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Detachment: A Strategy for Friends and Family of Adult Addicts

For every adult who struggles with addiction, there are many affected by its destruction. Family, co-workers, and friends are among those who become witnesses to the downward spiral of self-destructive behavior. Attempts to fix a friend or loved one experiencing addiction become increasingly frustrating as the chaos becomes a part of daily life.

When you are affected by someone else’s drinking or drug use, it is important to remember that even though you cannot prevent what’s happening to them, you can regain your sanity by practicing detachment.
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Overcoming Failure Mentality: Why Small Steps Are the Key to Lifestyle Change

The desire to improve ourselves and become happier in our lives is something the majority of us experience. We’re always promising ourselves that tomorrow is the day that we’re going to start eating better, exercising more, getting organized and working harder. It’s a perpetual to-do list which states that as soon as we get our act together and transform our habits, our lives will be changed.

Unfortunately, it’s also this very attitude that ensures we never actually do it. We make New Year’s Resolutions each year, and more often than not they are the same commitments, made again and again. The mantra of “I’ve ruined this week, I’ll start again on Monday” keeps us eating badly, not exercising, retaining bad habits like smoking, and leaving our projects unfinished.
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Embracing and Savoring an Imperfect Holiday Season

“This year will be different,” author and mom of four Alexandra Kuykendall inevitably tells herself every year as she pulls out her Christmas decorations. This year she won’t be tired or stressed. This year she won’t be ready for the holidays to be over.

And this year it is different, because she's vowed to focus on loving her actual Christmas, to be present in her life as it really is. Which she documents in her new book aptly titled,
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Coping with Bipolar Disorder & Depression Around the Holidays

The holidays present a special challenge to people who live with bipolar disorder or depression. The challenge is a combination of the increased stress that the holiday season often brings combined with the symptoms -- such as mania or depression -- of these disorders. As a result, people who live with bipolar disorder and those who live with depression might dread the upcoming holidays.

Whether you're stressing about money, family issues, remembering a loved one who's gone, or just feeling lonely, there are a few things you can do to cope better this time of year.

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Your Autistic Teen and Family Holiday Gatherings

Little kids with autism grow to be teens with autism. As is true with all adolescents, pressures both inside their bodies and in the social world can make them sometimes be irritable and reactive. Parents who live with them adapt and adopt new strategies for supporting their children over time. Relatives who see the kids intermittently often aren’t prepared for what it means to interact with a bigger kid who can’t be as easily directed or managed as when they were young. This is especially true if some of the teen’s behaviors are socially awkward or even potentially frightening.

Christmas is a time of year when many families have a big family gathering to celebrate. Parents of teens with autism and their extended family members are often torn: The teen is a loved member of the family who should be included, but will including him be disruptive to the family or even harmful to the teen?
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4 Ways to Fight Back When Family Questions Your Career Choices

With the holidays around the corner, dinner table conversations about work are bound to come up.

It’s common to feel anxiety at the thought of explaining what you do for a living to a skeptical audience, especially when your job title can’t be summed up simply or straightforwardly.

Don’t panic yet.

It may seem difficult to get Aunt Sue to understand what the heck a Digital Strategist is or to convince Dad that you’re able to support yourself
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Caring for Yourself When Caring for Elders During the Holidays

If you are caring for an elderly family member, you are not alone. A 2015 report by National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP (2015) shows more than 34 million people are providing significant care to an adult over age 50. Most of this unpaid care is provided by women. Further, most of these women are doing double and even triple duty, caring for their own families and children and working while also providing care for a parent or parent-in-law. Balancing all those responsibilities is a huge challenge.

Studies show that the average caregiver spends 20 or more hours a week doing everything from basic hygiene care to administering medications to cooking and cleaning to taking their loved one to appointments to running errands. It’s exhausting. It is stressful. But if they didn’t do it, it could well be that no one else would.
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Grief and Loss

Managing Your Grief This Holiday Season

According to our favorite holiday movies and books, we should be serene, happy and peaceful throughout the holidays. This is rarely the case, however, for those who may be grieving the loss of a loved one. Holidays are hard when you are consumed with grief, no matter how long ago you experienced your loss.

We all experience grief differently and there is no right way to do it. The same is true for coping with a loss. How one person manages may not be the same as the next.
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Christmas with Nana: The Joys of Giving and Giving Back

We called our grandmother on my mother’s side “Nana.” Nana was a widow for most of my life. Back in 1965, my grandfather died when I was about two-years-old. Nana supported herself after that, and although she worked a full-time job, she was poor. She lived in a one-bedroom apartment overlooking Lake Erie. She enjoyed the simple pleasures: watching the boats float on the water, entertaining her family on the weekends, swimming alone at midnight in the apartment’s tiny swimming pool.

How did we know Nana was poor?
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Children and Teens

Talking to Your Children about the Threat of Nuclear War

On Nov. 29th, the Today Show reported on North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch and then my 13-year-old son Tommy asked, "Is North Korea going to bomb us? Mom, is this going to be our last Christmas?"

I was struck by Tommy's intelligence and lack of innocence in his startling inquiry. I was born in 1963, the year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and grew up during the Cold War. But I would have never had the wherewithal to ask something such as this. Schools had stopped teaching duck and cover. I don't think I even knew in junior high what a nuclear bomb was. The only hint I had that these types of weapons existed was the fact that my older brother had a poster on his wall which offered advice about what to do if a nuke bomb went off. It said, "Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye."
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Navigating the Holiday Hustle and Bustle as a Highly Sensitive Person

The holidays are often a meaningful time for highly sensitive people (HSPs). But they also can be tough. For starters, there’s the overstimulation, according to marriage and family therapist Joy Malek: “overcrowded shopping, dazzling displays, and aggressive commercial advertising. HSPs take in more detail about their environments than most people, and while this can be overwhelming at any time, the crowded atmosphere of the holidays can be particularly fatiguing.”

The world also moves quicker during the holidays, Malek said. There’s more traffic, and people are more impatient. There are more tasks, more errands, more shopping trips. “We are in a constant state of nervous system arousal, running on adrenaline. Since HSPs have more responsive nervous systems than the general population, we feel this stress more acutely.”
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Brain and Behavior

Do You Know the Signs of Stress?

“Stress is an alarm clock that lets you know you’re attached to something that’s not true for you.” – Byron Katie

As a run up to the holidays, doesn’t it seem like everyone’s rushing around trying to cram too much into too little time? Crazed to find a parking space in an overcrowded lot, racing to get into the elevator before the door closes or hitting the door-close button so no one else can get in, exhibiting uncharitable, rude and potentially unhealthy behavior when trying to snatch the last sale item and so much more are all signs of stressed-out individuals.

Is it any wonder the commercials for antacids and headache pills proliferate this time of year? But what about really acknowledging you're stressed and doing something about it? Here are telltale signs to pay attention to:
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