Peter Smanjak

It Doesn’t Make Sense! Why is My Brain Taking Strain?

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There’s a phrase we all keep hearing: “It doesn’t make sense.” When it concerns mental health during these past months, it really does not make sense what many of us are experiencing and witnessing today.

We’ve heard it from citizen journalists, from hospital and police force whistleblowers, and from otherwise compliant and law abiding self-quarantiners whose personal, lived experience simply isn’t adding up to what they are being told is happening by mainstream media. And all this is impacting our mental health in a way greater than we can ever imagine. Nonstop media and social media coverage of coronavirus has generated unprecedented levels of fear, panic and anxiety.

man, face, head


In our consulting practice we meet with executives on a one-on-one, coaching them through functional medicine (non-drug approach) healing protocols. What we are experiencing at this time is an unexplainable pressure of uncertainty that is leading to greater stress.  In addition the pressure is leading to worry and loss of sleep.

You know the immune system has a job to respond to disease pathogens and viruses. What about building immunity in the community against the current mental trauma, the lack of energy and the glum atmosphere when being out and about?

One thing we know for sure is that South African people are resilient and can rise up against adversity. The question is “Can we do this by ourselves’? The answer has been studied extensively, is quality of life, mental health and longevity require community. Family, friends and a trusting community.

Mental Model

artificial intelligence, brain, think


What does your mind think when you read a message that says:

“No one has died from the coronavirus”
Important revelations shared by Dr Stoian Alexov, President of the Bulgarian Pathology Association.

Webinar and link to notes available here.

Be aware of the feeling you experience when having a thermal thermometer raised to your head like a gun. I for one, have changed this by having the appointed official point the thermometer to my wrist for the temperature reading. What an invasion of my personal self. How about this type of action being pumped throughout media channels, conditioning us that it’s standard practice. How can this be? See IOL story with graphic and head. IOL Link

How reliable are forehead infrared thermometers for Covid-19 screening in South Africa?

How reliable are forehead infrared thermometers for Covid-19 screening in South Africa?


What about your mask, how does that feel and what is the faulty science reporting and agenda behind mask wearing if randomised studies have proven that mask wearing does not help. And in the beginning of lockdown I was inundated with international reports and studies on both sides for and against masks.

The Great Mask Divide

art, mask, head


Masks have become one of the most controversial issues of our time. Those who are seen in public without a mask are often judged and discriminated against, even if they have a condition that precludes compliance. Harassment and discrimination have become rampant, and fellow citizens are policing each other with very little to no knowledge of why someone may or may not be wearing a mask.

Even in communities that have mask exceptions for certain members of the population, those individuals are no longer allowed to fully participate in society because businesses are barring them or won’t provide services to them without a mask. It’s a breach of an individual’s privacy and autonomy to not be able to go into public without being discriminated against, and banning people from entering or participating in society because they don’t wear a mask violates their constitutional rights.

These types of breaches have sparked lawsuits nationwide from individuals claiming they have been personally or financially harmed from mandatory mask measures.  Some also contend that forcing people with medical conditions to wear masks violates Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability of “enjoyment of services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations by any person who … operates a place of public accommodation.” As excerpted from Stand For Health Freedom where you can go down the rabbit hole and follow seventy one references to the article.

Individual Health

people, woman, stretching


Individual health Is the responsibility of the individual, not the Government 

With unbridled governmental control throughout much of 2020 — under the guise of emergency orders needed to curb coronavirus — citizens from coast to coast have seen their civil, constitutional and religious rights trampled upon. An onslaught of executive orders have shaped nearly every aspect of our personal lives, from where we can go and what activities we’re allowed to engage in, to how we educate our children, to how we earn a living, to how we worship. 

They have also dictated which medical philosophies we embrace and which medical treatments we can receive. In doing so, we’ve been extremely restricted in how we’ve been able to care for ourselves and support our immune systems — and we’ve been asked to follow guidelines that are not evidence-based “for the greater good.”

Although the government plays a role in controlling the spread of infectious illness, adults are responsible for their own health; each person has the right to responsibly make choices about what precautions and perceived risks they take. It’s not incumbent on government officials to direct individual health decisions, and granting them this power is dangerous. Individuals are much more qualified than public servants to weigh the risks and benefits of their own personal actions.

Public officials should not impose mandates to seek compliance. Mandates perpetuate the idea that individuals lack the moral or intellectual capacity to make sound decisions for themselves and their children, so the state needs to do it for them. Individuals are capable of making responsible decisions, and those decisions must take a person’s whole health into account.

The health of the individual cannot be forsaken or sacrificed for the collective. We can only have a healthy society when that society is made up of healthy individuals. Health is a personal right and responsibility. It is not something that we should look to the government to bestow on us or guarantee. As excerpted from Stand For Health Freedom.

Our Children

students, mouth guard, corona


What message is being given to our children?

How do we rise above all of what is happening? What do we do to show our children the right way. Sit back and obey or rise up to personal freedom. We can start at building or rebuilding our community in our home, at work and in the neighbourhood? Each one of us are responding or reacting as we know best. No one has prepared us for this show. 

Feeling Victimised

If you find yourself or someone you know in the situation that feels as though we are being mentally tortured, I refer to the work of Sam Vaknin who is an expert in what is referred to as ‘tortue and abuse’. This is not as you would think of torture, but rather a calculated subtle approach without one even knowing.

Sam Vakrin describes how torture robs the victim of the most basic modes of relating to reality and, thus, is the equivalent of cognitive death. Space and time are warped by sleep deprivation. The self (“I”) is shattered. The tortured have nothing familiar to hold on to: family, home, personal belongings, loved ones, language, name. Gradually, we lose our mental resilience and sense of freedom. We feel alien — unable to communicate, relate, attach, or empathize with others. Could this be what is currently unexplainable? Click here for a few of his talks.

For improving your mental health, when you go bed tonight, will your mind kick into overdrive as you begin playing out the thousands of scenarios happening or what you read in this article, or do you go to bed and being conscious that it’s time to sleep, you sleep?

Key Learnings

Twelve years ago through a coaching process, I learnt that my mind, was wired to playing out scenarios of confusion and finding solutions. It’s a process of, if this, then that, until it finds its answer. And so it goes on, and on and on. Until it’s exhausted itself to sleep. For risk managemen it works amazingly. For dealing with trauma, it’s a night terror. 

What I learnt about how my mind works, I could put it to bed (pardon the pun) and stop the mind taking over my sleeping dance. When I sleep, I sleep. It’s called sleeping consciously, even when falling into slumber.

Echart Tolle wrote on the power of now, and if you apply it into you own life, your health could already improve from taking greater control of the mind chatter. Stress, is a killer, a weight gainer, a hormone disruptor, a skin wrinkler contributor 🙂 and a co-factor to aging before your time. 

All Things Health

So, our work is all things health. When reducing health costs, for one, we do not subscribe to the mainstream advisory noise of what is meant to work and has proven not too. What am I speaking about is how you improve wellbeing of every employee while at the same time reducing associated costs and corporate health spend.

Why pay away anything to an insurer when you could be investing your hard earned wage into yourself, your family, or your company.

Sounds counterintuitive coming from someone, who on the one side, is part of one of the largest financial services company in South Africa. Let me say that it is not conterintutive, it’s the opposite. We would love to connect with you, your organisation and show how we can build a healing community, one step at a time.

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