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How to Make Your Life Happier Through Social Media

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

How to Make Your Life Happier Through Social MediaLike many things, social media can be used for good or evil. It’s not inherently bad, but there are many side effects from overuse that hurt us.

However, we can not only learn to avoid them — we can even use social media to make us happier!

Social media is a powerful procrastination tool, but many studies have shown that it can be bad for your overall well-being. A direct link has been made between too much time spent on Facebook and depression; it may even cause physical problems for those who struggle with their weight.

The 5 Negative Types of People I Have Met on My Recovery Journey

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

The 5 Negative Types of People I Have Met on My Recovery JourneyI have read countless books on self-actualization, self-realization and spiritual awareness. I have done hundreds of hours of yoga, pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation. I have worked with therapists, energy workers, acupuncturists and a million body workers. All of this has been helpful, even critical, to my recovery.

One of the primary spiritual premises I have heard is that the universe will give me exactly what I need. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

In my early years of recovery, I thought that had something to do with the physical world. Of course, as a trauma survivor, it was pretty hard to believe. Actually, I didn’t believe it. Or at least, I didn’t believe it applied to me.

What Role do Sibling Struggles Play in Adult Relationships?

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

What Role do Sibling Struggles Play in Adult Relationships?Were you the winner or the loser in your sibling dynamic?

Many parents believe that sibling rivalry is healthy, natural and unavoidable. There are many causes of sibling rivalry (age, developmental stage, personality), but a main cause is the need for power, attention or protection from parents.

Children, as young as infants, find comfort in routine and predictability. The family dynamic is a source of familiarity and certainty, including the ways in which parents react to each child during sibling struggles.

When one sibling picks a fight, he usually knows what type of reaction it will trigger from the parents. In that moment, the aggressor is seeking the feeling that reaction provides — negative attention if he is punished or power that he succeeded as the dominator if the parents take a hands-off approach.

Recognizing When Friendships Become Toxic

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Recognizing When Friendships Become ToxicEnding a friendship is a very personal decision.

Everyone has his or her own threshold — his or her own breaking point. Perceptions of what may be considered ‘toxic’ can vary, depending on the individual. And, the connection to another person in a friendship could be strong, which may outweigh the negatives present within the relationship. Therefore, the signs I’ve compiled — signs that indicate that you may want to put a friendship aside — are only suggestions.

However, if you’re sifting through rocky terrain, perhaps these ‘red flags’ will help move the thinking process along.

5 Ways to Deal with an Intimacy-Phobic Person

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

5 Ways to Deal with an Intimacy-Phobic PersonHave you ever met someone and got along famously, only to have them back off suddenly? Perhaps you reacted by ignoring them when they finally tried to get in touch a few weeks later, and now, ages later, are still wondering what happened.

There is a good chance that you simply became involved with a person who suffers from fear of intimacy.

Seen as a social or anxiety disorder, fear of intimacy often results in a person blowing hot then cold, or doing the occasional disappearing act, which can be terribly frustrating for others. But it’s also terribly frustrating for the person who is intimacy-phobic and does want your friendship but sabotages it despite themselves. The very nature of this anxiety disorder makes it difficult for them to explain what’s going on.

The Surprising Psychological Value of Human Touch

Monday, March 10th, 2014

The Surprising Psychological Value of Human TouchWhenever I’m overwhelmed or feeling down, I tend to crave touch. A hug, a hand to hold; a connection that can manifest into something that’s tangible. And even on stress-free days, I may seek out the healing components that touch has to offer.

Is the act of human touch an innate need, ingrained within? Not necessarily (in my opinion), but on a superficial level, it very well could be. Research demonstrates that touch contains several health benefits for our physiological and psychological well being.

7 Tips for Setting Boundaries At Work

Monday, March 10th, 2014

7 Tips for Setting Boundaries At WorkMany of us spend the majority of our days at work. That work also can bleed into our life at home. So creating boundaries around our workplace is critical.

It also shows your boss, clients and colleagues that you have a backbone, said Melody Wilding, LMSW, a therapist who works with young professionals and business owners.

When you respect your personal boundaries, others typically will, too. Remember that “you teach people how to treat you.”

But creating boundaries at work can get tricky because there’s the real worry of being demoted or fired. Yet with clear communication, practice and preparation it can be done.

Sacred Longing: The Wisdom of Embracing Our Desires

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Many of us grew up in religions that warned about the perils of desire. Greed and gluttony are two of the seven deadly sins that imperil our soul. Buddhism, which many view as a psychology more than a religion, is often understood as teaching that desire is the root cause of suffering; the path toward liberation is one of freeing ourselves from its seductive grip.

No doubt, our desires and longings have brought a heap of trouble with them. But an open question remains: is suffering created by desire itself or how we relate to it? Perhaps it is how we engage with desire — or fail to engage with it in a wise and skillful way — that generates the bulk of our discontent.

Co-Parenting with a Partner on the Autism Spectrum

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Co-Parenting with a Partner on the Autism Spectrum

With as many as 1.5 million Americans having some form of autism, including milder variants such as what used to be called Asperger Syndrome, many of those on the autism spectrum are also parents. What are the challenges associated with co-parenting with an ‘Aspie’ partner?

When you have a family member on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, it can be the ordinary things that cause life to grind to a halt. Ordinary things, such as: getting enough sleep; asking your spouse to pick up a child from soccer practice; or having a little family chitchat at the dining table.

8 Healthy Ways to Deal with Jealousy

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

8 Healthy Ways to Deal with Jealousy Jealousy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s human nature. It’s natural to feel jealous from time to time.

Jealousy becomes problematic “when we act out in jealousy or we wallow in it,” said Christina Hibbert, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Flagstaff, Ariz.

It becomes problematic when it starts to consume you and “creeps into every aspect of your life,” said Kathy Morelli, LPC, a psychotherapist with a marriage and family counseling practice in Wayne, N.J. And you find yourself feeling bitter and angry often, she said.

One of the most common types of jealousy is romantic jealousy, she said. We also tend to feel jealous about others’ successes, strengths, lifestyles and relationships, Hibbert said.

5 Difficult Workplace Types & How to Get Them to Cooperate

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

5 Difficult Workplace Types & How to Get Them to CooperateThe workplace is filled with difficult personalities — bullies, know-it-alls, rumor mongers… Our fallback reaction when faced with problem people at work is to either assert ourselves or walk swiftly in the other direction.

But there’s a middle ground, a way of communicating that’s more effective, because it’s not rigid or oppositional. It’s about being fluid, surrendering to your intuition, and letting go of your need to push back or control the outcome. Your ability to go with the flow is really important when dealing with difficult people.

In my new book Ecstasy of Surrender, I describe five difficult workplace types and some communication strategies for each type.

A Spirituality that Embraces Feelings & Desire

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

A Spirituality that Embraces Feelings & DesireWe often hear spiritual teachers say that suffering is created by our attachments and that the path toward awakening means transcending desires. But might the opposite be true? Is suffering generated by a lack of healthy human attachments and our subsequent isolation?

During my college years in the late 1960’s I was introduced to meditation and spiritual practices. At the same time I joined a “sensitivity group,” which focused on honoring our feelings. I found both practices to be invaluable. But finding few people interested in the interface of these two paths, I felt rather lonely.

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