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Black History Month 2018: Remembering African American Mental Health Professionals & Advocates

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Black history month is upon us. During this time we focus on the accomplishments and inventions of those of the past and present. From the invention of the cotton-gin to the stoplight, these advances along with advocacy and social justice have provided an avenue for all individuals today to prosper. In the field of mental health, there are individuals that should be celebrated for what they have done to further the field.

Dr. Kenneth Bancroft Clark (1914 2005) - First African American president of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Clark, along with his wife, famous for the “Doll Study” experiment which looked at responses of more than 200 Black children preferences in the selection of white or brown dolls. Dr. Clark’s finding concluded that segregation was psychologically damaging which was a determining factor in the Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education.

Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark (1917-1983) – First African American woman to earn a doctorate in psychology from Columbia University. Along with her husband, Dr. Kenneth Clark, her research on race and child development helped in desegregation efforts especially in the Brown vs. Board of Education. Understanding the need of mental health services for the African American community, Dr. Clark and her husband opened “The Northside Center for Child Development” in Harlem, NY in 1946.

These are just two out of the many people who made a pathway for individuals to learn a new way of thinking, explore new options, and give back to a community. This month provides an opportunity to look at the accomplishment of these heroes of the past and present while, challenging those to make a positive change for the future.


Written by: Dr. Joseph Campbell

Dr. Joseph Campbell is currently the Director of Training in the Counselor Education & Supervision program at Argosy University, Chicago . He obtained his Masters of Arts degree in School Counseling from Concordia University where he specialized in working with adolescents and young adults. Dr. Campbell’s research interest includes social justice and advocacy in classrooms and communities, and the integration of technology into the counseling field.

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SMART-PHONE ADDICTION | How to stop being addicted to your smartphone and tear away from intensity scale usage

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Whether it’s you, a friend, or kids…applying a few easy steps can help!

Viewed from aperture lens via “BodyParts Fitness” concerning human physical well-being; recent investigations have shown that smartphone users tend to report pain in the neck, shoulder and thumb. In addition, the severity of the symptoms exacerbates as the total time spent using smartphone increases. In other words, be very careful of prolonged smart phone usage! It can effect disposition of individuals to have faulty posture such as forward neck and slouched posture ( Lee S, Kang H, Shin G: Head flexion angle while using a smartphone. Ergonomics, 2015, 58: 220–226).

The good news about this social media picture: Note that sitting caused the largest head flexion than that of other task conditions, such as standing while using smartphones! Per Keith A. Spencer’s article, the word “ADDICTION” is used to describe how people are affected by social media! It’s a ‘strong’ word, but it helped to get the attention in my household and bring awareness of what is actually happening to my family.

Admittedly, on numerous occasions (more than my husband and I care to remember), we have caught our kids sneaking in the middle of the night to play games and view, pre-approved-scope on social media. One other incident, during the weekend, after dinner, we wanted to learn--if no time limits were set, how long would our boys actually be engaged on their smart phones? In short, to our amazement, they both fell a sleep with device in hand... Before exacerbating their socialization skills to shut down completely, we realized these cited copious experiences might be detrimental and could possibly precursor warning signs of smartphone "ADDICTION".

As a parent of two boys; pre-teen/teenager, I have observed this important phenomenon become a fact! Let’s face it; this is the era of social media, which my kids fully embrace. And, rather than fight against a losing battle, I thought of a reprieve remedy: for every hour they spend on their smartphones, stop and exercise 20 minutes. Yes, you can imagine how fit my sons are today because of this "TRIGGER"!

To develop a successful “TRIGGER”, begin exploring new ways to change an unwanted behavior. Identify your end goal. For example, I want my kids to exercise more frequently. For this reason, I created a fun fitness routine to follow. However, they are not motivated to automatically exercise. Nevertheless, I want to master getting my boys to exercise 30 minutes to an hour (mostly) every day.

According to American Council on Exercise, pre-teens to adults can benefit significantly from physical activity--in fact, children and adolescents, who exercise more often and participate in fitness activities will be less likely to grow up overweight!

Specifically, aerobic activity should (strive towards) make up most of your child's 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. Guidelines suggest including either moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week.

To reinforce a reliable “TRIGGER”, first combat the M.E. Factor: Motivation and Emotions. First, rule # 1: keep the new behavior easy and motivation levels will have less effect. Second, rule # 2: the speed of habit formation is directly related to the immediacy and intensity of emotions you feel.

Consequently, after identifying easy exercises, I satisfied rule # 1. I also paired this task with using Smart-Phones in order to satisfy rule # 2. This connection is powerful because of noticing how excited my kids were when engaged on their smart-devices; PS4 Play Station, X-Box Video Games, etc. Therefore, combining rule # 1 and # 2, created the immediate new behavior pattern, which did not feel like a boring chore! As a result, as long as good grades are maintained, during school week, our kids have an hour interaction with devices and 30-minutes exercise. Of course, the ratio is extended on the weekends (Sat.), whereby three hours are spent on various devices and 60 minutes include exercising. Conversely, Sunday is a rest day; no devices, no exercise. The bottom line-social media is not raising our kids ( although, it does provide brief respite for parents and is filler for minimizing play-noise at home ).

In the long run, kids feel good, but are also healthier. In fact, this new habit has strengthened over time from repeating pattern actions. Now the custom match has caused my sons to instead, look forward to competing against each other. They challenge themselves to see who can do the most push-ups; rather than only focusing on what Nintendo games to play! Such scenario provides an opportunity to “not bypass” re-shaping additional behaviors in other areas. On the whole, applying guideline rules (#1 and # 2) yields a practical process for juxtaposing the pendulum in the direction of choice: either increasing/decreasing and/or favorable/unfavorable behavior.

Final Thought: Find the right sequence- what it comes before–or–after and you will no longer have to coax (ramp up motivation) someone to perform a particular task again!

What do you do to track time spent on the smart-phone and tear away from intensity scale usage?


Bio: Written by Dr. Cecilia Brantley: Bus. /Ed. Organizational Leadership 2013 ; Argosy University, Chicago Professor 2016 & Since 1991: Health-Wellness Entrepreneur of BodyParts Fitness Ltd * Behavior Change Coach # CEP78040 * Lifestyle Behavioral Coaching # CEP57068

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Developing Good Habits

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CREATE GOOD HABITS; Change small things! Simply stated, create good habits by making simple changes in your life. Pinpoint ideas you “will” implement. Subsequently, increase the gramarye of changing old habits to launch a new and healthier behavior, which becomes an essential, but normal function of everyday life. Successful change translates into repeated action regularly that requires no continual deep concentration. At this apex operating level, human behavior has become routine. As a result, evolution is complete! The process entails getting rid of unwanted desires by keeping at bay temptations—intentionally to permit permanent replacement and receive stimulation from new rituals.

The truth is “change” is not easy! Creating new good habits and breaking old bad habits requires an action plan—whether fine tuning or transformational. The former considers re-examining prior self-challenges to help become more mindful of strength gains in prominent areas—self-concept and self-esteem. This reflection means tweaking behaviors, which solidifies you are on the right path. The latter involves fundamental, large-scale change that yields new channels of perceiving, thinking, relating and behaving—Personally, Professionally, as well as Academically.

In a practical sense, incremental steps allows for better digestion to experience maintaining degrees of change. Nevertheless, adjustments have to take place (internally mentally/externally physical action) that will inevitably affect prevailing structures and systems. Consequently, it is urgent to identify beneficial applications before adherence develops and change last. Raising attention, says, to self and others, “I- we must do something” about an issue to ultimately combat complacency, fear, and anger that prevent change from starting (Kotter & Cohen, 2002).

The Science of How to Form Habits (BJ Fogg, 2014):

PRECEPTS

a. Simplicity Matters More Than Motivation

b. Emotions Create Habits

c. Change Behavior Without Relying on Willpower

d. Pick New Behaviors; “want” to enact –vs– things “should” do

e. Success Makes Tiny Habits Grow Into Bigger Habits - Other Areas of Change

f. Share ‘Tiny Habits Method’ With Others

4-STEPS TO CHANGE HABITS

1) Make New Behavior You Want Really ‘small’ = “tiny

2) Determine Where New “tiny” Behavior Fits Into Your Life

3) Put New Behavior “AFTER” An Existing Routine

4) Celebrate Performing ‘New Behavior’ Immediately

EXAMPLE: Goal = Exercise Regularly

After I eat dinner (prompt), I will set out my gym clothes (easy new behavior). The anchor moment immediately triggers you to do the new Tiny Behavior –followed by instant (way to feel good) celebratory statement, I Got This!

CHANGE AXIOMS & MINDSETS

William of Occam: Look at the simplest explanation before analyzing the complex

Structural Model: If it fails, it was non-rational

“Butterfly Effect”: Changes on a small scale can influence things on a larger scale

Change: Conflict, Winners/Losers & more Psychological than Logical

In conclusion, the most important phase of creating change is preparation. The second change factor is implementation. And third, evaluate change outcome. Performing new habits doesn’t have to be difficult. Cycles of old habits can be broken and become a nemesis of your past. Build self-confidence by utilizing 4# steps outlined in "Tiny Habits Method". Finally, there is a tool that realistically demonstrates how to replace 'unwanted' behaviors with 'good' behaviors. Remember, life depends on continuity. For this reason, at any given time, individuals experience a state of disequilibrium. However, understanding how to self-assess enables self-success!

Now, let’s get started…What habit do you want to change?


Written by Dr. Cecilia A. Brantley | Argosy University, Chicago Professor | BodyParts Fitness Co-Founder/1992

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