Self-Help Articles

Reactivity and Its Impact

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Reactivity and Its ImpactI recently presented to a large group of Direct Support Professionals, people who support individuals with behavioral challenges. I have conducted similar workshops for family members of those with serious mental illness.

We talk about stress management, self-protection, and the limits of compassion. We meditate together. But the topic that always garners the most interest is how the supporters’ own reactivity, or fight or flight response, can precipitate negative behaviors in the individuals they support.

Couples You Meet in Counseling #3: Mr. and Mrs. Just Not Feeling It

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Couples You Meet in Counseling, #3: Mr. and Mrs. Just Not Feeling ItIn my previous two posts, I examined Mr. Perfect and his Crazy Wife, and the Ice Queen and the Martyr. Both of those couples are easier to work with in couples counseling than #3, Mr. and Mrs. Just Not Feeling It. 

Emotionally, this couple acts like they are already divorced, and have been for many years. There is rare, or no, sex, and often the partners sleep in separate rooms. The relationship can be entirely cold, sarcastic and bickering, or amicably businesslike.

Understanding Rejection in Personal Relationships

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Understanding Rejection in Personal RelationshipsRejection is one person saying to the other — “Keep away, I don’t want you around me now. ” Such a message often hits exactly in the center of our ego and shakes our self worth.  Thus both giving and receiving a message of rejection has to be handled with sensitivity.

Thankfully most social rejections are subtle. Most of us, in the beginning of a relationship, choose less-risky ways to make a connection. Saying “Hi”, sharing a joke, participating in a yoga class together, all these activities can aid in the process of building intimacy. 

When You Feel Worthless

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

When You Feel WorthlessA sinking self-worth usually starts early. Maybe your caregivers criticized your every move, or maybe they criticized themselves and you learned to do the same with yourself.

Journalist Anneli Rufus struggled with self-loathing for over 40 years. “I hated myself unreservedly, as if it was required,” she writes in her latest book Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself.

“Why? Was I a murderer? A thief? Had I committed genocide or bombed the Prado? Was I mean? Did I have seven swollen, scaly heads? Whose children had I thrown down wells? Which city did I plunder? Had I put soap in a swimming pool or slaughtered fawns?”

No.

Is It Guilt or Shame?

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Child punishmentI started this column about guilt — why it stalks me. Why, no matter how hard I try to be a good girl, I can’t get rid of the knot in my stomach that says I’ve been busted, just like I was with a bottle of vodka at band camp in high school. However, upon doing a little research on this topic, I don’t think guilt is so much my problem as shame.

They are related but different.

Suffer from Funphobia? Maybe You Need a Little Luxury Therapy

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

island bigst

On the cruise ship, formal afternoon tea finds me gazing back and forth between jewel-pretty pastries and — past massive yachts sporting helicopter pads — ­­­­Monaco, alight with countless actual emeralds and sapphires worn and sold along its terraced streets.

Astounding. But why do I find it so hard to stay present, in the moment, loving this?

Because I’m suffering from luxury anxiety.

I need luxury therapy.

Seriously.

How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

meditation-yogaI have to earn my place here. Other people don’t struggle like I do. I should’ve figured this out by now. There’s something wrong with me.

Do these thoughts — or some version of them — swirl in your head? Do they consume you daily? Or arise whenever you try something new or make a mistake?

These thoughts are examples of limiting beliefs, according to Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, a therapist in private practice in San Francisco. Limiting beliefs derive from a variety of sources.

Dealing with Insults: Don’t Take Anything Personally

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

P3270051My friend is waiting for a table at a local restaurant. She is one of those table stalkers, who intuitively knows who is getting up when. She’s been hovering over a certain table for a good half hour. She is most certain the table is hers until some guy comes out of left field and starts talking to the couple who is leaving. Then he sits down with his girlfriend.

This does not deter my friend from her mission. With the confidence of Marilyn Monroe, she plops down at the table with the guy and his girlfriend and unfolds a napkin over her lap.

Turning Worry into Productive Action

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Don't Panic! 7 Ways To Overcome AnxietyMany of us worry. A lot. We worry about anything and everything — from work to the weather to money to appearance to social situations, according to Andrea Umbach, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating anxiety disorders at Southeast Psych in Charlotte, N.C.

We also “ruminate about things that happened in the past, usually experiencing guilt or regret,” and “about what might happen in the future — the ‘what ifs.’”

We assume that our worrying helps us to plan and prepare. However, “real preparation requires action,” Umbach said.

Worry only paralyzes us.

We All Need to Take it Easy Sometimes

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Flickr Creative Commons / Vinoth ChandarThis past few weeks has been pretty chaotic for me.

Money has been an issue, I moved to a new city, my nephew was born, I got a new writing job, I had my 29th birthday, I had to housesit for a while and on top of everything else I’ve been working myself into a tizzy over a potential relationship which may or may not work out.

All said and done, I came to the realization last night that yes, I had done it, I had overwhelmed myself wholly and completely.

8 Building Blocks for Resilience

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

8 Building Blocks for ResilienceResilience is the ability to adapt to stress and change,  to bounce back and rebound from negative experiences and the wear and tear of daily life. Resilience is a skills set that may be learned and practiced and benefits grow and accumulate over time.

These are a few of the myriad ways to build and reinforce resilience:

You Have the Right to Say No

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

You Have the Right to Say NoSo many of us end up saying yes to activities, events and even ideas only to regret it. We end up answering questions that are too personal or downright rude. We let people into our lives who don’t deserve to be there.

Or we say no, and then worry — endlessly — if we really have the right to decline a request or invitation, to stop spending less time with a friend.

According to authors James Altucher and Claudia Azula Altucher in their new book The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance and Happiness, not only do we have the right to say no, we have an entire Bill of Rights for doing so.

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