Month: February 2017

Patience + Self-control = Happiness?

By Olga Zavgorodnya Patience.

We hear the word often from parents, teachers, partners, and friends. We use it freely; but do we really know what patience is–or what is even the point of being patient?

Neel Burton, M.D., a psychiatrist, philosopher, writer, and professor in Oxford, England believes that patience may be the key to overall happiness. Dr. Burton states that looking through history, humans have a habit to discount long-term reward and reinforcement.

Many of us have seen the famous “Marshmallow Test”, a study conducted by Walter Mischel and Ebbe B. Ebbesen at Stanford University in the 1960’s (see video link below). The test was conducted with 4-5-year-old children to measure their self-control. The results gleaned amazing insight into human variation and the ability to be patient. Burton discussed follow-up studies carried out over 40 years, finding that “the minority of children who had been able to hold out for a second marshmallow went on to enjoy significantly better life outcomes, including higher test scores, better social skills, and less substance misuse.”

Patience obviously correlates with self-control. Will practicing this skill increase our ability for self-control? Or will practicing self-control increase our ability and tolerability with patience? Honestly, it does not matter whether you begin with the chicken or the egg; either way, one must dedicate hard work.

It should come as no surprise, then, that many of us are unhappy or even depressed. Patience acts as an investment in one’s happiness because you have a plan and goal for success in the future.

How can someone be happy if they are incapable to appreciate the present moment as it is – not what it will or could be? Being able to control one’s immediate wants is key– if one is looking to have a better future.

Immediate gratification or pleasure lasts for a small moment; alternately, patience, self-control, and effort make a moment that is truly memorable and builds a deeper happiness and a pride in one’s accomplishments. A synonym for this is joy—an abiding, deeper, and sustainable happiness. Not just a short burst of indulgence- that for most is usually followed by guilt for not being able to do what you know would have been the smarter option. Do not underestimate the power that patience may have in your life.

A note to parents; your children need you to set a good example for them. Part of your role is training them to practice and appreciate patience. They are watching you: are you being patient and showing examples of self-control or are you setting up your child for a life of immediate gratification and little effort to building a happy and strong future?

For more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX_oy9614HQ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201505/why-patience-is-power

7 Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success

If there could be a strong chance that your marriage could end in divorce – wouldn’t you want to do more research on the partner you’re with and your ability to be successful together? Perhaps it is time to realize that the divorce rate in the United States is a significant 25-35%*.

There must be something that can be done to decrease the chances for your relationship to fail. Preston Ni, a professor, trainer, coach, and course designer in interpersonal effectiveness, professional communication, cross-cultural understanding, and organizational change is the author of How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People and Communication Success with Four Personality Types. In both books, he lists his seven Keys to long term Relationship Success:

  1. Trust

Is your partner loyal? Can you count on your partner? Can your partner count on you? Preston Ni recommends that we take the time to truly appraise our partner’s honesty based on nothing other than dependability.

  1. Intimacy

Are you satisfied – Physically, emotionally, intellectually and through shared activities? Preston Ni states that “Understanding one another’s priorities and connecting in ways that are important to both partners help ensure long-term relational success.”

  1. Who you are as a result of your partner

Being with someone who makes you feel like a better person is so important! Your self-worth and sanity depend on making this decision wisely – are you with a person who makes you better?

  1. Positive communication experiences

How do you talk to one another? With respect? Dr. John Gottman, eminent marriage therapy researcher and practitioner, determined after over twenty years of research that “the single, best predictor of divorce is when one or both partners show contempt in the relationship.” If you can debate and discuss without contempt, you’re relatively safe.

  1. Conflict resolution

Do you listen to each other when one of you brings up a concern? Do you fight and hold grudges or do you try to resolve the issue and then forgive and forget? Preston Ni suggests that “successful couples have the ability to learn and grow through their interpersonal difficulties.”

  1. Adversity and Crisis

Can you two be supportive of each other in a time of hardship? Do you stand together or do you fall apart? Maybe you haven’t even gone through something really big together before. It is important to be able to see if you two have each other’s back.

  1. Compatible financial values

Is the way you see finances similar? Do you solve financial differences as a team? Do you fight about finances often? Are you savers or spenders? You needn’t be identical, but complementary.

Obviously, marriage requires hard work from both partners and consistent collaboration to keep the relationship fresh and moving smoothly. There are many benefits to marriage that, if done in a well-thought-out fashion, success is more likely. Don’t forget to ask the important questions, before and after you say “I do”!

*No, the divorce rate isn’t 50% and has never been close to 50%. It has also been decreasing steadily for the past 30 years, since the advent of the no-fault divorce.

More information:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-success/201210/7-keys-long-term-relationship-success

The Good News About Marriage, Shaunti Feldhahn

 

Reinventing Yourself: Who’s the New You?

By Olga Zavgorodnya

Every day brings a new opportunity to be the person you have always dreamt about. Every moment gives you the possibility to make a step in the direction that will put an equal sign between your fantasy and your reality. The first step is always the most challenging, because it puts a plan into motion towards a goal that might be fraught with fear. Staying focused on the future self that you envision is the next challenge.

Don’t let today’s struggles hold you back from making the steps to the life you want. Rebecca Weber, who holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia University, states that “It’s in our nature, for example, to spend our energy primarily on today’s immediate concerns, to hold a distorted perception of our future, or, even if we’re future-focused, to keep chasing after what turns out to be the wrong dreams.”

Here is a condensed version of some helpful steps to get you on the road to reinventing yourself (modified from Rebecca Weber’s Article in Psychology Today):

  • Identify your identity – What are your strengths? Weaknesses? The more you can identify, the better directed you will be toward the modifications you wish to make. If you are lost, begin with asking yourself: “What will I regret not having done?”
  • Modify your identity – Once you know what you do not like and wish to modify, begin implementing your plan, one step at time, until you reach your goal. Researchers from the University of Rochester found that people who were passionate about what they did were far less likely to be depressed when compared to those who had very little passion. Additionally, they found that even if someone holds a prestigious title, that title serves little purpose if the prestige isn’t matched by passion.
  • Give yourself enough time to complete your goal. You do not want to set yourself up to fail before you even begin, right? Be reasonable with your plan and allow time for yourself to succeed. If you are not thinking realistically here, you are only hurting yourself and your motivation.
  • Stay Determined. Goals are not always easy to achieve. You must stay the course, even through all the obstacles and distractions that will inevitably get in your way. Staying determined is easier if you form new habits and create new patterns that meet the standard you expect from yourself. Track your accomplishments for encouragement.
  • Celebrate the Small Accomplishments. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small. When your goals start to match up with your values, achieving those goals produces an irreplaceable feeling. It’s one of the healthy highs in life. Nothing beats the feeling of earning something for which you strived hard.

Ultimately, believe in yourself. Channel your passion and use it to achieve your true goals.  Give yourself a chance to at least attempt becoming the person you always wanted to be. You owe yourself that much.

For more Information:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201405/reinvent-yourself?collection=148507

10 Situations Where Saying “No” Can Improve Your Life

by Olga Zavgorodnya

Self-improvement: for many, the term is a silly cliché. For others, it’s a scary notion. After all, improvement means change – and for most of us, change can be scary. If you wish to make personal change, you must keep in mind that the changes you set out to make can drastically improve the quality of your life.

For success to take root, you must learn to say “No” to many simple, everyday things. In the words of Warren Buffet, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Like what? Well, here is a list that will help you take the first step towards achieving your success (adopted from Screenwriter, filmmaker, communication and lifestyle expert Nena Tenacity):

  1. Say “No” to propositions that you are not fully interested in; even though it seems like an opportunity. Remember if you invest time in an opportunity you are not excited about, that is time that you could be investing towards a passion of your and an even better opportunity. “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best”. – John C. Maxwell
  2. Say “No” to networking. Build relationships not networks. You must learn to say no to the standard type of networking you are used to, and instead learn how to really connect with others.
  3. Say no to spending time with people who do not inspire you. Surround yourself with people who motivate you, not knock you down.
  4. Say “No” to overworking yourself. Lead a balanced life.
  5. Say “No” to laziness. Being successful includes maintaining an exercise regimen; it will improve focus and motivation, as well as your sleep.
  6. Say “No” to junk food. Eating right helps your brain work well. You need the proper fuel to keep you going all day long.
  7. Say “No” to doing everything by yourself. Learn to trust others and delegate tasks to those who can do a good job. You do not have to handle everything all the time.
  8. Say “No” to priorities. Make a list of your “priorities” and figure out what your sole priority Focus on one, because when too many things become a priority – nothing will actually be prioritized.
  9. Say “No” to motivation. Do not rely on motivation to keep you going. Motivation comes and goes—you cannot really depend on it. Building healthy habits will be the cure. When you have habits in place, you will not need to wait for a stroke of inspiration to get you going.
  10. Say “No” to everything. You must pick what your goal is and focus on that one goal with all you have. There will always be plenty of other good ideas and opportunities; however, you must not get distracted and lose your focus.

Saying “No” is difficult at first, and requires effort. You must be dedicated to yourself and your goals. Like anything worth doing, saying “no” takes practice. Start today; say no to something that distracts you, brings you down, or has become a stumbling block to real success!

For more information:
http://www.lifehack.org/287501/10-everyday-things-successful-entrepreneurs-say-that-skyrocket-success

Boo, Winter Blues!

By Olga Zavgorodnya

About this time of year, the days seem to last about 45 minutes. Desire to go outside decreases with each day that passes by. For most of us it is simply the cold weather that keeps us inside; however, for many of us it is so much more than that. Don’t worry you are not alone. What you may be experiencing is Seasonal Depression, also known as SAD (how convenient).

Mainstream psychiatry/psychology define Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as “a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD”.

Women are diagnosed four times more often than men; some believe that hormonal regulation and a change in social structure are to blame. Parents need to be aware that younger adults have a higher risk of SAD than older adults and SAD has been reported even in children and teens. Children who spend hours per day outside transition to indoor activity, or, unfortunately, far less activity.

Now, it is critical to understand that mental health is dynamic. We all have ups and downs, caused by relationship changes, weather, energy level, hormones, and myriad factors. Just because one tends to cycle with emotion doesn’t mean that one has a mental disorder. SAD isn’t a true disease, disorder, or disability. It is a normal function of human existence. This doesn’t make the phenomenon any less real or worthy of attention and response. It is just important to understand that one is not doomed to meaningless suffering.

Often, the affected person going through this is unaware of what is happening to them. This is very challenging for family and friends as well because many cannot understand the emotional and physical implications often burdening the depressed family member. Whether you believe you may be the one suffering from SAD, or a friend/family member, it is important to be aware of the warning signs.

10 signs that are common of SAD:

  1. Depressed mood most of the day nearly every day.
  2. Loss of interest in things you used to find interesting or enjoyable.
  3. Changes in sleep patterns—primarily oversleeping.
  4. Low energy and lethargy.
  5. Difficulty with concentration and focus.
  6. Feeling anxious or irritable, or having difficulty managing stress.
  7. A reluctance to engage with others and a desire to be alone.
  8. Decreased libido and sexual desire.
  9. Craving sunlight.
  10. Craving carbohydrate-rich foods (and resulting weight gain).

 

Psychology Today published an article entitled, 10 Signs of Seasonal Depression by Guy Winch, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, keynote speaker, and author, who suggested solutions that may help alleviate some of the symptoms that come with SAD. Here are a few:

  • Light therapy – helpful in getting vitamin D that we normally produce from sunlight exposure during the Spring and Summer.
  • Maintain a steady sleeping schedule – since sleeping patterns are greatly affected and sticking to a strict sleep/wake time helps to maintain a daily routine. Ultimately helps you from sleeping the day away, even if you feel like it.
  • Spending time outdoors – it is essential to get up and moving, particularly outside to get as much sunlight as possible. Especially on a sunny day – this is a must.
  • Going on vacation – a getaway somewhere warm helps to break up the long cold season and bring the blues down.
  • Eating a balanced diet – This is important year-round. Winter time is particularly important to get all your vitamins in to stay healthy mentally physically and emotionally.

It is very important that if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or symptoms of depression get help from a licensed clinical professional who can distinguishes between underlying clinical depression, temporary debilitating depressive symptoms like SAD, and normal, transient blues.

For more information:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201510/10-signs-seasonal-depression-and-6-ways-fight-it

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml