Use, Abuse and Misuse

The internet is full of memes that illustrate the widely accepted need for some kind of alcoholic beverage to calm nerves, to celebrate, to finish the day, to relax, to reward, to surprise etc. They are trying to convince us that we are deserving and ought not to feel bad about our Sun-downers, quick drinks after work with the guys, G&T’s or Bubbly or Mommy juice.
Unfortunately at The Family Counselling Centre we see a more sinister side to those memes. Mothers and fathers, filled with guilt and shame, come and sit with us in our counselling rooms. They woefully disclose how their drinking habit has changed the way they interact with their kids and their spouses. Couple after couple explain to us how “Girls Night Out” or “Thursday Drinks with the Guys” is becoming more than just innocent fun. The conversations during our sessions vary only slightly depending what “habit” they might secretly have been engaging in. Some are tormented because according to some well meaning on-line survey they did, they are actually an “addict”. Are the really?

What impact do you have on your family?

Being aware of – and taking responsibility for – the impact of our behaviours, wording and thinking on those we are closest to is such an important part of being a parent. We have so many opportunities to make a positive difference each day. Although we don’t always get it right, developing our awareness and making choices is possible and necessary if we are to live into our true potential as parents.

Click here to hear how our new Parenting Coach, Leigh Johnson, is trying to change how she impacts those around her. Let us know if any of these ideas are helpful – and share some ideas of your own! 

You CAN change your mind – literally!

Our brains are the physical structures which support our “minds” or thoughts, and our thoughts form physical structures in our brains – called neural pathways.

Neural plasticity is the capacity of the brain to change, and this takes place through re-organisation of the neural pathways in our brains. Neural pathways are “preserved” through frequent use,
for example:
Learning a poem off by heart through repetition creates physical structure in our brain, and a simple motor sequence practiced for 10 – 20 minutes a day for 4 weeks can cause a change in the brain region supporting performance of a task

So “Practice makes perfect!” as they say, because actual physical structures are established in our
brains through repetition of an activity/thought etc.
It is therefore untrue to say “I can’t change the way I think/feel/ behave etc. because our brains have the ability to CHOOSE what we will think about, how we will deal with our feelings, or how we will react/respond. We can choose to create healthy pathways, or feed unhealthy ones until they become entrenched (i.e. a “mindset” or a particular way of behaving). We use the “executive” of our brains (frontal lobes) to analyse incoming information from all our other brain regions in order to decide/choose how we are going to respond or react. Of course it takes practice – but it can be done!

Watch Caroline Leaf on you-tube, for an informative talk about neuro-plasticity.

Click on:
Science of Thought | Caroline Leaf | TEDxOaksChristianSchool