Visit our homepage...

Learn more at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How a Bad Marriage Can Effect You

A March survey looked at how bad marriages affect the health of men and women. The study, which was done at the University of Utah, has some interesting findings.

A recent study reported that women have a different reaction to a “bad marriage” compared to men. Can you explain?

• Middle-age women have more health problems such as high blood pressure, excess belly fat, and factors that boost risk for diabetes and heart attack
• Toxic relationships affect your whole health
• Women in a bad relationship were twice as likely to be depressed than other

What did the study say about men in bad relationships?

• They experience depression but not at the level of women
• Men typically have emotional effects from a poor marriage, but not physical health concerns

What can couples do if they find themselves in a bad marriage?

• Increase your communication and try to discuss problem issues.
• Make sure you address emotional and physical symptoms as quickly as possible.
• Access marriage counseling as soon as things begin to hit problems
• Don’t wait until the marriage is at crisis level (by that I mean ready to look into legal separation or divorce)

Are Our Kids In Activity Overload?

Experts believe that we are pushing our children too hard by filling their every moment with activities. Many of our kids are going from soccer practice to music lessons, and then on to accelerated language classes. But, are we pushing them into activity overload?

What do experts say children need as it relates to playtime?
*The American Academy of Pediatrics states that what children need is more unstructured, good, old-fashioned playtime.
• Aids children with creativity
• Helps them discover their own passions and likes
• Helps children learn problem solving strategies
• Teaches them now to relate to other children/socialization skills
• Builds healthy development

How do we know if our children are experiencing activity overload?

• Physical symptoms such as stomach aches or headaches
• Child may be tired, restless or agitated
• Child may seem less interested in activities that were once important to them such as dance, piano, etc
• Grades may fall, or antisocial behaviors may appear such as lying, stealing, refusal to do chores
• Most importantly—children may experience BURNOUT if they don’t eat properly, get enough rest, and time to just “be a kid”

What are some important recommendations for parents?

• Are your children really enjoying what they are doing… watch to see if they are really happy vs. doing activities because they are meeting your expectations or as a means of impression management (to impress others—my child does this & that, etc)
• Narrow down extracurricular activities (what works for kids and parents). Create a manageable, reasonable schedule. Remember that kids need together time with parents for family dinners, family outings, etc.
• Make unstructured time a priority—unstructured does not mean unproductive
• Is this your expectation or something your child really wants to do? Remember the focus should be on your child’s healthy development.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

TV and Pregnancy... are they related?

A November article in Pediatrics Journal has some startling findings as it relates to watching TV and teen pregnancy. The headline in USA Today reads, “more tube time increases the likelihood” of unwanted pregnancies.

Can you tell us a little about the results of this study?

• The survey was conducted with 2000 teens and it found a direct link between sexual content on TV and the likelihood those teens that watched it would become pregnant.
• 23 popular shows were picked and teens were asked how much they view these shows which had everything from inferences of sex to full blown sexual intercourse on steamy cable shows.
• By age 16 teens who watched sexually charged sexual shows were twice as likely to be pregnant or father an out of wedlock baby that those who watched little television
• The statistics held true for those 16-20 with no effects due to income, race, and education.

How does this relate to previous studies?
• Previously studies linked watching sex on TV to earlier initiation of sexual behavior, but this was the first study as it related to pregnancy.
• Most teens watch 3 hours of TV a day, and the likelihood that they would be exposed to sexually charged TV is high.
• It’s not just one exposure, but also an accumulation in which teens might see this behavior as appropriate.
• Studies indicate that teens may believe sexual activity is the norm with few consequences implied in TV such as pregnancy or sexual transmitted diseases.

What can we do?
• Monitor the shows that are watched by our children and remember you are giving a message to your child if you allow them to watch sexually charged shows.
• Talk to your teens about sexually charged shows and discuss the reality of consequences for early sexual activity
• Be consistent about what we tell our children and what we condone in their own behaviors within our homes.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dr. Joy Has a New Segment

Thursdays at 12:40, Dr. Joy hosts her own segment interviewing women who empower, inspire and transform your life on WEEK-25. Watch guests such as Lori Russell Chapin, PhD, Joanne Glasser, Patricia Benessi, Yvonne Greer and more in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Pig Test-- try it just for fun!!!!

Can a drawing be a key to your personality?

Can a simple drawing be used to interpret something about your personality? Is it possible that a drawing can reveal valuable information, which helps you understand how you view yourself, others, and the world?

Many mental health practitioners use “Projective tests” as a framework for discussion of personality characteristics with clients. Drawings have the potential of predicting specific traits of the artist. Therapists look for commonly drawn elements as a means of predicting behaviors or beliefs. For instance, a sun in the sky may symbolize a strong connection with your father or mother, depending on which side the paper it is located. Flowers drawn near a house might indicate that the artist enjoys structuring their environment. In fact, a trained therapist and the person who draws the picture can use drawings as a means of discovering a wealth of information and as a forum for further discussion.

Want to try a small projective test for yourself? This is not a psychologically tested projective drawing, but a little fun drawing that might tell a little bit about you. Remember this is just for fun, not something that has a scientific basis. Here goes…take out a piece of clean paper and draw a pig. Yes, I said a pig. Don’t get caught up in the issue of being a perfectionist, just draw a pig…don’t worry…no one will see your drawing so you don’t have to be an award winning pig artist.

Now look at your picture and see if any of these things fit for you…

• If the pig is drawn toward the top of the paper you are an optimist.
• If the pig is toward the middle of the page, you are a realist
• If the pig is drawn toward the bottom of the page you are a pessimist

• If the pig’s face is facing left you are friendly and remember dates
• If the pig’s face is facing forward (Looking at you) you are direct and either fear nor avoid discussions
• If the pig’s face is facing right, you are innovative and active and have a strong sense of family

• Few details in your picture? You care little for details and are a risk-taker
• Four legs showing means you are secure, stubborn and stick to your ideals
• Missing some legs? You are insecure or living through a period of major change.
• The size of the ears says something about the quality of your listening skills. The bigger the ears, the better the listening skills.

Remember this is just a light-hearted look at projective drawings. Sometimes the characteristics fit, and other times they don’t. Hopefully, either way, your pig drawing brought a smile to your face. Now grab a friend and give them the unofficial pig test and then paste that pretty pig on your refrigerator for all to see! Or how about sharing your results with members of the blog and let us know if it was "right-on" for you

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Did you know that your emotional health mimics the economic ebbs and flows

As the economy declines, researchers are learning more about the spiraling effects it has on Americans. A recent March poll to discover how the economy is affecting our mental health, and some tips for anyone you know who may have just lost their job.

There was a huge Gallup Poll that came out in mid-March. What did researchers discover?

• Stress went up in the fall and winter of 2008 and is continuing at a high rate.
• Emotional health was directly correlated to the dips in the market.
• American’s moods are directly related to sensitive economic news.
• States with the lowest emotional health ratio are the ones hardest hit by the economic crisis such as Michigan, Louisiana, Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Kentucky.
• States with the highest emotional health ratios such as Hawaii, Alaska, and Wyoming (the places with open spaces and sunshine) tend to have less heart disease and less physical ailments.

Are there any other findings from the study?
• Americans from 30-55 are suffering most from the economy
• Hispanics are dramatically effected by the economy and their mental health is nose-diving
• Mental health services are harder to access for lower-income families

What are some things people can do for those who are suffering with economic crisis or loss of jobs?
• Be supportive and reach out to help.
• Reach out by being a cheerleader and help the person stay focused on the positives
• Help them brainstorm about options regarding jobs, budget, additional training, community resources
• Give them coupons for a night out to a movie, or coupons for a dinner, or maybe even a gift certificate for ice cream or a special treat.
• Call and email often. Research indicates that most people lose friends when they hit economic hardship—like the Beatles song… people discover “they can get by with a little help from your friends.”