Family

5 Ways to Accept Gratitude Fully

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." -- Chesterton
In a recent post John Amodeo, , wrote about the “5 Ways that Being Appreciated Nourishes Us” … “if we can only let it in fully.”

Sometimes we are trapped in our own head-space, and we just can’t let appreciation in. We’re too busy thinking about our next big project, paying the bills, remembering to call...
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Anxiety and Panic

5 Ways to Lower Your Child’s Anxiety

As a child and family therapist, the concern I hear most often is, “I think my child may have anxiety, and I’m not sure how to help.” Quite honestly, I don’t need to travel as far as my office to see the various ways anxiety affects children in today’s world. As a mom of three, I see firsthand how the world we live in today incites excessive stress in our kids.

Our children are encompassed...
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General

Differentiating the Pursuit of Excellence from Perfectionism

We want to excel in our lives -- striving for excellence in all that we do. But can we differentiate our noble pursuit of excellence from a dysfunctional desire to be perfect?

A job well done can be enormously fulfilling. It can be meaningful and pleasurable to complete a home project, excel at work, or know that we’re a person who is punctual and conscientious.

But when does our striving for excellence degenerate into the life-draining burden of perfectionism?

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General

5 Ways to Make Love Thrive

You may have discovered that despite your best intentions, you can’t control the course of love. While the experience of love is replete with awe and wonder, how to create conditions for it is not a great mystery. Rather than exhaust ourselves trying to control people, we’d be wiser to make skillful efforts to create these five conditions, culled over 35 years of being a marriage and family therapist.
Mindfulness

John Gottman, a psychologist an author of
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Addiction

The Other AA

I self-enrolled in AA. Alcoholics Anonymous? No, something far more potent than your favorite liquor.

Welcome to Attention Anonymous. Thank you for attending today’s meeting. You are among friends. To break the ice, let me confess my personal story. I am sure you can relate.

Like you, I have perfected the art of wasting time.
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Brain and Behavior

The Importance of Being Yourself on Social Media


Over the last few months I’ve been sharing my photography on Instagram. It has resulted in a near-constant desire for validation through likes and follows -- I’ll write another article on that soon. The point is, scrolling through the newsfeed, I see copious amounts of photographers who are at the top of their game. Their craft is so refined and their style is so distinct that I can’t help but fawn over the pictures they take.

I decided I wanted my pictures to be like that. I really needed my pictures to be like that. Soon my admiration became a months-long effort to hone and refine my pictures to the point that they’d look exactly like these Instagram-famous photographers' photos.
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Children and Teens

Mindfulness Explained through Baseball

In my writings and videos I often write and speak about mindfulness. In talking about mindfulness I emphasize the present moment, yet I am aware of how our past and our future work together. The definition of mindfulness instructs us to live in the present moment, nonjudgmentally.

"Nonjudgmentally" means we need not put a value judgment on the present moment. We are simply to experience the moment. The minute that we think this is a good moment or a bad moment, we have judged the moment.

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Books

4 Tips for Helping Your Kids Practice Mindfulness

Our kids get just as stressed out as we do. While they don’t have bills, a demanding boss or a continuously-increasing workload, they do have homework, classmates, teachers, bullies and big emotions. So it helps to have a variety of tools they can use to manage their stressors and regulate their emotions -- tools they can take into adolescence and adulthood. Because stress and emotions are part of everyone’s daily life. And because everyone benefits from having healthy coping strategies.

That’s exactly what author and clinical social worker Carla Naumburg, Ph.D, provides in her newest book Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with Your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful Family. In this wise and down-to-earth book, Naumburg features practical and creative strategies for practicing mindfulness at home. She defines mindfulness as “the practice of choosing to pay attention to whatever is happening right here and right now, without judging it or wishing it were different.”
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Mindfulness

3 Simple Ways to Relax Your Brain After a Funky Day


Shut. It. Off.

You've been in overdrive all day -- juggling logistics, people, deadlines, and endless to-dos -- or maybe putting out fires, squeezing in errands, finding lost toys, and making sure you've filled out all the forms for school tomorrow.

All day, you eagerly anticipate finding just 30 minutes to chill out, catch up with your significant other, and relax into sleep.

But the problem is...though your body is ready to plop down on the sofa and decompress, your brain is still going a mile a minute.

It's stuck in "go-go-go" mode. As a result, you're there with your loved ones, but you're not really present. You think, "What's wrong with me? Why can't I relax?"
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Anger

The Myth of Negative Emotions

Emotions that provide us with unpleasant feelings have traditionally (and unfairly) been labelled “negative emotions.” People tend to want to avoid them, force them away, or silence them as soon as they emerge. They are the Rodney Dangerfield of emotions: they get no respect.

The truth is, there is no such thing as a negative emotion, since each emotion has its own role and purpose. In fact, in the book, The Upside of Your Dark Side, authors Todd Kashdan, Ph.D., and Robert Biswas-Diener argue that in order to attain happiness, one has to welcome every emotion (pleasant or unpleasant) and learn how to make the best of them. It is not the emotion that is problematic but rather the way we deal with them that can be. Instead of pushing these emotions away, we should learn to welcome and listen to the important messages these feelings are trying to communicate to us.
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Anxiety and Panic

What to Do When You Have to Wait — and Can’t Stop Worrying

Any time we have to wait, many of us get nervous. Very nervous. Our minds fill with disastrous scenarios and all kinds of what-ifs.

What if the results are negative? Or positive? What if I failed the final? What if I failed the bar? Again? When will this marriage finally -- and officially -- be over?

We try to focus on our work, but the negative thoughts surround us like a pack of wolves. We try to relax, but we just feel too tense and tight. We want to have an answer. But instead we must wait. And wait.

Many circumstances in our lives present with a waiting period - which can trigger our anxiety. Carolyn Ferreira’s clients have experienced anxiety while waiting for everything from MRI results, to a loved one’s recovery, to the finalization of a divorce, to the settlement of a deceased parent’s estate.
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