Saturday, December 31, 2016

Humor as a coping mechanism for stress

Laughter, in addition to being the “best medicine,” can also be a great tool.  Several studies have shown that maintaining a sense of humor can be an effective technique for stress relief.  If you are someone who is naturally funny or is close with someone who has a great sense of humor, this probably rings true when you read it; you’ve likely seen many situations firsthand where a well-timed laugh can diffuse the stress of a situation and allow everyone to make an internal shift and focus on solutions rather than fear, for example.
  Or you’ve been able to palpably feel it when just the right shared joke can help the stress seem to melt away.  If you’re not someone who has a natural sense of humor, you can always develop your sense of humor to a greater degree and take advantage of this great stress relief tool.
When using humor, however, there are different types of “funny” that can help you, and some that can even hurt you and create more stress in your life.  According to research, here are some things to keep in mind.

Use Humor To Connect

Laughter can bring people together, and social support can lower stress levels and raise resilience in many ways.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that research has found that those who use humor to connect with others and strengthen relationships tend to be more emotionally intelligent, and tend to fare better when facing stress.  This means it’s a great idea to share a laugh with a friend, a partner, or anyone you’re close to when you’re feeling stressed, and you can likely lighten the load for both of you.

Use Humor To Cope

“Laugh, and the world laughs with you,” the phrase goes, but you can also laugh on your own.  The thing to remember is that finding the humor as a coping strategy in itself is also emotionally intelligent, and can help you in most of the stressful situations you face in life, even if nobody else is there to share the joke.
  Look at the absurdity of the situation, have an inside joke with yourself, do what you need to in order to maintain a positive perspective, just know that it does help.  It can even be helpful to watch comedies and re-runs of movies and shows that always make you laugh, to get yourself into a laughing mood.

Don’t Hurt Others With Your Jokes

We all know some jokes can be biting, and that isn’t always a good thing.  If you find yourself saying “oh come on, it’s just a joke!” or “you don’t have a sense of humor” to people who don’t enjoy your teasing, it’s possible that you’re the one who doesn’t “get it”—research finds that jokes made at the expense of others are related to lower levels of emotional intelligence, and can create stress in relationships, which contributes to overall stress in your life.  (This is the opposite of what we’re going for, right?)  If you have someone in your life who teases you in ways that don’t feel entirely friendly, or that feel more like masked hostility, it’s possible that you can learn to lighten up a little more, but it’s also likely that maintaining boundaries with this person can reduce your stress levels.
  Do what feels best for you, and what relieves the most stress.

Don’t Hurt Yourself, Either

Laughing at yourself can sometimes be a effective way to disarm bullies or put others at ease, but it can also take a toll on your self-esteem and stress levels, and is actually found more often in those with lower levels of emotional intelligence as well (or in those who feel they have low levels of emotional intelligence, which could also mean low self-esteem).  If you find yourself always putting yourself down, even in a joking way, consider whether this is really helping you, or if it’s hurting you in some ways.  Don’t forget to focus on your strengths and “own” your greatness, too.  And also remember to use humor in more beneficial ways: by connecting with others and by shifting your perspective.  While laughter in itself is great for stress relief, it helps to know what has the most positive impact!
See the resources below for more on how laughter can work as a coping technique.
Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rising From The Ashes of Loss, My Voyage Through Grief: excerpt # 18

Suicidal Thoughts
. . . One dreary February afternoon coming back to my stuffy house after an unsatisfactory walk in the park, I had a life changing experience.  The last few days had been horrible and so emotionally charged that any attempts to ease my debilitating stabbing pain was futile.  I was desperate and just did not know what to do.  I was lost and disoriented like never before.  At the end of my roll, I felt I had no strength to talk to anyone, not did I feel like it.  The walls of my little house were dangerously closing in on me, crushing my lungs mercilessly.  I could not breathe and kept grasping for air.  My weak shaking legs could barely hold me up and my out-of-whack heart was pounding so wildly I thought it could burst through my chest at any moment.    I felt more alone than ever.  I missed Louise tremendously and everywhere I looked I could not escape the sight of her beautiful face.  It suddenly dawned on me then that the only place I could be, the only place I wanted to be was with her.  The severity of my pain and desperation was so overwhelming that at one point my legs gave out on me and I laid down crouching on the floor miserably, in gut wrenching agony. 
Completely broken and subdued, in a desperate attempt to breathe I momentarily raised my head upwards and for some unknown reason opened my teary eyes briefly and stared at the open kitchen cupboard.  There it was, my way out, the answer to my precarious predicament: freedom!  It was right there in front of me; two 250 ml bottles of liquid morphine and twenty-four patches of topical morphine, enough to kill a horse.  The liquid would put me out quickly and the patches would finish me off slowly.  The stash had been left there by the nursing staff after Louise died.  It was begging to be abused.
I was in some kind of a trance and my thoughts were travelling at a hundred miles an hour deliberating on my next move.  Man, it would be so easy; plaster myself with the deadly morphine patches, gulp the sweet liquid and  ‘Voila!’ I’m off to see the wizard and disappear from this crazy world, no more pain, no more agony.  I’d be gone and with Louise forever.  So tempting, so enticing, I was in such despair that at this point, the thought of dying was a blessing.  The horror of committing such a despicable act wasn’t even a consideration.  I was in the grips of the indescribable burning pains of hell and I needed relief immediately.  Something was holding me back though.  Some kind of energy was pulling me the other way and like an emotional tug-of-war, I was torn between the beast and the angel fighting inside of me.  It was literally a struggle for life or death, and, in the end, those few minutes of hesitation allowed me the time necessary to realize the foolishness of what I was about to do. . . 

. . . I don’t know what happened to me that day, but I suspect that some kind of mysterious force intervened in my favour to help steer my life towards a different course and not end my life.  Was it a Divine period of grace, a brief spark of enlightenment, inspiration from a spirit guide, Louise sending me a message from the other side to hang on, or simply that out of deep despair, I let go and succeeded in tapping into my inner self and drew from my own strength?  I guess I’ll never know for sure and I will always remember that moment in time as a major mystical turning point in my life.  God, Buddha, gurus, mystics and parapsychologists of all kinds, from now on I will keep a positive doubt about the veracity of your claims on the unknown.  My life changing experience expanded my consciousness further and I am grateful for it.  


Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

18 affirmations pour vous aider à lâcher prise

Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Conseiller Thérapeutique- Auteur
Consultation téléphonique - en ligne - en personne
Info ou évaluation gratuite: 613.703.9237
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Lost a Parent? Learn how to recover.

How to Recover and Find Strength after Losing a Parent

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” ~Dalai Lama
There was a period in life I called “the golden era.” Not in hindsight but at the actual time.
I named it such because I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
Everyone I loved was alive and well. I had a good job, a home, and a loving companion. All the things everyone longs for.
Little did I know, this “golden era” would end too soon.
One day, out of the blue, Mum asked if I had noticed a change in Dad’s behavior. She described how he could no longer write his signature and would often become distant.
After some tests, we discovered that my father had a brain tumor.
That instantly spelled the end of the golden era and the beginning of a rather painful period.
Watching someone who was strong become weak and bedridden, suffer seizures, and eventually drift away eats away at you.
It’s difficult to describe the tumultuous wave of feelings that come and overwhelm you. There’s the fear of coping with loss and feeling powerless because you can’t cure the illness and avoid the inevitable.
Losing a parent can feel like losing part of yourself. If they’ve always been there, helping and supporting you, it’s hard to imagine coping without them.
Getting through such a bleak period, however, proved one thing:
We are stronger than you think.
Somewhere inside us is a resilience we never thought possible.
Use the following steps to uncover your inner strength, overcome grief, and learn to smile again.

1. Forgive yourself.

When a parent dies, guilt can become a burden because of past arguments you now regret or maybe because you think you didn’t do enough to help them.
You should realize no parent-child relationship is ever perfect. Disputes, mistakes, and shortcomings occur on both sides and are all in the past. You were still loved even if you were seldom told.
By recognizing the past as something that is finished and unchangeable, you can begin to free yourself from guilt and reflect on the good times instead. The good times are what they would want you to remember.

2. Face your feelings.

Feelings of loss or anger can grow stronger if left unchecked, especially if you’ve never known death so close.
Exploring ways to cope with these feelings myself led to meditation. Mindfulness meditation is one way to help understand the flow of these feelings.
Imagine sitting on a river bank and watching the boats sail by. Similarly, by watching your thoughts, you’ll see how your grief has influenced your emotions. This “watching” of thoughts creates an awareness of their impact on how you feel that, in turn, reduces the pendulum effect of emotions. By anticipating emotions, you begin to reduce their power.

3. Keep talking.

The sudden reality of not being able to chat to your Mum or Dad again can be hard to accept.
For a time after losing Dad, I still chatted to him. I asked what he thought of something, but of course I didn’t expect an answer. It was a way of getting the words out that were already in me to say.
Don’t hide from the fact that your parent is gone. Visit the grave, and chat to them in thoughts. Whatever makes you feel comfortable. Not only does it keep their memory alive, but it’s also a release for your feelings.

4. Look after you.

Grief can take its toll in many ways. Loss of sleep, reduced appetite, and damaged immune system are not uncommon. The remedy is to protect your health and fitness.
Like the pre-flight safety instructions to put on your oxygen mask before helping others, protect your health first to ensure you can heal and help others do the same.
You only need to take small steps. Get walking with a friend, eat natural, unprocessed food, and stay hydrated. When your body feels strong, it will lift your mood and help you cope.

5. Take time out.

During the immediate aftermath, you’ll have an overwhelming to-do list. From making funeral arrangements to addressing legal matters. All physically and mentally exhausting.
It’s vital for your physical and mental health to rest. If you take a vacation to recuperate when things have settled, you’ll be able to return refreshed to help your family over the longer term. Never feel guilty for taking time off.

6. Avoid comparisons.

During grief, we can become self-conscious of how we’re perceived by others. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, so don’t judge your reaction to loss. You don’t need to look or behave a certain way.
A colleague returned to work recently the day after their father’s funeral, which attracted comment, whereas I took several weeks off.
Don’t worry about how it looks to others or what they might think. This is your personal journey and yours alone, so never fear judgment. Do what’s right for you.

7. Be patient.

Missing a parent is natural, and if you were very close, you’ll need time to adjust.
Time heals the acuteness of pain, but you may continue to miss your parent. After five years, I still miss Dad very much. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t think of him, but it used to be hardly a day.
Don’t wish time away in the hope you can speed up the healing process. Recovery will happen at its own natural pace.

8. Support your family.

The passing of a parent can send a shockwave across the whole family. We might become withdrawn in our own grief and not realize others are sharing in the loss.
So offer your hand in support to other family members. You will avoid feeling isolated if you focus on the needs of others and help other loved ones to cope.
As a loving team, you will be able to count on each other at different times to get through the toughest periods together.

9. Enjoy precious memories.

There was a time I couldn’t think of Dad without a tear. When I returned to work, I had to make a determined effort not to swell up when colleagues offered condolences.
But I discovered that I could still enjoy my Dad’s “company” by recalling the good times we shared. The laughs, the trips, and the DIY jobs that seemed to take forever.
Don’t avoid reliving your precious moments in your mind’s eye. A time will come when you smile or laugh to yourself just as you did at the time. So let your parent live on in your thoughts, and enjoy seeing them there any time you wish.

10. Accept the new you.

As we get older, our opinions and outlook on life can change. The passing of a parent is one of those experiences that will change you. I became more tolerant because life’s trivia was put in context.
Worry about missing deadlines, being late for an event, or having a new gadget malfunction. Events that annoy us day to day pale into insignificance.
This change is not for the better or worse; it’s simply a change. Grief increases awareness that all things change, so prioritize what’s really important.
Value and enjoy every waking moment, and let the new you grab each precious day with passion.

Unlock a New Chapter

Society often writes off the death of a parent as the natural order of events, but those who’ve experienced it know how life-changing it is.
You feel hurt and loss because you have a heart but that heart is stronger than you ever imagined.
With the steps above, the same heart can grow in confidence, beat with new hope, and become healthier than ever before. You can still enjoy life, and you should.
Life is there to be cherished.
It’s what your parent would have wanted. Live your life in the knowledge they’d be happy for you.
Father and son image via Shutterstock

About Alan Marsden

Alan Marsden presents authentic and effective advice to help you grow in confidence, health, and happiness. Join Alan on the journey of discovery at and claim your free copy of his 9 Step Guide To Health and Happiness.

Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Monday, December 5, 2016

Rising From The Ashes of Loss, My Voyage Through Grief: excerpt #17

Grief, can be a wild beast and even though it may crush your determination to live at times, it can also trigger inspiration.  The latter was my case on a very special day.  Here's an article that I wrote on such a day.  It was a hit and has been touring the internet world for the past 5 years, and I want to share it with you one more time. 
A Good Day in the Life of a Grieving Widower
By Dr. Pierre Milot
Strangely enough, today is a good day, it's been so long since I've had one.  
All bundled up in my red checkered construction shirt, and discreetly trespassing on my neighbour’s long country driveway, I'm taking my old dog Max out for his morning walk.  Protected from the cool river wind by the bordering woods, I can feel the hot spring sun gently warming my face and shoulders, and can hear nothing else but the birds chirping, the familiar honking sound of the Canadian wild geese flying high in the clear blue sky happy to come back home, and the delightful crunching sound of gravel underneath my feet as I walk.  With an uncertain smile I breathe in the fresh morning breeze, I feel good.  
Strolling along, lost in thought, I marvel at our capacity to recover from what seems at times like the 'unrecoverable'.  How can it be that today I can smile when only yesterday I was in the deepest of sorrows, with little hope for tomorrow.   As I ponder on this, I reminisce, I think back on that dreadful November day, when, as I was holding my wife's cold dying hand and counting her last breaths, she left me in so much pain and loneliness.  I remember that while I was putting on a brave front reassuring her that I would be OK, I was prompting her to go towards the ''light'' (as if she wasn't  already there, for where else could such a kind and loving soul be, but in the arms of an angel).
Little did I know then that very soon I would be kneeling on the ground, bent over in gut-wrenching agony, sobbing like a child, and begging for her to come back.  I would have done everything then, change my religion, give away all that I owned, even my life and soul to see and feel her, to be able to one last time delicately run my fingers through her soft silky hair, as I lovingly kiss her forehead while savouring her particular body scent that I've grown to love so much.
But, if the Divine Intelligence in its infinite wisdom has granted us the gift of growth through sorrow and pain, it has also given us the necessary strength to overcome the same hardships.  So, reaching inside the deepest confines of my being for that slippery strength, I managed to somehow make the pain more bearable, stand up and shakily face the day one more time.   
Now, in an effort to heal my shattered life, I'm slowly learning to redefine my sense of self, my identity in this strange and scary new world without her, to think in terms of 'I' instead of 'We', while at the same time keep her memory alive in my heart.
I will make it, I will survive, I will somehow learn to be whole again but in a different way than before, and when the tough days comes back again, I will always have today, the comforting memory of this 'Good Day' to fall back on. 
Waking up from my reveries, I focus back on Max, my only daily companion these days, as he too, healing from his loss, enjoys the day.  His inquisitive nose intrigued by the pungent odour of last fall's decaying leaves, he decides to investigate further and scratches the ground with an awkward paw to uncover the newly grown fresh tender grass shoots, a welcomed sign of the summer to come…the never ending circle of life.

Today is made of my yesterdays, and tomorrow is made of my today.


Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Friday, December 2, 2016

Power Up Your Life & Make Stress Work 4 You: excerpt # 9

Kappalabhati: Breath Your Stress Away
''The most efficient coping mechanism ever in stress management'

Specifically recommended to counter the negative effects of stress and burn out, this exercise deeply affect the nervous system.  It brings about a hyper-oxygenation of the blood and a momentary CO2 reduction, which as the effect of calming the respiratory system.  This system, in return, relaxes the nerves, thus creating an incomparable energizing effect.
'Kappalabhati; oxygenates the brain, increases endorphins (the feel good hormone) in the brain and restores vital energy in the body.  The effects of this breathing technique offer inestimable benefits for nervous, stressed or burned-out people.
This exercise is harmless because the arterial pressure always remains within normal physiological limits.  Nevertheless, it is not recommended for people suffering from serious pulmonary or cardiac conditions.
'Kappalabhati' consists of forced brief expulsion airbursts, each time followed by a passive air intake. Contrary to normal breathing where the inhalation is active and exhalation passive, the opposite occurs in this instance.
The exercise can be performed standing up, however, it is the kneeling position which is the most comfortable.  The spine must be erect while the head is well balanced.  The chest must remain as immobile as possible throughout the exercise.  The abdominal girth, which comprises the muscles in the sub-navel area, is the motor of the exercise.
Kneel down and sit on your knees (sitting on a chair is also acceptable, if you have a problem with your knees), with both hands resting on your thighs.
Straighten the spine, expand your torso, immobilize it and concentrate on your abdomen.  Now, release the abdominal girth until your belly hangs out and then contract the girth suddenly while exhaling abruptly through your nose (or through your mouth if there is a problem with your nose).  This contraction will cause a brutal expulsion of air from your lungs.  Release the abdominal girth naturally and allow air to enter passively and silently through your nose and into your lungs,
The complete exercise consists of of succession of abrupt expulsions of air followed by passive inhalations.
In this exercise, it is the sub-navel girth area that is the most active.  Remember that the most important is the force of the exhalation, not the quantity of the air inhaled.
The exercise speed must be increased progressively.  At the beginning, the rhythm is increased in order to reach 60 expulsions per minutes.  When the exercise is well mastered, 10 expulsions per minute is added until a maximum of 120 expulsions per minute is reached.  The expulsions must last at least 3 times longer that the inhalation.  Three series of 120 expulsions per minutes interspersed with a rest period represents a goal to be reached.
Kneel or sit on your kneels (Japaneze zazen position), with the spine erect and the head in a stable position.  The expanded chest remains immobile throughout the exercise.
- The sudden and vigorous contraction of the stomach muscles expulse the air from your lungs
- The controlled release of the abdominal muscles triggers the passive inhalation
- The face and nostrils are relaxed during the inhalation
- The air expulsion is three times longer than the inhalation
- The amount and length of the sessions are progressively increased until three series of 120    expulsions per minutes are reached
- A one minute rest is recommended before starting again
- The minimal length of a session should be 3 minutes, but may be prolonged to 10 or even 15 minutes
The most common mistakes are:
- To move the chest
- To relax the spine
- To sacrifice the strength of the expulsion for the benefit of the speed
- to be distracted during the exercise
- To raise the legs
To feel light-headed after the exercise is due to the fact that you're putting too much emphasis on the inhalation, which is a mistake.  Revise the technique, make the proper corrections and start again.

Read more at Barnes&

Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237