A different kind of self-help

geeseWe live in a me, me, me world. Or as the Beatles said, “I me mine.” Often, when “the me” isn’t getting its way, isn’t losing weight, getting rich, finding true love, or gaining more confidence, it turns to self-improvement products to make things better. You know what I’m talking about, the books, audio recordings, and classes that lead to an even greater focus of attention on “me.”

Recently, I read about a different kind of self-help in an article by Gregg Krech, ToDo Institute, which in this country is the main champion of  Japanese Naikan therapy.

The article lists skills that are the foundation of Japanese psychology.

*Acceptance. We’ve all heard this one.  If you can’t change an unpleasant situation or experience, stop focusing your attention on it . Easier said than done, but Krech makes it seem more doable when he says, not to let go “is to fight against reality.” When stated that way, do any of us really have time to invest in a fight like this?

*Coexisting with conflicting feelings. Krech says, “accept them and take them with us as we do what we need to do in our lives.”

*Shift our attention away from ourselves. “…self-focused attention is associated with psychological and emotional suffering.” When we stop obsessing about our problems and shift our attention outside of us, the problems lose their power to make us miserable.

*Courageous self-reflection. This involves focusing attention on all the people who have supported or cared for you in some way. If you consider all you’ve received from others, whether in the form of a friendly smile, a cooked meal, help making a purchase, or clean teeth, it’s easier to spend a little less time in a me, me, me world.




About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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2 Responses to A different kind of self-help

  1. Shirley Atkins says:

    Hi Ann,   I enjoy all your Still Life posts but this one is definitely a keeper.   Shirley Atkins

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