Device overload item – could it be happening to you?

When the average American looks at his or her smartphone between 90 and 165 times per day, this average American is doing much more than practicing highly questionable personal hygiene.A spate of recent studies suggests that people constantly looking at their smartphones — or, even scarier, simply sitting near their smartphones — have lower rates of the following things: cognition, problem solving, creativity, attention span, sound sleep, affinity, trust and empathy. Basically, we are making ourselves demonstrably dumber and less happy.

Source: Hansen: We are slaves to our smartphones. We are the Facebook Zombie Army. We are the Walking and Tweeting Dead | Matthew Hansen | omaha.com

from Pam Feldman, LIMHP

Is cell phone addiction really a “thing”? If everybody’s doing it, how can it be so bad?

Matthew Hansen’s article in a recent edition of the Omaha World-Herald, is a great example of how our children are becoming affected.

A recent issue of the Family Therapy Networker challenges therapists to address the effects of being constantly connected to cell phones, addicted to gaming, laptops, tablets and watches. Are we losing ourselves without recognizing it?

Next time you’re on your device, ask Siri how cell phones use is affecting children, marriages and other relationships. She’ll plug you in.

 

HOLIDAY TRADITIONS: IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE FOOD

Angst Over Food

It's not about the food!
It’s not about the food!

With the holidays fast approaching, there’s always angst over food. Whether you suffer a food allergy, an eating disorder, obesity, or are just trying to stay reasonably healthy, this is a difficult time of year. Lunch rooms get crowded with baked goods, every event seems to be focused on food, and families plan and prepare for feasts that result in food comas that sometimes end up in napping rather than enjoying one another’s company.

Celebrations

To be honest, we all probably have a few favorite foods that only come out at holiday time and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying that fully. But maybe it’s time to take into account that there are lots of other ways to celebrate and new traditions that engage more than our taste buds. If you are interested in considering making some changes, I’d like to offer a few ideas with the recognition that there may be some resistance and change happens gradually for most of us.

First of all, the holiday itself need not be the central part of the celebration. In many large and busy families, there are just too many places to go on one day. Consider enjoying an activity other than a meal. Locally, there are numerous free or low cost events that allow families to enjoy music, lights, and spiritual aspects of the season. familyConsult the local newspaper and magazines that are full of ideas such as the lighting downtown starting on Thanksgiving evening, and concerts at the museums, churches and other venues. A walk at the Lauritzen Gardens or a nearby lake or park is a way to bring the family together for some exercise. Game nights, making crafts and setting up friendly competitions can become something everyone remembers fondly. Building gingerbread houses, having snowball fights, or caroling can be ways to get at least some of the family involved in a new tradition. Volunteering around the holidays is a special way to generate comradery. Donating to charity by weeding out toys and coats and unused items is another family project that sets the holidays in motion. Just looking at Christmas lights is a fun way to spend an evening.

Keep It Simple

In our family, we try to keep it simple. After years of excessive, exhausting, albeit elaborate Holiday dinners, we now opt for a more people-focused approach. For example, Christmas eve will be at one home with a light meal and gift exchange. Christmas morning will be an egg casserole and sweet rolls at another home to enjoy the children and their Santa presents. We’ll end up at my house after a family traipse through the nearby trails, have soups and sandwiches, play games and tell stories and piece together a jigsaw puzzle. No one need be stressed out or bloated or secretly upset about over indulging. Don’t get me wrong, there will be candy and baked goods. But this year, we decided to forego the heavy meal on top of all that.

A final thought . . .

whatever your holiday includes, pay attention to what you really want to set your focus on. Who needs you to listen? When did you last read a book to a child? Is there an elderly person who would appreciate your attention? Have you connected with your spouse, your children, parents? How does nature, movement or music play a role in your holiday plans? The options are endless. Just let your imagination go.

Like I said, your family may have some awesome, creative holiday traditions. Share!

 

 

Setting the Stage for More Sex

How To Increase Your Chances of Having More Sex

“My wife and I haven’t been intimate for 8 years.”

I have people coming in with relationship problems.  They’re not getting along, they’re not communicating and they’re not having sex.  They might mention they miss having sex, then I know desire is there.

I take note of this because desire for sex is really a positive thing, it shows zest for life.  If it’s been a long time, though, starting up again can be awkward.

It Starts Early in the Day

Once you’ve made up your mind, get started.  You will want to connect in a positive way with your loved one.  Some people call it “simmering” and what they’re doing is showing affection toward their partner.

A husband walks in from getting the mail and touches her cheek. Just like that, out of the blue.

She extends her hand to him, touches his shoulder.

They have started something.

But neither will show their cards yet there’s no rush…

He helped clean the kitchen so she could go work out.  She prepared his favorite spicy chili for dinner.

What is happening is that they are on good terms and doing things to maintain those good terms.

A hot time in the bedroom at night starts in the morning.  It’s all the little steps during the day that makes the difference.

Is There Unresolved Conflict?

However, increasing affection might not lead to sex.  Then the question is, is there unresolved conflict?

In the past they had a major argument over him going out of town when she had to stay home and work.  She felt his trip was a financial drain.  It was since that time that sex had become nonexistent, only once every two months.

It might be helpful to ask yourself what has changed since you first noticed lack of a sex life?

Make a Date Time

Finally, it’s really helpful to look forward to getting together. Couples can set the stage for a good time.  Find a time when both have enough energy, are alert.  During courtship people prepare for a date and want to maximize their time together.  Making time to be intimate deserves the same kind of thoughtfulness.

What thoughts do you have about getting restarted with your sex life? If you are ready to talk it over, please give me a call.

Phones & Separation Anxiety

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150111195734.htm – link to original article

iPhone separation linked to physiological anxiety, poor cognitive performance

Cell phone in hand
Must the phone always accompany us through the day?

From Science Daily:

Cell phone use has become a common part of life as mobile devices have become one of the most popular ways to communicate. Even so, very little research exists on the impact of cell phone usage and specifically what happens when people are separated from their phones. Now, research from the University of Missouri has found that cell phone separation can have serious psychological and physiological effects on iPhone users, including poor performance on cognitive tests. The researchers say these findings suggest that iPhone users should avoid parting with their phones during daily situations that involve a great deal of attention, such as taking tests, sitting in conferences or meetings, or completing important work assignments, as it could result in poorer cognitive performance on those tasks.

Let’s talk – without the phone……

I love my smartphone. I don’t have one of Apple’s phones – but a pretty good Android. It pretty much does everything I want it to. It’s a tool, a communication device, a kind of Swiss Army Knife kind of object that I’ve come to appreciate over time. I wouldn’t want to go back to my flip-phone.

We, as a species, mastered fire about 70,000 years ago – as I recall hearing recently. We’ve only had these marvelous devices for 6 or 7 years. We await each new version with breathless anticipation. We stare at the screen to the degree that I’ve started to see articles online about orthopedic problems emerging from high use. We detach from social environments to check our Twitter feed or Facebook status updates. Look around the next restaurant you’re in – and take note of how many people are seated with others, but interacting with their phones. Airports, grocery stores, art galleries – we don’t want to miss anything, apparently.

People are carrying them into psychotherapy sessions, too. To show the therapist the nasty text from a problematic mate or family member. To catch the return call from the pediatrician [this one makes sense to me!] or risk waiting another 24 hours. To monitor emergencies back at the office. On and on.

But to what end?

To do more? Not miss out? Stay in the loop?

Trouble letting go of your continuous connection to everything? Think it through, and consider uninstalling a few apps – or turn off the notifications. Turn off the vibration feature on your phone – fewer prompts to check-check-check who-what-when-why.

Still anxious? Let’s talk it over.

 

You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

When You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

A lot of musicians have been celebrating landmark anniversaries lately: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark 5 – to name but a few. While listening to an oldies station the other day, I got to thinking about all the great artists from that era. Right in the mix of pop music in the early 60’s was The Righteous Brothers. They recorded their great hit, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’, in 1964. Have you heard it recently? Have a listen right here:
When I hear this song, and others like it, I get to thinking about the challenges of relationships – how fragile it all can be. This is often the crux of the issue when people come to see me for consultation – they’ve lost a sense of closeness, tenderness, affection, and sexual chemistry that they long to recover. People can feel that things are slipping through their fingers.
“Why don’t I have affectionate feelings for my wife?”
“Will I ever get the feelings back again?  I’m willing to wait–two weeks, three weeks even, but if I don’t start feeling those old feelings or I think we won’t have what we used to have, I’m outta here!”
What you’re hearing is men and women who are distressed with not feeling in love with their partner, having no desire to have sex with their partner, maybe even feeling numbness or totally turned off by their partner.  They recognize that they can’t make themselves feel a certain way but they may not recognize how they got to the place of not feeling anything.

It’s Probably Been Happening for Awhile

One man recognized when he came back from out of town his wife never cooked, he had to cook and do the laundry and he resented that.  Another women was actually very clear about when the problem started and how it was maintained.  When her husband asked her multiple times during the day to have sex and kept asking she was turned off.  She felt disrespected.  He did not hear her say now is not a good time.

Can This Problem be Solved?

Sometimes it can be a quick fix. In the case of the woman who felt disrespected, once her husband heard her in session and realized what he was doing was pushing her away, he backed off from approaching her so often. She then began approaching him and surprised him by setting up dates to have sex.

A quick fix and return of romantic feelings is not always the case, however. Some conflicts are difficult to unearth and are even more difficult to work through. And it may be that one partner has already checked out and is hoping to hear that restoring loving feelings cannot be done so they can just leave. It can really be helpful to work with a couples therapist to resolve conflicts and perhaps restore romantic feelings.

How has this been for you?

Ever faced this before? What helped? What fizzled? I’d love to hear your thoughts – below.