I wanted to point out that emotional stress could cause sickness in our body because our emotions either support healthy immune function or they shut it down.  If we are in a constant state of hyper vigilance (fight or flight) we will unconsciously be constantly suppressing our immune functions and after awhile this will develop into serious illness(es).

Wisdom Factors

I could give you a list of things to do, but there are hundreds of such lists on the Internet and in books.  Instead I have a few thoughts to share with you.

It is also important to consider other things such as environmental stressors on our immune system of which we need to be aware so that we can support our body’s health.  Such things as wearing suitable clothing when it’s too hot or too cold, drinking clean water, eating properly, exercising, taking proper supplements, etc.

A big mistake I used to make was that I could figure it all out myself, or I could do it all myself and save the money!  But, I have discovered that being your own mentor, coach, therapist, physician, or spiritual leader is a disaster in the making!  By relying on other qualified people’s help I have saved money, aggravation, time and as a result have gotten light years ahead in self-improvement and empowerment.  Investing in yourself should be top priority.  Besides, if you won’t nobody will do it for you!  Remember, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”  Loving and supporting yourself will put you in a healthier position to love others more appropriately.

For a quick questionnaire online to help determine your level of emotional stress go to:  http://www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk/questionnaire.html

For consultation or therapeutic help you can contact me at (905) 633-7410.

Posted by: James A. Miklos, Ph.D. | September 13, 2010

Liver and Your Emotions According to Chinese Medicine

Recently I underwent a liver and gallbladder detox and flush, actually it was the second one this year and the third one I have ever done.  I found that my digestion improved, my mind became clearer, I felt calmer, and more optimistic.  I did this because of my discovery of how the liver holds the key to your mental and physical health in many ways – at least according to traditional Chinese medicine.

According to traditional Chinese medicine each particular organ in our body holds and evokes specific emotions.  Here’s a brief run down of what that looks like:

  • Liver – anger, resentment, frustration, irritability, rage, bitterness
  • Lungs – sadness and grief and detached
  • Kidneys – fear, poor willpower, insecurity, aloof and isolated
  • Spleen – worry, obsessive thinking (over thinking)
  • Heart – excitement, shock

The mind affects and effects the body and the body the mind, without healthy interventions the spiral is in a downward motion and we don’t want that.  To support both body and mind is essentially important to our emotional wellbeing, which in turn fosters a life full of vitality that’s worth living.

Here’s another questions worth exploring.  How does each organ effect the brain according to traditional Chinese medicine?

Kidneys

Preservation of the brain from defects and deterioration (Alzheimer’s, etc.) is the job of the kidneys.  Therefore, deterioration and defects of the brain may be halted and possibly reversed if the kidneys are supported and go through a cleansing along with biotherapeutic drainage.

Heart

According to traditional Chinese medicine the heart is said to regulate the cognitive functions of the brain.  The heart regulates the brain’s activities, where the kidneys provide the substance.

Lungs

Lungs have to do with clarity of thought and being emotionally in the present moment, if you will, … connected to the here and now.  Without proper oxygen flow brain function can be slowed and/or impaired, amongst other things.  Oxygen is a key component to a healthy brain.

Spleen

The spleen is said to regulate blood flow and support tonality.  It plays an important role in digestion and phlegm regulation.  An unhealthy spleen will cause phlegm to be excessive and blood flow to be poor thus inhibiting the brain’s ability to function normally.

Liver

The liver is a 4 lobed organ, which performs 1,000’s of different operations and functions daily.  It aids in digestion, including bile flow, detoxification, purification, excretion of nutrients, conjugates hormones (emotional connection), amongst many other detailed operations and functions.  When the liver is burdened with toxins it will create an imbalance resulting in brain imbalance, primarily in various forms of depression.

Where should I start?

Generally speaking the liver should be addressed first, unless of course there are other pressing issues that need attention.  The reason the liver is the first place to start is because of its multifunctionality as an organ.  Detoxifying the liver will inevitably effect and affect all other organs of the body including the brain.  Detoxifying the liver and flushing the gallbladder is essential to all other organ health.  Remember the primary route of excretion out of our body is the liver via the intestines.

The liver needs detoxification not cleansing.  This process can involve months or years.  In our civilized society each person contains around 250 toxic substances in their liver, which can include heavy metals.  Detoxification takes time and patience.  We don’t want to hear this in an instant gratification, microwave, fast-food world!

Detoxifying the liver and flushing the gallbladder takes time.  It is recommended that detoxifying and flushing should be done quarterly in the first year and then in each subsequent year in the fall and spring of each year to maintain liver and gallbladder health.

Here’s the general process:

  1. A diet rich in vegetables (mainly raw)
  2. A rich protein diet
  3. Eliminate sugars – products containing: sugar, flour, and white rice
  4. Exercise regularly about 4-5 times per week to the point where you perspire
  5. Sleep before midnight (where possible)
  6. Regularly practice relaxation (prayer, meditation, practices of gratitude, etc)
  7. Forgive and let go of resentments
  8. Begin or continue eliminating toxic emotions preferably with a qualified mental health practitioner using bottom up processing methods such as EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Emotional Freedom Techniques
  9. Begin biotherapeutic drainage of the liver (qualified natural health practitioner will administer this)
  10. Chinese herbal medicines (for those that are able to take them)
  11. After approximately 7 weeks a 3 day flush can be performed and then the procedure can be repeated 1-2 months later if needed

Through my personal journey I can assure you this is one of the key things that we can do for our own spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.  An increase in faith, peace, cognitive abilities, digestive function improvements, more energy, etc can be the result of a liver detox and gallbladder flush.

Usually one detox isn’t enough, especially if you are older than 10 years of age!  In our modernized world a child can have an overburdened toxic liver by the age of 10 or even earlier.

Below is a quick questionnaire that can help you determine how toxic your liver may be:

  1. Is there any stiffness, tightness, soreness in your right shoulder?
  2. Are you irritable or stressed?
  3. Do you have fuzzy or foggy vision?
  4. Any headaches?
  5. Do you have poor concentration or focus?
  6. Are your eyes itchy, irritated, red, or dry?
  7. Is your sleep restless and/or have insomnia?
  8. Are you irritated by people, lack patience, and/or fed up with them?
  9. Do you have any hot flashes?
  10. Do you drink alcohol, eat processed food, or sweets?
  11. Do you have itchiness or a constant itch?
  12. Mixed up, confused, unclear thinking?
  13. Do you have any overwhelming moods or feelings?
  14. Are you ready to explode or wound up?
  15. Do you have any gallbladder pain or issues?
  16. Do you regularly get congested in your chest, nose, runny nose, or sinus issues?
  17. Do you have acne, boils, rashes, or other skin breakouts?
  18. Do you have dry, burning, irritated, cracked, flaky, or itchy skin issues?
  19. Did you feel bothered by any of these questions?

Count the number of times you answered yes to the above questions.

0-1  doing well

2-6 professional help is recommended

7-19 you have serious problems and need to see a professional

Much more can be said about this subject but this should get you started in your journey towards happiness and wholeness.

For consultation or therapeutic help you can contact me at (905) 633-7410.

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