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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Generations express stress

The American Psychological Association has completed an extensive study on “Stress in America.” The results might be surprising to many readers as it relates to the differences between the generations.

There are some differences between age brackets and their stress levels. On a 10 point scale here are how the age levels rank related to stress.

Levels of Stress within the Generations:
  • * 5.4 on a 10 point stress rating is reported by Millennials (age 18-33)
  • * 5.4 on a rating scale is reported by GenXers (age 34-47)
  • * 4.7 rating for Baby Boomers (age 48-66)
  • * 3.7 rate for Mature citizens (age 67 and higher)
What else do we know about the study related to age brackets?
  • * Millennials and GenExers report high stress with job stability, work issues and money.
  • * Matures and Boomers say their issues center around health.
  • * 52 percent of Millennials report that their daily stress keeps them awake at night.
  • * 48 percent of GenXers report that their stress levels keep them from sleeping.
  • * Compare those numbers to Mature citizens reporting only 25 percent of sleep disturbances and 37 percent for Baby Boomers. 

What else do we know?
  •  *Only 25 percent of this population say they are coping well.
    * Millennials and GenExers report they are dealing with stress by overeating, excessive drinking and smoking more than other populations.
    * This population tends to use shopping for coping and turn less to religion and stress management techniques.
    So we have learned so far that Americans are stressed, women are doing a poorer job of stress management and our younger population is highly stressed. Next week we will look at regional trends before we talk about stress tips for everyone.

Building relationships that last

Relationship experts generally agree on two things about lasting & enduring relationships: First, relationships are BUILT not FOUND. Secondly, that lasting relationships are sustained and kindled in many small ways throughout the years.

We see more and more divorces and separations today in America. What do couples who have sustained long relationships suggest are common keys in their lasting success?
  • · good communication based in good listening and reflecting skills
  • · shared interests and hobbies
  • · mutual respect for each other without needing to change the other person
  • · ability to give and take—learning the skills of compromise & negiotation
  • · equality in the relationship which encourages individuality
  • · playfulness & humor
How do these partners create this type of enduring love?
  • · accept differences in each other
  • · maintain strength during adversity—work together when times are difficult
  • · provide nurturing, kindness and gentleness
  • · build togetherness
  • · use positives- be a cheerleader for each other
What are some simple things you can do each day that will take less than 5 minutes to nurture your relationship?
  • · Make time for touching, hugs, and kisses
  • · Bring attention to “us” This means make the relationship the number one priority in your life
  • · Give compliments to your partner. Try to say at least 5 positive things to your partner each day
  • · Express appreciation & gratitude to your partner
  • · Have “meaningful” communication about things that matter. Talk about your dreams, your purpose, and things that are of value to both of you.
  • · Say “I love you” and let your behaviors exhibit it

The pursuit of happiness

Who are the happiest people in the world?
•    The happiest people live in Iceland, #2 New Zealand, #3 Denmark.
•    U.S. ranks 23rd
•    Americans have lots of “toys” and things, but they don’t know how to enjoy what they have and
      keep looking for more
•    Happiness has a lot to do with taking a risk, searching and achieving
•    People who make more money in the U.S. tend to be happier and have great well being despite
      past statistics that have told us differently
•    People are happier when they can purchase non-necessities and Americans spend more on cars,
     eating out and sports.

What do we know about Americans and happiness in the last ten years.
•    15 percent were pessimists in 2004 and in 2013 only 4 percent.
•    79 percent said they were optimists in 2004 and 50 percent currently
•    35 percent of people save working towards a goal makes them happy, but 59 percent of
      Americans say achieving a goal makes them happier
•    41percent of people say they are as happy as expected and 28 percent say they are happier than
      expected and 27 percent say they are unhappy

What are some simple truths about the pursuit of happiness?

•    Remember: People who have good memories and reminisce are happiest.   •    Couples: Married people tend to be happier than singles
•    Furry Friends: Happier people tend to have pets to provide comfort, companionship and love.
•    Exercise: Those who take a daily walk or jog, tend to be happier than those who are sedentary.
•    Spirituality: Studies show that those who have a spiritual connection are happier than those who
•    Kids: Adolescents' happiness rises when they have hobbies, are in team sports and have active
     lives with friends.

Boundaries... who needs them?

What are boundaries?
* Knowing where you start and another person begins.
* Establishing what you are responsible for and what is not yours to address.
* Discovering your autonomy and self esteem without being invaded.
* Finding a healthy way to be yourself without blending and becoming emeshed into another person and their issues.

Why do people have such a hard time establishing boundaries?
* Fear of rejection
* Fear of non-acceptance
* Fear of being alone
* Fear of conflict
* Fear of being abandoned
* Guilt, shame and messages of responsibility   

What are some beginning steps to establishing boundaries with another person?
* Know yourself. Ask yourself what is important and know what you value and view as essential. You can’t set a limit until you know yourself.
* Understand that you do have a “right”. It is okay to establish a boundary and let someone know when they are stepping over your comfort level.
* Saying “no” is acceptable. Boundaries include the freedom to say you are not willing or do not desire to do something. It is important to acknowledge your feelings and set long as it is not done aggressively or with malice.
* Discuss a boundary by being positive and empathetic. Assume that the other person isn’t trying to harm you and focus on a clear message of your limitations.
* Don’t over-explain. Be direct and short in your explanation. When you open yourself to long explanations you open yourself up to lengthy responses and opportunities for loopholes and exceptions.
* Establish boundaries with grace. Boundaries should be discussed when calm, when you have had time to contemplate, and done without a motivation of punishment and retribution.
* Realize that you are caring for yourself. Establishing boundaries is a means of maintaining your safety and personal responsibility. Remember that being a doormat is not caring for yourself, and those types of relationships foster a long term relationship of resentment, anger, and pain.


What do we know about advice in general?
• Giving advice when not solicited can be tricky and a hot spot.
• Being the receiver of advice that is unsolicited can make us defensive and it feels invasive and annoying.
• Offering advice without solicitation can feel like wasted energy and feel like the receiver is ungrateful for your caring and suggestions.

So what do we know about advice as it relates to gender?
• It is more important that the person asking for advice is receptive than the person giving the advice.
• Men have difficulty when they ask from advice from their spouse and they get little back because men typically look to their wives for a source of encouragement, while women rely on friends and other loved ones.
• When wives offer guidance (vs just listening) men tend to feel nagged or reprimanded.
• When wives ask for advice they tend to get fix-it suggestions and less compassion and empathy.

What if you don't want advice, how should we respond?
• Respond with thank you. Acknowledge the act, but respond by saying,"I'm not looking for advice at this time."
• Explain what might be helpful to you at this time. Do you need a hug? Some chicken soup? Brainstorming?

What are some tips to giving advice?

• Wanted: Make sure your spouse really wants advice and help. Start a conversation with something like "Would you like some ideas on that?"
• Listen: Good advice can come from listening and not speaking. Sometimes someone just wants you to be there, be supportive, hold you, or be reassuring vs. solution.
• Examples: Sometimes telling a story of when you had a similar situation helps the receiver see things in a different light. Stories tend to take away the criticism and the feel of being threatened.
• Tone: Remember that advice is always heard much better when it comes from someone who is calm, looking into your eyes, and their tone is low and from a loving perspective. The way in which you offer advice can be more important than your words.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Making Love Work

Unfortunately, many relationships fall apart and we know that 50% of marriages end in divorce.  So tonight and next Wednesday we will look at the REAL subtle things that can help a relationship endure… and it just might surprise you!

What are some proven techniques for enhancing our relationships from a recent study.  Tell us the results.
·      University of Rochester study showed that people who regularly show acts of kindness have happier 
·      Selfish acts aren’t just nice, they are necessary in enduring relationships
·      Being compassion enhances your partner’s closeness to you and enhances your well-being and  
·      Men say they put women’s needs before their own in the study ahead of women by 15 %
·      Men say they modify their schedules for women than vice versa in the survey.

Those are some interesting statistics… what else did the report show?
·      Men are more comfortable showing love through acts vs. words
·      Showing small gestures of love can go further in a relationship than words
·      When you do acts of kindness it is important that you are not focused on the payback aspect of the 
What are some simple ways to show you love your partner
·      Put their needs in front of your own which is compassionate enduring love
·      Show appreciation and reach out to do a chore for the other person
·      Celebrate their victories and notice their achievements
·      Do something special, even when you are not getting along

Sunday, March 10, 2013

We are growing!  We have added two new therapists and one Clinical Psychologist!  Welcome to Julie DiBernadino-Doeden LCSW, Sue Anderson, LCSW and Dr. Aimee Ladd.

We also are going green and we've added a new software upgrade to our system.  This addition creates a web-based software program that is fully encrypted to insure the confidentiality of our clients.

Additionally, we've made some office enhancements by adding rooms and changing our front office... but watch and you'll see more changes in the coming month as we refurbish our waiting room and add additional offices.