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Master Table of Contents for Miscellaneous Books and Tapes

Miscellaneous book notes - (File 5)


Table of Contents


Power of Positive Thinking, Norman V. Peale

Staying Happy In An Unhappy World, Marie Chapian

When I Say No I Feel Guilty, Manuel Smith, 1975

Relaxation Response - Herbert Benson

Feelings, William Galin



Power of Positive Thinking Norman Vincent Peale */ - (read in spring of 1994 while I was going through my divorce with the Russian & was very helpful at the time)

From intro: ... written to suggest techniques and give examples to demonstrate that you do not need to feel defeated by anything, that you can have peace of mind, improved health, and a never ceasing-flow of energy.

"I do not ignore or minimize the hardships and tragedies of the world, but neither do I allow them to dominate."

... assume control over circumstances rather than be directed by them.

.. simple, practical, direct-action personal improvement manual.

First sentence: Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. But with self-confidence you can succeed. A sense of inferiority and inadequacy interferes with the attainment of your hopes, but self-confidence leads to self-realization and successful achievement.

.. to build up feelings of self-confidence the practice of suggesting confidence concepts to your mind is very effective. If your mind is obsessed by thoughts of insecurity and inadequacy it is, of course, due to the fact that such ideas have dominated your thinking over a long period of time. Another and more positive pattern of ideas must be given the mind, and that is accomplished by repetitive suggestion of confidence ideas. In the busy activities of daily existence thought disciplining is required if you are to re-educate the mind and make of it a power-producing plant. p8

We build up the feeling of security or insecurity by how we think. p. 10. ... And what is even more serious is the tendency to create, by the power of thought, the very condition we fear.

Dr. Karl Menninger said: "Attitudes are more important than facts". ... Any fact facing us, however difficult, even seemingly hopeless, is not so important as our attitude toward that fact. How you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. 13.

List all the things you have going for you when you face a problem. (if you are religious think that God is helping you. For if he is on your side, if he is guiding you, you will be successful)

Go about your business on the assumption that what you have affirmed and visualized is true. Affirm it, visualize it, believe it, and it will actualize itself. Feelings of confidence depend on the type of thoughts that habitually occupy your mind. Think defeat and you are bound to feel defeated. Emerson said: "They conquer who believe they can... and "do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain". Practice confidence and faith and your fears and insecurities soon will have no power over you. p 15

Summary: 1. Picture yourself as succeeding. 2. Whenever a negative thought comes to mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out. 3. Do not build up obstacles in your imagination. Instead tear them down by tearing them apart (paraphrased) 4. Do not compare yourself to others. (paraph) 5. Get a competent counselor to help you understand why you do what you do. Learn the origin of your inferiority and self-doubt feelings which often begin in childhood. Self-knowledge leads to a cure. 6. Practice self-affirmations, for example, Yes, I can. or I can do all things through belief in myself (or through Christ which strengtheneth me, if you are religious). 7. List all the things you have going for you. If religious: a) If god can be for us who can be against us b) I am in God's hands c)Remind yourself that God is with you and nothing can defeat you. (Except a bullet, for example)

Chapter 2 " A peaceful mind generates power"

Go to bed with a mind full of peace, not trouble.(pp) "The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence." p 19.

A primary method for gaining peace is to practice emptying the mind. p. 21 22: Definitely practice emptying your mind of fears, hates, insecurities, regrets, and guilt feelings. ... after you have emptied your mind of all the old, unhappy thoughts immediately start refilling it with creative and healthy thoughts. (pp) p.23


Staying Happy In An Unhappy World, Marie Chapian */

Victim Vs. Survivor

Victim: Thinks that because bad things have happened, they always will; everything always happens to me, I never win, I always get shit on, everything is unfair, so and so shouldn't have done such and such to me, no one likes me, I can't trust anyone, no one understands me, no one cares about me or my troubles; expects bad things to happen, expects the worst, dwells on the past, dwells on the negatives, look for outward solutions/distractions/band-aids (other people, drugs, food, alcohol, sex, television), manufactures misery, makes others feel bad, lacks motivation-->energy, so is constantly fatigued

Survivors: think about the future, learn from bad experiences, are thankful for what they have, look for the positive, create positive, knows that problems are not the "end of the world", knows they do have friends, family who care about them, don't rely on others to make them happy or solve their problems, look inward for solutions, create happiness, make others feel good.

(Above enlarged by SPH)



Relaxation Response-- Herbert Benson-1975

Summary: Excellent book. Well supported. Objective. Doesn't make wild claims like most new-age self-help books. And he doesn't try to suck us into any SBS. (spiritual bs)

Only criticism is he doesn't address causes of stress or suggest that we change anything in society or our lives. So it is just a "coping mechanism," not a solution to our fundamental problems.

But still, better than most short term quick- fix type approaches I have seen. If used in conjunction with raising ones EQ, it probably would become unnecessary after a while.

For the technique itself, see chapter seven.

Chapter One

p 16 Says we are victims of stress - disagree - we can chose to change our lives.

p 19 heart attacks, hardening of the arteries and strokes (all from hypertension) cause about 50% of deaths in US.

p 22 says most doctors don't know enough about emotional causes of stress - they just treat the physical symptoms - yep

and shrinks don't know enough about physical effects. true.

psychosomatic medicine includes both

p 24 he says we forget that we are just animals. Thank you! Please tell that to the xtians!

25 days fight or flight response (blood pressure, breathing, muscles, metabolism and heart rate changes) are used too frequently and this is killing us. [Like overstretching a rubber band- loses all its elasticity too early?- perhaps in the "old" days - we were weren't scared as often. Just when a lion came around - maybe just once a day or once a week. the rest of the time we climbed in trees, or swung in them... or gathered food safely.... now we are under almost constant stress - why- because of our thoughts - our constant thoughts causing fear in us- fear of disapproval, rejection, getting fired getting a ticket, getting hit, shot, robed, etc etc etc- In fact the world may be a scarier place for humans than it was 1 million years ago]

[So let them kill themselves - we just need to try to avoid their wars. Another reason NZ is good place- relatively isolated. Not a country that others want to invade or one which has pissed off a lot of people, like the United States, home of the Scientologists.]

p 26 he says there is a natural response to overstress - a way nature has designed for us to lower our heartbeat, blood pressure etc. He calls this the relaxation response.

he says it is similar to religious prayer - includes many of same components: (but this is not his way) see below... for "How to do it"

- quiet

- repetition of key word or phrase

- adoption of a passive attitude

- comfortable position

[interesting- makes sense]

Chapter Two

Talks about evolution, yay! I thought he might be another new age quack.

p 31 - 33 talks about single cell organisms at the beginning of evolution. How they took in nutrients and released waste without a circulatory system & how that didn't work so easily when we became multi-celled, so we needed digestive system, ateries etc. Interesting - makes sense.

42 talks about cholesterol

47 - 50 talks about effect of high blood pressure on heart (enlargest it) kidneys (decreases them) (Dan?), and brain (possible hemorrages- rmo Ellen)

p 53 says general of "stress" accounts for 90-95% of high blood pressure problems. But we don't have a good understand of stress, he points out. [good point! - but I can tell you a lot about it- so he is still addressing symptoms- I want to get closer to causes]

Chapter Three

p 55 he says word stress is "ill-defined and over, used, meaning different things to different people" yep- like lots of our words.

p 56 says any kind of change is stressful - has list on page 57 - death, divorce, seperation, jail top the list.

p 60 stress goes up in urban areas.

p 61 says less educated people who got similar promotions showed more stress - sure - they didn't feel as qualified, confident- wonder if this is related to blacks and heart disease. I think they have a pretty high incidence of it, higher than whites. Interesting.

ah, he talks about this in the next paragraph!

p 62

says that blacks in young adulthood to middle age suffer 3 to 12 times higher rates of high blood pressure. He asks the hypothetical question- are they genetically more suceptible to it, or are aren't they as qualified? He doesn't answer this, nor does he address why they aren't qualified if that is the case. ie he doesn't get into Bell Curve type argument (at least not so far...)

ah, he suggests that when the "socioeconomic status" is the same for whites and blacks, so is the hbp rate. But he doesn't address intelligence yet...and I wonder about their EQ. Both natural and learned. I would say learned is really low these days - telling them they are victims sure doesn't help.

p 64 talks about "hypertensive" personality. Doesn't like the term. Says it isn't proven that some people are more prone to hypertension by birth. I disagree. I would say they are the more sensitive people. The others literally don't care.

He says that studies show that "hypertensive individuals are persons who do not deal with their emotions well or who cannot let out their emotions." p 65

p 65 "... a crucial factor in the development of hbp is the necessity to cope with an environment requiring continuous behavioral adjustment." ie lots of changes. [but no change is deadly also..]

p 70 overstimulation of hypothalamus

(just checked index - amygdala not mentioned)

p 72 "Our inate reactions have not changed, but society has." [as I say in my book: we are more often psychologically threatened.]

this is our involuntary nervous system - or sympathetic nervous system

72-3 talks about the hormones: adrenaline, epinephrine, noradrenaline, norepinephrine (pfc- pretty friggin complicated!)

Chapter Four

77 talks about BF Skinner (behavior mod) and Neil Miller (biofeedback)

biofeedback can be used to control so called involuntary functions such as blood pressure. (neat stuff, but this is still not addressing causes)

79 training monkeys to lower their blood pressure

he says biofeedback works, but requires too much equipment & all they are doing is thinking anyhow. the equipment just provides the feedback so they can watch their results [i like the way he thinks!]

he also says just one function at a time is worked on - he wants to address all responses. [good idea - just reverse nature's process- very simple concept

p 81 talks about yogis who could do this stuff a long time ago.

83-84 talks about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the study at Harvard. (the meditators wanted to be studied but H initially rejected them)

p85 TM - (trans. meditation)

key word, relaxed position, (repetition of keyword blocks out other thoughts)

(like when I thought about water and swimming when I had my teeth cleaned)

86-87 more about the study. He got Maharishi's permission & cooperation. [very smart]

tested a bunch of people.

found that:

meditation reduced consumption of oxygen, slowing down of metabolism, "hypometabolism" similar to sleep, but takes effect faster! + more alpha waves 89-90

sleep and meditation are not substitutes for one another, he cautions. p 92

p 92 decrease in blood lactate (whatever that is!- evidently related to anxiety. less "l" less "a" so it is a +R) (r= correlation coefficient)

p 94-95 heartbeats per minute decreased about 3 bpm but blood pressure did not decrease.

p96 trophotropic response - Walter Hess figured out how to reverse fight or flight response in cats by zapping another part of hypohalamus. Benson says this is same as what he calls Relaxation Response (hell of a lot easier to say though!)

p 98, 99 nice table comparing effects of different techniques.

Chapter Five

p 104, 5 discusses term "altered consciousness" he defends it as more than something which a bunch of nuts do. He seems to say it is similar to or same as RR. Compares it to religious experience. Says it goes way back.

108-9 Pretty much says religion isn't necessary. uses quotes from other people. won't give his own opinion directly. clever.

p 113 talks about book "A Cloud of Unknowing" written by annonymous monk which talks about meditation. (Benson says he was probably afraid of getting in trouble with church)

rest of chapters gives lots of examples, using quotes, of meditative type practices- most of which fall under some category of religion. He cites xtianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, etc. Very thorough.

p. 139 In sum, ther appear to be certain common elements in almost all cultures which enable individuals to periodically change their everday mode of thinking.

[goal seems to be to stop all thoughts temporarily]

"Through our emotional attachments, our social feelings, our ideological beliefs, our sensory experiences, we are constantly diverting our thinking toward external factors."

He said we need a "different mental process" if we are to stop thinking externally.

Chapter Six - Decreasing blood pressure

describes test they did with TM

bp is lowered as long as they have regular TM sessions. But returns to previous level a few weeks after sessions stopped. p 145

then he starts calling it the relaxation response - seems it is just TM

he says don't try this alone! consult your doctor. [that will keep the doctors happier] p 147

150-153 says it lowered use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco [sure because they felt better and didn't need to escape-- but this is still not addressing causes!!]

he said they couldn't get many high school students to try TM. [not surprising- they are still having too much fun and think nothing is wrong & they can handle it alone & the pain is not so great that they are motivated to try something non-traditional, ie "weird," to relieve their pain]

Chapter Seven - How to do it

REVIEW of ** OLD** WAYS: p 159

1. quiet

2. A mental device (sound, word, phrase, fixed object) [some say focus on your breathing]

3. A passive attitude - This is the most important he says.

Don't struggle to chase away thoughts. Don't think about how well you are doing the technique. [like sex! - actually I think passively receiving sex might be better than this technique!]

4. Comfortable position.

he likes sitting because lying down might lead to sleep

His way: [The Long Awaited Relaxation Response]

1. Quiet, comfort

2. Close eyes

3. Relax muscles (progressive muscle relaxation)

4. breath through nose - be aware of breathing - He says repeat IN OUT One. IN OUT One (why one) I suggest IN OUT repeat IN OUT repeat

5. Continue for 10 to twenty minutes

6. Remain passive let any thoughts flow throw your mind & keep repeating phrase. [what if you try a positive message like "I am... Strong"?]

p 172 he cautions against over-use of meditation- said it can lead to sensory deprivation [ie balance- the key word]


"One should not use the Relaxation Response in an effort to shield oneself or to withdraw from the pressures of the outside world which are necessary for everyday functioning."

p 173

"The fight or flight response is often appropriate and should not be thought of as always harmful. It is a necessary part of pour physilogic and psychological makeup.." (italics)

He says we do not use the f/f response as our ancestors did. "That is, we do not always run, nor do we fight when it is elicited." [good point - so all these chemicals have no where to go... and this is what causes heart disease, muscle tension etc.- makes sense. Any negative emotions are on the continuum of f/f. So if we don't deal with them, they cause problems for us.]

Chapter Eight

p 176

"The people of the United States enjoy a standard of living and affluence beyond the majority of the world's people. But as indivuduals within this cornucopia, we are plagued by unhappiness."

"We seem never to be satisfied with what we have accomplished or what we posess."

"... even those who achieve the goals of monetary success and continued advancement are often not satisfied."

p 177

".. in our society we want more and we want it faster..." so we have no time for "relaxation or for appraising problems." [or for reflecting on our feelings.]

"Our answer, aided by excessive advertising, is often to take a pill."

He says proposes a "relaxation response break" instead of a cofee break. [good idea, but this 1975 book has pretty much been forgotten by now... how about an EQ break?]


Feelings, Willard Galin, M.D. (read July 98)


Feeling nothing is the most dangerous feeling of all.

Feelings are "signals directing us towards goodness, pleasure, safety and group survival." 3

[goodness is what is healthy - why don't people recognize this and stop using the subjective term "good"?]

"Feelings can, like every other aspect of our humanity, be corrupted from their original purposes." p 3

too much or too little of either hunger or anger is unhealthy - gluttony - passivity (sph pp)

"Mental illness is usually a mere disarray of the ingredients for survival. All that is necessary is rearrangement."

"Feelings are internal directives essential for human life."

pp: it is in the balance of our daily minute, by minute feelings that we "measure and value our lives." 4

Irresponsible release of negative emotions is like littering (pp)

He says "I myself feel that .... "

p 7 feelings are a guide in determining future behavior

Guilt helps us move closer to our ideals. 7

We have more freedom than other animals- but these also means more ootential to act unnaturally and unhealthily.- ex suicide + Killing the best among us. (sph)

8 contagious nature of emotions allows us to forewarn others (good point- also like yawning- all go to sleep at same time?)

"Emotions are contagious." p 8 Each individual serves as an extension of the whole - serving the needs of the group.. If one lone "spout" perceives danger, his very emotions advertise the fact. Words are not necessary.

So the emotions of the [sensitive ]scout act as an "early warning system." (good description)

"Certain feelings like shame force us to foregoe selfish pleasures for the beneit of the group at large. They indicate our unwitting sense that all individual survial is dependent on, and therefore must defer to, group survival. p 8

p 9 "Emotions are not only directives to ourselves, but from others to us, indicating that we have been seen; that we have been understood; that we have been appreciated; that we have made contact."

skipping to page 213 he says that psychiatrist pay little attention to feelings and psychologists even less. "..psychologists are for the most part behaviorists. They can live without emotions, and indeed prefer to do so. It is behavior which intrigues them.

Chap 4 Feeling Proud

p 75 "How in the world did a nice emotion like pride get elected first of the seven deadly sins? Why is it not one of the cardinal virtues?"

"Self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence-- all ingredients of pride-- are essential elements to adaptation." (ie survival) "They serve both the functional and the pleasure purposes of life."

[answer: to keep people in their "place"- to keep them humble and feeling unworthy, inferior, guilty. In short, to control them]

p 76 "Whether intended or not, the preaching of pride as a sin and humility as a virtue led to acceptance and passivity--and served to protect a social order of inequity."

"The number of the securely powerful are few indeed. Modern life has removed all confident security."

He says we don't identify with proud, powerful, secure people. Rather we are more likely to identify with "the unpowerful, the alieanated, or the anxious." He continues: "In this group it is humility that ought to be a sin, for it leads to despaira and encourages a tolerance of inequity and injustice." p 77

In the 17th century Spinoza said pride was "a pleasure arising from man's thinking too highly of himself."

In the 19th Schopenhauer said it is "an established conviction of one's own paramount worth in some respect."

20th: American Heritage dictionary: a sense of one's own proper dignity or value.


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