June 2017

Stop Giving Negative People Too Much Power!

Negative people have a way of sneaking into our lives and gobbling up way more time we would like them to. Negative Nancies are hard to avoid, especially if it is a co-worker, family member or neighbor. This personality type is difficult to avoid and intolerable to be around – even if we have no choice.

Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, college psychology instructor, and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, highlights that “[Negative People’s] bad attitudes, catastrophic thinking, and fatalistic outlooks can infiltrate the ranks and spread like an epidemic.” So what do we do? Morin created a list of five things that will dramatically change the impact that negative people can have in your life:

  1. Guard your time – Your time is important and you should learn to prioritize. Simply because you may not be able to avoid negative people doesn’t mean you should give them more energy than necessary. The gist here is to not complain to other people about the negative encounter you had with a negative person; instead start a positive conversation put the negative interaction behind you. Or if you know you are about to see someone negative, don’t spend your time thinking about how uncomfortable it is going to be. Instead, listen to music or distract yourself.
  2. Choose your attitude – You are in control of what type of attitude you will use to approach any situation, including situations with a negative person. Choose to stay positive regardless of everything else – or anyone else.
  3. Refocus your thoughts – Don’t let negative people redirect your thoughts. Stay productive and don’t let others bring you down by increasing your doubts or worries. Consciously make the effort to deflect thoughts inflicted by the “Debbie Downers”.
  4. Choose to behave productively– Ultimately you are in control of your own emotions. Do not let negative people wrest control of your mind and heart and cause you to react in a manner that could bring you trouble (especially in the work place).
  5. Seek out positive people– Take time to identify positive people in your life. Make sure to spend enough time with positive people in your life to create balance for yourself. Negative people tend to drain us, while positive people help us recapture our motivation and joy.


Don’t let negative people occupy space in your head—before, during, or after your encounter with them. Be proactive in managing your emotions, thoughts, and actions. You are in control and you can make the appropriate changes to be happier and healthier, despite what others around you might do or say.

For more information:



11 Reasons to Seek Couples Counseling

Dyanne Bresler
June, 2017

  1. If you’re yelling, cursing, belittling or giving one another the silent treatment, it’s time to get help.  I’m not talking about the rare occasion when one of you uncharacteristically briefly loses it; that can happen in the healthiest of relationships. If you speak to one another most of the time in a way that is disrespectful, hurtful, or demeaning, it’s a sign that your relationship is sick.
  2. If you regularly try to resolve differences and wind up escalating to a version of WWIII, it’s time to get help.
  3. If affection has become a thing of the past, it’s time to get help.  If sex (or the lack of it) is being used as a weapon, it’s time to get help.
  4. If you have slid into a relationship that is like two roommates, and if either of you longs for the kind of intimacy that you once had, it’s time to get help.
  5. If you’re not on the same page with parenting your children, it’s time to get help.
  6. If your kids get a “No” answer from parent A and automatically get a “Yes” from the other, it means you are not on the same page.
  7. If there is infidelity or abuse, or a problem with substance abuse (alcohol is a substance, by the way) you need to get help.  Like yesterday.
  8. If you’re frequently arguing about money, it’s time to get help.
  9. If your kids are getting into trouble at school or out in the community, it’s time to get help.  Parenting is the hardest job in the world and if there are signs that what you’re doing isn’t working, get some help.
  10. If you cannot remember when you last felt safe, secure and comfortable with your partner, it’s time to get help.
  11. If you are counting the years before you can exit the relationship and haven’t tried with expert help to fix it, know that it’s never too late to get help.


Slow and Steady Wins the Race

If you are currently in a new relationship or hoping to be in one, it’s acceptable to acknowledge that for some in the dating world, knowing what you should say or how to act can be a challenge. Not everyone is a natural. When interest or love strikes, it is often challenging not to get impulsive or even chaotic. The excitement and thrill of starting a new enticing relationship can create hazy vision. Judging what to do with boundaries can be particularly difficult, especially when it comes to the matter of sex.

Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and author of The Search for Fulfillment, describes four reasons for her dictum: “Slowing down when it comes to sex – slower is better.”

  1. Couples tend to move quickly into sexual relationships.

This is not a smart move. If you want to have a strong solid relationship, you cannot rush into a sexual relationship too quickly. Sex makes many people—particularly women—feel vulnerable; it is critical to make certain you both trust each other before you jump right in.

  1. The slower the sex, the better the relationship.

Take the time to learn about one another: what your partner likes, what they may hate, what their turn-ons and turn-offs are. There is no reason you cannot talk about sex before you have sex. Don’t be scared to talk about this; it is nothing to be embarrassed about. This will only bring you closer together and decrease any worries you may be having. If you or your partner is suffering from any sexual disorder like erectile dysfunction, you need to talk about this as well. Involving your partner in finding the right ed treatment will strengthen your bond.

  1. Early sexual activity symbolizes relationship commitment.

If you rush into sex too early in your relationship, it is a general predictor of how long your relationship will last. Begin quickly – end quickly; that’s the general pattern. Couples whose relationships last a long time have generally started having sex later in their relationship—after they have learned about one another.

  1. Entry into cohabitation accounted for the negative effect of relationship tempo on quality.

Research has demonstrated that when couples start having sex early in the relationship, they also slip into premarital cohabitation. The unfortunate consequence: they also reported having less satisfying sexual relationships!

Give yourselves time to learn about each other, to embrace all the components of a relationship without so much focus on the sexual realm. This is extremely important if you are truly looking for something long-term. When you want to build a solid foundation with someone you hope to spend the rest of your life with, it is important to wait.

For more information:


Don’t Forget to Celebrate the Little Things

Life grants us many challenges, to be sure. Many frustrate us on a daily basis, which can depress us or at least drag our mood into the gutter. How do we counteract the negativity?

One method is taking some time to focus on the positives in your life. While it may sound cliché, you will inevitably have more tolerance for the unpleasant things we come across if you purposely maintain presence in the moment and list, then savor the positives within your day. Truly, this can create an ultimately happier life.

Polly Campbell, author of Imperfect Spirituality: Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People, shares that her personal success in her marriage is strongly tied to her and her husband’s ability to celebrate even the smallest joys in their lives. She explains that it is extremely important to genuinely bring attention to details that will help fight off negative situations that happen to us. Campbell suggests we use three steps to help us relish moments:

  1. Notice the moment – First thing is to actually recognize that there is something to celebrate, or at least acknowledge as a positive event. Think about all the things that happened during your day; ask yourself, “What made me happy or smile today?” You might surprise yourself with a list much longer than you suspect.


  1. Move out of the routine and set the scene – Make sure to actually take the time to recognize the positive moment or event. Take steps to designate a place where you can dedicate a bit of time to really relish the joy.
  2. Commemorate the moment – This step requires that you come up with a method to actually celebrate positive moments. Whether it be a toast or a high five, dream up something that represents and honors that event, moment, accomplishment, or success that brought joy and positivity into your life.

Imagine how much time we spend focusing on the bad, the negative and the ugly. It takes work to learn how to focus on the good, positive and beautiful. If you practice and truly commit yourself to making your life more positive, the benefits you will gain are endless. However, the most important benefit is that you will noticeably be happier on a daily basis. We all have an opportunity to be happier; knowing it is possible should help.


For more information:



Eight Mental Health Benefits to Having a Pet

It is incredible to consider all that pets do for our lives. For many of us pet owners, nothing could replace the void left behind when a pet is no longer with us. It is easy to underestimate the benefits a pet can bring into one’s life—particularly mental health benefits. Danielle Hark, a writer and certified life coach, describes twelve benefits of owning a pet:

  1. They get you outside and get you moving: When you are responsible for another life, you consider those things they need to be happy. Going outside is something many pets need; you need it too. However, you cannot always convince yourself. There is nothing better than having someone to drag you out for some vitamin D.Vitamin D exposure helps fight physical and mental conditions, including depression, cancer, obesity, and heart attacks” explained Hark. Lower your blood pressure, get outside and keep moving. Nothing better than someone reminding you that it’s time for your daily walk. Exercise is always easier with an encouraging partner.
  2. They lessen allergies and asthma, and build immunity:As odd as this may be, Hark found that “Children who were exposed to two or more dogs or cats as babies were less than half as likely to develop allergies, including dust, grass, ragweed and pet allergies, and were at a lower risk for asthma.”
  3. Petting reduces stress and lets you play:The act of petting your pet has multiple benefits, including calming you down, reducing stress, the physiological bonding with your pet (this app app for vets will give you more info on how to keep your pets safe). Playing with your pet has similar benefits in addition to getting you some exercise and playfulness. Playing with your pets allows for you to act silly and to bond with your friend.
  4. They distract you and keep you present:Pets can distract you from daily stresses; remember, suppression is your friend. At other times, your pet can cause you to be present with them in the moment through play and through their endless charm.
  5. They minimize loneliness and can lessen isolation:Pets help you feel loved and needed. Not only are they someone to care of, but also they return love that you give them. Having a “cuddle-buddy” significantly reduces symptoms of depression. Additionally, if you are a dog lover, walking your pet it gives you opportunities to socialize and potentially even meet someone new.
  6. They’re great listeners and they make you smile:You can talk to your pet about anything and they won’t tell a soul—except other animals, perhaps. They will listen and offer you a chance to get things off of your chest. Not to mention that they are great at making you smile – especially if you are feeling particularly down. Pets are known to empathize with their owners.
  7. They love you unconditionally:No matter how terrible your day may have been, the second you come home, many pets approach you and remind you that none of that matters anymore and everything will be OK. They are your support system and love you without having to actually say the words. Their excited face is often enough to know how much they care about you.
  8. They can give you a purpose:Having someone who depends on you and needs you to survive is a tough, yet pleasant, responsibility. Knowing they need you gives you purpose and takes you away from your immediate problems at least for a moment.

Pets are worth the responsibility if you can manage one (or more); the benefits surpass the sacrifices by a wide margin. If you do not think you can have a pet right now, it’s OK – there are so many shelters that need people to come by and play with their animals – there is more than enough love to go around.

For more information:


Stretching is more important than you may realize.

As busy as our days can get you must never neglect to take the time to stretch. With technology—in particular computers—becoming an increasing part of our jobs and daily lives, our bodies do not get the care they need.

Meg Selig, retired counseling professor and author of Changepower! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success, opined that “Sitting too much for too long increases the risk of dying early.” Selig explains that “movement is medicine”; when you do not move for long periods of time, the blood flow to your legs decreases. This causes an accumulation of plaque, which could lead to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and depression.

With our endless To-Do lists, it is often hard to squeeze in exercise, but there should be no reason why you can’t implement stretching into your daily routine. Paul Huljich, known for his drug-free methods of overcoming stress and author of two self-help books: The Stress Pandemic and Betrayal of Love and Freedom. He explains that stretching amounts to daily maintenance for our bodies. Huljich points out that stretching aids relaxation, increases good posture, decreases back pain, conditions your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, as well as helps release the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. All of this supports healthy sleep, which we all need.

It only takes a few minutes to get up and stretch. The health benefits are far too great to push stretching off your radar screen. Practice stretching every day and implement it into your routine. Don’t neglect the things your body needs to be able to heal and repair itself in order to stay healthy. You will notice the increase in energy and enthusiasm that this simple addition to your schedule will bring.

For more information:




Empty Nest Syndrome

Although Millennial youth do not leave their home in search of independence until they are a bit older, the feelings most parents experience during this sensitive time have not changed. This experience during the middle to older adult stage of life for a parent, is what is often referred to as Empty Nest Syndrome.

Empty Nest Syndrome is used to describe parents or guardians who experience feelings of depression, sadness, and/or grief after their children grow up and leave the house. This is a time when many parents describe a sense of loss—mostly a loss of purpose or identity. Preparation for this time is essential, long before children are ready to take flight into the wide world of adulthood.

The Good Old Empty Nest Syndrome…. Now what do we do about this? One way to prepare in advance is by giving independence to your children early; this can boost feelings of pride when you see your child doing well on their own later in life – because you taught them how to do it correctly. Conversely, “helicopter” parents seem to experience more grief as their children leave, rather than pride, because they no longer have control they once wielded over their children’s lives. Regardless of one’s parenting style, the parenting role is a critical element of most parents’ identity; if it is your sole role to the exclusion of other life-affirming and valuable roles, losing this one will be difficult indeed.

Rosemary K.M. Sword, a counselor and therapist in private practice on the island of Maui, explains that we need to stop looking at our children leaving the home as a loss and start seeing that it is more of a plus for myriad different reasons. Sword illustrates the benefits of having more time, more physical energy, and greater financial gain; less house work, fewer people to attend to, and less cost in monthly utilities are additional gains or blessings.

She encourages parents to take more time to enjoy themselves. For example, enjoying more time to catch up with friends, spending more time getting healthy, starting or finishing up a project, taking walks and exercise, attending to the house and garden, or simply enjoying the solitude and the ever-so-greatly longed for silence, are all some of the eye-opening blessings of having an empty nest.

Even with all these benefits, it can be hard to adapt to such radical change, particularly when parents have poured decades of their lives into a primary role. Having healthy ways to cope is extremely important. Healthy coping starts with accepting the timing; your child is not you, so avoid comparing. Embrace the new relationship that is developing between you and your child, making sure to keep in touch with them, asking how they are doing and reassuring them you are here to help if they need you. Seek support from other loved ones when you are having difficulty; do not “guilt trip” your child for wanting to grow up and lead their own life. Seek help from a mental health provider if you feel depressed. And most importantly, stay positive, remind yourself of all that is ahead, and enjoy rediscovering yourself and your spouse, other family, friends, hobbies, and pastimes that might have lain dormant for decades.

For more information:


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition