How to Prevent an Emotional Meltdown

"F-E-A-R has two meanings: 'Forget Everything and Run' or 'Face Everything And Rise'. The choice is yours. - Zig Ziglar

The alarm clock goes off. You roll over and slowly rise from your bed. Make your way to the kitchen. Grab a cup of coffee. Open your laptop. And read an accusatory email, perhaps from your boss, best friend, or significant other. Or open an unexpected and exorbitant bill. And...


Nine Ways to Heal Your Relationship With Food

Why is it often difficult to have a healthy relationship with food, our bodies, and our weight? Why do we eat past the point of satiety, relentlessly criticize our thighs, belly, or other body parts, or base our self-worth on a number on the scale? Or why do we obsess about that ideal diet that will magically restore us to perfect health and also somehow heal our relationships, finances, and career woes?

The answers are multifold, but let’s begin with the inconvenient truth that life is inherently difficult, and when faced with worries about the economy, our families, our health, the current political landscape, gridlock on the freeway, and/or that annoying leaf blower at 7:00 a.m., it’s tempting to consume foods that can quickly change our mood.

There are a wide range of reactions among people to substances such as sugar, fat, caffeine, and flour, with some people being able to eat or drink these items without negative repercussions. However, for many of us, the subsequent dopamine surge (and consequent plunge) can be dramatic and perhaps over time become a frequent go-to when we’re facing uncomfortable feelings.


The 4 Steps to an Effective Apology

 It takes courage to apologize. Saying we're sorry puts us in a position of vulnerability. We aren't in control of other people's responses. They might reject us. They might yell at us. They might not accept our apology.

However, these are all risks we can choose to take, in the spirit of wanting to make things right in terms of our behavior. Whether the apology is for a major or minor offense, saying that we're sorry can rebuild bridges that, left unmended, can irreversibly harm our relationships.

"Why can't we talk it over? Always seems to me that sorry seems to be the hardest word." Elton John


10 Ways to Thrive if You’re Highly Sensitive

Do people tell you that you’re too “thin-skinned” or overly reactive?
Do you tend to pick up on other people’s energy to the point where you “catch” their moods?
Does being around a large group of people drain you?
Do you need a lot of time alone to regroup and regain your energy?
Are you frazzled by noise, odors, or chattering, more so than the next person?
Do you compulsively overeat to try and manage uncomfortable feelings?
Are you scared that you might “lose” yourself if you become involved in an intimate relationship?
If you answer yes to most of these questions, you may be an “empath”, according to psychiatrist Judith Orloff, an intuitive psychiatrist who authored the book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life.
Being highly sensitive and possessing an exceptionally “permeable” system, empaths are generally:

very passionate
gifted at connecting to and helping others
spiritual, and
in tune with their physical sensations and emotions.


Proven Help for Compulsive Eating

There’s no getting around it – food is an essential and often extremely pleasurable part of life. (That is, unless you’re a breatharian, a concept I personally cannot understand.)

Not only is food necessary for our physical sustenance, but it also figures prominently in many social and religious events. Thanksgiving and turkey (or tofurky). The Super Bowl, chips, and dip. Easter, chocolate eggs, and Peeps. Passover, matzoh, and gefilte fish.

Enjoying a leisurely meal with friends or family can also help us bond with others while nourishing our bodies.

However, in too many cases food and eating can morph into a source of discomfort and potentially threaten one’s physical health and well-being.

Downing a one-pound bag of M & M’s can become the response to be jilted romantically or losing one’s job.

Grazing on bags of potato chips throughout the day can become a way to procrastinate about schoolwork.

Ordering an extra-large pizza and eating it alone at home with the blinds closed, and then falling into a food-fueled comatose state, can be a way to block out feelings of low self-worth.

This is serious business. What to do? How to regain a healthy relationship with food again? Or develop such a relationship for the first time?


How Religion and Spirituality Can Help (or Harm) You

"Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car." (Billy Sunday)
Is it better for your happiness and health to belong to an organized religion or to be “spiritual”? Does it matter?

Being religious refers to believing in a specific deity (or group of deities) and following the regulations of a particular religion. In addition, organized religion (as implied by its title) generally takes place in a relatively formal, organized context. In contrast, being spiritual may or may not involve belief in a particular god but does imply that the person is trying to follow a specific moral code, such as being loving and kind, and is seeking a meaning in life that’s bigger than him or herself.

In other words, a person can be both religious and spiritual. In contrast, someone can be religious but not spiritual, as in the case of adhering to religious dogma such as tithing 10% of one’s income but being consistently cruel or unjust. Or, an individual can be spiritual but not religious.


Can You Love Someone Too Much?

Do any of the following statements ring true for you?

My feelings of self-worth are dependent on what you and other people think of me.
I focus on solving your problems, protecting you from the consequences of your actions, or “fixing” you, to the point of neglecting my own needs. 
My self-esteem is based on my ability to “fix” you.
I abandon my personal values and interests and conform with your values and interests.
I know how you feel and what you want, but I’m not clear on how I feel and what I want.
My words and actions are chosen in attempts to avoid your anger or rejection.

If so, you may be struggling with codependency, defined as becoming so preoccupied with someone else that you cease to take adequate care of yourself. This is not love – this is looking to an outside source to grant you happiness and a sense of purpose, much in the way that alcoholics or chemically dependent people use substances to numb their feelings and escape life. Although codependents may appear to be kind, gentle, and giving, these qualities can mask a wish to manipulate and control others in order to feel better about themselves. So in a sense codependency is a form of addiction.


Hints for Effective Stress Management

Generally when we talk about being “stressed”, we mean that we’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious. However, we all need a certain level of stimulation and challenge in order to feel fulfilled, and this crucial amount of stress is termed eustress.

Defined by the endocrinologist Hals Selye, eustress refers to “good stress”, or responding to a stressor as if it were a growth-enhancing opportunity, rather than as something to be feared, resisted, denied, or avoided. Of course, the chances of our viewing something as eustress have a lot to do with when and how the stressor occurs, as well as how much control we think we have over the situation and how welcome we view the stressor to be. 


10 Ways to Increase Self-Esteem

Healthy self-esteem is comprised of self-worth, self-confidence, and self-acceptance. It does not mean that we are proud, arrogant, or think that we're inherently better than other people, but that we feel worthy of respect and as if we are of value. In this state, we're able to let go of self-centeredness, because we aren't preoccupied with how we are or aren't measuring up. While we take appropriate action toward our goals, they don't define who we are as people. Thus, our self-esteem remains independent of our achievements or what other people think of us, although we still strive to maximize our potential.
Some ways to bolster your self-esteem:

Be realistic. Don't compare yourself with others, but just focus on doing your best. Also, recognize that your best may vary from day to day, based on factors such as how much sleep you got the previous night, the types of food you've been eating, how much work you have on your plate, and your social interactions.


Steps For Lasting Change

Look at every path closely and deliberately.
Try it as many times as you think necessary.

Then ask yourself, and yourself alone…

Does this path have a heart? If it does, the

path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.

- Carlos Casteneda

When it comes to dealing with addiction, emotional problems, relationship problems, or having gotten off-course in life, recovery has two components: recovery from behaviors that no longer work and recovery of a healthy and fulfilling life. Focusing only on not doing something anymore or moving away from particular behaviors keeps us in a deprivation mentality.

After all, what we really want is happiness grounded in a sense of purpose and things to wake up to with joy and enthusiasm each morning, to keep us going when the road gets rocky (as it inevitably will, from time to time). The cup can always be at least half-full rather than half-empty -- and at times the cup can even be overflowing!