Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bright Ideas for Treating the Winter Blues

For better and worse, 'tis the season. This Wall Street Journal article discusses Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and several options for treatment. Good stuff to know and use. Live well.

Click here for article

Loneliness May Be Catching

Information is good for us. This article from US News & World Report outlines some interesting research into loneliness and its effects on ourselves and others. Read, learn, and live well.

Click here for article

Women Who Want to Want

Everyone deserves a satisfying sex life. This New York Times article talks to a researcher into Women's lack of sexual desire. It's a little dry for casual reading but contains some interesting information. Take a look and live well.

Click here for article

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Assessing (and Building) Your Belief System

>Discussing beliefs can be a sensitive process.

We all have them out of necessity; whether they are built by formal training, or just life experience, our beliefs provide the direction of our decision-making about everything.

Why are we so sensitive to discussing beliefs in general, let alone our own specific beliefs?

Many people feel that any discussion of belief systems can potentially lead to a questioning of the foundation for their lives. That certainly sounds scary and/ or offensive to most of us; it is a personal attack to some.

So, for those who have a belief system that provides all the foundation you want, you have no need to read further.

We are talking about a self-assessment not moral relativism. Many confuse the two and it is a topic too big for this blog. We will leave it to your own research to determine for yourselves.

But, most of us have been “Searchers” at some point in life. Oftentimes, this questioning is due to experiencing personal desperation on some level.

If you want a more satisfying outlook on life, you might consider examining your beliefs. We’ll discuss this further in our next blog entry.

Live well and start now.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Living on Auto-Pilot

Most of us have had the experience of feeling like we were not actively living our lives.

Instead, we have developed a comfortable routine that provides a nice rhythm to getting the work of daily life completed.

The work has to get done after all!

Kids, work, bills, responsibilities of all kinds, compete with what we really want. Weekends and vacations might be the only times we can feel our own personal rhythm.

So what would you do if you had unlimited time, resources (such as money), and energy?

Fantasy?! Maybe, but remembering what we want is also the basis of a plan that allows us to get what we want.

The work will still be there. The drudgery or loving efforts we make for others is still available to us.

Take the time to follow your curiosity, even in small ways. Notice your responses to your daily experiences.

Consider how you might get closer to those feelings that you find satisfying, pleasurable and exciting.

Move in the life direction that is most important to you. Find ways to get more of what you want and need emotionally.

It might be as simple as changing your routine or reading a unique book. Others cut there hair in a new way, take a class, or even join their local theater group.

Anything might be of value to you. Inspiration can be found in unlikely places.

Living well is up to you and you can do it.

Live well now.

Don't give up

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
- Thomas Edison

Thanks to our readers!

We have appreciated the inquiries and opinions of our readers, especially most recently. Your contribution of feedback to our office makes our efforts all the more satisfying. We will continue to promote the art of insightful living!

Live well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Go Get It!

The difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next.

The difference between the two is the difference between living fully and just existing.

- Michael E. Gerber

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Daily Wisdom

The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation.

You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew.

Seek, therefore not to find out who you are, seek to determine who you want to be.

- Neale Donald Walsch

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Giving Couples Counseling a Try

Over 50% of marriages in this country end in divorce. Second marriages have a higher likelihood of failure. Could couples counseling (marriage counseling) help you beat the odds when the going gets tough? Couples counseling can improve your relationship and communication, and maybe get you back on the road to a happier future.

Why Couples Counseling?

If you are seriously concerned about your relationship and wonder if it needs help, chances are it does. Research has shown that couples often wait many years after they first notice problems before seeking couples counseling. This makes couples counseling less likely to be effective, and it can take longer.

What Happens in Counseling?

When you meet with the couple’s counselor, you will share information, explore issues, and clarify the difficulties that you have faced. The counselor will encourage you to express yourself more fully and to listen more carefully than you may have been accustomed to doing in your relationship. Important questions will be asked about your communication, the time you spend with each other, and the pattern of closeness you experience – the moving toward and away from each other. All of this helps your counselor assess the duration and intensity of your conflict so mutual goals can be established.

Couples counselors often meet with clients individually to gather information about past relationships and life events. These experiences affect relationships and can give clues to strategies for change. “What will change or be different in your relationship if couples counseling is successful?” Answering this question can help you know when your goal has been met or when couples counseling should end.

You and your partner may participate in activities and communication exercises at home and in the sessions. The goal is to learn skills to enjoy the rewards of a

warm, affectionate, and supportive relationship. You will develop strategies

to use in the future if difficulties return. Support from the counselor will

help reinforce the changes you learn.

Common Problems and You?

Although couples are unique, few problems are new to couples counselors. Sexual issues, money problems, children and parenting issues, religion differences, in-law difficulties, and communication issues are common struggles. Infidelity and cheating, jealousy, balancing work and home, differences in goals and values, and concerns about compatibility all bring couples into counseling.

Who Provides Couples Counseling?

Couples counseling is usually provided by licensed mental health professionals who have experience and training in working with couples. Marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, pastoral counselors, and professional counselors may all offer services. Your HMO or PPO may have other options for struggling couples. But remember, if you must pay out of pocket, it might be worth it.

What if My Spouse Won’t Go?

If your spouse or partner refuses to go to couples counseling, it does not mean that your relationship can’t be helped. Couples counseling often starts with one person, with the more reluctant partner joining later. Even if your partner never joins you, it is still possible to make some significant improvements in your relationship.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Matter of Trust

We have often pointed out that trust is essential in a healthy and growing relationship. And the single most important element in that trust is safety.

The need for physical safety is a given, but in emotional terms, how is that sense of safety damaged in our intimate relationships?

Obvious examples might include, physical violence and actively trying to tear down your partner with name-calling or other hurtful statements intended to do harm.

These examples are more likely to occur with couples stuck in a cycle of trying to "win" a disagreement, sometimes at any cost.

Less obvious examples are more often encountered, even in generally satisfying relationships.

Two of the more subtle forms are undermining and discouraging. Both are closely related and important to address.

A good analogy for emotional undermining occurs frequently when we are trying to lose weight and our partner brings home our favorite cheese cake.

A mistake is one thing, but a pattern of such behavior can be undermining.

Discouraging is well-known to most of us and can be intended to help us avoid trouble.

Reminding us of our limitations rather than our strengths, or focusing us on the difficulties of our life options, if consistently applied as a pattern, can be discouragement.

What to do about these patterns in our relationships?

Point these patterns out, how they effect you, and describe how you would rather have a partner express concern for you.

These often well-intentioned partners can be offended by an allegation of using these processes.

Maintain the effort consistently and tactfully and always tell them what to do instead for your sense of safety. And call us if you need help.

Live Well. Now.