Archives for posts with tag: psychology

I’ve begun clicker training my kitten, Cashew. So far I’ve only done two 5minute sessions that were mostly getting Cashew used to the noise and associating it with a treat. He REALLY got it and when he noses the clicker sitting on my coffee table or when it is attached to my wrist he purrs super loud. This kitten loves treats too, which is great because his food-drive will make it easier to train him.

Actively Training:

  1. Targeting, nose bump
  2. Self-control/stop nibbling on me.

Training Session #3

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He kept biting me as affection, so I figured I’d click him for each time he was nuzzling me, and take my hand away anytime he bit. I clicked and treated him about 5 times. He goes WILD for the treats so he got into a state of neurological arousal, marked by jerky movements and urgent searching, that I think made it harder for him to resist nibbling, especially when food is the reward. This reminded me of It’syerchoice popularized by Susan Garrett. I couldn’t find anything on it working with cats, so I am going to try it out myself to see what happens.

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I have been in college for a while now and have been studying psychology the whole time. I have never been a partyer, preferring to read a book about how alcohol is made than consuming cheap, terrible alcohol. However, over time I have grown to appreciate things like a finely crafted liqueur or beer, smoking a tobacco pipe, or using caffeine. After two negative experiences with alcohol and a college psychology course on Substance Abuse, I began really thinking about how we use perception and mind-altering substances in America.

So I decided on a set of rules based on my knowledge of the addiction process and psychology. It is a short list of questions I ask myself if I am thinking of having coffee, a pipe, or a drink.

The Questions:
Am I sad?
Am I lonely?
Am I angry?
Am I stressed out?
Am I overwhelmed?
Have I exercised today or am sore?
Is my blood glucose above 140?

If I say “Yes” to any of these, then I don’t have the smoke or the drink or the caffeine. If I did, I would not be doing it for fun or an experience. I would be doing it to self-medicate instead of solve my problem.

This sounds all pretty and easy for a guy who doesn’t have much interest in partying or drugs of any sort right? Well, that is ignorant. I have been under MASSIVE amounts of stress from legal, social, interpersonal, physical, and emotional sources. This list of questions has likely saved me from picking up an addiction more times than I could possibly count. No one WANTS to have a smoking habit, but they usually don’t have the training to come up with a cognitive tool or don’t have expressed priorities in order to stop themselves. They see a cigarette and think of stress-relief because of their culture. If they stopped for just 2 minutes to recognize it as a dangerous gamble with a whole world of negative experiences, they would probably never try it, or never in a time where they have a predisposition towards an addiction.

This is really important because it is so much easier to use than abstinence from these tempting options. There are certain things you should never do, like heroin or pre-rolled cigarettes, but there are more things that are interesting and relatively harmless. The problem isn’t that people have too little willpower to resist an addiction. In my mind the problem is that we never give people the tools to resist a poor decision regarding potentially addictive substances and instead make good decisions regarding them.

So, I mentioned that I have had some trouble staying on track. This week I purposely did my workouts different days so I wouldn’t be sore when I went to hangout with my girlfriend. The bad part is that this one day I moved my workouts around changed how I was thinking about workouts in general. A weird loss of direction that I have seen myself repeat over and over in countless hobbies. This time I want to think about it some before it causes any real problems to see if that introspection will lead to a resurgence of discipline or insight into the problem.

The first thing that popped into my head when I thought about the timing of my workouts this week was the tops I played with as a kid in my Paupau’s rec room. They were old fashioned wooden tops that you wound up with a string and then held just right on the hard wood table to pull the string and watch the alien twirl of the toy. As I watched them I always loved the moments when they began to wobble. I tried to spot the very first moments of their demise. My workout this week looked to me more like the full shaking back and forth of the top’s death throes.

With that image in mind I realize that I need to ignore any outside influences, any ideas that it is too late in the day or that I am already tired or I have eaten too recently. Like Cobb’s top from Inception I needed to ignore all of reality and rules that might distract me from my beautiful unaging children and just go for it like I haven’t noticed a thing. That is why I just did a workout at 10:30pm, which historically makes it super hard for me to sleep, and is likely why I am writing a blog post instead of sleeping. However I am back on schedule today!

Next week I need to keep this up. Sometimes I let myself come up with all sorts of reasons of not wanting to be sore(I know, that is a pitiful reason) or because other responsibilities come up and I have poor time management. The most dangerous option is to ignore my workouts with the idea that I am doing something more important like meditating or studying for classes in the coming semester. Yes, those ARE much more important, however they are not stopping me from working out and acting as if they are is just insulting myself.

Something I let hold me up over the last year was a stupid idea that I NEEDED certain situations in order to do my workouts, like I needed to set up my gymnast rings or I needed to find a place tall enough for me to hang without my feet on the ground. These were easy things to find, tree limbs and swing sets and problems solved. The issue was that I made excuses. The swing sets were to thick of bars. The tree limbs near my house were either to high or made getting my gymnast rings down a living hell. (A homeless man once went to nighttime construction crews around town to find me a ladder to get down a gymnast ring that accidentally got stuck in a tree.) However thick bars are often sought after, and tree limbs are in abundance if you just ride your bike or drive for a few minutes in ANY direction. I am not stopped by real physical barriers like my diabetes, however little psychological walls can feel like they are thousands of yard tall.

 

However, right now, I am on schedule. All I have to do, is be on schedule when Monday comes.

 

Also, because of the inception reference, check it out: http://inception.davepedu.com/

I started listening to the Audiobook this morning. I realized halfway through making my protein shake that I was doing my daily ritual. I take some herbs to help manage my diabetes, drink some goji berry juice, make a protein shake, and drink a few cups of hot water.

I like the book so far, but I have difficulty remembering the name of each person. That frustrates me. Maybe It will get better, or I will have to re-listen to the book a few times. This is definitely the kind of book that I will need to take notes on.