Therapy That Works...

Facebook Fridays – Curtis (06/20/14) - By Chris Gearing

Friday, June 20, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia answer Curtis from Facebook's question about long distance relationships - click here.

Curtis from Facebook writes in:

“My girlfriend and I just went long distance after being together for a year. Our relationship is strong, [and] we are best friends as well as a couple. She left 2 days ago and I can’t see her again until Christmas time. Any advice on how to make it work?”

Well Curtis – first, congratulations on finding such a wonderful partner and I sincerely hope that things work out for both of you. Here are some a few tips to keep in mind:

Built On Friendship

Many people forget that a deep and abiding friendship is one of the cornerstones to love. Romance thrives when you genuinely enjoy your partner and have fun when you interact either on the phone or face-to-face. Consider this to be one of your most important strategies to survive and even thrive during the physical separation. There are a million ways to keep your friendship alive when you are away from one another by playing through words and activities. Playing games together online like “Words With Friends,” video chatting through Skype, posting on each others’ Facebook walls, or sharing pictures on Instagram or Tumblr are all great ways to stay connected.

Building Trust

Most people don’t realize that trust is built one interaction at a time. We reinforce trust through staying faithful to one another, but we also show our trustworthiness when we interact with sincere and total focus. Whenever you interact with her, be emotionally present and give her all of your attention. Women find undiluted focus intoxicating. Also, make sure you remain committed to timely answers to texts, emails, or any social media interaction. Even if you’re just explaining that you’re busy right now, she’ll appreciate your attentiveness and care.

Radical Acceptance

Being away from the one you love can be difficult, particularly for long stretches of time. If you find that your stress or anxiety is growing, use a distress tolerance technique called “radical acceptance.” Dr. Marsha Linehan, the inventor of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, invented this technique. Radical acceptance asks you to separate what you can control and what you cannot control. Focusing your attention and efforts on what you can control will calm you down and makes you more confident. Remember that radical acceptance does not ask you to enjoy what is happening. It simply asks you to focus on controllable factors and let go of what is out of your control. Once you can do this, you can focus on what you can do to keep your relationship vibrant and healthy.

Express Yourself Verbally

While actions are very important, there is no substitute for the power of words, particularly for women. Send a poem that you wrote or borrowed from a famous poet that tells her how much you love her or that you were simply thinking of her. Send a loving phase along with a favorite picture of both of you or even a Pinterest board to plan your next vacation. And most important of all, when you talk to her, tell her that you love her and you miss her.

Sources:

The Work of Dr. John Gottman

Men's Issues - Why Some Men Turn To Suicide - By Chris Gearing

Monday, May 12, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss why some men turn to suicide - click here.

Men have a tough time in a world that expects so much of them. In fact, suicide rates for men are four times higher than women. In the last few years, the suicide rates for men in their fifties increased by nearly 50%. Here are a few reasons why men may turn to suicide:

Generational Perfect Storm

The economic struggles of the last decade have been especially hard for men who have the expectation of providing for their entire family, including older children and both sets of elderly parents. When the stress and expense of supporting two generations finally hits, the perfect storm of financial hardship can be devastating for a hard-working man.

Pressure Cooker

Many men were never taught the skills of emotional regulation and control. When they are up against complex problems in life, admitting and processing the emotional fallout from loss and setbacks is more difficult for a man who is supposed to be endlessly strong and stoic. Once the internal pressure becomes too great, they may hurt themselves or others.

Men's Issues - Why Do So Many Men Struggle With Depression? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss why many men struggle with depression - click here.

Men have a tough time in a world that expects so much of them. In fact, suicide rates for men are four times higher than women. In the last few years, the suicide rates for men in their fifties increased by nearly 50%. So why do so many men struggle with depression and anxiety?

Weight of the World

Many men feel as though they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, and they are often reluctant to share their troubles with loved ones.

Lone Wolf

Many men tend to ruminate on what is worrying them, and they feel duty bound to work it out on their own. Depression grows in isolation since we tend to lose perspective and it reinforces our feeling of helplessness. They tend to conclude that nothing they do makes a difference and the worst outcome is inevitable.

Quiet and Strong

Unfortunately, boys and men are frequently told to not talk about what they are feeling. In fact, many boys are actively encouraged to suppress the concerns that haunt them. They don’t learn the language of emotional expression, and they often push their emotional surges down and cover them up. That internalization can lead to negative health effects like higher blood pressure and heart concerns. They don’t have an emotional outlet, and they often resort to vices or distractions to take their minds off their worries.

Men's Issues - Grumpy Husbands & Pessimistic Thinking - By Chris Gearing

Monday, May 05, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss how pessimistic thinking can lead to grumpy husbands - txt to link goes here.

Many wives are perplexed with husbands that are regularly grumpy. They often don’t know how to help their grumpy partners pull out of their negative thinking, and that feeling of helplessness often leads to grumpy wives. Here are some reasons why your man may be so negative:

From Childhood

Most grumpy people don’t intend to be negative. Pessimistic thinking often originates in the thinking habits that many of us develop in childhood. When we used them as children to explain events in our lives to ourselves, they made a lot of sense. As we have become adults, we are still using old explanations for new events. It’s kind of like if you wore the same pair of shoes from your childhood as an adult. The old pessimistic thinking continues to frame events in our lives in a negative, gloomy way.

Hopelessness Cycle

Unfortunately, pessimistic thinking is often reinforced with regularity. When you’re always expecting a bad outcome, you’re going to be right a lot of the time. We stop challenging our negative thoughts and begin to lose hope for our lives. The cycle takes hold and you’re pessimistic thinking begins to downsize your life.

Accepting The Worst

Negative minds tend to give up and just accept the inevitability of a lousy outcome. On a fundamental level, they are convinced that they are ineffective and are helpless to change their lives for the better. They stop trying and settle for what life gives them.

For more information on what you can do to help someone with pessimistic thinking or clinical depression, watch my series on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy on my blog or on our Facebook page.

Psychological Resilience - The Advantages of Mind Over Emotions - By Chris Gearing

Friday, May 02, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss some of the benefits of using your logical mind to focus the emotional centers of your brain - click here.

Here are several advantages of using your logical mind rather than your emotions:

See The Whole Board

Master chess players often remind students that one of the keys to winning at chess is to be aware of the whole board. They know where every piece is on the board and they have a good idea what their opponent will try next turn. When you remain calm and can objectively work through every detail and issue, you have a better chance of solving the problem. You can understand what happened, how it happened and what you might have done differently. Your thinking will remain clear, disciplined, and accurate.

Leading With Focus

If your mind is clear and focused, you are better able to understand and work with those around you. By keeping your emotions well regulated, you can actually hear and understand what other people are thinking and feeling. It’s much easier to maintain order during tough times when you are calm and in control of your feelings.

Two Become One

Research has shown that we are most effective when our logical minds are working hand-in-hand with our emotional centers. By slowing down and remaining calm, our analytical abilities can partner with our emotions to create a new solution that may not have been obvious at first.

Most importantly, positive outcomes generate self-confidence and a belief that you can handle the problems that you face.

Psychological Resilience - How To Strengthen Your Willpower - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss how you can build your willpower and take back control - click here.

One of the most important parts of resilience during tough times is the ability to govern your emotions effectively.

Your emotions can overwhelm your logical mind and you can be swept away by the twists and turns of what is happening around you. The resilient mind is able to focus and redirect your mind away from the cascade of stress and anxiety. Many of us slip into negative emotions with ease due to previous traumas.

In fact once you’ve experienced depression, you’re twice as likely to slip back into depression in the future.

Lets face it though, our minds only have so much firepower. Research has proven that willpower is a limited resource, and we can eventually lose our logical minds and let our emotions take over. Our good judgment can be compromised by immediate, disruptive emotions that distract us from solving the problem.

One of the best things you can do to build resilience is to practice remaining calm, focused, and determined in every day situations.

For instance, many of us begin to lose focus at work or eat unhealthy snacks when we are tired or stressed out. However, your focus and willpower can be strengthened like an athlete builds strength through daily training. By practicing focus and remaining logical on a routine basis, you will be able to calm and focus your mind when you need it most.

Sources:

"Willpower" by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

"Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman

Parenting – How To Discipline Your Child Without Yelling or Spanking - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how you can properly discipline your child without yelling or spanking - click here.

Spanking or emotional abuse through speaking can have a lifelong, devastating impact, especially on children below the age of 10.

Since many children still need discipline and clear boundaries, you must have other options available to discipline your child when you’ve lost your patience. Here are a few suggestions:

Take A Break

If your child has just acted our severely, you may want to put yourself in a time out first. Take a breath and slow down. Your mind will be clearer and you’ll make better decisions if you are calm and focused. Give yourself a chance to calm down for a few minutes before deciding how to discipline your child and potentially overreacting.

You’re The Model

Since your job as a parent is to teach your child how to manage their emotions, you need to make sure your voice is calm and your body behavior is relaxed. Next pick your words carefully and remember to speak respectfully to your child. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach your child how to speak to others without anger or contempt. Angry parents can be very scary and intimidating, and your child is soaking in every word and action from you.

Rewind and Slow Down

One of the best things you can teach your child is how to effectively understand and solve problems that frustrate and upset us. A wonderful way to teach them how to understand what happened is to walk back through what just happened and explain why they are being disciplined.

There are more effective ways to teach and discipline your child than spanking or yelling.

For instance, removal of privileges is a very effective punishment for most teenagers since it restricts their freedom, which is highly valued during these years.

Remember that every time your child needs to be disciplined, you have another opportunity to teach them the attitudes and behaviors necessary for a successful and happy life.

Source:

"Longitudinal Links between Father's and Mother's Harsh Verbal Discipline and Adolescents' Conduct Problems and Depressive Symptoms," by Ming-Te Wang and Sarah Kenny, in "Child Development," 9/13/13

Parenting - Is Yelling the New Spanking for American Parents? - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss the new trend of parents yelling instead of spanking their kids - click here.

Is yelling the new spanking for American parents? Many parents have been warned to not spank their children, so they have turned to yelling as a way to reach their child and correct bad behavior.

But new research suggests that yelling at your child, especially teenagers, can actually make them more resistant to change and better behavior.

Many of us do yell when we are overwhelmed by the moment, and we are often haunted by our words and actions afterward. Rather than resolving the problem and helping our child make a positive change, we make the problem much worse.

Children who are routinely yelled at tend to make one of three choices:

1.) They yell back, which often ends in disaster.

2.) They withdraw into stony silence with resentment brewing beneath the surface

3.) They become silent and anxious while magnifying what happened and the future consequences.

Yelling teaches your child that you are not in control of your emotions at that moment, and it makes them less likely to control their emotions in the future.

In addition, spanking and yelling can increase aggression and resentment, both physically and verbally. Severe yelling or emotional abuse through speaking can have a lifelong, devastating impact, especially on children below the age of 10. Please make sure to watch my next video on this topic – How To Discipline Your Child Without Yelling or Spanking.

Source:

"Longitudinal Links Between Father's and Mother's Harsh Verbal Discipline and Adolescents' Conduct Problems and Depressive Symptoms," by Ming-Te Wang and Sarah Kenny, in "Child Development," 9/13/13

Psychological Resilience – The Steps of Self-Reflection - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss the steps of self-reflection and how you can make sure you're on the right track - click here.

Self-reflection is one of the best strategies to overcome adversity.

Here are some self-reflection strategies that highly effective people utilize to make sure they are heading in the right direction.

Slow Down to Go Further

One of the best things you can do is quiet your mind long enough to focus on what is happening without interference from your emotions or distracting thoughts. When you are in the middle of a major life transition or tragic event, slow down and take stock of where you are. Anxiety makes your mind and body speed up, but it also makes you inefficient in dealing with problems. When adversity hits, take more time to remain quiet and calm. Sleep more, eat well, and exercise regularly. Even slow your speech down and measure your words carefully.

Avoid the Isolation Island

Avoid the tendency to isolate yourself and make a point to see your friends and family. A rough patch is only made worse when you go through it alone. Make sure that you only see the positive people in your life since other people’s negative words and moods are harder to shake especially when you are already going through a rough time.

Give Yourself A Break

Every day, set some time aside to devote a certain amount of time to being still—no screens, no texts, no talking. Breathe deeply and focus on your breath for at least ten minutes. Be quiet and let your mind rest so that you can anchor yourself and be effective for the next play. Even a short meditation session allows your mind to reboot and refresh.

Psychological Resilience – The Value of Self-Reflection - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe why self-reflection is important to your success - click here.

Many of us think that turning inward is something other people do when they have nothing better to do.

Some of us see it as self-indulgent, ineffective, or even a waste of time. However effective self-reflection can be an incredibly valuable first step if you are going through a rough patch. You can’t plan your next move if you don’t understand how you got to where you are today.

To strategically move forward, you must first catalogue the events that brought you to your current adversity, and the decisions you’ve made so far.

Once you have organized the events in your mind, you’ll find that there is less anxiety associated with the event. There is now a clear narrative where there was once disorganized pain. You’ll feel safer and calmer because you will have anchored yourself in the here and now, and you will fully understand that the traumatic events are in the past. You are safe.


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