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Sanity SaversTM and More...
May 2008

Greetings!

There is no denying the magnificence of Spring's arrival. Take a look around and notice the blossoms, the colors, the scents, all reminding us of the possibilities in our own life of the magic of rebirth, growth and renewal.

In Spirituality During Illness, I focus on the practice of spiritual practice of self-discovery and self-acceptance in the midst of an illness. By allowing yourself to be open to this process, illness can be instrumental in transformation.

In this month's tips, Discuss for Resolution Instead of Fighting to Win, I discuss the importance of couples fighting fair and ways to avoid the ugly side of arguments so that your relationship can grow into a wonderful union.

Once again thank you for helping to get the word out about Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life.

Check my website, www.drdaleatkins.com for updates on my appearances related to my newest book, Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life. For those of you with wedding related questions, please see my column on WeddingChannel.com at: www.weddingchannel.com/ui/buildArticle.action?assetUID=90252&s=84&t=71&p=106184112&c=90252&l=137006. And if you would like me to speak to your group or organization, please contact me directly at dale@drdaleatkins.com or contact the Speakers' Bureau at HarperCollins.

I appreciate you sharing this newsletter with your friends, loved ones and colleagues by clicking Send to a Friend button below.

Wishing you health, peace and balance.

Dale

In this issue
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
    In Bookstores!
  • Sanity SaversTM
    Spirituality During Illness
  • Happenings
  • Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
  • Sanity SaversTM TIPS
    Discuss for Resolution:
    Instead of Fighting to Win
  • A Thought

  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
    In Bookstores!
    SS Book Cover

    SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to Live A Balanced Life is in bookstores and is filled with suggestions to save your sanity every day of the year.

    A must for any woman seeking to find her balance!


    Sanity SaversTM
    Spirituality During Illness

    In times of illness, particularly a prolonged illness, people often have a difficult time adjusting to the significant changes this can bring in their lives. Old familiar habits that shaped the routine of daily life may become more challenging, adding to the despair that can accompany any chronic illness.

    When we are ill, our energy levels may noticeably decrease. Yet, in an era when productivity equates personal worth, we may feel frustration and disappointment with our ability to live up to the work ethic of our earlier lives. We may also compare ourselves with others and feel guilty when we conclude we have not accomplished much while dealing with our illness. This can lead us to overextend ourselves, possibly inhibiting our healing process.

    It is at these times that we must take the time to readjust our focus on accepting who we have now become. When you find that you are comparing yourself to others, or against what you used to be able to do, stop yourself. Instead, tell yourself that for now, there is a new standard and you are learning to adapt. This will help you to accept where you are now. Self-acceptance could lead you to feel a significant relief of pressure, and a renewed sense of gratitude and contentment.

    Your spiritual journey during illness can begin with simply beginning to notice what feelings come up when you think of not being able to work or accomplish projects because of illness. Are you comparing yourself to others, ill or not? Do you view your personal worth diminished as a result of these comparisons?

    Illness is about adaptation to change and acceptance. There is great opportunity for spiritual growth. When you focus on healing and doing what you need to do to find your spiritual center you will likely develop resilience and strength that you did not know you had.


    Happenings

    TODAY Show (NBC)
    Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated listings.

    New York Institute for Psychotherapy Training in Infancy, Childhood and Adolescence
    May 7th: 7:30PM: Sanity Savers: Tips for Parents to Live a Balanced Life
    55 Central Park West, New York, NY

    Harmony with No Limits 3rd Annual Gala
    May 10th: 6:00PM: Honoree of Spirit of Leadership Award
    Santa Monica, CA
    Info at www.harmonywithnolimits.org

    UJA Federation of Greenwich Annual Spring Luncheon
    May 14th: 11:00AM: Speaker: Saving Your Sanity: Reminders for Jewish Women
    Greenwich, CT

    Cosmopolitan Magazine
    May 2008 issue: Guest Relationship Expert





    Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit

    Savoring Something We Take For Granted

    It is easy to overlook the common things of our daily lives, rushing from moment to moment. Only when one or more of these common things is no longer in our lives do we notice their absence, belatedly appreciating them. We may rush our meals, not taking the time to enjoy the taste of what we are eating, or cut short private time with family and friends, assuming they will be there tomorrow.

    Today, slow down one aspect of your daily activities and savor the experience found in just one of the many common things you do.


    Sanity SaversTM TIPS
    Discuss for Resolution:
    Instead of Fighting to Win

    Relationships should be a safe place. Nobody wants to reveal themselves if they know they will be hurt or attacked. If you are afraid of your partner or what he or she will say then you need to learn conflict resolution skills. It is important to listen with an open heart instead of defending yourself, and to give feedback about what was said to you before you respond. This way, you MUST listen to your partner and AVOID focusing on your response. Give up the need to rebut or offer a flip retort. While your partner is talking, listen wholly. When you respond, offer back what you heard in a kindly manner and then respond so you are sure you heard what he or she said both in words and feeling.

    Realize that conflict is normal. Everyone has strong feelings about some things, and your partner can't be expected to know what's really important to you from the day you meet. Further, the most common issues couples argue over are money, in-laws, chores, children, and sex. We all know from experience that many men and women communicate in different ways. And what we learn very quickly when we are in intimate relationships is that men and women from different families communicate in even more varied ways. It is part of the challenge in relationships to understand HOW and WHY your partner's style is what it is.

    Keep in mind that conflict can be very productive if it leads to resolution, but harmful if it leads to continued resentment. Conflict sometimes lets us know what's really important to our partners, and hopefully why. Resolving conflict is one of the ways that you and your partner reveal your strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities to each other. If you fight wisely, you learn to rely on each others' strengths, compensate for your weaknesses, and protect your vulnerabilities. Thus, you can't learn "not to disagree" since that is impossible. You can, however, learn how to fight (dare I say, DISCUSS?) productively.

    Here are some suggestions for arguing in constructive ways:

    • Think about what you want to say BEFORE you get into an argument. - Plan the points that you want to make. Know what you want to say before you begin so your thoughts are organized and focus on only one topic. Don't bring up your laundry list of grievances; it will only bring your partner's defensiveness and get you off topic.

    • Don't Overwhelm Your Partner - Try to modulate your voice. Bringing it down instead of up can have a positive effect both on the discussion and on the relationship. You don't have to be overbearing or try to raise your voice or insult or intimidate your partner to get the point across. In fact if you do these things, you are likely to alienate your partner and move further away from resolution and intimacy.

    • Listen as Much as You Talk - In an argument, people want to say their peace, and it's much more difficult to listen to the other person but just as key for a good discussion.

    • Walk away When you Feel You are Going to Lose it - Take responsibility for your own reaction and suggest that you table the discussion for 10 minutes or 1 hour or 1 day so you can gather your wits and think about what is going on. If you do this you are less likely to say and do things that you will regret AND you will be more likely to be approachable and sensible. Just remember to tell your partner what is going on (don't just storm out of the room) and to come back to the conversation with a fresh eye and ear.
    • Seek Professional Help - When it feels that it's getting beyond the individual argument and it's affecting your life, your children's lives, your social life, your work life, and now, your health, it is important to consult with a trained counselor.

      Before you jump into blaming and judging your partner, stop and take a moment to breathe. Ask yourself if making your partner wrong will drive you further apart or move you closer toward healing the rift. Open your heart to understanding the dynamics of what's going on between the two of you. Understand the full story before you start making someone wrong. So often we assume to know what is in someone's heart and we really don't. Take the time to find out!


    A Thought

    "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, for they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

    Simone De Beauvoir


    DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, lecturer and commentator in the media who appears on the Today show.

    She has more than twenty- five years of experience and focuses on living a balanced life, parenting, aging well, managing stress, life & work transitions, family connections and healthy relationships.

    Dr. Atkins is the author and/or co-editor of several books including:

  • Sisters
  • From the Heart:
    Men and Women Write Their Private Thoughts about their Private Lives
  • Families and their Hearing-Impaired Children
  • I'm OK, You're My Parents
    How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that Works
  • Wedding Sanity Savers
    How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day.
  • And her new book . . .

  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • .

    Find out more....
    Quick Links...

    DrDaleAtkins.com

    BloomOnLine.com
    Dr. Dale's Sanity Savers for a Balanced Life

    KathleenDaelemans.com
    Dr. Dale's Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Advice

    WeddingChannel.com
    Dr. Dale's Wedding Advice

    Contact Us

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    I'm OK
    You're My Parents
    How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works

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