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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

2 Physical Reasons Not to Avoid Conflict

posted by Linda Mintle

A typical question I get asked is, “Why can’t I just avoid conflict? It makes me uncomfortable. If, for example, my mother is driving me crazy, can’t I just ignore her? Or, if I get too upset talking to my ex over visitation, can’t I just ignore him?” Questions like these can be answered by looking at the consequences of avoidance. Your physical health may be affected.

Obviously, you can choose to ignore conflict and make it through life. People do it all the time. For example, your mother-daughter relationship won’t fall apart if you ignore conflict with her once in a while. But a pattern of ignoring conflict can hurt relationships. Avoiding is not the best choice or a way to grow your relationships.  The “I don’t want to rock the boat” attitude may work in the short–term, but not in the long-term.

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A number of studies point to physical problems when people choose to avoid conflict. One study noted that while people feel better avoiding at the time of the conflict, they don’t feel better the next day. In the study, physical symptoms and negative well-being were higher the day after the conflict in conflict avoiders than in people who confronted problems. In other words, the impact showed up after the fact.

In another study, researchers at the University of Michigan looked at conflict as it relates to longevity of life. They concluded that people who deal with conflict live longer. Specifically, they observed that when both partners in a couple relationship felt unfairly attacked and suppressed their anger at the other, they died earlier than couples who communicated their anger. In fact, having a good fight with your partner may keep your marriage alive. Keep in mind that out of control fighting is not recommended! That type of fighting ruins a relationship.

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There is an exception, a time when avoiding conflict might be best. This involves confronting someone who can physically hurt you. When someone is so angry and cannot calm down, and you are at risk for a physical altercation or explosion, a time-out or break is recommended. You can’t deal with conflict, nor should you, when someone is physically threatening or unable to get control of his or her emotions. At those times, the parties involved need to wait until they are able to calm down and  until it is safe to confront.


 

 


Sources:

Birditt, K.S. (Oct 2010). Marital conflict behaviors and implications for divorce over 16 years. Journal of Marriage and Family. 72 (5), pp. 1188-1204

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Marital Pair Anger Coping Types May Act as an Entity to Affect Mortality: Preliminary Findings from a Prospective Study (Tecumseh, Michigan, 1971-88). Ernest Harburg, Niko Kaciroti, Lillian Gleiberman, M. Anthony Schork and Mara Julius. Journal of Family Communication. Volume 8 (2008). doi: 10.1080 / 15267430701392172.

 

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5 Reasons Why Bloomberg’s Obsession With Regulating Soda Won’t Work

posted by Linda Mintle

This week, a New York State judged overturned Bloomberg’s controversial ban on the consumption of large sugary drinks. Correction, Bloomberg calls it a “portion control measure”, not a ban. The ban was to go into effect on Tuesday of this week and and would have limited consumers of sugary beverages to less than 16 ounces.

Listen, I am glad Bloomberg’s is concerned about the childhood obesity problem. But his approach is wrong on so many levels. Here is a link to his remarks.

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1) Arbitrary and capricious. Bloomberg is right when he observes that when people are presented with a big drink, they drink more. The same is true of food –the presence of never ending chips at Mexican restaurants, the all you can eat bread sticks at Olive Garden, how about the gallon of ice cream, or the dozen donuts that might cause you to overeat, etc. Are we now going to limit portions of food as well? And the proposed ban did not include  diet soda, coffee drinks, milk or milkshakes, fruit and vegetable juices or alcoholic beverages. Singling out one item is arbitrary and capacious-the reason the ban was overturned.

2) Promote healthy eating but don’t send the Twinkie Police. I do see a role for government when it comes to overseeing programs it pays for, promoting healthy eating and exercise. We should know what is in our food and be given education about food. But come on, sending the Twinkie Police to my house…go fight real crime!

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3) Deprivation as a food strategy doesn’t work.  Even if we could be successful in getting carrot sticks in all school vending machines, this doesn’t mean kids will eat them. I’m not opposed to the idea, but think that the more you make a big deal about deprivation, the more people want it. When we are told we can’t have something, we want it all the more. Before the ban was overturned, I wouldn’t be surprised if people were stockpiling 2 liter bottles of soda!

4) Look at WHY we eat.  Most of us overeat and grab the unhealthy choice because we are tired, bored, happy, sad, or feeling any number of emotions. We eat to calm stress, to deal with rejection, to celebrate the job, etc. Getting at why we eat is part of the battle too.  When food works to calm us down or soothe us and we don’t have other ways to do those things, we probably aren’t going to make better choices. More education doesn’t fix emotional issues.

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5) Obesity is a complicated fix. There are multiple contributors to this problem. Regulating sodas isn’t going to fix it. It’s going to take Hillary Clinton’s village again…We need the food industry to cooperate, schools to do better, parents to take responsibility, science to contribute to a better understanding of why some people struggle more than others, etc. There are so many pieces to this puzzle. Government can educate us and keep promote healthy habits, but we have to examine our own lives and decide what to do and what kind of help we need. Some people need support to lose weight, not a ban of sodas;  others need medical intervention, exercise programs, approaches for stress reduction, access to better foods, playgrounds that are safe, bike paths in their communities, etc.

Bottom Line: Give us the tools to make informed decisions, but don’t make them for us. 

So mayor, keep informing us, print the calories and keep the food regulators honest, but don’t overstep your reach.

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6 Reasons Why Your Teen Should Rethink Tanning

posted by Linda Mintle

It’s that time when high schoolers decide to hit the tanning beds in preparation for prom, Spring banquets and more. But should they be tanning?

Here are my 6 reasons why teens should rethink tanning–an important conversation to have with your daughters.

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Guest Blogger Tammy Stauffer on the Lose it App for Weight Loss

posted by Linda Mintle

So, the other day I was listening as my petite, cute-as-a-pixie friend explained to me how she needs to get serious about losing weight and is using the Lose It App and actually lost a few pounds.

Before you run off and download it from the App store, hear me out as I confess my one day experience with the loser app.

I plugged in my current weight and put in a slightly ridiculous dream weight so the little app could calculate how many calories I was allowed to have in one day. It gave me a daily log to track what I’m eating, and even a way to track my exercise. For accountability and incentive, I could even share it with a friend and we could be accountable to one another as we watch what the other one is eating every day (not sure I would want her to know every time I pop a mini-Twix bar in my mouth)!

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The app will print daily or weekly reports about my calorie intake that can show me, complete with graphs and charts no less, how close to my goals I actually am…as if I need that extra mathematical stress in my life.

But I was ready. Surely, my normal daily intake wasn’t that far from what the app was telling me I could eat in order to enjoy life…and stay alive. My breakfast consisted of one piece of whole grain oatmeal toast, a banana with a tsp of peanut butter, a cup of soy chocolate milk, and two cups of coffee with creamer. 390 calories. Not bad; I was off to a fairly good start.

My mid-morning snack = 2/3 cup of blueberries at 56 calories. I deserve a Twinkie for that one.

Ah, finally lunchtime! My plate could barely hold my HALF of a turkey and cheese sandwich, with 8…okay 10, multi-grain Tostito chips, and 5, or was it 6?, olives, and a glass of tea. 570 calories. Wow, the calories were starting to add up and I was starting to get nervous because I could only have about 230 calories or so for the rest of the day!

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I made it to dinnertime without snacking, whew! If I wanted to lose 1 pound per week for six weeks, then this next meal needed to be reduced to a homemade protein chocolate-peanut-butter-banana smoothie (you should try one – they are the best!).

Well that yummy glass of frozen goodness put me 39 calories over my limit! And it was only 4:30 in the afternoon!! I was not going to make it to bed time unless I was willing to go over my calorie limit and completely derail the path that would lead me to my dream weight in six weeks.

At this point, my college-age son and daughter entered the scene. As soon as I began to mention the Lose It App, they both informed me: “it’s stupid!”

Their reasons?

–        “Counting calories is not a healthy way to lose weight, or even stay at your current weight, because it matters more what you eat, not how much you eat”

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–        “You will become obsessed with food and calorie counting and  pre-occupied typing into that thing every moment of your day and night”

–        “So, if you’re over your calorie limit and you’d like to eat an apple – because that is a healthy thing to do – but you won’t because it’s too many calories? That’s stupid!”

–        “Why do you think you need to lose weight? Who told you that you needed to? They’re stupid.”

I’ve decided that I’m deleting the Lose It app from my iPad after only one day of use.

Ultimately, the kind of time and energy spent counting calories will be better used basking in the presence of my Heavenly Father, who knit me together and tells me, in His eyes, I am simply perfect.

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In the image of God
You poured yourself into me
That ought to be enough
A beautiful reflection
of Heaven’s perfect love
When I look at me
Give me eyes to see
The image of God

~ ‘In the Image of God’ lyrics (offering hope and healing, for those struggling with body image issues and eating disorders, from our ‘Tell Me What You See’ CD).

Visit our “Tell Me” Facebook Page–Dr. Linda wrote a word in the inside cover!

Tammy Stauffer lives in Elizabethtown, PA with her husband and three college-age children who migrate in and out of their home.  She serves as Project Manager with Music for the Soul.

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