Holiday Stress — Changing the Experience: Part 2

In the last blog, I talked about how unmet expectations for the holidays are set-ups for being disappointed. Then, there was a suggestion about changing expectations.

One reader asked me, “Why should I have to change my expectations? Why can’t my family be more respectful? Why do they argue about everything?”

These are great questions, and one we all can easily relate to. Why, indeed?

Another way to describe what happens is that we get “triggered”.

What does that actually mean?

When we get triggered, we can immediately respond in the ways that we have repeated many times before. In fact, the animal part of our brain creates the fight or flight response and we are prone to follow it.

It’s like the behavior from someone else can “make” us behave a certain way, with our brain pathways aiding and abetting our reactive behavior. We have then reacted in a familiar way, but not necessarily the way that we want to act.

Continue reading “Holiday Stress — Changing the Experience: Part 2”

Holiday Stress — Changing the Experience

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the holidays are in full swing.

Let’s not forget the meaning that Thanksgiving had for our families. It likely had something to do with gratitude—what you are thankful for. The tradition that many families or friend groups have includes each person saying something that they are grateful for.

For many of us, this can be a moment that we quickly forget after Thanksgiving, and go on with our usual lives and ways of being in the world. We can do better!

Remember Thanksgiving Gratitude

This is an invitation to look again at what you are grateful for and to keep it top of mind, now and throughout the holidays (and maybe throughout the coming year!). Brain science has proven that when we think about what we’re grateful for, then our brains start focusing on gratitude rather than stress, judgment or criticism. Yes, we can actually change what our brain is focusing on and that can make us happier. And that’s goodness!

Continue reading “Holiday Stress — Changing the Experience”

The Life-Affirming Beauty of New Perspectives

I recently had the huge honor of spending three days at a small and intimate event with the Irish poet and philosopher, David Whyte. True to the Irish tradition of giving voice to the full range of human emotions in poetry and thought, he brought us more deeply into ourselves. To the place where sadness, longing and loss reside alongside love, joy and hope.

David’s thoughts and poetry reached me in exactly the place that I needed to be reached.

Recently, my beloved son moved out of my home and into the home that he has created with his fiancé. I am thrilled for them and love how they love each other.

But, back home, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my last child has left and is building a life where his “home” is not with me. I have needed to come to terms with the aloneness that this creates, and how I need to reshape my life now. This is my current story and one that I have been trying to avoid thinking about.

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3 Secrets to Relationship Happiness after the Birth of a Baby

Some of my friends have asked me, “How can you suggest that the birth of a baby can cause some marital problems? You might have guessed– those friends don’t have children!

I completely agree that having a baby is a joyous thing. I personally adore my children and am joyful every day that they were born and also that they have grown into amazing adults. Continue reading “3 Secrets to Relationship Happiness after the Birth of a Baby”

3 Warning Signs… [see below]

3 Warning Signs That You are Drifting Apart and How to Stop It!

These three warning signs are ones that many of the couples I have worked with, over the years, have brought up as concerns and topics they fight about.

The main point of all three is that connection, that crucial part of any love relationship, is impaired if these topics aren’t brought up and resolved.

There may not even be a disagreement, but even if there is, ignoring the issues is not the answer. In a successful relationship, these issues are brought into the light of day and figured out together.

Warning Sign #1: At home, you spend more time with your electronic devices than you do with your partner.

Warning Sign #2: You don’t know what your partner worries about.

Warning Sign #3: You spend more time at work or with friends than you spend with your partner.

Continue reading “3 Warning Signs… [see below]”