News

Talking to Our Children About Tragedy: Fostering Safety, Not Fear

gcoldironjr2003 / Foter / CC BY-ND

When talking with our children about tragedy, we can choose to emphasize grief and healing rather than fear and danger. Our purpose is to help our children recover and be resilient, not to be frightened of their lives. Here are several ideas to guide you in talking about the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut; these suggestions can be useful in general when helping your child through traumatic events.

 

 

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When Daily Stress Gets in the Way of Life (New York Times)

Stephen Poff / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

"Anxiety is a fact of life. I’ve yet to meet anyone, no matter how upbeat, who has escaped anxious moments, days, even weeks." -- Jane Brody. I am so honored to have had the opportunity recently to speak with Jane Brody of the New York Times. She wrote an amazing article about how anxiety can take over our life. Please take a moment to read it and share with anyone it might help.

 

 

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4 Steps to Anxiety-Free Eating this Holiday Season

Renée S. / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

When we’re stressed about the holiday rush, who is there to greet us? All those cookie trays and eggnog. And the worry about how much weight we are putting on may drive us back for another serving. How do you avoid holiday stress from literally weighing on us? Armed with a few powerful strategies, we can combat those fears and really enjoy ourselves.

 

 

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Freeing Your Holidays (and Yourself) From Anxiety: 6 Steps to Having More Joy and Less Stress

visualpanic / Foter / CC BY

The clock is ticking toward Thanksgiving and the holidays beyond, and two very different feelings are flashing on your emotional news feed: impending joy and impending doom.

OK, maybe doom is overstating it; dread may be closer to the mark. But let's face it, many of us are finding ourselves up at 3:00 in the morning checking our to-do lists and reviewing incessantly the parade of possible catastrophes: "Will my brined turkey be a disaster?" "Will everyone be happy with their gifts?" "How much weight (and debt) am I going to gain?" "What if my family doesn't get along?" "What if I'm not ready?" "What if I totally fail?!" Wait, are we preparing for the holidays -- or final exams?

It doesn't have to be this way.

It's time to change our relationship with the holidays.

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What's Wrong With Positive Thinking? Simple Strategies To Manage Your Thoughts

glass-half-fullPositive Thinking could be considered the high fructose corn syrup of the thinking world -- when forced. It's not necessary, natural, and research has found that it's not good for us when we have to sell ourselves on it.

All of us feel upset from time to time, and can, depending on the day or our temperament, slip or sprint into a place of self-loathing, world-loathing, hell. When we are in that place we don't need to be airlifted to Disney, we just want to re-route our perfect nose-dive towards utter misery. Just about any other destination will do. In that state of despair, the last logical thing to do--even it were humanly possible--is to do a back-breaking reach for the positive. If our children did that kind of maneuver in the middle of a tantrum we'd take their temperature or call an exorcist. Why? Because in that moment, we are essentially lying to ourselves. There's no rationale for it. Fake stuff doesn't work: nutritionally or emotionally.

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High Family Stress in Infancy Linked with Development of Anxiety in Teen Girls

stressed-infant-familyA long-term study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that children who grew up in high stress families are more likely to develop anxiety disorders in the teenage years-- this connection was only evident with girls, not with boys. This study highlights the need to support young parents and families.  To read about this on Psych Central, click here.

 

 

 

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Freeing Your Heart from Anxiety: How to Not Bring Worry on Your Next Date

eharmony-datingDating is like job interviewing for love. No it's not at all like that, but that's how anxiety might tell the story. So much anticipation, so many unknowns, so many what if's. It's not just this date that feels like it's on the line, it feels like our very ability to be loved is what's at stake. In this Q and A I did with eHarmony.com, you'll find many ideas for preventing anxiety on a date by leaving the worry at home.

Read the full interview and share with anyone who might benefit from reading it, too!

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Overcoming Procrastination (Now)

procrastinationI love writing in my local coffee shop, it is somehow my anti-procrastination strategy. I get away from all the distractions I have at home like the laundry and dishes and sorting through my mail, and have some focused work time. The funny thing is, lots of people of busily working on their laptops at the coffee shop, but maybe no surprise, when I walk by I see a good array of delay tactics: people playing solitaire or looking at facebook. Why do we procrastinate when it makes us so miserable? And more importantly, what can we do to get back to work?

Watch this interview I did with Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner on "A Better You," and read this related blog post, Overcoming Procrastination: 7 Strategies to Get the Job Done ...Today.

 

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Better Living Through Empathy: National Day Without Stigma

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October 7th-13th is National Mental Health Awareness Week. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): "An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older -- about one in four adults -- suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people."  With numbers this high, one would imagine that talking about mental health concerns would be as matter of fact as talking about a sore throat, or knee replacement surgery-- and as no-fault.  As anyone who has debated whether to tell friends or boss about their depression or anxiety knows, we're not nearly there yet. 

Stigma is the obstacle. On October 9th, the grassroots organization, activeminds.org is holding a National Day Without Stigma. Removing stigma isn't just good for those who suffer with a mental disorder, it is essential for all of us.

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How to (Best) Handle Criticism

None of us like to be told what we've done wrong, and yet, this is often a great way to learn and grow. How do we handle criticism best? Here are some ideas from my conversation with Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner on her program, A Better You. 

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Managing Tics and Tourette's: Catch What You Can

kids-tics-torretsIn this blogpost we take a closer look at the experiences of kids who have repetitive, involuntary actions otherwise known as "tics." Many of the children who have anxiety or symptoms of OCD also experiences tics. In fact, studies have found that as many as 50-85% of children with Tourette Syndrome (TS) also meet criteria for OCD. Common tics include eye-blinking, facial grimacing, nose scrunching, touching and clapping. Vocal tics include humming, throat clearing and squeaking. Let's take a look at the experience of tics: the causes, red-flags and solutions.

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Being an Effective Parent: Managing Your Own Feelings

being-an-effective-parentTry as we may to be the best parents we can be and not overreact or underreact to our children's behavior and emotions, we are human and sometimes things don't come out exactly (or even nearly) as we'd like. Here are some ideas about how to take care of our own emotions so we can be there for our kids.

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Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking: Help for the Pint-Sized Pessimist

pint-sized-pessimistI can't do anything right! Everything is wrong! I'm so stupid! What's the point? Such is the inner monologue (and sometimes outer outburst) that children suffering with negative thinking can have on a regular basis. The trigger is often something as small as dropping a pencil, or making a mistake on a test. How do we help kids think less negatively and more accurately (and not get pulled into the downward spiral ourselves?) Here are some answers!

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Mastering Transitions: Trust That You'll Adjust to the Changes In Your Life

Change is the one constant in life, and yet, when we face it, we feel totally unprepared and want to run the other way. Why is that and what can we do about it (especially considering that changes-- even the ones that aren't so good-- tend to turn out pretty well in the end)? Here's a piece I wrote on Huffington Post about mastering transitions, the bottom line:: trust that you'll adjust, it will help the adjustment happen faster.

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8 Strategies to Complain Your Way Into a Happier Relationship

Could a toilet seat lid start a revolution or a romance in a marriage? Both are possible. The choice is yours. Learning how to work together in a relationship will take you where you want to go. Sometimes you've got to complain that the lid is up, if you want it down, but there are "best practices" in complaining which will help the work, work. Here's a piece I wrote for Huffington Post that takes your relationship beyond toilet seat lids, toothpaste tube squeezing practices and beds (made or unmade)--  to the real deal: honoring and respecting  each other's preferences.

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8 Ways to Strive for Excellence Not Perfection 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, 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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How to Overcome Apology-Phobia

Given our propensity for hurting each other -- usually inadvertently through our clumsiness or our being inconsiderate -- getting good at apologizing should be standard-issue emotional equipment for membership in the human race. And it is. Any one can do it. Here are six strategies for letting those two most powerful words: I'm sorry, come out of your mouth. 

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