How to live with uncertantity- Hurricane Dorian

How to live with uncertantity- Hurricane Dorian

Navigating between the “Spaghetti lines” and the American and European models or how to live with uncertainty

With Hurricane Dorian, currently the only certainty we have is the uncertainty.

How to live with uncertainty?

  1. Stress is a natural response when we face a natural disaster and it even help us to prepare. However, panic and anxiety lead us to make irrational decisions
  1. Making decisions is sometimes hard, but once you commit to staying, finish all the required preparations- it can give you a sense of control.
  2. TV ,computer, cellular, etc- Do not continuously watch 24/7. The same news play over and over again and may create unnecessary stress and anxiety (same goes for kids)
  1. Save gasoline and instead enjoy nature– exercise, go out for a walk, or go to the beach (only if it is still safe to do so.) It helps with reducing stress in general and stress eating- aka the “hurricane munchees.”
  2. Be mindful– appreciate nature. With all the technology, hurricanes remind us how powerful nature is.
  3. Breath, breath, breath.
  4. Social support and belonging – If you are by yourself, reach out to others. If you are with your family and friends, look around and invite or call anyone who is alone- it gives a sense of belonging and care that we all need, especially at these difficult moments.
  5. Remember that “you can work hard and rebuild your house, but not your life.”
  6. Stay safe physically and mentally!

 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY !

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY !

I was privileged to sit five rows from Michelle Obama last night in her intimate conversation about her new book, “BECOMING.” Regardless of our political opinions and more likely in spite of my different political opinions, Michelle Obama a brilliant lady, was remarkable and thought-provoking during the entire evening. 

Two hours of incredible discussions of ideas that are not new but conveyed in a warm and wise manner by the former First Lady of the White House. Few for Mother Day:

@ I am a MOM– When asked to describe herself, Michelle Obama doesn’t hesitate to say that she is first and foremost a MOM, before any of her credentials. 

@ The FAMILY of ORIGION and PLACE you BORN– Before becoming a mom, she was Fraser and Marian Robinson’s daughter, growing up at the south side of Chicago. She doesn’t forget and, on the contrary, proud of the past and her family of origin.

@ When MOMs CRY– Being a mom, she is the first to admit to cry more when her favorite babysitter left then when she fought with her husband.

@ Building a WOMEN TRIBE around you– Being a mom is building a network of friends, rather than trying to go through it alone. Keep girlfriends around to have fun or to share experiences with as well as help with each other’s children. 

@ TRUST YOURSELF – Being a mom, you always need to be open to advices from others, including professionals, but at the end of the day you need to trust yourself and believe in your children. 

@ BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND YOUR KIDS– It is unhealthy to listen to people with negative messages. “There will be people who will not see in you what you know is inside yourself,” she said. That’s especially important for girls, who are often stifled by society’s expectations. Michelle Obama said: “We can make a child soar, or we can crush them with our words.”

@ GOOD ENOUGH”– Being a mom is being a woman that does not always do “the right things” but who is willing to be open and try to be the best version of herself.

@ “CHECKING BOXES”– Life isn’t just about “checking boxes” in your life and career but being present in your life and feel the sense of joy inside you.

                                          Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!

When You “Hit the Wall” and Get Stuck…

When You “Hit the Wall” and Get Stuck…

You try very hard, but you cannot move forward—you cannot move forward!

In 1982, psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente developed a useful five stages model describing how people change. According to their model, it is normal for people to require several trips through the five stages to make lasting change. Relapse is viewed as a normal part of the changing process

Sometimes we give up and stop. Sometimes we have so many fears that we do not even try. Sometimes we try, fall, try and them we found ourselves stand in front of a “wall.” We fall down and we stop trying. We simply give up.

And then we open the “excuses bag”: this is not for me, I will wait until my children are grown, I will lose, I don’t have the money, how will this affect my family.

While those in the picture who continue trying many times end up succeeding, sometimes after many times of falling, withdrawal and frustration can make one feel like a failure in many other areas in life.

What can You Do?

Let’s divide the change into stages of difficulty:

  1. The Easy stage: take a deep breath
  2. The Must Do stage: sit with a paper and pen or with your cell phone notes and evaluate the situation: WHY- do I want it? WHAT- is my purpose? WHAT do I need- in order to achieve my goal? WHEN is the best time to do it? WHERE should I do it?
  3. Very Challenging stage: make a decision!
  4. Critical stage: can you do it alone or do you need partners or social support?
  5. The Drama-Action stage: sometime it shines, sometimes it pours; but you must keep going and never give up
  6. The Reward stage: Earn a new life

I cannot promise you what is not in my control but I can share with you from my personal and professional experience that if you have a goal that you really want to achieve and you start the above-mentioned process, you will be more successful in life.

When you succeed, it is a feeling of pure happiness and joy, and self-confidence.

It is hard to describe in words how you may feel when you climb over the “wall” in your life.

When you have more and more of those experiences, your self-esteem will increase. Believe in yourself and enjoy the life you created.

If you are in one of those intersections facing the “wall,” try to get professional help. I am here to help you analyze, plan, explore, and help you to achieve your goal.

Contact me at 786-877-0919

Tomorrow is Another Day

Tomorrow is Another Day

What are the difference between now and tomorrow? What lies between our desires to our fulfillment? What lies between our expectation of ourselves and those around us and having it? This is a process that is either immediate or slow. “Some things are very easy for me to get,” says Betty (43), “for example, at my job, I ask the employees to complete certain assignments and they perform immediately.” “Where is the process slow?” I asked. When it comes to me, there is always a gap between my desire and my performance. Every night before I go to sleep I tell myself that tomorrow I will start the change but it hardly happens.

Betty is frustrated and disappointed with herself. She is also disappointed with her physical appearance. “Most of my clothes do not fit me,” she complains. “Every morning I discover a new wrinkle in my face, I decided to start from tomorrow a healthy lifestyle. I know exactly how to do it, but somehow it doesn’t happen.”

 

The gap between the desire to performance and fulfillment of our dreams was a subject of many articles, books, and research. Most of these deals with self-help advice from professionals and people attesting to their success. Betty reads many of these self-help books and understood their message as: “if you think positively – you will succeed.” However, such promises do not help the process. The human mind is not simple and easy. Usually, the process is long and tedious, and in fact, it is an endless process. Even if you fulfill your dream or reach your goal, you will have to continue to maintain what exists.

At the beginning of each psychotherapy session, we examine together what is success or failure for Betty. We examine different patterns of success and failure in her family as well as in her past and upbringing. Betty described her mother as a hardworking woman who was ambitious and focused on her success. As a child, Betty felt that her mom didn’t love her. She views her mom as a model but has a hard time juggling taking care of herself and raising her two children. The thought in Betty’s head is very rigid: “I can be either a good mom or only take care of myself.”

 

Part of the psychotherapy is the fear behind Betty’s difficulty with dealing with her life. If you are undergoing a similar process you can use the following tools. First, Betty understands that what is important is the process and it has to begin now. Starting now, at this moment, is the basis. Tomorrow is the future to which we want to reach, and we cannot reach it if we do not start changing now. Second, as part of the change, Betty learns to accept that change is as written above a process and that in the process she might feel ups and downs of frustration, anger, sorrow and self-judgment and that the change might not be tomorrow. Third, the perfect change or the “perfect day” does not really exist, but she needs consistency and persistence for when success seems far away. As part of the process, we often have to ask for help from friends, family and professionals. As for help, at this point Betty is in the process of understanding the meaning of “getting help” for her (“I am weak, I can not”) and learning that taking and getting help is actually meaning “being strong”. She learns ways that Cognitive- Behavioral Therapy will help her to get the help she needs.

Film actress Cameron Diaz writes in her book, The Longevity, that we are the only ones that have the keys to healthy living: eating right, exercising, and getting adequate rest. Her main point is optimistic: ” Tomorrow is Another Day” says Scarlett in the famous book by Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind”.

 

The article is based on an article I wrote in Hebrew published in Israpost Magazine

 

 

Relationship with my Smartphone

Relationship with my Smartphone

Most parents that come to my office are very concerned that their children are non-stop roaming the Internet and constantly use modern technologies (computer, Facebook, cell phone, Twitter, Instagram). Being immersed in computerized technology prevents a person from communicating with others. Therefore, it is very important to become aware of the effect of technology on our own lives. However, did you as a parent look at yourself and not just on your children ?

Sarah, a 43 year-old married woman with three children, reports a feeling of emptiness. Most of her days are spent running errands, shopping, meeting friends, or talking on the phone. Her friends are jealous of her life style and the fact that she has time for herself. However, she feels lonely and empty. She finds herself more and more upset with her children and herself, and often suffers from breathing difficulties. She recently started to consume more food because she feels empty and bored. Sarah found that her cell phone has gradually become the center of her world. She talks on the phone almost nonstop with her friends, her children, and her husband. When the children return from school she read posts on Facebook, participates in many groups chats, responds immediately to any email, and constantly posts new pictures on Instagram. Her cellphone goes with her everywhere and anywhere, without a single break from social media.  In the beginning, she really enjoyed the idea that she could be in touch with family and friends who live far away and read and see their activity. She liked the idea that she can know and be in touch with her children and her husband and know where they are at all times. Recently, however, she realized that her children spend more time on social media then on homework and learning. Moreover, even the teachers at school confirmed that her children were not focused in class. They barely play with other children, stayed inside their rooms after coming back from school, because they connect with their friends on social media. She decided to restrict their cell phone and computer use, but her children were unwilling and argumentative.  When her son said: “Mom, you’re always on the phone when we are together. Why aren’t we allowed to do the same?!” At that moment, she realized—I’m really afraid to leave my cell.

Sarah suffers from anxiety of technology and fear of missing out, which is the anxiety from the thought that she is left out from everyone’s experiences. Her anxiety was further aggravated by her personal feelings of emptiness and lack of action. Using her cell phone was her attempt at reducing the anxious feelings by knowing what was happening in other people’s lives. Instead, however, her constant connection to social media increased her anxiety by making her feel as though as was missing out.

Psychotherapy sessions helped her to understand the role of technology in her life and how it actually increases her level of anxiety. She was able to take short breaks from using social media, such as leaving her cell phone in the house while going on a walk in the park. Studies show that observing nature (even watching a pot or flower) enhances the experience of disconnection from the Internet, and focuses on the present time and strengthens the awareness of being present to yourself without any fears and worries. Gradually, Sarah extended the periods of time she placed her cell phone aside, and was able to be in touch with herself. During our sessions, we spoke about her life and her future plans.

Technology affects us mentally and functionally. It is important to identify anxiety-related reactions and change our relationship with our smartphones.

The article is based on an article I wrote in Hebrew published in Israpost Magazine

 

I am a failure

I am a failure

Who doesn’t want to succeed ?! It makes us feel joy and pleasure and strengthens our self-confidence. There is nothing like the feeling of victory. However, what happen when we fail?

Judy, a 36 year-old woman, is married and has three children. Three years ago, she decided to return to school and pursue law school. It took her a while to implement the decision and collect information about the registration. Finally, she was able to study for the entrance exam for law school (LSAT). She studied hard and even took a preparation course, but her score was lower than she expected.  Judy was angry, annoyed, and frustrated, and decided she was not smart enough to ever attend law school. She felt ashamed, dropped the idea, and never told anyone outside the family about it. She internalized the failure and blamed herself. Since then, she never tried again or went back to school. She continues to work as a bookkeeper. Judy is very frustrated and discouraged but does not make any changes because “[she] is not smart enough to be a lawyer.” Judy approached me for psychotherapy due to her lack of joy in life, irritability, and depression.

We all want to succeed. Even the slightest success makes us feel joy and pleasure and strengthens our self-confidence. There is nothing like the feeling of victory. However, in real life, we have success but also failure. What happens to us when we experience failure? Failure acquaints us with feelings of disappointment and anger and hurts our self-image often. As a result, we tend to stop and keep going in the direction it wanted to go. Failure is defined as a lack of success that we defined or someone else defined for us.  Hence, failure is subjective and is based on our beliefs: perceived failure in the eyes of one person may be considered a success in the eyes of another person. The degree of failure is also subjective, whether we look at the process as a failure or just at the result, and so on. Psychological factors that may influence the perception of failure include: low self-esteem, poor planning (e.g., learning time too short for the specific test), lack of knowledge, unrealistic expectations, overload of tasks in a short period of time, or sometimes fear of success (fear of change and preference to live in a state built even if you are not satisfied). Judy’s test score was maybe not high enough to be accepted to her target university but was high enough to be accepted to other universities. When we reviewed together the steps she took for test preparation, we found out that she mainly studied for a relatively short period of time. Therefore, her automatically inferring that a low exam score equates with a feeling of unworthiness, is not rational thinking because it is not based on facts. Indeed, it was very disappointing when she could not achieve the goal she set for herself, but that does not mean she could not achieve her goal to study in law school as she was still able to be considered as a strong candidate for other universities. During the session, Judy learned to develop rational thinking, such as: “Yes, I am very disappointed that I didn’t receive the score I wanted, but it doesn’t mean I am not smart. I can still try to continue to study, retake the exam again, or apply to different universities.”

If we can consider failure as part of life and as a way to realize that we have strengths and weakness, it will help us to overcome it and feel even stronger. Don’t forget that successful people succeed not because they didn’t fail but because they look at failure as a challenge and a way to improve.

If you try and don’t succeed, it doesn’t mean that you are a failure.

 

The article is based on an article I wrote in Hebrew published in Israpost Magazine