Wishing you a meaningful, happy, and healthy 2013!
In Light the Light, I discuss the value of calming oneself in the midst of turmoil as well as the metaphor of light in the context of recalling loved ones.
In With Hindsight Comes Insight, I offer tips to "reconsider" our responses and use those reflections as learning opportunities.
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Light the Light
I often speak about the importance of filling our personal reservoirs so we have what we need, within, when we face life's unexpected storms. The Newtown, CT tragedy is one such example. Most of us were caught unawares as we struggled with the horrendousness of the crime and considered ways to comfort and be with our children and other family members, parsing what to say, how to say it, while being mindful of our own emotional responses.
We all need to find ways to calm our minds and emotions so we can be supportive and comforting to one another and our children. One way we can calm our minds a bit is by focusing on the details of something -- as if we were going to describe it at some point. Really concentrate on its properties.
Dr. Janet Weathers suggests this simple yet profound focusing exercise. In the winter, and particularly around the holidays, there are lots of candles. If you look closely at the shape of the wick and the great variety of colors in the flame as you take a few deep breaths, you can look carefully and you will begin to actually calm your mind and body. If you don't have a candle, you can look at the details of anything, really: an orange, a bowl, or even the palm of your hand. Imagine you were going to have to pick it out of a group of 20 items. If you look with that kind of attention, your mind becomes calmer. Having done this for two or three minutes, you can then begin to think about what was causing you to be off center. This very simple exercise can become a daily practice which each of us can do when we're not upset, so that when we are upset, it is familiar and easier. Focusing on something simple with undivided attention, is a valuable daily practice. It's the careful attention to precise detail that engages the mind and calms us. By doing this, we are keeping our personal reservoirs full.
And speaking of candles --
On the anniversaries of the people's deaths we are often inclined to light a memorial candle, say a prayer, spend some contemplative time evoking memories. This can be a healthy practice for our total well-being. Imagine what would happen if we extended that practice throughout the year, bringing memories to light as we share the wisdom and life lessons of the people we love -- for ourselves and for the next generations.
We honor their memories by living lives of charity and and we can keep their light alive as we share their personal qualities and tell their stories. As we do this, we attempt to understand the choices they made and the lives they lived. We use their stories as a guide to the wisdom of our ancestors, which can become a living and relevant part of our lives today. Just because children did not know their grandparents, great grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins, is not reason for them to miss the myriad opportunities to learn about who they were, what they believed in, and what they stood for.
We are all conscientious about reading inspiring books with compelling stories to our children, which, of course, is important. Let us not miss the invaluable opportunity to tell stories about the people who came before us so we can learn where we came from as we continue to discover who we are.
A Good Daily Habit
A Daily Practice
For this month's daily habit I suggest we develop a daily practice. As we do this, please consider the word "practice" as both a noun as well as a verb.
We develop a "practice" and we also "practice" to enhance our skill.
We hear that "practice makes perfect" and we also hear that "there is no perfect" so why are we practicing? Developing a daily practice such as meditation, for instance, offers tremendous benefits in all aspects of our life and over time. As we practice, we see results in unexpected places. The practice becomes easier and what we are dealing with (stress, for example) becomes easier to deal with because we have trained our mind to process, interpret, and adapt differently. We can alter our attitude as well as our brain. Such a practice helps us to become resilient as we encounter challenges. We can rely on developing a strong inner core which helps get us through difficult times. If we devote 21 days of engaging in such a practice, our practice is more likely to become a habit -- an integral part of us.
Learn to see your thoughts from an objective perspective, without judgment. Develop compassion for yourself and others, and experience the benefits of tranquility and clarity.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
With Hindsight Comes Insight
We know that life changes us. We become transformed. The relevant question is, in what ways do life's events and challenges, whether they are grave or pleasant, complicated or simple, truly affect us? How do we integrate a "life event"? We need to make sense of it, recognize its effect on us, what it says about who we are, challenge or reinforce what we believe in, and what its ultimate meaning is in our lives to help us to figure out what is the point. All experiences provide us opportunities for growth.
Reflection and contemplation.
Hindsight can bring insight.
Are we able and ready to "reconsider" how we handled an interaction, a life event, an experience, so that we can learn from it?
We can feel startled or flustered by someone's comment; not really knowing how to respond or what to say. Afterward, having gathered our wits again, we "re-think" the situation and have "brilliant" insights about what we "should" or "could" have said. We may chastise ourselves for not having said or done what we think would have been a "perfect" response. But we forget to acknowledge that we are not perfect and in that moment of confusion, when we were caught off guard, our cognition was likely stifled by our emotions.
In that moment, we may have wanted to lash out to defend ourselves or someone we love who was offended, and in the momentary rage, we could not think.
Rather than lament how we did NOT respond, we can use the situation for learning -- about ourselves, the situation, the other people involved by:
1) Recognizing what we did or did not do in our response.
2) Thinking about why we responded as we did.
3) Considering other options that might have been available, without judgment.
4) Role playing some of the more viable options.
5) Thinking of how we might feel about ourselves if you chose one of those options, and whether behaving in such a way would make us feel good about ourselves.
TODAY Show (NBC).
Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for latest updates, including changes of time.
Dr. Atkins comments on breaking news for CNN's HLN. Please check HLNtv.com for updates.
Women's Well Being
January 1st: 3:00 pm; Presentation and Discussion with Karen Koffler, MD, Medical Director of Canyon Ranch.
Canyon Ranch Living, Miami Beach, FL.
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Neurology .
January 7th: 11AM - 2PM. Seminar for medical students and neurology residents: Conversation about Persons with Alzheimer's and those who care for them.
JUMPSTART for Young Children 20th Anniversary .
January 29th: 5:30PM. Honoree (along with the founders, David Carmel, Jordan Meranus, Aaron Lieberman and Rebecca Weintraub; Robert Rosen; and the Pearson Foundation).
Smithsonian Castle (The Commons Room), Washington, DC.
YWCA of Greenwich BRAVA Awards for 2013.
Honoree of the YWCA Greenwich BRAVA Awards.
Luncheon to be held on Feb. 8, 2013, 11:30AM to 2PM at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich. RSVP by January 18, 2013.
Proceeds support free services to victims of domestic violence, scholarships for preschool, afterschool, summer camps, and aquatic program, free women's leadership seminars, free racial justice activities, and subsidies for YWCA programs not covered by dues and fees.
Focus: Shanda -- What Will the Neighbors Say?!, a conversation with Edythe Mencher and Dale Atkins. Winter 2012 issue.
Volta Voices Cover Story
Connect with Dr. Dale Atkins, written by Susan Boswell. January/February 2012 issue.
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
TC Today Magazine
Dr. Atkins is the focus of Work - Life Balance, written by James Reisler. Access PDF of the article at www.drdaleatkins.com.
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
I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.
My sincere thanks to website developer, Barry Brothers, who, along with Carina Ramirez Cahan, brought vision and positive, creative energy to the site. Do take a look at Barry's work here: http://www.thelimulusgroup.com/bb and consider him for your business, development, design and communication needs.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is filled
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Once again thank you for continuing to read
and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for
Women to Live a Balanced Life.
JUMPSTART for Young Children's 20th Anniversary Celebration. I am delighted to announce that my husband, Robert Rosen, and I, and the Pearson Foundation, have been chosen as honorees for the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Jumpstart . January 29th: 5:30PM.
Smithsonian Castle (The Commons Room), Washington, DC (please see below for a more complete description of Jumpstart's mission).
WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY
CRISIS IN THIS
COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community corps members to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in year-long mentoring relationships. Jumpstart's proven curriculum helps children develop the language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late.
Please help to spread the word about the mission of Jumpstart and the remarkable strides being made in low income neighborhoods every day. 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!
to learn more about Jumpstart
initiatives - such as Scribbles to
Novels; We Give Books; and Read for the Record.
"The capacity to live with dignity and compassion is your birthright."
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress,
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
book . . .
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works