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What Does Masked Depression Look Like?

Friday, December 20th, 2013

What Does Masked Depression Look Like?We all know what depression is, right?

If you feel helpless and hopeless, find it tough to get out of bed, feel apathetic about activities, you are depressed. That’s all there is to it, right? Some people believe it’s always as simple as that. But sometimes depression is more complicated than what’s on the surface.

But some depression goes unrecognized. Why? Because the symptoms are atypical. Depression can be concealed in several ways. How exactly can depression sometimes be masked?

Interfaith Relationships During The Holidays

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Interfaith Relationships During The HolidaysNavigating though religious faith differences can be tricky in the best of times. However, keeping the holidays stress-free may require extra effort and compromise.

Ideally, planning ahead and discussing potential problem areas would begin before a couple’s relationship is solidified, in premarital counseling. One of the biggest oversights a couple can make is denying that differences even exist, or believing conflicts will not occur.

Discussing all possible scenarios ahead of time can help prevent future troubles from developing — or becoming worse.

Letter to a Loved One When Depressed

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Letter to a Loved One When DepressedDepression is a terrible thing to experience. It robs us of so many things which the human spirit needs to thrive, grow and be happy. It can rob us of the ability to think clearly, to make decisions, to feel love and above all it can rob us of hope.

One thing I’m often asked is, “how do I tell my wife/husband/partner about how I feel when I don’t even know how I feel myself?” The answer is always difficult because we all experience depression in our own way, even if the themes are similar.

Something that I think helps is to give a written letter to the person to whom you wish to communicate. If nothing else it lets them have a small insight into how you feel and it also conveys the seriousness of your situation. Also a letter is a special thing that we don’t often handwrite anymore, which gives it extra meaning.

4 Singular, Sensational Gifts for This Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

4 Singular, Sensational Gifts for This Holiday Season Are you tired of trying to figure out what gifts might delight your loved ones? Are you turned off by the shopping frenzy that has become ‘de rigueur’ for the holiday season?

If so, then try doing things differently. Instead of buying what the marketers insist is the ‘perfect gift,’ give your loved ones (especially your kids) something entirely different.

Here are my top four suggestions.

The gift of listening.

Take the time to listen to your loved ones. Be curious. Be there in mind and spirit.

Listen to what is going on inside your loved one’s mind. Avoid preaching. Avoid teaching. Thank your loved one for sharing. Communicate without judgment.

Parenting with Presence During the Holidays

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Parenting with Presence During the HolidaysOne day last year, we were driving to the airport; my daughter Lucy was excited to see the airplanes. As we drove along the interstate, I could see her face in the rearview mirror peering out the window.

“I saw one!” she exclaimed. “See mama, when you pay attention, on purpose, you might see something exciting like an airplane,” she announced.

Her words reminded me of a mindful parenting class I took when she was 2 years old. I’ve always had a hard time turning off my mind and “paying attention on purpose.” As a mother, I can think of 101 things to distract myself at any given moment.

During the holiday season this feeling is tenfold. With all of the distractions and opportunities to tune out instead of tune in, the stress of the holidays can be downright dizzying. As the holidays approach, I want to make a conscious effort to parent with presence, incorporating the mindfulness tools I learned years ago.

Coping With Loneliness During the Holidays

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Coping With Loneliness During the HolidaysLoneliness is common during the holidays.

Empty nesters, the elderly and individuals who are grieving — the loss of a loved one or a relationship — may be particularly vulnerable to feelings of loneliness, according to psychotherapist Joyce Marter, LCPC.

Expectations are high, and comparisons run rampant. “Many people feel tremendous pressure to be happy and socially connected.” There’s a prevailing sense that everyone is living a Hallmark movie with the ideal family and perfect celebrations, she said.

That is, everyone but you. And this can trigger feelings of isolation.

Using the Yes/No Method to Reduce Your Holiday Stress

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Using the Yes/No Method to Reduce Your Holiday StressThe holidays can be a glorious time for family togetherness, great food, beautiful decorations, and spiritual and religious growth. It can also be prime time for the dreaded emotions of resentment and guilt. 

What is it about the holiday season that summons up annoyance and aggravation to the point of seasonal dread? And more importantly, what can be done about it?

Over the last couple of years I’ve developed a highly effective way of coping: the yes/no method for my clients. I prescribe it year round, but find that it’s particularly effective during the holidays.

8 Ways to Enrich Your Holidays with More Comfort & Joy

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

8 Ways to Enrich Your Holidays with More Comfort & JoyThis time of year, we’re used to reading about holiday blues and holiday stress. Contrary to popular belief, however, anxiety, depression, and suicide rates do not rise during the holidays. The CDC, Mayo Clinic, and other research institutions have found no link between holidays and increased depression and suicide. (Read more here.)

Nevertheless, holidays do knock some of us off balance. Between family gatherings, pressure to spend money, kids coming back from college, work disruption, and other holiday-related events, we may forget that holidays are supposed to be about comfort and joy.

Here are eight ways to embrace the true meaning of the season and focus on increasing joy, love, and peace.

Pregnancy Loss & Infertility’s Impact on Your Marriage

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Pregnancy Loss & Infertility's Impact on Your MarriageInfertility and pregnancy loss are dreaded experiences for any adult hoping to start or expand a family. The emotional consequences can be brutal. The pain seems like it will last forever.

But what often goes unrecognized is the toll that these experiences can take on one’s marriage.

In many instances, spouses grieve the loss differently, creating a sense of distance from one another. One spouse might want to talk openly about the loss, whereas the other spouse wants to avoid all reminders of it. One spouse might want to do something to commemorate the unborn child, while their partner just wants to move on.

Time Might Not Heal All Wounds

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

Time Might Not Heal All WoundsIt’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.
~ Lena Horne

Think of a painful injury such as a wound — one that’s fresh and open, bleeding. You attempt to secure a bandage and some protection.

You move onward. As time goes by, the wound starts to heal, but you’re left with a scar — a physical reminder and mark of what occurred.

In similar fashion, that’s how I view certain emotional wounds. They’re scars that will always be a part of us, regardless of time and longevity. But that’s okay, because it’s all about how you choose to carry your load, your past.

7 Tips for Managing ‘In-Law Stress’ During the Holidays

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

7 Tips for Managing 'In-Law Stress' During the HolidaysYour mother-in-law takes over the kitchen at holiday time. So what? Your father-in-law drinks too much and sulks in the corner. Big deal!

Don’t let in-laws ruin your family holiday, multiply your stress, and leave you feeling defeated or angry. There are some simple strategies you can use to get along with difficult in-laws this holiday season.

Doing so will make your holiday get-together more pleasant. But there’s an even better reason to make peace with in-laws.

How Do You Give Thanks?

Friday, November 29th, 2013

How Do You Give Thanks?Gratitude is beneficial to both the one giving and the one receiving. You can show gratitude to others by saying “please and thank you” and “yes (or no) ma’am (or sir).”

There are many creative ways to express gratitude. It can be as simple as getting up in the morning and acknowledging that you woke up — not everyone has that privilege!

Instead of getting mad at your significant other, show them gratitude. Make an effort to communicate more effectively instead of being critical or judgmental.

When you are having a hard day at work, take a break and remember some of the good days that you’ve had that month — don’t forget that it is only a bad day, not a bad life.

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