Monday, December 29, 2008

Post Surgery Depression

It is difficult to always pinpoint the source of depression. But, one of the possible sources can be related to surgery.

If anesthesia is a related cause, the depression will emerged rather soon after surgery. To know for certain whether or not anesthesia could be the cause, it’s best to contact your doctor or anesthesiologist and ask them directly.

Pain medication interferes with one's mood and can cause severe mood swings. Depression and changes in mood are common side effects of some pain medications related to surgery.

Other medications may affect your mood as well.

Any serious surgery is a major ordeal. It can take months or years to fully recover. The recovery process can be very painful. You might have to learn how to walk correctly again. You may be bedridden for weeks or even longer. The reality of your situation might be the cause of your depression.

John Lauerman writes in Harvard Magazine that major surgery can have significant psychological after-effects. After a major surgical procedure, he says that some people feel vulnerable and anxious. They may feel unsure about the recovery process. They lack the energy they once had before an operation. They may have trouble sleeping. They may lose their appetite, and much more.

Essentially, major surgery disrupts your life. It’s usually painful and unpleasant. When you are not feeling well physically, it is understandable that you’d feel depressed. Everything that you’d normally do when you’re feeling well is much more challenging when you’re not physically well. It is always advantageous to see a counselor about your post-surgery depression.

There may be a medication that you could take temporarily that helps your mood to stabilize.

It would also be helpful to surround yourself with a good support system. Having a strong support system can help improve your mood while you recover.

We are always ready to help you at the Relationship Clinic.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Receptionist Yvonne at the Clinic


In her office.
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Merry Christmas from the Relationship Clinic





Some of the decorations at the Clinic.
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Dr. Brock in his office at the Clinic


Preparing for the next client.
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Causes of Depression

Popeye the sailorman clearly knows how to keep his mental health shipshape. If you turn your nose up at vegetables, Mayo Clinic researchers have found that you may be more prone to depression due to folic acid and B-12 deficiencies. Both vitamins play a role in producing neurotransmitters necessary for regulating mood. To keep that spring in your step, pair dark, leafy greens rich in folic acid, such as spinach or broccoli, with shellfish or fish, which contain high amounts of B-12.

A study conducted by Australia's Monash University found that women taking birth control pills are almost twice as likely to be depressed as those who are not on the pill. Progestin, a synthetic version of the female hormone progesterone used in the combination pill, has been shown to lower the body's serotonin levels, and progestin-only contraceptives, such as Depo-Provera injections, may worsen depressive symptoms.

There have been numerous studies linking alcohol abuse and depression in the past, but researchers at University of North Carolina recently found that abstinence after prolonged drinking may lead to depression. The study found that moderate social drinkers may experience depression-like behavior after 14 days without alcohol due to the brain's inability to produce mood-regulating neurons.

Brook Shields's acknowledgment of her use of therapy and drugs to combat postpartum depression sparked a public discussion about this common problem. Since then, research from the National Institute of Health has shown that 50 percent of new mothers experience feelings of restlessness and depression in the first two weeks after childbirth due to a combination of hormone fluctuations and stress.

Research has shown that people who exhibit certain personality traits, including aggression, excess worry and low self esteem are likely to have repeated bouts with depression. An American Journal of Psychiatry study conducted by Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and human genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University, also determined that people who exhibit characteristics of neuroticism, including anxiety and instability, are more likely to develop major depression than their extroversive counterparts.

Prolonged use of anabolic steroids not only results in manic outbursts known as "roid rage," but can also exacerbate withdrawal symptoms and lead to mood swings, insomnia and a low sex drive. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that the most dangerous ramification of extended steroid use is depression, which can often lead to suicide attempts. Similarly, prednisone, a steroid given to leukemia and lymphoma patients to inhibit inflammation, can also cause depression.

Research documenting the effects of Accutane by The University of Texas has shown that the drug belongs to a group of chemicals called retinoids, which affect the nervous system and are capable of influencing depression-related behavior. Beyond the now-infamous acne medication, beta-blockers used to control hypertension, sleeping pills and, in some cases, cold medicine can also cause or aggravate depressive symptoms.

While the stress of living with a chronic illness may result in patient depression, biological effects incurred from diseases, including diabetes, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and hypothyroidism, result in a higher risk for depression. Research from the Parkinson's Disease Foundation has shown that at least 40 percent of patients experience clinical depression and that later stage depression may be due to a disease-related chemical imbalance.

Beyond struggling in the classroom and at work, children and adults combating ADD or ADHD may also experience depression. Diagnosing adults with ADHD proves especially difficult because symptoms of ADHD often mimic depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, adults often first seek help for depression before discovering that they actually have ADHD.

[AOL Health]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Is Your Marriage Normal?

If you're thinking something is missing, check out the six signs of a top-of-the-line relationship.

I picked up an eye-opening book a few years ago called In An Average Lifetime. Compiling data from a variety of sources, author Tom Heymann provides a wacky list detailing the amount of time that a "normal" American spends on certain activities throughout his or her life.

More …

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Parenting Relationships

Here are several relationship building blocks you can use to construct a closeness with your children:
  1. Take a 30 minute walk together. By taking a walk with your child, you are teaching your child the importance of exercise and healthy living. In addition, you'll usually find out more about your child's life as you walk together.
  2. Work on a project together. Get closer to your child by finding a common goal. You can work on a school project or complete a 1000 piece puzzle together. The idea is to bond over a common interest you both share. Some parents find it rewarding to volunteer with a charitable organization with their child and share the satisfaction of helping others.
  3. Get behind your child's hobby. If your child is interested in baseball or volleyball, then support your child by showing up at his or her games. Your child will remember your presence at his games more than what happened in the game itself. If your kid is interested in finding weird looking bugs, then go on a nature hunt with them.
  4. Play a game with your child. When was the last time you played Monopoly with your daughter or son? According to an organization called Family Education, enjoying games with your child is one way to open up lines of communication. All you need is an hour just to sit, talk and play.
  5. Share dinner together. In light of our busy schedules, many families have dropped the tradition of eating dinner together. Instead, families opt to watch TV or the kids grab their dinner plates and eat in their bedrooms while playing video games. Plan special meals together - nothing fancy. Teach your child how important it is to eat together as a family.
  6. Create rituals with your children. Besides the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers, be creative with some new rituals. You can create a habit with your child to take him or her out to lunch every Saturday afternoon. This is one way your child can feel connected with you and have something to look forward to. Sunday afternoons can be reserved for watching a favorite movie together while munching on freshly cooked popcorn. Too many times people use the holidays as their time to be with the kids.
  7. Make sure your kids have responsibilities around the house. Your children need to have a sense of personal responsibility around the house. Rather than giving them an allowance, they should earn one. You should not have to tell them over and over to clean up their room, take out the garbage, rake the leaves off the front lawn or whatever other chores you give to them. Teach your children the value of every dollar you give them by making them do some work around the house.

[by John Tesh]

Relationship Rules

  1. Get along with yourself - The one relationship you will have until you die is yourself.
  2. Value people - You cannot make another person feel important if you secretly feel that he or she is a nobody.
  3. Make the effort to form relationships - The result of a person who has never served others? Loneliness.
  4. Understand the Reciprocity Rule - Over time, people come to share reciprocal, similar attitudes toward each other.
  5. Follow the Golden Rule - The timeless principle: treat others the way you want to be treated.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Spoiling Your Kids?

Can parents give too much to their kids? Of course! It's called "spoiling your children."

Many kids don't hear the word "no." Parents today tend to be weak and soft with their kids. They give in to their kid's demands because it's easier to buy whatever it is they want than to spend the time explaining why they won't buy it or deal with the sulking when the child doesn't get what they want.

In addition, many children don't know what it is to work for something. They are not given chores to do around the house. Rather than a strong work ethic, they grow up with an ethic of "give me."

The major problem is that as soon as the children grow up, their requests get bigger and more expensive. They expect to get everything they want. In the continued process of spoiling their adult children, parents will reach for their checkbook whenever their grown children ask for money to pay their credit card bills, parking tickets, medical expenses, real estate fees, car payments and insurance premiums.

Today parents buy their kids condos, clothes, new cars and vacations and don't expect a dime in return. Hardly anything they own is earned; it was all given to them by their hardworking parents. Something needs to be fixed.

The best gift you can give your child right now is to tell them they cannot have everything they want. They need to know that life is filled with disappointments and the world will not fulfill their every request and demand.

In life you will be disappointed. They will have to learn to live with it.

Yes, the economic scene has changed since our parents launched their lives. Young people today will spend a higher percentage of their income on rent than their parents did. Transportation and medical premiums are more costly. Add these financial obligations to an already existing college loan and credit-card debt; today's young people are finding it hard to make it.

Over-indulgent parents surely don't want their kids to feel what it's like not to be able to pay a bill. So they step in as rescuers. As a result young couples are ill-equipped when it comes to delayed gratification and self-help. They feel weak in the face of the responsibilities of life.

For adult children who are pulling their weight and working hard, you don't mind lending them money to buy a car or pay the security deposit on an apartment or helping them alleviate the burden of college-debt payments.

However, a limit should be set or a repayment schedule arranged. Even if an adult child is living at home, they should pay some rent if only to grasp they will have housing costs later.

According to parenting experts, the real problem with adult children is chronic rescuing. Some kids are bailed out on a majority of their dilemmas and never learn how to cope or make wise choices.

Parents are there to guide and teach, not to pamper and rescue. The best way to help children is NOT to help them. This may sound hard to some, but it is the only way they'll be able to build character and cope with the realities of life.

[By John Tesh]

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Avoiding Holiday Depression

The holiday season for most people is a fun time of the year filled with parties, celebrations, and social gatherings with family and friends. For many people, it is a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, and anxiety.

What causes holiday blues?

Sadness is a truly personal feeling. What makes one person feel sad may not affect another person. Typical sources of holiday sadness include:

- Stress
- Fatigue
- Unrealistic expectations
- Over-commercialization
- Financial stress
- The inability to be with one's family and friends

Balancing the demands of shopping, parties, family obligations, and house guests may contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed and increased tension. People who do not view themselves as depressed may develop stress responses, such as:

- Headaches
- Excessive drinking
- Over-eating
- Insomnia

Others may experience post-holiday sadness after New Year's Day. This can result from built-up expectations and disappointments from the previous year, coupled with stress and fatigue.

19 tips for coping with holiday stress and depression:
- Make realistic expectations for the holiday season.
- Set realistic goals for yourself.
- Pace yourself. Do not take on more responsibilities than you can handle.
- Make a list and prioritize the important activities. This can help make holiday tasks more manageable.
- Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
- Do not put all your energy into just one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day, New Year's Eve). The holiday cheer can be spread from one holiday event to the next.
- Live and enjoy the present.
- Look to the future with optimism.
- Don't set yourself up for disappointment and sadness by comparing today with the good old days of the past.
- If you are lonely, try volunteering some time to help others.
- Find holiday activities that are free, such as looking at holiday decorations, going window shopping without buying, and watching the winter weather, whether it's a snowflake or a raindrop.
- Limit your drinking, since excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.
- Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way.
- Spend time with supportive and caring people.
- Reach out and make new friends.
- Make time to contact a long-lost friend or relative and spread some holiday cheer.
- Make time for yourself!
- Let others share the responsibilities of holiday tasks.
- Keep track of your holiday spending. Overspending can lead to depression when the bills arrive after the holidays are over. Extra bills with little budget to pay them can lead to further stress and depression.

Is the environment and reduced daylight a factor in winter time sadness? Animals react to the changing season with changes in mood and behavior. People change behaviors as well, when there is less sunlight. Most people find they eat and sleep slightly more in wintertime and dislike the dark mornings and short days. For some, however, symptoms are severe enough to disrupt their lives and to cause considerable distress. These people may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Research studies have that found phototherapy is effective in treating people that suffer from SAD. Phototherapy is a treatment involving a few hours of exposure to intense light.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Be Careful About Complaining

From an article on complaining, here are several reasons why negative talk is so bad:

Complaining makes legitimate gripes appear worse than they are. When you complain, you are focusing on one thing - what's wrong. There may be some actual good things in the company or workplace, but you only focus on the annoyances. If you're in a workplace where 80 percent of it is good and 20 percent is bad, and you spend most of your time zeroed in on the bad, your situation will appear to be worse than it really is.

Complaining becomes part of your personality. It starts to get easier and easier to complain if you keep doing it. After awhile, everything starts looking bad. Every situation you face is a crisis and every person you deal with is a moron. Nothing is good anymore.

Complaining destroys all hope that things will ever get better. To the complainer. where you work is the worst place ever. Where you live is a dump. Everyone in your neighborhood is unfriendly. You become a complaint magnet and eventually you lose all hope that anything good can ever happen for you. In fact, if someone comes along with a new idea, you're the first to shoot it down.

Complainers nurture bad relationships. People who complain together stay together. Check your relationships. Are they built on the fact you share the same complaints with another person? That's not too healthy. If your relationship is based on complaints, then the one who complains the most is the most popular and if you stop complaining, the relationship falls apart. If you're negative, you have less friends and a social life that is suffering.

Constant complaining will drain any happiness you have. It will diminish your drive to be a creative and fun human being to be around. People have a tendency to not want to be around someone who complains too much.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Teen Pregnancies on Rise in Alabama

After years of decline, teen pregnancy rates increased in 2006 and 2007.

After nearly 10 years of steady decline, Alabama's teen pregnancy rate increased in 2006 and 2007, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

In 2007, there were 12,398 pregnancies among girls ages 10 to 19.

An increase in teen pregnancies in 2006 marked the end of a steady decrease in teen pregnancy rates. There were 57.1 births per 1,000 teens in 1996 and 37.5 births per 1,000 in 2005.

There were 39.7 births per 1,000 teens in 2007 and 39.6 in 2006. The number of teen births in Alabama increased by 106 between 2006 and 2007 and by 767 between 2005 and 2006, according to the ADPH.

"We need to be aware that teen pregnancy is interrelated to health problems we're seeing with infant mortality," state health officer Don Williamson said in a press release. "Also, we're concerned that risk behaviors seem to be increasing among our teenagers."

Parenting challenges? Counseling could help.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What to do about financial stress?

The current financial crisis has been taking place for months. The collapse of Wall Street was preceded by rising gasoline prices and home foreclosures. Major lending agencies and investment banks have been going under and retail prices are on the upswing. Now we're heaping anxiety on top of anxiety.

People feel out of control. Our leaders are not giving us any indication when the current monetary fallout will come to an end.

Counsellors and Doctors are seeing people with sleep issues, gastrointestinal illnesses and people who are dealing with a surge of autoimmune deficiency conditions. Levels of alcohol consumption are up as well.

BusinessWeek referred to a poll that has found Americans are indeed more stressed than they were six months ago.

So what advice can we follow during this current time of emotional upset?

Remain calm. The worst thing you can do is to start panicking in a crisis and make bad decisions. Some amount of anxiety is good for you. When you're a bit on edge, you're more motivated to make changes and think about the consequences of your decisions. However, if you're overanxious, your emotional state can interfere with your ability to make healthy decisions.

Don't allow your anxiety to cloud your ability to be cautious, careful and full of confidence. It's never easy to go through a crisis, but when you have the confidence that you'll make it through a tough time, it makes all the difference. If you've gone through stressful times before and survived, you can do it again.

Refuse to accept everything you hear. This nation has survived many incredible catastrophes from Wall Street crashes, the Great Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9/11. If listening to media and news reports gets you all riled up, you may need to go on a media fast for a few days. Please, whatever you do, don't spend all day checking the stock market averages.

Be proactive. The worst thing you can do is to watch everything fall apart and do nothing but complain. Any action - big or small - you can take to get your finances under control will be helpful for reducing anxiety. Keep your focus on what you can do and not on what is not happening.

Keep your life in balance. Prevent yourself from becoming consumed with all of the financial information streaming across the TV screen and ignoring your own needs. Do not neglect your eating habits, make sure you engage in activities you enjoy and keep that balance between how much time you devote to staying up on the current financial crisis and how much attention you pay to your own sense of well-being.

Take stock of your life. Use this time to assess how you handle your money. If you lose your job, you may want to consider that this is the time to change your line of work. Perhaps your hours have been reduced. Yes, you'll go through a tight squeeze financially, but it may be an opportune time to start looking elsewhere and initiate a career change.

Seek good counseling. Stress and anxiety are treatable by a qualified therapist. Start feeling better today. Get into counseling.

[Research by John Tesh]

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Domestic Violence Prevention

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and candlelight vigils are being held throughout the month to remember victims of domestic abuse.

For the last two decades, October has marked a time when people in the nation come together in the fight to end a tragedy that spans every culture, profession, race and ethnicity and is happening daily whether in the form of sexual, emotional or physical abuse.

It's time to talk about it.

Counseling can help. A therapist will educate men and women concerning actions and behaviour modification. Call today.

READ MORE

Friday, October 10, 2008

Depression and Suicide: Men Are Right At the Edge

The Los Angeles Times reported a father who killed his entire family because the current economic crisis was affecting his finances.

Depression in men is more than a bad mood but an emotional disturbance that affects a man's overall health.

Rather than expressing sadness, men get angry or aggressive. Men are also less likely to seek help for depression, but can choose to start drinking to deal with inward pain.

Women may attempt suicide more than men, but men are more successful at completing it. However, most men respond well to depression treatment with medications, therapy or both.

The secret is the right combination of therapy and medications. Get the man into counselling quickly enough, and there is hope. Call today.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Occupations Facing The Most Stress

If you want to find a job that is free of stress, you're out of luck. Only characters in movies and on TV have jobs that don't cause occasional hair-pulling or high blood pressure. These are the same people who have huge apartments overlooking skylines and plenty of time to hang out with friends. Their jobs have unbelievably flexible hours.

In real life, however, every job you take, no matter how big or small, finds you stressed out once in a while. Whether you're dealing with an endless line of customers, a demanding executive or an uncertain economy, anxiety will find you. It's just part of life.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, occupational stress originates from a variety of issues, including:
- Long hours with few or no breaks
- Employees unable to participate in the decision-making process.
- Job insecurity and large amounts of impending change
- Physical danger

Some jobs have more stress than others. That's not to say they're bad jobs, they just require people who are strong enough to handle the increased stress that comes their way. Here are eight of them:

1. Retail Salespersons - Why: Jobs in sales require you to convince customers to spend money. Customers don't necessarily want to spend money and even if they do, they have a variety of places to shop. Salespeople have to prove their merchandise is the best option. If that weren't stressful enough, retail compensation is often commission-based, which means your paycheck is tied to how much you sell. What they earn: $24,530.

2. Doctors and nurses - Why: Doctors and nurses deal with life and death on a regular basis, a pressure found in few occupations. They have to handle patients while accessing an encyclopedia of medical knowledge. Doctors and nurses who work in hospitals or clinics that don't keep regular business hours often work on little sleep and are on call even on days off. In recent years doctors have also been forced to deal with an increase in malpractice lawsuits. What they earn: Internal medicine physician: $166,420; Registered nurse: $62,480.

3. Accountants - Why: Crunching numbers requires attention to detail that can make your eyes cross. Not only are you dealing with a client's finances, but you also have to take into account volumes of rules and regulations that change each year. Plus, you're expected to know about minute loopholes and read tiny print that nobody else does. What they earn: $44,632.

4. Teachers - Why: Elementary and high school teachers put up with a lot. Students aren't always easy to control or motivate. Parents who can't understand why their children aren't doing better often place the blame with teachers. And pressure to prepare students for standardized tests mean they can't always stick to the lesson plans they'd prefer to teach. What they earn: Elementary teacher: $43,421; High school teacher: $46,531.

5. Firefighters - Why: When firefighters are on call, they've got to be ready to respond to emergencies that range from minor car accidents to huge explosions. They might go an entire shift with no emergency or they might get a call that keeps them out for hours. Perhaps most importantly, they're playing with fire literally. That's stressful enough. What they earn: $44,130.

6. Farmers - Why: Agriculture requires constant attention, from waking up early to strenuous physical activity. That alone isn't stressful, but having no control over nature is. Droughts, floods, fires or other natural disasters can ruin months of hard work, and you can't do much about it. What they earn: $23,508.

7. Automotive assembly workers - Why: The automotive industry has always been volatile as manufacturers respond to the whims of consumers who want coupes one moment and SUVs the next. Add the pressure of assembling vehicles so that people who spend thousands of dollars can travel safely, and you've got a stressful job.What they earn: $42,480.

8. Stock brokers Why: You can feel a bit helpless working at a job that's at the mercy of the stock market and economy. When things are going great, you reap the rewards, but when the financial climate isn't so great or the future is uncertain, you have no choice but to ride it out. Plus, competition is high for these jobs. What they earn: $61,151.

[Salary data based on CBSalary.com's average annual salary and the Bureau of Labor Statistics's mean annual salary. Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Copyright 2008 CareerBuilder.com]

Monday, September 22, 2008

How To be An Encouraging Parent

Do you know how to be a positive parent?

Have you ever taken a class to learn how to encourage your child?

It is doubly important that you learn encouragement techniques for yourself and your child; then you will be able to share and live them everyday. Competition for positive input into your child’s mind is at an all-time high but the sensitive parent will work intentionally to combat this battle day by day, sometimes hour by hour.

Many children go to bed hungry for food in the world, but perhaps many more are hungry for encouraging affirming words. By practicing some of these phrases, you can make a positive difference in any child’s life now and in his future.

Here are some great examples:

- "I’m proud of you."
- "You are on your way."
- "Good for you."
- "Look at you go."
- "That’s the best ever."
- "You’re really working hard today."
- "You’re getting better every day"

If you can practice these words, include them when you are talking to your child, you will begin to see remarkable differences in your relationship with your children.

[from Howtoencourage by Kay the Encourager]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Having Panic Attacks?

Anxiety is part of the package of life. It's a natural byproduct of having a brain that is capable of such high-wire acts as considering the future. A little anxiety is good, even necessary, and a great motivator to get us to plan well and to perform ably.

Yet too much anxiety can be disabling. For millions of people, worry disrupts everyday life, restricting it to some degree or even overshadowing it entirely. An estimated 15 percent of Americans suffer from one or another of the anxiety disorders. These include generalized anxiety, specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder and flat-out panic attacks. As a group, anxiety disorders constitute the most common disorder in the country.

How do you know whether you are worrying too much? When anxiety moves beyond an occasional wave of apprehension to become a constant and dominating force in your life, you need to take steps to curb anxiety.

Sometimes anxiety explodes in a panic attack, marked by a general feeling of terror. A person engulfed in a panic attack usually experiences a racing or pounding heart, sometimes even pain or heaviness in the chest. Breathing becomes difficult. The body trembles and hands turn clammy. The person may notice tingling in their hands and feet, sometimes in their arms and legs. They may start to feel light-headed.

Victims feel out of control of their body. Many feel like they are going crazy. Panic attacks are so frightening that sufferers wonder whether they will survive the episode.

At least 5 percent of American adults experience panic attacks. Often, the attacks come out of the blue, for no apparent reason. Or they can come on when a person is coping with extreme stress. Either way panic attacks can last for several minutes.

Other forms of anxiety are less dramatic but more widespread.

For some, other people are the cause of anxiety. Social anxiety creates in its sufferers the feeling that they are being watched and judged by others, even if rationally they know that this is not the case. In its milder forms, social anxiety can create extreme self-consciousness in the presence of others; but in its severe forms it can be debilitating, leading sufferers to avoid social situations altogether.

Another common form of worry is generalized anxiety disorder. Sufferers are filled with questions -- negative ones -- and dwell on endless "what if's" of a situation. They feel trapped in cycles of anxiety and worry.

General anxiety doesn't typically lead to panic attacks, but it can still be incapacitating. The endless worry saps energy, destroys interest in life and prompts frequent mood swings. It's possible that some people are born with a temperament that inclines them to anxiety. Regardless of how anxiety develops, it's possible to control it.

"If anxiety is interfering with your work or personal life even though you tried to relax or do some stress management, at that point you should at least get a consultation by a health professional/counselor to see if there is an anxiety disorder," says Jerilyn Ross, M.A., director for the Ross Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders in Washington, D.C.

Treatment is tailored to the specific concerns that preoccupy each person. Nevertheless, there are some treatment techniques that are widely applied. Counselors treat anxiety with a combination of approaches:

- Cognitive Therapy Focuses on creating an understanding of the thought patterns that bring on worry. It helps anxiety suffers separate unrealistic from realistic thoughts.
- Behavior Therapy Focuses on taming anxiety through control of specific ways the body overreacts to worry. One common approach is to teach controlled breathing and the relaxing of muscles that constrict with worry. Both techniques lower heart rate and blood pressure.
- Relaxation Training Through a mixture of cognitive and behavior techniques, helps avert high anxiety. One approach is to think of a relaxing scene when anxiety levels start to rise.
- Desensitization Those who suffer phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder are gradually and safely exposed to whatever is the source of their anxiety, until, over time, tolerance is built.
- Medication . Antidepressant and antianxiety medications are most effective in combination with psychotherapy.

[WebMD]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What We Prescribe For Stress

  • Get plenty of exercise whenever you can. The optimum is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in everyday. For some in stressful jobs that's not an option for now. However, you can perform some simple exercises at work that will get your circulation going. Take a walk around the block on your ten minute break. While on the phone, try standing up and moving while speaking.
  • Avoid foods that are going to add to your stress. Anything that contains blood-sugar enhancing refined carbohydrates such as doughnuts, muffins and bread. Stay away from junk food like candy bars and sodas loaded with sugar. When you're at work try to go for the food or drinks that will boost your energy - blueberries, green tea, milk, soy products and whole grain breads. Try taking down your coffee drinking a few notches as well.
  • Plan your day out. Start your day with a plan and do not allow the day to plan for you. The president of Executive Health & Wealth Institute suggests dividing your tasks into "must do," "may do" and "want to do." You want to feel a sense of control over your day and not always feel you're overloaded and can't get out from beneath the pile of tasks you're facing at work.
  • Finish your tasks one at a time. Give yourself a sense of accomplishment by doing tasks that might be easy, but you know you can get done. Then move on to your next task. Once you finish one task, you are motivated to start another and experience a greater sense of accomplishment instead of having a desk filled with unfinished business.
  • Keep things in their proper place. If you are always feeling frazzled, then you need to slow down and check your stress level on a scale from one to ten. This allows you to put your stress level in perspective and helps you from over-reacting. Take a break once in awhile where you can sense gratitude for your job, the friendships you acquired at work and your health. Start looking at what's right about your job and workplace instead of keeping the focus on what's wrong.
  • Do a good deed. A great way to reduce stress is to do something unexpected for someone else. Offer your help whenever you see a co-worker who seems to be stressing out. When you're giving to other people, your life is filled with greater confidence and enthusiasm.
  • See a counselor weekly. Nothing takes the place of a safe place to vent.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 Left 70,000 People With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Wednesday, the New York City's Department of Health released data from a public health registry that tracks the health effects of 9/11.

The report — released in the Journal of Urban Health — suggests that as many as 70,000 people may have developed post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the terrorist attacks. The 71,437 people who enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry agreed to be tracked for up to 20 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The recent report suggests of the estimated 400,000 people believed to have been heavily exposed to pollution from the disaster, 35,000 to 70,000 people developed PTSD and 3,800 to 12,600 may have developed asthma. Overall, half of the respondents said they had been in the dust cloud from the collapsing towers; 70 percent witnessed a traumatic sight, such as a plane hitting the tower or falling bodies; and 13 percent sustained an injury that day.

[cbsnews.com]

How Women Can Boost a Low Sex Drive

So what can a woman do about a decreasing sex drive? Is there help available that can really make a difference?

Relationship counseling may be necessary. Sexual dysfunction is not a one way street; it takes two married individuals to contribute to a problem resulting in sexual distancing. Sometimes a couple is too afraid to discuss these matters and needs a therapist to help them break the ice to get sensitive issues out in the open.

Changing medication or altering the dosage. Start reading labels and the written materials that accompany prescription drugs. If you read your medication can lower your libido, you may need to change prescriptions or try an alternative therapy. There are many clinics and physicians who are aware of alternative methods that can address decreased sex drive using non-traditional medications or supplements.

Address medical conditions. If a medical condition is contributing to a low sexual drive, aggressively pursue treatment. Do not be passive about your condition hoping it will go away . . . especially with painful fibroids or other conditions that leave you in a condition of chronic pain or fatigue. Talk to your partner about how you feel so he does not take your low sex drive as an indication of loss of interest in him. Men need to understand the impact on a woman's body when it comes to such illnesses as Chronic Fatigue Sydrome. A man's support during a time of chronic health conditions can only deepen the bond that exists between the two.

Vaginal estrogens. In postmenopausal women, certain vaginal conditions can be treated successfully with vaginal estrogen creams or estrogen patches.

Testosterone therapy. Know that these hormone therapies have not all been approved by the FDA to treat sexual problems in women. If your doctor opposes these therapies, consult another physician who will recommend and monitor a testosterone therapy approach to restore levels to normal.

[From The John Tesh Blog by John Tesh]

How To Develop Self-Control

Successful people have one obvious trait in common: personal discipline. They are willing to do things that average people are unwilling to do.

It’s my observation that successful people express their self-discipline in six ways:

· Successful people master their moods. They live by their commitments, not their emotions. They do the right thing, even when they don’t feel like it. “A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls” (Proverbs 25:28 NLT).

· Successful people watch their words. They put their minds in gear before opening their mouths: “Those who control their tongue will have a long life . . .” (Proverbs 13:3 NLT).

· Successful people restrain their reactions. How much can you take before you lose your cool? “People with good sense restrain their anger; they earn esteem by overlooking wrongs” (Proverbs 19:11 NLT).

· Successful people stick to their schedule. If you don’t determine how you will spend your time, you can be sure that others will decide for you! “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days” (Ephesians 5:15-16 NLT).

· Successful people manage their money. They learn to live on less than what they make, and they invest the difference. The value of a budget is that it tells your money where you want it to go rather than wondering where it went: “The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get” (Proverbs 21:20 NLT).

· Successful people maintain their health. That way they can accomplish more and enjoy their achievements: “Control your body and live in holiness . . .” (1 Thessalonians 4:4 NLT).

Now, where do you need to develop self-control?

The disciplines you establish today will determine your success tomorrow. But it takes more than just willpower for lasting self-control. It takes a power greater than yourself. Think about this promise from the Bible: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT).

The more I accept God’s control over my life, the more self-control he gives me!

[Rick Warren]

Monday, September 08, 2008

What To Do About Worry

Two men were climbing a steep hill on a bicycle built for two. When they finally made it to the top, the first man said, "Whew! That was a stiff climb. I think it was the hardest hill I've ever been on.""It certainly was," his companion replied, "and if I hadn't kept the brake on, we would have slid down backwards!"

When we worry, it's like pedaling uphill with the brakes on. Anxious thoughts make life ten times harder. Unfortunately, our natural human tendency is to worry about our situations. Is there anybody on this earth who is not familiar with the uncomfortable gnawing of worry in the belly? I seriously doubt it.

Yet, although worry is familiar to us all, we don't have to treat it like a welcomed guest. In fact, we have every right in the world to kick it out! No Vacancy! "There's no place for you, bub! Get out!"

How can we evict worry from our lives? Let me offer a few suggestions:

1. Talk to yourself!

A great way to abolish worry is to ask yourself the right questions such as,
* Why am I feeling tense right now?
* Will the world end if what I'm worrying about comes true?
* Is stewing over this making it any better?
* Who else is worked up over this issue? Why or why not?
* Is this worth losing sleep?
* What is the bottom line fear in this situation?
* So what?

2. Sell yourself some hope.

You've already been selling yourself on fear,tension, and all the "What ifs". Why not switch gears and start looking for what's going right?

Elmer Wheeler, in The Wealth Within You, said, "Men become courageous by the same process that they become fearful; successful and confident by the same process that they become failures. Both are ideas that we sell ourselves. If you are timid and fearful or feel inferior, you do not need to learn the technique of selling ideas to yourself. You are already a past master at the art. All you need to do is change the ideas you sell. Suggest confidence to yourself in exactly the same way you have been suggesting failure."

3. Seek counseling.

It really helps to talk the issue through with someone who has a level head and the wisdom of experience and training. Good counseling is worth more than gold.

4. Pray about it.

A burden is really a call to prayer. If it's big enough to fret about, it's big enough to pray about. The Bible tells us to cast our cares upon the Lord because He cares for us! Prayer increases faith, which puts the kibosh on worry.

5. Take a dose of reality.

Worry casts long shadows on little things. It exaggerates the problem, and turns mice into monsters. If you think your situation is really bad, why not look around? You will find lots of people who have it worse. Chances are, your problems are not nearly as terrible as they seem.

6. Think "through" not "to".

Often, people think "to" a difficulty and then panic. When we come up against a big problem and then camp out, it only leads to frustration and worry. The much better path is to keep exploring solutions. Refuse to let the issue get the best of you. Working at absolution drains the worry away.

7. Keep moving forward.

Worry and positive action don't usually go together -- You're either invested in on or the other. If you're spinning the worry wheels -- it's better to get onto another track of thinking.

[By Mark O. Wilson]

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Threats to Christian Marriage

Threats to the Christian Marriage
Wednesday September 3, 2008
at 12:00 pm CT on
Blogtalk radio
The Marriage Corner with Dr Barbara

It is not hard to see there are many things happening in today's society which pose a threat to marriage the way God intended it to be.
Would you like to comment or join in the discussion?
You are welcome.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Bit of Humor

We are planning a marriage enrichment retreat (for real). I have been working on the curriculum. It occurred to me that I may be working from a man's perspective, so I asked my wife Yvonne for a list of suggested classes for men. The following is her submission:

Class 1
How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays -- Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.

Class 2
The Toilet Paper Roll -- Does It Change Itself?
Round Table Discussion.

Class 3
Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub?
Group Practice.

Class 4
Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor.
Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.

Class 5
Dinner Dishes -- Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?
Examples on Video.

Class 6
Loss Of Identity -- Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other.
Help Line Support and Support Groups.

Class 7
Learning How To Find Things -- Starting With Looking In The Right Places And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming.
Open Forum.

Class 8
Health Watch -- Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health.
Graphics and Audio Tapes.

Class 9
Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost.
Real Life Testimonials.

Class 10
Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?
Driving Simulations.

Class 11
Learning to Live -- Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife.
Online Classes and role-playing.

Class 12
How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion.
Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.

Class 13
How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy -- Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates and Calling When You're Going To Be Late.
Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered.

Class 14
The Stove/Oven -- What It Is and How It Is Used.
Live Demonstration.

Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Power Up Your Brain

Want a fun and easy way to power up your brain? Have a chat over coffee, tea, or even warm milk. The key here is the chat, not your choice of beverage. Even if they’re brief, occasional bouts of social interaction can help sharpen your wits.

Whether you engage in conversation with a friend, a family member, or the guy behind you in the express line, keep talking. In a recent study of young adults, a mere 10 minutes of face-to-face conversation about a social issue was enough to boost working memory and mental processing speeds. Chitchat was as good as a crossword puzzle, in terms of brain benefits. In fact, the more people socialize, the better their brainpower -- regardless of age.

Conversation requires us to pay attention, remember what was said, deduce the other person’s meaning, and come up with appropriate responses -- some pretty serious mental gymnastics. And when it comes to mental muscle, it’s use it or lose it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

One Remedy For Depression

A 1988 article in Psychology Today reported on an experiment involving 1700 women under stress. The women participated in various projects that involved helping other people. Within 30 days, 85 percent of the women reported that they had been relieved of stress symptoms that included "stress-related disorders such as headaches, voice loss and even pain accompanying lupus and multiple sclerosis."

I suspect many people could save thousands of dollars on antidepressants if they would just take time to serve others. The best way to get beyond our pain is to get outside of it. I discovered this in my own journey through a particular dark time. I decided to serve others even though I was in great emotional pain. This had a remarkable positive effect on my emotional state.

When we refocus our attention on the needs of others when we ourselves are in turmoil, it allows the burden of our circumstance to be removed from us. The more one focuses on their own problem the more likely you are to become depressed.

Isaiah understood a principle that is still valid today. If you find yourself depressed because of a circumstance in your life, take Isaiah's advice-begin to praise the Lord in spite of the circumstances you see. Then you will see the spirit of heaviness begin to be lifted.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

How To Keep Your Family Together

It's never too late to take the right steps to keep your family together when they're being pulled in so many directions at once.

Family Rituals

Family rituals give the family something to count on. This further contributes to a happy, solid home life. Family rituals are also a way not to lose each other in the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Set aside certain times during the week or weekend when your family will definitely come together as a family — no excuses. It could be having pizza Friday night followed by a big game night. Kids might gripe now and then when the family ritual interferes with going to the mall with a friend, but deep down they love the family together times.

Play Time (together!)

Parents who play with and joke with their children while sharing their thoughts and feelings end up having children who are more friendly, generous, and loving. Remember to promote loving feelings in your children — not just through words, but through your actions and through your willingness to enjoy your children.

A Closed Door

When it’s time to be together, leave the outside world outside your home. This is a tough exercise in this stressful world, but it’s important not to always be multitasking as a parent.

Put down your cell phone and don’t check e-mails while you’re supposedly spending quality time with the kids.

You can even take this one step further. Try to take a certain amount of time each day and just focus on being a parent. Shut the rest of it out. Don’t think about homeowner’s taxes, the fact that the new water heater is on the fritz, or that your contractor is still camped out in the kitchen.

During your alone time with your children try to shut out everything, but them. The rest will be waiting for you so why dilute the time you have as a parent? The kids always know when your focus is really elsewhere. Don’t be there without really being present.When it comes to relationships, you have to be intentional. You have to be proactive. Your family is being pulled in a thousand directions at once; it’s up to you to make sure things stay together.

The good news is that your kids will respond to your efforts to make a great family — even if they don’t know how to react at first. Stick with it. You have what it takes to be a great family.

[Research by John Tesh]

10 Signs It's Time To Quit Your Job

"I like what I do. I just don't like where I work." Sound familiar?

From unbearable co-workers to depressing work environments, there things that can make even the best job a living hell. Here are some signs it's time to look for a new job.

Sign No. 1: Your co-workers are annoying.
Obnoxious people can invade your work life. Let's face it, not everyone gets along perfectly. But you need to have some sort of harmonious relationship with fellow employees to get the job done. How are you supposed to get any work done when these guys keep getting in the way? They are distracting and impede productivity. Most offices have a Gossip, that one person who has the "scoop" all the time and is not afraid to share it. Misery loves company, and finds it often in the Whiner, who isn't afraid to complain and bellyache. And everyone has the Neighbor whose noisy distractions include his cellular ringtone, speakerphone and radio.

Sign No. 2: The environment is toxic.
Everyone experiences job highs and lows, but discontent could also be a sign of a chronically depressing work environment or even a company in peril. A bad work environment is reflective of the culture of an entire business. Do you work in a less-than-nurturing atmosphere? Is morale constantly low? Have you been complaining for two solid years? It could be an organizational problem that applying feng shui to your cube just won't fix.

Sign No. 3: You're mentally exhausted by the end of the day.
Stress can cause low morale, decreased productivity and apathy towards work. Plus, it can spill into your personal life and even have a negative effect on your health. Today there are fewer people who are taking on more and more work. American workers experience burnout at an alarming rate. According to CareerBuilder, 68 percent of workers feel burnout at work, and 45 percent said their workloads are too heavy. Yes, we all have to pick up some slack and "take one for the team" from time to time. But if there's no end in sight, do yourself and your health a favor and dust off your résumé.

Sign No. 4: Your boss is a nightmare.
Even though this person is your boss, it doesn't give him license to do anything he wants. If you have a lousy boss, even the best job in the world can make life a living hell. Your relationship with your supervisor plays a big role in your overall professional happiness and success. Fighting to have your boss removed or waiting for your boss to change or get fired are rarely successful tactics. If you are working for someone who is always absent, unavailable, self-absorbed or untrustworthy, it's time to look for a better supervisor and a better opportunity.

Sign No. 5: You're watching the clock ... every 10 minutes.
Though you might not like to work, it's even worse when you are bored while you're there. One can only watch so many videos on YouTube or bid on unneeded things on eBay. If you aren't feeling challenged, that's a sign that you need additional responsibilities or a change roles. And be warned, if you don't have any responsibility or find yourself with nothing to do, management might be trying to phase you out and you might be in danger of losing your job.

Sign No. 6: You get no respect.
Does any of this sound familiar? Your ideas aren't taken seriously; there are no opportunities for advancement; the boss ignores you; co-workers alienate you; you're discouraged from improving skills with a course or seminar; you're passed over for a promotion -- again; or you're excluded from key projects and strategizing sessions. So why are you still giving this organization your time, energy and great ideas?

Sign No. 7: Your co-workers act like animals.
They live for themselves and only themselves. They irritate you. They offend you. They have no manners or ethics. And you work with them all. There's the Office Thief who steals your ideas. The Shirker arrives late, leaves early and disappears whenever work is near. The Buck-passer unloads her work onto everyone else and blames others for her mistakes. The Procrastinator delays things until the last possible minute, slowing you down by not having the information you need to meet your deadlines. The Interrupter stops by your cubicle 10 times a day to chat about her latest boyfriend despite your ringing telephone and pressing deadlines. And don't forget the infamous Elevator Person who rides up only one floor instead of taking the stairs.

Sign No. 8: Nobody communicates.
Although we live in a world of e-mail, cell phones, instant messages, Blackberries, WiFi and, yes, even face-to-face conversation, there can still be a complete lack of communication. Whether it's a co-worker who's not returning your voice mail or the CEO not conveying a company's goals and accomplishments, the breakdown of communication can be frustrating and detrimental to your job. It can cost you an account, make you to miss a deadline, cause you to lose a client, and even get you fired.

Sign No. 9: You're not valued.
Forty-three percent of workers do not feel appreciated, and one-fourth of workers feel that they are just a "number" within their organization. You need to realize that you deserve credit for your successes. Recognition is important, and good companies implement programs to let employees know they are valued. Is your company doing anything to reward your efforts? Do you ever receive bonuses, perks or positive feedback? If your boss has never heard of positive reinforcement verbal or otherwise, find a company that will value your talents.

Sign No. 10: You feel stifled.
What kind of quality of life do you have? Is your 40-hour week turning into a 24/7 grind? While salary may seem like the end all and be all, your quality of life determines your overall happiness. How much time you spend on the job, working conditions, supervisors and subordinates can positively and negatively impact your job outlook. If you dread the time you spent at work, it should be a clear indicator that it's time to break free. A job shouldn't stifle you creatively, mentally or physically.

Bottom line: Considering what you don't like about your current situation should give you insight into what you are seeking in future endeavors. If you know what your priorities and preferences are and actively seek them, work can be an enjoyable experience.

If, however, you've answered yes to more than four of these signs, then you might want to get started on a new job search.

[By KATE LORENZ, CAREERBUILDER.COM EDITOR]

Monday, August 04, 2008

How To Keep Girls From Going Wild

[By Dave Parks -- Birmingham News]

Good parenting skills can keep early-maturing girls from going wild with their behavior, according to a study led by a UAB psychologist and released today.

The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, focused on problems often encountered when puberty arrives early for young girls. Experts have long known that early female maturation is linked to problems such as delinquency, violence, drug abuse and eating disorders.

Much of the trouble occurs when overly mature young girls are attracted to older boys, and vice versa. What experts haven't known for sure is whether anything can done about the problem.

The study concluded that it is important that parents, especially a mother, stay connected to a girl by knowing her friends and activities, being supportive and affectionate and having frank discussions about tough topics like sex and fighting. And parents must set limits.

The study was conducted with 330 fifth-grade girls and their parents from Birmingham, Los Angeles and Houston. One-fourth of these girls had matured early, meaning they started their periods a year before the average age of girls in the study, which was 11 years old.

Do I Really Love My Partner?

According to psychologist Dr. Petra Boynton from University College in London, if the answer to the question “Do I really love my mate?” isn’t a whole-hearted YES, don’t panic. Most people will answer “Yes, but . . .”

And it’s what follows that "but" that determines whether or not your relationship is solid. If you answer something like “Yes, but I need more space,” or “Yes, but I hardly ever see him”—you’ve pinpointed your problem and you can work on fixing it.

If, on the other hand, your answer is “Yes, but she’s always criticizing me,” or “Yes, but he’s always looking at other women,” you’re talking about problems that are not so contained. The two of you probably need to get help from a counselor to get things sorted out.

And if you answer no? If you’re talking about someone you’re dating, you might need to move on. If you’re talking about your spouse, go straight to a counselor — call for an appointment today — and get this sorted out!

256-418-0620
The Relationship Clinic

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Q&A

(Q) - It was recently discovered that my wife has had a 2 year physical affair with another woman (her best friend). We have 4 children and have been married for 16 years. During this 2 year period, my wife and I have had no intimacy. My wife wants to stay in the marriage, but what is the likelihood that she can go from a same sex relationship to an opposite sex relationship just because she was caught? Also, she wants to remain friends with this other woman (if I allow it), is it likely that she will revert to the physical relationship with the other woman again?

(A) - I’m sure this is a very difficult time as you struggle to sort things out. But I think you are asking the wrong questions. Your wife has had an affair and the two of you haven’t been intimate for two years. The gender of the lover doesn’t matter. What matters is that you and your wife have let yourselves get so far apart. Neither one of you has been dealing with the sad state of your marriage. Your wife broke her vows and had an affair. You let two years go by without confronting the problem.

With 4 children to think about, it’s important to at least see if you can repair things. Get yourselves to an experienced couples counselor and do the hard work you need to do. You and your wife once loved each other enough to marry and bring 4 babies into the world. There may be enough of a core commitment left to pull back from this mess. As for whether your wife should stay friends with her lover, ask yourself this: What would you do if the friend was male? My guess is that you wouldn’t think twice about asking her to choose.

I wish you well.

[Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Divorce IS Damaging To Children

The National Child Development Study in the U.K. tracks 17,000 people born in Britain during the same week in 1958. Comparing those individuals with those born years later, the study revealed those in both generations with divorced parents were more likely to suffer from depression and do poorer in school and careers than their peers.

They also were more likely to go through a divorce of their own. Jenny Tyree, associate marriage analyst at Focus on the Family Action, said the social acceptance of divorce doesn't change a child's need for a mom and a dad.

http://www.citizenlink.com/

Friday, July 11, 2008

Why So Much Stress?

Why do I feel the need to carry so much stress? What am I hiding from or covering up? What hole in my life am I trying to fill with stress?

Those are tough questions. But if you don’t deal with them, none of my stress-busting tips are going to do you any good—not for long, anyway. If you want to be free from stress, you have to learn to say no.

You have to pick the events and "yeses" that will yield the greatest reward in your life. Here’s an idea: next time you know your response should be no, don’t leave room for compromise.

When your stressed-out friend asks you to co-chair the graduation committee, don’t just say, “Let me think about it.” Instead say, “Right now, that’s impossible.” And shake your head from side to side as you say it.

Studies show that when you do that, the person you addressed is much more likely to hear no.

Even Jesus had to say no to those around him when it was time to be still and listen for the voice of God. Remember what happened after Jesus fed the five thousand? The people were so impressed that they were ready to make him their earthly king—by force if necessary. No doubt it was flattering to be asked. I know I would be very tempted to give in if somebody wanted to make me their king! But that wasn’t what Jesus was there to do. So instead of going along, saying yes, taking on one more thing, he “withdrew again to a mountain by himself” (John 6:15 NIV).

When the high-pitched whine of our earthly stress jams every signal around us, we not only lose perspective, we lose an opportunity to hear from our heart, from our loved ones and from God himself. Before you say your next “Yes!”, ask yourself if you are prepared to add the accompanying stress to your life.

I look at it this way: If the vessel is already full, where are you going to put that golden opportunity for success or for ministry when it finally arrives? You hear it every morning at the coffee shop: “Would you like room for cream?” Yeah, this time I would. Thanks.

[John Tesh]

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Divorce Happens

Yes, divorce DOES happen, over and over again, and sometimes to the same individuals. But that doesn't have to be you!

No matter if this is your first marriage or third, no matter what your marriage's condition, no matter how impossible it seems . . . your marriage can saved, redeemed and transformed! Don't doubt.

ACT! See http://www.marriagerestored.com/ today.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Having Trouble Being Punctual?

For some people, showing up on time for a job interview, a dinner, a doctor's appointment or a wedding is nearly impossible. For those who know what I'm speaking about, you feel you're always running out the door in a frenzy and running behind.

Let's think together of the repercussions of showing up 10 to 15 minutes late to important destinations.

Know the Consequences of Showing Up Late
  • Being late adds to your stress level. When you barge into a meeting behind schedule, you've infuriated the other attendees waiting for you . . . and you've put yourself in a stressed out mode. It should be no surprise to find that when you're late, you spend your first few minutes apologizing to the other participants and make them feel obligated to catch you up to date on the topic of discussion.
  • Being late tears down your reputation. If you're chronically late, your co-workers or friends may feel they cannot trust or rely on you. Your relationships may suffer as people are fearful of making plans with you. Some individuals who are suffering with chronic pain and illness are in a different category as they do need extra time to be on time to an appointment. To make matters worse, rarely can you salvage your reputation by working later hours. Employees who are tardy are less likely to be promoted.

Check Out the Reasons Why You're Late. You may not like the reasons why you're usually running late, but you must face the truth.
  • You're a risk-taker. Admit it . . . you like the thrill of leaving for your destinations at the last minute. You relish the rush of racing down the freeway, using shortcuts and making it to your location at the last second. According to a New York Times article, the risk-taker is also known as a deadliner since he enjoys the adrenaline rush of the sprint for the finish line. Oddly enough, people who are deadliners are also optimistic. They believe they can pick up their clothes at the laundry, make a deposit at the bank, buy groceries and drop off the kids at school in an hour. Now that's optimistic . . . but it's also a set up for being late.
  • You don't want others to control you. Some people grew up in a home where lateness was never tolerated. Now as adults, they're rebelling against authority. They don't want others to try to run their lives by telling them to be on time.
  • You slack off on your organizational skills. There are individuals who cannot pull it together. They have poor organizational skills. They struggle to pull together a schedule and often fail to calculate how long each of their tasks will take. They need help in organizing their lives and their time.
How Do I Stop Being Chronically Late?
  • Decide you no longer want to be late. Spend time figuring out why you're late using the reasons I gave you above. But then start building time back into your life. Leave an extra fifteen minutes early for an appointment and bring a book or an article you can read while waiting for your appointment. Reward your promptness with something you enjoy reading.
  • Clock how long it takes you to do certain tasks. The New York Times claims we often underestimate the amount of time our activities take by 25% to 30%. Therefore, figure out how long it takes you to do your tasks and plan accordingly.
  • Never plan to just be on time, but plan to be early. Build in extra time when you know you'll be in transit because unexpected delays can take place. Plan to get to your destination early, not just on time. Be considerate when you're running late; if you know you are going to be late to a doctor's appointment or to your hairdresser, call ahead to see if they're running late as well. It may remove some stress you don't need to carry.
  • Reward yourself for being on time. Spend time with a book or some to-do items while you're waiting for your appointment.
[John Tesh]

Friday, May 23, 2008

Older Brain Really May be a Wiser Brain

[by Sara Reistad-Long NYTimes.com]

When older people can no longer remember names, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But new research finds that aging adults' brains retain more data, making them better problem solvers...

[click to continue]

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stress is God's Alarm System for Off-Track Life Says Author

[By Jennifer Riley, Christian Post Reporter]

Stress is a sign that a Christian is living a different purpose than God intended, an author says in his new book.

“God uses stress as life’s great alarm system to alert us that we are living outside of our God-given purpose, which is to develop loving relationships,” said Michael Trillo, author of What Does God Really Want: How to Overcome Stress and Live the Promised Abundant Life.

He cites Matthew 22:34-40, where Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all one’s heart, soul and mind, followed by loving one’s neighbor as oneself, as support for his claim that the purpose of a person’s life is to “develop loving relationships.”

Trillo acknowledges that everyone faces difficult situations, but some react by becoming completely stressed out, while others are able to remain completely content despite the circumstances.

“What's the difference? It's their internal state, not their external circumstances, that causes stress,” maintains Trillo, founder of Breakthrough Ministries Worldwide which helps people overcome fear and bitterness to live an “abundant” life.

He says stress when boiled down is caused by fear of a situation and bitterness toward people, which occur when people become separated from God.

“When all is said and done, why is it that Christians are just as stressed as the rest of the world, considering that we're serving a supernatural God?" Trillo asked.

The ministry leader contends that it is because Christians are living for “counterfeit purposes.”

In his book, Trillo explores the root cause of stress, explains the four most common counterfeit purposes, and looks at links between stress and one’s health using medical statistics.

“When we are stressed, society has taught us to: sleep more, eat more, buy more, watch TV, play video games, go to counseling, take medication, take a vacation, etc,” Trillo said. “This is like applying a band-aid to a broken bone. These solutions are temporary at best, each a form of a broken promise – a cheap and temporary promise of relief.”

Trillo urges Christians to overcome their stress by finding their God-given purpose in life.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Christian Counseling

As a general rule, both Christian counseling and secular counseling share the same desire to help people overcome their problems, find meaning and joy in life, and become healthy and well-adjusted individuals, both mentally and emotionally. Most counselors have graduate degrees and have spent years learning their craft.

The word "counseling" can have multiple meanings, including offering advice and encouragement, sharing wisdom and skills, setting goals, resolving conflict, etc. Counselors usually probe the past (whether the problem happened a week ago or during childhood) in an attempt to repair the present. Sometimes they explore possible affects of physical and chemical imbalances that can cause physiological problems. A major part of counseling is resolving and restoring conflicts between people.

Christian counseling is distinct from secular counseling. Christian counseling rises to another dimension. "In contrast to psychologically-integrated systems, Biblical counseling seeks to carefully discover those areas in which a Christian may be disobedient to the principles and commands of Scripture and to help him learn how to lovingly submit to God's will," reports the International Association of Biblical Counselors.

Christian counselors are able to do that because they have an absolute standard by which to measure their objectives and evaluate their counselee's lifestyle. They see the Bible as the source of all truth. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." The secular counselor uses a different standard. They use the latest psychological findings or societal norm. Christian counselors understand that the Bible has a lot of practical wisdom about human nature, marriage and family, human suffering, and so much more. By using biblical concepts in counseling, they can instruct people in the way they should go and also hold them accountable. Psalm 119:24 says, "Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors."

Although Christian counselors often use skills from the field of secular psychology and counseling, they recognize that the Bible is the final authority. "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness" (2 Peter 1:3). A Christian counselor's major strategy is to help their clients substitute biblical truth for error as they go about their day-to-day lives. They know that the truth, when known, believed, and obeyed, sets people free. When people are set free, they are fulfilling their true calling. "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).