General

How to Listen to Your Emotions

Listening to our emotions is vital. Emotions “seek to serve and empower us to explore the world safely and make meaning of our experience in it,” said Deb Hannaford, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Pasadena and Monrovia, Calif. Emotions are valuable sources of information. “[T]hey give us direction and help us know what we need.”

But many of us aren’t very familiar with listening to our emotions. Maybe we weren’t taught to process our emotions as kids. Maybe instead we avoid or dismiss our emotions. Maybe we’ve convinced ourselves that our emotions are inconvenient or useless at best and wrong at worst.

So how do we explore our emotions and know what they’re trying to tell us?
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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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Depression

3 Myths about Postpartum Depression that Too Many People Believe

There are many myths about postpartum depression -- everything from it’s not real to it’ll go away on its own to it affects only certain women. The reality is that postpartum depression is a serious illness that does not discriminate, said Elizabeth Gillette, LCSW, a therapist specializing in preventing and treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and supporting couples in their relationship as their family grows.

The reality is that you can experience PPD after a traumatic or an ideal birth experience. The reality is that having PPD doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby or aren’t grateful to give birth to a healthy child, Gillette said. “It means that right now [you are] challenged by a serious illness that requires treatment.”
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Anger

The Creative Act of Forgiveness

Have you ever found yourself driving down a dark desert highway, losing yourself in the mysterious groove of "Hotel California" by The Eagles? With such a great melody, some of the best lyrics may slip by unnoticed. Especially “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device.” There is no one way to interpret a good lyric, but this line elegantly tells you that you are the sole guardian of your emotions.

It’s inevitable that we’ll come across people who don’t treat us exactly the way we’d like. It could be the one who cuts you off in traffic or the one who made a snide comment about how your shoes don’t match your scarf.

On a bad day, it could feel like the whole world is against you. These moments sneak up on you when you least expect it. Then, in that swift second, the rainbow skies you were skipping under suddenly and rapidly turn into dark clouds of a looming thunderstorm.

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General

Rekindling the Spark in a Long-Term Marriage

People tend to work very hard to get into that “once-in-a-lifetime” relationship. The honeymoon phase of courting and dating requires great effort to let the other know that she is special, that he is “the one.”

Falling in love with your partner for the first time is all-consuming. Maintaining the love and affection once a relationship is well-established also requires effort. Often the responsibilities of life, work, and children may get in the way of focusing on the love and happiness that one feels toward his or her spouse. Your spouse may start to feel more like your roommate than your lover. It is possible, and actually enjoyable, to recapture the romance and fall back in love.

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General

The Boys in the Boat — a Metaphor for Marriage

When you dream of a great marriage, what do you see? Spouses enjoying being together, basically in harmony for a lifetime?

Or does “happily married” sound to you like an impossible dream?

Cynicism about marriage is common these days. Fairytales that finish with “and they lived happily ever after” don’t mention a key ingredient in marriage. Nor do novels and movies give credence to the importance of this element: Teamwork.
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Anxiety and Panic

7 Ways to Keep Worry at Bay When You’re Pregnant

Pregnancy is both a beautiful and challenging time. It’s understandable that moms-to-be may have a long list of worries. For instance, maybe you’re worried about your baby’s health and well-being. Maybe you’re not sure if you’re doing enough -- eating enough, eating the right foods, exercising too much, exercising too little.

Maybe you’ve experienced miscarriages before, and you’re worried about losing this baby, too. Maybe you have a high-risk pregnancy, and you’re worried about your baby’s development and delivering early. Maybe you’re worried that you’ll miss something vital and be late in getting to your doctor or the hospital.

These are all common worries that pregnant women have, according to Parijat Deshpande, a perinatal wellness counselor who specializes in working with women during a high-risk pregnancy -- something she has personal experience with. Thankfully, there are many helpful things you can do to reduce worry and relax. Below, Deshpande shared seven suggestions. 
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Anxiety and Panic

3 Big Myths About Anxiety

All of us know anxiety very well. We might experience it before our exams or presentations. We might experience it any time we try something new. We might experience it every day. But while we’re very familiar with the thoughts -- the slew of “What ifs” -- and physical sensations that accompany anxiety, we might be less aware of how anxiety functions. We might be less aware of how our perspective toward anxiety affects how we feel -- and even how it affects our lives.

Below, Joe Dilley, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating anxiety, revealed the facts behind three common myths about anxiety.

Myth: Anxiety is bad or a sign that something is clearly wrong.


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Family

A Mini Guide for Expressing Yourself Effectively with Anyone

Expressing ourselves effectively is important in all areas of our lives. It’s important at work with our boss and colleagues. It’s important at home with our friends, partners and parents. It’s important when we feel strongly about an issue; when we need to communicate an important message; when we want to be understood; and when we are asking someone to meet a need, said Debbi Carberry, a clinical social worker in private practice in Brisbane, Australia.

But expressing ourselves isn’t exactly easy. For starters, we might not even know what we want, she said. Or maybe we know what we want but can’t articulate it. Maybe we’re afraid of being judged or rejected. Thankfully, by incorporating a few suggestions -- like the ones below -- you can express yourself effectively with anyone. Because it’s a skill you can sharpen.
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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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Anger

3 Ways Couples Get Stuck and How to Move Through It

Every couple gets stuck. After all, relationships take work, and conflict is inevitable. Sometimes, we might be on different pages. Sometimes, we might unwittingly do things that keep us and our partners spinning our wheels.

Below, Ashley Thorn, a licensed marriage and family therapist, shared three ways couples commonly get stuck and how you can move forward when it happens to you. Because that’s the great thing: You aren’t stuck forever. You can use certain techniques to help you reconnect to your partner and enhance your relationship.
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