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Lifestyle

Justin Walter 17. The Seventeenth Year iStock New Articles Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

This week I have been thinking about what it means to be in the Lifestyle section of the newspaper.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary lifestyle means: “the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture”. Now that made me think about the word “typical”.  You see no matter where you go, there are many differences in society.  Individuals think, feel and act differently from their neighbours.  Groups usually form based on a common interest or value that might not be shared by others in the same geographic area. Even cultures have differences both within and without. So, today...

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Psychology Uniqueness

Justin Walter 17. The Seventeenth Year iStock New Articles Reference and Education Reference and Education_Psychology Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

February is Psychology Month in Alberta.   In 2006 I was asked to be a Coordinator and Liaison Worker for the Psychologist’s Association in the province.  That was the first time that my column “All Psyched Up” was published in the Medicine Hat News.  Hard to believe that I have submitted weekly articles for seventeen years!  Time changes things.   The Saskatchewan small-town newspaper where I had written a column in my high school years asked me if they could also publish my column.  This continued until November 2021 when, sadly, the newspaper was handed over to a larger entity.  In the...

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Get Better!

Justin Walter 17. The Seventeenth Year iStock New Articles Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

I knew there was something wrong on Saturday.  Usually I handle stress really well and am a very contented individual.  But I felt “out of sorts”.  I wasn’t really sick, but everything seemed to bother me, and I was frustrated with the simplest of things.  I thought a nap might help and was shocked when I woke up eleven hours later! By Sunday I had a headache and my body hurt so much that it felt like I had been hit by a truck.  One minute I was burning up and the next minute I had chills.  Everything was confusing...

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A Message of Hope

Justin Walter 17. The Seventeenth Year iStock New Articles News and Society News and Society_World Self Improvement Self Improvement_Personal Growth Self Improvement_Positive Attitude

In the 1982 musical “Annie” the star of the show sang a very positive song that started with the following words:  The sun will come outTomorrowBet your bottom dollar that tomorrowThere’ll be sun.Now that’s faith that offers hope to listeners! During the past two years it seems that some people have forgotten that message.  They have been so imprisoned by fear and confusion that they’ve lost their perspective.  Mixed messages combined with inconsistent and changing restrictions have led to questions about who to trust and what to do. It’s been a tough time for everyone.  Some have faced illness, death...

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Time Marches On

Justin Walter 16. The Sixteenth Year iStock New Articles Self Improvement Self Improvement_Goal Setting Self Improvement_Personal Growth Self Improvement_Success

When I was in high school in the 1960s, I was the newspaper correspondent for the Indian Head News.  I remember entering the news office for the first time and being quite impressed by all the equipment necessary for printing as well as the strong smell of ink.  My responsibilities were to report the “goings on” at the school for each weekly publication.  I was paid by the inch and so my columns were fairly long!  😊 After graduation, I moved away and have not lived in Indian Head since then. In 2006 I was appointed as the Medicine Hat...

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Stress Test

Justin Walter 16. The Sixteenth Year Health and Fitness Health and Fitness_And More iStock New Articles Self Improvement Self Improvement_Stress Management

Have you ever been booked for a stress test?  The procedure involves doing exercise in a way that your heart pumps harder and harder while medical personnel monitor your breathing, blood pressure and heart rhythm.  This is an accepted scientific method that will help to assess any heart problems that may need to be treated. Stress tests for psychological issues unfortunately, usually require an individual’s self-awareness or observation by others who are close to them.  There might be significant problems coping with daily life, unhealthy habits, overwhelm or lack of strategies to revolve problems and improve Have you ever removed...

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Liar Liar

Justin Walter 16. The Sixteenth Year iStock New Articles Self Improvement Self Improvement_Personal Growth

Sometimes I ask my grandchildren the question “What do I love more than you?”  Immediately they answer, “The truth”.  I have taught them that if a person doesn’t tell the truth, you don’t really know who they are, and you can’t trust them. Everyone has been lied to at some point but not all lies are given for the same reason. In fact, there are many reasons why a person might lie including the following: To avoid consequences – Children don’t lie to get into trouble. They lie to get out of trouble.  It’s the same with some adults.  When...

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Change Changes Us

Justin Walter 16. The Sixteenth Year iStock News and Society News and Society_Weather Pandemic Self Improvement Self Improvement_Stress Management

It is amazing how quickly summer left us, and fall moved in.  We all knew it was coming but the transition seemed to occur so quickly.  One day our air conditioners were humming, and we were enjoying the outdoors in light clothing and before we knew it, the air cooled to the point that we now need warm jackets. My patio has been transformed from a comfortable garden lounge to an area devoid of plants, umbrellas and brightly-coloured cushions. And now we are waiting for yet another seasonal change – winter Some changes occur so often and repetitively that we...

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Dealing with Tigers

Justin Walter 16. The Sixteenth Year iStock New Articles Self Improvement Self Improvement_Personal Growth Self Improvement_Techniques

Pretend you are sitting quietly and all of a sudden, the door opens and in comes a fierce tiger from the jungle.   What would you do? Would you: Run away as fast as your legs would carry you?  Perhaps you would try to hide behind an object with the hope that the tiger won’t get you. Try to defend yourself by picking up the closest object and either using it as a shield or as a weapon? Pretend that you are like opossums who just hang from their tails and look dead? The answer that you choose is an indication...

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Are You Worried?

Justin Walter 16. The Sixteenth Year iStock New Articles News and Society News and Society_World Pandemic Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

Over the past months there has been a great deal of fear and confusion associated with the COVID-19 and how legislators are dealing with it.  Some parts of the world are completely locked down by government officials while others have had very few restrictions.  Mixed messages abound regarding the importance of wearing masks and taking shots.  Some medical officials state these are vital while others claim they are experimental and even dangerous The media is quick to offer statistics and also to threaten consequences for those who do not comply with recommendations.  “Talking heads” who dominate twenty-four-hour television often speculate...

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Life's a Puzzle

Dr. Linda Hancock 16. The Sixteenth Year New Articles Self Improvement Self Improvement_Inspirational Self Improvement_Personal Growth

Since I was a child, I have enjoyed challenges.   When people gave on untangling knotted string, I enthusiastically took on the task.  Answering riddles, doing word games and figuring out mysteries were always fun for me.   In fact, I believe that this way of approaching the world has helped me to do my work as a psychologist. Every spring our family would buy a 1,000-piece puzzle to work on during rainy days at the summer cottage.  My uncle taught us that doing a puzzle was more than just randomly grabbing a piece and hoping you could find a match.   In...

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Choose Health

Dr. Linda Hancock 16. The Sixteenth Year iStock New Articles Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

Think about driving down the highway.   You are going the speed limit but all of a sudden, unexpectantly there is a red light right ahead of you.   You hit the brakes and think “Wow.  I didn’t know I was going so fast. Life can be like that.   In fact, we have allowed society to ingrain the motto of the Olympic Games into our heads and we think that we need to be “Higher, faster, stronger”. Higher – Many people enter or stay in career that they don’t like just because they think that it is important to have a large...

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Faith Versus Hope

Dr. Linda Hancock 16. The Sixteenth Year iStock New Articles Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

I am often surprised by the way that people confuse the words faith and hope.    They don’t understand that although there is a little overlap in their meanings, they are actually very different in their application and the results that they garner. Let’s examine these two commonly used words.  Hope is a wish or desire.   Think of the child who, with fingers crossed, hopes that she will get a pony for Christmas.   No matter how badly she wants this, she does not have the ability to make it happen or realistic expectation that the pony will arrive. Often in life,...

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Be Active in Your Life

Dr. Linda Hancock 06. The Sixth Year 16. The Sixteenth Year iStock New Articles Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

I find it interesting to listen to people who are sad, afraid and immobilized because they have heard something that is sketchy which they believe is the truth.  Often the source was unreliable or was just spouting off ideas that had no realistic basis.   Yet, despite the fact that the message was faulty, the individuals who hear it feel victimized and in crisis. Before you allow yourself to fall into a slump consider the following: You have the power to choose what you believe. Adopting or rejecting news is something that you can decide to do at a personal level....

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Memories

Dr. Linda Hancock 16. The Sixteenth Year Home and Family Home and Family_And More iStock Self Improvement Self Improvement_Organizing

Recently I noticed a huge, heavy box on a high shelf in my storage room.   Because it wasn’t labelled I had absolutely no idea what was in it.  How shocked I was once it was at ground level to realize what was inside. There were several hundred greeting cards.   Some were from various birthdays and graduations that I had over the years.    Many were sympathy cards that had arrived after the death of my mother.   A leather pouch that was embossed with “Important Documents” contained wills and insurance policies from my dad who died in 1979.   There were newspaper clippings,...

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Emotional Cousins

Dr. Linda Hancock 16. The Sixteenth Year iStock Self Improvement Self Improvement_Personal Growth

Often, I tell my clients about the five emotions that act like cousins as they come in groups: Fear – Often this emotion is difficult to identify or to acknowledge. There is an old expression that states, “Big boys don’t cry”.   Those with a military background are hesitant to show weakness and despite the traumatic experiences they have had, usually don’t even want to talk about how afraid they were.  Some people are afraid that they won’t be liked or loved.   They let fear walk them into horrible circumstances where their needs are sacrificed.   Others are afraid to start something...

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Loneliness

Dr. Linda Hancock 16. The Sixteenth Year iStock News and Society News and Society_World Pandemic Self Improvement Self Improvement_Personal Growth

Winter can be a difficult time, especially when the weather steals our freedom.   It isn’t easy to travel when the roads are icy and the temperatures are plummeting.  Many people are afraid of falling and are therefore indoors more. The pandemic that began in 2020 has brought with it a number of restrictions that tend to isolate people.  Those who I have found to be most vulnerable are seniors who live in their homes.  They don’t have the advantage of interacting with others personally and frequently do not have computer skills to reach out.   Unlike those who live in a...

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The Wonder of Joy

Dr. Linda Hancock 15. The Fifteenth Year iStock Self Improvement Self Improvement_Personal Growth

Over the years I have met so many people who are blessed in every area of life but, at the same time, state they are miserable.  They do not have to worry about finances.   They enjoy good health and loving relationships.   They live in safe and secure environments that are filled with everything anyone could want.   Yet they are miserable! On the other hand, I have also met many people who have very little and yet they are filled with joy.   Some struggle with health issues.  Others have nothing materialistically.  They might not have career options and don’t even know...

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The Mind/Body Connection

Dr. Linda Hancock 15. The Fifteenth Year Health and Fitness Health and Fitness_And More iStock Self Improvement Self Improvement_Goal Setting

When I was young our family used to love to go to Katepwa Lake for holidays. My uncle had a beautiful boat with a sixty-horsepower motor and all my cousins enjoyed water skiing behind it. The problem was that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get up out of the water! I remember the morning of my nineth birthday. The sun was shining, and the water was as smooth as glass. First thing I asked my uncle if I could try once again to ski. He agreed. After carefully tying on the life jacket, I got...

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Social Media Addiction

Dr. Linda Hancock 15. The Fifteenth Year Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

This fall a documentary called “The Social Dilemma” began airing on Netflix.   In it former employees of large technology companies are interviewed and tell about how their work initially appeared to be helpful for society but later, because of its impact, led them to resign from their positions. Actors who are portraying a family in this show, have different ways of interacting with social media.  A teenage son, who is constantly online is challenged to not touch his phone for a week and, if successful, would receive a new screen to replace the one that is broken.  Unfortunately, the notifications...

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How Much is too Much?

Dr. Linda Hancock 15. The Fifteenth Year iStock Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

Frequently, individuals tell me that they are overwhelmed with life and after a few questions they reveal the fact that they are surrounded by “stuff” that steals their time and energy. Laundry piles up when teens try on several outfits in the morning, throwing the ones they don’t want on the floor.   When it is time to prepare for a wash, they just gather up everything despite the fact that most of it is already clean.  A lot of clothes mean a lot of laundry. Toys all over the place can be very annoying.  Paperwork can feel like a burden....

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Beliefs Drive Our Behaviours

Dr. Linda Hancock 15. The Fifteenth Year iStock News and Society News and Society_World Pandemic Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

When a baby elephant is born, those in charge use a chain around one of its legs and a stake in the ground to limit its ability to roam.  Over time, even though the elephant grows to more than 5,000 pounds and has considerable strength, it has a belief that it cannot move beyond what the length of the chain allows.   It has been conditioned. As humans, we also are conditioned.   In childhood we are influenced by our parents who may pass on ideas that aren’t even rational – yet we believe what they say – even into adulthood at...

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My Responsibility

Dr. Linda Hancock 15. The Fifteenth Year Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could control everything?  Well, maybe not!  I can remember when, in my youth, I would think that I had some amazing ideas and if God would just appoint me to his Board of Directors, I could enact them.  How naïve!  In time I realized that it was good that I didn’t have that role as I would have messed up an awful lot of things! Now that I am older and hopefully much more “mature” I realize that I have both rights and responsibilities to enact at a personal level.  Everyone seems to focus...

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Growing Strong and Beautiful

Dr. Linda Hancock 15. The Fifteenth Year Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

Every year I put a few pots of annuals on my condo’s deck. The other day I was disappointed to see that a storm had blown off all the blossoms from my trailing petunias. They were lying on the deck and needed to be swept away. A couple of days later, however, it shocked me to realize that there were even more blossoms on the plants that before the storm! All this got me to thinking about how our lives can be very much like container gardening. Each of us is a plant that needs the following; 1. Vessel or...

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Who Can You Trust and Why?

Dr. Linda Hancock 15. The Fifteenth Year Self Improvement Self Improvement_And More

I always find it interesting to watch politicians who attack their opponents and then, when they drop out of the race because of lack of support, back the person who they have been trashing. It is easy to attack others and make promises when you are hoping that others will vote for you! But the process doesn't always seem to be honourable. It is easy to listen to a charming individual who seems to have a good line but keep in mind the old expression that states: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". To trust...

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