Dr. Dale Atkins, PhD Psychology P.C.
Sanity SaversTM and More...
November 2014


Happy Thanksgiving! May we all find moments to focus on the things in our lives for which we are grateful.

Please follow me on Twitter at @DrDaleAtkins and "like" me at Dale Atkins on Facebook, as I will be posting current commentaries regularly.

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In this month's article, What to Say When Someone is Ill, I offer some thoughts about how to approach friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and family members when they are ill.

In Tips for Avoiding Panic, I suggest why panic does not help deal with situations that cause us concern and offer tips for dealing with our feelings.

Please visit my website, www.drdaleatkins.com for information and updates about my professional interests, thoughts, and engagements. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like me to speak to your group or organization at dale@drdaleatkins.com.

I appreciate you sharing this newsletter by clicking the Send to a Friend button below.

Wishing you health, peace and balance.


In this issue
  • Sanity SaversTM
    What to Say When Someone is Ill
  • Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
  • Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips for Avoiding Panic
  • Happenings
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • A Thought

  • Sanity SaversTM
    What to Say When Someone is Ill

    For many of us, when we find out that a friend or family member is seriously ill, we wonder how we can be supportive. Just thinking about it can send us into a tailspin. Not only because we are sad about their diminished health, but because we often don't know what to say. When we are fearful of saying something inappropriate, we sometimes choose to say or do nothing at all.

    It is helpful to remember that when someone is ill, that person is the one in pain. We need to focus our attention on what he or she needs. Most often, what someone needs is simply to be heard, sympathetically. We can offer to listen sensitively and that, in itself, is a source of comfort.

    Everyone is different so what works for someone may not work for someone else -- and what works at the beginning of an illness may not work toward the end of treatment. Here is where you can take your cues from the person.

    What I am sure of is that support comes in a variety of ways. A "sit by the beach" can do a world of good. So can going out for coffee. If going out is not possible, arrange a movie night with Netflix and bring popcorn. Find ways to be useful without taking over the person's life; this can be a moving target that requires paying attention. The important thing is that we don't disappear. Reach out. If the person is not up to talking or visiting, that is fine, just don't go away.

    We need to let the people we care about know we are available and will stay for the long haul. A few months into it, when everyone else has gone back to their lives, THAT'S really when visits and conversations may be most needed. The dog still needs to be walked, the laundry still needs to be done, and dinner still needs to be delivered. Remember, often, people feel LESS WELL as they move along the road to recovery. It is part of the process until they begin to feel better.

    Sometimes a person who is ill won't believe they can "do it" (whatever "it" is). Your role is to remind them that they can and they will -- even when they don't believe it themselves. We all need to be "held" by our friends and family, physically and metaphorically, so let that be a guide.

    Ultimately, being there when a friend or family member is about being there is one way or another; listening, without judgment; and forgetting about being right.

    Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit


    It's much harder to 'bounce back' when we are rigid in our thoughts & feelings about our circumstances. We get lost in thinking about what isn't working out for us or who isn't acting as we want them to.

    'Flexibility' is knowing our life situations are ever-changing and there are many things over which we do not have control.

    Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips for Avoiding Panic


    This is what so many of us did recently when EBOLA arrived from Africa to the States.

    We need to remember that no matter what the reason for our distress, confusion, or uncertainty, PANIC NEVER HELPS! Panic mode leads us into "survival mode." When there, we cannot think clearly, problem solve, or make rational decisions.

    We are missing a feeling of safety and security. We function in a state of fear which contributes to our feeling frightened and out of control.

    Here are some tips to help you avoid panic and think clearly:

    Get the Facts. - Thist is not always easy since information is unfolding. Going to an extreme, "WHAT IF?," can cause us to live in a "frightening" future rather than in a "reasoned present." This does not mean that we avoid making plans regarding how to take care for ourselves in the event of problems. It does mean we may have to go out of our way to avoid scary news reports and rumors that are not based on fact.

    Minding our Health. - We can take care of ourselves in ways to prevent a variety of other types of illnesses. Now, as flu season approaches, we can be vigilant about washing our hands, keeping alcohol-based hand sanitizer in our cars and backpacks. Why? Because that helps us keep other viruses (and hopefully, a cold) at bay. There are lots of communicable diseases, the spread of which can be prevented by keeping our hands and faces clean.

    Avoid "Old Stories" that Remind Us of Difficult Times in the Past (and Previous Panic). - These stories add to our feeling of distress and bring us further away from a sense of ease.

    Ground Ourselves in this Present Moment. - Without revisiting the past or worrying about the future, we can stay exactly where we are and try to calm our body. Breathe deeply, count, visually "scan" our body as we try to relax specific areas, and notice and pay attention to what we are listening to, what we see, what we feel. We can make a conscious effort to be in THIS moment as a way to avoid feeding the panic.


    TODAY Show (NBC), and HLN.
    Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
    Nov. 6, 10AM hour: Talking to your parents about difficult topics.
    Nov. 21st, 10AM hour: TBD, with Laura Posada.

    Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.

    Sixty and Me Interviews
    Four interviews with Dr. Atkins, conducted by Margaret Manning, covering the following topics: stress and worry, care-giving, downsizing, and friendships.
    http://sixtyandme.com/elderly-care-how-to-be-a-caregiver-while-taking-care-of-your-own-life-interview-with-dr-dale-atkins/, and http://sixtyandme.com/how-to-deal-with-loneliness-in-retirement-interview-with-dr-dale-atkins/

    Experience Life Magazine
    The Cares of Caregiving, by Jon Spayde. Interview.

    I hope you enjoy my chapter, "Family Involvement and Counseling," in the new text, Introduction to Aural Rehabilitation, Second Edition. 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.

    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 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!

    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. 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 Read for the Record, which mobilizes millions of children and adults to celebrate literacy in an effort to break the world record for the most people reading the same book on the same day. On October 21, 2014 people across the country united in big cities, small towns, and everywhere in between to read the children's book Bunny Cakes, by bestselling author and illustrator, Rosemary Wells.

    A Thought

    "The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise."

    Maya Angelou

    dale with samson

    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:
  • A Practical, Helpful Exploration of the Intimate and Complex Bond between Female Siblings
  • 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.
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • Find out more....
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