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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 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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Embracing the Power of Imperfection in Your Relationship

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Happy Valentine's Day. Yes, this is a day dedicated to love and connection, but if you're not exactly feeling it, don't worry! Maybe you and your partner got off on the wrong foot this morning and you're thinking-- "What's wrong with us, we're supposed to be happy, it's Valentine's Day!"  It's time for a re-think. If we don't fear the glitches and bumps in the road in our relationships, we may find that they are the very pathways to a deeper connection. Here's how.

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How to Overcome Fear of Change at Work (Forbes)

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Are you afraid of change? Aren't we all? 1 in 5 Americans will be looking for a new job in 2013. If you are one of them, or you know someone who is, check out this article by Jacquelyn Smith on Forbes.com. I had the pleasure of speaking with her about how we can summon the courage to rise to the occasion when it's time to change jobs. Remember that today's change is tomorrow's old news. It's just a matter of time.

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A Parent's Response to Kids' Disappointments

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No one likes to lose, but for some kids losing isn't a superficial scratch on the ego, it goes deep. In fact the reason why some kids have trouble losing is that they can't hold on to who they were before the loss; instead, no matter how many successes they had under their belt, the loss transforms them irrevocably into a loser. It's as if each game is a gamble where they put all their chips on the table, and if they lose, they're cleaned out of all of their assets. If this is starting to sound like some of the adults you know, including yourself, read on, the solutions are pretty much one size fits all. These strategies will help your child maintain perspective when there are disappointments and encourage positive coping skills.

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What is the Secret to Keeping Your Resolutions? Allow Imperfection.

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Research shows that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so now is a good time to asses how those new year's resolutions are going. I set a goal to do crunches everyday, and two weeks into the new year I can say I've probably done them 50% of the time. Some might look at this as failure and give up, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm succeeding half the time! It shows I'm building commitment and at the same time fulfilling one of my other resolutions: to allow imperfection.

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6 Steps to Setting Sustainable New Year's Resolutions

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Chances are – the average New Year’s resolution list looks the same as last year’s: lose weight, stop smoking, save money and find your soul mate. While 45 percent of the U.S. population usually set goals, one-fourth never succeed.

We think this year is going to be different, that we are going to accomplish our goals. Self-improvement is a good thing; the problem is we make resolutions that are vague or that we can’t control, which leads us to feeling disappointed when we don’t succeed. Allowing for a little imperfection in your resolutions is a good thing. Here are 6 steps to setting sustainable resolutions this year.

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7 Ways to Cope with Family Stress During the Holidays

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Ah, how magical to celebrate the holidays with family. Oh, wait... really? With... family? @&%#!, with family?! This year, do yourself a favor -- if you want to thrive (and not lose your mind) during the holidays, give yourself a gift: Expect what's most likely to happen. If you're wrong and things go great, all the better! But if you're right and history repeats itself, no harm, no foul, no nervous breakdown. Here are some ideas for freeing yourself from anxiety during family gatherings.

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

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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)

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"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

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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

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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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