Sanity SaversTM and More...
December 2008


December is always a busy month because of the holiday season. We run around planning for family get-togethers, celebrations, and gift giving. It is also a time when we can be prone to stress and feel overwhelmed with conflicting emotions.

In Gratitude in Times of Difficulty I discuss the importance of paying attention to the value of being grateful and practicing being grateful as a way to keep and maintain your sanity no matter what is going on.

In Tips for Holiday Gift Giving I offer suggestions for keeping the spirit in the holiday even though you need to cut back on your spending.

You can get a jump on your holiday shopping and support Jumpstart at the same time!

Jumpstart for Young Children has an exciting opportunity to partner with Barnes & Noble this holiday season. From Saturday, December 6th to Thursday, December 11th, you can use your holiday goodwill to continue supporting Jumpstart while doing your holiday shopping. Barnes & Noble will donate up to 20% of the proceeds for purchases made using the Jumpstart promotional code. Our code is 353243 - you can use it at any Barnes & Noble location or online at www.bn.com/mybookfair - there is no extra charge for you! For locations outside of Brooklyn, make sure you mention that the code is associated with Jumpstart.

As you may know, Jumpstart is a national early education nonprofit organization that pairs caring adults with underserved preschoolers in year long one-to-one mentoring relationships. Visit www.jstart.org to learn more about Jumpstart.

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/buildArticl e.action? assetUID=90252&s=84&t=71&p=106184112&c=9025 2&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
    Gratitude in Times of Difficulty
  • Happenings
  • Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
  • Sanity SaversTM TIPS
    The Spirit of Giving
    Tips For Holiday Gifts
  • 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
    Gratitude in Times of Difficulty

    Life is Difficult. Life is Beautiful. And therein is the challenge to keep your balance.

    Appreciating what you have when you feel you are losing so much is not easy but can be done with practice. Gratitude takes practice because we tend to focus on the big things which overwhelm us. When we are in that mode of thinking and feeling, we feel overwhelmed with gloom and depression.

    These are the times that we must train ourselves to focus on the small and beautiful things in our lives. Life is in the details. Do not forget to pay attention to the details as you attend to your daily life. Keep your spirit alive. Keep your energy fueled. Do what you need to do throughout the day to maintain a level of awareness of the things and people in your life that are positive and who bring you joy. Bring joy to others as well.

    Look into the eyes of people you interact with and smile. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, reminds us that sometimes your joy can be the source of your smile, and sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. The artist, Georgia O'Keefe, painted large canvases of small flowers. She also focused on the minute details of flower petals. By doing so, she encouraged the viewer to focus on the beauty in the things we often overlook. She reduced the size of large objects like mountains, making them smaller than life, simply because, in her view, we tend to see the big things at the expense of the small things.

    Quieting yourself when in nature and listening to a birdsong, or to the ocean's waves, to the wind through the leaves, helps to bring you closer to your "center" giving you opportunities to practice gratitude (for your ability to hear the birdsong or breathe in the ocean air). We are helped enormously when we realize there is much to see and be grateful for in the small things around us that we ignore when we feel overwhelmed by the mountains in our lives.

    Being grateful is more than saying thank you (although that is an important component, especially when you really mean it and offer it to the bus boy who clears your table in a restaurant, to the person who bags your groceries, or to your children for just being a part of the family). The key is to be grateful for what you have now, even if it is not all that you want. You can be satisfied AND want more. The two are not mutually exclusive. They can be held in balance. For most people, it is usually not things that bring them happiness. Of course we are happier when we have a feeling of safety and comfort, and during difficult times we may feel consumed about whether we will regain that which we lost (job, home, money.)

    We can truly be grateful for what we have when we feel we have nothing. This means paying attention to that which we take for granted - our very life, the children we have in our lives, the ability to wake up every morning, to appreciate the magnificence of nature, to be moved by a song, to learn from someone wise who influenced us at some point along the way.

    You always have the choice to be grateful. You can choose to focus on that which brings you joy or that which doesn't. This does not mean you ignore problems. It means that you will be better able to deal with them, be more resilient, more creative in figuring out solutions, and be healthier and calmer in the midst of a difficult time. Gratitude is a choice you CAN make.


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

    New Canaan, Darien and Rowayton Magazine
    December 2008 issue: Interview with Dr. Dale Atkins

    Samantha Heller's Talk Radio Show on Health
    Dec. 19th, 12:00PM-1PM ET: Topic: Sanity Savers at the Holidays
    Langone Medical Center's Doctor Radio, Sirius Channel 114, XM 119.

    The Experts' Guide to Doing Things
    Chapter: Bury the Hatchet
    http://www.expert smedia.com/

    CNBC, On The Money
    Family and Personal Finances

    Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit

    Not Taking Things for Granted

    With your busy life, you constantly have choices. You can chain yourself to a computer or seal yourself in your car as you rush to and from appointments. Or you can choose to pay attention to the view as you drive by. You may also make it a point to consciously avoid making eye contact with people so you can remain deep within your own bubble. Although time alone to refresh and restore yourself is essential, becoming too focused on your own life and self without being conscious of the natural world around you can impede your ability to keep your sanity intact.

    Whatever state you are in your life, make it a point to consciously appreciate all you take for granted - whether it is something in nature or the qualities of a person.

    Taking life for granted prevents you from appreciating life in the day-to-day.

    Sanity SaversTM TIPS
    The Spirit of Giving
    Tips For Holiday Gifts

    Because the holidays are coming at a time when many people need to be more careful about spending, instead of feeling deprived, feel that the spirit of giving will enter a new and different sphere. Think of alternative ways to celebrate the holidays. Here are some tips get you started:

    • Charities - Consider giving to a charity in honor of your loved ones.

    • Services - Think of gifts as not only what comes in a box, but what you can do as a service for someone: cook five desserts over five months, or promise to babysit for six nights during the year. Think of what you do well and "package" that.

    • Family Lotteries - Participate in a lottery where each person is responsible for buying a gift for one person. Talk about what is a reasonable amount of money for children's as well as adults' gifts.

    • Vintage Stores - Look for unique, personal gifts in pop and vintage stores.

    • Neighborhood Gift Trade - Ask friends and neighbors if they would like to participate in a local gift trade where gently used toys, games and books are packaged and exchanged within the group.

    • Personalized Albums - Make a personalized photo album or scrapbook for a family member.

    • Experience Books - Take five or six pictures of a child or parent/grandparent and child participating in an activity and write a book about it. You can write captions on each page of "Beach Day" (photos or drawings of the person reading, strolling, building sand castles, splashing in the surf) or "Baking Cookies with Grandma" (photos or drawings of the duo sorting ingredients, mixing, dropping the batter onto the cookie sheets, putting the cookies in the oven, transferring them to a platter.) Your personal "experience books" are priceless and can become the beginning of a series.

      Whatever you decide, when you wrap, be mindful of the environment. Wrap with recycled paper. Be creative with newspaper, fabric, and natural elements.

      The challenge for the holidays is to be aware and grateful of what and who you have in your life. Share the spirit of the holidays, which is about peace, joy and gratitude.

    A Thought

    I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become."

    Carl Jung

    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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