Dr. Dale Atkins, PhD Psychology P.C.
Sanity SaversTM and More...
January 2015


Happy New Year!

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

My blog has gone live: http://drdaleatkins.wordpress.com/. I invite you to "jog my blog" and submit topics YOU would like me to discuss.

In this month's article, Integrating Our Past as We Begin this New Year, I offer thoughts about being open to all of our life experiences.

In Tips for Not Keeping Score, I ask you to consider why "keeping score" in relationships is more often than not a "lose-lose" arrangement.

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
    Integrating Our Past as We Begin this New Year
  • Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
  • Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips for Not Keeping Score
  • Happenings
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • A Thought

  • Sanity SaversTM
    Integrating Our Past as We Begin this New Year

    Welcome 2015!

    I swear, the older I get, the faster the years seem to fly by. What can we learn from last year as we move into this year?

    Some of us feel comfortable, never looking back. Others of us "live in the past." And still others use the past "to inform" the present.

    I don't see how we can learn from the past if we don't have a look at it. With distance can come another perspective. New insights and lessons that may not have been obvious when we were in the "thick" of the experience, suddenly become available to us.

    We have opportunities to think about the choices we had and decisions we made. And we can go further as we interpret them in an effort to come to terms.

    What is the meaning we ascribe to what we have experienced? What is the meaning we ascribe to our lives? How has that changed from year to year (if it has)?

    Recently, someone who has been divorced for 25 years said to me: "I will forever be bitter." I was taken aback by what seemed like a steadfast commitment to this belief. I wondered to myself whether this statement had become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    It is totally understandable that someone would feel bitterness after experiencing disappointment, dashed dreams, deceit, and whatever else was part of a self-described failed marriage. The "expected" life did not happen.

    We are each responsible for whether and how we come to terms with our lives. We can think about where, what, and who we are now in relation to where, what and who we used to be. We can decide if and how we integrate the our life experiences -- the painful and the joyful -- and then, how we live the rest of our life.

    Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit

    Setting our Intentions for the New Year

    As we begin this new year with our resolutions and goals, let's be gentle with ourselves and others, choosing to respond with love and acceptance instead of unrealistic demands of perfection.

    Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips for Not Keeping Score

    Don't Keep Score.

    At first I thought this was rather "simple" advice. Over the years I have learned that not only is it not simple, but it was the best advice I have ever received. To this day, when couples ask for my advice for a good relationship, without hesitation, I say "Don't Keep Score."

    It can be dangerous to keep score about who did what and who does what and why that is "not fair." There are times when somebody really needs to be cut some slack and it may be you, the partner, who needs to do the cutting. Rarely are things "even" or "fair" so keeping score can be a recipe for disaster. It can also be troublesome to keep score against the fantasy marriage you had in your head prior to tying the knot.

    Keeping score is often about focusing on what isn't working, what disappoints, what frustrates. The focus is on ME instead of US. Over time, resentment builds along with bitterness. Keeping score is rarely about paying more attention to what works and what we are grateful for in the person with whom we chose to spend our life.

    What are we trying to prove when we say, "I always do this. You never do that." Whom are we trying to impress?

    Relationships are often "messy" and some of us do better with messes than others. Some of us are night owls and others are early birds - and although a potentially charming difference during courtship - it can be a royal pain when living a day to day schedule.

    When we give, for the most part, our relationships grow. We receive a feeling of gratification because we have given to someone we care about. When we keep score, we think, "What have YOU done for me lately?" And in doing so, we lose sight of staying together for the long haul. When we forget this we can become competitive with our partner. We focus on what is our obligation and what is our payback instead of giving unconditionally.

    Two tips to consider:

    We can focus on what our goals are and how best to accomplish them. Make an investment in the relationship. Sometimes one of us will be having an easier time than the other. Think of ourselves as being on the same team, pulling our weight in areas where we have complementary strengths.

    We can stand back and reassess the dynamic. Being in a competition with someone can undermine a trusting relationship as we never can be sure that we are enough or that we have done enough or that we made the grade. This can contribute to anxiety about the relationship. We all do better when we stand back, take a different perspective (perhaps that of the other person), and realign our interests.

    So, when we think about these things, we may have a relationship without a scorecard:

    Avoid playing games. No keeping score. Put our interest in our relationship, and putting our partner's interests ahead of ours, without resentment or waiting for a time when the score will be settled.

    Because it is destructive rather than constructive, scorekeeping can undermine meaningful relationships.


    TODAY Show (NBC), and HLN.
    Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
    Jan. : TBD, with Laura Posada; Q&A with viewers.

    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

    "A friend is someone who does things that count, but doesn't stop to count them."


    dale with samson

    DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, lecturer and commentator in the media who appears on NBC's Today show.

    She has more than thirty years of experience and focuses on living a balanced life, creating and maintaining healthy relationships, parenting, aging well, caregiving, and managing stress, life and work transitions.

    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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