Articles of Interest

Top Ten Ways to Start (and Maintain) a Good New Year
The best way to have a good year is by living life on a daily basis, letting the good days accumulate, one by one. And it doesn’t have to be New Year’s to resolve to have a good year. Start anytime. Today, for instance.
Treating and Living with Anxiety
Anxiety is treatable. People are helped by a treatment plan developed in partnership with health care providers which includes therapy, medication, support from others who understand.
10 Fears That Keep Us From What We Want
Fear often stands between us and our ability to make decisions, take actions, ask for what we want-even to know what we really want. It is the gatekeeper of our comfort zone. But as poet-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear." Below are 10 fears that commonly get in our way.
What It REALLY Means When You Keep Secrets From Your Partner
Yes, even small secrets can tear happy relationships apart
Have you ever noticed how, the longer you let time pass without telling your partner how you honestly feel, the larger the disconnect grows between you? Meanwhile, your partner may have no idea you're quietly hiding hurt or annoyed feelings which are now morphing into resentment.
10 Fears That Ruin Relationships
Author's content used under license, © Claire Communications

Loving someone is risky business, so it’s natural that fear is present in relationships. But when fear operates in our life in a way that hurts us or hurts others—through aggression or withdrawal—it becomes a problem. Recognizing these fears and how they affect our life can help us make the necessary changes to get the love we want.

10 Ways that Actions say I Love You
The saying, “Words are cheap, action speaks,” is never more true than when applied to “I love you.” Whether spoken to a romantic partner, your children or other family members, if the actions aren’t there to back up the loving words, it all means nothing. Below are 10 of the best ways to say “I love you” through your actions. But there are thousands more. See how creative you can get in coming up with your own ideas.
Top 10 Barriers to Connection
When friends, family or acquaintances present you with a problem, it’s easy to lapse into behaviors that, although well-meaning, serve to block you from hearing the other person’s experience. You’d be better off following the words of this inside-out saying: “Don’t just do something; stand there.”
Here are ten things you should try not to do:
Tending Your Marriage After the Kids Arrive
Starting a family is exciting. However, no one is prepared for all the changes that come with adding children into the mix. Your relationship is going to be tested as you figure out what “normal” means now. It can seem impossible to invest attention and energy into your marriage. However, with just a bit of effort, the two of you can become even closer.
But for many people, “critic” is much too mild a word. The voice they hear is relentless, a vicious screaming that cripples and controls. They might call their voice the “Self-Hater” or the “Killer Critic.”...
Summer Vacations and Families-What To Do With All That Togetherness
Summer vacations with the family can be the best of times or the worst of times. Interminable plane trips, boring hotel rooms, exhausting hours together in the car, funky cabins on muddy lakes and six straight days of rain-family vacations can be difficult enough for adults, but for children they can be downright awful!
But for many people, “critic” is much too mild a word. The voice they hear is relentless, a vicious screaming that cripples and controls. They might call their voice the “Self-Hater” or the “Killer Critic.”...
Top Ten Ways To Lower Stress
From the ongoing, regular stress that comes from living in our high-impact culture to specific life events that knock us for a loop, the impact of stress accumulates. Recognizing our stress "hot spots" is a critical first step to reducing stress. The following are daily ways to help you maintain balance or get back to well-being following a particularly stressful period.
But for many people, “critic” is much too mild a word. The voice they hear is relentless, a vicious screaming that cripples and controls. They might call their voice the “Self-Hater” or the “Killer Critic.”...

Do Your Quirks Rise To The Level Of This Disorder?
Mary felt like a prisoner to her fear of burning her house down. Despite having never left the stove on, Mary was convinced that if she left the house without checking the stove three times, her house would catch fire. If she left the house and forgot to check, or couldn't remember if she had, she would turn the car around and come back. One day, Mary had had enough. She just stopped going back, telling herself, "Well, I guess the house is going to burn down then. I'm not turning back." At first she was terrified, convinced her house wouldn't survive, but after a couple of times of confronting her fear, she now feels free of it.
But for many people, “critic” is much too mild a word. The voice they hear is relentless, a vicious screaming that cripples and controls. They might call their voice the “Self-Hater” or the “Killer Critic.”...
Healing the Roots of Self-Hatred

Where Does the Critic or Self-Hater Come From?
The Critic is a common and unfortunate constant in our inner lives. This internalized voice assumes the tone and language of our mother, father, religion and/or society. After every step forward there it is, doubting or damning our choice.
But for many people, “critic” is much too mild a word. The voice they hear is relentless, a vicious screaming that cripples and controls. They might call their voice the “Self-Hater” or the “Killer Critic.”...
Holiday Drinking

When the Party’s Over but the Drinking Isn’t
The holidays are a time of More. More parties, more social gatherings, more celebrations. And more drinking. Many of the usual drinking rules are relaxed during the holiday season. Drinking in the daytime for example, and drinking at the workplace where office parties often add alcohol to the mix. More drinking and driving occurs during the holidays than at any other time of the year. And sometimes people who don’t normally drink much may indulge in more than they intended and trouble follows.

It’s not true that increased drinking causes alcoholism—alcoholism is a disease with many “causes.” Just because someone drinks more frequently, or consumes more alcohol than they usually do, doesn’t mean he or she has become an alcoholic. But there are warning signs that drinking may be a problem...
Are You as 'Good as Your Word?'
"Like litter on the side of the highway, most unhappy relationships are strewn with broken agreements in all shapes and forms," said Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D., author of A Home for the Heart. From canceling dates at the last minute to “forgetting” to do something we said we would do, broken agreements cause an erosion of trust, the basic foundation of any relationship.

Giving our word and standing by it and being steadfast and reliable in our affairs are measures by which we judge commitment and integrity. For this reason, agreements—both spoken and implied—should be given thoughtful and careful attention.
Top 10 Self-Help Mobile Apps
Use of technology to enhance well-being is on the upswing. These new apps can be helpful, but please see a therapist for serious emotional / mental health issues.

1. Gratitude Journal
Forgetting gratitude? This app offers daily reminders and iCloud syncing. Add photos, share what you’re grateful for.

2. The Habit Factor
Yes, an app for breaking annoying habits. Set goals, create new positive behaviors, track your success.

3. iZen Garden 2
A virtual zen garden in your palm—the tranquility that comes from being in a real one, without the messy sand!
How to Interrupt Negative Patterns
When unfavorable situations, actions and emotional conflicts happen again and again in your life—same scene, different characters—there’s a good chance you are in the presence of a negative “pattern.”

Some examples: picking the wrong lovers/partners, constant conflict with co-workers, chronic debting, people-pleasing.

At best, these negative patterns cause frustration. At worst, they cause undue suffering, uphill struggle, sometimes even death.
Coping With A Loved One's Mental Illness
Witnessing the suffering of a loved one can be one of the most difficult situations we face. Among other things, we may feel powerless, frustrated and frightened. That’s true whether the suffering originates from a physical illness or injury, addiction or selfdestructive activity.

When a loved one suffers a debilitating, persistent and chronic mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, those feelings can be compounded. Strange, unpredictable behaviors can be terrifying and confusing. Your loved one may suddenly rage at you with blame or be utterly dependent upon you for basic needs and emotional stability.

You may experience many confusing emotions yourself, including anger, grief, guilt, fear and sadness. As you struggle with each episode of illness and worry about the future, you may feel anxious and overwhelmed.
Family Stress Test
Stress is a natural and normal “by-product” of every family’s life. In fact, family stress can bring out the best of us: as we stretch to meet the challenges we face, we become better parents, our children blossom and our families grow. But too much stress can spiral our families in the other direction. Take this Thriving test to see how your family fares.
10 Things to Be Grateful For
Yes, we’re thankful for our health, our safety, our loved ones. But what else? What do we take for granted? What moves us? What would fill our hearts daily if we would just notice it?

1. The senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste—daily miracles each of them.

2. The plant world. From the productivity of a late-summer tomato plant to the delicate unfurling of a fern, nature’s exuberance and tenderness is something to behold.

3. Opportunity. Our steady companion, opportunity is always ready to take us down a path yet unknown. (Hint: We have to say “Yes!”)
Taking the “War” Out of Our Words with Non-defensive Communication
You’re sitting down to dinner with friends, when one looks over and asks, “Do you always butter your bread that way?”

Ha, ha, you laugh. But inside, your story is going like this: Who does he think he is, Mr. Manners? What’s wrong with the way I butter my bread? Jerk. He’s always so critical.

Freeze frame.

If something as minor as buttering bread can provoke such feelings of defensiveness, imagine what can happen with emotional issues at home, boundary issues at work or ethical issues in our larger community.
Top 10 Good Communication Practices
They say you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Here are some communication basics to help you do that:

1. Email subject line. Short, catchy and specific will get a quicker response than “following up” or “hi.” Let your readers know the topic.

2. Email message. In a business-related email, leave out the emoticons.

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