How Do You Explain To Your Children The Ambiguous Loss Of Part Of The School Year?

The psychologists proved ways to help your children understand ambiguous loss of any kind

Rituals have been that we look forward to the moments when we come together with families and friends in celebration of life’s’ accomplishments, to mark the beginning of new commitments, or even to say goodbye to our loved ones or our new norms. We are experts when it comes to throwing our caps in the air during graduation ceremonies, dancing at wedding parties, or even shed tone of tears during funerals.

However, in 2020 things are kind of taking a different toll all together; graduations, classes, meetings, and other forms of gatherings all taking place on a virtual. To some, it is more intense since the education is in a pose mode, end of grade/class parties have also been canceled.

Well, by now you might be asking yourself, why I chose the term ‘ambiguous loss’. This is a term coined by the University of Minnesota, Pauline Boss, to describe a substantial loss that is not recoverable. Some of these scenarios are loss of a loved one, missing one warrior in action in times of war. Ambiguous loss is also fit to describe what we are going through at the moment from all over the world. We all like to have a higher degree of certainty that we are lacking at the moment.

Being awarded your certificate in 2020 will not feel the same as it has been in the past years. With almost all the countries having closed schools from kindergarten to the tertiary level, and the passing over to the next level being virtual, students will not have the opportunity to say goodbye to their friends as it has been the norm. this is not the case to the majority of countries and especially the less developed including my own, Kenya. Education is at standstill and students, parents’, and teachers have to wait a while longer before they are sure of getting back to school.

But, how can families help in supporting children in response to the confusion of these endings? The team at kwisepsychology.com has come up with some of the best suggestions:

 

1. Discuss The Ambiguity Involved At The Moment With Your Family

To cope with the ambiguous loss, it is wise to get to recognize that it is not possible to be in control of the situation or that we are not in a position to change what is already happening. When we understand this, we can easily adapt to the new norm of having to live virtually with people that have always been around us; extended families, friends or even teachers although being physically absent. We can all acknowledge that we are missing a whole bunch of the obvious things but at the same time embrace the new way of living.

It is more difficult for children to contemplate this ambiguity as compared to most adults. Families can help children by discussing and acknowledging the range of emotions they are experiencing during this time and touching in detail on possible outcomes. This includes the sense of loss that may come and give them hope for a better thing to come in the future.

 

2. Actively Engage Your Child In Decision Making

Often, we leave our children with a limited voice with the happenings with their lies. However, with all that is happening, we can allow them to help make decisions on their own regarding what to do with their free time during this period. This includes whom to talk to, how to organize their schoolwork at home, among others.

Take time to work with your child and understand some of the decisions that they can make on their own, take time to understand their strengths and their weaknesses. This is very important especially in moments of vulnerability where they will be in a position of focusing on what they can do.

 

3. Explore Prospects For Gratitude

Expressing gratitude is always associated with improved well-being, happiness, mental health, and stronger relationships. Parents can, therefore, come up with things that kids will be grateful for, even amid the pandemic and other unpredictable loss of time that may occur. As a parent, you can present light moments such as FaceTime with a school friend, and also showing gratitude towards others.

 

4. Approach Your Children And Yourself With Love

There are no written rules or blueprints on how to manage during this period. However, an easy-going touch of compassion and support is one of the best ways to improve your connections and build a sense of value and worth to those around you and especially the children.

 

As hard and painful as the times are, the beauty of 2020 is that we are all in this together. Due to this shared experience, we can look up to ourselves as well as others and build communities both inside and outside our homes to help us through during this time. May it be emotional, spiritual, or material support. We are all in this together.

 

How do I Improve My Mental Health During The Hard Times? 

I sincerely understand. You feel weary and tired. I feel the same. We are all fed up.

With everything that is happening in the world, flooding our timelines leaving us with heaps of mixed feelings.

For the past few months, it has not been good news or nothing to wish to continue following.

Whatever you feel like doing that might make you feel better. Just do it!

Wait, I am not here to suggest or present a form of dictation for the activities that you should do to improve your mental health during the current times but on all occasions. The main goal here at Kwisepsychology.com is the promotion of mental health and reaching as many people as possible with a mission of helping you emerge in all situations stronger than before. Like for real. We are serious about this.

Let’s look at the approved tips and techniques to help you improve your mental health during these hard times.

1. Be Creative And Eager To Discover Your Artistic Side.

I have talked to several people both from our online platforms and offline. People who have had it rough in the past and emerged winners and stronger, what all these people have in common is that they credit to ‘creativity’ saving their lives.

For instance, Jack (not his real name) was losing his life to depression with 3 attempts to suicide, and self-harm habits at an early age of 23. With the help of the sister, he started medication, and in the process started painting. Now he is a full-time artist and selling his work all over the country. Despite seeking medication, he still believes painting has saved his life.

Artist enjoying his creation in progress, courtesy: depositphotos.com

The point is, when you put your mind in creating something, you focus on your creation and nothing else. It does not have to be the same case as Jacks’; you can create as a hobby, as a side hustle, or just paint to gift someone.

Express your feelings in art, may it be your grief, joy, sadness, anxiety, boredom, etc, just put it down. Remember as a creator, you are the only one who has the idea of what you want to create. Entertain yourself with it. Let every moment in your creation count.

2. Be In The Know. Stay Informed

Early this year I was trying my best to avoid the negativity and negative media coverage. Not kidding. It was my resolution for 2020! However, these times have proved this impossible. We are all left with no option other than sieve what to read and when to take the social media breaks.

Make sure you clearly understand what is happening from reliable sources. If it is regarding the pandemic, be in the know of how it is spread and the preventive measures, and the rules for both your country and the WHO. Educate yourself with what is going on during these times.

It is only from understanding a situation that you stand in a position to make a sound decision and critically challenge yourself. And asking yourself questions like, is it productive? How does this affect me or those around me? You also realize that issues cannot be solved without awareness of these problems. But with awareness, you get to make smart decisions pretty fast.

Also Read: How to attain emotional stability amid the pandemic

Take your time to understand your friends and colleagues at work that you have labeled, ‘anxious’, ‘bipolar’ among other names. Read more of mental health disorders from the internet and other reliable materials there are. It is only through understanding people’s issues that you stand in a position to being empathetic and helping them during these hard times. In the process, you also learn how to cope during difficult times.

3. Don’t Just Exercise For The Sake Of It. Exercise With A Purpose.

Almost everyone does or recommends exercise for physical fitness; general health, lifestyle disease prevention, etc, but here we overlook the benefits of exercise to your mental health. When I mention exercise, I don’t mean any other type of exercise but only the exercises that will get you hooked and engaged to the present moment.

Wide range of yoga helps reduce anxiety and depression, courtesy: depositphotos.com

Such exercises include yoga, sex, and aerobics. Sparing some time for, meditation is very healthy too and helps you improve your mental health.

When you want to attain mental stability through exercise, try staying true to your exercises. And do it solely for your mental health reasons. Do it for your spiritual growth.

4. What Does Mental Health Mean To Me?

Of course when you put this question in a group, you will find out it is such a basic topic. It is upon you as an individual to proactively focus on your mental and physical health, emotional and spiritual growth, and more so, your personal development.

Try to find self-motivation to wake up every morning to do the things you like and do best. I know it is not as easy as it sounds but, what if this is all the life we ever get? It’s a beautiful life. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy!

Depression And Suicide: Understanding Celebrity Suicides, Tackling Depression And Loneliness

Depression And Suicide: Understanding Celebrity Suicides, Tackling Depression And Loneliness

I have to open by acknowledging that 2020 has not been a ride in the park for anyone. And I understand everyone feels occupied and in a dilemma of what is to happen next. I know you feel that way. I feel the same. Now let us leave it here. Today we are going to talk about something else; depression, loneliness, and celebrity suicides.

In less than a month, suicide has robbed us of more than 10 young and promising celebrities. From sportsmen and sportswomen, TV personalities to actors and actresses. The most recent are marked by the demise of Actress Caroline Flack at the age of 40, pro-wrestler Hannah Kimura 22 who was found suspending at her room, Hollywood actor Gregory Tyree Boyce 30 found unresponsive with his girlfriend, Baskets Actor Hagen Mills, 30 just to mention but a few. The most recent is the case successful Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, 34 who is described by many as ‘all smiles’ and always willing to help whenever one would reach to him.

Sushant Singh Rajput was found lifeless at his Mumbai home on June 14: gettyimages 

Sushant Singh Rajput, 34 was found lifeless at his Mumbai home on June 14: Gettyimages

While this has brought attention in the public eye to focus on mental health issues including depression, this has been happening and is no new sport. Mid last year a fashion designer and entrepreneur Kate Spade, and TV host and chef Anthony Bourdain also committed suicide. 

But Why Celebrity Suicide?

Well, suicide is not a new issue, and especially not in celebrity spheres. The suicide cases from celebrities hitting our timelines are not limited to the line of work. They range from politicians, CEOs, writers, musicians, actors, sports-persons, and designers.

The fact that people look up to these individuals as role models and as the crème-de-la-crème of the society in terms of wealth, lifestyle, skills, and fame; and yet they decide to take their own life need to be accessed. But I know you may still be asking yourself; why would they want to take their own life when they have everything anyone would wish for?

Why?

This is the question in the lips among the majority of people left behind by a suicide victim. However, the answer to this question may never make sense to everyone who proclaims to be a lover of life.

Hagen Mills shot himself at the age of 29 on May 21

Hagen Mills shot himself at the age of 29 on May 21: gettyimages

According to past research done on suicides, the reports suggest that the causes are not always mental health issues such as bipolar, schizophrenia, or depression. Even if there are still several cases of suicides that are related to these three conditions; depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, it is not universal to the three conditions.

An individual with no underlying mental health issue is not always suicidal, in the same case a stressed or depressed individual is not always suicidal.  In most cases, suicides are associate with emotional pain regardless of the source of pain.

Celebrity Suicides

Human motivation needs are divided into five categories according to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The most basic is the physical needs and also known as the fundamental rights, followed by safety, affection, self-esteem need, and lastly self- actualization needs. Most of the recorded celebrity suicide deaths are from the most established celebrities. but wait, are they not happy with what they have accomplished?

What Defines Happiness?

Happiness does not come with wealth, fame, or all the accomplished material things that one may possess. The most important factor in a healthy life and mind would be relationships; which is the third category of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  Research has shown marital healthy relationships have proved to ease physical pain. this translated strong relationships may lessen emotional pain that may lead to damaged such as self-harm and suicides.

Chronic Loneliness

Loneliness is strong as an addiction to alcohol and drugs. It is fatal. From the fatalities from suicide that I have been following lately, almost all the family and friends who talk about it mention loneliness as the main culprit.

Rob Shuter, who is the former publicist to Kate Spade in an interview at Extra TV said, “Kate was isolated and lonely. Toward the end of her life, she had a housekeeper, she had her assistant and her child, and I think that was pretty much it. Kate didn’t have many friends.”

Kate Spade found dead at her house at age 55 from suicide: gettyimages 

The loneliness phenomena do not shy away from color, gender, wealth, or the most famous. Most celebrities are known to have limited to no friends while others have come openly in public stating how alone they are in real life.

 

Suicide: The Anguish Of Loneliness

The records from WHO states that in every 40 seconds we lose a life to suicide on a global scale, which amounts to around 800,000 deaths annually. Sounds horrifying, right. And it is said that only 1% of these deaths hit our headlines and there is little to nothing that is done about this global ‘marvel’, which is among, the top 20 causes of death globally.

Everyone goes through these moments in life where you feel emotionally isolated, other times you feel the need to connect to people, the urge to be understood, a notion of solitude and even the despair to be surrounded by people. It is very normal to feel this way and nature has designed us to respond and react differently to these feelings. Some will call and facetime friends and family, others run to the countryside others engage in activities that will release adrenaline and somehow make them forget for a while, but for how long?

Caroline Flack, Actress and TV personality took her own life at 40 on Feb 18

Caroline Flack, Actress and TV personality took her own life at 40 on Feb 18

We all love to claim that, ‘no man is an island’ which is the revolutionary truth. But how many people in your contact list can you reach whenever you need to open up? How many can reach you when they need someone to talk to? When you possibly answer the two questions, then you will be in a position to differentiate between perceived isolation and objective isolation. And quickly understand that perceived isolation is loneliness. 

Loneliness itself is like hunger, or thirst, or jobless, we do not have the opposite of this, it is either you are hungry or not hungry, jobless or you have a job. With the pandemic now, that is making the sense of isolation come to reality making the situation even worse.

 

Mental Health Issues

All the above mentioned do not rule out mental health problems as one of the factors for suicidal thoughts and acts. In most cases, depression contributes to self-harm behaviors and suicidal thoughts. Others include chronic anxiety, schizophrenia, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use, etc are some other factors that could lead to self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

The most established celebrities are more prone to depression, chronic anxiety, and loneliness due to isolation and now, online trolls from the public.

Confident person

5 Conversational Behaviors Of A Confident Person

Confident person

Confident People Outwork Themselves

5 Conversational Behaviors Of A Confident Person

1. They focus in making statements other than asking questions

“I would appreciate if you come up again” ↔ “could you come up again?”

“I am going to the stores” ↔ “Can I go to the stores?”

“Grab me the marker” ↔ “would you grab me the marker?”

Having to convert all the questions in your mind to statements might somehow feel weird. However, there are some ways that you may play with the tone of saying them making them more palatable. It is also affectionate to give a smile when one does the desired request.

2. They never qualifies themselves when they are speaking

Qualifying statements are like, “this is the reason…” “what I meant was…” “in my opinion…” etc are qualifying answers. It sends the message that, although you know what you are saying, you are not certain about your statements.

When misinterpreted, non-qualifying answers may seem rude although makes you confident about the message you are driving home.

3. In most cases they are comfortable in silence and feel no pressure to speak

Kwisepsychology.com: Workplace conflict

Kwisepsychology.com: Workplace conflict

When in a conversation, the confident person allows others time to speak and drive their point. They are active listeners. They take this time to understand and collect their thoughts. They don’t throw their statements in conversations without thinking about what they are about to say. Their motivation is not on what people might say of the delay to speak but on what they are trying to say.

Have you ever been in an argument with someone and this person pauses, sits in silence just listening or pretending to listen? Either way. How did you feel? Panic? Or did you keep talking? Confident people have no pressure to speak and are known to pause the conversations.

4. They have no quiver in their voice; they say it clear and their way

Have you ever been in a situation you are delivering a talk and people asked you to speak up? It means that you were not driving your ideas in a confident dimension. What your tone says is, “ my points are not good enough to be heard.” It might not be in your conscious thought, but keep in mind that this id how your tone is interpreted.

Confident people tend to be loud and clear while giving their speech. Don’t mistake loud and aggressive. Confident people are calm in their talks.

5. They never provide unasked explanations

Have you ever said something, maybe it was a little too risky or ambiguous, then made an explanation without anyone asking you? Yes, me too. One of the things that the confident people don’t do is explaining their statements without anyone asking or if they don’t want to. They only give explanations when someone asks, which then depends on the context or the relationship with the person asking. Keep in mind that your cognition behind a decision is entirely your property and no one is entitled to it. Confident people tend to have mastered this skill more.

7 Hormones That Lead To Weight Gain And How To Control Them

In most cases, weight gain is equally associated with overeating and unhealthy eating. However, it can be caused by several hormones going bonkers. To the majority of us, gaining weight is simple and does not equal to losing weight.
A number of triggers such as genes, stress, age, and lifestyle cause hormonal imbalances leading to weight gain or even obesity.
The food and mood team at KWisepsychology.com has come identified 8 hormones that have proved to cause imbalances in the body causing weight gain. Besides, we present various ways to keep these hormones under control. Keep reading!

 

Which Hormones Cause Weight Gain And How Do We Control Them?

1. Insulin 

depostphotos

©Depostphotos.com

Insulin is one of the hormones secreted by the pancreas and helps in transporting glucose to other cells to supply energy or as storage as fats. Thus, regulating blood glucose levels.

Excessive intake of unhealthy snacks, alcohol, processed foods, and artificially sweetened beverages causes the body to develop insulin resistance. When this happens, the muscles fail to recognize the glucose-bound insulin resulting in high amounts of glucose remaining in your bloodstream. This leads to an increase in blood sugar levels causing a weight increase and diabetes type 2.

How Do We Avoid It?

  • Start simple exercises and give it at least 4-5 hours per week. The exercise can include morning or evening walks, runs or jogs, rope jumping, etc.
  • Increase your water intake. You can start with at least 3 to 4 liters of water daily
  • Improve your levels of omega 3 fatty acids. This can be improved by introducing nuts, olive oil, fatty fish, or flaxseed to your diet.
  • Increase your consumption of green leafy vegetables and fruits. This can be achieved by getting the seasonal fruits and vegetables.

 

2. Testosterone

©Depositphotos.com

©Depositphotos.com

It’s basically referred to as a male hormone as it is produced in large amounts by men; however, it is also secreted by women. Its main functions are assisting in fat burning, strengthening muscles and bones, and libido improvement.

High stress and aging cause a significant decline in hormone testosterone in women leading to loss of muscle mass, bone density, and obesity.

How Do We Avoid It?

  • Exercise or work out more often. This improves the testosterone levels
  • Take protein supplements
  • Reduce or avoid alcohol intake
  • Introduce high fiber foods in your diet such as whole grains, flaxseed, or pumpkin seeds.

 

3. Thyroid Hormones

©Depositphotos.com

The thyroid gland; located at the base of your neck produces hormones T3, T4, and Calcitonin which are all responsible for maintaining metabolism in your body.

Limited production of these hormones is referred to as hypothyroidism which is associated with weight gain due to excessive accumulation of water instead of fat making you appear fat.

How Do We Avoid It?

  • Take vitamin D supplements
  • Avoid raw vegetables and have more well-cooked foods
  • Consume foods that are rich in zinc such as pumpkin seeds and oysters.
  • Eat iodized salts

 

4. Progesterone

©Depositphotos.com

The levels of both progesterone and estrogen in the body are supposed to be balanced for normal functioning. However, at times the progesterone levels increase due to a variety of reasons. These factors include; birth control pills, stressing situations, menopause, among others. This can in turn lead to depression and weight gain.

How Do We Avoid It?

  • Practice meditation
  • Try to avoid or minimize stress
  • Have regular exercises

 

5. Estrogen

©Depositphotos.com

Commonly known as the female sex hormone. Estrogen imbalances in your body lead to weight gain where high levels of estrogen are caused by an estrogen rich diet or overproduction of the same.

An increase in estrogen production in your body stresses the insulin production cells making it resistant to insulin. This causes an increase in blood sugar/glucose levels in the body resulting in weight gain.

How Do We Avoid It?

  • Eat more of whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetable
  • Exercise more regularly
  • Avoid consumption of processed meat
  • Avoid alcohol intake

 

6. Ghrelin

Also known as the hunger hormone and secreted primarily by the stomach. Ghrelin increases the deposition of fats and also stimulates appetite. There is a high secretion of ghrelin when you follow a fasting or a strict diet plan.

How Do We Avoid It?

  • Ensure you eat after every 2 to 3 hours
  • Drink around 2 glasses of water 20 to 30 minutes before a meal
  • Introduce more fresh fruits, proteins, and vegetables in your diet

 

7. Leptin

©Depositphotos.com

Leptin is a hormone that inhibits hunger and also regulates body energy balance. When we eat more foods high in sugars, the excess sugars in the form of fructose are converted to fats and deposited in various body organs. These fats cells in turn secrete leptin.

On excessive secretion, the body gets desensitized to leptin causing the brain to stop producing signals of satisfaction with food.

How Do We Avoid It?

  • Consume more of dark green leafy vegetables
  • Stay away from processed foods
  • Have enough sleep; the recommended is 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day
  • Avoid foods that are high in sugars and specially processed sugars.

 

When not all of us are familiar with these hormones, we are pretty sure that you are now aware of what hormone causes your weight gain and probably how to control it. We are always happy to engage with you in the comment section