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Sunday, December 4, 2011

10 tips to survive the holidays

1. Meaning: Find the meaning in the season and focus on the “real meaning of the holiday vs. the gifts, pressures and expectations

2. Give: The true meaning of the holidays is about giving—but not necessarily about giving of monetary worth or gifts, but about giving of yourself and your love to others

3.Forget perfection: Focus on the human side of the holiday vs. trying to be perfect and becoming overwhelmed and stressed

4. Become what you desire: If you want the holiday to be happy and joyful, then concentrate on the things that make you happy, the people who bring joy to your life, and avoid negatives and inner expectations

5. Be in the now: Focus on the moment…take time to be with those you love and focus on the moments you have with loved ones and times that are meaningful to you

What are 5 more tips to help us survive and thrive during the holiday season?

6.Connect: Reach out to those you love, and include connections with those who are in your thoughts but who might be far away

7. Be mindful of your limits. Be mindful of overspending, overdoing it, and overcommitting during the season

8. To things in moderation. Set limits and stick with them, but also remember that things don’t have to be black or white, and you can allow yourself the gift of not going to extremes

9. Be grateful. Focus on what you have versus what is missing in your life. The happiest people are those who focus on their blessings

10. Comfort yourself. The holiday season can be stressful, so don’t forget to make time for yourself to eat well, exercise, and do things that help you feel good about yourself.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Are you addicted to your phone?

Are you a habitual smartphone user? Tonight we will look at the new phenomenon that is taking hold of millions of phone users and you can decide if you are addicted and some steps to crush the behavior.

You say that many people have become habitual users of their smartphones. I understand you have a quick checklist to see if someone fits the criteria.

· Do you check your email more than is necessary. Be honest with yourself, are you checking a need or a want?

· Are you annoying people with always being on your smartphone? Have people made comments about your usage?

· Does the thought of not checking your smartphone create anxiety? Once again, be honest with yourself. Try to put your phone away for an hour and see what happens.

What creates our habitual need to always be checking our phone?

· Researchers suggest that we feel important when we get a text, email or other notifications. It builds our self esteem

· Researchers also suggest that our connection triggers something in our brain when we get email or a text and many times those things have a positive impact and make us feel wanted or needed

· Many people feel alone, isolated and checking emails, Facebook, twitter, makes them feel connected with the world and others.

· Checking has also become a fashionable way to isolate, avoid interacting and avoiding things we don’t want to do… it has become an insulator

· The brain connects with the positive feeling and then a pattern arises and we want to feel that positive rush again, and so we check habitually

What are some tips for those of us who just discovered we may be habitually in love with our smartphone?

· Acknowledge: The first step is always awareness so you can address the issue. Denial only further charges the habitual behaviors.

· Make free-zone times: Set times when you agree to not look at your smartphone. Perhaps that time will be during dinners or meal times with others, or perhaps after a certain time of the night.

· Establish free-zone places: Maybe that location will be the bedroom, the kitchen or perhaps on a vacation

· Evaluate: Be honest and determine what “purpose” the smartphone has for you and take small steps to minimize the behaviors and interact more face to face vs. through the phone

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are your kids strong willed?

Strong willed children

Do you have one of those strong willed children? We hate to call them stubborn, but you know who they are… whenever you say something they say the opposite. Tonight we’ll look at some creative methods to parent that just might lower the verbal intensity and have your kids adhere to some smart parenting.

This is a topic all parents seem to struggle with. Strong willed children always seem to be challenging for parents. What are some of the strategies you have to share with us?

· Dealing with stubborn children doesn’t have to be a constant fight.

· Use your “brains” and outsmart them.

· Kids who are strong willed want more control and the way to give it to them is to offer choices that fit your criteria for options.

Give us some examples of how we can create “smarter parenting”

· Chores- always a difficult challenge

o Play beat the clock. Make it a game… I bet you can’t clean up this area before the timer goes off. Stubborn kids love challenges and games. Keep a chart to win stickers towards a reward

o You wanna. Your child wants to do something and instead of saying, we can’t do that, try saying, “of course you can do that as soon as we get these toys put away.” The change in focus will make a dramatic difference

· Bedtime- kids always want to stay up later

o Offer the opportunity to stay up a little later, but help them get ready to actually fall asleep by offering them time to go to their room and do something quiet like reading or playing quietly. Tell them if they are quite read they can stay up a little longer

o Offer up the same option but tell them they can pick a book between x and y and you can read it together and stay up a little longer. This creates quiet time prior to bed and increases your connection

o Strong willed kids see this as a win if you present it in that fashion

· Choosing clothes

o Your child never likes what you pick out so let them choose their own clothes—but wait, if you don’t like their choices, then narrow down the choices in the closet.

o Rotate the clothes every couple of weeks so they have new options

o Give them a choice between two or three outfits and let them choose what they want to wear for the next day

o Perhaps they don’t want to wear a coat to school—try putting them in the car that’s cold and when they ask you to turn up the heat or they are complaining about being cold, then take out a jacket you have hidden in the trunk. Let them face their consequences

Stubborn kids need to feel more control and have options, and a smart parent can still have their way by outsmarting their child and still do positive parenting.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Can a move effect your mental health?

Summer is here, and it is the time that many families are in transition moving to a new house, a location within the city, or move to another part of the country. While moving may seem like a positive change, it is one of the most stressful experiences a family can face.

What are some of the common effects that children have related to moving?

1. drop in grades

2. irritability

3. sleep disturbances

4. withdrawal

5. depression

6. anger and resentment

You say that moving is a stressful event for the family, explain some of the stressors.

1. interrupts relationships with friends

2. creates the potential for more dependent relationships with other family members

3. creates potential conflicts with teens who resent moving from peers

4. has the possibility of creating separation anxiety and abandonment fears in pre-schoolers

What are some tips to smooth out that transition within your family…

1. Discuss why the move is necessary

2. Look at advantages for moving

3. Familiarize yourself with the new area

4. Get involved in the new community

5. Consider letting older high schools finish their school year by staying with a friend or relative

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who needs sleep?

The lost art of sleep

What do Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci have in common? Historians tell us they all might have had a disorder that you’d never guess… they were “short sleepers.” Tonight we’ll look at this interesting condition for a small portion of our population who appear to not require sleep.

Before we talk about short sleepers, tell us a little about the current information on sleeping requirements.

· Despite the fact that we’d like it to be different, adults function best with 7-9 hours of sleep

· 1/3 of all Americans are sleep deprived & most people do NOT have an accurate gauge of their impairment from loss of sleep

· Those who only get 4-6 hours of sleep per night become impaired and unable to perform simple tasks needed for reading & comprehending a paragraph, driving a car, performing computer tasks

· With each additional day of getting only 4-6 hours of sleep we become more impaired causing some of us to nod off at our desks, increasing loss of memory and concentration

But what about this group of people called short sleepers. What’s different about them?

· Short sleepers consist of about 1-3% of our population and are believed to have a genetic variation that causes the change

· Short sleepers tend to be upbeat, positive, high metabolism, thinner than average, and have a high tolerance for pain

· Do well with less than 6 hours of sleep and don’t get tired during the day

· These individuals tend to be energetic, outgoing, positive and high acheivers with an ability to be resilient

· Short sleepers tend to be multitaskers who talk fast and tend to never stop.

For those of us who aren’t short sleepers, what are some suggestions to help us get a better night’s sleep to increase our efficiency and well-being?

· Researchers suggest: cool or cold room

· Dark room with little noise

· Going to bed at the same time each night

· Having a routine to mentally and physically calm down prior to sleep time.