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Finding “ME” in Meditation

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Living in a society where we are all required to do more, sleep less, perform better, get richer, and find room for others, it’s hard to find the “me” in much of anything. So much of daily living is performing. Where our minds are constantly racing to the next thing. Sleep is interrupted by alarm clocks and delayed by late nights. No matter what the reason, whether it’s family, work, or school, it seems there is not enough time in the day.

Reports of declining mental health is increasing in depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and addiction. The big question is: How to cope? Is it really possible to find time for “you?” To build a way to relax, think, and rejuvenate without any artificial replacements.

I say, absolutely! The way to finding “me” is through ME-ditation.

Meditation is defined as many different things. Marsha Linehan defines mediation as the ability to open the mind and acknowledge thoughts and senses, without showing judgment or analyzing, while embracing the unknown, through daily practice.

The benefits of meditation far out weigh any screen time on a smart phone. From decreasing depression, lowering anxiety, decreasing heart rate and blood pressure, improving relaxation skills, potential to improve sleep, and finding spiritual connection. It’s also used in addiction recovery. The biggest evidence is that it improves emotional intelligence!

John Cabot Zin outlines the ABC’s:

A-Awareness: Becoming more aware of the mind and body. Thinking and doing.

B- Breathe: Allowing yourself to be with your experience. Create your story without reacting or responding. This can create compassion for yourself and others.

C- Compassion: By creating pause between the experience and our reaction we can make wiser choices.

Research is beginning to show that mindfulness and meditation increases our emotional intelligence, and the way we monitor the emotions in others and ourselves.

The beginning to meditation is as follows:

*Acknowledge you need “me” time.

*Slow down

*Find a quiet space

*Sit or Lay down

*Put your hand by your side

*Relax

*Clear your mind

*Listen

*Close your eyes, or try a sleepy gaze

*Breathe in through your nose for 5 counts

*Pause or hold for 5 counts

*Exhale through your mouth for 5 counts.

*Repeat

*Practice Daily.

If thoughts come into your mind during your exercise, sweep them from your mind. Be aware of your body and sensations. Focus on the your breathe. Feel the air in your nose or mouth as you inhale and exhale. Acknowledge what you hear or smell. Feel your body relaxing. And breathe. Start with 5-10 minutes daily. The key to prolonged benefits, is to practice, practice, practice. If you fall asleep during your exercise, that’s good! You need it!

If you enjoy this simple meditation, seek out our trained therapists to deepen meditation skills and other powerful approaches to mindfulness.

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4 Tips to Surviving Divorce

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So your marital relationship with your spouse has ended, and you’re probably reeling from the aftermath, wondering how you’re supposed to pick yourself up and move forward. It is normal to feel confused, lost, alone, and wounded. The good news is you do not have to feel this way forever. There are some things that you can start doing right now to work towards healing, and finding a new, positive path for yourself. Here are 4 tips that will help you survive your divorce and get to a better place:

  1. Surround Yourself With Good Support

Going through a divorce can be one of the loneliest feelings in the world, because you’re losing one of your primary connections. In order to take the edge off of the loneliness, it’s important to engage in and create a positive support system. This can include friends, family, neighbors, church leaders, and a therapist. You don’t want to rely on just one person to talk to, because you want to get different types of perspectives and support, and you don’t want to burn anyone out. It may be difficult to be around people at this time, but forcing yourself to spend some time with trusted others can really help ease the pain.

  1. Take Care of You

If you’re going through a divorce, you probably feel really low on motivation and energy. The only thing that may sound good to you is lying in bed all day, but this is only going to enhance feelings of depression and loneliness. Instead, it’s going to be very important for you to do a lot of self-care. Make sure you practice good hygiene, and take a shower every day. Try your best to eat good food, and get in some exercise. Along with those things, it can be helpful to do some fun things for yourself. Take a trip with a friend, go for a fun night out, or try out a new hobby. It’ll be difficult, but the more you can take care of yourself, the quicker your adjustment will be.

  1. Create a Game Plan

No one plans on getting divorced, so chances are you and your partner had mapped out plans for your future that are now going to have to change. It’s normal to feel lost and in limbo after a divorce, so it is important that you come up with a new plan for your future. Spend some time thinking about what you would like your new normal to look like, what your goals are for your future, and what you’re going to have to do to get there. Once you have some plans and goals in place, you will have a better sense of direction and control over your life.

  1. Grieve-Don’t Wallow

This can be a tough one to navigate. It is normal and necessary for you to grieve the loss of your marriage. Of course you’re going to have a mixture of emotions, and it’s going to be tough to make it through each day for a while. However, while it’s important for you to allow time to feel and talk about these emotions, it’s also important that you take positive action, and don’t allow your feelings to consume you. If all you ever do is focus on the negative aspects of your divorce, and every time you talk to someone in your support system you are venting about the same things over and over again, you’re never going to feel any better. All that emotion is just going to sit and fester instead of heal. So, when you find yourself obsessing and overwhelmed, engage in that self-care we talked about, get out of your environment into somewhere that helps you gain new perspective, or get busy working on some of those goals we mentioned. There are times and places to work on your grieving process, but that does not have to be every minute of every day.

Divorce is one of the most difficult and painful things a person can experience, and it is expected that you’re going to be down for a time. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you practice these important buffers, you will soon find yourself on the way back to happiness and peace.

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Spring Cleaning your Family Time

Click on the link below to see what Clair Mellenthin, LCSW has to share about Spring Cleaning your Family Time!

KUTV.com Web Site Link: http://kutv.com/features/fresh-living/spring-cleaning-your-family-time

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It’s Not About the Nail… Or Is It?

By now you’ve probably seen Jason Headley’s parody on marital communication called, “It’s not about the nail.” [If not, let’s catch you up to speed…]

 

As comical as the sketch is, let’s be honest… there’s a lot of truth to it!

As a therapist who works with couples struggling to communicate, here are three recommendations for each partner in the relationship.
For the speaker:

  1. Request a specific time to talk 
    There’s nothing like trying to have a conversation when one or both parties are distracted by work, their phone, or a child. Instead, make important conversations a priority by intentionally setting aside time.
    Honey, do you have a minute later to talk about _____ after dinner? 
  2.  Explicitly ask for what you need
    Sometimes part of the problem is that we don’t know what we need. Stating this at the beginning of a conversation, or providing our partner with suggestions sets them up to succeed at meeting our needs in the conversation.
    “Sweetheart, I’m really struggling with _____. Would you mind just listening for a minute.
  3.  Say what you mean, and mean what you say
    Your partner is not a mind-reader. “But wait. If he/she really loves me, shouldn’t they just know to ______?” Maybe, but if they aren’t getting it by now and it’s creating a problem for you, it’s in your best interest to bring it up.For the listener:
  4. Actively listen
    Be mindful of your body language.  Do your best to help your partner know and feel that you are engaged in the conversation. As you listen, make sure your focus is on understanding your partners message, and not your response or rebuttal.
  5. Reflect back what you heard
    Often, the process of just listening to your partner’s message/issue can lead to a resolution quicker than providing a solution. Reflecting back their message not only helps make sure you understand it correctly, but it also helps them know you get it, and feel understood.
    So if I understand you correctly, you feel ______. Did I get that right?
  6. Empathize & Validate
    This is crucial. The most effective communicators are able to empathize and validate their partner’s perspective, even when they disagree. Showing empathy and validating emotions is one of the quickest ways to diffuse an emotionally charged conversation.
    You know, I hate feeling criticized and attacked too. So when you tell me that that is how you feel, I can totally understand why you’re so upset.”In conclusion, it may or may not really be “about the nail,” but when it comes to relationships, there’s no question that improving your communication is the right choice, every time.
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3 Sure Fire Ways to Destroy Your 2nd Marriage!

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Popular wisdom would claim that 2nd marriages succeed more often than first marriages. “Hey, I’ve learned from my past mistakes. I’m smarter.” Or “we’ll do better!”

Sadly, this absolutely just isn’t true.

Based on what I’ve observed for 17 years in working with couples, I’ve come of with 3 ways that will absolutely destroy your second marriage. Please take a moment to learn from other’s bad choices to make this marriage be your Last marriage.

  1. Let the Comparison Shopping Begin

(These examples are not gender specific. Please swap male/female where needed)

Okay so you may not actually be shopping for a new spouse. But let’s face it. You’ve probably noticed qualities in other men that are appealing. Qualities you don’t believe your new spouse has. Talents you thought were there when you said “yes” for the second time. Now you’re not so sure at all.

Stop it! Comparison shopping for another spouse in a new marriage is like buyers remorse with a new car. Yes that other car at the competitions dealership was awesome. The price seemed right. The luxury features appealing. Yet not quite right! Remember how a month later you were soooo glad you’d purchased the right car? Relieved you didn’t overact? Second marriage’s can be very similar. Give it time. Stop comparison shopping even if only figurative in nature. Catch your awesome new husband doing something right. Like the paycheck. Like the living room he vacuumed. Like the “spilled milk” he cleaned up. Oh, btw, it’s all paltry spilled milk in comparison. Get over it. Don’t look back!

  1. Ditch the Ex!

Not only is moving on difficult, it can seem impossible not to experience at least some of these damaging examples:

The EX                                                                                   NEW Wife

Bugged you! Because she kept the house spotless                Bugs You! Because she doesn’t clean enough

Nagged you! To keep the yard immaculate                            Nags You! To spend more time with her

Hounded you! For more sex. Better sex!                                Ignores You! She’s too tired for sex

Watched! Every penny of the budget                                      Spends! Every penny of the budget

Reminded you! To pick up the kids from school                   Reminds you! That they’re YOUR kids

Some of these sound true? Maybe even all too correct? If so, please remember that the grass is NEVER greener on the other side of the fence (or in your previous marriage). You must ditch the ex-wife. Move on completely! Focus on your new marriage. Recognize that no one is perfect.

Not even You!

  1. When Two Worlds Collide (Or the War of Two Worlds)

Immediately following the new marriage, two family planets are on a course to collide. While the couple has anticipated some challenges with the “blended family,” they don’t foresee any REAL trouble. Most new marriages aren’t equipped for managing problems, let alone the explosion.

Going into a second marriage unequipped is like having a pilot flying into LAX without an air traffic controller to guide him safely home. Approaching potentially volatile airspace without a trained guide experienced in acquiring a smooth landing. A safe landing. In fact, even the mere mention of such a circumstance sounds ridiculous in the extreme.

However, the problem is that most 2nd marriages don’t have a Relationship air traffic controller. Someone to infuse insight into the day to day challenges that are common in almost all new relationships. Each person enters the new marriage with tender feelings. Very likely still stinging from the agonizing pain of their first divorce. As a result, they fall-back on their own often tainted experiences. Experiences that exacerbated the problems in marriage number one that resulted in divorce. Ouch!

What Can Help?

* If you’re reading this and recently divorced, absolutely eschew new relationship(s) for at least one year preferably two. Give yourself time to heal. Casual dating is fine. Hanging out is great. Getting serious will totally put you in a position to simply repeat divorce #1.

* If you’re reading this and you’re in a struggling 2nd marriage, absolutely seek help. Seek out a trusted bishop or clergy member with sage advice. Consider a therapist with many years of experience helping those struggling in the marital realm. But! Please don’t think that this will just pass. I’m overreacting. It likely won’t JUST change.

* Most of all, take care of YOU. Make sure that you’re giving yourself great self-care time. Reach out to trusted (and healthy!) friends. Give yourself time. Space. And if you are recently “single,” totally avoid the friends that say “the best way to heal from your divorce is to jump right back in!”

No, it really isn’t!

Michael Boman, LCSW, is a relationship, marriage, and Healing Outdoors expert at Wasatch Family Therapy in Cottonwood Heights, UT.

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Sex, Baseball and Pizza

canstockphoto9858582If you haven’t seen this ted talk, check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/xF-CX9mAHPo
It’s all about the language we use, and how that language impacts our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors when it comes to sex.
We’ve heard the baseball metaphors.  First, second, and third base.  Home run.  Striking out.  Playing for the other team.  Al Vernacchio, who gave this ted talk points out that in baseball, you have two teams, one wins and one loses.  You have specific rules to follow, and you have very little control over the season schedule.  When there’s a game, players are expected to play.  In sex this creates an unhealthy dynamic.  Sexual relationships shouldn’t be about winning or losing, or about competition.  Sex shouldn’t occur due to pressure to “play”.  Sexual relationships should be about enjoying the activity together.  He suggests a new metaphor.
Getting pizza.   When you want pizza, it’s based on an inner desire rather than competition.  When you’re eating pizza, there are no winners or losers.  It’s about enjoying the experience.  In baseball there are rules.  The right ways and the wrong ways to play.  In pizza, there are no rules, you can eat it if you want to, if it satisfies your hunger, and it’s okay to enjoy some toppings, and not others.
By changing our metaphor, as Mr. Vernacchio explains, “we could…invite people to think about their own desires and make deliberate decisions about what they want, and talk about it with their partners…to look not at some external outcome, but for what feels satisfying”.
Who wants pizza?
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Breaking it Down for You and Your child with ADHD

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Let’s be honest, the diagnosis of ADHD has been around for over 40 years. We know what ADHD looks like, and may know a handful of children that “appear” to have symptoms. Twice as many boys are diagnosed with ADHD than girls. While 1in 50 children may be struggling with ADHD. What do children face? Here are a few items:

  • Gets distracted easily
  • Impulsive
  • Difficulty in School
  • Coordination challenges
  • Self Centered Behavior
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention Demanding Behavior
  • Emotional challenges
  • Difficulty following through

While this list feels overwhelming to parents, let’s remember they are “challenges” and they are significant in every setting for the child.

How do we help? Let’s Break In Down!

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Take Time to “Spruce It Up!”

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I recently read an article entitled “Time for a Spring cleaning of the mind” by Jeannette Bessinger.

Because I have never been interested in Spring cleaning my home, I paid close attention to the tips that were given on how to “declutter my emotional space.”

I share these tasks with you along with some ideas of my own, and encourage you to join with me in asking yourself these questions, and reflecting  on how you can work towards clearing  the emotional junk from your mind.

  1. Mind your own business.  Most of us have enough business of our own to tend to.  Ask yourself, “If it’s not my business, why am I in it?”
  2. Let go of the need to be right.  Ask yourself,  Is it more important for me to love and be loved or to be right?  Who do you play the right wrong game with?  Make a commitment to  eliminate the need to play this game with others.
  3. Stop blaming, shaming and complaining.  All three behaviors are negative and do not bring joy to your life.  Ask yourself,  Does my behavior of blaming, shaming and or complaining assist me and others to feel joy and happiness?   Continue to remind yourself that these behaviors are toxic and will not improve your relationships and sense of well being.
  4. Stop trying to impress and please everyone.  Ask yourself, Will I die if  someone disapproves of something that I think, do, or say?  Remember you don’t have to do everything and be everything for everyone else.  Make a list of 10 things that you can do for yourself and select one to do TODAY.   Make yourself a priority.  Put yourself on your “To do” list.
  5. Clean up unfinished business.   Ask yourself, If not now when will I begin?  Pick a task that you have been procrastinating to complete and DO IT TODAY!  Eckert Tolle stated, “That which stands in the was IS the way.  Beginning is usually the hardest part of the task.  Just Begin.
  6. Forgive someone.  Ask yourself, Who am I holding a grudge against?  Am I being unforgiving as a way to punish them? Remember forgiving others is a gift you give to yourself.
  7. If you’re in the wrong, Make it right.  Ask yourself, Have I committed a wrong that I can make right?  Follow this admonition,” When you do something wrong, tell the truth, apologize and right the wrong if you possibly can.  Owning up means it won’t own you.”
  8. Let go of self limiting beliefs.  Ask yourself, Do I believe everything I think?  Work towards eliminating the negative self talk you engage in.  Use positive affirmations to rid yourself of stinking thinking, such as, I am capable of achieving that which I believe.  I am capable of achieving the task at hand.
  9. Let go of perfectionism.  Adopt the belief that, “Nothing in life is perfect.”  Stop comparing yourself to others and remind yourself that, “It is what it is, and it’s all good.”
  10. Stop mismanaging your emotions.  Ask yourself, Am I stuffing my unpleasant feelings down with too much food, or shopping.  Remember, that “feelings are like the weather, natural and ever changing.”  It is important to take time to acknowledge them, feel them and release them through healthy coping skills.

Only you know which task will be the most beneficial for you to complete.  I challenge you to choose a task and begin to work towards clearing the emotional junk from your life.  Begin now to “Spruce up your life,” YOU DESERVE IT!

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Emotional Spring Cleaning

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Can you feel it? Slowly but surely spring is coming. The days are longer, the flowers are starting to peek out from the ground, and it is warming up. I always take spring as a time of assessment about myself and where I want the year to go. The majority of people make “new years resolutions.”  Usually these include goals about eating better, exercising, and getting out to meet new people and have fun. I don’t know about you, but in January when it is cold and snowy all I want to do is stay inside, and make and eat homemade bread and cookies. Suffice it to say, my new years goals take a backseat very quickly. However, in the spring I am much more motivated to take inventory of where I am and what I can do for the rest of the year to feel good and make my relationships better.
It is common in spring to do “spring cleaning.” We open the doors and air out our homes. We clean out our flowerbeds to make room for plants. Let’s
do the same emotionally. Look at and evaluate how you are doing personally and with your relationships. After your evaluation you can make some commitments to yourself. Doesn’t commitment sound a little more decisive than a goal? For some reason when I say I have committed to someone or something I have a strong desire to follow through. Goals, it seems, can be easily broken.
Here are some of the commitments I have made to myself this spring.
1) In an effort to exercise more I have signed up to run the Big Cottonwood Half Marathon in September. My hope is to match or beat my time from my last half marathon. This motivates me throughout the spring and summer to exercise and prepare well for the race.
2)In an effort to connect more with my husband we have committed to going on two dates a month.
3)I will do one thing just for myself daily. I have three young children and most of my time goes to taking care of them. In an effort to take care of myself I will do something just for myself. This may include reading, working on a project, doing my nails, journaling, or simply sitting quietly and meditating.
Although these may not seem like monumental commitments, I think they will keep me focused and help me feel better throughout the rest of the year. I challenge you to do the same! Look at yourself and your relationships and see what needs some sprucing up. Come up with one to three commitments to make your year great.
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Raising Resilient Kids

APT Play Therapy Training

Click on the link below to see what Clair Mellenthin, LCSW has to say about raising resilient kids.

http://kutv.com/features/fresh-living/wasatch-family-therapy-raising-resilient-kids

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