General Articles

Giving Thanks (When It’s Been a Crap Year)

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

shutterstock_123420286You might be wondering why I’m even suggesting the idea of gratitude when you’ve had a lousy time of it.

It’s because appreciation beats the alternative: spending your holidays in an extended wallow, reinforcing your helplessness over your life.

If you’re reading, you’re considering. So I hope you’ll read on. This post isn’t about finding a silver lining.  It’s about marshaling your strength so that 2015 treats you better.


The Cost of Keeping Secrets

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

You might think that a secret isn’t the same as a lie.  But it affects your mental health and relationships just the same.


How to Find Contentment (Rather than Happiness)

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

shutterstock_146627852Sure, we all want to feel happy.  But seeking contentment is a better goal.  Happiness is a mood state, inevitably fleeting, while contentment is more sustainable.  Here are some thoughts on how to find it.


5 Tips for More Effective Parenting

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

shutterstock_177053420These are equal opportunity parenting tips.  They apply no matter the age of your kids (be they toddlers, teenagers, somewhere in between, or even adult children.)  Once you’re a parent, you can’t really quit or retire, so might as well keep doing it better.


Learning from Emotional Pain

Friday, July 25th, 2014

shutterstock_64532521We all know physical pain is a great teacher: Touch a hot stove and you quickly learn not to do that again.  What (and how) can we learn from our emotional pain?


The Power of Negative Thinking

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

shutterstock_141901189Sometimes a little Eeyore can save you a whole lotta heartache.  Here’s how you can turn that frown into a force for good.


Finding Time for Yourself

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

violinMy husband and I were talking yesterday and remembering a quote from the movie “Parenthood.”  Steve Martin, father of three, tells his wife, “My whole life is have to!”  I said I feel that way sometimes, and my husband does, too–like everything we do is something we have to do.  Not a good feeling.

So in the grand tradition of those who can’t do, write blogs–here are my thoughts:


How to Handle Overwhelming Emotions

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

emoteI was just reliving my younger years as I worked on the Teen Angst playlist for Spotify, as inspired by my novel “Don’t Try to Find Me.”  Adolescence, for many, involves overwhelming emotion, in part because so many of the emotions feel new as well as intense.  What’s the best way to understand and cope with all these emergent feelings? In some ways, that’s the key developmental task of adolescence.

But for some people, the struggle continues on into adulthood.  They might hear themselves called “oversensitive”‘; they might often feel misunderstood or invalidated as a result.  This can lead to a difficult spiral that actually intensifies emotions that already feel like too much to handle.

So where to start?


Reconnecting With A Distant Partner

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

coupleI practice emotionally-focused couples therapy, which is about trust and security being the bedrock of a relationship.  The core question we’re all asking, on an emotional level, is: When I need you, will you be there for me?  Can I count on you?

If we sense–again, on a subterranean emotional level, possibly beneath our conscious awareness–that our partner is unreliable, or unreachable, all sorts of issues can ensue.  We might find ourselves more prone to stress, irritability, mood swings, sadness, anger, defensive detachment and emotional shut-down…If this sounds familiar, read on.

In every relationship, there are times when you’re closer and times when you’re further away.  Often, the distance resolves itself.  It was just a busy and/or stressful week (or month), and there’s no underlying relationship issue.

But if you’re finding that the distance has persisted longer, and/or you find you’re experiencing some of the symptoms I listed above, then it’s time to address the problem.  Start by  asking yourself what’s causing the distance.  Is it logistical?  About scheduling, or the overall architecture of your lives?  Or is it that one or both of you are in avoidance mode?

Sometimes there might be unexpressed hurt, frustration or anger.  Sometimes rather than speak up, people just pull away. This could be a lack of assertiveness skills, or it could be that in the past, efforts to resolve things have ended badly.  Maybe one partner is feeling like there’s no point in trying.

If you’re that partner, examine this more deeply.  Think about what it would mean to your relationship to never deal with what’s bothering you.  How far would it go?  To separate bedrooms, separate lives?  If you’re assuming the feelings will just dissipate (if that’s what you’re hoping for), but it’s not happening, you might need to go to Plan B.  That could be forcing yourself to have some hard conversations.

If you’re the other partner–as in, noticing the pull-away–it might be time to ask some questions.  Consider how to do this in a supportive, rather than a demanding or attacking, way.  Remember that what we all want, deep down, is to feel loved and …


Why Your Teen Might Not Talk to You (Until It’s Too Late)

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

kitchenTeen suicide is way more common than you’d think.  1 in 12 teenagers have attempted suicide, according to a 2012 report.  And the idea that people who talk about killing themselves are not actually going to try has long been proven to be a fallacy.  If someone is talking about it, then they’re thinking about it, and thinking about it is a step toward doing it.

But if your teenager is talking to you about those thoughts, consider yourself lucky.  That’s an opportunity for you to get help and instill hope.

What if your teenager seems unhappy but isn’t talking to you?  You probably want to create an opportunity.


 

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