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What Robin Williams Can Teach Us

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As much as we are interacting with people who are suffering from depression everyday-- research suggests that at any given time as many as one in ten adults is in its grips-- the suicide of the beloved, Robin Williams, shook us, stunned us, and saddened us greatly. It also left us with many questions, among them-- what can we do to help people with depression? Here are my thoughts with special help from my friend, depression-insider, Therese Borchard.

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How to Take Charge of Back-to-School Fears

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What's a parent's first instinct when a child is afraid? To reassure, to take away the fear, to tell your child that everything is going to be okay. If only that worked! In this post we see how asking your child the right questions about her fears can be even more powerful than giving reassurance, because it shifts kids out of worry mode and into thinking mode-- and that's exactly the mode they need to be in for school, and for life! Here's to a great school year for all!

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What to Do When Your College Student is Homesick

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This week as students are heading off to college, parents are wondering-- what do they do when their child is unhappy or homesick? Is it a sign of trouble, or just a normal sign of change? This is normal! Teaching your children (young adults) how transitions work is your new job. Here are many ideas to get you started.

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8 Ways To Get Rid of Perfectionism and Live a Better Life

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I was in my favorite coffee shop recently (I would walk very far for the best iced Americano in town) and the barista was dumping out a latte that just wasn't up to snuff for her. I joked that perfectionism is only important when it comes to making coffee. She laughed and said, no, perfectionism is important everywhere. We got into a whole discussion about whether perfectionism was really sustainable, and how it is different from striving for excellence. In the end we agreed to disagree (I think it's just a matter of time; she's young) and I enjoyed my delicious drink. But it got me thinking about how destructive perfectionism can be to a person's well-being, not to mention productivity, so I am reposting this piece I wrote on the topic a bit ago. Here's to striving for excellence (not perfection)!

 

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Happy Birthday to Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Second Edition is Here!

freeing your child from anxiety revised editionHello all! The day has arrived, the Second Edition of Freeing Your Child from Anxiety is on the shelves as of today! You can check out the book on amazon by clicking here. Meanwhile, here is an excerpt to give you a preview of how anxiety disorders, though as many as 1 in 5 children, and 1 in 4 adults suffer from them, can be treated and even prevented. Here's to less worry all around. In your own head, and beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Freeing Your Child from Anxiety Second Edition is Almost Here!

small coverHappy summer every one! I have been hard at work this past year on a revised edition of my 2004 book, Freeing Your Child from Anxiety. In the mail today, I just received the finished books! They will be availabile in stores and online on July 29th, 2014, but you can pre-order by clicking here. I am really excited about the new edition. It has three new chapters, and... an additional 160 pages of text, and... lots and lots of wonderful new illustrations courtesy of my amazing husband, Phil Stern, and lots of new strategies including a "Do It Today" section at the end of every chapter. Check it out! Here's a sample "Do It Today" to get you started. You can try it on your child, or get a "two-for-one" and try it on yourself. Here's to less worry all around!

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How to Not Pass on Stress to Your Kids

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Recently I had the pleasure of talking with my dear friend, Dr. Dan Gottlieb on his NPR radio show, Voices in the Family. His guests, Drs. Sara Waters and Wendy Mendes from University of San Francisco were reporting on their study of the transmission of stress from mother to infant. It was a great conversation, and you can listen to the program here. The take away message was very positive-- that parents can do so much to manage their stress and importantly "repair" their connection with their child if stress gets in the way-- through apologies, loving gestures-- and just spending time together. In otherwords, we don't have to pass on our stress, we can clean it up as we go. Here's a piece I wrote to share these ideas. 

 

 

 

 

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How to Handle a Personal Crisis at Work

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Divorce, health problems, taking care of sick children, taking care of sick parents-- none of us are immune from these challenges which can impact every aspect of our day to day life. It's hard enough to handle the stress of a personal crisis itself, but how do we do so in the context of our jobs when people are depending on us? I had the pleasure of talking with Business Insider journalist, Jacquelyn Smith, about how to manage a crisis in the work context in a way that minimizes, as much as possible, our own stress as well as that of our colleagues.

 

 

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Teaching Children to Succeed in Sports by Managing Their Mindset

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As an anxiety therapist who works with kids with perfectionism, especially around sports, I always appreciate when the Olympics come around. By watching these unparalleled feats of human agility, grace, strength and beauty and also seeing that things don't always go as planned, children can learn that excellence isn't the same as perfection and that true mastery can often be measured (in gold!) by how quickly one bounces back from disappointment and mis-steps. You'll learn in this blog post strategies to teach kids how to increase their mental agility in sports-- just like the pros.

 

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The Valentine's Day Post: How One Simple Word Can Transform Your Relationship

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It's almost Valentine's Day, and while we scramble to find the perfect gift, maybe we've already got it! Researchers at University of California Berkeley have found the secret to love and connection can be revealed in the words we use in our relationships. What's the word that packs the most power? The one that is woven through the conversations of happy couples? It's the word "we." Check out why. And happy Valentine's day dear readers!

 

 

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Holidays 2013: Finding Meaning In What We Already Have

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Holiday stress is upon us. Wanting to create perfect holiday experiences and memories, we rush around making sure everything is just right. Maybe the real secret to meaningful holidays is right under our noses. Check out this story that a friend told me that made me say-- aha and thankfully rescued me from the holiday-frenzy.

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The 4 Steps to Overcoming Anxiety

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I love collaborations, and ones that happen by surprise-- how cool is that? Last Friday I got an email from my friend and colleague, Therese Borchard, author of the incredibly brave and inspiring memoir: Beyond Blue: Surviving Anxiety and Depression and Making the Most Out of Bad Genes  and super blogger at Psych Central, Belief Net and Everyday Health (and probably lots of other places too). She told me that she had written this blog post about my 4 step plan to overcoming anxiety, based on my book Freeing Yourself from Anxiety. I love her humor and how she crystalized 300+ pages into a few hundred words, so I had to share. Click here to read her post. Here's to collaborations with great friends and, as always, here's to less worry all around.

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The Cicadas are Coming! Interview with Laurie Tarkan, New York Times

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For the cicadas, it's the summer of love, for those with bug phobia, not so much-- it's more like the summer of dread, fear, disgust and even canceling all outdoor plans and locking the doors and windows up tight. As with any fear, the more we avoid, our imagination takes over and the worse the fear gets.

How do we take charge of our fears? By getting accurate information and controlling what we can: we can't control the bugs, but we can control our reaction to the bugs. Are they disgusting awful creatures? Or just one more part of nature (albeit a creepy crawly part)? See the difference? I had the pleasure of talking to New York Time's writer, Laurie Tarkan about how to manage entomophobia (the technical term). Click here to read this great piece.

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How to Apologize: Overcoming the Fear of Saying Your Sorry

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I've been thinking about apologies lately and it reminded me of a blog post I wrote about a year ago on that very topic. How is it that apologizing-- the very thing that repairs relationships—the closest thing to a relationship magic wand that we've got— is so hard for us to do? One key is to shift the mindset and remember that though an apology is something that we give to another person, it is also something that we give to ourselves. We unburden ourselves, and can ground ourselves in the understanding that we don't have to hide our mistakes or imperfections, that it is through our vulnerability that we connect and connect most strongly. Another key is to remember that you are apologizing for what you did, not for who you are. And then of course it's helpful to keep in mind that people are generally very grateful and appreciative when we do apologize. So basically, apologies are a relationship win-win. Check out the blog post and happy, healthy apologizing! Click here to read the post.

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How to Not Let Anxiety Fake or Freak You Out: Dr. Chansky's Talk at Drexel

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How many times have we "what if'd" ourselves out of taking risks, only to find after the fact that our worst fears weren't even in the ballpark of what actually happened? How many times have we sort of known that all along, but can't seem to turn off the anxiety alarm in our heads? In a recent talk I gave at Drexel University as part of their Mental Health Awareness Week, invited by the student-run group, Active Minds, I spoke about how to not let your amygdala (the emergency control center of the brain) ruin your day or your plans-- or your life!  Click here to read highlights of that talk from this excellent summary in the Drexel On-line Newspaper, The Triangle. 

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Overcoming Retirement Anxiety

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Retirement. Many of us fear that we'll never get there, others of us who are getting close to the magic 65, well, we're worried too! Is retirement so different from everything else in life that we have no idea how to manage it? Or, can the coping skills that have gotten us this far help us with this transition too? Short answer: we are more prepared than we think. 


Click here to check out this guest blog post I wrote on Forbes.com about beating the retirement blues.

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Kids and Sports: 8 Strategies to Take Charge of Disappointment and Stay in the Game

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Is your child an anxious athlete? Did you sign your child up for a sports team thinking what a good experience it would be, only to find... it's not. If you have a child whose stomach is in knots before a practice or a game, or who is miserable and so hard on him or herself when things don't go perfectly-- don't give up and don't let your child give up either! Check out this article I wrote about how to teach your child to become a resilient athlete.  It's not about lowering the standards, it's about lowering the stakes. 

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Overcoming Job Interview Anxiety: How to Be Calm, Cool and Confident

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We've all had the interview anxiety dreams-- whether we are awake or asleep-- we are asked the trick question like-- "Tell me why you think you're right for this job?," and suddenly our throat is parched, our hearts are racing and as hard as we try to utter a sound, nothing will come out. Even though real life doesn't turn out that way, those bad dreams don't help our confidence going into an interview. But there are plenty of things we can do that will help. Here's a great article by Jacquelyn Smith at Forbes about overcoming job interview jitters,  for which I was honored to be interviewed. Click here to read the full article.

 

 

 

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Surviving College Rejection Letters: What To Do When A School Says No

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Following up on my recent blog post on handling college admission stress, Here is a piece I wrote last year about college rejection letters. So many parents wrote in after I published it telling me how grateful they were to have some guidance on this topic, because they were really struggling too. It's a statistical fact of life: rejection letters will happen. But it's what happens after the rejection that matters most. Here are tips for parents and students to stay on track and not get derailed by misinterpreting the meaning when a college says no.

 


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How to Mange College Admissions Stress

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No one is immune from the stress of the college admissions process-- one that for some kids (and parents) feels like it really started somehow back in elementary school. Is your child's future dependent on what comes in the mail? Is there really life beyond the thin envelope? At the moment of impact, the answer is no. But after the brief flatline, when it feels like the horizon of your child's future has dropped out of sight for both you and your child, there is a resounding -- yes. In this article, parents and teachers can learn how to help kids to put this moment in perspective and see that no matter what happens come April 15th, they have their whole life ahead of them. Click here to read this article on Huffington Post.

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How to Overcome Anxiety About Changing Jobs

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Jobs can be stressful, and changing jobs can be even more so. A recent survey found that 1 in 5 adults will change jobs this year-- but none of us like change, even change that we may choose. I had the opportunity to speak recently with Lisa Davis on It's Your Health Network about what to do to maximize the benefits of change and minimize the pain.  You can listen to the interview by clicking here and scrolling down to Dr. Tamar Chansky: 

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