A note of thanks to those of you who responded to
last month's newsletter about relationships. I really
do value your feedback.
My comments this month reflect what you have
shared with me concerning utilizing your time
and nurturing yourself in nature.
Please pass along this newsletter to
loved ones and colleagues by clicking Send to a
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Wishing you health, peace and
Savor Your Time
Are We Savoring Life?
The word multi-tasking never existed 30 years ago
but everyone nowadays seems to be talking about it
and doing it. We’re all in a hurry trying to make
every minute count as we over-schedule our
calendars, appointment books, and PDAs. Are
we concentrating on the end result too much rather
than “engaging” the process? Is our on-the-go
lifestyle misusing and abusing our precious time so
we forget the value and meaning of “enjoying life”?
Why are we letting work, tasks and chores consume
our every minute rather than taking time for
ourselves and savoring life?
Ask Tough Questions
By asking some tough questions you can craft a life
that you deeply embrace rather than letting it whiz
What do you REALLY want for yourself and your
family? If there’s a problem, can you clearly define it
and foresee realistic solutions? Are you truly fulfilled
when you obtain the things you want?
What would it take for you to be satisfied with
what you have now? What can you do
to show appreciation to whom and what are in
With an understanding and awareness of what is
important to you and your loved ones, you can stop
letting life pass you by and get down to “living.”
Here are some Sanity Savers to get you on
- Recognize the Richness of Each Day –
Little miracles happen each and every day and if we
are open to them, they’ll pop up everywhere. It’s all
in our perception. Even mundane tasks can be turned
into opportunities. Instead of reluctantly paying the
bills each month, use it as lessons in appreciation
(you have the funds to pay for what you use) and
budgeting (feel good that you have a plan for paying
off your debt.) When it’s your turn to drive the car
pool, enjoy the time with your kids and their friends
and learn what’s going on in their lives by listening to
how they converse with one another. A warm
greeting, a sunny day, a kind word and your favorite
song on the radio are all gifts to savor.
- Find the Lesson in Each Day – Life is the
school we each attend every day of the week; find
the lesson in everything you do and experience.
When something goes wrong, use it as a stepping
stone to something deeper. Every situation has the
potential to help us understand ourselves in relation
to the world and those in it. Look at “accidents”
and “mistakes” as experiences from which to learn.
Likely you will one day, be in a similar situation or you
will be in the position to help someone else who is
experiencing the same thing.
- Trust Your Inner Voice – As you go
through your day, be “present” and aware of your
internal responses. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling
this way?” “Is this important?” and “What’s
happening?” By constantly checking in with yourself,
you exercise your intuitive “muscle” and can develop
a reliance on it for decision making. Remember to
pay attention to your own “inner voice” and not rely
solely on other’s opinions or perceptions. What you
should be doing and what is expected of you may or
may not be compatible. Only you will know and can
take steps to do things that feel right for
- Be Happy with Baby Steps – Remember
the cliché “Rome wasn’t built in a day?” Take one
step at a time and be patient with yourself and
others. Sometimes you may take one step back
which can provide a necessary and valuable lesson
so you can take two forward in the future.
- Learn to “Be” instead of “Do” –Feel as
well as think. Seek your balance by taking the time
to be in the moment instead of merely concentrating
on the end result. Commend yourself and relish the
goals already met instead of only focusing on those
not yet attained. Some of your best insights or
accomplishments may be unexpected and never even
make it to your “To Do” list.
- Commemorate Your “Living” Time – Focus
on your feelings and keep a daily journal of your
thoughts. Stay away from a life dominated by
deadlines and schedules. Give yourself a gift and
from time to time, forget the day, month or year by
removing your watch. See what it is like to
be “free” from time.
- Be Grateful – Be thankful for every
person, place or situation you encounter. Be sure to
express your gratitude to others and put words of
thanks into your daily repertoire. As we age, time
becomes more precious; be grateful you have time to
live your life.
- Set a Positive Theme for Each Day – No
matter what you are doing, you can start and end
each day on a good note by concentrating on what
you will (or did) encounter and what you've learned.
Even when life throws you great challenges, find
ways to understand the underlying meaning in what
appears to be
so “negative”. All of life is about change,flow,and
balance. Some of us do better than others at
that there are “silver linings” hiding under dark
|Happening in March
times of upcoming segments to be posted on Dr.
Naomi's New Morning (Naomi Judd)
The Hallmark Channel
Date and time to be announced
on Dr. Dale's
92nd Street Y (NYC)
March 15, Wed., 7:00 -
Getting Older With Grace and Style:
Looking Good Feeling Good
Be in Nature
I recently visited a friend who is extremely ill and is in
the hospital. Fortunately her bed was next to a
window and although there was a building right next
door, she could see the sky. She said that everyday,
when she woke up, she needed to see the sky to
remind her of the vastness of the universe and that
her spirit would soon be free.
Nature Helps Us Relax
Often what I do is help people relax and discover a
place of calm and serenity within themselves. One
very effective way to accomplish this is to visualize
bucolic scenes from nature. As my friend
experiences, it is the feeling of freedom that we get
from nature that allows us to let go of our stress and
worries if only for a few moments. Each of us is able
to internalize the positive aspects of nature and go
to that peaceful place in our head. But there is
nothing like the real thing.
Whether you need to “get away”, “be alone”, “regain
your footing”, “see a different
perspective”, “recharge your batteries”, or “express
your feelings” there is nothing that comes close to
the healing power of being in nature. If you are
trying to figure out a solution to a problem, being in
nature can help. Relax, challenge, restore, learn, gain
perspective and receive comfort, support, inspiration
and motivation. Even if you are not the “outdoor
type” give it a try. Nature nourishes your soul.
Where to Start?
A walk in the park. A hike through the woods or
sitting on a rock at sunset at the beach. Be quiet
and allow yourself to be receptive. Be open. Open to
what? To the sounds, the sights, the smells, the
textures all around you. Sometimes, when you are
dealing with a particularly troubling issue, ask a
question and then just observe what comes to you
as you notice (really notice) what is in front of you.
Time means something different in nature. Sometimes
it stands still while other times it is fleeting. Notice
plants and trees that take years to grow. Pay
attention to flowers or butterflies that are only
around for days.
TIPS for Engaging with and in Nature:
- Connect with Nature Every Day - Not
just watching from your window. Go into a natural
setting. A park, riverside, mountain, lake shore,
beach. Be in fresh air and pay attention to the
- Engage All of Your Senses - See, hear,
taste, smell, and taste. Walk barefoot in fresh cut
grass, along a sandy beach, on stepping stones. See
what if feels like to become grounded and connect to
the earth. Feel, and listen to the wind. Focus on
subtle changes as if you are looking through a
camera lens. REALLY look. Notice the variations of
the shades of green in the forest, the hues of blue in
the sky. Observe both the majestic and the
- Know Your Place - Be in awe of the
the plants, the rock formations. See how nature
portrays the cycles of life and death. We plant,
harvest and then replant. Experience the withering of
winter and the rebirth of spring.
- Turn Off the “Plugged in World” –
Concentrate on the silence as well as the sounds of
the natural world. Listen for the rhythms of the wind,
birds’ songs, water splashing on rocks and the
sounds of rustling leaves.
- Appreciate the Seasonal Changes – The
ultimate balancing act is performed by Mother
Nature. She tries to stay in balance no matter what
is thrown her way (quite literally as people continue
to pollute). Learn from her. When you are confronted
by many situations, how can you be resilient and still
notice where the sun shines? Study, learn, and be
Also Use Nature Metaphors
Visualize your life as a flowing river. What can you
learn? Is it rushing or trickling? Are there paths that
have been forged due to the constancy of the same
flow or are there new paths that have formed
because of a storm or a fallen tree? What
obstructions interrupt the flow? What obstructions
have interrupted your flow? Is the river dammed or
has it created a new stream?
OR put yourself in the forest. If you are saddened
over losses and feel adrift, allow the trees to
embrace you with their strength, their power, and
their roots. There is life; constant, regenerative life.
Learn what you need to do to restore your own
power and recharge your life while keeping the
memory of the loss within you.
OR walk up a mountain. Keep your eye on the
summit. Remember the value of stopping and looking
around to notice how far you have come on your
journey. Bring enough supplies so you maintain
yourself along the way. Stop to rest and commend
yourself for your resilience. Shift your pace; adapt
your clothing as you feel you must. Approach the
mountain with respect. It is your partner in your
Nature Maintains Your Balance
Some paths are open, sunny and welcoming. Others
are shaded and somewhat scary. Look carefully
underneath the shadows and see what grows.
Realize that even in the darkest places there is life.
What do you need to do or say to yourself along
your own path to keep your inner strength and
fortitude? Life is filled with the dark and the light.
Appreciation of the balance is what allows us to keep
balance in our daily lives.
When a man knows the solitude of silence, and feels
the joy of quietness, he is then free from fear and he
feels the joy of the dharma.
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and media commentator who appears
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience as a relationship expert,
focusing on families, couples, parenting, aging well
and stress management.
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
SistersFrom the Heart:
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
How to Overcome
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works
Now in Paperback!