Doing Life Together

ID-100275878At the age of 10, Nicole, like so many children adored her mom. One day, the two were at the park playing and having a great time. Suddenly her mom fell to the ground and died. Nicole was traumatized by that event, but her family struggled through the grief. Her mom had an undiagnosed brain aneurism.

Trying to cope with the sudden and unexpected loss of her mom, Nicole turned to food for comfort. Eventually, she gained weight and became obsessed with eating and dieting. Food occupied her thoughts. Later,  her brother was killed in a car accident. In college, Nicole was date raped and ended up in a therapist office diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). She described an addiction to food, needing it to calm her down and bring her feelings of comfort.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis recently published a study is JAMA Psychiatry that looked at the relationship between PTSD and eating. What they found was that women with symptoms of PTSD are twice as likely to have food addiction than women with no such history. And when those women experience trauma early on in life, the likelihood of eating problems is even greater. In fact, the more trauma symptoms, the more likely the connection between trauma and food addiction. But this is only a connection and not a cause. One caution is that a person with food addiction could experience trauma, so there is no direct cause involved here, just an association.

Food addiction is a type of psychological dependence on eating  and is still somewhat controversial as an actual addictive disorder. That said, it makes sense that some women would turn to food for comfort when traumatized. Previous research has supported the idea that obesity and underweight are linked to trauma.

So if you have experienced trauma and find yourself overeating to reduce anxiety, work with a therapist to cope in other ways. Food problems and psychological dependence bring another set of problems into functioning in daily life. Therapist who work with eating disorders can help you learn other ways to cope than using food.

ID-100107957Dave is getting a promotion. His boss is impressed with his hard work. But could Dave’s work success be related to his wife’s conscientious personality?

Possibly! Your spouse might influence your career.

Conscientious, hard-working, agreeable….are these traits you list on your THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A SPOUSE? Most of us probably don’t consider these traits when it comes to our own work success. After all, our spouse doesn’t go to work with us. What could he or she possibly have to do with our success?

More than you might think because what happens behind those closed doors at home matters!

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis published a study in Psychological Science that looked at the influence of a spouse on career success. They found that spouses who were conscientious and created a satisfying home life influenced their partner’s future job satisfaction, promotion and income.

In other words, home life affects your job performance. You might be thinking, “Well, yes, we all sort of know that,” but your intimate relationship shapes you in ways that you might not think about. For example, researchers are thinking that if you have a spouse who models hard work,  it rub off on you.

Or how about the idea that when your conscientious other gets a lot accomplished at the home front, he/she frees up more time for you to couple and do other things?

Or maybe marrying someone who is conscientious means you have better overall relationships.

Whatever the case, spouses who are agreeable, open, extraverted and conscientious help their partners at work despite their lack of physical presence.

So when you look for a spouse, find a conscientious one. It just might propel your career in a more positive direction.




ID-100106071A reader asked:

My husband and I talked about it and decided we are not going to celebrate Halloween. Our child is three-years old and she really doesn’t know much about the holiday yet, but we do. I have been surprised at how many people, Christians included, have given us a hard time about our decision. There is so much about Halloween we don’t like that we prefer to ignore it. I know this might get more difficult as our daughter gets older but what is your opinion on this?

After researching the roots of Halloween, I am not a fan either. I don’t like the connection to occultic roots, the scary costumes, the gore and the idea of frightening kids and desensitizing them to the dark spiritual world that does exist.

So every family needs to make a decision as to what they are going to do with Halloween. Some people allow their kids to dress up in fun costumes and trick or treat. Others say NO to that activity and attend alternate harvest parties at their churches. Some feel alternatives should not be offered as it assumes kids are missing something.

The important thing to do is research the holiday, pay attention to what you feel the Lord is telling you to do, and talk as a family. Pray for wisdom and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, not other people. Then help your children understand the position you take and why.

Other people should respect your decision, especially if you have had any personal encounters with the dark side of the spirit world in your family or through the generations. And if your decision is simply based on the idea that you don’t like what Halloween stands for and do not want to participate, you don’t need the approval of others.

Romans 12:2 reminds us not to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. In our post Christian culture, taking a stand for what you believe to be true based on Scripture is an important lesson to model for children. Perhaps that is what you will teach your child as she gets older. And one of the best things that comes out of deciding what to do with Halloween and taking a position on this topic is that other people awaken to the idea that evil really exists and isn’t some Hollywood fantasy.

ID-100181543Lately, we’ve heard a lot about people who think they can multitask but perform poorly. So parents all over America are turning off music and screens, telling their teens to focus on the single task of studying. Good idea, right?

Maybe not for all teens. Two high school researchers put together an impressive study that challenged the idea that multitasking is always bad when trying to learn. In their study, the teens discovered that a certain group of teens can multitask and experience improved performance. It was only 15% of the study participants (400 total participants) but for that group, listening to music, checking email and generally multitasking worked for them.

Why? One thought is maybe the brains of digital natives (those who grew up on multitasking on media) have adapted to all the stimuli and can cope. OR maybe there is a genetic component. No one is really sure but it is interesting that not all people who are heavy media multitaskers do poorly. Some of these “supertaskers” may just be able to handle all the distraction.

Keep in mind that most people don’t do well on tasks when heavy media multitasking is involved. But maybe, just maybe, you have one of the few teens who can. Maybe the digital native brains are adapting. Since, this is only one study, more will need to be researched.

In the meantime, I’m telling my teens to put down the devices, study with no distraction like their old-school mom!


Source: Poster presentation at the American Academy of Pediatrics conference, 2014