Sanity SaversTM and More...
March 2012

Greetings for the upcoming holidays!

I invite you to think about how to deal with differences in your family as you read this month's Sanity Saver article, Getting to Know You. You may wonder if we are able to be the parent you hoped to be when faced with someone in your family (most often, a child) whose personality, ability, appearance, temperament, or behavior are not what you expected.

In Tips for Letting Go of Your Stuff I ask you to consider what may be behind the attachment you feel toward the things you keep.

WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY CRISIS IN THIS COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education nonprofit organization that pairs well-trained, caring adults with underserved preschoolers who live in poverty in year long mentoring relationships. I was honored to be Jumpstart's Read for the Record's National Spokesperson on NBC's Today Show this past Fall and to have moderated a panel of Jumpstart's founders on February 22nd at the Yale Club in NYC. Jumpstart's Scribbles to Novels event will take place on Tuesday, May 8th at 6:30pm at Cipriani Wall Street. Join Tina Fey and other acclaimed and entertaining authors to celebrate the written word and support Jumpstart's programming in New York City and around the country. For more information, contact Melissa Gordon: 212.868.2526 212.868.2526 x16 or melissa.gordon@jstart.org.

Thank you for helping to spread the word about the mission of Jumpstart and the remarkable strides being made in low income neighborhoods every day. We need your help, so please, if you can, contribute by clicking on www.jstart.org/donate www.jstart.org/donate. There is something that every single one of us can do to help those less fortunate. Over one million children live below the poverty level in the U.S. This shameful situation must change. Each of us has a responsibility to repair our world. Let us eliminate the 2-year achievement gap that exists between children from low income and those from middle income neighborhoods when they begin kindergarten!

Visit www.jstart.org to learn more about Jumpstart initiatives - such as Scribbles to Novels; Playdate With A Purpose; and Read for the Record.

You may be interested to visit Marlo Thomas' website, www.marlothomas.com, where I discuss psychology and relationship issues. Marlo Thomas and I talk about families and the holidays (and we surely have a lot of holidays!). Tune in for some sanity saving ideas for YOUR family gatherings.

Once again thank you for continuing to read and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life.

Check my website, www.drdaleatkins.com for updates on my appearances and use the Quick Links sidebar to access ongoing articles. I am available 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
  • Sanity SaversTM
    Getting to Know You
  • Happenings
  • Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
  • Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips For Letting Go of Your Stuff
  • A Thought

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

    SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to Live A Balanced Life 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
    Getting to Know You
    getting to know you

    Gertrude Lawrence, in the role of Anna, played what was to become one of the most famous teachers in Broadway and movie history. When she sang the magnificent Rodgers and Hammerstein lyrics to "Getting to Know You", she was sharing with her students that they were all "precisely her cup of tea." She was "getting to know what to say - because of all the beautiful and new things I'm learning about you, day by day." She was a caring, curious, warm and open teacher, speaking to her students.

    As parents and grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles we have a lot to learn from Anna, as we "get to know" family members who are different from us in temperament, style, appearance, ability, intelligence, humor, personality, and sensitivity to the world. This process of "getting to know you" can be a lifelong challenge filled with angst or it can be an amazingly exciting and interesting adventure, allowing ourselves to be open to the possibilities of not only getting to know our family member, but in the process, getting to know ourselves in ways we never knew possible.

    It is a wise and caring person who remains open to the wonders of loving someone as they are, instead of who we "need" or "expect" them to be. Looking at the world through the other person's eyes, and learning how they process what comes their way, forces us to see the world from their perspective. Yes, we feel challenged, and sometimes, uneasy. Also yes, the other person feels validated. We need to remember that we don't have to give up who we are. We just have to be open and willing to let the other person be who they are.

    In some cases this can be quite challenging. Alexander Thomas, Stella Chess, Herbert Birch, and associates in the 1950s spoke of temperament types and match between babies and parents. As children grow it is essential to be conscious of how and where your child's temperament is like or unlike your own and respect your child's uniqueness without comparison to other children or people you know or be on a mission to change your child.

    Parents do best when they can adjust their own responses when they clash with their child's natural responses. All children need to have things explained to them especially when their "take" on the world is different from the adults in their lives. Since everyone needs to be valued and appreciated, we all need to pay close attention to our children's points of view and engage them to help us find solutions to situations. You will be surprised that they will create a way of dealing with an issue that you may never have considered. If you think your way is the only way, you will never have the opportunity to grow with your child. This does not mean that you don't have the right to have boundaries, limits and rules that work for you and your family. Everyone needs to develop self restraint and self control. It is just easier if you know you are respected for who you are and how you see the world. Focus on strengths and remind each person in your family that differences are to be celebrated. As a parent, grandparent, or other family member, be the best you can be.

    Remember the children are watching you so be a good model as you interact with people in the world, as you care for yourself and others, and as you encourage people in your life to reach their fullest potential, even if their road is very different from yours. Walk along their road with them with your mind, eyes, ears and heart open. It can be quite a journey.


    TODAY Show (NBC)
    Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for latest updates, including changes of time.

    Junior League of Greenwich
    March 13: 7PM, Speaker. Topic: Life's Balancing Act.
    231 E. Putnam Ave., Greenwich, CT, 203-869-1979.

    Stamford JCC - Women Living Healthy in 2012
    March 15th: 7:30-8:30PM. Keynote Speaker: Finding and Sustaining Wellness: It's All About Balance.
    1035 Newfield Avenue, Stamford, CT 06905.
    Please contactNancy Schiffman at 203.487.0961 for more information and registration.

    CREC Soundbridge, American School for the Deaf, and the New England Center for Hearing Rehabilitation
    April 28th: 10AM - 1:30PM. Speaker, Topic: Coping With The Stresses Of Having A Young Child With Hearing Loss.
    CREC Soundbridge, 123 Progress Drive, Wethersfield, CT 06109. Lunch included.
    Parents and family members attend free. Professionals' fee: $40. CEU's offered, both State and LSLS.

    Dr. Atkins is also the focus of an article, Work, Life, Balance, written by James Reisler. The article will appear in the December 2011 issue of TC Today Magazine. A PDF of the article will be available on www.drdaleatkins.com mid-December.

    Topics by Dr. Dale Atkins:
    Tips for Getting Along with In-Laws: http://video.about.com/marriage/Tips-for-Getting-Along-With-In-Laws.htm;
    Warning Signs of a Troubled Marriage: http://video.about.com/marriage/Warning-Signs-of-a-Troubled-Marriage.htm;
    Issues to Deal with before Marriage: http://video.about.com/marriage/Types-of-Issues-to-Deal-With-Before-Getting-Married.htm;
    Warning Signs of Cheating Spouse: http://video.about.com/marriage/Warning-Signs-of-Cheating-Spouses.htm; Tips for Maintaining Interfaith Marriages: http://video.about.com/marriage/Tips-for-Maintaining-Interfaith-Marriages.htm;
    Tips for Growing Old Together
    and, Most Important Questions to Ask Before Getting Married: http://video.about.com/marriage/Most-Important-Questions-to-Ask-Before-Getting-Married.htm

    Visit Marlo Thomas' site to access my relationship column and Mondays with Marlo video stream. http://marlothomas.aol.com/search/?q=dale+atkins

    Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Therapeutic Issues with Recipients of Cochlear Implants," in the new text, Psychotherapy With Deaf Clients From Diverse Groups, Second Edition.
    Edited by Irene Leigh, and published by Gallaudet University Press.

    Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Family Involvement and Counseling in Serving Children Who Possess Impaired Hearing," in the new text, Introduction to Aural Rehabilitation.
    Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by Plural Publishing.

    I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.

    Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
    bad words

    Going Beyond The Word

    When someone uses a "less than flattering" word to describe you, how do you take it? Generally, if it is harsh or critical most of us take it as an insult, reacting defensively or offensively. The interaction either it ends or escalates at that moment. And the relationship reflects that interaction.

    Consider what might happen if instead of reacting in that way when we hear what is said, we stop, take a long breath or two, and think about what that descriptor says about us in the eyes of that person. Perhaps, if we are really open, we may see some truth in the observation even though the delivery and word choice are harsh. If someone calls you stubborn, for instance, what is it they are experiencing with you that causes them to describe you this way? What is it that makes them feel you are being stubborn at that moment? Can you see their point of view? Is there ever a time when you can agree with their assessment (even if it is not at this very moment)? Are there times when your stubbornness is useful? You may think of it as a positive quality such as perseverance or determination but someone else may experience it as intractability or an unwillingness to bend.

    Sometimes others become frustrated with our personal attributes and qualities because these qualities impede their ability to connect with us or accomplish what they want or need. They experience us as getting in their way. Consider instead why someone says what they say. Think about it less as an insult, and focus on how that quality can be both positive and negative, depending on whose perspective you take. Try to go beyond the word to solve the problem at hand.

    Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips For Letting Go of Your Stuff
    hand holding bags

    Why is it so hard to give away the vase you received as a wedding present from your favorite aunt (even though you never really liked the style)? What was it about that "special night" when you wore the green taffeta dress that now collects dust in the back of your closet? Do you truly believe that your children really want to have all of your elementary school report cards?

    What is going on with "memories and attachments" to the things we keep? What purpose do these things (and memories) continue to play and for how long do you need to keep things that you no longer use, like, or fit you, either in style or disposition? Might taking a photo of something with a reminder phrase attached, help you to let go of the object while cementing the memory? At some point, it can be unbelievably healthy and freeing to examine, analyze, and address what your "things" mean to you as a way to cull through them and your life.

    It is definitely true that some of us have an easier time sifting, sorting, sending, and discarding than others. Try to understand, without judgment, how something has served you and whether you still need to "hold onto the past" in the shape and form of this object. You may feel that you are dismissing someone's generosity or taste by no longer using a special gift. Even if something reminds you of a happy time, you can still have the memory without the object. When your things cease to bring you joy, or evoke mixed or negative emotions, it's time to let them go. Most people describe feeling calmer when they go through cabinets, closets, shelves, and get rid of clutter and what they no longer need.

    Consider the following tips for releasing things that no longer serve as sources of joy or utility:

    Focus on the Object. - What does this thing mean to you? Decide whether you need to keep it to retain the benefit or a memory. What do you need to do, feel, think, or say to let it go? Rituals and ceremonies can be very useful here, especially if the object came into your life as a result of a significant life passage.

    Put Your Things to Better Use. - Something came to you, you used it, and now it's time to let it go to someone else. Think of recycling and giving someone else the chance to create his or her own memory with what no longer serves you. Recall with good feeling the dinner parties you had on this particular set of dishes and think of how nice they would look on someone else's table. Know the divine feeling someone will have wearing your lovely clothes at her new job. Donate to a college library the books that helped you learn what you needed to learn that you no longer use.

    Lighten Your Load. - When there is space, there are possibilities. Be open and let life bring you great joy, inspiration, and meaning as you open up to possibilities. You may or may not "fill the space" but having space creates room to grow, to think, to create. Get rid of the "you" that no longer "fits" or represents who you are. If you are no longer a smoker, get rid of those pretty cigarette cases and lighters. Bid a fond farewell to that which no longer is part of your life and the way you see yourself. Keep what reflects who you are now and who and what you aspire to be. Make room for possibilities.

    Hanging on to things you no longer need or use prevents you from opening up to new forms, styles, and spaces.

    A Thought

    "Let nature be your teacher."

    William Wordsworth

    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 newest book . . .

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

    Find out more....
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