Sunday, March 24, 2013

Conflict Resolution Rules (updated)

  • Stick to the problem at hand. Stay focused on the current problem, and don't accuse your loved one of “always" or "never" behaving a certain way. Putting your partner on the defensive is never productive.

  • Get on the same side. Rather than attempting to resolve an issue "my way" or "your way," work toward a solution that represents "our way." Working on a new shared solution is more productive than trying to get your significant other do it your way.

  • Don't be a mind reader and don’t expect your partner to be. Discuss your beliefs and expectations openly. Don't try to interpret your spouse's thoughts or motives from his or her behavior; instead, ask direct questions. Likewise, don't expect your spouse to know what you are thinking. This alone will avoid a lot of fights.

  • Do not move on until you resolve your conflict. Settling arguments takes hard work and can also take time. It is okay to take a break to calm your emotions down and think, but if you haven't reached an agreement by bedtime, put the matter aside with the understanding that you will resume discussion the next day. Don't leave yourself (or your relationship) vulnerable.

  • Avoid name calling or blaming. As you work to resolve conflict, it's okay to talk about circumstances and behavior. However, attacking your partner's personality or character is never acceptable. Use statements like:  “I feel _______ when ________ happens. Could we work together to find a way to solve that?”  If you make it about you, your partner will feel less defensive and more likely to work with you to find a solution.

  • Win the relationship not the argument.  When you are motivated to win the relationship rather than the argument you are much more likely to resolve the argument and not do any damage to the relationship.  

  • Remember that love keeps no record of wrongs. Be quick to forgive, quick to admit your own mistakes, and quick to move on from the conflict. Do not bring up old conflicts or mistakes your spouse has made. Let the past be the past and work to make a better future.

  • Keep your emotions under control. Take a break from the argument if your emotions are at a high intensity. Continue resolving the conflict when you can be calm.  When emotions are too high it is very difficult to solve problems rationally and you are likely to do something you will regret.

  • Each partner should apologize for something. No fight is just one person's fault. There is always something to say sorry for and this can have a very healing effect on your relationship. Use this format to say sorry and MEAN THE WORDS YOU SAY:
    • "I am sorry for_____________. It was wrong and I will try not to do it again."  When saying sorry never use "but" or any excuse.  
      • Ex: "I'm sorry I didn't communicate my hurt feelings in a more respectful way. It was wrong. I will try to do better next time." 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How do you talk to yourself?

Transforming Negative Self Talk With Positive Affirmation

Posted on Mar 14, 2012

Self talk is the internal dialogue within the subconscious mind of an individual. Self talk is the manifestation of our thoughts and beliefs. This habit starts right from the childhood and impacts our various life experiences. Research reveals that 70% of our self talk is negative or self-critical. Negative self talk breeds negative responses and behavior. However, negative self talk habits can be altered for positive changes in life. Positive affirmations are the extraordinary tools to counteract negative beliefs, thoughts and self talk.
A conscious effort must be made to relinquish negative self talk habits and positive statements provide the revitalizing energy. Positive affirmations are the personal short statements that help to derive desired outcomes. They are quintessentially the positive self talks. Our subconscious mind does not recognize the difference between positive and negative thoughts. Thus it can be re-programmed to eliminate negative or self limiting thoughts through feeds of positive statements. Below is a list of positive affirmations that will help you get started. We also encourage you to create your own to be specific to your needs.
•    I love myself for who I am
•    Fear is only a feeling; it cannot hold me back
•    I know that I can master anything
•    Today I am willing to fail in order to succeed
•    I have the strength to make my dreams come true
•    I trust in myself
•    I am proud of myself for even daring to try
•    Today I put my full trust in my inner guidance
•    I grow in strength with every forward step I take
•    I release my hesitation and make room for victory
•    I can do anything I set my mind to do
•    I like myself better each day
•    I am capable and strong
•    I am a winner
•    I am a deserving human being
•    I am able to easily handle any problem I face
Healthy Body
•    I enjoy exercising more each day
•    I choose to eat healthy food
•    Each day I move closer to my ideal weight
•    I deserve a trim, beautiful, fit & healthy body
•    Today I love my body fully, deeply and joyfully
•    My body has its own wisdom and I trust that wisdom completely
•    My body is simply a projection of my beliefs about myself
•    I am growing more beautiful and luminous every day
•    I choose to see the divine perfection in every cell of my body
•    As I love myself, I allow others to love me too
•    Flaws are transformed by love and acceptance
•    Today I choose to honor my beauty, my strength and my uniqueness
•    I love the way I feel when I take good care of myself
•    Today my own well-being is my top priority
•    I state my feelings with confidence
•    I am always treated with consideration and respect
•    I believe in and trust myself
•    I choose to respond to criticism in a constructive way
•    I see criticism as information that empowers me
•    I always feel safe and secure on the inside
•    I graciously accept compliments from others
•    I express my feelings and opinions honestly and openly
•    I have a powerful positive mental attitude
•    I allow others to make their own choices
•    Others may influence my decisions, but the final choice is mine
•    I feel powerful and confident
•    I know that my potential is unlimited
•    My assertiveness enriches my relationships
•    I feel comfortable with the decisions I make
•    My feelings of self esteem are strong
•    My feelings of self worth are strong
•    I have high self confidence
•    I realize I have the right to change my mind
•    I easily achieve my goals
•    I have absolute faith in my success
•    Success in mine to be enjoyed
•    I am successful in all that I do
•    I have everything I need to succeed
•    I am living my dream
•    I am experiencing fantastic success
•    Today I open my mind to the endless opportunities surrounding me.
•    I boldly act on great opportunities when I see them.
•    My intuition leads me to the most lucrative opportunities.
•    An opportunity is simply a possibility until I act on it.
•    Today I see each moment as a new opportunity to express my greatness.
•    I expand my awareness of the hidden potential in each experience.
•    Each decision I make creates new opportunities.
•    I am filled with light, love and peace
•    I treat myself with kindness and respect
•    I give myself permission to shine
•    I honor the best parts of myself and share them with others
•    I am proud of all I have accomplished
•    Today I give myself permission to be greater than my fears
•    I am my own best friend and cheerleader
•    I have many qualities, traits and talents that make me unique
•    I am a valuable human being
•    I love myself just the way I am
•    I love and forgive myself for any past mistakes
•    I look in the mirror and I love what I see
•    I recognize my many strengths

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Defense Mechanisms

Many of us have heard of defense mechanism but aren't really sure what they are or how they apply. At times they can be useful to protect us but often we over compensate and use them to the point of pushing people away. 
  • Denial: claiming or believing that what is true is actually false.
    • At times this can take the form of acting like you just don't know what someone is talking about or claim confusion. Really what is going on underneath the surface is that something triggered an anxiety response and instead of facing it you dodged it with some form of denial. 
  • Displacement: redirecting emotions to a replacement target.
    • An example of displacement is when you have a bad day and come home and kick the dog. Unfortunately this often takes the form of taking your stress out on your loved ones. This particular defense mechanism breaks up many marriages. It is very important to be aware if you are at risk of doing this so you can be proactive about not unintentionally pushing people away. 
  • Intellectualization: taking an cognitive viewpoint.
    • Some people using this to block their emotions. They keep things theoretical or they over analyze something just so they can keep it "heady" instead of emotional. It is a way to protect themselves from being vulnerable. This often hurts relationships because these people don't show their emotions often and it can make their partners feel unconnected. 
  • Projection: attributing your feelings to others.
    • When people use projection it is typically because they are not at peace with what they are feeling. This is done on an unconscious level until you start consciously looking for it. An example of this could be having thoughts of an affairs and then accusing your spouse of cheating on you. 
  • Rationalization: creating false but credible justifications for our actions.
    • Rationalization is a very powerful and dangerous defense mechanism. Once we justify something, we give ourselves permission do it no matter how bad it is. "It's ok for me to be mean because he's been mean to me all week." Some people are pros at rationalizing their actions. This can be very dangerous. 
  • Reaction Formation: overacting in the opposite way to the fear.
    • This is a way we try to convince ourselves to feel something we don't. An example of this would include if you hated your co worker but then went out of your way to be very nice and spend a lot of time with them. It is overcompensating in the opposite way that you feel. 
  • Regression: going back to acting like child.
    • This often shows up in children. In a divorce situation a child who is potty trained may start having accidents or sucking their thumb again. In adults issues you have already overcome maybe become a struggle again in response to a large stressor. 
  • Repression: pushing uncomfortable thoughts or blocking them out.
    • Many people use this defense mechanism. The belief is, "if I don't think about it, it doesn't hurt." The unfortunate thing about that belief is that is just not true. If you do not deal with your emotions they will come out in another way. Examples include head aches, back aches, high blood pressure, anger issues, depression and anxiety. 
Defense mechanism are important to be aware of because often they are harmful to our relationships. We can start by being conscious of them and then once we recognize them we can change them. Defense mechanism often start because of pain or trauma. Don't be afraid to seek counseling to work through past issues that may be contributing to your defensiveness. There is hope in healing. 

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  Objectives:  Participants will gain an understanding of common comorbid diagnoses associated with Autism (ADHD, Depression, and ODD).  Par...