Archive for January, 2010
Tags: alcohol problem, alcoholics, alcoholism, anorexia and alcohol, eating disorder, women and alcohol
Tags: caffeine and mood, food and mood, mood and diet, nutrician and mood, sugar and mood
At the same time the prevalence of mood disturbances seems to be evident in the waiting rooms of many psychotherapists.
What might be the connection between these two personal challenges? We know that when someone is experiencing stress, at the very time when physical and psychological reserves may be at their lowest, she or he is more likely to engage in one or more of the following:
Eating mostly fast food
Excessive drinking of alcohol and caffeine
The following suggestions may seem obvious, yet if you take a serious inventory you might find that you are depriving yourself of the balanced nutrition you need to maintain a more regulated mood, and a more comfortable relationship to food.
Eat a number of smaller meals during the day and early evening, and in response to hunger rather than the clock.
Refrain – especially at night – from eating foods made of simple sugars like corn syrup. Soft drinks, cake, cookies, donuts and pies cause first a rapid increase then a precipitous fall in blood glucose, making it difficult for your body to self-regulate.
Decrease or eliminate alcohol consumption. Alcoholic drinks are high in calories but have almost no nutritional value, contribute depressed moods, sleep difficulties, increased anxiety, the problematic reduction of inhibitions and even bladder incontinence.
Ensure that your diet is varied, and that you include more vegetables, fruits and grains than meat.
These simple suggestions will help to change your relationship to food and nutrition and start you on a path toward improved physical and psychological health.
For more specific suggestions consult a food and nutrition specialist such as a dietician.
Tags: hook ups, hookding up, intimacy, rlationships
Now they ask: “Hook up?”
The resurgence of sex devoid of emotional attachment has surprised and even shocked many grown up children of the 60s. As they watch their own children and other younger people embrace a lifestyle that they thought had disappeared in the age of HIV/AIDS, some clients are having trouble reconciling their own youthful attitude with the current surge in recreational sexual behavior.
For some of my younger clients however, those who fall within the “hook-up” demographic, things at first glance are not so different from how they were five decades ago. It’s all about just having some fun without “stressing” over who belongs to whom. Interestingly, many of my female clients between the ages of 18 and 28 quickly and easily endorse their hook-up preference and history, and often lament the complications when some of the more “clingy” boys want to make them their girlfriend. “Boring!” they say.
Yet, as we talk over the weeks of slow un-winding and gradual illumination, it often emerges that their perspective is more reactive than thoughtful. The boys, they say, end up just using you anyway, so why not use them first? If they could, they say, they would have a nice, sustained and mutually supportive relationship.
We live in a complex world where constant multi-media communication tinted by emotional detachment is practiced by everyone, including our politicians and celebrities; where poly-amorous relationships are triumphantly splashed across the pages of popular social magazines; where 50% of marriages end in divorce, and where relationships of all kinds and descriptions are more and more acceptable to the general public. Learning how to establish and maintain intimacy with another person must compete with the tweets, blogs, text messages, e/mail, voicemail, and other such trends that impart information without emotional attachment; and so far, while holding its own, “authentic intimacy” is definitely in a struggle for legitimacy. “Boring”, they say.
I don’t believe there needs to be a litmus-test type template for what a relationship looks like, or for how one person creates and holds relationships in their life. There’s room for all kinds of relationships, assuming mutual consent and reasonable contentment. I DO believe the choice should be informed, thoughtful and a source of joy rather than being uninformed, thoughtless and a source of regret and remorse.
If you’re feeling bored – lost in a sea of hook ups in the arms of strangers, perhaps it’s time to consider making some changes. Call and make an appointment with a qualified therapist today. You can build a life of intentional commitment – and find more excitement than you imagine.
Tags: diversity, MLK, multicultural, race, racism
But that may not be the “good thing” you think it is.
When you declare that you don’t “see” color what you may be saying is that your own color – your race and culture – are at the center of the society and that you are willing to “not see” that others are different and that they may not enjoy all of the same invisible privilege you have – the privilege you also don’t see.
Try instead to open your eyes and open your heart to see the wonderous diversity of your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Try to see that we all have strengths and frailties, and some of these are given to us by our birth status – being born of a certain gender, ethnicity, physical capability or nationality. How different to be born and living in the slums of Haiti than to be born and living in a cosmopolitan city in the USA.
Learn to be comfortable with difference, and enrich your life with a full palette of color and culture, recognition, and understanding. Work at it everyday in both small and large ways.
As Bob Marley said, while he dedicated his life to inoculating people against hate through the use of love and music: “The people who are trying to make the world worse do not take a day off. Why should I?”
I was at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.
Keep the dream alive. Happy Birthday Dr. King.
Tags: dating, meeting people, new relationships, Relationships
How do you get to know about someone relatively quickly? It’s not always easy to meet new friends or new romantic partners, and when you do you may be uncertain of what questions will give you a glimpse into the person’s values and beliefs.
In a previous post ["Getting To Know You; Getting To Know All About You" - posted on 8/28/09] I offered some questions that were suggested by clients and by colleague Jamie Showkeir at Henning and Showkeir Associates (www.henning-showkier.com).
Recently two more questions were posed by clients during sessions that focused on the issue on on-line dating, and how to find out about prospective dates. Here then are two additional suggestions. If you are interested in the full list of questions, please see the noted post for the original list.
Q: If you had to lose most of your physical senses, which two would you keep and why?
Q: If you had to be a particular book, which book would you choose? This question of course was inspired by the story Fahrenheit 451.
If you have any illuminating questions to contribute, please reply to this post with your suggestions.
Tags: alcohol problem, alcoholic, alcoholics, alcoholism, test for alcoholism
Have you resolved to reduce your drinking?
Many people have a holiday season filled with a little (or a lot) too much alcohol. Perhaps there was a round of parties, each more “wet” than the next. Or maybe it was a quiet holiday season, with time at home – maybe with just a few family or friends – and plenty of time to sip your way through the week.
But it’s happened before, and each time you ask yourself if it’s time to seriously cut back.
Here’s a quick and easy screening test to see if you may have a problem with alcohol.
The T-ACE Test is composed of only 4 questions, but has proved useful in diagnosing alcohol problems in both men and women.
T - Does it TAKE more than 3 drinks to make you feel high?
A - Have you ever been ANNOYED by people’s criticism of your drinking?
C - Are you trying to CUT DOWN on drinking?
E - Have you ever used alcohol as an EYE OPENER in the morning?
A “yes” answer to any two of these four questions is an indication of possible alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence.
** Remember: as with all screening tests, a more in-depth evaluation is needed if there is an indication you may have a problem. If you answered even one question with a “yes” it may be time for you to consider talking to a professional therapist about what’s going on in your life and to get support in deciding whether you need more focused help with reducing or eliminating your alcohol use.
Tags: breaking up, broken heart, former lover, lost love
… and what did it all mean?”
This is the question that began each of our first 3 sessions. She seemed endlessly sad and hopelessly confused. She told me that he seemed to want to be with her, and that she always had so much fun when they were together. He listened to her talk for hours, sometimes joining with his own reminisces and other times just holding her closely while she “chattered” about this and that – basking in the acceptance she felt in his arm and the desire she saw in his eyes. Still… sometimes he didn’t act in the ways she wanted, and did not call her for days. “What did it all mean?” she wanted to know.
As the sessions progressed, we discovered more about her long-held interpretations of loving behavior, and how her’s might have been different from his. We talked about how some people feel loved only when they receive the kind of affection that they themselves would offer to someone – the love we give being the kind of love we know best. We talked about what he might be feeling when she acted angrily or she pouted for reasons he could not understand. And we finally found that she needed more attention and affirmation than she had realized, and perhaps more than he was capable of giving… or even perhaps more than was possible for anyone to give consistently.
My client was not unlike some other people, in that she loved deeply and desired passionately, but lacked true understanding of and empathy for her lover. She essentially wanted someone who lived and loved just like her, and was continually disappointed when her partners had not been able – or willing - to “become her.” She began to see that she had been too quick to take offense, too often assumed the worst, and reacted with flashes of volatile and punishing anger that she herself would not have tolerated. And then finally she understood why: she was afraid. Afraid not only that he didn’t really love her, but that perhaps she was not worthy of loving. She began to reveal some of the things she’d said and done to make him feel the fear and pain she sometimes felt. Most of her insults were mild. A few were definitely very vindictive and probably incredibly hurtful to her lover. It seemed that she hadn’t really ever considered how very hurtful she’d been.
Before too long, she decided that she and her lover had been right for each other, but had not been able to “capture” their love. There had been complications and entanglements to deal with, and she admitted that they hadn’t dealt with these very effectively.
She was still a little sad as we finished therapy, but now for reasons she felt were the better ones, and with a more realistic perspective about her future.
If you’re wondering “What did it all mean?” about something in your life, perhaps it’s time to explore the issue with a qualified therapist. Call today, and begin asking questions likely to bring you an understanding of how to shape a more rewarding future.
Color inside the lines. Live inside the conventions.
We’ve all heard some version of the admonitions to move toward the center and restrict our drift toward the edges of experience. More and more however the value of adding a pinch of spice and a portion of daring into ones life is becoming apparent. People of all ages and persuasions are upending their previously 100% conventional life styles to enjoy some amount “safe and sane” adventure that they may have previously avoided. And most people are thoroughly enjoying it.
What is “safe and sane” for your lifestyle may vary greatly from person to person. The basic elements however are:
An activity outside of your routine that you’ve been curious about or interested in but haven’t “gotten around” to.
Something that you would feel OK telling a few close friends about.
Something that does NOT cause physical or emotional pain to yourself or others.
Something that if everyone knew about it might cause a little flurry of surprise or even mild disapproval, but would not cause feelings of hurtful rejection, enduring regret or unforgettable scandal.
This movement toward self-expression and embracing the “slightly wild” nature in all of us has led to such phenomena as the increase in tattoos among otherwise conventional people, the increase in more risky sports such as surfing and mountain biking, the increased popularity of books and movies depicting such things as vampire culture, and the success of businesses that sell sex toys. What ever your preference and interest, perhaps it’s time to indulge – thoughtfully. What might “razz your berries” ? Adventure travel or Eco-travel to an exotic land? Go-Kart racing? Kayaking in Tomales Bay? Or perhaps something more mentally than physically challenging? Take a class in PhotoShop, or take a beginning class in a new language. There are as many choices as there are individuals.
Just remember to consider the impact you might have on others, and take care to leave behind only heart-thumping, delicious day-dreams, and not nightmares!
Tags: change, Happy New Year, New Year's resolutions, resolutions, the Golden Rule
The New Year celebration, with all of its overt and covert anticipation and promise, often inspires us to make resolutions to change something in our lives. Usually worthwhile and occasionally even lofty, these resolutions later can become a source of disappointment and guilt when the “follow-through” is not as enthusiastic as the moment of passionate determination when the resolution is made. Yet the idea of making resolutions for personal change on New Year’s Eve persists as a social/cultural phenomenon. We all want to grow, improve, do better and be better than we were.
I have a different idea. What about resolving to do something simple, yet difficult, requiring no special equipment, no financial investment, and no special talents? We may not be consistently successful in achieving this resolution, but we, as well as everyone around us, will benefit. It may not seem the most unique of resolutions, especially if we all take on to try it. It may not bring immediate or tangible differences by the end of the week, and can’t be easily measured. Yet, I cannot think of anything that would so change our world, and create the potential for better health, more happiness and all-around peace of mind and spirit as would this:
What if we all resolve to follow the Golden Rule?
(If by chance you don’t know what it is… ask the next few people you talk to. Perhaps the conversations will begin your journey toward real and lasting change we can believe in.)
And Happy New Year.