Month: March 2017

How to Emotionally Support Your Partner

In relationships, human beings long for emotional support from their partner. Unfortunately, emotional support rarely is offered correctly, or at all. Of course we all understand that we must support each other in a partnership, but we often become tongue-tied or stiff when it comes to creating the words or actions necessary to express that.

Understanding our own emotions is hard enough at times; as a consequence, emotional support for a partner does not always come easy. Often, our partner’s emotions are hard to decipher; this produces anxiety in us when we cannot help the one we love.

The basic rules to a strong, long-lasting relationship have always been: support, respect, honesty, loyalty, compassion. Application of said rules is a completely different story. Dr. Barton Goldsmith is a multi-award winning psychotherapist, radio host, columnist, keynote speaker and the author of Emotional Fitness for Couples. He describes ten ways you can continuously show your partner support in a loving, respectful and caring way:

  1. Touch each other often. Now more than ever before, in our new world of technology, it feels like everything has become virtual, leaving us all starved of real human connection and physical touch.
  2. Be respectful of your partner’s feelings. Try as best as you can to put yourself in the shoes of your partner, especially if they are going through a particularly rough time like a loss of a loved one, pet, job, etc.
  3. Give small, random gifts. Little gifts are not supposed to be expensive, but are merely a representation of the fact that something reminded you of them so you wanted to do something special even if it may be simple or small. It’s the thought that counts; don’t forget that.
  4. Compliment your partner in front of other people. Everyone wants to know and feel like you are proud to be with them. If their self-confidence goes up, they will be happier and in turn make you feel better about you.
  5. Disagree with your partner in a kind and loving way. Remember your partner counts on you to accept them for who they are. Do not judge them for having an opinion that you may not agree with, because what they think matters. So be respectful. Stay respectful to one another, since there no reason to make your partner feel stupid just because you disagree with them.
  6. Say “I love you”. It doesn’t take much to say three little words to remind one another that you continue to care about each other. It doesn’t matter how long you have been together; hearing the words cannot be replaced by anything else.
  7. Never ignore your loved one’s presence. Of course there will be times that you may be angry at each other but that is no excuse to ignore your partner. Not only is it rude, but it creates unnecessary resentment. As Dr. Barton explained, “Stop and think what life would be like if your sweetheart wasn’t with you.”
  8. Listen deeply and take in what your partner is saying. Your partner needs to know they can count on you to listen to them – not just pretend. Your input is important and your partner relies on your opinion. Other times it’s just important to be a caring ear to truly listen.
  9. Speak in a loving tone and remember to smile. “Almost half of communication is tonal and a little more than half is visual.” Your partner is one of the most important people in your life; do not forget to treat them as such.
  10. 10. If your partner is having a rough time, pull out all the stops. This is when your partner needs you most. You’re together not just for the fun times, but the tough ones too.

There is nothing more fulling then having a strong secure relationship with your partner. This world can be a tough place by yourself and nothing beats having a supportive partner to take on it on with. Every good relationship takes hard work and patience; however, if you believe in each other’s ability to change, nothing will be able to stop you.

For more information:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/emotional-fitness/201112/10-ways-get-and-give-emotional-support

Solitude

Solitude gets a bad rap in Western culture. It is odd that the word has such a negative connotation, given that time and time again, data points out myriad benefits for a little alone time. Could we possibly be too frightened to be alone that we never even allow ourselves that blissful state of silence where we might possibly have to be with our own thought – even for a split second? Perhaps we confuse being alone with being lonely. Perhaps we are frightened to allow our unconscious thoughts and feelings to penetrate our awareness—the kind of awareness that often comes from sufficient solitude.

In the most current issue of Psychology Today, comedian, TV and podcast host W. Kamau Bell shared his personal experience of the impact and importance of having alone time. Bell explained that when he practices solitude, he has the chance to be with his own thoughts, which allows creativity to flow unimpeded. Additionally, Bell stated that securing alone time is not always easy, especially when it means choosing alone time over spending time with one’s family.

It isn’t only important to give yourself alone time for your thoughts, but also it is important to give yourself time to explore and learn alone. Solitude gives us a chance to really assess our abilities – without anyone around, you must do it yourself. Learning opportunities abound when one cannot hide behind another person. Essentially, alone time helps gain self-confidence. How does one know one can fend for oneself when one has never done anything without someone there to guide, correct, edit?

Another important benefit to solitude is that one need not worry about the wants of someone else. When you are alone – at that moment in time – you needn’t worry about anyone else’s feelings or needs. It could be rather anxiety relieving, as explained by travel blogger Kate McCulley, who has opted to travel the world, you guessed it, alone.

It is time we reconnect with ourselves. As hard as it may be, in an age we live in where technology is at the tips of our fingers and the second we feel alone for any reason we jump to Facebook and scroll through the news feed, we must resist.

Alone time is not a choice – it is a natural process. Psychologist and author Randy J. Patterson describes the process: “Imagine that you are agitating the surface of a pond, and then you stop. It takes a little time before the surface settles down and becomes clear and still… It also takes a little while for the mind to settle to the point where you can actually develop ideas.”

For more Information:

Psychology Today April 2017

 

The Secret to Increased Productivity


Stimulating our own productivity isn’t always the easiest thing to initiate. Many of us wait passively until motivation strikes or until we achieve some nirvana of organization. Often we simply set standards that are impossible to reach, reducing productivity to a treadmill with lots of activity but no end in sight.

Chris Bailey, author of The Productivity Project, narrowed his focus to what productivity really is and how to the average Joe can obtain and grow it. After running a years’ worth of experiments on himself immediately after graduating college, his exploration of “productivity” uncovered the illusive secret: happiness! Bailey’s conclusion: “Happier people are 31% more productive.”

Bailey goes on to explain that happiness is the fuel for improved productivity, motivation, creativity, success – everything! Therefore, we should practice happiness and doing things that bring us happiness; only then will you be able to experience your maximum level of productivity.

Bailey’s work has been inspired by Shawn Achor, a psychologist and happiness researcher. Achor explains that “when your brain is happy, it performs significantly better than it does when negative, neutral, or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, [also] your energy levels rise.” To get to a place of happiness and higher productivity, Archor identifies five scientifically proven methods of reaching that goal.

Achor’s five tips to daily happiness:

Archor’s studies show that “after doing this for 21 days, people’s brains begin to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first”, which in turn makes them much happier and far more productive.

Give yourself the opportunity to be better, work better, and feel better! Take the 21 day challenge for yourself!

For more information: http://alifeofproductivity.com/5-habits-lead-happiness/

 

The Real Leprechaun Story

by Dathan O’Paterno

Leprechauns. You don’t hear too much about them except now, in the middle of March, when the Chicago River turns green, parades fill the TVs, Shamrock Shakes make their yearly appearance, and moms boil up the usual dose of corned beef and cabbage. It seems everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

But what do we really know about Leprechauns? Are they real or just a figment of some Irish storyteller’s drunken imagination? Where did they come from? What do they do? What are they like? Where (if anywhere) is their famed pot of gold? Do they all have beards? Are there any girl Leprechauns?

Here is the untold story.

Leprechauns are not exactly smaller versions of us. They are not human, although they have several human characteristics. As everyone knows, they live in Ireland. But they weren’t originally from there. Many generations ago, they lived close to the lands where Elves, Dwarfs, and Hobbits all resided. All three peoples intermingled quite peacefully; they traded, partied together, and even created alliances in order to fight off wolves and other dangerous predators.’

Some of these alliances inevitably resulted in intermarriage; although these episodes were embarrassing and kept hush-hush, they were frequent enough that over a span of several generations, most people accepted them. Naturally (although surprisingly to all three races), these intermarriages resulted in the sprouting of a new race that we today call leprechauns.

While early leprechauns were exceptionally friendly, they tended to live on their own, seeming to have little craving for the company of others. They were excellent artisans; although they possessed little culinary skill, they were quite adept at creating music and dance. They seemed to be very light-hearted folk, revealing few cares or worries. However, they did have a clearly defined moral sense. For example, they were committed to helping the poor—they were inclined toward living as a pre-dated Robin Hood clan. Furthermore, they were highly skilled at craftworking, especially at items that aided and abetted deception.

Because all the various races knew their skill and friendliness, a large group of young leppies (as they were known to other folk) were invited by none other than Santa Claus to work in his workshop. And so a good portion of the Leprechaun tribe emigrated to the North Pole. For generations, the leppies and Elves coexisted peacefully in Santa’s working crew, with the more technically savvy leppies forging and building what the creative and inspired Elves dreamed of. Every year, they piggy-backed on each other’s Christmas spirit with buoyant joy and playfulness.

But alas, there were a few leppies whose actions were a bit too playful. Whether it was their natural tendency toward troublemaking or the harsh cold of the arctic winters, some could not help themselves. No one knows their true names–these were lost in the only book that survived until a later chapter in their history–but we do know what they did.

One Christmas season, when the weather had already become wretchedly frigid, a small detachment of leppies played a practical joke on the elvish chief, Bontilith. One night, after all the elves were soundly asleep, these particularly naughty leppies despoiled their elf cousins of all of the years’ toys that had been stored. They hid them away in their own private cave storage in Doringray. After securing the store of toys, they returned back to their barracks, laughing late into the night. When they awoke, they crept into the shop, where they found the elves dumbstruck and severely forlorn. The leppies couldn’t contain their laughter. However, no amount of private mirth could lessen the elves’ dismay. When one of them determined to report directly to Santa Claus that this Christmas would be ruined, the leppies were forced to admit to Bontilith what had happened. Although elves are generally not prone to anger or resentment, he was none too happy.

Moments after the confession, a report over the loudspeaker blasted “Here this: a terrible storm has resulted in an avalanche at Doringray Residence Cave. The cave has collapsed.” The leppies were without words—a phenomenon quite unusual for them. When the wreckage was discovered, every single toy the leppies had hidden had been destroyed. Santa himself was devastated; he simply could not get enough toys made and delivered by Christmas.

Thankfully, the leppies fessed up and took full responsibility. Santa was, perhaps surprisingly, less than merciful. He banished them from the North Pole forever. From here, the leppies traveled from North Pole to Greenland, then from Greenland to Iceland. But no one wanted to harbor these strange folk. Eventually, they made their way to the island of Ireland.

They took up residence in the Northern parts and wooded sections in the south of the island. For many years, they did very little but show their remorse with tears and drowning in the local bottle. But after a while they banded together again and dedicated their lives and their children’s lives to righting the wrong they had committed. From now on, they decided, they would steal things only for a purpose–to give them to the poor.

And after many meetings, councils, and summits—some conducted while sober, some not so sober— they devised a scheme. They made up a very clever (albeit ridiculous) story about a rainbow that had a pot of gold at the end of it. The ruse was that they would tell this story to whoever would listen–well, to anyone who was rich and would listen. To these unfortunate wealthy folk, they promised to escort them to the renowned rainbow, where they could partake of the pot of gold and become wealthier than they had ever imagined.

But, like any gimmick, the leppies insisted on needed some gold up front as “prepayment” for their services. And so they eagerly accepted gold, toys, and other goodies from their unsuspecting victims.

The leppies combined all of their spoils, consistent with their nature. Soon enough, they were richer than all the world’s kings and princes put together.

Of course, they never quite led anyone to the rainbow or the pot of gold.

So if you ever meet a leppie, do not be deceived by his friendly nature or promises. He (or she) is only trying to get your goodies. Even though they would more than likely go to someone who needs them more than you! Simply buy the leppie a beer and remember that the only pot of gold at the end of a rainbow is in fairy tales.

The End

Live Your Life – Don’t Just Let It Pass You By

By Olga Zavgorodnya

Living life means different things to many people. When I say “Living your life”, I am referring to living your life in a way that embraces your dreams, contains your goals and aspirations, and validates your desires. Living a life that has been built by someone else is not authentic living. When you are not true to yourself, you let your life pass you by; before you know it, there is no time left for you to be you – you’ve spent it all being someone else.

Fear is the most frequent culprit robbing our ability to go through with manifesting our desires. Our fear of commitment, failure, and risks create a need to cling to consistency and routines – things we understand and have learned are “safe”. The irony is that our world is not built for consistency; it is designed for changing processes and adaptability. Nature adapts: plants, animals, ecosystems. Why do humans have such a hard time adapting?

It is almost uncanny how strongly we fight against change. As human beings, we must tolerate some ambiguity and unknowns in our future. Peace of mind comes once you expel the faulty belief that you can control everything and account for everyone. Accepting that you may not always have a solution and that some things will just be a surprise takes away from the pressure and dread. When your fears and worries dissipate, you have a chance to enjoy the present moment as it is – you have a chance to live your life.

Of course this is easier said than done. The first step is belief: in yourself, your strengths, and your patience. Have a positive mindset that life will move in your favor. Acknowledge the good that has already come in your life. Keep your thoughts positive and hopeful. Do not get stuck in self-pity. One can abide self-pity for a stage, but you must know when it is time to move on. Do not allow self-pity, fear, or hopelessness alike become a habit. You are the one who must embrace change and release your fear. Your freedom stands strong when fear is defeated, defanged, or diminished.

Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CARD). He recommends four steps to conquering your fears:

  1. Let it play out – Whatever situation you are in that is causing you fear before jumping to the worst case scenario in your mind – don’t. Instead, just watch what will happen before making it so much more intense in your thoughts.
  2. Find the Will – Find the strength to gather enough courage and just try to face whatever challenge may lie ahead. You may be surprised just how much you are capable of.
  3. Write it down and prove it wrong – Be your own lawyer, argue against why you shouldn’t be fearful – as you would for a friend if they brought a concern to you.
  4. Break them down – Break up your fears into smaller sections and defeat them one small fear at a time.

It is not easy to be tolerant and accepting of the negative things that happen to us in our lives. Unfortunately, they help us understand that time is a fleeting moment – you must not spend it in regret and agony. Your perspective is key! Have the courage to defeat your doubts because your dreams are worth the challenges that you may fear.

 

For more information:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-be-yourself/201607/4-simple-steps-conquer-your-fears?collection=1095120

 

 

E-cigarettes – Not As Safe As They Appear!

Methadone. Saccharine. Margarine. Aspartame. The United States has a long history of products marketed to an eager public that ostensibly replaces American’s unhealthy choices, but winds up being worse—or nearly worse—than the original toxin. Now we have E-cigarettes (“vaping”). Electronic cigarettes are ubiquitous, despite a shocking lack of information on their safety. Consumers should always lead with caution when new products like these come out on the market and declare themselves as safe without any whiff of evidence. One concern stems from the lack of longitudinal studies that could effectively evaluate and assess the risks and potential dangers.

Recent studies done by the Japanese Ministry of Health, led by Dr. Naoki Kunugita, show that electronic cigarettes also referred to as “vaporizers” when compared to tobacco products contain ten times more cancer causing agents and carcinogens. The ingredients in these electric cigarettes have not been tested or approved by the FDA for effectiveness or safety.

Additionally, the Japanese Ministry of Health commissioned research that found “formaldehyde and acetaldehyde carcinogens are produced in the liquid by many e-cigarette products [and] that e-cigarettes can fuel potentially life-threatening drug-resistant pathogens”. Trust me, chemicals ending in “-hyde” are not part of a healthy diet; in fact, they are poisons. Perhaps these toxins will be outlawed in all inhalable products. For now, know that allowing teens to use e-cigarettes is allowing them to poison themselves.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has worked with governments to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to youth and to caution pregnant women and women of reproductive age to avoid this harmful product, chiefly because it has been shown to pose grave danger. How disheartening it is to see the myriad “vape shops” sprout up in every neighborhood with no substantial education on their products.

According to research from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, “More than a quarter of a million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used electronic cigarettes in 2013… This number reflects a three-fold increase, from about 79,000 in 2011, to more than 263,000 in 2013”.

Electronic cigarettes have become particularly popular on high school campuses, which should be a huge concern for parents and youth who care about their health. Our youth are currently indulging in an activity falsely marketed and touted as a safe product; it is anything but.

For more information:

http://kingideas.co/2016/07/e-cigarettes-found-to-have-10-times-more-cancer-causing-ingredients-than-regular-cigarettes/