Yes , that’s me stress whining. Lately I have been grousing and grumbling a good deal about my schedule and feeling slightly overwhelmed with my “To Do” List. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have a busy work and social life with much to accomplish, but the way I do stress management is to let off steam by doing a little whining. The question is what do you do to keep it all reigned in?
There are a number of practices recommended by therapists to improve your relationship, all good. A few include making time to talk with your partner (and truly listening when you do), conveying appreciation and affection, managing conflict well, sharing rituals you both have come to expect and look forward to, supporting each other’s hopes and dreams, and having each other’s backs–loyalty. But one practice that goes unheralded, especially in American culture, is touch.
Did you ever find yourself thinking “After I found Mr. or Mrs. Right, I was sure that I would be happy forevermore! Now I wake up and look across the pillow, wondering what in the world I have done to my life. I’m bored. We’re just roommates now.” When this happens, we are often chasing the myth of eternal happiness. We have these ideas about what “should” make us happy. The problem is that we have many false beliefs about that very subject. Science can help us understand what relationship boredom is and how it impacts us.
More and more I realize that there is nothing new under the sun, but how it is said is what makes it new. How you hear it makes it new, and when you hear it makes it new. Whether or not your antenna is up makes it new… or not.
Often that reception is problematic.
Your children are like so much wet cement according to Time Magazine, in that they are impressionable at an early age. Your words and actions make impressions that will ‘harden’ over time and guide their sense of identity. A large portion of our job as parents is to guide, correct and discipline them. While this is all true, it is important to guard how much you discipline (or criticize) in the guise of discipline and how much you praise.
What do you like to do when you travel? My favorite thing on the planet is to visit open air markets in other countries. Sometimes they are primarily food, while others will incorporate crafts and household goods. Recently I visited both a neighborhood market in Hamburg, Germany, and a huge fish market on their harbor.
Sometimes I am so tired of the self-help industry and the imposed expectations it places on us. While reading an interesting article about the differences in shamanic treatments for mental illness that are radically different from the Westernized way, my senses were heightened about the level of expectations in this culture. It is exhausting.
It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Jonathan Evison, author of This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, rites about a time he lived in a trailer park because his grandmother needed a caregiver. He reported being amazed at how these widows would, with great flexibility, adapt to entirely different points of view after their husbands’ deaths.
I bet you wish you could say that and mean it. I say it many times a day, because that is where I work to place my focus.
Commonly attributed to Socrates is the phrase “Know thyself.” Well there are a lot of ways to accomplish that goal. In that context, today I’ll discuss one way today that can help you attain a goal or stick to a new habit you wish to maintain. Gretchen Rubin writes about this in her highly usable book Better Than Before, and it is a construct she created. That is why if it is useful to you, go for it, but if not, then just realize there are other categories out there you may find more applicable to your situation. If there is one thing our brains are designed for, it is categorizing!
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Couples Counseling
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
Free parking at office