Archive for December, 2010

Tips For Couples Driving With Less Stress and More Safety

Friday, December 31st, 2010

less stressful drivingAs relaxing and romantic as being in a car with your partner can be – there is the other side. Driving together can go from cherished to challenging- sometimes in the same trip!

  • “Didn’t you see that guy- he almost hit us.”
  • “Why get a GPS if you won’t follow it?”
  • “You put our lives in danger because he cut you off?”

Guidelines for Driving Out of This Holiday Season With Less Stress and More Safety

Account for the compounding factors–Driving involves external factors like the distance, time, car’s performance, the reaction of other drivers, time of day and road conditions etc. It also involves internal factors like the physical and emotional state of each of you. Make decisions based on as many factors as you can. Driving when you have taken prescription drugs or are exhausted can be as dangerous as driving and drinking.


Looking To a New Year With Your Partner

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Most couples not only want to grow old together. They want to grow better.

Over 13.5 million self-help books addressing relationships were purchased last year.  People read books ranging from The Divorce Remedy: The Proven 7 Step Program for Improving Your Marriage to Strangling Your Husband is not an Option: A Practical Guide to Dramatically Improving Your Marriage.  If you are motivated to improve your relationship in the New Year you might try a potent but easily overlooked step – Looking at Your Partner...

Before you discard this as absurd or absurdly simple, it is worth considering the increasing evidence that eye contact is associated with the power to influence, connect, support, invite trust, and enhance intimacy with another person. Looking at each other more often can change the way you feel and relate.

The research of neuropsychologist Allan Schore and others informs us that we are wired to make eye-contact. From the earliest infant-mother connection, gazing is crucial to bonding, regulation of feelings and development of healthy attachment patterns.


Keep Laughing — It’s Powerful Stuff

Monday, December 20th, 2010

As humans we are one of a few species that laughs and we laugh from the time we are babies. Our laughter spans age, gender, language and culture. As humans we make each other laugh and we emotionally respond to laughter in others. It goes without saying that our laughing is contagious.  People are 30 times more likely to laugh in social situations than alone.

We have not only been laughing since biblical times – we have been reporting benefits to mind and body:

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” Michael Pritchard

“Laughter is a necessity in life that does not cost much, and the Old Ones say that one of the greatest healing powers in our life is the ability to laugh.” Larry P. Aitken, Native American Chippewa Tribe

We now have scientific evidence that what we suspected is true – laughter is physically, psychologically, and interpersonally powerful stuff.


Holiday Escapes Without Travel

Friday, December 17th, 2010

holiday escapeI was recently in a nail salon when a woman walked in and was asked by those working there what she would like to have done. Her answer was immediate – “I don’t care. I am here to escape.”

Clearly many of us were there for the same reason.  The fact is that both men and women yearn for a little escape from the many demands of the season. It is not so much that they don’t want to participate in aspects of the Holidays – be they family gatherings, religious events, gift giving or New Year’s celebrations – they just need a breather. They need some personal escapes to balance out the holiday expectations, pace and demands with self-care.

The definition of escape is to break free from what confines. What if we break free at certain times throughout the Holidays to do those things that once made us feel good?

What Does that Mean?

In times of crisis, we know that the mind and body keep score – that the smell, touch, sight or taste of different things can bring back a visceral and emotional feeling associated to a traumatic event.


Teens Sleeping with Cell Phones: A Clear and Present Danger

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

teens sleeping with cell phones (photo credit below)You may already know that many teens sleep with their cell phone on or near the bed.  As an adult, you yourself may sleep with your cell phone and see no problem with this behavior.

A closer look at the reasons that 4 out of 5 teens sleep with their phone, however, gives cause for concern.  While for some teens, the night use of the phone is as a clock or alarm, for most the phone is on all night to connect with peers.

This “on call” status can reflect obligation, anxious need, and even addiction. It jeopardizes physical, emotional and cognitive functioning and limits domains of influence and connection.


Is It Easier To Give Than To Receive?

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

easier to give or receiveOver the years many more people have told me that it’s easier for them to give than to receive. I think many would agree. Why?

Loving to Give

For starters, most people love to give. A part of our moral fabric, espoused for centuries and across diverse religious beliefs, we recognize giving as essential to goodness.

“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9.

“For it is in giving that we receive.” (St. Francis of Asissi )

“They who give have all things: they who withhold have nothing.” (Hindu quote)

Apart from goodness, giving seems to put us in charge.

  • We love giving advice far more than receiving it.
  • We take great pains to give directions (GPS or not) although we would never ask for directions ourselves.
  • Most of us would much prefer to be in the posse that arrives to rescue the town, than waiting in the town to be rescued.

While there is little doubt that true love and generosity motivate the giving in our volunteer work, exhausting child care and even our hours of shopping and standing on lines to buy the perfect gift- we often feel more sense of control when we are giving than when we are receiving.


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Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP & Dianne Kane, DSW are the authors of Healing Together: A Couple's Guide to Coping with Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress. Pick up the book today!

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