Sanity SaversTM and More...
March 2008


Although the holiday season is behind us and most of us have settled back into "normal" routines, chaos can often seem a constant. In Changing Your Edge, I discuss ways to address the challenges we face when we think about risks, often unexpectedly, at different times in our lives.

With busy schedules for every family member, parents often wonder how to remain calm when facing seemingly inevitable stress and impatience. Finding a way to regain your balance so that you can have positive interactions with your children is critical to parenting. In this month's tips, Mindful Parenting, I suggest strategies for coping with the chaos and finding peace in the ebb and flow of each day.

Once again thank you for helping to get the word out about Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life.

Check my website, www.drdaleatkins.com for updates on my appearances related to my newest book, Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life. For those of you with wedding related questions, please see my column on WeddingChannel.com at: www.weddingchannel.com/ui/buildArticle.action?assetUID=90252&s=84&t=71&p=106184112&c=90252&l=137006. And if you would like me to speak to your group or organization, please contact me directly at dale@drdaleatkins.com or contact the Speakers' Bureau at HarperCollins.

I appreciate you sharing this newsletter with your friends, loved ones and colleagues by clicking Send to a Friend button below.

Wishing you health, peace and balance.


In this issue
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
    In Bookstores!
  • Sanity SaversTM
    Changing Your Edge
  • Happenings
  • Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
  • Sanity SaversTM TIPS
    Mindful Parenting:
    Going With The Flow
  • A Thought

  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
    In Bookstores!
    SS Book Cover

    SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to Live A Balanced Life is in bookstores and is filled with suggestions to save your sanity every day of the year.

    A must for any woman seeking to find her balance!

    Sanity SaversTM
    Changing Your Edge

    A wonderful hiking guide in New Zealand recently told me "If you are not living on the edge you are taking up too much room." I have thought about this a lot lately. At first blush we may dismiss it because the thought of living on the edge doesn't suit many of us. We are comfortable away from the edge and relax into the familiar and the predictable. We may associate living on the edge with "extreme" sports, daredevil or thoughtless risk taking. We may ascribe character traits to those who live on the edge as people who have a death wish, who avoid taking care of themselves and those around them.

    But what if we were to look at the concept of living on the edge differently? We can each consider where is "our personal edge" and assess what it would mean to venture a bit closer to it. Each of us could take a risk that challenges our personal status quo. Every day we face opportunities where we can stretch ourselves in some way. We are in situations where we can make more of an effort, select a more challenging route, do something different, look from another point of view, learn a new fact and then investigate it in depth, or read about someone we admire. In sum, push ourselves.

    The phrase "on the edge" often conjures a negative image. "Don't bother her, she's close to the edge." What we feel when we are close to the edge is that we have no reserve. When there, we (and those around us) fear we will snap or lash out, losing it in ways that make us become people we don't like or recognize.

    Try to think of approaching your personal edge in a different way. Yes, it is a place of temporary discomfort but that discomfort is okay.

    In addition, remember being near the edge is temporary. Once familiar, it is no longer the edge so being there is not permanent. What you say to yourself while there is important. "I am in a place that is unfamiliar, uncomfortable and new. That is not bad; it is just different. I can get through it. I can come out the other side and be enriched because of this experience."

    In the end, you will expand and extend your comfort zone. You will take a risk, do something you think you could not do, learn something new and, hopefully, enjoy the wonder of the world.


    TODAY Show (NBC)
    Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated listings.

    Sixth Annual Women's Health Conference
    March 9th: 12pm: Keynote Speaker: Sanity Savers
    Mystic Marriott, Groton, CT
    Please go to www.womenandfamilylifecenter.org for registration details.

    House of the Redeemer
    March 13th: 6pm: Topic: Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balance Life
    7 East 95th Street, New York, NY.

    Sanity Savers Salon
    March 17th: 7:30PM: Issues in Aging
    Private Home, 9 Duck Pond Road, Wesport, CT

    Women's Alliance Group
    March 19th: 12:30pm: Topic: Sanity Savers for a Balanced Life...No Matter What You Are Facing
    All Soul's Church, at 80th and Lexington, NY, NY

    Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit

    Exercising Your Memory

    Are you finding that you are more forgetful these days, and can't recall things like you used to? Before you jump to conclusions and diagnose yourself with dementia or early Alzheimer's (which may run in your family) fit in a daily mental workout.

    Play mentally challenging games like scrabble, bridge, crossword puzzles or Sudoku to exercise your mind. Practice name recognition techniques like pairing someone's name with a physical characteristic, mentally review your shopping list even though you have written it down, mentally "scan" the area of your table at a restaurant while silently noting where you placed your handbag, attache' case, eye glasses, umbrella, jacket, etc., and when you are about to leave, slowly review the "mental scan" and gather up your things.

    Whether or not you are predisposed to memory loss, you cannot lose by developing memory-sharpening skills.

    Sanity SaversTM TIPS
    Mindful Parenting:
    Going With The Flow

    For many parents, the resolve to be mindful in parenting often flags once the day gets going. Schedules can't stop, but you can flow with them. Remind yourself that the key to mindfulness is balance. Reserve and reinstate your energy. When you get close to the edge, breathe. When you feel yourself losing it, excuse yourself if you can and move your arms, shake your body, say a loud "HA" from the depths of your belly and the soul of your being. Regain your center and then return to "the mission." Instead of racing from one thing to the next, remind yourself to slow down and breathe.

    Think about the following tips to help you stay calmer during the day after school through bedtime time zones.

    • Change the Routine - Being in a routine can help stay on schedule but it can also become boring so spice it up a bit. If you pick your children up at school, come home via a different route from time to time. Pack some surprise healthy snacks and stop at a park, playground, or hop over to the beach and spend hour running in the sand, playing on the swings or watching the shorebirds. Children love when their parents plan something special, so enjoy it with them.

    • Establish a Daily Transition Ritual - In the "olden days" children would come home and change from their "school clothes" to their "play clothes". Today, many mindful parents take their shoes off when they walk into the house. Consider buying a shoe rack to keep at the door where you can place a variety of different colored slippers or "house shoes." You can create a ritual of having everyone remove their outside shoes and put on their inside shoes. Leave the dirt and the craziness of the outside world at the door. Act as if your home is a sanctuary.

    • Stay in the Moment - When you are talking with your child, even if he or she is taking a long time to recount a story, stay present. Sit with them, at their level. Don't text message on your PDA at the same time. In fact, if the phone rings, let it go to voice mail if you can. The message you are giving to your child is that I am here for you at this time. This moment is ours and it will never come again. Let's not think about dinner as we talk about school. One thing at a time. Children generally need parents to talk with them slower than most people talk to them. When you slow down you encourage listening. You give the message that you respect them and are interested in what they have to say.

    • Have Parent and Child Playtime - Offer some options for helping with dinner and bath and selecting a game or a book to read for pleasure during the after school, pre-bedtime ritual. Hide little toys or games and see the joy on your kids' faces when they discover them. Take a moment or two and play the game or a round of JAX. Tell a quick story or parable, enact a 3 minute puppet theatre, dress up in costume, anything to help you remember that being a parent can be fun and that you can laugh at yourself, with your kids, and at most situations.

    • Throughout the day, be kind to yourself and to your children - Understand that it is never too late to begin again. If you feel like you are losing the flow, don't talk; hum. Gather yourself so that what comes out of your mouth is a reflection of your heart and your head; be mindful that you will not want to "take back" what you say (which, of course, is impossible). Remember to tell yourself that you are doing a good job and that you are a good parent.

      Finding your balance in the daily flow of schedules is daily act of mindfulness.

    A Thought

    People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.

    Eleanor Roosevelt

    DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, lecturer and commentator in the media who appears on the Today show.

    She has more than twenty- five years of experience and focuses on living a balanced life, parenting, aging well, managing stress, life & work transitions, family connections and healthy relationships.

    Dr. Atkins is the author and/or co-editor of several books including:

  • Sisters
  • From the Heart:
    Men and Women Write Their Private Thoughts about their Private Lives
  • Families and their Hearing-Impaired Children
  • I'm OK, You're My Parents
    How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that Works
  • Wedding Sanity Savers
    How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day.
  • And her new book . . .

  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • .

    Find out more....
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