Archive for November, 2012

6 Ways Couples Can Connect During the Holidays

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

6 Ways Couples Can Connect During the Holidays Even though the holidays are about loved ones, they somehow don’t leave much time for couples to connect. Between added responsibilities and family obligations, it might seem like you’re spending less and less time together. Or maybe quantity isn’t the issue, but quality time is.

“It is very important for couples to remember that although they are integral parts of their extended families, and for couples with children, integral parts of creating rituals and memories for their children, they also — first and foremost — have a commitment to each other,” said Nikki Massey-Hastings, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who works with couples.

But while connecting might be tricky, it’s absolutely possible. Here are six ideas for reducing stress and staying connected during the bustling holiday season.

Hurricane Sandy: The Psychological Aftermath

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: The Psychological AftermathWhen a sudden, unanticipated catastrophe lands on your doorstep, there’s before and there’s after.

One day life is going on as it always has. The next day life deals you such a blow that nothing will ever be the same.

“It’s not supposed to be this way,” you wail. “How could this have happened? Someone, someone, please someone wake me from this horrific nightmare and tell me it’s all a dream.”

But no one does.

Best of Our Blogs: November 20, 2012

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

People like to subscribe to labels. It’s easier to identify one’s self and others when you compartmentalize them in boxes. Sometimes it starts in childhood and sticks. I’ve been “spoiled” for several decades now. My cousin is “overly-responsible.” A woman I interviewed recently called herself, “Type-A.”

Maybe you’ve given yourself your own labels like, “mother,” “perfectionistic,” “the good one,” or “funny.” And maybe these roles suit you well. Or maybe they just overstayed their welcome. After all, you’re more than your role or a label. You’re a parent, and a sibling too. You’re moody and sensitive, but you’re also compassionate and empathetic. And you’ve been battling with an illness, but for the last time, you’re not that illness.

Perhaps this week’s posts will help you embrace the whole of who you are. Whether you’re a parent, a perfectionist, a gluten-free wannabe, have borderline personality disorder or ADHD, it’s just as ADHD Man of Distraction blogger Kelly Babcock says:

“people with ADHD – are People…” (Just replace “ADHD” with whatever label you’ve been given lately.)

Demi Lovato: A New Kind of Hollywood Role Model

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Demi Lovato: A New Kind of Hollywood Role ModelWho inspires you? Who do you admire as a role model? I’m sure a lot of those answers can be found within your close circle of friends and family, but of course, there are also those who can lift you up from afar.

It’s been hard in recent years to ignore young entertainers’ breakdowns, drug habits, and bad behavior. Demi Lovato, a 20-year-old singer/songwriter, actress, and newly appointed judge on the talent show “The X Factor,” has endured much internal struggle.

But she has courageously sought mental health assistance and boldly documented her journey to share with others for inspiration. Along with her “stay strong” motto, she’s demonstrated that obstacles can be overcome, which is what ultimately highlights her as a different type of role model.

Helping My Partner Understand Bipolar Disorder

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Helping My Partner Understand Bipolar DisorderA little while back, I received this question from an anonymous reader:

I have a question. I have bipolar and depression and things like special family events, birthdays, and the holidays are always hard for me as well as all most everyday of my life. My husband has a hard time dealing with it as well as the rest of my family. How can I make it easier on them and get through the holidays and most important save my marriage from my mental illness?

My husband wants to fix it and instead he makes it worse.

A great question deserving of a great answer.

When You’re Single for the Holidays

Monday, November 19th, 2012

When You're Single for the HolidaysWhen you’re single, it can feel like everyone is coupled up. And that can be especially difficult during the holidays when party invites roll in, love seems to be in the air — and saccharine couples are splashed in jewelry commercials and harrowing Hallmark-esque stories.

Naturally, you might feel lonely, and avoid going out. But while ending a relationship can be painful, you can still enjoy yourself.

Below, Terri Orbuch, Ph.D, a relationship expert and author of Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship, offers valuable tips for having a good holiday season.

The Science of Tears

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

The Science of TearsUnited States President Barack Obama celebrated his November 2012 victory with a mix of cool eloquence and raw emotion rarely seen in public leaders. The emotion culminated in a teary moment during his speech thanking campaign workers.

Underneath the obvious reasons for celebration lay an ancient mechanism of stress release and interpersonal bonding found in tear production. Contrary to Western stereotypes about crying and weakness, Obama shared something with his audience that has served human needs throughout history.

What is the science behind tears? What is their purpose? Let’s find out…

8 Tips for a Fairly Stress-Free & Fulfilling Holiday

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

8 Tips for a Fairly Stress-Free & Fulfilling Holiday The holidays are the perfect storm for stress, according to Mara Glatzel, MSW, a coach who helps women cultivate the lives they deserve. Thanks to the combination of sky-high expectations, over-scheduling, overspending and scant self-care, it’s no wonder so many of us dread the holiday season.

But while the holidays can be challenging, you can enjoy them your way. As Ashley Eder, LPC, a psychotherapist in Boulder, Colo., said, “You are free to honor what feels right to you, and you can even decide that as you go. Good people in your life will support you in this.”

Here are 8 tips to help you have an enjoyable, and fairly stress-free holiday.

Divorce Doesn’t Always Come From an Affair

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Divorce Doesn't Always Come From an AffairThis guest article from YourTango was written by

Janet and Mike were headed for divorce. So were Sally and Jim. Janet slept in the guest bedroom. She hardly spoke to Mike, unless it was a necessity.

Both had hired lawyers. Sally and Jim also had their divorce lawyers lined up. They hadn’t enjoyed each other’s company in years. Talking led to screaming and both were sick of the fights.

How many infidelities had taken place between these two couples? Surprisingly, the answer was none — no one had acted out in an extramarital affair. Yet all four people — two very different marriages, with different styles and personalities — all were miserable enough to get divorced.

But how come?

Think Twice Before Buying That Health App

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Think Twice Before Buying That Health AppLast week, Rochelle Sharpe from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting published an article in The Washington Post about the flimsy evidence base for most health apps you can purchase in the iTunes or Google Play Android online stores. Developers have been marketing such apps for years — most of them having no research to suggest they can do half the things they claim.

Worse yet, neither Apple nor Google appear to care. Neither company responded to Sharpe’s inquiries about why they allow apps to be sold on their storefronts that claim to treat all sorts of medical and mental health problems, without the research to back them up.

So what kinds of things can your smartphone cure or alleviate the symptoms of? You might be surprised at Sharpe’s findings.

Remembering Simpler, Tougher Times Thanks to Sandy

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Remembering Simpler, Tougher Times Thanks to SandyOur thoughts and prayers go out to all those who were deeply affected by this storm. There are those who’ve lost much more than just power; the hurricane’s aftermath is unbelievably tragic.

Last night was the first time in a week that I didn’t have to sleep in two layers and three blankets, with my muscles contracting and my body contorting itself in a very awkward position to ward off the frigid, New York air. I was also able to turn on the light and bask in my illuminated bedroom — sans the pitch-blackness circling around me.

There was light and there was heat. We emerged from the Dark Ages.

Feeling Resentful? 6 Hard Facts About Shared Work

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Feeling Resentful? 6 Hard Facts About Shared WorkOne obstacle to happiness is feeling resentful when another person won’t do his or her share of the work. In Happier at Home, in my description of the three kinds of “happiness leeches,” this kind of person is a “slacker.”

Resentment comes when you feel angry that you’ve been treated unfairly. But what is “fair” when deciding who should do what work? As I thought about my own (not infrequent) bouts of resentment, I identified these Six Facts About Shared Work.

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