Why Men Don’t Want to go to Couples Counseling (and how to talk about it)

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First of all, it is important to understand that men are not “less emotional” than women; we are just inclined to keep those feelings to ourselves or express them differently. However, the feelings that we experience are influenced by our unique biochemistry and subtle brain structure differences. While men and women are far more alike than different, the differences can be confusing and unsettling, to say the least. One of these differences involves how we deal with conflict management and ...

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Emotional First Aid for Friends

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We’ve all had a friend come to us for support where we weren’t exactly sure what to say or do. We could tell they are hurting, but we just didn’t know how to fix it.  Sometimes we do know just what to do or say to help, but for those times that we don’t, here are a few suggestions and things to consider:

  • Remember, very often, our friends are not looking for us to ‘fix’ anything. . . they are just ...
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Talking to kids about tragedy

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Many parents feel that they would like to protect their children from the darkness that is in the world right now. There is wisdom in limiting their exposure, especially to repeated scary-sounding news stories on TV, Radio, or computers.

But it is important that you be the one that helps them learn how to handle their questions, fears, and uncertainties. Kids today are exposed to far more information than previous generations. The internet puts the most traumatic images and stories right ...

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PTS(d) and Crisis

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After publishing my post on Talking to Kids about Tragedy, I had a lot of requests to offer more information on Crisis and PTS(d). The ‘d’ (stands for ‘disorder’) is in parentheses because Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) is NOT a disorder in and of itself; unchecked, it can become more intense, but we should not assume that somebody has a ‘disorder’ just because they show signs of trauma.

Trauma and PTS(d)

When tragedy strikes, it is rarely expected or planned for. ...

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Mindfulness as a Carousel

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When thinking about mindfulness, many people picture thoughts as clouds passing by, or a leaf floating by on a stream of water, or as cars passing by at various speeds, some safe, some unsafe.

Sometimes though, those thoughts seem to pass by, only to circle back around again. And again. And again. . .

Being mindful of those moments is also helpful since the thoughts that come back around usually come back for a reason. It is the same mindfulness practice ...

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The Secret Nobody Wants to Admit

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There are plenty of things that people want to keep secret. Eating that last piece of pizza, wearing those jeans 2 days in a row, wearing those jeans 3 days in a row. . . Those are pretty straightforward secrets that people try to keep to themselves.

Then there are the difficult truths. The dark underbelly of who we are . . . the Darth Vader in all of us. Sure, we all want to be Luke Skywalker or Leia Organa, ...

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Borrowing Trouble

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When I was in those awkward teenage years, I was always worrying about this or that. I’d anticipate rejection then become defensive about it before it even happened! My mom called it “Borrowing Trouble.”

Sometimes, as a way to unconsciously protect ourselves from potential hurt, people can create trouble where there is none; the idea being that at an unconscious level, if we can anticipate pain, then we can better control it.

Learning to use mindfulness as a way ...

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Breaking the Negativity Cycle

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I have written a handful of articles about how people can extract rejection through a thought process that assumes rejection where there may be none. Rejection can also be anticipated before the situation even occurs. But rejection is not the only thing that can be extracted or anticipated.  Defensiveness, grief, and failure are other experiences that can be created by the mind itself in an attempt to control the pain.

Generally speaking, a pessimistic outlook involves a ...

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The Dark Side of Mindfulness and How to Deal With it

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Mindfulness is becoming more and more familiar to people around the world. A mindfulness practice is a great way to improve your outlook and quality of life, but there can be a dark side that sometimes needs to be demystified so people don’t get tripped up by it.

Remember, mindfulness is simply being aware of reality as-is without adding judgments or assumptions. This means noticing the wonderful times like when we feel happy, content, loving, excited, etc. But it also means ...

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How to Make a Great New Year

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Did you know that most New Year’s resolutions go unfulfilled after a few weeks? That’s because it’s just a resolution, not a lifestyle change. It is fine to start with a resolution, but leaving it there is like saying, “I’ll get it done tomorrow.” It is not active, it’s a passive comment, not a “doing” of much of anything in the here-and-now. Sure, you may do it for a few weeks as a “resolution,” but that’s not a commitment for ...

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Turn Off the Radio

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The new year is a great time to try new things. Like silence.

Every year, for one month, and I’m not suggesting you do an entire month (although it is interesting), I turn off the radio in my car. No music, no talk radio, nothing. Just the sounds around me. I always forget how enjoyable it is. Sure, there are horns, screeching tires, sirens and people yelling from time to time, but it’s different from the usual.

You’ll probably notice that you ...

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Feeling Stress vs Being Stressed

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The difference is how you identify yourself.

When you feel stress, it moves through you without getting stuck; it informs you of your circumstances (bills piling up, a sick kiddo on a day that you have a deadline at work, etc.). You are able to leverage it to provide you energy to focus and perform at a higher level, then it dissipates.

When you are stressed (i.e. being stressed), you have taken on the identity of stress itself, which makes it far ...

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Linus Drops his Blanket

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In the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown frantically asks if anybody knows the true meaning of Christmas. The eternally sweet Linus, with his security blanket in tow, walks to center-stage of the school auditorium, drops his security blanket and confidently recites the Biblical account of the true meaning of Christmas.

I do not believe that Linus’ dropping of his security blanket is accidental. I believe that it is symbolic of how we don’t need comfort objects/behaviors, like a security ...

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Calming the Anxiety Storm

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Probably one of the most common questions that people have is how to effectively deal with anxiety. The nervous thoughts are bad enough, but the physical symptoms only make things worse as people start to worry that others can see them shaking or trembling, that their face is noticeably red, or that sweat is forming the dreaded armpit stain on clothing.

There are dozens of types of anxiety, but all of them are related to the sympathetic nervous system’s alert mechanism ...

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The Circle of Life is Ironic and Tragic Sometimes

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There was this dragonfly, but he wasn’t a dragonfly just yet. He was just a larva . . . but he knew that he was a dragonfly. So here we are, a non-dragonfly dragonfly realizing his about-to-be-“a dragonfly”-ness.

So our friend, the larva, who knows he’s a dragonfly waiting to happen, is floating around in a large pond. It has a shallow pier on a shallow end on the pond. Lots of growth around that pier.  The larva-fly finds some protection ...

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