Anger

Transforming My Angry Tightness

Last year, my husband Jon wanted me to do something I didn’t want to do. Jon promised his father they would speak on the phone at a certain time. So I had to leave Connecticut earlier than I wanted (to find cell phone reception), cutting short my lovely Sunday afternoon in the country. I felt myself get “tight” in my body, angry at having to make the accommodation.

I am not proud of my selfish reaction. Nevertheless I was powerless to stop it. My body tightened and I pushed back, asking Jon in a complaining voice, “What’s the big deal if you talk to your dad later?” But Jon insisted, claiming he made a promise he wanted to keep. So we rushed out the door.

Continue Reading

Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: March 26, 2016


Listen to that...do you hear that, sweet readers?

That's the sound of absolute silence. Well, at least, it is for me. The roofers are gone, our living room is safe again, and let's just say this week has presented far less work frustration over it, ha!

So, this week I've rounded up some exciting updates, research, and other findings on how learning to cook is helping one person's depression, why hanging with friends could actually cause super smart people to feel less happy, what advocates are saying about a plan to ease the rules on patients' privacy regarding addiction treatment, and more.

Continue Reading

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.”
Continue Reading

Children and Teens

Men and Intimacy: How Do Our Families Shape Us?

“The need for love and intimacy is a fundamental human need, as primal as the need for food, water, and air.”  - Dean Ornish, MD, physician and founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California
Seth’s natural impulse was to shy away from showing his feelings to his girlfriend. That made perfect sense to me, since he grew up with a father who rarely showed affection to anyone in the family.

How would a little boy learn that it was all right to express intimacy and affection if his own father chose reserve emotional expression? Answer: A little boy would not.
Continue Reading

Family

Parenting Tips: Understanding Momentary Balance


This is crucial information!

Let me ask you something -- Are you tired of hearing everyone talk about "work/life balance" and how important it is to treat yourself with "radical self-care?" Parents get hit with this all the time. It's the new standard for "successful" families (and couples). Right?

Meanwhile, parents everywhere are thinking: Balance? Me time? Sex time? Fun time?...What’s that? Because, even in the moments when having kids seems worth it and you really smile and enjoy precious time together, being a parent is demanding. In fact, with all the stress, worry, housework, errands, activities, and such, living the married life with children feels like a constant juggling act.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: March 19, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I hope you've had a fantastic week -- better than mine, anyway. We're having a new roof installed and, well, when you work from home, let's just say it's a bit difficult to concentrate with all the banging, hammering, and stomping. (However, the contractors at least chose some of my favorite classic rock hits to blast, so, there's that!).

Despite all the distractions, I managed to scour the Internet for some fascinating information on new research and reports regarding the happiest countries on the planet, the lesser-known postpartum bipolar disorder, the five different personality types, and more.

Enjoy!

Continue Reading

Anger

Daddy Dearest: When the Father-Son Bond Just Isn’t There

Golfing buddies, hiking pals, math tutor, and your hero-in-chief. Or not.

I grew up with an emotionally distant father. His parenting style: disinterested with a minor in disdain. There was an aloofness, even coldness.

I vowed to be different than Dad. And I am. But then, innocuously enough, I mutter one of his pithy sayings. Those thoughts, sensations, feelings overflow. I stew, ruminating on the frayed relationship.

Entering adulthood, my father’s detachment gnaws. The demeaning comments rankle; the coolness stings. When Mom (RIP) was alive, her warmth compensated for Dad’s standoffishness.
Continue Reading

General

Success Tips for Later-in-Life Marriages

“So what’s the secret for a good marriage?” asked my friend Ellen, who’s seventy-two. She’s stayed unmarried since her early twenties, when she divorced her physically abusive ex-husband.

“Choose wisely and learn what it takes to succeed in marriage,” I answered instinctively.

While this advice applies to people of all ages, it’s helpful to recognize special challenges of later-in-life marriages so we can deal with them constructively. The three to be addressed here involve money, sex, and “unfinished business.”
Continue Reading

Disorders

Is Your Diagnosis a Deal-breaker? How to Survive an Adoption Home Study

Adopting our son, Tommy, from Guatemala in 2005 was one of the most difficult, time-consuming, detail-oriented things I’ve ever done. The powers-that-be purposely make adoption hard for couples so that people won’t abuse the system and/or the children in the system.

Adoption is a multi-part process. When a couple wants to adopt a child, they must complete a mountain of paperwork, get recommendations, submit to background checks and participate in what’s known as...
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Raising a Child with Anxiety: One Parent’s Story


My kid wasn't only having tantrums, he was also having panic attacks.

Imagine your child had the inability to focus and sit still with ADHD, the resistance to instruction and discipline of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, the need for routine and order and ritual of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and the normal tantrums, developmental struggles and poor impulse control of a typical five-year-old. Oh, plus aggression. A lot of aggression. That's my kid.

Continue Reading

Children and Teens

When Being the “Bad Guy” Is a Good Thing

Sometimes the best approach for a parent is to give children choices. For toddlers and elementary school children, negotiating an end to an activity by offering “We can leave the playground in five minutes or ten minutes. Which do you want?” gives a child a sense of control and may be a clever way to avert a tantrum. As children approach the pre-teen and teenage years, however, some choices can be unnecessary burdens adding needless psychological stress.

A young adult, whom I’ll call Robert, shared with me his story. Robert’s father gave him choices that Robert felt were bad for him. The example he gave was around visiting his grandparents. In an effort to be diplomatic his father would say, “We’d like you to come to Grandpa and Grandma’s for dinner with us, but ultimately the choice is yours.”
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

How Postpartum Depression is Different from Baby Blues

Today, even though we’ve made much progress, postpartum depression (PPD) still gets confused with baby blues. It still gets minimized and dismissed.

Oh, don’t worry. Being sad and sobbing are totally normal. So is feeling frustrated. You just gave birth, after all. You just need some sleep. A day off. A change in attitude. Maybe you should stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Maybe you’re not used to being home so much. You need time to adjust. You need to get used to your new normal. That’s all.

Maybe someone told you these words -- with kind and good intentions. Or maybe you’ve said these words to yourself. Either way, there’s a lot of misinformation about PPD and how it manifests. For starters, PPD is different from baby blues.
Continue Reading