In this month's article, Stress, I discuss the impact of stress on our health and ask you to consider ways to address and reduce some of the unhealthy stressors in your life so you can improve your overall health.
In Tips for Acknowledging the Kind of Silence Between You and Your Partner, I offer thoughts about the sounds and types of silence within relationships.
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For some of us, being "stressed out" has become a normal way of living. When that cortisol is racing through our body we feel we have a distinct, competitive edge. We may believe (and others may assume) that if we are presenting ourselves as "super stressed" then we are more busy, more productive, more engaged, more important than people who appear to be less so (dare I say "relaxed"?)
The truth is, that when we are experiencing significant stress over long periods of time, without a chance for our body and our mind to recover, we indeed do have a competitive edge but it is in the realm of HURTING rather than ENHANCING our health. Living in a constant, heightened state of stress does NOT make our life easier. In fact, there is ample evidence to suggest that living in such a state contributes to making our lives harder.
It is up to each of us to assess what would happen to our "sense of self" if we did NOT walk around like a tight knot. We need to consider that a person who walks around all wound up is often someone who is unpleasant to be around. When we live our lives in this way, we can be people who others are afraid of "crossing" because of fear of getting blasted. Think about what would happen if we examined and compared our thinking, feeling, and behavior when we are stressed and when we are not. By examining ourselves, we may come to understand that we can be in control of our attitudes as well as our responses. Our relationships (with ourselves and with others) can be markedly improved.
How about if we REALLY looked at our lives and planned for how to get through the more trying times, deadlines, illnesses, family gatherings, and those days where there is just no "wiggle room"? We can each examine what it takes for to approach challenging times with a FULL reservoir we can go to when we need so we can rely on ourselves to get through.
As we do this self-examination, we can also listen to the language we use (in our mind as well as aloud) to describe how we feel, the kind of person we are, and whether or not we are likely to get through our challenges. Language impacts the way we think about ourselves and our situation. Some common repetitions may be: "I am so stressed. I am crazy. I am a mess. I can't think straight. I am an idiot. I am making myself sick. I could shoot myself. I could jump off a cliff. I am a basket case. I have no time to eat."
Listen to yourself. Consider how what you say affects you AND those around you (who if they are children, are likely looking to you as a role model). Rather than spend time and energy circling the same block of how intensely awful things are, step out of that cycle of negativity and stress by altering just one thing -- it can be your language, your pace, or doing one thing at a time.
When you finish one thing, pause, say to yourself," I DID IT. GOOD FOR ME. I CAN DO THIS." Stand up. Swing your arms. Move your body. Breathe deeply. Find your "center." Laugh. Then begin what's next, with a clearer mind (and un-hunched shoulders).
There is no doubt that some stress keeps us on our toes and fires us up to perform well. There is also no doubt that too much stress can have the opposite, deleterious effect. The result is exactly the opposite of what we hope will be a benefit.
A Good Daily Habit
Taking Time We Need Each Day for Ourselves
Coping with stress is a lot more difficult than preventing it in the first place. We often give away most, if not all, of our time by making ourselves consistently available to others. In doing so, we negate our need for quiet time which builds up our reserves (fills our personal reservoirs).
We could, instead, choose to sidestep some of our stressful situations by, for example, taking a walk at lunch rather than joining a complaining co-worker. Or, we could let family members and friends know that we enter "quiet mode" after 9PM on weeknights.
We can only expect others to respect our boundaries if we are clear about setting them.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips for Examining the Silence between You and Your Partner
It seems that when dating, we have a lot to say. Strange, then, when we are in long term relationships, there is a lot less conversation. Some silence is "golden" in that it allows for contemplative connection. Other silence is distancing in that we keep conversations going in our own heads with the thought that our partner is not interested, will not understand, or well, there is simply no point to share. And then there is talking just to fill the space; this generally causes partners to feel MORE distanced from each other and to actively NOT listen.
"Golden" silence can be comforting, reassuring, and loving - a shared experience. "Distance" silence can reveal a gap between partners. There is silence in the room but our mind is far from quiet. By having significant conversations in our heads, we may be actively engaged in excluding our partner from our lives.
Sometimes being silent is used as a manipulation or punishment (silent treatment) and not only does it not work but it is cruel, controlling, and can have deleterious effects on a relationship. Issues remain unresolved and the person on the receiving end of the silent treatment usually feels awful. When I am referring to silence, I am not talking to this type of silence.
If we believe that we are in a relationship where there is just too much silence, or our only conversations are about perfunctory issues (household chores and the day to day), then we need to take it upon ourselves to try to reconnect with our partner. The first step is to recognize and acknowledge that, as a couple it is important to talk about things that matter to us, individually AND as a couple. We need to give thought to how we address what bothers us, where we are disappointed, and then pay attention to the role we play in perpetuating a cycle of silence or disinterest. We are more likely to feel connected to our partner when we share experiences that have meaning to us.
Here are additional tips to consider:
Find a Date to be Available to Talk to Each Other. - We need to put away the remote and the phone and the other devices that get in the way of "REALLY CONNECTING" with our partner. When we are alone, we can jot down some of our feelings and thoughts that we would like to share when we have a chance to talk.
Introduce Topics That Matter To You and Your Partner. - We change as we age, and sometimes we forget to tell each other the ways we feel we have changed. It may or may not be obvious but the likelihood of our staying meaningfully connected to our partner is greater if we stay focused on the relationship and keep one another informed of what we are doing, what interests us, what we want to learn and why, and how we are feeling.
Revisit Previous Experiences. - There is a difference between living in the past and appreciating and enjoying a shared history, especially when you look at it through "seasoned" eyes. Whether it is visiting places, listening to music, watching movies or plays that were significant to you in an earlier time, sharing an experience you have enjoyed in the past can rekindle or enhance the way you see and relate to one another.
Develop Common Interests. - When we think about the time when we dated our partner, we likely looked for common interests that got excited about doing things together. Examine if that is still the case. When we think about what we might like to share and what prevents us from doing so, we are more likely to address what gets in the way.
Compliment Your Partner. - It is invaluable to let our partner know that we notice when they do something that is helpful or that makes us (or someone else) feel good. Acknowledge the way they live their life, the choices they make, the way they treat other people. Notice. Acknowledge. Appreciate.
When we find common interests, we will likely feel more connected to each other. When we support one another in pursuit of those interests, we likely feel noticed and acknowledged.
TODAY Show (NBC).
Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.
JumpStart's Read for the Record
Otis, by New York Times bestselling author Loren Long, has been selected as the official book of the 2013 Jumpstart's Read for the Record campaign.
Now in our 8th year, Jumpstart's Read for the Record, is an annual reading celebration that highlights the need for high-quality early education in America by mobilizing adults and children to set a record for the largest shared reading experience. Last year, more than 2.3 million people participated in the record-breaking campaign. Help to break that record by encouraging every one to read Otis to children on October 3rd.
Please visit http://www.jstart.org/campaigns/read-record.
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.
Additional Articles linked to Dr. Atkins:
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.
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 also partners with families, preschool centers, institutions of higher education, community groups and a variety of other groups and individuals to make certain that every stakeholder in a child's life is working to provide them with a high quality early education.
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 - May 10, 2014, We Give Books, and Read for the Record.
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
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