Dr. Dale Atkins, PhD Psychology P.C.
Sanity SaversTM and More...
January 2014

Greetings for the upcoming holidays!

In this month's article, Working Too Hard, I discuss how we can each examine our choices regarding how and why we dedicate so much of our time and energy to work and what that means as we examine our whole life.

In Tips for Practicing Kindness, I offer thoughts about ways we can keep kindness in the forefront of our minds and hearts as a way to move through life in an healthy and helpful manner.

Please visit my website, www.drdaleatkins.com for information and updates about my professional interests, thoughts, and engagements. Please contact me directly if you would like me to speak to your group or organization at dale@drdaleatkins.com.

I appreciate you sharing this newsletters by clicking the Send to a Friend button below.

Wishing you health, peace and balance.

Dale

In this issue
  • Sanity SaversTM
    Working Too Hard
  • Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
  • Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips for Practicing Kindness
  • Happenings
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • JUMPSTART
  • A Thought

  • Sanity SaversTM
    Working Too Hard
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    Some pundits are observing that more and more of us are working longer hours. "24/7" may, in fact, be the new "9-5." We each need to examine, within ourselves, whether this applies to us and if so, what is motivating us to work "24/7"? It can be helpful to differentiate between busy work and worthwhile work. We can ask ourselves: "Where is most of our time spent?" "Is our work really productive?" "Is it helping us to achieve our goals?" "What is the culture of our work environment?" "Is there a standard that is set by others that we are trying to reach or are we setting it ourselves?" "Who determines what is too much?" "What are reasonable limits and expectations?" Do we feel guilty if we take a yoga class, have uninterrupted time with our children, read a book for pleasure, go dancing -- WITHOUT checking our mobile devices?

    What may come as a surprise is that when we have this "non-stop work attitude" we are actually LESS efficient (not MORE efficient). Why? Because our brain is often trying to deal with several things simultaneously (multitasking) and we are often interrupted when we try to focus our thinking. This prevents our brain from being the most productive it can be. Interruptions adds to our stress and reduces our ability to stay on task. Our minds jump all over and we forget what we were doing or thinking and our creative and problem solving abilities are compromised.

    Also, many of us do not want to admit that staying connected to work while at home or with friends interrupts and negatively impacts intimacy and relationships. Consciously or not, we send a message about what and who are important. Unless we are ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY ENGAGED IN A MAJOR PROJECT AND CANNOT BE OUT OF TOUCH -- and even then, it is questionable - we need to ask ourselves if we really need to have our smartphone buzzing on the dinner table? Do we really think it is "smart" (or kind, or thoughtful, or nice) to interrupt a meaningful conversation because of a work call? Is it absolutely essential to check emails while pushing our children on a playground swing? We each need to consider what this behavior says about us, our values and our relationships.

    To be efficient in work we need to work hard and then recover -- re-set ourselves -- and avoid being in a constant state of stress. We must have a break; what works well is to take meditation breaks, exercise breaks, breathing breaks, laughing breaks. These breaks contribute to making us MORE focused and on task. When we keep going at high stress levels, without short breaks for recovery, we are likely to burn-out. While working, we are wise to take "break" intervals every couple of hours. This makes a huge difference.

    And then, we need to re-evaluate our life in the context of "turning off work and avoiding "24/7." Only we can figure out how we want to live our lives. We can ask ourselves how we feel about ourselves if we do not work "24/7", we can do things that pay attention to and care for "the rest of our lives." How do our choices and behavior support our values of what is important? We can remind ourselves to be careful that we do not lose perspective on life.

    A high stressed brain isn't able to problem solve, create, or think out of the box. In becoming too exhausted, we forget simple things and pleasures in our lives. We can each take a moment and evaluate where we can make adjustments to live a life that reflects our true values.


    Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit

    Taking Breaks

    Productivity decreases without a break. So why not take three-minute breaks every 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours?

    Start by doing any (or all) of the following:
    Inhale slowly.
    Exhale slowly.
    Stand up.
    Walk around (your chair).
    Gently rub the back of your neck and shoulders.
    Stretch.
    Smile.
    Laugh.
    Sip a glass of room temperature water.
    Shake your arms and legs.
    Look at a pleasant photograph.
    Rub your hands together and place your palms over your eyes.
    Inhale.
    Exhale.


    Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips for Practicing Kindness

    As we begin a new year and think about our goals and resolutions, let's give thought to how we want to start 2014. During the holiday season we see and hear about acts of kindness and generosity. Why not keep these actions continuing through the year as confirmation of "who we are?" Acts of kindness interspersed throughout our day will not only change the way we view the world, but also change the world.

    Consider the following:

    Helper's High. - We can experience a euphoric feeling followed by a longer feeling of calm after performing a kind act because endorphins are released by our brain. This in turn, positively affects the heart and immune system, alters the neural structure of our brain, may serve as an antidote for depression, and can increase our sense of happiness.

    Changing World View. - We look at the world differently when we help others. We train our brain to be alert to being kind, and we see opportunities to be helpful. When we look someone in the eye, smile, spend time, and interact, we feel connected to something larger than ourselves. We are able to see the possible, instead of the impossible.

    Share Your Passion. - Do what you enjoy and love with or for another person-- even if it is your profession! Becker Chicaiza is an accomplished hair stylist who owns a successful salon in Greenwich, CT. He donates his (and his staff's) time and talent to give haircuts to children who are in crisis. Additionally, he designated an entire day of cutting, styling, and coloring his customers' hair so he could donate 100% of the earnings to an organization that is close to his heart: Kids in Crisis. (More about his charitable philosophy in my next newsletter).

    Kindness is Contagious. - If we receive an act of kindness, we are more likely to want to pay it forward. A single act can influence multiple acts.

    Remember this: doing good has a healing power. Even when you watch or hear about other people doing kind things you can be inspired to do acts of kindness. Goodness spurs goodness.


    Happenings

    TODAY Show (NBC).
    Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.

    Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.

    NBC Today Show Helpathon
    January 15, 2014, 7-9AM: Dr. Atkins will be at the NBC Today show studio answering questions from callers.

    I hope you enjoy my recently released chapter, "Family Involvement and Counseling," in the new text, Introduction to Aural Rehabilitation, Second Edition. Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by Plural Publishing.

    I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.

    My sincere thanks to website developer, Barry Brothers, who, along with Carina Ramirez Cahan, brought vision and positive, creative energy to the site. Do take a look at Barry's work here: http://www.thelimulusgroup.com/bb and consider him for your business, development, design and communication needs.


    Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life

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

    A must for any woman seeking to find her balance!

    Once again thank you for continuing to read and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life.


    JUMPSTART

    WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY CRISIS IN THIS COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community corps members to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in year-long mentoring relationships. Jumpstart also partners with families, preschool centers, institutions of higher education, community groups and a variety of other groups and individuals to make certain that every stakeholder in a child's life is working to provide them with a high quality early education.

    Jumpstart's proven curriculum helps children develop the language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late.

    Please help to spread the word about the mission of Jumpstart and the remarkable strides being made in low income neighborhoods every day. If you can, contribute by clicking on www.jstart.org/donate www.jstart.org/donate. Over one million children live below the poverty level in the U.S. This shameful situation must change. Each of us has a responsibility to repair our world. Let us eliminate the 2-year achievement gap that exists between children from low income and those from middle income neighborhoods when they begin kindergarten!

    Visit www.jstart.org to learn more about Jumpstart initiatives - such as Scribbles to Novels - May 10, 2014, We Give Books, and Read for the Record.


    A Thought

    "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give."

    Winston Churchill


    dale with samson

    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:
  • A Practical, Helpful Exploration of the Intimate and Complex Bond between Female Siblings
  • 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.
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • Find out more....
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