Ask Dr. Gayle, 2016 July Lotus Guide
A: A global youth culture exists for those with access to ICT. Youth are more tech savvy, less religious, and more accepting of differences and less prejudiced than their elders, but they value their parents. They’re not like baby boomers who said don’t trust anyone over 30. Youth are less religious than older people but may have spiritual beliefs. Youth want us to know that they’re not hoodie-wearing troublemakers lacking in knowledge and skills because they’re young. They’re capable of leadership and insights now. If you’re interested in knowing more about how youth are changing our future, email me and I’ll share drafts of book chapters on global youth.
Do you have interesting questions from kids? I’d like to answer their concerns. Please email email@example.com.
Q: My boys are getting ready for tests. One of them has a bit of test anxiety and I want to support him so he’s comfortable and surprises himself with positive results.
A: Before studying or test taking cross-crawl to get balanced and do the 4-8 breathing: Breathe in through the nose for 8, hold for 8, exhale as long as you can to calm the nervous system, and hold. Before the test, visualize walking out feeling “I aced it.” If anxious during the test, put a hand on the forehead to bring blood to the rational forebrain away from the emotional midbrain and move the eyes in a horizontal 8. If unsure of an answer, go with your first thought.
Q: I’m starting to date seriously. What should I look for in a partner?
A: If you’re looking for a man, avoid one who had either a controlling mother or one who did everything for him. Some men tell me they avoid especially beautiful women because they get used to being courted. In either sex, look for a best friend who is interesting to talk with and you respect, as well as being attractive to you. We tend to attract the familiar, so think about the relationship patterns you experienced growing up and decide what you want to repeat and what you want to do differently.
I asked a newly single man about his perspective on dating. Jack said, “So many people are socially conditioned to be a princess/player. We co-create our relationships so they mirror our weaknesses. Going into a relationship thinking we aren’t going to get hurt or work is naive. Our society has a skewed point of view about love; most people think of love as all about themselves, but really, love is wanting the best for someone else. Relationship love is the dance of giving and taking. To return to a love life, dating, one should be ready to love unconditionally and expect nothing in return. There are lots of guided meditations for new lovers. Be playful, have fun. If a person likes someone, tell him or her! I honestly rarely have any idea if a girl likes me because they don’t say it and act aloof. Love is constantly morphing, recycling, undying, reemerging.”
Q: I have chronic intestinal problems. Any hope for me?
A: If we think about illness as a metaphor, a message from the body, what can’t you digest in your emotional life? Research holistic health remedies, such as Dr. Andrew Weil’s website and books.
Q: How do I correct having no sex drive?
A: Have your hormones checked by a medical professional and then put creativity into making love in new ways, new places. Consciously think about romantic dates. Check out numerous books about sexual possibilities. We have more sexual energy if we exercise and eat well. If you’re resenting your partner, this block needs attention. Our main sexual organ is the brain, so fantasize about making love to your favorite star. Practice by yourself so you understand what turns you on.
Q: My son is bullying me about my divorce settlement, aligning with his father. How can I put a stop to this?
A: Make it clear that this is between his parents and he should focus on his own issues. Tell him he can make judgments after he’s been married. Don’t listen to his comments.
Q: My significant other lies to me and is often unpredictable and mean to me. What should I do?
A: Talk with a therapist about why you are attracted to punishment and don’t feel deserving of love. Remember about 80 percent of our behavior is governed by the unconscious so we need to understand our patterns, expectations, and subpersonalities. About lies, confront your partner with “I messages” rather than blaming communication. Ask, “What keeps you from telling me the truth? What can I do to make it safer to be direct?”
Q: I can’t get over my ex, who dumped me and is remarried. How can I stop feeling sad about her?
A: What other times in your life did someone make you feel you weren’t good enough? If we look at every difficulty as a lesson and opportunity for growth, look at this as a chance to develop your inner sense of worth and meaning. Look on dating sites to see if there is anyone you would like to get to know with similar interests so you have playmates.
Q: I’m the head of a business who has had trouble with dishonest employees so I have to do most of the work, plus I have young children and a wife. My coping technique is to drink, which distresses my family. I go to AA. Other ideas?
A: Build daily physical exercise into your schedule to relieve tension. Think of pressure to get so much done as a boa constrictor squeezing you. When you’re aware of the pressure, imagine melting the boa away and listen to calming music and exercising. (Learn these techniques in my monthly Mind Power workshop at the Yoga Center of Chico, which has my books in its store.) Also, try to make jokes about the stressors because laughing is relaxing. I’m sure you’ll do background checks and extensive interviews with future employees.
Q: I’m too sensitive and emotionally reactive to other people’s emotions and judgments. What can I do not to feel so raw?
A: Instead of reacting from your emotional second chakra below the navel, shift to the sixth chakra by imagining a peaceful room behind your eyes in the center of your head. This chakra is neutral and clear seeing. Also imagine an iridescent bubble defining your energy field separate from other people’s bubble. Intend that it filter out other people’s emotions. Give a number to how reactive you are on a scale from 1 to 10 and visualize gradually turning it down. In psychological terms, develop an internal locus of control rather than an external one, meaning you feel in charge of your life rather than a victim.
Q: How do I let go of clutter and stop saving everything?
A: Hire a student to help you sort into four boxes: throw away, recycle, donate, or save. This will ensure you take action and help out a young person. For paperwork, sort it in folders right away.
Q: How do I keep from being bogged down by the world’s hate, negativity, and fear? How can I maintain inner peace with so much violence and turmoil in the world?
A: Realize this is a kindergarten planet. Practice on doing what Gandhi said: Be the change you want to see.
Q: How do I feel gratitude when I don’t have much to be grateful for?
A: Write a gratitude journal daily, such as: “I don’t live in Syria or Afghanistan. I’m grateful I have the gift of a living human body”—and so on. People I interview in poor countries are happy because of their social support from family and neighbors, so you may need to reach out to support groups.
Q: I get extremely irritable about small things such as gum chewers, foot waggers, and people on cell phones in public places. How can I calm down?
A: Move away from them and imagine that you’re blind and deaf to the irritants. Turn your focus inward by meditating on a soothing phrase such as “I’m calm, cool, and collected.” Do you have any irritating habits?
Q: How do I get more comfortable with changes in my life?
A: Focus on the opportunities for growth.
Q: How do I reign in judgment of others and myself and negative self-talk?
A: It doesn’t work to just say no to a habit. Acknowledge the judgment and your mental dialogue, and exaggerate it until it’s funny. Think about where you learned the habit of being judgmental, and then think of a corrective affirmation such as: “No one is perfect. We’re here to learn from our mistakes.”
Q: How do I improve my communication in my relationship?
A: Set aside time each week to check in about the previous week, using “I” messages and starting with appreciation and praise. Take a Nonviolent Communication or similar class to learn new skills.
Books Available by Dr. Gayle