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The Platinum Rule: How to Enrich Your Intimate Relationships

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Platinum is a symbol of true love, purity, rarity, and strength. These qualities of platinum are equivalent to the ideals of eternal true love, something couples strive for in their relationships.

We all want to connect in our intimate relationships, yet most of us have difficulty holding ourselves back when partners voice their frustration. Most people respond either by offering words of reassurance, try to solve the problem, or worst offer constructive criticism.

If you use one of the methods above, you wouldn’t be surprised if I say your partner’s response is not the one you might have been expecting. Your “help” might have not have landed the way you expected or had the effect you intended. Most people respond by feeling more irritable or frustrated than they were before they even shared their concerns.  

Working with numerous couples struggling in their relationships, I’ve learned empathy towards one another works best to build on intimacy and get more out of the relationship. First, I ask couples to commit to empathy before they verbally engage. As a relational therapist I lead with empathy in the room and then ask couples to use the same method and see how the partners respond.

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Not that starting out with words of empathy, understanding and compassion will always work. There are times when nothing can. But particularly in troubling situations where the startup is likely to determine the outcome, there’s no safer way to open a discussion than seeking to genuinely “participate” in your partner’s state of mind. This is most effectively accomplished through accurately identifying with their feelings, whether they’ve been overtly stated or implied by language, facial expression, and tone of voice.

When your partner experiences that you’re sincerely making an effort to grasp where they’re coming from, the odds that they'll be more receptive to where you’re coming from. The strong desire to feel understood and non-judged increases emotional intimacy and connection in the relationship.

Healing  yourself  heals the relationship.

Healing yourself heals the relationship.

Managing Anxiety Through Biofeedback

Managing Anxiety Through Biofeedback

Everyone has anxiety from time to time, but chronic anxiety can interfere with your quality of life. While perhaps most recognized for behavioral changes, anxiety can also have serious consequences on your mental and physical health. Biofeedback focuses on often hidden indicators of prolonged or inordinate stress an anxiety by regulating Autonomic Nervous System and treating anxiety and stress caused by the ongoing activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System .

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder? Emotional and Physical Manifestations

It’s the thinking, thinking, thinking, dwelling, dwelling, ruminating, ruminating, and inability to shut the mind off.

“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” ~Jodi Picoult

“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” ~Jodi Picoult

Generalized anxiety disorder is a relatively common anxiety problem, affecting 3-4% of the population that turns daily life into a state of worry, anxiety, and fear. Excessive thinking and dwelling on the "what ifs" characterizes this anxiety disorder. As a result, the person feels there’s no way out of the vicious cycle of anxiety and worry, and becomes depressed about life and the chronic state of anxiety they find themselves in.  Generalized anxiety usually does not cause people to avoid situations, and there isn’t an element of a "panic attack" involved in the prognosis, either.

Emotional Manifestations

Feelings of worry, dread, lack of energy, and a loss of interest in life are common in general anxiety. Many times there is no "trigger" or "cause" for these feelings and the person realizes these feelings are irrational. Nevertheless, the feelings are very real. At this point, there is no "energy" or "zest" in life and no desire to want to do much.

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.” ~Anais Nin

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.” ~Anais Nin

This emotional fear and worry can be quite strong. If a loved one is ten minutes late, the person with generalized anxiety fears the very worst -- something’s dreadfully wrong (after all, they’re ten minutes late!), there’s been an accident, the paramedics are taking the person to the hospital and his injuries are just too critical to resuscitate him....."Oh, my God!.....WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?" Feelings of fear and anxiety rush in from these thoughts, and the vicious cycle of anxiety and depression runs wild.

Some people with generalized anxiety have fluctuations in mood from hour to hour, whereas others have "good days" and "bad days". Others do better in the morning, and others find it easier at the end of the day. These anxiety feelings and moods feed on themselves, leading the person to continue in the pattern of worry and anxiety -- unless something powerful breaks it up.

“If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression,addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.” ~Brene Brown

“If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression,addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.” ~Brene Brown

Physical manifestations 

The physical manifestations of generalized anxiety may include headaches, trembling, twitching, irritability, frustration, and inability to concentrate. Sleep disturbances may also occur. Elements of social anxiety and/or panic may sometimes be present, such as high levels of self-consciousness in some situations, and fear of not being able to escape from enclosed spaces.

It is also common, but not universal, for people with generalized anxiety to experience other problems, such as a quick startle response, a lack of ability to fully relax, and the propensity to be in a state of constant motion. It is difficult for some people with generalized anxiety to settle down enough to have a quiet, reflective time where they can calm down, relax, and feel some peace and tranquility. Strategies to peacefully calm down and relax are one part in overcoming this problem.

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fearof the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fearof the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

What Causes General Anxiety?

Normal life stresses aggravate generalized anxiety. The person who typically performs well at work and receives a sense of accomplishment from it, all of a sudden finds that work has become drudgery. If work is perceived as a negative environment, and the person no longer feels fulfilled, then considerable worry takes place over these situations. As a result, the anticipatory anxiety about going to work can become quite strong.

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

How It is Treated ?

Generalized anxiety has been shown to respond best to cognitive-behavioral therapy, an active therapy that involves more than just talking to a therapist. In CBT, the person gradually learns to see situations and problems in a different perspective and learns the methods and techniques to use to alleviate and reduce anxiety. Sometimes medication is a helpful adjunct to therapy, but for many people it is not necessary. Research indicates that generalized anxiety is fully treatable and can be successfully overcome over the course of about three to four months if the person is motivated and works toward recovery.

Generalized anxiety must be chipped away from all sides and that is what CBT is designed to do. No one has to live with generalized anxiety disorder.  Treatment for GAD has been shown to be both effective and successful.

Please seek a therapist who understands anxiety and the anxiety disorders. Remember, that just because a person has a degree behind their name, does not mean they understand and can treat an anxiety disorder. Feel free to ask questions of any professional and make sure your therapist understands and knows how to treat generalized anxiety. It is usually a good idea to see a specialist in this area because they have a practice that is geared toward the anxiety disorders.

Feeling depressed? 7 Facts About Depression Treatment

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Depression is something we all can experience, however if we don’t attend to some of the symptoms it can turn into a Major Depression and it can be a devastating—even life-threatening—condition.

Thousands of studies have examined what works in restoring hope and vitality. I've compiled 10 important facts about depression treatment, based on the latest research.

1. Psychotherapy, in particular Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medication are equally effective in treating depression. Medication can help with severe depression even as much as CBT. 

2. Chronic and more severe depression responds better to a combination of medication and therapy. It can be more effective than meds alone, and medication adds additional benefits for those receiving weekly psychotherapy. For mild, non-chronic depression, therapy sessions typically work as well as the combination—and avoids the additional time, effort, cost, and side effects.

3. CBT is not the only type of talk therapy that works well in treating depression. There's growing evidence that short-term psychodynamic therapy is helpful as is a more general type of treatment called “ non directive supportive therapy.”

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4. Movement can release a lot of anxiety and tension in the body when youre feeling depressed. It doesn’t need to be rigorous exercise. A simple 30 minute walk can be a powerful antidepressant treatment. Researchers have found benefits of walking, jogging, running, resistance training, and other forms of movement.

5. Healthy eating may be an effective way to relieve depression based on a study from earlier this year. Educating people about better eating habits including increasing awareness of your choices could lead to big reductions in depression. Participants in the study were advised to increase consumption of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, healthy fats, and lean proteins, among other foods; and to reduce heavily processed and sugary foods, as well as alcohol.

6. Fewer relapses are supported when continuing psychotherapy services and practice the tools learned in treatment. Learned interventions such as “"aimed at cultivating positive feelings, positive behaviors, or positive cognitions” can relieve depression symptoms.

7. Mindfulness and its practice prevents depression relapse, particularly among those with 3 or more episodes of depression. Those who practice mindfulness skills were 34 percent less likely to relapse an effect that's comparable to staying on medication for depression.

Is it time today to take a step toward getting help? Maybe you have a loved one who's been struggling with depression. Consider talking with that person about looking into treatment options. Or perhaps you've been thinking about treatment yourself, and even have a recommendation for a provider from someone you trust but haven't yet made that call. Why not reach out right now? 

The information here is not intended as medical advice—talk to a healthcare professional you trust if you or a loved one needs help with depression.