Saturday, June 25, 2011

Psychological Defenses: your Guard or not?

The most used part of the brain I think is the frontal lobe. Why did I say so? Because it is where the ego defense mechanism located. We all know that defense mechanism can be seen anywhere (i mean not physically but mentally).  People use defense mechanism most of the time to protect their self-image.

Psychologist said that the unconscious mind do all the talking when we use defense mechanism not just to protect the self-image but also to shield the mind from anxiety.

Here are the list of Defense Mechanism based on Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory:

(I dissected it in layman's term description)

Repression- the ego pushes unacceptable impulses out of awareness back to the unconscious mind.
In layman’s term: Forgetting the undesirable thought from memory as if it didn’t existed.

Denial- The ego refuses to acknowledge anxiety producing realities.
In layman’s term:Distorting the individual thinks, feels, or perceive. Refuse to acknowledge reality.

Displacement- the ego shifts feelings towards an unacceptable object to another, more acceptable object. 
In layman’s term: Redirecting the emotional impulses to the real source to substitute person or object. E.g. putting anger to other people.

Projection- the ego attributes the personal shortcomings, problems, and faults to others
In layman’s term: Attributing to others your own unacceptable desires and impulses to be free from guilt.

Reaction Formation- behaving in a matter that is contrary the one’s real feelings.
In layman’s term: Lying to what’s the real emotion.

Rationalization- the ego replaces a less acceptable motive with a more acceptable one.
In layman’s term: Manufacturing false but good excuse to justify unacceptable behavior and explain away failures or losses.

Compensation- keeping one’s self-steem intact by excelling in one area to distract attention from an area which the person is inferior.
In layman’s term: Masking perceived weakness.

Regression- the ego seeks security to an earlier developmental period in the face of stress.  
In layman’s term: Attempt to cope with the anxiety by clinging to such inappropriate behaviors (Form immature behavior e.g. crying, walkout).

Fantasy- gratifying frustrated desires by imaginary achievements.
In layman’s term: Delusional.

You can not consider yourself emotionally healthy if you are depending too much in these defense mechanism to survive. It just means that you’re too weak to acknowledge the truth about unpleasant thoughts. Using too much defense mechanism is distorting reality, that may lead into developing Personality Disorders. 

Defense mechanisms works automatically. If there is a perceived stimulus that may harm our self-image. It moves in a flash to shield it. Defense mechanism is like a Guard who protects a bank from bad thieves. He do everything to protect his boss from external harms because it is his duty.But like what I said  earlier, depending too much on defense mechanism is a bad idea. You are not only deceiving yourself but you're also inviting chaos to your relationship with people. 

So how you can avoid defense mechanism if it's always on the defensive mode? Even I,don't know the answer. All I know is we can avoid it, but we can not shut it down.  It is in our nature.  This is the way our mind can protect us. All I can advice is that don't loose grip on what is in here in reality.

image source

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What's with the Attitude!

Problems are part of our life. It is one of the constant things we can not avoid. Can you imagine life without problems? A life with no stress, no shortcoming, no heartache, no sufferings? Me, I can't  imagine life without those things?  I believe life without dilemma means life with no happiness! 

Without stress you can't appreciate peace of mind. Without shortcomings we can't experience satisfaction. Without heartache we will not feel joy. Without sufferings we will not be motivated to be better. And therefore we won't be able to achieve what all human kind wants, Serenity!!

Problems are inevitable. What ever we do, problems will just continue coming to our life. But it doesn't mean we can't change that. Problems are made to be solved. Solving every problem that causes us to feel pain will lead us to happiness.
I want you to share a book that helped me understand the nature of problem. And that is Dr. Alan E. Nelson's "The Power of new attitude" With this book I realized that problems are not just caused by external circumstances but also Self-defeating behavior that we people possesses. 

"But behind the visible circumstances is the less than obvious reality that most of us are our own worst enemy. Our number one nemesis is staring back at us in the mirror" Dr. Nelson says. 

Guilt, unwilling to commit, materialism, wrong priorities, lack of discipline, living to please, running from the truth and self-centeredness are just some of the sabotaging behaviors that Dr. Nelson listed in his book. We are guilty on some of those behaviors that helps to produce problems. 

To add more, he also stated the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule). It is said that 80% of the problems, failures and frustrations that we endure are self-inflicted. He advice that instead of focusing on 20% of external circumstance that causes problem. Why focus on 80% sabotaging behavior to solve and decrease in creation of problems. 

After analyzing the anatomy of problem, I can't agree more to Dr. Nelson. He is right. We are our own worst enemy. Problems are just there. But we invite problems with our sabotaging behaviors. If we change our wrong thinking and sabotaging behavior that we have, we will be able to achieve the fulfillment, success and happiness what we always wanted. It's all in the attitude.   

Note: If you think you have a wrong view in life and you want to change your self into a better you. This book might help you as it help mine.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Love and other Drugs

What is love? It is very famous question we are often asked about. A lot of people try to define what love is. Some say love is a feeling of giving care to other people, some say it is a biological response towards others, and some say it is nature’s way of tricking people into reproducing.

But how much do we really know about love? Does love can be explained by science? Or it’s just a feeling that really can’t be explained?

Defining love using science is like explaining the color red to a blind man by saying that it is about 650 nm of electomagnetic radiation. It is easy to define but it’s hard to understand. But still many researchers, philosophers and even historians try to define the nature of love. And they all agreed that love is virtue of representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection.

Psychology has also done lot of dissection about love. They define love as an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment that can occur between two or more individuals such as family, friends and opposite sex that bonds and connects them in a unified link of trust, intimacy and interdependence.

There are said to be 6 love styles proposed by John Lee from the book "Colors of Love". Those are Eros (romantic love),Ludus (love as game), Storge (platonic love) ,Pragma (practical love) Mania  (obsessive love) and Agape (spiritual love) . All of us has experience some of those love styles. Depending on what level or depth it might be.

Psychologists have shown it takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide if you fancy someone. Cognitive, biological and external factor influenced us to feel love. So  what really pushes us to feel that emotion?

Chemicals in the brain are responsible for feeling of love.Recent studies in neuroscience have indicated that as people fall in love, the brain consistently releases a certain set of chemicals, including pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin that stimulates the brain's pleasure center.

Certainly love is influenced by hormones. Chemical movements in the brain are the one to blame. We are drugged by those chemicals to feel love on other person. It’s not in our hands to fall in love. We didn’t command our heart to feel that magical feeling. We believed we’re choosing a partner. But think again. Maybe we are just happy victims of nature’s lovely plan.