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Here are some warning signs you should know about:
By Marilyn J. Kile, Wellness Coordinator
It's that time of year again; too much to do and not enough time to do it all! Final papers, final projects, final exams, cookies, cake, candy, latkes, eggnog, party punch, sitting around, family tension, overspending, unrealistic expectations, disappointment...
Here are some tips to help make December a healthy and joyful time.
STUDYING FOR FINALS
Avoid or limit alcohol consumption so you can really enjoy your holiday events, not black them out or experience them through a fog.
HONESTY, TRUST, RESPECT, COMMUNICATION AND TIME are the five ingredients necessary to defining and building intimacy. Each of these essential pieces has its own relevance and importance but together they form a solid foundation for building a relationship.
Whether we are talking about being honest with someone we are dating, or with ourselves, it is sometimes very difficult. We tend to always want to put ourselves in the best light.
Sometimes we aren't honest because we don't want to hurt someone else's feelings or cause conflict. Gentle honesty, as compared to brutal honesty, is an important life skill to learn. Avoiding the truth of a feeling or situation can often result in pain and bad feelings down the road. It has always been true that a good friend is the one who will tell you that your zipper is down, or you have something in your teeth. The same is true about other things that may hurt, but need to be said.
People who are deceitful, manipulative, and dishonest are often incapable of creating intimacy. You can't create an intimate relationship with someone who is only an illusion. We can only become intimate with another person's authentic self and others can only become intimate with our authentic selves.
Consistency, dependability, and stability are the building blocks of a trusting relationship. Promises broken, appointments missed, birthdays and anniversaries forgotten all tell someone about the relevance and value people place on the relationship. Trusting someone is a belief that you can count on them, that they will do what they said they would do. Trust cannot be compromised by work, alcohol, or a busy schedule.
Betrayal of one's confidences is a sure fire way to put distance in a relationship. Trust means you know the other person will not purposefully hurt you in any way. You can assume they will safeguard your welfare to the best of their ability.
When we mention the phrase "I was just making sure of you," it may take awhile to understand the depth of this statement. But if we look closer, we can uncover a deep truth. We go through our lives in a constant state of chaos and change. When we make sure of something, we ask for a commitment, we recheck our landmarks, we hold on to what is stable. Trust is the barometer by which we measure the level of confidence we have in our relationships.
Culturally, respect can be measured in many ways. Someone who is thoughtful, who has manners, who is polite is exhibiting signs of respect. We have done much work lately as a society empowering people to demand respect for themselves, to understand that their own self-esteem is built on how they are treated by others. However, so much energy has been focused "what I deserve" that we have forgotten about "what others deserve." In order to be truly intimate we must value the other person as much, not more or less, than we value ourselves.
A balance of the basics are needed. A healthy understanding of the values that make others important and understanding of what we all deserve as people are key. We should all live free of fear, free of aggression and violence, free from intimidation and free of oppression. These freedoms are by no means easy for us to achieve, but in our daily lives, the way we treat and respond to others does affect our sense of self worth.
Respect reflects the value, validation, and worth of another person. It is an essential ingredient to developing intimate relationships.
Communication is critical to the three ingredients already discussed. It is how we show our honesty, trust, and respect in a relationship. Listening to others and following through with reasonable needs and requests is a simple step in relating and communicating. The willingness, compromise, and sacrifice needed to listen however, can take years to develop.
In many books dedicated to relationships and couples, a simple technique is taught. A couple will sit face to face in two chairs. One person will make a statement. The other person will repeat that statement back with no edits, arguments, additions or deletions. This exercise focuses all the energy on listening to what is being said. This simple exercise helps break through obstacles-- like feeling threatened, defensive, aggressive, or passive--that can keep us from really hearing what our friends and partners are asking of us. The ability to ask and receive clear communicated messages can only make us feel closer and help us relate. The effort put into our communication relays a message: you are important enough to be listened to and you have a voice in this relationship.
One way we communicate our value for others is by the time we spend with them in activities. Nothing is more important in the creation and survival of healthy relationships than the time needed to develop honesty, trust, respect, and good communication.
Our schedules and our lives have gotten so chaotic and "time specific" that we are actually "out of time" most of the time. Time is rarely seen as an ingredient to a healthy relationship, but without it we can not develop the other parts of our lives that make us whole, caring, and intimate people.
If you took a piece of paper and made a schedule of the amount of time you spend actively working on developing your relationships, you would be astounded to perhaps find that the most lasting part of our lives, our relationships, gets less time a month than brushing our teeth!
Spending time, making time, quality time, whatever you want to call it, the value of sharing space with people you care about can never be underestimated.
Bad things happen to good people.
How well we recover from these setbacks depends on many factors. Here are a few you can consider to enhance resilience:
Authenticity: People who are the same on the inside as they are on the outside cope with hard times better than those who put up a front. Know your true self and express real feelings to family, friends, coworkers.
Responsibility: Willingness to be accountable for what you can control - that is, owning the problem - is the first step toward taking positive action to manage it. Try to take control, even in small ways, to build coping skills.
Flexibility: Those who bounce back can accept that change is inevitable and don't fight it. They're not afraid of it, but more often see it as opportunity. Embrace change as part of the normal pattern of live and adapt to it in a way that makes things better, not more difficult.
Responsiveness: Open-minded, aware individuals who study their environment and react positively to new ideas have more resilience than those who sit back and let the world happen to them. Adopt a life-long learning attitude as a way to more easily adjust to life's curve balls.
Faith: Not necessarily religious faith, but a belief in yourself, others, and the potential for good are traits in people who recover more easily. Whatever your convictions, foster commitment to them.
Risk Tolerance: Resilient individuals aren't afraid to take steps in a new direction. Seek support from friends and family to strike out on a new path.
Purpose: A belief in something beyond yourself - religion, nature, humanity - is another common characteristic. Allow time for thoughtful reflection and discussion of ideas around life purpose.
For more ideas read "The Art of Resilience: 100 Paths to Wisdom and Strength in an Uncertain World" by Carol Orsborn
WHAT IS ASSERTIVENESS?
Expressing your feelings, thoughts, and needs without threatening others.
WHAT IS NON-ASSERTIVENESS?
Putting others first at your expense.
WHAT IS AGGRESSION?
Putting yourself first at the expense of others.
WHAT IS PASSIVE-AGGRESSION?
Pretending to put others first with dishonest communication and not respecting yourself enough to be honest about how you feel.
DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE?
Start with new communication skills.
WHAT YOU SAY
HOW YOU SAY IT
WHERE AND WHEN TO SAY IT
FOUR POINTS THAT CAN HELP YOU BECOME MORE ASSERTIVE
REMEMBER, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO-
by Marilyn J. Kile, LCSW - Wellness Coordinator
Most college students say they feel "down " or "blue " every once in awhile, but people suffering from clinical depression have a body and mind illness that affects the way they eat, sleep and feel about themselves and the world. Most people grieve over experiences of loss and disappointment and gradually the grief becomes less. Those with clinical depression feel badly for weeks, months and sometimes years. They may not even know why they feel so sad and tired. They can not simply "get over it".
One out of every five adults may experience a depression at some point in their lives. Twice as many women as men suffer from depression, however men are more likely to die from suicide. The highest rates of depression are in 24-44 years olds. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people 15-25 years old. One of the best strategies for the prevention of suicide is the early recognition and treatment of depression.
The most common symptoms of depression are:
The good news is that depression is highly treatable. Between 80 and 90% of all depressed people respond to treatment. Counseling can help people identify and cope with the factors that contribute to their depression in an atmosphere of acceptance and support. There are many helpful techniques including challenging negative though patterns, developing a positive self image, changing behaviors or life situations that are contributing to the problem, and developing an optimistic and accepting attitude. Treatment may also include medication, exercise, nutritional changes and changes in the use of alcohol, other drugs or even certain prescription medications.
Facing a very difficult situation or time in your life? Treat yourself with compassion.
New research shows that when you treat yourself kindly in the face of failure, rejection, defeat, or other negative event, you may be able to cope and feel better.
Although Western society has emphasized the importance of high self-esteem, having self-compassion may be more important in dealing with negative life events according to researcher and Wake Forest University psychologist Mark Leary, PhD.
"Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness you would show a friend whether you feel good about yourself or not," said Leary. "Self-esteem is simply feeling good about yourself."
In his research, Leary found that those with higher self-compassion were more likely to think "Everybody goofs up now and then" and less likely to think "I am such a loser" or "I wish I could die" in response to a distressing situation.
Source: News release Aug. 22, 2005, Wake Forest University
By Brandy Proctor, NWI Intern
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. ~E.E. Cummings
Laugh. Give it a try; see how you feel. When you think of humor and health, Patch Adams, MD, is probably one of the first names that come to mind. He is notorious for using humor to relate to his patients and raise their spirits. But you don't need a doctor to tell you that laughter helps people feel better. Next time you're having a bad day, open a joke book or watch your favorite comedian and see how it affects your mood. Some physical and social benefits of laughter include: increased immune function, pain tolerance, lower blood pressure, muscle relaxation, stronger relationships, enhanced teamwork, and longevity. Laughter has also been shown to cause hormonal changes that lower one's stress level and increase the feel-good chemicals in the body. Laughter is the cheapest form of medicine and one that can never be over-prescribed.
The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH) has made it their mission to, "practice and promote healthy humor and laughter." The official definition of therapeutic humor is, "any intervention that promotes health and wellness by stimulating a playful discovery, expression, or appreciation of the absurdity or incongruity of life's situations. This intervention may enhance health or be used as a complementary treatment of illness to facilitate healing or coping, whether physical, emotional, cognitive, social, or spiritual." Note that humor affects not just one dimension of health, but five. For more information about AATH visit www.aath.org. Other organizations that focus on laughter as medicine include, The Humor Collection (www.thehumorcollection.org) and, Comedy Cures! (www.comedycures.org).
Don't let the stressful tax season wear you down. Doctors orders, you need to laugh more! Uncle Albert from the Disney classic, Mary Poppins, sang it best, "The more I laugh, the more I fill with glee. And the more the glee, the more I'm a merrier me." Remember, laughter is contagious so use it in any setting to make yourself and the people around you perk up. Let's start right now... There are two muffins in the oven. One says "Man! It's burning up in here!" The other one says "Hey look! A talking Muffin!"
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