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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ringing in 2009!

The Holidays have come to a close and now we are ready to celebrate the ringing in of 2009! Just how much do you really know about the celebration of New Years?

Did you know that the New Year celebration is the oldest of all holidays? In fact, celebration of the New Year was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. The ancient holiday was originally celebrated for 11 days and each day had a specific ritual to help celebrate the holiday. Additionally, the first New Year celebration was NOT on January 1st, as we know it, but it was celebrated on the first day of spring on the first new moon after the Vernal Equinox. The celebration on January 1st as the New Year first began in 153 BC with the establishment of the new Julian calendar under the reign of Julius Caesar.

Did you know that many Americans traditionally eat specific foods to bring in the New Year? It is common for many people to eat black-eyed peas or ham for good luck. Others around the country consider eating cabbage on New Year’s Day to bring prosperity into their lives. Some people celebrate the New Year by eating rice, which is seen as a lucky food source.

Ever wonder how the idea of resolutions became part of our New Year’s celebration? Early Babylonians actually started the tradition not with promising to lose weight, or to exercise, or stop smoking…but commonly they made resolutions to return farm equipment borrowed from surrounding neighbors.

Americans around the country make an average of 1.8 resolutions per year with the most common resolutions surrounding losing weight, stopping the smoking habit, or adding an exercise regime to their life.

To make this year’s resolutions more rewarding, it might be important to focus on some key elements to make this year’s resolutions successful.
• Establish specific goals for your resolution. Try not to be vague such as saying, “This year I’m going to be happy.” Try stating specifics such as attempting to tell one joke a day, looking for one thing to be grateful for each day, or perhaps smiling as each person talks to you at work.
• Write down your resolutions. When we commit something in writing, we are more likely to stick by our resolutions.
• Focus on positive achievements by building on what has worked for you in the past.
• Make your resolution something realistic like losing 2 pounds a month versus saying you are going to lose 50 pounds this year. It is important to build success patterns by creating reasonable expectations for your resolution.
• Spread out goals. Try to establish a plan for the year versus setting 20 resolutions to work on in January.
• Compliment and reinforce your successes along the way. If you don’t show how happy you are with your achievements, you will surely lose your steam along the way.

Most importantly, remember that resolutions are something we should focus on 365 days a year.

May this year be filled with good health, well-being, laughter, prosperity, serenity, gratefulness, and peace—and let’s all hope our world is filled with love!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The new year will bring some exciting changes... Dr. Joy Miller is now moving to the #1 local television station, WEEK!!! You won't believe all the new things that come with this change, and I'm not allowed to give away all the surprises just yet...but let's say you'll be witnessing some new ways to get your "Dr. Joy" tips... so keep tuned in to WEEK.

The weekly segment on WEEK will be on Wednesday nights on the 5 pm newscast. Tune in and join the Peoria "home team."

Take a moment for Gratitude

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure--measure a year?

In sunsets
In cups of coffee
In miles
In stride

In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?
How about in love?
Measure in love.
(Seasons of Love/Rent)

2008 is coming to a close and you have a choice! You can begin the new year focused on the things that plague your life, or you can choice to focus on the elements of your life for which you are grateful. The choice is YOURS!

Yes, the economy is in turmoil, but you have food to feed your family. Yes, times are difficult, but do you have your health? Your family may not all be able to come together for the holidays, but you have friends who will share their holiday with you this year.

So how will you spend your new year? I urge you to measure it in love, and witness all that fills your life with joy, contentment and happiness. I hope you can choose to measure it in love!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holidays or Holi-daze? Part #3

The holidays are upon us and many of us suffer with pressures of over-doing everything during the holidays—especially over-eating. Perhaps this happens to you? Do you usually put on an additional 10-15 pounds during the holiday season? Many people complain about unhealthy eating patterns which are high in sugar and fat, and low on balance. With a cornucopia of delights available at every turn, it is imperative that we create a plan to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle for the coming months. Here some quick tips to help you through the mounds of temptations:

•Eat only what you really want. Make a decision to think before you impulsively put food in your mouth.
•Realize it is okay to say “no” to food. You will not hurt anyone’s feelings by choosing not to overeat.
•Focus on the holiday and not the food.
•Try to eat healthy and continue regular exercise.This is essential during this holiday season
•Don’t skip meals…this is a set-up for overeatin
•Forget censoring yourself from eating. That is only a set up for overeating.
•Bring your own food if you know healthy food won’t be available.
•Don’t give up if you overeat on one day. Too often people throw in the towel and overeating from one day into a 3-week period.

With a little planning this holiday season can be a healthy time filled with good health and good cheer.

Holidays or Holi-daze? Part #2

The season of over-doing, over-eating, over-committing and over-spending is upon us. As we approach the holiday season, many people call this the time of “holidaze.” Internal and external pressures seem to paralyze us, causing behaviors, which are out of our normal range of functioning.

One of the most common concerns of the holiday season is financial pressure created by overspending. Overwhelmed by the season, many people discover their wallets, checkbooks, and credit cards take a beating, bringing some people to their knees. Many people report overspending which creates a financial crisis, which takes months to repair.

But there are some common tips to help during this holiday season:

•Create a budget for the holiday season and stick with it.
•Use only cash for your purchases (credit spending generally isn’t
felt until it’s too late.)
•Avoid guilt buying. Make a list of gifts to be purchased and stay
with the list.
•Give gifts “of the heart” such as making picture albums, coupons for services, baby-sitting, cooking, or special surprises.

With a little planning you can make this holiday season a holiday instead of a holidaze.

Holidays or Holi-daze? Part #1

Are you one of those people who say “yes” to all holiday activities at your own expense? Do you generally schedule too much in too little time, and expect to do more than is humanly possible? The most common concern of holidaze is overdoing. Symptoms of fatigue, exhaustion, lack of mental concentration, backaches, depression, and anxiety usually affect those who don’t learn some techniques for managing over-committing. Here are some tips for holiday success:

• *Budget your time during this season. Realize that time is limited and make choices that are not putting you at risk for fatigue.
• Set realistic expectations of what can be accomplished. Remember that you will pay the price if you don’t care for yourself.
• *Learn to say “no” to invitations, commitments, and volunteering. Choose to engage in activities that are important to you.
• *Make a list of your activities and prioritize what is truly important during this season. Remember to make time for your family and your self.

With a little preparation this holiday can be a wonderful experience and something to cherish. Start now and make this year the wondrous year of peace, happiness, and serenity!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Election Night: Dealing with Winning or Losing

Election Night: Dealing with Winning or Losing

This election was a historic event whether you were a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. We will investigate some of the psychological impacts of winning and losing an election.

Where there any psychological superstitions or rituals that played in this election?

• McCain carried a lucky penny, lucky nickel, and a lucky quarter. He also carries a lucky compass and a lucky feather
• Obama always plays a round of basketball and shoots some hoops before a big election
• Candidates know they may be at the mercy of unpredictable factors beyond their control, and performing some rituals are something you can control to feel some empowerment.

What are some typical reactions associated with losing?

• Sadness and depression. Candidates may put on a happy face with teary-eyed thanks, but when the loss sinks in, many get caught in self-blame, self-pity, and despair
• Anger and resentment: sometimes the candidate refuses to accept the loss and lashes out at opponents or other issues related to those who might be responsible for the defeat. Anger blocks depression and revenge keeps people energized and focused not giving up
• Euphoria: the relief of being happy that the election is over and candidates tend to talk about what they will embark upon as a result of their defeat
• Denial: refusing to believe the election

What are some of the tips for recovering as a nation?

• Look at the election as a competition. Whether a loss or a win, is not about you as a person, but a philosophy to run the country for the next few years.
• Your self-worth is not determined by a win or loss
• Be proud of your dedication and determination. Be proud of voting and making your vote count.
• The important resolution is that we come together as a nation and psychologically work together to bring unity and dedication to improving our country and world

New information on Seasonal Affective Disorder

The sun is hard to find these dark cold gray days, and millions of Americans start to feel the effects of Seasonal Affective disorder. In early November some new information related to this condition was released.

Is this phenomenon of seasonal blues new?

• In the 1980’s scientific proof established that some people become depressed in early fall or winter and improve in springtime.
• 5% of Americans are affected by SAD and 10-15% of Americans have milder versions

What are some of the typical symptoms of seasonal affective disorder?
• Increasing eating (cravings for carbs, comfort foods)
• Depression
• Decrease in energy levels
• Dampened mood
• Oversleeping

What are some suggestions?
• Get up early and grab some sun: A 30-60 minute walk in the morning will help, but of course with the cold weather, this is difficult for lots of people
• Greet the day with artificial light: Use a light box (a full-spectrum light) on the breakfast table for 30 minutes of simulated light. Some people are even using “dawn simulating lights” by their beds in the morning to ease the symptoms
• Light up your life: Turn on some extra lights in your office or home. There is less evidence that this will help your mood, but it might help a bit since some reports sow that the light spectrum produced by energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs have produced some mood lifting trends vs. old bulbs.
• Remember there is no proof that tanning beds help with SAD
• Reach out to a licensed mental health professional to help with strategies to lower your mood disruptions.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thought for the day

What you appreciate...appreciates!

If you are grateful for blessings in your life, you will witness an increase in blessings you witness.

Our Mental Health and These Stressful Times

Economic crisis is hitting all aspects of our life. Some Americans are forgoing their much needed therapy sessions, and even not taking their medications as a means of saving money that might be needed for other necessities. We will look at how anxiety for many is rising, but why the utilization of therapy is on a downturn.

What are psychologists, therapists and psychiatrists seeing in their practices?

• Americans are facing higher levels of anxiety and depression due to stressors. National Hopeline Network, a suicide hotline report a 10% monthly increase this year in calls.
• Americans are cutting their health care ranging from preventive tests to prescription drugs.
• Americans are losing jobs at an overwhelming rate and that means the end of insurance coverage and mental health care for thousands of people.
• The consequences of these factors could be dangerous.

What does research indicate regarding the correlation of suicide rates and recession?

• Research indicates that psychiatric hospitalizations and suicides peak at the lowest point in a recession.
• Harvey Brenner at the University of North Texas found that when employment rates drop, suicide rates rise.
• Rand Corp noted that when costs increase people tend to defer their mental health care more than their physical health care.

What are some suggestions for these stressful times?

• Suicidal risk: Those who are thinking of hurting themselves should not curtail therapy. Call your therapist and negotiate a plan.
• Use crisis hotlines as intermediary measures
• Don’t cut back on your medications without the supervision of your physician
• If you can’t afford your therapist or psychiatrist’s rate, ask about a payment plan, or a referral to a community health care agency with a sliding rate
• Investigate pharmaceutical companies that have patient assistance programs to access medications for those who cannot afford their meds.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Texting and Driving Don't Mix

Many drivers think it’s really not a big deal to use their cell phones and concentrate on driving. But with recent news of the potential train accident in California linked to a conductor texting while on the job brings multitasking under fire. Trying to eliminate distractions, the California Public Utility Commission created an emergency order banning the use of personal electric devices for anyone operating a train.

Have there been any new research related to mixing texting and driving?
• Study shows that 50,000 people say their riskiest behavior while texting is driving
• 42% of teens say they can text blindfolded and believe there is no problem doing this while driving

What are other concerns related to mixing these two activities?

• Research shows that people don’t achieve more when multitasking, they generally concentrate less on both activities
• Multitasking increases the chances of mistakes
• Multitasking slows down our response time which can be dangerous
• Our brains have difficulty moving from task to task and performance drops (example of counting and doing alphabet at the same time)

What are some options that have been proposed?

• There is a new technology that is pending which would actually prevent calls and text messaging reaching cell phones in a vehicle.
• Technology is pending to create a code that parents could activate or deactivate which would deactivate cell phones except for 911 emergency calls
• Now 6 state have made it against the law to text while driving

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Startling Rise in Suicidal Thoughts

What do the recent studies indicate? (August 2008 study presented at the American Psychological Association Convention in Boston)
• More than 50% of American college students have considered suicide in their life
• The rate of suicidal thoughts for college students is much higher than the 15.3% of Americans at large who have suicidal thoughts.

What other information within that shocking report?

• 26000 students at 70 schools were questioned in the survey and suicidal thoughts was as common as drug abuse.
• Students reported suicidal thoughts as a method of relieving emotional or physical pain (#1 reason)
• The second reason for suicidal thoughts was problems with romantic relationships
• The third was related to academics or problems in school

What are some suggestions if you believe someone is suicidal?
• Take all threats seriously. There is a myth that if people talk about it, they aren’t serious. Studies indicate that more than 75% of all completed suicides did say or do something prior to their death to let people know about their suicidal thoughts.
• Remember this is a cry for help. Be willing to tell someone, or take the person to the emergency room, or tell them you will go with them to therapy
• Don’t keep the secret. Make sure you do something to let others know such as calling the Call for Help number at 673-7373
Call a professional therapist and remember that depression is quite treatable and 75% of people

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Women's Lifestyle Show is Almost Here!

Check out for updates on the 2008 show!

You'll even find the 2008 seminar grid so you can start picking out your favorites to hear at the show.

We can't wait to see you there...

Seeking a New Job?

Perhaps you are seeking your first job, or your company is downsizing and you are looking for a secure position in another firm, or you just want to look for a new position. Tonight we will look at some tips you need to keep in mind as you look for that new job.

Have things changed for new graduates look for their first job?

There was a time you could control your references, but Career Builders says with social networking, things have changed
• Employers are checking places like Facebook and contacting people without your permission
• Employers are checking out your contacts and emailing them asking for information and the dirt on you
• There’s nothing unethical about this because your information is in the public domain
• Employers are looking for those interesting pictures and quotes you use on these social networking sites to discover the “real” you vs the one who shows up for interviews.

What are some common mistakes people make in their resumes?
• Not using keywords. In totals world, resumes in big companies are scanned for keywords that narrow down choices. Look for words that are used in the companies web pages or ads to assist your resume being seen
• Always proofread. Typos and grammatical errors are key factors for your resume landing in the trash. It says you don’t care about your work or you don’t care about the impression you are making
• Know your employer. Show why you are the perfect match for the job—and show how your talents fit into their needs.

Any other key tips for those creating their resumes?
• Visual appearances are important. This is an employers first impression so make that resume stand out with bulleted lists and plenty of white space and subheadings. Leave out the bright colors and distracting fonts if you want the job
• Lying can kill your chances. Everyone embellishes a little, but lying typically comes out in the long run and it will destroy your chance for the job or ever moving up in the company since you will have lost your credibility.

**tips Career Builders

Friday, June 20, 2008

Quitting your job with respect and honor

From a mental health perspective when is it “time” to leave a job?

• Chronic or persistent physiological symptoms (stomach aches, backaches, migraine headaches, sleep disturbances, etc)
• When you are chronically experiencing depression or anxiety at your job on a day to day basis
• If you feel like your self-esteem and self worth is being compromised and diminished in your work environment.

What are some of the “quitting signs”?
• Do I find it hard to get up in the morning
• Do I sit at work and daydream
• Do I look at job internet sites at work?
• Do I do the minimum work required?
• Do I start to get ready to leave work way before quitting time?
• Do I call in sick when I’m not sick
• Do I dread going to work?

What are some suggestions for a positive exit from your current job?

• Be professional and advise your supervisor you are leaving before you tell coworkers
• Give your employer ample notice so they can try to arrange a replacement (2-4 weeks)
• Write a professional letter of resignation. State you are leaving for other opportunities or interests
• Don’t badmouth your company. Try to leave on good terms—you never know when you may need a recommendation, or who may know your old boss at your new workplace.
• Finish your task list before you go. Provide a list of projects that are in progress and review what needs to be done, if time does not allow you to finish a long-term project.
• Leave things in order. Make sure you leave your desk neat and tidy and unless you bought it, don’t take it
• Offer to train your replacement if time allows
• Send professional emails concerning your leaving to colleagues and customers, and give them a new contact information.
• Leaving with respect and grace will never hurt you in the long run!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Fun Little Quiz

Here’s a fun little challenge. We are unsure if this is statistically accurate, but whether it is or not, it is sure a fun little quiz.

If all of the eight desserts listed below were sitting in front of you,
which would you choose (sorry, you can only pick one)! Pick your dessert, and then look to see what it says about you.

Here are your choices:
1. Angel Food Cake

2. Brownies

3. Lemon Meringue Pie

4. Vanilla Cake With Chocolate Icing

5. Strawberry Short Cake

6. Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

7. Ice Cream

8. Carrot Cake

No, you can't change your mind once you scroll l down, so think carefully what your choice will be. OK... now that you've made your choice, this is what the researchers say about you...


1. ANGEL FOOD CAKE -- Sweet, loving, cuddly. You love all warm and fuzzy items. A little nutty at times. Sometimes you need an ice cream cone at the end of the day. Others perceive you as being childlike and immature at times.

2. BROWNIES -- You are adventurous, love new ideas, and are a champion of underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up you whip out you saber. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal.

3. LEMON MERINGUE -- Smooth, sexy, & articulate with your hands, you are an excellent caregiver and a good teacher. But don't try to walk and chew gum at the same time. A bit of a diva at times, you set your own style because you do your own thing. You shine when it comes to helping others and have many friends.

4 . VANILLA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING -- Fun-loving, sassy, humorous, not very grounded in life; very indecisive and lacking motivation. Everyone enjoys being around you, but you are a practical joker. Others should be cautious in making you mad. However, you are a friend for life.

5. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE -- Romantic, warm, loving. You care about other people, can be counted on in a pinch and expect the same in return. Intuitively keen. You can be very emotional at times but a true person in every way. You like to do things for yourself and help others learn about themselves.

6. CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING -- Sexy; always ready to give and receive. Very creative, adventurous, ambitious, and passionate. You can appear to have a cold exterior but are warm on the inside. Not afraid to take chances. Will not settle for anything average in life. Love to laugh.

7. ICE CREAM -- You like sports, whether it be baseball, football,
basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to participate, but
you enjoy watching sports. You don't like to give up the remote control.You tend to be self-centered and high maintenance.

8. CARROT CAKE -- You are a very fun loving person, who likes to laugh.You are fun to be with. People like to hang out with you. You are a very warm hearted person and a little quirky at times. You have many loyal friends. You were meant to lead and teach others. A wonderful role model.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Schools Out and Here's How To Survive

Some parents believe that June, July, and August are the longest months of the year. Kids are bored after just three days of freedom from school… teens want to be out doing something each and every night… and constantly someone is in the kitchen complaining there is nothing to do around here. So how can parents survive the hot, lazy days of summer and still maintain their sanity?

Here are some hints to keep your mental health intact:

1. Try to create some daily structure in your children's lives. Make a specific time for chores, television viewing, computer usage, and activities with friends. Sometimes it is helpful to have a family meeting and create a formal schedule for summer activities
2. Establish a time each day for reading. Join a summer reading program through the library, or set up a reward system for books read during the summer months. Each of us needs to keep our brain well exercised and skills quickly diminish when we don't keep our mind active.
3. Set a specific time each day to talk to your kids. Establish a consistent routine for discussion of the day's activities and plans for the following day. Use this time to explore feelings, and perhaps ask your child what was the “best part of their day.” Many parents have found it useful to ask their children what new thing they learned today in an effort to facilitate introspective thought.
4. Plan fun activities on a regular basis. Try summer camp, a weekly trip to the library or museum, or one of the unique summer programs that are available through Lakeview or the Park District.
5. If you have an teenager, check out classes that can be transferred as college credit. Look into volunteer opportunities, or a part time job. Some community agencies are looking for teens willing to help other teens. Call the Mental Health Association and ask about volunteering for the Teen Crisis Line, or call one of the local hospitals about volunteer opportunities.

How about some ideas related to keeping the family intact during the summer when everyone is usually going all different directions?
Put together a list of fun activities that can be shared as family nights. Activities could include movies, miniature golf, baseball games, indoor football, concerts, the zoo, or riverfront activities. The list is endless. A fun means of creating involvement is allowing each member of the family to have their own rotating week to be the planner of the family activity. Each week will not only be a surprise, but each member will feel they have a special place in the summer activities.

Any other tips for parents and ways to "survive the summer?"
~Don't forget to make time for yourself. Make time for taking a walk on the Rock Island Trail, read a book, take a summer class, or just relax in your back yard.
~ Make plans to “have a date” with your significant other. Make sure you don't lose connection with your partner during the hectic summer months.
~Make time to be with your friends
~Remember if you are not taking care of yourself, it is impossible to care for anyone else!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Early news about women's lifestyle show

The 2008 Women's lifestyle show is scheduled for Saturday October 25.

Here's some news so you will be the first to know. We will be featuring Ruth Fishel, a well-known meditation guru at our show. Ruth has written over a dozen books, and she will be featuring her newest book which focuses on peace. Ruth was also a speaker at our show in it's 2nd year, and she has a popular workshop speaker and motivator who has spoken to tens of thousands of participants in the last 20 years. Her affirmation books have been best sellers for Health Communication, Inc (the Chicken Soup publishers).

We do know that the ever popular Jill Carnahan, MD will be returning to speak at 1 pm on Saturday.

Joy will be speaking in the morning-- either at 10 or 11, and tentatively she will be speaking on the topic of "Happiness."

For more information go to

Are you assertive?

Is it hard for you to stand up for yourself? Do you have difficulty being assertive? Do you feel like a doormat who is unable to say NO? Tonight we’ll give you some tips for changing your behaviors.

How would you define assertiveness?
• Assertiveness is involves knowing what you want and giving yourself permission
to state your needs
• Assertiveness is not aggressiveness. It is a means of honoring your needs
without attacking someone else in the process. Being assertive is making a
request to someone else, but it is not aggressive or demanding.
• Assertiveness is a means of saying “no” or learning to avoid manipulation or
people pleasing.

What are some tips for developing assertiveness?

• First you must become aware of your own feelings, needs, values and desires
• Look the other person in the eye when you talk to them.
• Keep an open posture. Avoid folding your arms, shaking fingers, and face the
person directly
• Make a request that is simple, to the point, and firm (and non-blaming or
• Stay calm and avoid getting overly emotional or excited.

A lot of people have difficulty saying NO to others. What are some tips for those of us who have a hard time saying NO?
• Remember that saying NO is a means of setting limits. It is nothing to feel
guilty about, and you have the right to set boundaries.
• Acknowledge the other person’s request by restating it, and then explain your
reasons for declining.
• When you state your reasons for declining, make the points short and to the
• Say no by using phrases such as “No, I’m not interested” or “No, I am
unwilling to do that.” Say no in a firm, polite manner.
• If it is appropriate you can suggest another option of something you would be
willing to do as a proposal for an alternative.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What do you know about panic disorder?

National Anxiety and Depression Awareness week begins May 4th and continues through May 10th.

What are the characteristics of Panic Disorder?
• 6 million Americans experience panic. It is more common with women, with the
disorder appearing to be hereditary.
• Characterized by sudden attacks of terror , dread and fear
• Symptoms: Person may experience faintness, dizziness, sweats, pounding heart,
chills, chest pain
• Person feels intense fear of losing control, dying, impending doom

What are some important facts about panic?
• Panic attacks are uncomfortable, but not dangerous. You will not have a heart
attack, you will not die, or you will not go crazy. As soon as you believe
this, you are on the way to recovery.
• You are in control. You may feel out of balance or disoriented, but you can
learn techniques to minimize the effects.
• The panic will pass. Most attacks last just a few minutes, and with the use
of breathing and rational thinking, the attack will pass.
• Many attacks don’t have to happen. You can avoid some attacks with techniques
you can learn, and by staying in the present and believing you can cope with
the effects.

What are some common treatment methods for panic disorder?
• Learning facts about panic disorder and means for coping with panic attacks
• The use of medications (if appropriate) combined with therapy
• Learning skills and techniques for managing and minimizing panic attacks from
a licensed mental health professional.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Are you a road rager?

The weather is getting warmer, and more people are excited about getting out of their houses and go for a wonderful ride and enjoying the sights of spring… but will you find yourself a victim of a “road rager?”

First of all, how would you describe road rage?
• Road rage or road violence is characterized by deliberate or dangerous driving under the influence of anger or frustration, or a violent emotion

Are there different causes for road rage?
• Environmental: Traffic congestion, some other drivers’ dangerous driving behaviors, noise levels, time constraints, and weather conditions such as heat, can cause rage.
• Intuitive response: This is a response to someone else’s careless driving. Typically this happens when we want to get some “retaliation” on the careless driver. Sometimes this e is called an “impulse control response”. It may involve yelling, giving someone a gesture, cutting the driver off, horn blasting, etc.
• Territorial defense: This is an internal response when we feel that we are defending our personal space or our car. Feeling invaded, we act out to defend our self and our emotion race and we become a road rager with some of the techniques we just discussed.

Who are typical road ragers?
• Studies show ragers typically have hostile aggressive thinking patterns (judgmental and critical people)
• People who are quick to anger. (People who tend to be name callers, yellers, those who hit or throw things, people who abuse substances, people who are anxious, etc)
• Drivers who are risk takers. Studies show those who report driving 10-20 miles per hour over the speed limit, who switch lanes rapidly, and those who tailgate are included in this group.)

What are some suggestions if you meet a road rager?
• Never make eye contact. Remember in the wild, you would not look an animal directly in the eye and indicate antagonistic behaviors. This will only intensify their anger
• Get to safety and turn the corner and get away from the abusive driver. If they follow you, never go home—in fact you might want to drive towards a police station.
• Take a deep breath, try to relax yourself, and don’t endanger yourself. Drive the speed limit and think about something pleasant instead of getting caught in impulsive thoughts.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Power of One

We may represent 5% of the world population, but Americans uses more than a quarter of the world’s natural resources each year. Joining Peoria's WMBD-TV 31's efforts to change the world, one person at a time, we will look at how YOU can make a difference and the POWER OF ONE.

Tell us more about the power of one?
• Creating change seems overwhelming when you look at world problems as a whole
• Breaking down the issues into small “do-able” efforts helps people believe they CAN make a change.
• One person can make a difference in our world. Taking a small step to change the world feeds our feels of compassion, love and understanding.

What are some changes with the POWER OF ONE?
• If each of us lowered our temperatures by one degree during the winter, we would save 230 million barrels of crude oil. (that’s the amount of oil we import from Iraq each year).
• If every newspaper reader recycled their Sunday papers we could help create 212 million pounds of cellulose insulation. (that would insulate over 118,000 houses)
• If each elementary student recycled one soda can it would save almost 25 million cans – which translates to enough aluminum to build 21 Boeing 737 airplanes.
• If every American switched and got just ONE bill online instead of a paper bill, we would save almost 218 million sheets of paper
• If one dimmer switch replaced a switch in the US, it could save enough to light ½ million homes (that’s every home in the state of Arkansas)

*source: Delta SKY magazine

Monday, April 7, 2008

For Your Consideration...

"Let's not limit our challenges, instead, let's challenge our limits!"
Author Unknown

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Workplace Taboos...

We spend the greatest part of our week at our job, with some people spending between 40-60 hours per week at their place of employment. But, are there some key things we need to do to maintain our job security?

What are some of American’s most common taboos occurring in the workplace?
• 35% percent of those surveyed have puckered up with a co-worker
• 31 % have tipped the bottle while on the job.
• 42% have fallen asleep at work.
• 21% say they have stolen things at work
• 19 percent of workers who have spread a rumor about a fellow employee.
• 4% have lied about their academic background
• 2% report taking credit for someone else’s work

Career builders reports there are some key things you should NEVER do at work. What are they?
• BLAMING OTHERS. Own up. Take responsibility for your errors even though it is difficult and sometimes embarrassing.
• GETTING COWORKERS INVOLVED IN YOUR PERSONAL PROBLEMS. It is nice to have friendships, but bringing your home problems to work can be distracting and unprofessional. Remember your coworkers are not your therapists, and this type of relationship will only lead to complicated work situations.
• ABUSING OFFICE TECHNOLOGY. Be watchful of using work time for your personal emailing, internet shopping, personal phone calls or watching last night’s episode of that TV show you missed. Trust that eventually this will catch up with you, and your coworkers will most certainly mention it to higher ups.

Are there other things we should see as taboos?
• STEALING IS STEALING. You may think it’s no big deal to take home the storeroom pencils, pens, paper. Staplers, or zip drives but it all adds up, and if you are caught you can guarantee that it will lead to a firing.

• DON’T HIT ON YOUR BOSS. This is a disaster in the making! In fact, dating coworkers generally has poor results. You may think your relationship is a secret, but trust me; your coworkers are more astute than you think.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Is it the caused by the declining economy? The pressure from your work? Or perhaps the war in Iraq? Tonight we will look at just what’s causing American’s stress level to rise, and some tips for dealing with America’s stress epidemic.

The American Psychological Association completed a survey in late 2007 and they noted the top three stressors for Americans. What were they?
• #1 -- 63% of us said their number one stressor was money
• #2 – they said it was national security
• #3 – they noted job security.

What are some common myths about stress?
• STRESS SAME FOR EVERYONE- This is incorrect. What is stressful for one person may not for another. Each of us responds to things in different ways.
• STRESS IS ALWAYS BAD FOR YOU. Stress can be a motivator that helps us accomplish our tasks, productive and feel accomplished—or it can hurt us physically and emotionally
• NO SYMPTOMS/NO STRESS. Untrue! Americans camouflage their symptoms with overworking, alcohol, medication, and being out of touch with their body. In fact, many people have no idea just how stressed they really are, until you suffer from health complications.

What are some tips for dealing with stressors?

• Take time for yourself. Take a long lunch break, do something at night with a friend, medicate, or just take a 15-30 personal time out to refresh yourself.
• Exercise daily. Walk each day, join an aerobic class, park further away from your work, and hike on the weekends. Exercise will reduce your stress hormones and detox our body
• Set realistic expectations. Work towards lowering your perfectionist thoughts and remember to find “balance” in your life.
• Put some simple basics in your life: (Laugh each day, talk to friends, meditate, practice deep breathing, and make time for hobbies, music and art.)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Achieving Happiness!

Surveying 80 countries and 2 million people, we learned that we are happiest in the beginning and the end of our lives, with our middle years as the most depressing times of our lives. Tonight we will look at some ways you can change that trend and increase your happiness.

CBS’s 60 Minutes reporter, Morley Safer just did a story about the happiest country in the world… what did he discover?

~~Denmark had the happiest people in the world. Why do they say they are so
1. Expectations are low, so they can’t be disappointed
2. Little violence, little disparity in wealth
3. Free education and health care
4. People feel safe.
5. Work week is 37 weeks with 6 weeks vacation

The United States may not have rated as high as Denmark in happiness, but what are some keys to enhancing our happiness levels?

• Be social. Research concludes without a doubt that being social, spending time with friends, and mingling with others lowers our anxiety and helps us achieve happiness
• Realize that you have the power to change your mind. Change that negative thought that plays in your mind by confronting the distortion and finding something positive about yourself that changes the message.
• Practice compassion. As we have discussed in the past weeks, doing something for others will enhance your mood and increase your happiness level.

Are there other things we can do to achieve happiness?
• Create a dream. People need goals and the movement towards achieving those goals creates satisfaction and a sense of worth.
• Think about the positives in your life. You have a choice, you can focus on all the negatives and wallow in your pain, or you can choose to see the positives that surround you. Give thanks, and express gratitude.
• Find humor in the world. Research indicates that those who can laugh increase their mood and are happier.
• Get out and move. Studies show that 10 minutes of walking is all you need to have a mood benefit. Unlock those feel-good neurotransmitters and your serotonin levels will rise and your happiness will too!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Little Light Couldn't Hurt

The days are gray and cold. Days pass without ever seeing the sun. Welcome to the time when many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Many of us have heard about Seasonal affective disorder or SAD… but what are the common characteristics?
• Approximately 17 % of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which
is commonly called "winter depression."
• It is characterized by recurrent episodes of depression, carbohydrate
craving, weight gain that begins in autumn and continues through the winter
• Many people experience fatigue, loss of energy, and feelings of worthlessness
all due to the loss of sunlight.
• Typically SAD occurs 4 times as many times in women. The average age of onset
is 23 years old.

Does Seasonal Affective disorder only occur during the fall and winter?
Actually, research indicates there is also something called "summer depression" which occurs in spring and lasts during the summer. It is characterized by depression, decreased sleep, weight loss and poor appetite.

What is the typical treatment for Seasonal Affective disorder?
• Light therapy has been the most successful form of therapy. This is usually done with a light box, which is 10,000 lux and the patient starts with 10-15 minute sessions per day and increases the sessions to 30-45 minutes per day. Light boxes range in cost from $200-$500 depending on the features of the unit. Most recently, some companies have developed new full-spectrum bulbs (with a blue light) that can be placed in lamps and are purchased at a fraction of the cost of traditional light boxes.
• Counseling- therapy that helps patients deal with issues of depression, coping
strategies, and mechanisms for dealing with issues in their lives
• Therapy combined with medication as needed
• Despite claims, there is no evidence to indicate that tanning beds (where the
eyes are generally covered) are useful in the treatment of SAD. Actually,
tanning beds are relatively high in UV rays, which can be harmful to the eyes
and the skin.

Surprising Research on our Happiness Levels

British and American researchers just released some new information about our happiness factor. 80 counties, and 2 million people were studied in this massive study and the results might be a little surprising to many of us.

What was discovered?
• People are most likely to become depressed in middle ages
• We are happiest at the beginning and end of our lives
• We tend to be the most depressed between 40-50 years of age.
• Peak time for depression is 44, and American men are most depressed at 50 and
American women at 40.
• Socio-economic status, marital status, nor number of children affected the
statistics worldwide

Why do people tend to be happier in their golden years?
• People learn to adapt to their strengths and weaknesses and are grateful for
what they have attained
• People who work at being happy have discovered their health and longevity
• Comparing their lives to those who have deceased, makes many happy for their
remaining years.

What can we do to increase our own personal happiness?
• Focus on the half full glass
• Practice gratitude on a daily basis (keep a list of positive things in your
• Create a list of things you still want to accomplish (a bucket list or wish
list), and experience the happiness as you achieve those goals.
• Embrace the love around you, and spend time with people who are your
cheerleaders and friends.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

Next week we celebrate Valentine's Day, but it is also National Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 11-17th). This holiday is celebrated around the world, and it expands the love and kindness to not only those we love, but also to strangers.

Who originated the concept of Random Acts of Kindness?
The origin is unknown.
o Some say it began with the Old Testament
o Others say it was something that was popularized by Oprah Winfrey when she
encouraged her audience to take part in random acts, as she popularized the
concept by paying for the toll of the person beyond her in line.
o Some say it was popularized by the media with the release of the Kevin Spacey
movie Pay It Forward. In this classic
movie a young boy is assigned a life-changing homework project. The boy decides
to change the world by performing 3 acts of kindness for three strangers, hoping
they will do the same to three other strangers, and continue to astronomical

What is the basis of these acts of kindness?
o The simple practice that allows one to give without receiving a material reward
o The act is impulsive and driven by inner compassion
o There is no repayment of the act, just the process of resurrecting the deed to
o Simply stated it is doing something kind for someone else

What are some simple suggestions for acts of kindness?
o Visit a sick friend or call a lonely person
o Share a smile and say hello to a stranger
o Put a quarter in someone's parking meter
o Leave a thank you note on the table of a kind waiter
o Pay for coffee for the person behind you in a drive through
o Clean your neighbors driveway or walk

Can Your Relationship Endure the Test of Time?

Relationship experts would 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 are seeing 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?
o good communication based in good listening and reflecting skills
o shared interests and hobbies
o mutual respect for each other without needing to change the other person
o ability to give and take-learning the skills of compromise & negiotation
o equality in the relationship which encourages individuality
o playfulness & humor

How do these partners create this type of enduring love?

o accept differences in each other
o maintain strength during adversity-work together when times are difficult
o provide nurturing, kindness and gentleness
o build togetherness
o 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?
o Make time for touching, hugs, and kisses
o Bring attention to “us” This means make the relationship the number one
priority in your life
o Give compliments to your partner. Try to say at least 5 positive things to your
partner each day
o Express appreciation & gratitude to your partner
o Have “meaningful” communication about things that matter. Talk about your
dreams, your purpose, and things that are of value to both of you.
o Say “I love you” and let your behaviors exhibit it!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Popularity... does it define our children?


High school can be the best of times, or the worst of times for many teens. Popularity or the lack of it can be a major issue for teens. Let's look at recent research and the current trends as it relates to teen popularity and the price teens may pay for their social acceptance.

What are some of the research findings related to popularity?
• Popular teens tend to be well adjusted and have heightened social skills
• Research shows that popular teens display increases in alcohol and substance abuse (risky behaviors are seen as cool). Popular teens are more likely to get into trouble for minor alcohol, drug and minor deviant behaviors vs non-popular teens
• Popular teens tend to be lower levels of hostility
• Popular teens are attuned to the norms of the group and can read what is allowable within the group.

There has been a recent study related to popularity and weight. What did they discover?
• Girls who believed they were unpopular gained more weight in a two year period than those who see themselves as popular
• Popular girls tend to gain typical (normal) weight during adolescence, while unpopular girls tend to gaining an average of twice that of popular girls.
• Weight gain is determined by where a girl views herself in the ladder of popularity… that is to say it is all based on her self-evaluation of her position within her peer group.

What are some tips for helping our teens with social acceptance and popularity?
• Reinforce our children’s unique talents. If teens learn to believe in their assets and talents their self esteem will soar
• Be a cheerleader for your child and remember the power of positive words in their life. Words hold an amazing power, especially related to teens and their self esteem and worth
• Help your teen find a group that fits them. Popularity is based on social acceptance and having friends who are there for you. Reinforce your teen’s need to find devoted friends who have similar interests and talents.
• Lead by example. Teach your child to embrace others, and let the lessons begin with you.

• Teach your child about diversity and celebrating everyone’s specialness

Friday, January 18, 2008

Be Self-Confident in 2008

Would you like to be more confident in 2008? Would you like to have your co-workers and friends see you as “together” and possessing the characteristics healthy self esteem? Here's some tips from those who are self-confident and possess the skills for enhancing your self esteem and confidence in your everyday life.

What is self confidence?

o It is something that is a combination of skills, and people are not born with confidence-it is something that is learned. It comes from practice and it is found in people who are self-directed, accept responsibility and believe in their own abilities.

What are some of the signs of self confidence?

o Admitting you are wrong
o Being flexible when change is needed
o Talking about your accomplishments
o Describing negative events in positive terms (ie.,we didn't make our goal, but
we learned many things from this project)
o Using a strong handshake, stand with good posture
o Making eye contact and smiling

What are skills for building self-confidence

1. Learn your strengths (know your talents, convictions, beliefs and then build on those strenghts)
2. Plan/ be prepared (confident people take the time and energy to look at consequences, options, do their homework, write out your responses so they are prepared for any situation)
3. Take action (be willing to take a risk, give it a go, to try and willing to trust that they will have the skills to handle any new situation)
4. Gain information (people who are confident have information to go on when making decisions. They tend to ask questions, listen, read, observe, and are willing to learn new skills)
5. Act the part (fake it until you make it, look and act powerful, be aware of nonverbals (smile, speak in a confident tone, talk neither too fast or too slowly, carry yourself with a good posture. ) Use words like “I know”
6. Rehearse (practice makes perfect-visualize success. Practice working through situations and role play difficult conversations or situations that might cause you concern. Write things out. Visualize success in your mind)
7. Remember it is said that success is 99% persistence and 1% talent!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Overcoming Shyness

Many people experience shyness at times in their lives, but some people experience intense avoidance or apprehension in social situation. Shyness can be a devastating anxiety disorder, but it can be effectively treated.

Is there a difference between being shy and being an introvert?
• Introverts prefer solitary activities but they do not fear social encounters
• Shyness relates to those who fear social situations and typically it
experienced by those who have low self-confidence and high apprehension

What are some of the causes of shyness?
• Shaming experiences or parental criticism
• Major moves from one school to another, or abrupt changes or disruptions in
family life
• Family neglect with little expressed warmth
• Hostile environments with public embarrassment (environments where bullying
or teasing is encouraged or reinforced).

What are some of the effects experienced by those who are shy?
• Canceling social events at the last moment
• Avoiding social interactions
• Few or no friends
• Low self-esteem, passive nature, and pessimism
• Excessive computer usage, but not social in nature

What can loved ones or friends do to help someone who is shy?
• Encourage them to talk about daily experiences and reinforce their
• Help them challenge their own negative thoughts—be their cheerleader
• Avoid any negative criticism and negative labels for performance
• Role play situations with them so they feel prepared to handle new
• Reinforce any type of social interaction or communication
• Encourage the person to seek professional assistance from a therapist who can
teach them skills to deal with their disorder

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Welcoming 2008

New Years resolutions are made by a great number of Americans, but research indicates very few people successfully complete their list of “to dos.”

What keeps people from accomplishing those New Years resolutions?
o Creating resolutions that are unrealistic related to time and task (losing 50 pounds in two months, or paying off all your debt in 45 days, etc)
o Making resolutions that are for someone else vs. yourself (stop smoking because someone else wants you to, deciding to quit drinking because of pressure from others, etc).

What are the most common new years resolutions?
o Losing weight is the number one resolution (55% of Americans say they are overweight)
o Spending more time with family
o Starting to an exercise or fitness program
o Quitting smoking or drinking

The key to accomplishing your New Year's resolutions is to focus on small steps and "keep it simple."

~Our hope is that your 2008 is filled with good health and happiness!~