Physology Health

Our interior support points

We all have within us a series of strengths or resources that sustain us in difficult or critical moments. They are like rocks to lean on to get ahead. An expert in transpersonal psychology reveals the keys to discover and cultivate those traits of our deep self

interior support points

When difficulties appear on the horizon we have to search within ourselves to find strength and walk the way out. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

“We are a wonderful coherent unit in which the four key pieces that make up the human ‘puzzle’ – the mind, the sensitivity, the deep self and the body – are harmoniously interrelated, keeping a very close connection with each other. Each one influences and affects the others, ”says Enrique Martínez Lozano.

Martínez Lozano is a psychotherapist, sociologist and theologian , who develops workshops and therapies based on transpersonal psychology. In them he combines psychological and spiritual content, meditation and learning, based on his own experience.

“The core of transpersonal psychology could be expressed like this: we are more than the mind, more than the self, more than the person our mind thinks we are. We are consciousness itself, a conscious presence experiencing itself through temporary forms such as our psychophysical body ”, he points out.

“If classical psychology emphasized the strictly psychological, transpersonal psychology makes us see the need for a deeper understanding of who we are. Because only thanks to it is harmony and fullness possible ”, he adds.

Transpersonal Psychology for Everyday Life

From this perspective, Enrique Martínez proposes in his latest book ‘Transpersonal Psychology for Everyday Life’ a series of reflections and practices to approach our two dimensions, the psychological (or personality) and the spiritual (or identity), some of which they can be especially helpful in living without suffering in the “COVID-19 era.”

interior support points
Image of Enrique Martínez Lozano, psychotherapist and theologian (photo Bibiana Ripol).

For example, it invites us to ask ourselves : What are our strengths, “the rock” on which we lean in times of difficulty or suffering, our inner support points? What parts of us support us, when we have had a crisis, and help us to move forward …?

” Strengths or inner support points are solid points in our psyche, resources on which to support ourselves to get ahead when difficulties arise in our lives,” he explains.

“Those interior strengths or points of support are like rocks to which we can turn when we experience setbacks, dislikes, illnesses, age ailments, crises of all kinds,” he says.

He assures that if we exercise ourselves to rely on them, we will notice that our “abilities” grow to face, with greater peace and strength, adversity and everything that can make us suffer.

Martínez describes some of those “interior rocks or points of support” , of those traits or elements of our psychological identity , that “we need to know, believe in them, feel them slowly inside us, let them impregnate us and choose to live them in a way conscious and voluntary ”.

They are as follows :

Acceptance of what happens to us

“Accepting does not mean resigning or giving up, but simply recognizing what there is. Accepting it radically changes our relationship with the problem. In this way we will be able to begin to rest, because we will have stepped into our truth, and the truth is always rest ”, he says.

The certainty that there is a way out

“Whenever we have come out of a problematic situation, without knowing where we have supported ourselves, it is likely that we have done so in this certainty (that there is a way out). Because even in the midst of the greatest difficulty a voice appears within us that tells us “You will get out of this,” he points out.

The force of life

“The so-called inner strength is closely related to the previous certainty. Even in the worst moments, there is “something” in us that continues to support and encourage us: it is life, inhabited by a powerful dynamism and meaning in the depths of our body, seeks to get ahead, despite all setbacks ” , considers.

The trust

The psychotherapist explains that “it is a deep feeling, not easy to understand rationally, which assures us that everything has a reason for being. In this sense, the feeling of confidence is not the voice of frivolity but of the deepest wisdom ”.

Loyalty to oneself

“It is a very strong point of support for certain types of difficulties. It allows us to free ourselves from other tyrannies – our own needs and fears, the image or the opinion of others – and introduces us to a space of rest, freedom, assertiveness and respectful coherence ”, he says.

The wisdom of not shrinking

“Although we accept something painful, we do not reduce ourselves to it, because we are always ‘more than’ our difficulty, illness or suffering. In addition to the fact that this is true because our life is never reduced to something that can happen to us, the recognition of that ‘more what’ is restfully liberating and mobilizing, and moves us to what we can do ”, he points out.


For this psychotherapist, gratitude “is a force that takes us out of self-centeredness, causing us to distance ourselves from our small interests and opening us to a deep understanding that, ultimately, everything is a gift.”

Free and unconditional love

Enrique Martínez refers to love, in the double direction of offered and received, because “both when we feel loved and when we love someone unconditionally, that love becomes in us a ‘rock’ of solidity and courage, which makes you experience the extraordinary force that accompanies it. “

The experience of meaning

“Having a“ what for ”means having discovered a meaning for one’s life: when we have it, it infuses us with such dynamism that we will be able to face everything”, assesses this expert, who highlights that the psychiatrist Víktor Frankl founded a school of psychotherapy ( logotherapy) based on the same experience that helped him survive in a Nazi concentration camp, “discovering a meaning to life”, in the certainty that the experience of that meaning is healing.

Come to the present

For this psychotherapist “we are made in such a way that we can always face what we have to live in the present moment. On the contrary, when we leave the here and now, impotence and anguish appear .

“To ward off the” ghosts of an imagined future “(since the future does not exist and can only be imagined ) that make us suffer, the only sensible thing is to” put light “so that they fade, and that light consists of staying in the present , only at this very moment ”, he concludes.

Physology Health

Psychology and coronavirus: How to promote responsible behaviors, by María Jesús Álava

“From psychology we must contribute and help as much as possible in the current situation when outbreaks, sources of transmission, infections and infections are multiplying dangerously. How can we encourage responsible behavior? ” Article for EFEsalud by the psychologist María Jesús Álava Reyes in which she also addresses the consequences of confinement “that has changed our lives”.

coronavirus Álava

The psychologist María Jesús Álava Reyes in her office.

This professional is the director of the Álava-Reyes Psychology Center and presides over the foundation that bears her name aimed at promoting the study, research, training and dissemination of psychology, as well as providing assistance to people with limited financial resources.

In addition, she is president of  Apertia-Consulting , specialized in business advice, and has made the list of TOP 100 Women Leaders in Spain 2012.

She is the author of books such as “The uselessness of suffering”, “The best thing in your life is you”, “The 3 keys to happiness” or “The truth of the lie” , among others.

Psychology and coronavirus: How to encourage responsible behaviors

By María Jesús Álava Reyes

“The coronavirus has turned our lives upside down. Suddenly, we felt that we had to defend ourselves from a virus as they did in the Middle Ages, isolating and confining ourselves; trying to make the doors of our houses serve as protective walls.

From psychology, the effects of this pandemic on the population are very clear. We know that sustained psychological stress is generating pictures of anxiety and depressive states , as documented by the studies by Rodríguez Cahill, Books et al. (2020), who have carried out a review of 24 studies that address the psychological effects of confinement on mental health, finding that quarantine is associated with:

  • Increased psychological distress (negative stress)
  • Post-traumatic stress symptoms
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and low mood
  • Emotions of fear, nervousness, sadness and guilt

Effects that can be maintained over time. In China, there has been an increase in panic, anxiety and depression disorders (Qiu et al., 2020), with women, students and people with previous mental disorders being those who suffer a greater impact derived from confinement , with levels higher levels of anxiety, stress and depression (Wang et al., 2020).

Children who have been quarantined have average levels of post-traumatic stress four times higher than those who have not been quarantined. The negative effects of quarantine are significantly greater if it lasts more than 10 days.

In addition, after confinement, many people are showing avoidance behaviors : not wanting to go out into the street; experiencing great nervousness when someone coughs; avoid public spaces …

The psychology consultations have been filled with people who manifest problems of coexistence with their partners, with their children, with their family …; people who have discovered a different reality and who feel overwhelmed.

Professionals who have been on the front line, fighting the pandemic, are suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder; have many difficulties to rest; they constantly recall heartbreaking scenes they have lived through: people dying, begging them for help; families broken by pain, who could not accompany their loved ones, or be by their side to say their last goodbye.

Responsible behaviors

From psychology we must contribute and help as much as possible in the current situation in which we find ourselves, when outbreaks, sources of transmission, infections and infections multiply dangerously.

In this context, many people argue that large sectors of the population are engaging in highly irresponsible behavior; But how can we encourage responsible behavior?

Psychology teaches us that a large part of our behaviors are determined by the antecedents and the consequences of them.

If we analyze the background (the information that came to us about the virus, the contradictions about the origin and scope, how it would affect us, what we had to do, the effects of the disease in the short, medium and long term …), today we know that this information was deficient and more than helping, it confused the population; in such a way that a series of erroneous ideas were established that have largely conditioned the behavior of many people, especially those who are in the younger age groups.

coronavirus Álava
A rose seller passes a group of young people on the beach of Barceloneta after the closing of nightclubs. EFE / Quique Garcia

Another mistake was to mask reality and not show the true reality that we were living; Those images were stolen that could have impacted the sensitivity of the most insensitive person, and that could have awakened the responsibility of the most irresponsible.

Remember that ignorance of the facts favors the irresponsibility of behaviors. But again in the de-escalation there is a lot of improvisation and lack of coordination.

Psychology shows us that the consequences must affect those who commit acts of irresponsibility, and must be immediate, consistent and proportionate to the damage caused.

But if the consequences of non-compliance by young people are paid by the adults they live with and they can continue to engage in the same risky behaviors; If for establishments that do not comply with the rules, the immediate consequence is that their collection increases and that the sanctioning measures take time to arrive, if they do arrive, where is the deterrence?

If the irresponsible behaviors do not have sufficiently dissuasive consequences, those behavior patterns will remain, even increase.

On an emotional level, it is easier for us not to question what we consider positive than to face a harsher reality, which implies sacrifices and restrictive behaviors.

Deceiving ourselves will increase our weakness in the face of the virus, favor our lack of protection and make us vulnerable to this pandemic that we will only overcome through scientific rigor, responsible behavior, healthy habits and collaborative work.

Let’s not make the same mistake again! Let’s rectify immediately and show reality! If we anesthetize the population, their response will not come from consciousness, but from numbness ”.

Physology Health

Children without labels, educate children without pigeonholing them

Children without Labels, a book that analyzes how labels pigeonhole and affect children during their growth, by psychologists Alberto Soler and Concepción Roger

Recently published by Ediciones Paidós, Children without Labels reviews different stages of the growth process of children. EFE / Alberto Morante

Labels condition the development of children: this is one of the conclusions of Niños sin Labels , the new book by Alberto Soler and Concepción Roger, psychologists, in which they analyze which labels are most used with children and what effects and consequences have on them.

Recently published by Ediciones Paidós, the book reviews different stages of the growth process of children, attending to the problems that usually arise and offering a series of tips so that parents can properly educate their children without pigeonholing or comparing them.

“We have been working with children and families for many years and for quite some time we have seen how the issue of labels affected the development of children because it does not allow them to develop freely and completely “, explains the psychologist Alberto Soler at EFEsalud.

Soler, who understands labels as a mechanism that helps us simplify the world, sees them as a problem when we start to apply them to people, since “they are very easy to apply, but very difficult to remove.”

“It is something that in a very important way ends up limiting the development of the person,” he says, “since when it comes to relating or perceiving himself, he ends up behaving according to the label that has been put on him .”

This fact, he points out, is especially notorious among siblings, where comparisons are inevitable and conflicts are common.

“When you have siblings, many times one of them has been labeled in a certain way, which causes the other to behave in a different way because he needs to differentiate himself,” he explains.

“Many times we also put on the labels that they put on us as part of the need we have to differentiate ourselves, to show what our identity or personality is to others,” he adds, and advises: “We have to try to be as descriptive as possible to when talking to our children, enter into the minimum value judgments and not correct by making a comparison with another person ”.

Grow in a safe environment

Fear, jealousy, gender differences, dependency or disobedience are some of the themes that are explored throughout Children without labels, but a fundamental idea underlies all of them: the importance of growing up in a safe environment that Allow children to express themselves freely and respond to their needs.

“Normally, we take into account needs such as food, security, health or shelter, but they are not the only needs that children have,” says Soler.

And it is that children, despite the fact that “they are in a struggle for autonomy”, are people who “depend on their family to survive and get ahead on a daily basis.” ” Children need to feel that they belong to their environment, that they can participate, ” says Soler, who adds: “All that in the end ends up having an impact on that feeling of security and on the way in which they face their day-to-day life. its environment”.

kids without labels
The economic and social conditions in which we find ourselves make it difficult to reconcile work and family. EFE / ATIENZA

For Alberto Soler, it is necessary that the dedication that we give to children “ helps them feel safe and accompanied ” because, otherwise, they will end up having significant repercussions on their future.

The psychologist considers that the economic and social conditions in which we find ourselves make it difficult to reconcile work and family, which can affect the education we offer our children.

” Conciliation is still a pending issue  that is especially affecting women,” says Soler, who defends demanding that the public powers “have a serious, important and decisive involvement in policies to support and promote paternity.”

Public aid

Soler demands that the public authorities place childhood as a priority, “that not only the needs of adults are noticed, but also that of children”, and that they begin to “listen to the voice of childhood”, a right recognized by the Convention on the Rights of the Child . “Today decisions are made about them but without listening to what their preferences are or what their needs are,” he criticizes.

In addition, it calls for an “ increase in maternity leave ”, since “they are among the lowest within the European Union”. “They are not even enough to be able to accompany babies during the six months of exclusive breastfeeding recommended by the WHO, ” he says.

In this sense, he points out that these permits must be “flexible”, that families can “freely choose how to organize them” to adapt them to their “reality”, and recalls a historical request: ” direct aid per dependent child that is universal for all families ”, since the economy plays a decisive role in ensuring that children’s basic needs are covered.

“They are a series of measures that are present in many other countries, but in Spain we have not managed to start with real commitment,” he laments.

Changes in education

In recent years, the way in which parents educate their children has evolved, moving away from certain violent attitudes that prevailed in the past.

“There is a progressive awareness of this issue,” says Alberto Soler, who highlights that ” we have more and more families who are concerned about educating and raising their children in a conscious way .”

However, the psychologist also admits that “there is still a long way to go”, and that there needs to be “more depth at the social level” so that the rights of children are “recognized” and put “at the same level as children. of the rest of the people without any type of discrimination ”.

In this sense, Soler emphasizes the tone with which we address children, sometimes with implicit violence that we would not tolerate if we spoke with an adult, and calls for us to increase “the awareness that children are fully Right to which we must be able to respect ”.

Physology Health

Ten sports activities for ten psychological disorders

Regulating your body to learn to control your mind is possible thanks to physical activity and perseverance. The study “Sports and mental health” lists which ten sports practices are most recommended according to the ten most frequent psychological disorders in the Spanish population

sport mental health

Greater self-esteem, better humor or more confidence in oneself are some of the innumerable benefits that the habitual practice of sport has on mental health. Balance between mind and body is even more essential when suffering from a psychological disorder .

Under this premise, Gympass, a corporate wellness program, and Ifeel , an online psychologist application, present the study Sports and Mental Health . A report that collects the sports activities that best alleviate the most common psychological disorders in Spanish society.

“From the point of view of psychology we belong to the field of mental health and any aspect that can enhance it is of interest to us”, explains Rafael San Román to EFEsalud, a psychologist from the Ifeel platform, about how the idea of This studio.

The report is based on the knowledge of the experts from both entities and on the stimuli perceived by the patients who come to their service. San Román emphasizes that it is important to know yourself, your goals and limits, since not all sports activities are suitable for everyone.

active aging
Women exercising in a park to lead a healthy lifestyle. Moderate physical activity contributes to the health of the body and mind / EFE / Alejandro Ernesto

“The question is to find what type of exercise works well for each one depending on the objective pursued,” says the expert.

The key for the psychologist when proposing physical activity as a complement to therapeutic work is not to be guided by stereotypical recipes that may be applicable to anyone .

The characteristics of the individual, the objective pursued and its context are elements to take into account when recommending a physical activity. “You have to dialogue with each individual to know within their characteristics and their tastes what is realistic for them to do,” says the Ifeel expert.

Consistency is another fundamental point. “Learning to regulate your body with sport is not a matter of five days or five minutes,” stresses San Román. The key between mental health and sport lies in perseverance and in the correct choice of activity according to the disorder suffered.

sport mental health

A sport for every problem

  1. Anxiety-Yoga:  This physical and mental discipline that helps control breathing, manage emotions and achieve awareness of the body.
  2. Depression-Boxing : Whether in the ring or against a bag, large amounts of endorphin are released, a natural mood booster. In addition, it enhances confidence and self-esteem.
  3. Panic Attacks – Pilates:  This activity helps those who are prone to panic attacks to master their body and control impulses. Provides the ability to concentrate, useful in the event of a possible panic attack.
  4. Insomnia-Running:  for this type of pathologies it is very beneficial to practice sports such as running. Improves blood circulation and heart rate allowing the body to relax and facilitate rest.
  5. Lack of social skills-Team sports:  the difficulties of interaction with others are related to the lack of communication skills and self-esteem problems. Sports like soccer, basketball, or volleyball are great for improving social relationships. Simple and clear messages are key in this type of practice.
  6. Difficulties with loneliness-Swimming:  swimming is a sport that is practiced individually, so it can be convenient for those who do not tolerate being alone well. It isolates from the outside and helps to focus attention on oneself in a space where we are alone.
  7. Couple problems-Ballroom dancing  any sport as a couple can be effective, but ballroom dancing is the best allies. They encourage physical contact, the coordination of both, they can be fun and keep the couple entertained in a shared action and not arguing.
  8. Low self-esteem-Indoor cycling:  sport in general is very beneficial for self-esteem problems. It favors the production of neurotransmitters related to pleasure, relaxes and helps to have a more toned body. All of this improves the way we see ourselves. Indoor cycling helps you burn fat and tone while you enjoy some time in company and music.
  9. Duel-Karate:  For those who have lost a loved one it is beneficial to practice sports such as karate. It helps to unload emotions and favors anchoring in the here and now.
  10. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -Taichi:  Taichi requires rigorous training, high concentration, coordination and control over the body. Developing these capacities is very beneficial when dealing with ADHD.
Physology Health

Do we know how to live in solitude?

Living alone is not as easy as it seems. Dealing with constant loneliness can lead to discomfort or the feeling of not feeling worthy of company. To learn how to cope with this lifestyle Francie Healey, wellness advisor and nutritionist, publishes her new book Honjok, the art of living alone, a manual with recommendations

summer cancer patients

EFE / Villar López

The current coronavirus pandemic has forced many for the first time to confront home confinement and experience what it means to live alone.

Although living alone, with its advantages and disadvantages, has become a true lifestyle trend, do we know how to live alone?

This is the question that the American author Francie Healey , a graduate in Sociology and Criminal Justice and counselor for well-being and nutrition, tries to solve in her new work Honjok, the art of living in solitude  (Dome Books, Planeta publishing house).

Honjok is a South Korean term for those who identify as loners . Nowadays, more and more people choose to live alone as a result of the isolation that technology and social networks represent.

Live in solitude
Francie Healey, Wellness and Nutrition Counselor, author of Honjok. The art of living alone / Photo courtesy of Planeta editorial

This book is a personal growth manual that tries to make the most of loneliness . Based on practical advice and strategies, the author helps the reader to make plans alone.

Healey invites you to consider the benefits of living alone through self-reflection. Living alone forces oneself to know our wants and needs while exploring loneliness, self-worth, and freedom from the inside out.

For this expert, this process is essential to achieve the necessary well-being “to establish our own limits and direct our lives in an authentic and meaningful way.”

Divided into four headings, Honjok, the art of living in solitude , deals with the following aspects:

  1. Tribes of One: Dedicated to Korean Honjoks
  2. A state of mind: to be alone or to feel alone?
  3. The art of awareness
  4. Acts of loneliness

Loneliness is a state of mind

One of the lessons in this manual is that being alone, comfortable or not, is a state of mind.

For some, loneliness is a very precious state and they enjoy their own company. Others, however, have serious problems tolerating loneliness and need others.

The difference is that while there are people who take it as an opportunity for reflection and rest, a part of the population considers that they are not enough and they fear the stillness that it entails.

Francie Healey believes that the key is to understand that  “being alone is a choice; loneliness, no ” .

Acknowledging the feeling of loneliness is the first step in alleviating the feeling of loneliness. The author indicates that once this has been achieved, the next step is to adopt measures that lead to small changes.

Interacting with others to gain confidence, connecting online with people who share your likes, volunteering or adopting a pet are just some of the expert’s recommendations.

Importance of healthy relationships

Mutual support is another essential component of wellness, but choosing the right people is important.

psychology, loneliness
Honjok cover. The art of living in solitude by Francie Healey / Courtesy image

Healey indicates that we can come to perceive great loneliness when our connections are a fake “because not all connections are the same . 

Some are support-based, enriching, and allow you to thrive. Others are destructive, stressful, and disappointing.

The fact that the latter cause anxiety and frustration is one of the reasons, he notes, that drives many people to adopt a honjok (tribes of one) lifestyle .

Finally, explain that being alone has nothing to do with being an introvert. “Introverts do not have a monopoly on the enjoyment of alone time, just as the enjoyment of company is not exclusive to extroverts . 

The sociologist clarifies that introverts can also enjoy with others, only that they tend to prefer small groups and more intimate connections.