Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

  1. terrible twoI have a two-year-old and we are right in the middle of the “terrible twos.” I want to encourage her development but some days I feel like pulling out my hair! I need help with the frustration I feel.

There are so many rapid changes going on in the body of a toddler that it is as if they can’t keep up with themselves! One moment, they are loving and the next includes a terrible tantrum. Here are a few tips to help you deal with the volatility of the terrible twos.

  • Observe when and where the “terrible” occurs. If it is related to overstimulation, find a calm environment and consider doing less. When you can eliminate the tantrum triggers , do so.
  • Because of the need for attention, make sure you praise the positives and desired behaviors. This is often overlooked. The more you praise, the less you will need to deal with the negative. When a cycle of frustration intensifies, we often forget to catch them being good.
  • Ignore negative behavior unless safety is an issue. No reaction from you promotes powerful behavior change. You have to completely ignore or this strategy doesn’t work, but it is powerful when done correctly.
  • When she appears out of control, redirect her attention in a “time-in.” Bring her close to you and tell a story, read a book, sing a song, etc. This should calm her down.

Take a deep breath and remember the words of my mother-in-law, “This too shall pass.” This is a phase of development that will smooth out soon enough. Lots of patience, praise and realistic expectations will go a long way to calm both of you. And ask your husband for a break. Maybe you need to get out of the house, have coffee with a friend, window shop or walk through a park trail. A break leaves you refreshed and ready to re-engage. Mothers all over America survive the terrible twos and you will too!

 

Do you have a secret? If so, you join more than 95% of people who do.

secretMost of us keep one fact or piece of information about ourselves from others. One reason for this is that secrets often involve shame. For example, when a secret involves infidelity, a teen pregnancy, an addiction or maybe a financial problem, we don’t like to admit to our wrongdoings and may also want to protect someone.

The problem with keeping a secret is that the one who keeps it is often stressed by it. And that stress does a number on the body.

Secrets also block your ability to build true intimacy. THey clutter your psychological landscape and interfere with building trust and intimacy in relationships.

So when you tell your secret, what is the best approach?

Even though it might be easier to hint at a problem or be indirect, don’t go the indirect route. Don’t tell a third party or create a hypothetical case.

Instead, stay calm. Begin by telling the person why you need to talk about this. Explain your motivation. Hopefully, it relates to building a relationship based on honesty. For example, “I don’t want you to find out this from someone else,” or “If I don’t tell you now, you might be more hurt later.”

Then, be direct. If the secret involves sin, wrongdoing, or bad judgment, confess and ask for forgiveness. Talk about your plan to repair the problem and offer solutions. If the secret is really difficult, you may want to go to a therapist and work through it with a third party.

Shame is not useful and keeps us stuck.

God doesn’t shame you. He wants you to feel conviction for sin, but not live in shame. If confession and repentance are needed, do both, but remember, Christ died to take away your shame. Nothing you have done will cause God to reject or abandon you. He loves you unconditionally and removes your sin once confessed. Shame is not on you, so don’t buy the lie! Let it go!

eatingThe big game is right around the corner and people are planning their Superbowl menus. But what if your fan experience could make or break your weight loss efforts?

That’s right, if you are a big Denver or Seattle fan and feel they are your team, you are about to be more stressed than those of us who don’t care about either team. And that stress just might make you eat more.

Strong identification with a team increases the stress hormone cortisol. When you watch the game, feel passionately about your team but have no control over the game, you are on the edge of your seat, yelling at the TV, and jumping to your feet. During an interception, you fall back on the couch in disbelief. Your heart is pumping. Come on, let’s win!

But if you lose, you may lose self-control and find yourself arm deep into a bowl of potato chips and dip!

A study published in Psychological Science found that the consumption of saturated fat after a beloved NFL team loses increases. If your team wins,  the saturated fat consumption goes down. Psychologically, the winning team makes you feel good and optimistic for the future. When you feel good, you tend to be more motivated in your eating and exercise. When you feel bad, well, we find comfort in those fried fatty foods!

Personally, I’m looking forward to the game because I really don’t identify with either team. I guess that means I’ll have better control with the snacks this year.

So thank you Chicago Bears for not making me fat!

alone 2What happens if you tell yourself that nobody like me…When you have that negative thought that somehow you don’t matter?

Nothing good!

You experience loneliness, not to be confused with depression or aloneness. Being alone is not a bad thing. But when you think being alone means you don’t matter, it turns to loneliness which does cause you to feel sad and down.

Loneliness usually relates to being socially isolated or dissatisfied in the relationships you have. As a result of that feeling, you can isolate even more and continue those negative thoughts.

However, we can choose not to feel lonely by doing something to connect with others, like being around people, taking a class, going to church, etc. We can lift our mood by reading a funny book, watching a movie, or meditating on the goodness of God and praying.

It’s all in what you tell yourself. If you think nobody cares about you, you will feel bad. If you think, hey, I have time to do some things I really love, you feel better.

Like so many things in our lives, the way we think about something matters.

Dr. Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognition and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, says some people are genetically more prone to loneliness than others. But when it comes to gender, men and women experience loneliness at similar rates. The difference is that woman want more face to face relationships and men like to be connected in a group.

Loneliness is often based on a worry that somehow we don’t matter. This worry can dissipate if we accept the love of God who tells us He will never leave us or forsake us. Our ever present God is a constant companion with whom we can daily communicate. So change that story that no one cares about you. God is Emmanuel, God with you.

And don’t give up on finding people with whom you can connect. Take a risk. Invite someone to coffee, attend a singles meeting at church, look for opportunities to volunteer in your community, get a pet, and join an Internet chat group related to a hobby or interest. Most of all, don’t allow yourself to belief the lie that nobody cares about you!