Monday, 18 December 2017

On Day 5 I’m sitting out on the terrace of my bungalow feeling unbelievably fortunate. Waves crash below, and the sea breeze tickles my face. And then my gorgeous partner looks up at me, the sun setting over the sea behind him, and announces an idea for a new article.

“How about you write one called ‘how to relax?'”


Where on earth could he have gotten this absurd idea?! I’ve taken to this island’s relaxation like an iguana takes to its favorite iguana thing. Could it be when I insisted we wake up at 7:45 a.m. to secure the optimal beach spot? Or later on, when I hoarded any and all available beach chairs surrounding our own so as to maintain shade throughout the day? Surely I exhibited incredible mindfulness when I budgeted to the second for our arrival to last night’s dinner, including taking a test route earlier on in the day.

Or…maybe he has a point. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the world’s worst relaxer, I’m an 11. But our weeklong window into heaven has given me some much-needed insight. If you, too, are a high-strung bag of crazy with 10,000 ideas and not enough hours in the day to accomplish even five of them, you may relate. From my bungalow in paradise, I present: How to relax if you’re absolutely terrible at relaxing.

1. Don’t assume conventional methods are going to work.

I really, really don’t like baths, despite the world trying to convince me they’re god’s gift to relaxing. Like me, you might need to try options other than those commonly suggested (candles, baths, Enya, etc). Personally, I really like seeing movies by myself to calm down.

2. Learn to listen to your body’s cues.

Everyone has an inner voice. Mine sounds like a husky, angry and disturbingly witty old Jewish lady named Babs. Babs was the first one to say “You don’t even DESERVE a vacation, you worthless sack of herring!” (she’s tough). Despite this handicap, I try very hard to listen to Babs and my body’s overall reaction to her. I’ve learned to figure out my own warning signals before I reach absolute meltdown status. In fact, the mere presence of Babs’ voice is my first indicator.

3. Calm YOUR inner Babs.

While we’re talking about inner voices, try my new trick: “Listen, [insert name of your one or many inner voices here]: I hear and respect you, but lay off my friend.”

4. Have sex.
I know this sounds like the terrible stereotypical aid your partner suggests when you have a headache, but real talk, it works. Whether it’s with someone else or yourself, this is a surefire way to turn your brain’s volume down (as long as you/that someone else is good at the job).

5. Do something that has a clear, tangible outcome.

If you’re feeling like your life is spinning out of control, focus on a small task whose outcome you can control. Do laundry, fold it, put it away. Clean the house. Write a letter and mail it. These sort of rote assignments send the message to your brain that despite your feelings of complete worthlessness, you actually are capable of accomplishing things. Also, your house will be clean!

6. Reward yourself when you deserve it.

Once you’re done with that task, give yourself a present. If you train yourself to receive rewards that make sense (healthy rewards like a walk or a call to a friend are more ideal), you’ll induce a positive feedback loop and will be able to do more efficient work going forward. Personally, when I finish this article I am going to eat. A lot. This is basically just high-fiving my brain, and putting Babs temporarily in the mah jong room.

7. Exercise.

I wish this weren’t true, but it is: Exercise relieves stress. Even if you’re like me and the lady in this Jezebel article and don’t get that storied “runner’s high,” you can still benefit greatly from getting active. Also you’ll sleep and look better.

8. Use the same compassion with yourself as you would with a child.
I learned this from a dear friend who teaches elementary school when he’s stressed, he asks himself if he would ever treat a 5-year-old the way he’s treating himself. Real talk, I would never, ever treat any living thing the way I treat myself when I’m stressed. So ask yourself simple questions: Have I eaten? Have I slept? Am I hydrated? Have I showered? If not, take care of those things. No matter how professional you are, you were once an incontinent screaming baby! Try and remember that. You’re welcome.

9. Turn off the freakin’ Internet.

I could talk to you about the Internet for days, but odds are you already know and have read everything about it and how our brains are turning to mush and how we’ll never be good humans again and how it makes us write extremely long run-on sentences that our copyeditors will flag and then we’ll explain we were trying to be funny but maybe took it too far. Seriously though, this nonsense is an addiction. Curb it.

10. Take a break.

We’re all doing a LOT of things these days. Breaks are important, but they don’t have to be spent in Curaçao to be effective. Do a bit of research and see if there’s anything close to you that might qualify for a glorious and low-budget staycation. If you have a weekend, I recommend spending it hiding from the Internet and work (except for Netflix, which should be loaded up with ’90s classics like She’s All That). If you’ve only got half an hour, start reading that book you’ve had on the shelf for months. The important thing here is to maximize your free time and resist the urge to multitask/control everything. Look in the mirror every so often and pretend you’re a L’Oréal commercial. Tell yourself you’re worth it. You are! Cheers and happy relaxing.

Orginally posted on

Thursday, 14 December 2017

By Jonathan allen

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Victor Frankl

There’s a big lie we tell ourselves during stressful times.

It keeps us feeling lost, afraid, and unloved, like we’re being picked up and carried away helplessly by a storm.

Our heads can fill with scary images, words, and stories about the cause and who is to blame for our unwanted pain.

Sound familiar? If it does, you’re not alone. You’re normal. This is how humans biologically respond to stress.

So what’s the big lie?

The big lie is that we have no control over our stress response. Actually, we do. A lot of control.

I’ve struggled the hard way through my fair share of troubling times. I’ve experienced money and job issues, battled with health, and been pushed in challenging relationships.

But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is I grew up a highly sensitive person, who would internally react to almost anything that could be interpreted as negative.

Of the feelings above, I hopelessly sat at the “feel all of them” end of the scale.

That was until a particularly trying relationship caused me so much stress and anxiety that I became sick of my unconscious reactions, and vowed to do everything possible to stop it (or make it easier).

Through research and a lot of experimenting I created a practical way to calm myself down instantly anywhere, anytime, when a meditation cushion or reassuring book was out of reach.

The technique was so simple and powerful that it pulled me through a harrowing experience in that relationship, and has held me together in plenty of experiences since.

It’s easy to remember, has an instant effect on your mind body, and most importantly, is simple enough to be remembered and used when you’re going through the eye of your own stress storms.

How to Calm Yourself In Two Minutes

Take a moment right now to make yourself comfortable and try these four steps yourself:

1. Freeze yourself.

Remember the game you played as a child when you suddenly stopped mid-motion, like you were frozen in ice? Do that now. Halt your body parts, emotions, and thought processes. Think of yourself as a cartoon character that’s been hit with a stun gun. You can even make it a little dramatic if it helps.

2. Focus on your index finger.

(Skip to this if you find the first step difficult). For twenty to sixty seconds, concentrate solely on the back of your index finger. Let your mind and body be consumed by it.

Bring it closer to you. Study the rivets, creases, and those tiny little fingerprint lines. If your situation is noisy, let the sounds around you merge into a single background buzz, and let it fade out of your attention.

3. Take a conscious breath.

Let go of your focus and check back in with your body. Take a deep, conscious breath in, then let it go through your mouth, slowly and calmly, creating a wave of relaxation that starts in your chest and floats out through your being to the surface of your skin.

4. Look around consciously.

As you re-integrate with your surroundings, scan the scene in front of you. Remain as indiscriminate as possible with what you focus on the way you would when waking up in the morning.

Take conscious note of the thoughts that are trying to push back into your head and observe them with an attitude of curiosity.

How do you feel?

You might now feel a little more in touch with your senses, distanced from previous thoughts, and connected with the present moment.

Most importantly, you’ll recognize that the root of your discomfort is your thoughts. Everything else, like emotions, and physical discomfort, and pain, start there.

If you’re having difficulty slowing down the mind at the beginning, try this: If you meditate regularly, spend the last minute of your session focused on the same finger, in the same way. Doing this will associate (or anchor) the feelings of clarity, relaxation, and attachment with the action.

And if you don’t meditate, it’s a great time to start! It will help with your ability to cope with stressful situations generally, and dramatically improve the effects of this technique.

Why This Technique Works

Stress is a mental or physical tension, and both manifest from your relationship to the procession of thoughts in your head.

Mindfulness allows you to step out of the procession and watch it go past, without being carried down the fast-flowing river.

When we get pulled down a heavy stream, our emotions and bodies react as if the danger or pain contained in the thought is real, immediate, and must be dealt with now. That’s why we feel discomfort even when someone reminds us of a stressful situation we were trying to forget.

Reconnecting with the present reminds us that here is the only time there really is.

Focusing on your hands is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that helps to ground the soul and provide stability in the physical body.

Try It for Yourself

The most important reason this technique works is it gives you something back—control.

We may not be able to choose what happens to us in our lives, but as Viktor Frankl says, we can always choose our response.

Give it a go next time you feel yourself panicking (and be sure to let us know how you go in the comments below).

Originally posted on

Friday, 1 December 2017

By Dr. Mercola

Emotional pain often exacts a greater toll on your quality of life than physical pain. The stress and negative emotions associated with any trying event can even lead to physical pain and disease.

In fact, emotional stress is linked to health problems including chronic inflammation, lowered immune function, increased blood pressure, altered brain chemistry, increased tumor growth and more.

Of course, emotional pain can be so severe that it interferes with your ability to enjoy life and, in extreme cases, may even make you question whether your life is worth living.

5 Tips for Healing Emotional Pain

As the featured article reported, Guy Winch, author of Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries, recently shared five tips for healing your emotional pain.

1. Let Go of Rejection

Rejection actually activates the same pathways in your brain as physical pain, which is one reason why it hurts so much. The feeling of rejection toys with your innate need to belong, and is so distressing that it interferes with your ability to think, recall memories and make decisions. The sooner you let go of painful rejections, the better off your mental health will be.

2. Avoid Ruminating

When you ruminate, or brood, over a past hurt, the memories you replay in your mind only become increasingly distressing and cause more anger – without providing any new insights. In other words, while reflecting on a painful event can help you to reach an understanding or closure about it, ruminating simply increases your stress levels, and can actually be addictive.

Ruminating on a stressful incident can also increase your levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in your body linked to cardiovascular disease.1

3. Turn Failure Into Something Positive

If you allow yourself to feel helpless after a failure, or blame it on your lack of ability or bad luck, it’s likely to lower your self-esteem. Blaming a failure on specific factors within your control, such as planning and execution, is likely to be less damaging, but even better is focusing on ways you can improve and be better informed or prepared so you can succeed next time (and try again, so there is a next time).

4. Make Sure Guilt Remains a Useful Emotion

Guilt can be beneficial in that it can stop you from doing something that may harm another person (making it a strong "relationship protector"). But guilt that lingers or is excessive can impair your ability to focus and enjoy life.

If you still feel guilty after apologizing for a wrongdoing, be sure you have expressed empathy toward them and conveyed that you understand how your actions impacted them. This will likely lead to authentic forgiveness and relief of your guilty feelings.

5. Use Self-Affirmations if You Have Low Self-Esteem

While positive affirmations are excellent tools for emotional health, if they fall outside the boundaries of your beliefs, they may be ineffective. This may be the case for people with low self-esteem, for whom self-affirmations may be more useful. Self-affirmations, such as “I have a great work ethic,” can help to reinforce positive qualities you believe you have, as can making a list of your best qualities.

My Most Highly Recommended Tool for Emotional Healing

Many, if not most, people carry emotional scars -- traumas that can adversely affect your health and quality of life. Using techniques like energy psychology, you can correct the emotional short-circuiting that contributes to your chronic emotional pain. My favorite technique for this is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which is the most comprehensive and most popular version of energy psychology. EFT is a form of psychological acupressure based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over 5,000 years, but without the invasiveness of needles.

Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to transfer kinetic energy onto specific meridians on your head and chest while you think about your specific problem -- whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, anxiety, etc. -- and voice positive affirmations.

This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the "short-circuit"—the emotional block—from your body's bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body's balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease. The beauty about EFT is that it can reprogram your body’s reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life, thereby providing a more lasting effect.

More than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, EFT has the most potential to literally work magic. Clinical trials have shown that EFT is able to rapidly reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress. Once the distress is reduced or removed, your body can often rebalance itself, and accelerate healing.

For a demonstration of how to perform EFT, please see the video below featuring EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman. The first video is a general demonstration, which can be tailored to just about any problem, and the second demonstrates how to tap for depression. While this technique is particularly effective for relieving emotional or mental stress and anxiety, it can be used for all manner of physical pain relief as well.

Originally posted on

Monday, 27 November 2017

Nancy Sherman Ph.D.Stoic Warrior

The Moral Logic of Survivor Guilt

If there is one thing we have learned from returning war veterans

Posted Jul 20, 2011


If there is one thing we have learned from returning war veterans - especially those of the last decade - it's that the emotional reality of the soldier at home is often at odds with that of the civilian public they left behind. And while friends and families of returning service members may be experiencing gratefulness or relief this summer, many of those they've welcomed home are likely struggling with other emotions.

High on that list of emotions is guilt. Soldiers often carry this burden home-- survivor guiltbeing perhaps the kind most familiar to us. In war, standing here rather than there can save your life but cost a buddy his. It's flukish luck, but you feel responsible. The guilt begins an endless loop of counterfactuals-thoughts that you could have or should have done otherwise, though in fact you did nothing wrong. The feelings are, of course, not restricted to the battlefield. But given the magnitude of loss in war, they hang heavy there and are pervasive. And they raise the question of just how irrational those feelings are, and if they aren't, of what is the basis of their reasonableness.

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Capt. Adrian Bonenberger, head of a unit in Afghanistan that James Dao and other journalists of The New York Times reported on in their series "A Year at War," pondered those questions recently(link is external) as he thought about Specialist Jeremiah Pulaski, who was killed by police in the wake of a deadly bar fight shortly after he returned home. Back in Afghanistan, Pulaski saved Bonenberger's life twice on one day, but when Pulaski needed help, Bonenberger couldn't be there for him: "When he was in trouble, he was alone," Captain Bonenberger said. "When we were in trouble, he was there for us. I know it's not rational or reasonable. There's nothing logical about it. But I feel responsible."

But how unreasonable is that feeling? Subjective guilt, associated with this sense of responsibility, is thought to be irrational because one feels guilty despite the fact that one knows one has done nothing wrong. Objective or rational guilt, by contrast-- guilt that is "fitting" to one's actions--accurately tracks real wrongdoing or culpability: guilt is appropriate because one acted to deliberately harm someone, or could have prevented harm and did not. Blameworthiness, here, depends on the idea that a person could have done something other than he did. And so he is held responsible, by himself or others.

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But as Bonenberger's remarks make clear, we often take responsibility in a way that goes beyond what we can be held responsible for. And we feel the guilt that comes with that sense of responsibility. Nietzsche is the modern philosopher who well understood this phenomenon: "Das schlechte Gewisse" (literally, "bad conscience")-his term for the consciousness of guilt where one has done no wrong, doesn't grow in the soil where we would most expect it, he argued, such as in prisons where there are actually "guilty" parties who should feel remorse for wrongdoing. In the Genealogy of Morals, he appeals to an earlier philosopher, Spinoza, for support: "The bite of conscience," writes Spinoza in the "Ethics," has to do with an "offense" where "something has gone unexpectedly wrong." As Nietzsche adds, it is not really a case of "I ought not to have done that."

But what then is it a case of? Part of the reasonableness of survivor guilt (and in a sense, its "fittingness") is that it tracks moral significance that is broader than moral action. Who I am, in terms of my character and relationships, and not just, what I do, morally matters. Of course, character is expressed in action, and when we don't "walk the walk," we are lacking; but it is also expressed in emotions and attitudes. Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics, insists on the point: "virtue is concerned with emotions and actions;" to have good character is to "hit the mean" with respect to both. Moreover, many of the feelings that express character are not about what one has done or should have done, but rather about what one cares deeply about. Though Aristotle doesn't himself talk about guilt, it is the emotion that best expresses the conflict-the desire or obligation to help frustrated by the inability, through no fault of one's own, to do so. To not feel the guilt is to be numb to those pulls. It is that vulnerability, those pulls that Boneneberger feels when he says he wasn't there for Pulaski when he needed him.

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Source: ob1left

In many of my interviews with soldiers over the years, feelings of guilt and responsibility tangle with feelings of having betrayed fellow soldiers. At stake is the duty to those soldiers, the imperative to hold intact the bond that enables them to fight for and with each other in the kind of "sacred band" that the ancients memorialized and that the Marine motto Semper Fidelis captures so well. But it is not just duty at work. It is love.

Service members, especially those higher in rank, routinely talk about unit members as "my soldiers," "my Marines," "my sailors." They are family members, their own children, of sorts, who have been entrusted to them. To fall short of unconditional care is experienced as a kind of perfidy, a failure to be faithful. Survivor guilt piles on the unconscious thought that luck is part of a zero-sum game. To have good luck is to deprive another of it. The anguish of guilt, its sheer pain, is a way of sharing some of the ill fate. It is a form of empathic distress.

Many philosophers have looked to other terms to define the feeling. What they have come up with is "agent-regret" (a term coined by the British philosopher Bernard Williams, but used by many others). The classic scenario is not so much of good luck (as in survivor guilt), but of bad luck, typically having to do with accidents where again, there is little or no culpability for the harms caused. In these cases, people may be causally responsible for harm-they bring about the harm through their agency-- but they are not morally responsible for what happened.

But to my ear, agent-regret is simply tone-deaf to how subjective guilt feels. Despite the insertion of "agent," it sounds as passive and flat as "regretting that the weather is bad." Or more tellingly, as removed from empathic distress as the message sent to the next of kin, after an official knock on the door: "The Secretary of Defense regrets to inform you that...."

Indeed, the soldiers I've talked to involved in friendly fire accidents that took their comrades' lives, didn't feel regret for what happened, but raw, deep, unabashed guilt. And the guilt persisted long after they were formally investigated and ultimately exonerated. In one wrenching case, in April 2003 in Iraq, the gun on a Bradley fighting vehicle misfired, blowing off most of the face of Private Joseph Mayek who was standing guard near the vehicle. The accident was ultimately traced to a faulty replacement battery that the commander in charge had authorized. When the Bradley's ignition was turned on, the replacement battery in the turret (a Marine battery rather than an Army one) failed to shut off current to the gun. Mayek, who was 20, died.

The Army officer in charge, then Capt. John Prior, reconstructed the ghastly scene for me, and the failed attempts in the medic tent to save Mayek's life. He then turned to his feelings of responsibility: "I'm the one who placed the vehicles; I'm the one who set the security. Like most accidents, I'm not in jail right now. Clearly I wasn't egregiously responsible. But it is a comedy of errors. Any one of a dozen decisions made over the course of a two-month period and none of them really occurs to you at the time. Any one of those made differently may have saved his life. So I dealt with and still deal with the guilt of having cost him his life essentially.... There's probably not a day that doesn't go by that I don't think about it, at least fleetingly."

What Prior feels are feelings of guilt, and not simply regret that things didn't work out differently. He feels the awful weight of self-indictment, the empathy with the victim and survivors, and the need to make moral repair. If he didn't feel that, we would probably think less of him as a commander.
In his case, moral repair came through an empathic, painful connection with Mayek's mom. After the fratricide, Prior and his first sergeant wrote a letter to Mayek's mother. And for some time after, she replied with care packages to the company and with letters. "Oh it was terrible," said Prior. "The letters weren't just very matter of fact-here's what we did today; it was more like a mother writing to her son." Prior had become the son who was no longer. "It was her way of dealing with the grief," said Prior. "And so I had a responsibility to try to give back."
In all this we might say guilt, subjective guilt, has a redemptive side. It is a way soldiers impose moral order on the chaos and awful randomness of war's violence. It is a way they humanize war for themselves, for their buddies, and for civilians, too.

But if that's all that is involved, it sounds too moralistic. It makes guilt appropriate or fitting because it's good for society. It is the way we all can deal with war. Maybe, instead, we want to say it is fitting because it is evolutionarily adaptive in the way that fear is. But again, this doesn't do justice to the phenomenon. The guilt that soldiers feel isn't just morally expedient or species-adaptive. It is fitting because it gets right certain moral (or evaluative) features of a soldier's world-- that good soldiers depend on each other, come to love each other, and have duties to care and bring each other safely home. Philosophers, at least since the time of Kant, have called these "imperfect duties": even in the best circumstances, we can't perfectly fulfill them. And so, what duties to others need to make room for, even in a soldier's life of service and sacrifice, are duties to self, of self-forgivenessand self-empathy. These are a part of full moral repair.

This article originally appeared in The Stone, the New York Times, philosophy series:

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

You have seen the advertising headlines. They prey upon the nagging fear that maybe you and your family will be violently attacked by a stranger “on the street.” They promise you life-saving “secrets” that will give any middle-aged business traveler the defensive acumen of an elite military operator. All contained in a set of DVDs. This has become the marketing platform for many of the so-called “Reality-Based” martial arts programs. Can the promises live up to the hype? Here are a couple of ideas to consider:
Learning to defend yourself requires training for self-defense: This may seem like the ultimate obvious point, but it carries two important implications. First, effective self-defense preparation requires actual physical practice – quite often, a lot of practice – to assure proper execution of even a couple of basic maneuvers. Based on what is known about human performance and motor skill learning, it would be nearly impossible for someone simply to read about a technique in a book or even watch it several times on a video, and then be able to perform the skill correctly. When you factor in the stress of being in a life-threatening situation, the chances of doing it right dwindle even further. Repeated and ongoing physical practice is a necessary condition for self-defense training. The DVDs may contain some great moves, but without a lot of physical practice, they probably won’t work for you when you need them.
The second implication is that training to defend your life can be quite different from training to master a particular martial art or fighting system. There is a mythical motto often heard in law enforcement and military combatives training that “under stress you will revert to your training.” This is only partially true. Under stressful or threatening conditions, your dominant response emerges. Getting the trained response to be the dominant response takes practice.
Just knowing a technique will not make it an automatic response. It is quite possible even to train a skill, but not be able to perform it if attacked. When I was a police officer (before I was a psychologist), I knew of multiple situations where a professional who had demonstrated classroom proficiency in defensive tactics and qualified as “expert” on the range could not apply either skill under high-risk conditions. Law enforcement has since moved to using more active, dynamic, scenario-based training. This is essential for transferring defensive skills to unpredictable, life-threatening encounters.
Self-Defense requires learning how to respond to an attack: We have established the point that getting your body to respond properly to defend you will require that you engage in physical practice and train under dynamic, unscripted conditions. Your brain has to work too, though. An advantage of training in reality-based systems is that you can gain experience getting hit and attacked. Believe it or not, this is an incredibly valuable experience – at least from the perspective of self-defense training. In a violent encounter, fear is not necessarily your enemy. Panic or “freezing” might be. You definitely need to keep your head in the game.
For most Americans, the statistical likelihood of being violently attacked by a stranger is is pretty remote. And most of the good people who read Black Belt Magazine certainly aren’t going to go looking for a fight. But some coward, drunk or bad guy hunting for trouble may cross your path, and chances are they will not be looking to fight fair. For many normal, law-abiding people, the experience of being hit in the face the first time is shocking and disorienting. Those moments of dismay when you are reflecting on the pain in your cheek or asking “What the hell????” are the moments your attacker is delivering the second or third blows. You may have lost before you even have a chance to think of that super-cool move you just learned on your new DVD set. If you are attacked, keeping your mental composure is every bit as important as knowing self-defense techniques. You must prepare to act under attack.
Find out what works for you. Some reality-based programs tell you that they are based on “natural” or “instinctive” human reactions. Others claim to have universal principles that are guaranteed to work in any situation. The reality (pun intended) is that situations vary and people who want to defend themselves are different from one another. When it comes to learning self-defense, one size does not fit all. Human beings are pretty complicated. Not everyone has an inner, violent barbarian just waiting to be unleashed. History is full of examples where armed people were killed by their attackers, even when they had opportunity to use their weapons.
If you are shopping for a self-defense system, you need to set realistic expectations about what you hope to accomplish based on the time you are willing to invest in training and on what feels right for you. Remember the power of the dominant response? Psychological theory and research show that people decide whether or not to act depending on whether they think can execute a skill effectively and whether doing so will cause them to be successful in accomplishing a goal. You need to develop confidence that you can respond in a particular way to an attack and a belief that it will work. This is part of what you hope to accomplish through repetition and practice in dynamic scenario-based training. Does it feel “natural” or do-able for you? Can you see yourself responding in this way under an actual attack? If not, perhaps that particular system is not a good fit for you.
There is no quick fix, or one-size-fits-all system for effective self-defense. Even carrying a weapon does not assure your survival. If your goal is self-defense, you should train specifically for that skill – not just for practicing an art. Regardless of the method or system you choose, it will be important to consider the critical role of maintaining mental composure and preparing to survive and respond to an attack. Finally, you should make sure that you have confidence in your approach to self-defense and in your ability to use it under the most stressful conditions. That is when you will need it most – really.
(Article first published in Black Belt Magazine, October, 2008)
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