Thursday, February 12, 2009

The ABC's of a Great Marriage

A - Accept your partner as he/she is - no strings attached.
B - Be attentive, thoughtful and considerate.
C - Commit yourself and your marriage to God.
D - Date each other regularly and often.
E - Endure the difficult times with a good spirit.
F - Forgive any grievances you may have against each other.
G - Give affection generously.
H - Have fun together. Make wonderful memories!
I - Involve your partner totally in your life. Don't shut him/her out.
J - Journey through life together, looking forward to what's around the bend.
K - Keep the lines of communication open. Always be honest.
L - Listen, really listen to your partner.
M - Make love often.
N - Never gripe about your mate to others.
O - Openly praise your mate.
P - Pray together. The couple that prays together, stays together.
Q - Quit doing stupid things that annoy your partner.
R - Remember to put the lid on the toothpaste tube.
S - Start something new. Don't let your love grow stale.
T - Take time to tune in to each other.
U - Understand that there is ebb and flow in every relationship.
V - V.I.P.! Treat your partner like the most important person in the world.
W - Write love notes.
X - 'Xpress affection and tenderness every day.
Y - Your spouse is God's gift to you. Be thankful!
Z - Zoom! Your marriage will zoom into high gear when you give it your best.

[from Revitalize Your Church by Mark O. Wilson]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Improve Relationships - Do Not Correct Others

Have you ever misspoken, only to have someone correct you right away? Are you thankful that the person cared enough to point out your error to everyone within earshot? Some people just can’t resist pointing out other people’s errors, regardless of who’s present and how minuscule the error is.

I once knew someone that would jump at the chance to correct everyone at every chance he could. From grammatical errors to pronunciation mistakes to misspellings in email messages, this guy couldn’t resist adding his two cents and showing everyone how smart he was and how dumb everyone else was. How did people like this person? They hated him.

You might think that “hate” is too strong a word or inaccurate but it was the word most commonly used to describe this person by the folks who fell victim to his corrective-ness. It goes to show you that 1: people don’t like being corrected in public and 2: this guy would have been much better off just keeping his mouth shut.

From elementary school all the way up through adulthood, I’ve come across people that felt the need to correct others. Some had seemingly innocent intentions while others were excited at the opportunity to show everyone present that they were smarter than someone else. Regardless of their intentions, what they’ve accomplished through their corrections has ranged from ticking someone off to ruining a friendship.

Why people don’t like to be corrected:

First of all, it’s embarrassing to have someone point out your error; especially in front of a group (this is why many people are deathly afraid of public speaking). In many cases, the error is minor enough that most of the people listening didn’t catch it and the ones that did still understood the point. For example, you might be talking about a movie and say that you liked the Ferrari that the main character drove and someone might say “don’t you mean Lamborghini?” As a car fanatic that loves Italian sports cars, I can say that the cars are quite different but in the context of the conversation, everyone gets the point.

If someone was giving directions and said to take Maple Street instead of Oak Street, then that’s a good reason for correcting them. But pointing out in public that someone used incorrect grammar, pronounced a word wrong or said one thing but meant another is tactless – it adds no value to the conversation and all it does is embarrass the speaker.

Why people correct others:

Some people get their kicks and feel powerful by cutting others down so this correction can sometimes be considered a form of bullying. Others are honestly trying to help, but just lack the tact for doing it right. And still others are perfectionists and can’t help themselves. You’ve probably been in group conversations where someone had made the same mistake over and over again. I can think of a few of these such situations where everyone knew the person was making a mistake but still got the point, yet someone in an effort to help the person, pointed out the mistake and therefore embarrassed the person. Is it more embarrassing to realize you made a mistake that some people may have caught after the fact or to have someone point it out mid-conversation so that you know everyone listening now knows you made the mistake? I’d say the latter is much more embarrassing.

How to correct someone:

If it’s something small and there’s no harm done, pretend it never happened. I’ve seen people start to correct themselves but before they could, someone else jumped in to do it for them. So give the person at least a sentence or two to discover and correct the mistake on their own. If they keep making the mistake, then you might want to point it out in private. If the mistake they’re making can cause a problem (such as bad advice or wrong directions), then you can step in right away.

In either case, you want to make sure you handle it carefully. Here are some tips:

Don’t make a big issue out of it. Casually refer back to the conversation and then correct yourself.

Say something like “yeah, I get them mixed up too and people are always correcting me.”

If you have good rapport with the person, make a joke out of it but do so in a delicate manner.

Never be harsh, condescending or say anything that would hurt the other person’s feelings.

Again, with the exception of your own school-aged children (and even then, be polite when doing so), avoid the temptation of correcting people over minor mistakes. We’re all human and we all make mistakes from time to time so treat it the way you’d want others to treat you if you made a mistake.

[from: Overnight Sensation]

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Brain Reacts To Color

A new University of British Columbia study gives some new insight, and maybe your clothing choice of color for tomorrow!

The authors of the study published in the Feb. 5 issue of Science, Juliet Zhu and Ravi Mehta, found that both colors enhance performance, but in different ways, depending on the nature of your task. While the color red tends to be most effective at enhancing our attention to detail, blue works best at boosting our ability to think creatively.

Between 2007 and 2008, the researchers tracked more than 600 participants' performance on six cognitive tasks that required either detail-orientation or creativity. Most experiments were conducted on computers, with a screen that was red, blue or white.

When the participants were given attention-demanding or detail-oriented tasks such as memory retrieval and proofreading, they did best when primed with the color red, by as much as 31%!

Asked to be creative on tasks like brainstorming, they responded best to blue, sometimes producing twice as many creative ideas as when they were sitting in front of the red computer screen.

The colors red and blue influence our behavior sometimes through learned associations. "Thanks to stop signs, emergency vehicles and teachers' red pens, we associate red with danger, mistakes and caution," says Zhu. "People want to avoid those things, and that's why they do better on detail-oriented tasks."

Conversely, blue encourages us to think outside the box and be creative, says Zhu. "Through associations with the sky, the ocean and water, most people associate blue with openness, peace and tranquility," says Zhu. "The benign cues make people feel safe about being creative and exploratory. Not surprisingly it is people's favorite color."

So what can we take away from this? Zhu suggests that people engaged in creative tasks surround themselves with blue, and with red when trying to focus.

That means, if you've got a big day coming up at work or school really needing all your best focused brain power, look in your closet for something red to wear. But if you're trying to compose a poem to a special Valentine this weekend, or present a new major marketing campaign to your boss, then maybe your blue sweater's in order!

[research by the John Tesh staff]

Friday, February 06, 2009

Do You Need An Expert Counselor?

Have you ever had someone approach you as an expert in something? Feels good, even if you demur the attribution.

Occasionally someone makes such a comment to us counselors, “I heard you were the best counselor to deal with -- and so that is why I am here.”

I’ve been counseling long enough to know that while I do know something about some problems, the person giving me this compliment on the first meeting is also signalling me something about their thinking. Generally, they are signalling that that want me to fix their problem. Not always but often they want my expertise to rub off on them with minimal effort of their own. Although that is a good thing to consider when finding the right surgeon and yes you want to avoid incompetent counselors, good counseling is mostly accomplished by the hard work of the counselee. So when you consider what counselor you might need, consider the following:
  1. Is the counselor promoting themselves as expert? Be wary. Experience is good. Identity as expert may not be. Promoting oneself as a “nationally recognized counselor?” Run!
  2. Is the counselor known to be a talker? One who hands out “the 5 secret steps to solve…” Stay away.
  3. Is the counselor known for listening skills? Are they willing to learn? This might be your best shot. Well, it would also be good if they have heard of your problem before too…

[from Musings of a Christian Psychologist by Phil]

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Winter Weather and Your Mood

Probably ever since you were a kid, you associated cold and rain with gloom and warmth and sunshine with happiness. But does weather create the gloomy glooms, or have we simply decided it does? For most of us, it generally is what we've created for ourselves. For others, however, SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a reality. First, let's focus on those of us who have a choice, and are free to make choices that either better our disposition or worsen it.

Researchers have worked for years to confirm a relationship between weather and temperament. No great surprise, most of the studies connect a more depressed mood with high humidity and limited exposure to sunshine, and show that our spirits tend to rise with more time in the sun and higher barometric pressure.

Award winning columnist Rich Maloof writes at about a study from last Fall involving more than 1,200 participants from Germany, most of them women, and which seems to go against prior research! The study's general conclusion was that the average effect of "good" weather on positive mood was minimal. Windy, cool, and darker days seemed to have just a slight negative effect on mood, with many subjects reporting that they felt tired or sluggish.

The study provides an interesting new perspective, but the results were hard to make conclusive - mostly because of a wide range of responses the participants recorded in their journals. What researchers are taking from the study, however, is that people differ in their sensitivity to daily weather changes. Some people's emotions are simply more vulnerable to weather changes than others, and can experience a depressive winter through a string of colder days with less sun. Being more susceptible to this can be the basis of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

And while most of us can take steps to overcome the gloomy mood inclement weather can create, even folks who suffer from SAD can take steps to empower themselves against their emotions being blown in the wind, so to speak!

Ani Kalayjian, Ed.D., R.N., professor of psychology at Fordham University in New York, encourages people to take charge of their feelings. Her self-help recommendations for SAD sufferers are applicable to anyone who wants to put a little sunshine in his or her step. Do things that make you feel good, like listening to uplifting music or reading a good novel. You should look at pictures from a vacation or, even better if possible, take a vacation to a warm place.

And of course, all of the tried-and-true methods of mood improvement and stress management apply as well, including eating well, getting enough sleep and regular exercise, moderating alcohol intake, and meditating, which all boils down to empowering yourself to break through those emotional clouds when they pass through your sunshine!

[Research by John Tesh]