Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

exerciseAt 90, my dad was just as sharp witted as ever. One of the secrets of his alert mind was his regular exercise. Every day, no matter the weather, he drove to the mall and walked with several of his relatives and friends. Given the frigid and harsh weather of Michigan winters, this was a commitment. Getting in to a cold car, driving in the dark, sitting in the parking lot waiting for the security guard to open the mall, and then shuffling through the snow to the entrance…well, let’s just say that most of us would not make the effort or think it was worth the hassle.  But apparently it is!

His active lifestyle not only helped keep his heart strong, but his mind as well.

We now know that walking several times a week benefits your brain. A  30 minute walk outdoors, on a treadmill or at the mall, two to three times a week, will do it. Add weight resistance and the cognitive benefit improves even more. All that exercise increases blood volume in a part of the brain involved in memory formation. More blood flow is a good thing. And other processes are involved to create new cells. Basically, physical exercise is brain power!

In addition, your risk for dementia is about cut in half if you are a regular exerciser. All that aerobic activity discourages the brain from Alzheimer’s and reduces your risk of stroke.

Depressed or anxious? Again, exercise releases biochemicals associated with good mental health. So much so, that exercise can boost mood, as well as act like an antidepressant for both men and women. My prescription for working on depression? Physical activity along with therapy.

So stop reading about helping your brain. Get off that couch, move and improve your life!

ID-10046263Many of us remember the woman who fell in the fountain at the mall because she was so distracted texting. And we know texting and driving is extremely dangerous, but what about the dangers or help of texting on our  relationships?

Romantic partners often text each other multiple times a day, but does all that texting deepen or hurt a relationship?

Here are my list of pros and cons of texting and relationships. Like most tools and technology, texting can be used in good and not so good ways. Based on these pros and cons, you decide if texting is helping or hurting your relationship. Then, ask yourself, is it time for a little more face-to-face communication?

PROS:

1) Romance can be enhanced by sending loving texts.

2) Sometimes you can’t talk but can get back to someone quickly by using a text message. So texting provides quick and easy response.

3)  When you are apart due to distance, texting keeps you connected.

4)  Texting is a convenient way to impart facts and information.

5) You can multi-task and text.

6) Good for making plans, providing addresses and contact information.

7) Women who text often report a higher quality connection with their partners as they often use texting to apologize, work out a problem and bring up issues to be dealt with later; Men who text often can use texting as a way to distance themselves in a relationship  or disengage from deeper intimacy so pay attention, gender matters!

CONS: 

1) Texting provides a written record of communication. So if one person is using it to flirt or keep secrets and the other reads the text messages, this is an indirect way to be found out and damages a relationship.

2) Texting is not a good way to deepen a relationship. That requires the old fashion face to- ace.

3) Texting should not be used to break bad news. It is insensitive!

4) Too much texting can feel like stalking or too much!

5)  Too often people text without thinking, when they are drinking too much or angry. Once it is written, you can’t take it back!

6) Humor doesn’t always translate on text. So you might think you are being funny and actually offend.

7) You can edit and edit messages, Thus,  they are not always real indications of how you think and react instinctively and can give a false impression.

8) It is easy to misinterpret texts because you can’t read the nonverbal cues or the tone.

ID-100160816The hit movie Frozen includes a plot line of  sisters avoiding conflict. But does a conceal versus reveal approach to conflict pay off in real life?

Not really.

Now that we are all singing, “Let it Go” in our heads, there are ways to thaw the tension, before you can let a conflict go. This requires going back into the disagreement, not avoiding it.

So if you are frozen in an argument or difference of opinion, don’t avoid. Revisit the problem and try to work it through. See if these guidelines will help:

1) Choose a time when both of you are calm and work on staying calm during the dialogue. You can’t think well when you are too emotionally aroused. So take deep breaths and work on relaxing your body.

2) Identify the points of difference. Be specific and keep it behaviorally descriptive.

3) Then talk about the meaning behind each of your differences. Why do you feel so strongly? What does this point of difference mean to you? Sometimes understanding the why behind a position makes it easier to negotiate.

4) Look for any points of compromise.

5) If there are no compromises, can one of you accommodate the other?

6) If no, then can you come up with an alternative plan?

7) If you are still at a deadlock, you either need more conversation related to how this affects your beliefs, or decide to agree to disagree and don’t make this an on-going point of contention.

8) End the discussion with being respectful and be kind to each other. Conflict that isn’t resolved doesn’t wreak relationships. It’s how you talk to each other about your differences that matters.

9) If you have been angry, hurtful or overly critical, apologize and forgive.

10) If this is an issue that must be resolved, take the matter to prayer and seek counsel from others or a professional.

 

Teen girlTest your knowledge on self-injury: Take the True or False Quiz 

Self-injury is:

1) A suicidal behavior. False. It is an attempt to self-soothe, control emotions, communicate what is difficult to say, or control and punish oneself through trauma reenactment. It helps a teen avoids suicidal feelings that are unbearable. This is an attempt to stay alive, to stay connected to something and not check out for good.

2) An addiction. False.  It is addictive-like in that it helps people feel better, though temporary, and it often increases in severity and intensity over time.

3) Any type of physical harm. False. The thing that distinguishes self-injury from other forms of physical harm is the elevated mood a teen experiences after self-injury.

4) A behavior that means a person is psychotic. False. The person is in her right mind but tormented with issues enacted through self-harm.

5) More than an attention getter. True. Some people think this is just a way to get attention when actually it is a cry for help and indicative of emotional pain.

6) A way to feel alive.  True. It breaks emotional numbness and reconnects the person to her body after a dissociative experience. She feels something, often feels alive due to the physical pain.

7) A sign that a teen can’t feel pain. False.  Even though the self-injurer may not feel pain while inflicting the wound, he or she will feel pain afterward.

8) A way to express what can’t be spoken. True. Even though this is indirect communication, self-injury communicates a need.

9) A form of self-loathing. True. It serves as a punishment for having strong (usually negative) feelings.

10) Something that a teen will typically outgrow. False. The teen needs help and new coping skills taught.  The most effective treatment is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). In the DBT model, self-injury is viewed as an ineffective way to solve problems. Therefore, the goal of DBT is to stop self-injury, and teach better problem-solving and distress tolerance. It is a structured treatment that incorporates cognitive-behavioral therapy.