Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Risk of Toughing it Out

There is no way around dealing with life events.  Some are easy to process, others are difficult, and some are traumatic.  No matter what the event, we use learned coping skills to be able to move forward.  There are many people, especially men, who have decided that “Toughing it Out” is their way of coping, rather than “Talking it Out”.  But, what are the consequences?

An article by Dr. Jonier, describes how depression is a real worry when “Toughing it Out”, and the results can lead to decreased physical health, increased aggression, and intense irritability.  All can damage the relationships with kids, a spouse, friends, and co-workers.  Dr. Muller wrote that “Toughing it Out” individuals dealing with trauma, such as PTSD, often revert to drugs, alcohol, or suicide.  In fact, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention states that each year over 40,000 Americans die through suicide, and 70% are middle aged white men. 

The isolation and loneliness that comes from “Toughing it Out” not only can decrease happiness and ruin relationships, but can also be lethal. 

Take charge of your life,
Improve your relationships,
Decrease your emotional pain…

Seek help & “Talking it Out”

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I'm Not Crazy

In recent weeks I have overheard this conversation multiple times

Friend 1:  Wow, I am so overwhelmed
Friend 2:  Have you thought about seeking help?
Friend 1:  What do you mean?
Friend 2:  You know, go see a therapist
Friend 1:  I AM NOT CRAZY!

The implication here is that only crazy people need counseling, when in reality you are crazy for NOT going to counseling. 

Here are the facts:  Psychology Today reports that 59 million adults seek therapy in the United States. explains that an overwhelming majority of these individuals are “ordinary people with common, everyday issues”.  So, as research clearly indicates, therapy is for everyone including YOU, the reader, and it is only due to social stigmas why the word “crazy” is associated with therapy.

Dr. Howes, writing for Psychology Today, lists that adults in the US go to therapy because of distress, support/coping needs, communication issues, self-exploration, or mental disorders.  The simple truth is that every individual needs help processing events in our daily lives, and a counselor can help by giving support, information, guidance, or practice new tools.

Despite what you may have learned growing up, despite what you may see on TV or at the movies, and despite what may be said by some friends or acquaintances, going to therapy helps you THRIVE.  It is the strong, brave, and healthy that become vulnerable in order to grow, and they should be applauded and supported not ridiculed. 

If therapy is suggested to you, please go.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Will 2017 be "THE BEST YEAR EVER"?

Every year about this time, my mom makes her annual and confidant declaration: “Next year is going to be the BEST YEAR EVER!”

It does not matter how good or bad the year before has been, nor does it matter what the next year looks to be.  It is always the same, and it is always “THE BEST YEAR EVER!”

Let us analyze.  How was 2016 for you, and how does 2017 look to be?  For me, 2016 certainly had countless of exceptional days, but it also had many difficult days.  So, I would not rank 2016 as the BEST YEAR EVER, and the same will probably be true for 2017.  Next year, I have some fun adventures planned, several business opportunities on the horizon, and countless days filled with family time to look forward to.

In the end, what makes a year the BEST?  Is it important to have a BEST YEAR EVER?  Why do we want to have such a year?  The answers to these questions cannot only be complicated and confusing, but also unique to each of us.  The power these questions lie in the information we gain from looking and learning about what is important in our lives.  The answers will also give us great personal power to make decisions that will further improve our mental health and personal happiness.

Good luck on your journey of figuring out how to make 2017…


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Over exaggeration doesn't win the fight

“Lovers fight when they believe their partners don't care about how they feel. They fight about the pain of disconnection.”  Dr. Steven Stosny. 

When we feel disconnected, it is vitally important to relive that pain and become connected again.  A huge, and common, mistake couples make while fighting is over exaggerating statements in order to make a point.  For example, how many times have you heard, “You never do this” or “You always do that”.

The reason this is a mistake is because of the defensiveness it causes the other person to feel.  Even if one person has a tendency of doing something, he or she does not “always” do it, and that causes them to feel unfairly accused.  The result is, instead of relieving the pain and becoming more connected, these statements escalate the fight therefore enhancing the pain and disconnection.

There is no such thing as a couple that does not fight.  So, the next time you are in a fight with your significant other, remember that you are fighting to get reconnected again.  Your words can either help or hurt that process.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Say "I" when "You" fight

Fighting is inevitable within any relationship, but it does not have to be a negative or a destructive experience.  If both parties are fighting to improve the relationship and the situation rather then wanting to “be right” or to “win”, a lot of good can come from a confrontation. 

How language is used is important to not only being productive, but also to be caring and loving.  Wayne Misner (Men Don’t Listen) argues that ’I’ statements are not as offensive when you’re trying to be understood”.  After all, what is the goal of your fights?  What are you hoping will change? What are you fighting about?

Phrases that can be useful includes:  I notice, I assume, I wonder, I suspect, I believe, I resent, I am puzzled, I am hurt, I regret, I am afraid, I am frustrated, I am happier, I want, I expect, I appreciate, I realize, I hope 

If you are not used to using “I” phrases in your fights, this list might seem a little overwhelming.  Wayne Misner suggests using “I hope” first, but most importantly leave the “you” out of it.

Good luck in your next fight, and may the both of you be understood and both of you win.