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

Greetings for the upcoming holidays!

In this month's article, Choose Calm and Carry On, I discuss how helpful it is to our health and to the health and well-being of those around us to resist exploding in what we initially perceive may be a crisis.

In Tips for Making Your Relationship Stronger, Healthier, and Happier, I offer thoughts on the value of keeping your relationship alive and positive; whether or not it is Valentine's Day.

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
    Choose Calm and Carry On
  • Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit
  • Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips for Making Your Relationship Stronger, Healthier, and Happier
  • Happenings
  • Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
  • JUMPSTART
  • A Thought

  • Sanity SaversTM
    Choose Calm and Carry On

    When we are in a long line that isn't moving, stuck in traffic, or in a waiting room, watching the hours "fly" by, it can be helpful to notice our immediate reaction. Do we stay calm, feel "our blood boil" as we blame someone, or begin cursing our (bad) luck?

    Part of our reaction is due to our "nature", and part is what we have "learned" to do, often from watching others in a similar situation.

    Some of us are more anxious than others when something unexpectedly disappointing happens. We immediately react by going into a "terror" response - in addition to seeing how inconvenienced we are, how unhappy we are, how "stupid" the person responsible for this is, everything awful that could happen as a result of this disappointment or inconvenience flashes before our eyes (and courses through our body). It is at this point where we have a choice to calm ourselves and look at the situation differently. We can recognize what is happening, as well as "process", and say to ourselves: "I've been here before. What can I do that will be HELPFUL?" The key is to stay mindful in this present situation.

    Some of us, generally those of us who are more optimistic by nature, look towards possibility. Instead of focusing on what is SURE to be a terrible outcome, we begin to see there is a way out that is positive. We wrap our minds around making that happen.

    So, if we aren't one of the optimists sailing through life, how can we manage to calm ourselves down when we lose our cellphone or encounter a delayed flight after we have broken all records racing to the airport? We can begin with focusing on our breath. Rather than chastising ourselves for misplacing something, we can get out of "panic" mode by breathing deeply, thus reducing our momentary stress. This gives us space to move into "problem-solving" mode. A stressed mind won't keep us in the present situation. It keeps us in the fear and worried and regret mode. It prevents us from seeing and exploring alternative solutions that are responsible and safe. If our flight is delayed due to a storm, and no flights are leaving the airport, there may not be much we can do about that. But we can choose how we interpret the situation and what our attitude will be as we do the inevitable -- wait for another flight. We can seize the opportunity to listen to a podcast, catch up on e-mails; call a friend and have a long overdue conversation; breathe deeply to help slow down our physical body to get out of that high-stress place in our mind and our body.

    What is important is to remember that we have a choice.


    Sanity SaversTM
    A Good Daily Habit

    Do Something for Someone with No Expectation of Acknowledgment or Appreciation

    Giving without expectation can positively change the way each of us experiences life. It can enhance our personal awareness and allow us to see others as independent of who we are in their lives. As a result, we can feel increasing levels of compassion and gratitude because the entire encounter is without expectation, or need for recognition.


    Sanity SaversTM TIPS

    Tips for Making Your Relationship Stronger, Healthier, and Happier

    With Valentine's Day arriving this month, and New Year's Eve recently behind us, why not resolve to turn your relationship into one that you are consciously making more exciting and happier?

    Try these tips:

    Shared Memories to Lighten Up. - When we make time to sit down with our partner (without cell phones in hand) and share stories about how we first met, we generally bring ourselves to a place of harmony. We can then share with our partner a quality about him or her that always makes us smile. Doing both of these things can help us get back in touch with the happy side of our relationship. Sometimes, over time, we get into a groove of focusing on the serious matters and don't spend time on the things that bring joy and levity to our relationship.

    Take Responsibility. - We each need to take responsibility for our own behaviors, actions and words. If we want to get into better shape, accomplish specific tasks, or work on a project, it is up to us to designate a specific time to do it. We need to look at our calendars and select a date night that is a night for fun. If we wait around for our partner to do it, it may never get done and we can feel resentful. We need to see ourselves as being partners, on the same a team, working toward the same goal.

    Respond in a Way That is Good for Your Partner. - When we examine our behaviors we can put into place small but important changes that will help our partners feel appreciated, noticed, loved, valued and supported. When we really think about what is important to our partner, we can respond appropriately. We may not be someone who likes to hear a compliment but our partner thrives on it. We need to remind ourselves that this is NOT about us but about our partner.

    Increase Empathy For Each Other. - When we are moving into a space where we feel critical, resentful, angry or judgmental, instead of following that path (and telling ourselves in our head why we have the right to feel this way) we can practice kindness, compassion, and empathy. When we attempt to switch places with our partner and imagine his or her perspective or state of mind or experience, we can look at them and the situation with a more compassionate heart. Showing our partner empathy can prevent misunderstandings and disagreements.

    Seize The Moment. - We can avoid "settling" for a relationship where things are just OKAY. Sometimes we get lost in the day to day and forget about delving deeper into nurturing the love we once felt for our partner. Passion and interest and excitement and fun can be re-ignited. Create and seize moments to try new things together, practice healthy behaviors and rekindle your love for each other. We can each be mindful about doing something good for each other and the relationship every day.


    Happenings

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

    February 20, 2014, 10AM hour: Don't Get Crazy As You Plan Your Wedding.

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

    Greenwich Round Table
    February 9-10: Moderator
    Mayflower Inn, Washington Depot, CT

    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 13, 2014, at Cipriani Wall Street. Laura Schroff, author of An Invisible Thread, will be our featured guest.


    A Thought

    "Action expresses priorities."

    Mahatma Gandhi


    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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