How to Give Realistically | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

How to Give Realistically and Authentically

Well, it’s here…the season of giving. This time of year, the fall holiday season, the collective focus is on buying gifts for others and expecting gifts in return, a retail fest for sure. And much to my chagrin, the act of sharing our blessings is relegated to one month and materialistic exchanges. Giving, as with gratitude, is a daily/regular/ongoing activity that connects you to your higher self, to your Creator, and to humanity.

My plea is that we reframe the typical gift-giving approach to giving gifts from the heart, that we be the reason for someone else to have hope of a better existence in this season.

How can I give when I’ve lost so much?

If you’re asking yourself this question, then you are not alone. Millions of people have suffered massive financial losses due to the effects of the pandemic. Fortune.com estimated that at least 100,000 businesses have closed so far this year. Stimulus packages were underwhelming. Extended unemployment benefits didn’t go very far. Too many have experienced the devastation of personal economics in addition to the mental and emotional anguish of 2020.

That doesn’t leave you with much to manage the necessities of your life—paying bills, buying food, putting gas in the car. Struggling to survive, what do you have left over to give away? “Nothing” may pop into your mind as the answer. A completely valid response. If you consider lost income plus uncertainty plus 2020 angst, any other response seems fantastical or Pollyannaish.

You still can be the Reason someone has Hope

Hold on, please. Even with the turmoil of this year, you still can be the reason in this season by giving realistically and authentically. You don’t have a lot of money or material resources? No worries. Gifts from the heart do not require expensive material things. Your heart has an abundance of love and limitless joy just waiting to be shared. Here is how to tap into your heart to give what you can and with love so you can be the reason for someone to see possibilities and a thriving future.

Gifts from the heart don’t require expensive material things.

It’s the Thought that Counts in Heart-Centered Giving

It really is the thought that counts. Rather, the intent. When you give from your heart, especially something meaningful to the recipient, you expand your consciousness and sphere of energetic influence. The amount of money you spend on a gift is irrelevant in matters of the heart. Your loving intention for giving is invaluable and cannot be measured in dollars and cents. The value of your heart-centered gift is appraised by the Spirit.

Why do you give?

How to Give Realistically and Authentically with Gifts from the Heart

Here are 5 simple, free, and powerful gifts you can give to loved ones this giving season.

1. Prayer

An amazing and effective means of bestowing love upon another human being is to pray for them. Perhaps you know someone suffering physically or someone who has lost more than you. Whatever their situation, praying for them is a gift that transcends materialism and directly touches their soul.

2. Smile

There are very few things in life that warm the heart more than a genuine smile. The gift of a smile is so positively impactful that is can be detected even behind a mask because the eyes smile too.

3. Note – Thinking of You

A simple note to say “I’m thinking about you”, “you’re on my mind” is oh so powerful. Your note communicates that you care, that the recipient is not forgotten, and that they matter. You can send this message via a greeting card, a handwritten note, in a text, or in an email.

4. Positive Regard and Attention

Sometimes all we need is to just experience acceptance of our humanity above anything else. Holding a space of positive regard for another person and seeing the best in them is very loving. Perceiving the person behind the facade of personality can open the door for that person to step into their own Truth.

5. Cash or Material Item

Material items in good condition are demonstrations of love as well. Perhaps your gently used coat is needed by someone who can’t afford to buy one this winter. And by all means, if you can afford to give something material then do so. Money to those struggling to pay bills and gift cards to buy necessities can be very helpful expressions of love.

Every dark cloud contains a silver lining. Every challenge cradles opportunity. So current psychological and economic hardships need not thwart you opening your heart and sharing authentic love. Even with 2020 losses, you still have something of immense value to give. And you need not buy anything because grandiosity is not synonymous with love. You can give the gift of love freely and at no cost.

Give from your heart and be the reason in the season for someone to have hope of a better life.

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Crimes Against Humanity | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Crimes Against Humanity

I wrote this blog in December 2018 and I am posting it again because it is still relevant. The United States specifically is knee-deep in darkness. Still.

I love crime dramas. The Closer, Criminal Minds, How To Get Away With Murder, The Purge, and every Law and Order Series. These shows delve into the human psyche, which I am passionate about, and demonstrate the depths of depravity unique to our species in an entertaining way. Macabre, I know.

Yet the acts performed on my favorite shows are not real. Those stories are made up and easy to walk away from. Besides being entertaining, crime dramas serve the purpose of allowing viewers to tap into their dark side and sublimate the accompanying impulses.

And while I dig exploration of the mind because I’ve always gravitated toward psychological underpinnings, I shudder at the reality of the harm we humans are capable of inflicting on each other. I am haunted by the brutality of rape, child abuse, domestic violence, killing of innocents, discrimination, and isms. They evoke pain. There is no entertainment value in such actions.

I cannot shake off beatings of anyone because of their race, gender, age, or sexual orientation. A mother killing her children and one lover ending the life of another weigh heavy on my heart. A man forcing himself on a woman with fists and genitalia provokes an emotional stew made of sadness and fear topped with rage.

I am equally impacted by the suffering of those victimized. Their traumatic experiences and untimely deaths seem so unnecessary to me. And painful, emotionally and spiritually. Please know that I am not naïve. I do understand the duality of human existence—good-bad, light-dark, right-wrong, black-white. However, my very human response to human-on-human violence is sadness because I empathize with those victimized. I have the ability put myself into another person’s shoes and experience what they experience…why I can’t stomach the true crime stories. Empathy…“It’s a blessing and a curse.” Adrian Monk

I am also disappointed and outraged that we have not done better. History, technology, heightened awareness are underutilized in improving our individual and collective experiences. What is the hold up?

We have been here before. Many times in human existence factions and fundamentalists and fascists and narcissists imposed their will on others violently. The internet, Youtube, and Facebook give us instant access to useful information. And all things spiritual are more mainstream.

So why haven’t we learned to treat each other better from history? Why haven’t we used technology to right wrongs? Why haven’t we lived the tenets of major religions and wisdom traditions and behave like we are all created equated and of the same Source?

What on earth is taking so long to end crimes against humanity?

Glen Alex, LCSW, Author of Living In Total Health, Health Skills Coach, Speaker

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Living Mindfully | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Living Mindfully

If the word “mindfulness” conjures up thoughts of sitting in silence with mind empty, then you’re on the right track. Meditation can quiet the mind’s chatter, relegate the mind’s stream of consciousness to an attachment-free film strip, and deepen insight. Whether you use breathing techniques, mantras, movements, or guides in your practice, meditation brings about a profound sense of peace, relaxation, and the gift of connection. Yes, mindfulness is closely related with meditation.

“Mindfulness and meditation embody many similarities and can overlap, but the terms are not exactly interchangeable.”
–chopra.com

There is, however, another type of mindfulness of which I write. Self-awareness. Not to be confused with self-absorption or egocentrism nor any form of negative selfishness, self-awareness is being attuned to your thoughts, feelings, and actions–knowing what you experience internally and do at any given moment. This is not a trick! Every human being has the innate ability to tune in introspectively. Yet, not all do.

Many people are not self-aware, not present to their own experiences. Mindlessness is pervasive. It is attending to every little thing or nothing with a blank mind or being overwhelmed with mental prattling. If you have ever driven somewhere and could not remember the drive, then you were mindless. This has happened with me and I am thankful that I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else. If you have ever been told that you said or did something yet did not recall doing so, then you were mindless at that time too. Andy Bernay-Roman called mindlessness a trance state in The Mind/Body Connection.

“…in the trance state, “vegging” out and living unconsciously, the brain disengages from the senses and tunes into its own archive, the past. So today’s reactions are fueled by yesterday’s experiences. Which can be problematic, obviously. As with “choosing well,” the past need not control today’s decisions.”
–Glen Alex, Living In Total Health

Let me share my personal experience. My life’s work is about health because I believe healthy people—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—are more loving, more genuine, and less likely to intentionally harm self or others. It all began in childhood with boundaries. I was so enthralled by the nuance of interaction and took keen mental notes of when people smiled, when they cringed, and when emotional pain consumed their faces.

Boundaries came more into play as a teenager. The youngest of 10, I realized that healthy boundaries are crucial for personal health, wellbeing, and relationships, and learned to say “no” after experiencing mounting frustration from being taken advantage of by elders. I moved from watching to learning to experiencing to teaching matters of health.

During my health journey, I made conscious decisions about how I want to be treated and how I would treat others. Just saying so wasn’t enough, however. We all have said we would do something and it never materialized. Affirmative action required to meet the stated goal was missing. In order to live up to my personal commandments, I programmed myself to be aware of when I fell off my behavioral wagon.

It was a bit rough in the beginning, as I had to walk on awareness eggshells until the habit formed. When it did, by my late teens, I could pretty much recall words and phrases and actions that I delivered, in pretty much any situation. The level of self-awareness I carry daily is high, which requires a lot of energy. And totally worth the personal cost because being authentic and responsible and positively impacting humanity are external manifestations of my Personal Truth, my purpose.

Side note – my self-imposed self-awareness elevated my kinesthetic awareness as well. Not only am I aware of what my body is doing in space, I’m also attuned to what it is doing internally. During the initial visit with my new dentist at the time, I told him about my symptoms and treatments and responses and timelines in such a way that he called me a “genius” because of my connectedness to my existence.

My call to you is to take this one of many opportunities that the global health crisis offers to grow, ignoring all the political agendas. You can become mindful. Allow unhealthy and useless habits to fall away. Touching your face with dirty hands, quick wipe downs, no wipe down, saving time by not washing hands, sneezing and coughing openly are automatic behaviors that need to be laid to rest now and quite frankly should’ve been eons ago. For your own health. For the health of those around you.

Every challenge is married to the opportunity for personal growth. Seize this moment to start living consciously, mindfully. Eliminate automatic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that endanger your health and that of those you love. Your past is not your present and need not control your choices. Mindful self-awareness puts you in charge of what you think, feel, and do. Reprogram yourself to become more self-aware. The benefits will extend beyond this crisis.

Humanity needs you to be mindful. Now is that time.

Glen Alex, LCSW, Author of Living In Total Health, Health Skills Coach, Speaker

Need assistance coping with boundaries, stress, relationships, or recovering from a setback?

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Unintended Consequences | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Unintended Consequences

I didn’t mean for that to happen. It wasn’t my intention for…

Have you or anyone you know ever utter these words? Probably. Most of us don’t actually weigh the possible outcomes when we make decisions. We only see what we want, which comes at a cost. But alas, what price?

Every choice yields positive, negative, or neutral consequences. Every choice. Oh, and a yes to one thing is a no to another. It’s just a matter of being clear about the potential results and accepting your responsibility in bringing them about. Because if you only focus on what you want or have to have, then you leave the door wide open for yourself and others to be harmed. And I wonder if you took the time to weigh the probabilities, would you make that decision anyway?

This is so true for the current global health crisis. Yes, the pandemic required an immediate and effective response from leaders. Hence the world shutdown with shelter in place (SIP), business closures, and social distancing. Many believe that these measures have reduced exposure, slowing down the rate of new infections and the number of deaths.

After about two months of the shutdown and the declining numbers, many people are still afraid of catching a virus that most will recover from, about 98% of active cases are mild and don’t require hospitalization according to worldometers.info/coronavirus. And many rightfully question the continued social closures, never mind how “essential” businesses are selected. Some governments don’t even have a concrete plan for reopening.

My question is, what about the unintended consequences of the ongoing shutdown?

Domestic Violence

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a big problem. IPV includes physical violence, sexual assault, mental and emotional abuse, and stalking. And according to the CDC, current or former male partners kill nearly half of all women murdered. For the domestic violence survivors, mental health, heart, digestive, muscular, and nervous system disorders can affect them for years.

With SIP, there is no escape. Victims cannot leave home to seek shelter, despite what Nevada’s Governor says, and are more vulnerable. Isolation is a major enabler of domestic violence. Mandatory reporters—medical providers, teachers, therapists are removed with SIP because they cannot see the bruises or get a report from those abused or provide resources for help. Increasing stress, unemployment, and sudden shifts in daily routines are also contributing factors.

Something else to consider. Harvard University Medical School trauma expert, Judith Lewis Herman, found that domestic abusers use similar methods to kidnappers to control hostages and repressive regimes use to break the will of political prisoners to control their partners and children. Andrew Campbell reported that new cases in the United States involve the abusers not allowing their partners wash their hands, using the threat of contracting COVID as another means of control.

Brazil reported a 40-50% increase in reports. France reported a spike of 30%. In the UK, domestic murders of women and children have doubled. In the United States, Houston police received 300 more domestic violence calls, 517 more in Charlotte, and nearly 200 more in Phoenix. Other U.S. cities that reported increased domestic violence calls include Boston, Milwaukee, Seattle, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Utah County, Fresno County, Montgomery County, East Baton Rouge Parish, Buffalo, Sparks, Portland, Nassau County, Cherokee County, and Charleston, South Carolina.

Child Abuse

Child abuse is unfortunately tied to Intimate Partner Violence. About 30-60% of children who live in IPV homes are abused and/or neglected themselves, according to preventchildabuse.org. DoSomething.org reported that 68% of the abuse is perpetrated by family members and more than 70% of the children who die as a result of abuse and neglect are younger than 3 years of age.

Not only do these children experience violence first-hand, they may also witness one parent, usually mom, be victimized. The long term effects of the IPV environment involves psychological, cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral issues. And many of those abused as children are linked with future criminal activity.

Authorities are concerned that the usual modes of reports to the police and child protective services are disrupted. Because schools and social outlets are shutdown, children are not seen by teachers, medical providers, other mandatory reporters, or even extended family. The apprehensive expectation is that when society reopens the number of new reports will be exponentially higher than the norm.

Suicide

There was a loneliness problem in the United States before the pandemic. In the age of massive technological connection via social media, more and more people experience disconnection and are lonely. That issue has worsened because of the forced social isolation from the national shutdown.

“We’ve seen several suicides that we can directly attribute to the isolation from not being able to get out and move about and do the things that they normally do. They get depressed,”

–Bobby Parks Evans, Jr., Greenville, SC County Coroner.

Vikram Thakura and Anu Jain wrote, “The looming economic crisis may create panic, mass unemployment, poverty and homelessness will possibly surge the suicide risk or drive an increase in the attempt to suicide rates in such patients. US already claimed a vast increase in unemployment (4.6 million) during coronavirus emergency and speculated that lockdown will cause more deaths than COVID-19 itself amid the recession. This uncertainty of time for isolation, not only demoralize but also make people feel worthless, hopeless about present and future.”

Increased domestic violence, child abuse, and suicide are just a few of the unintended consequences of the shutdown. Lack of access to health care also comes to mind. Leaders must take them all into consideration. Reopening society will require a conscientious balancing act, weighted by keeping those most vulnerable safe from this viral scourge while allowing the healthiest to live and help those in need.

Glen Alex, LCSW, Author of Living In Total Health, Health Skills Coach, Speaker

Need assistance coping with boundaries, stress, relationships, or recovering from a setback?

Book your complimentary Discovery Call now: www.glenalex.as.me/schedule.php

Quarantine Spring Cleaning | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Quarantine Spring Cleaning

This time of year usually brings a plethora of spring cleaning tips, from everywhere. Spring is the season of rebirths and re-awakenings, so it is the perfect time to start over by throwing out the old and the useless. And regular physical, mental, and environmental cleanses are so important for Living In Total Health.

In 2020, however, the current global shutdown provides new spring cleaning opportunities. Even though outdoor activities are restricted, cleansing can still be done. Must be done to brighten in-home experiences and create loving space in our psyches for when the world reopens. Stay Home orders offer a great time to detox and cleanse for better health—mental, physical, emotional, and yes spiritual, for all forces of health are interconnected and interdependent.

Here are three ways to cleanse now for better health.

Clean House

This may sound like a “dah”. Of course, picking up clothes, washing dishes, and cleaning toilets are involved. Go a step further. Rid your home and living space of excess papers. I tend to keep documents long after their usefulness as hardcopies. Part of my 2020 spring cleaning included an afternoon of shredding and recycling documents that I no longer need, magazines that I won’t read, and printouts that I haven’t read in a minute. My home office is now more organized, more open, and more pleasing to the eye, all of which provide mental peace.

Get It Done

“When I have time, I will…” was a recent social media post of mine. How many times have you said that to yourself? Many, I’m sure. And I hope the time is now. Being unable to go shopping, to dine out, or even hang out is a gift of time. Use it. Complete projects left undone. Finish reading that book. Follow up on that conversation. Because every time you think of something you didn’t finish, you add an extra layer of stress to your psyche, which trickles down to your daily life. Now is your time to get that “monkey off your back” and get it done.

Heart Cleanse

”Not everyone deserves a front row seat in your life.” As a firm believer in surrounding myself with people who have my back, who genuinely support my best, I agree wholeheartedly with Susan L. Taylor. Some people are to be kept at appropriate distances. Some removed altogether. Relatives included. Life is far too short for the needless drama and chaos presented by the egocentric, those hurtful, or people who are irresponsible with my heart.

And guess what? The gift of now is that you don’t actually have to confront anyone or even say goodbye. Social distancing is doing that for you. No need to avoid the gym or walk the other way when you see them coming. You are free, for now. So simply take a moment to reflect on who truly nurtures you. Identify those who don’t. And let them go.

Allow social downtime to naturally release your attachment to those relationships that stunt your growth and strengthen those that uplift you.

For better total health, cleanse in quarantine by cleaning house, getting it done, and releasing unhealthy attachments. When the world reopens, you’ll be ready and fortified with cleanliness, esteem, and love to take on the new day.

Glen Alex, LCSW, Author, Health Skills Coach

Need assistance coping with boundaries, stress, relationships, or recovering from a setback? Book your complimentary Discovery Call now: www.glenalex.as.me/schedule.php

We All Can Get Along | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

We All Can Get Along

I am compelled to share this. If you are politically biased or have issues with death, then please don’t read any further.

In this climate of division and open prejudice, I am happy to share a loving experience amongst diverse peoples.

My sister Vern, the matriarch of my immediate family since my mother’s transition in 2010, raved about the Converse, TX Police Department. You see, Vern flew to Converse on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 to care for our brother Ray because he had been really ill. When she arrived that night, he didn’t answer the door bell nor his home or cell phone.

Through a series of family calls and Ray’s non-response, I decided a Wellness Check was in order. However, I paused at that decision because of the rash of recently reported police shootings of black people, especially in their own homes. This is a crazy consideration in “the land of the free”. Yet I, a clinical social worker with a profound understanding of human nature, a champion of the Human Spirit, and humanitarian was afraid about the trend in police-black person interaction. This should not be. And anyone who does not experience this pause is privileged.

Still, I made the call because Ray’s condition and Vern being stranded in an unfamiliar environment at night were far more important than dogma. The intake person was compassionate and patient with me as I fought through tears to explain the situation. She said police would be dispatched immediately and would call me with an update.

I was struck by the questions the intake person did not ask. She did not ask for my brother’s name or description nor my sister’s name or description. She only asked for the address and the circumstances. So the police were dispatched to check on, not a race or stereotype, rather a person in possible distress.

An eternity passed. It seemed like hours since I spoke with anyone. Finally, Vern called me. My brother’s neighbors were kind enough to take her in. One allowed Vern to use their phone to call her son and me. Later, another neighbor allowed my sister to charge her phone in their home while the police completed their work.

The police gained entry into Ray’s home and found him. Because of policy, they didn’t allow Vern inside. However, the police drove her to the nearest hotel, offered to carry her bags to her room, and were compassionate with me during the follow up call from an officer. More than that, they returned to Ray’s home afterward to secure the door they had to bust to gain entry.

Who does that? And why don’t we hear more about the police officers who actually protect and serve? Yes, there are bad seeds in police departments, as there are in all industries. And please believe that I’ve had my negative experiences with police. My stance is that police training needs to involve more than profiling and shooting. Training needs to include the meaning of service and the dismissal of psychologically unfit candidates.

How about we as a nation forego isms and focus on and honor what binds us? Yes Rodney, we all can get along. Just be human.

Perspective | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Perspective

We narrow-minded and egocentric humans believe that only the old and infirm die.

Wrong we are.

As sad as the loss of a parent or elderly person is, the truth is that anyone can die at any time. Yes, the old and infirm do die…my mother, father, sister-in-law, cousin, and 2 brothers just in the last 10 years.

Yet the young also leave sooner than we think they should, sooner than we are ready for them to. I am reminded of this because of the sudden death of Kobe and his daughter Gianna. He was 41, she 13. Both healthy.

Life is precious.

There is no room for ego-based drama. No time for foolishness. No space for abuse or disrespect. Stop squandering the gift of breath with B.S.

Do take advantage of opportunities to become the best version of yourself, to share your innate gifts, to express authentic love.

The old and infirm are not the only ones who die. Live your life to the fullest before it’s your time.

Spreading Light | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Spreading Light

We are facing some pretty stressful times. Locally, socially, and globally events filled with hate and isms occur far too much. So this is a call to the Keepers of the Light, the wellthy ones, to spread love and joy and healing on individual levels so collectively we can overwhelm the darkness. The daily tasks of keeping the light include…

1. Smiling

2. Making eye contact

3. Acts of kindness

¨ Holding a door open (within social distancing guidelines)
¨ Saying Thank you
¨ Saying Please
¨ Saying You’re welcome
¨ Being honest

4. Behaving with integrity

5. Seeking to understand the opposition

6. Seeing the person rather than skin color, culture, or religion

7. Managing self for the greater good

We have the power. We have the love. We have the light. We have the responsibility.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We may not have the power to create the world we want immediately, but we can all start working on the long term today.”

—Mark Zuckerberg, Cofounder and CEO of Facebook

Fear Not So Much | Blog | Glen Alex | Clinical Social Work Therapist LCSW | Author | Glen Alex Show Host | Las Vegas, Nevada

Fear Not [So Much]

Fear is a gift. Yes, it is a present for you, albeit unwrapped and bowless. Such accessories are unnecessary, however, when the gift is life-saving. Fear saves lives. Rational fear, that is.

Emotional Intelligence 101: emotions are messengers. There is important “data that resides below consciousness…carried by way of emotions, the messenger that delivers the information about a situation.The emotion wants our attention and points to an issue that needs to be acknowledged and/or addressed.” Living In Total Health

Fear is the human alarm system. We are made with this internal alert when harm or danger are imminent. Without it, our ancestors would not have survived dinosaurs or natural disasters. When we are at risk, fear flares. It should. It is normal. Such risks include threats of bodily harm and death. The experience of fearing the unknown is also normal. Rational.

However, being afraid of non-threats to life and limb is irrational. Skin color, gender identification, and economic status are just a few of the unreasonable fears we voluntarily evoke. The phrase ‘making a mountain out of molehill’ comes to mind. We conjure up this powerful emotion needlessly, desensitizing ourselves to its actual purpose.

The function of fear is to alert us when an imminent attack is near. Fear ushers physiological resources to essential body functions which heighten senses and energize us to act. In the face of fear, we must decide how to respond to the threat.

Your choices in the face of danger are fight, flee, or freeze. Do you stand your ground in effort to protect yourself, family, property? Is it safer to run away? Or does overwhelm paralyze and stop you in your tracks. Interestingly, the body responds the same way to rational and irrational fear. The consequences, however, are divergent.

I hope you can see the difference between the two. Rational fear is an innate response designed to protect you from harm, to generate decisions and actions that protect you from being hurt; the outcome is appropriate. On the other hand, irrational fear is a figment of your imagination. There is no imminent threat to body, limb, property, family. This figment is all about a very distant negative possibility, i.e. your past or what if? Irrational fear results in undue harm to self or others, possibly criminal and immoral behavior.

Politicians profit from irrational fear. Manipulators profit from irrational fear. Scammers profit from irrational fear. Society suffers from irrational fear. Humanity loses.

Instead of reacting to any fear with a knee-jerk reaction, choices and actions solely designed to remove the fear and not address the underlying problem, stop. Assess the situation with the critical mind you were blessed with. Is it real? Is it a threat in this moment in time? Can I die? Will loved ones be harmed? Then ask yourself what you can control. We always have control of our choices.

If your assessment of the situation is negative regarding threats to life and limb, breathe and focus on what you can control. Sometimes the available options are not optimal. Still, you have control over what you choose. The basic issue with irrational fear is feeling out of control. Yet you do have control over which available option you choose.

Imposing your irrational fears on others by choosing to spew hate and stereotypes is inappropriate and wrong. No one is responsible for how you respond to anything. You are. So again, assess the situation. If the fear messages imminent danger, then respond with the fight, flight, or freezing options—allow your intuition to guide you.

If your fear is irrational, then please breathe and focus on the present moment to recognize that you are not in imminent danger of harm or death. And fear not so much.

03-08-2020-matters-of-health

Matters of Health

My favorite part of flying is take off. Shooting into the atmosphere at an angle hundreds of miles per hour is somehow both anxiety-provoking and awe-inspiring. Mere mortals have created a way to journey across the sky in a metal bird, presenting a live paradox. A paradox is a condition that involves two contradictory outcomes that intuitively cannot exist at the same time. Yet both are simultaneously true. An amazing opportunity for ​growth.

In this realm of duality, most humans stick to one pole—black or white, big or little, on or off. And some are unwilling to experience the gray, the in-between, even though that is where the meat of life really is.

Polarization involves do’s and don’ts that can provide much needed direction for living. ​The consequences seem clear, tangible and to have a degree of support for anyone in need of that kind of guidance. Then there is the gray. That space where clarity is contextual and sometimes perceptual. What to do or don’t do is not absolute and both have equitable consequences. One choice does not clearly outweigh the other. Damned if you do. Damned if ​you don’t.

Navigating self between a rock and a hard place requires skill, presence, and living in paradox. For, in that ​unforgiving space is forgiveness. The power and strength of Love is ever present in the seemingly stark gap between what is and what is not. Those most effective a high octane jobs live in paradox. Soldiers, first responders, and trauma doctors and nurses are trained to endure high levels of stress while maintaining emotional equilibrium, enabling them to process information and make decisions at a much higher level than feelings and ego gratification. They successfully maneuver through the paradox of stress and presence to achieve outcomes for the greater good.

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy take off so much. It requires me to exist in the emotional commotion of fear and find peace within it, to traverse the paradox and open to profundity of the Human experience.

Glen Alex, LCSW, Author, Speaker, Coach, The Glen Alex Show