Relationship Dilemma Remedies

A Blog About Solving Common Relationship Dilemmas

8 Ways to Develop a Happy Attitude

Want to be a happier person?  More satisfied with your life?  Able to focus on and enjoy the simpler pleasures?

You can teach yourself how to have a happy state of mind.  Here are 8 habits to develop that can lead to a happier way of thinking.

1.  Practice random acts of kindness.  Doing something for another person can change your thinking from a focus on your own problems to making a difference in someone else’s life.  It can also help put your life in a larger perspective as you recognize another‘s struggle.

2.  Begin a gratitude journal.  Begin a gratitude journal at the end of each day.  As you think back over the day, focusing on the things that you are most grateful for in your life can change patterns of thinking from negative to positive.

3.  Express gratitude.  Talk out loud to others about your gratitude.  Notice the results.

4.  Nurture friendships and social connections.  We “get by with a little help from our friends”.  A great deal of research has shown the connection between connecting with others and lifting depression as well as overall good health.  Find ways to be connected to others.

5.  Identify negative thought patterns and change them as soon as you notice that they are there.  Don’t let negative patterns of thinking take root and grow weeds.  Stop them as soon as you notice that they are present.  Find a replacement thought and then get busy and do something differently.

6.  Learn to live in the present.  You cannot change yesterday.  You cannot truly predict tomorrow.  Don’t lose the joys of today.  Most problems have a way of working themselves out one way or another.

7.  Treat yourself to simple pleasures.  You deserve it.  Pick some flowers and put them in a vase.  Take a nap.  Read a “fluff” book.

8.  Take care of your physical health.  Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, pay attention to alcohol, caffeine and sugar consumption.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | depression, Happiness, Helping self by helping others | 1 Comment

Marriage and Depression

Does depression cause problems in a marriage or do problems in a marriage cause depression?  Answer:  Yes and Yes.

When half of a couple is depressed, the relationship suffers.  Sometimes the relationship suffers and then one of the partners becomes depressed.

Stress in a Marriage When One of the Partners is Depressed

Depression in one person affects those around and involved with him or her.  It touches the quality of each member‘s life, as well as their thoughts about the depressed person and their overall happiness with the relationship.

Those who are depressed are generally apathetic, sad, tired, and negative.  They have little energy for the tasks and pleasures of couple and family life.  Much of what they talk about is negative and even those experiences that might be seen as neutral or positive may become negative when seen through the lens of depression.

Normal responsibilities and relationship tasks are not handled.  Partners and older children often find themselves picking up the slack as they notice what is not happening.  Spouses do a lot of things on their own without the depressed partner.  All of these changes in the family dynamic can lead to feelings of resentment and anger.

Click here to read the rest of the article:  Marriage and Depression.

November 22, 2011 Posted by | depression, depression and marriage, loved one's depression, marriage | 1 Comment

Strategy Number 6: Beat the Holiday Blues by Honoring Rituals

Honor important old rituals and develop new ones. Rituals help promote a sense of well-being.  Old ones can provide a sense of continuity through times of transition while developing new ones aids in accommodating to new situations.

Evaluate which rituals you want to keep and consider developing any new ones that might mark the positive things about you or your life right now.

December 22, 2010 Posted by | family holidays, Holiday blues, loneliness, rituals | Leave a comment

Strategy Number 4: Beat the Holiday Blues by Joining Others

Find a way to be around other people.  Look for groups through your community, neighborhood, church, synagogue or volunteer organization.

You don’t have to be with crowds and, unless you have family, probably not around others with family.

Look for opportunities to connect with others who might be in a situation similar to your own rather than with people who are bonded with others.

Look for others who emphasize the goodness about you rather than what is missing.

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December 16, 2010 Posted by | Holiday blues, holidays, loneliness | Leave a comment

Strategy Number 3: Beat the Holiday Blues by Doing for Others

Do something for others.  Putting your life’s situation in perspective can be helped by recognizing what others are experiencing.  While their situation may not even be as difficult as your own, focusing on someone else and taking the focus off of yourself can be an important mental health antidote for the holiday blues.  Besides, it feels good to help someone else and lift their own burden.

Bake cookies for neighbors.    Adopt a family from an angel tree.  Make some crafts and visit a nursing home.  Invite a niece or nephew to a holiday program.  Consider inviting those without family connections to your home for a holiday meal.

December 9, 2010 Posted by | depression, Holiday blues, holidays, loneliness, lonely | Leave a comment

Strategy Number 2: Beat the Holiday Blues by Setting Realistic Expectations

Have realistic expectations for yourself and your family.

Remember holidays of the past and do not expect this year to be much different.

Remember, you can work yourself into a pretzel trying to make them special, but you have no control over others in your family and they may never appreciate what you do for them.

You may fantasize about your hopes and dreams for the holidays, however, it may only BE hopes and dreams.

Be realistic about yourself and your family as you move into the holidays.  Look for small positive things and focus on them rather than what is missing.

Find ways to create meaning in these holidays for yourself but know that it may not mean the same for others.

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December 7, 2010 Posted by | family holidays, Holiday blues, loneliness, lonely | Leave a comment

Depression and Exercise: Lace Up Those Walking Shoes!

Another article has been written about the benefits of aerobic exercise as an antidote for depression as well as highly beneficial for calming anxiety.

Have you ever noticed yourself and worry?  Certainly, taking a long walk or going for a run or bike ride can calm many a mind.  It has for me!

A friend, Jenny, recently was really struggling with a tough decision in her life.  Her struggle and her worry made her feel depressed.  The depression made it hard for her to even think clearly about what she needed to do with her dilemma.

Someone suggested to Jenny that she enroll in a spin class at their local gym and she did.  Jenny said that it was really hard for her to begin but she found that after a few minutes, she really liked it.

I ran into Jenny about 3 weeks after she began this 3 times a week class and found her to be a much different woman.  She was happier, stronger and moving forward on a very scary journey with an amazing return to her old self-confidence.

We are big proponents of exercise and encourage you to consider adding some to your life.

Want to read more about this?  Here is a link to the Time article.

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June 21, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, depression, exercise and depression | Leave a comment

Loneliness Affects Both Mind and Body

Sharon and Bill do not get along at all.  They rarely spend time together and, when they do, there is not a lot to talk about.

Jeannie lives alone and her job does not involve connecting with a lot of other people.  She recently said that she worries about who she would call if she became ill in the middle of the night.

Tim is divorced, does not have a lot of contact with his family and often finds himself alone on weekends.  To ease the pain, he may drink or smoke pot to cope with the loneliness.

Feeling alone does not always mean being alone but the effect is the same.  A lot of research has shown the effects of feeling alone or lonely on emotional and physical health.

People who feel lonely tend to have higher blood pressure and weaker immune systems according to a report by The University of Chicago’s Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience.

Lonely people also accumulate the negative affects of stress more than those who have friends or family in with whom they can confide or with whom they can spend time.

Some researchers have even said that loneliness can be as detrimental as smoking.  (Science Daily, 2.17.09,  Click here to read more of this article.)

Reaching out to others has a benefit both to the one who reaches as well as the one who receives.

Recognizing and growing relationships that may already be there can reduce the effects of alone time.

We would be interested in your comments about loneliness and what you have done to make a difference in your own life or in the life of another person.

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April 21, 2010 Posted by | depression, loneliness | Leave a comment

Research Shows A Significant Psychological Benefit To Helping Others

We all have heard that there are benefits to helping others.  Now a researcher has shown how effective it can be with her study of patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

Researcher Carolyn Schwartz has been interested in researching the positive benefits to the giver of contributing to others. She designed a research study involving patients with multiple sclerosis.  (“Altruism and Subjective Well-Being: Conceptual Model and Empirical Support,” in Post, Stephen (Ed.). (2007). Altruism and Health: Perspectives from Empirical Research. NY: Oxford University Press.)

In her study, she investigated whether being in a coping skills and educational group benefited patients more than receiving 15-minute monthly active listening phone calls from a person who also had M.S. She wanted to find out which was more effective in relieving symptoms.

Schwartz regularly met with the people who made the calls over the next year and couldn’t help noticing that the callers were doing much better than any of the experimental subjects.

The callers reported 4 times the benefit in areas of alertness, emotional health, feeling connected to others and personal communication.

These patients also were found to have 3 1/2 times more ability to cope with the stress associated with M. S.  They were also 8 times less likely to report depression or anxiety, even when measured 2 years after the study began as compared with the coping skills participants.

Schwartz was surprised by her findings.  She changed her focus and began to study the positive effects of altruism or helping others on subjective and physical well-being. She has conducted many studies and found the same thing, helping others helps the helper.  Giving help is more beneficial than receiving help.

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March 15, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, depression | Leave a comment