Making Relationships Last – Part 1

Making Relationships Last – Part 1

I was reading research on relationships by Prof John Gottman, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Washington. Gottman was recognized in 2007 as one of the 10 most influential therapists of the past quarter century. Research at the Gottman Institute in Seattle USA has focused on why some couples stay together while others fall apart. Their research shows that to make a relationship last, couples must become better friends,...

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What makes a good life?

What makes a good life?

This Harvard University longitudinal study on Happiness landed in my inbox this week. I found it riveting and profound. Besides adding to your quality of life in the here and now, happiness is a protective factor into old age of both your health and your intellectual sharpness, and even your ability to cope with physical pain. I hope you find value in the findings of this unique study that was begun during the Second World War and is still...

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When things fall apart.

When things fall apart.

In the film The Best Marigold Hotel, Evelyn says, Initially you’re overwhelmed. But gradually you realize it’s like a wave. Resist, and you’ll be knocked over. Dive into it, and you’ll swim out the other side. Sometimes life falls apart on multiple levels all at once. Perhaps bereavement or a divorce, coupled with resultant emotional adjustments, family relationship strains, moving home and some financial chaos – all...

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Anthem – Sadness and Regret

Anthem – Sadness and Regret

A friend of mine in her fifties wrote to me with sadness about how she felt she had not reached her potential nor achieved the life she had imagined for herself when she felt so powerful at the age of 22. She said, “I think I was really smart!!! My life has been a mess! Never turned out the way I imagined it!” I think she is not alone in her experience, and so I would like to share in this Blog my reply to her, in case you may find something...

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Part 5 of a series on weight loss – The worst kind of eating: don’t let yourself do this!

Part 5 of a series on weight loss – The worst kind of eating: don’t let yourself do this!

I’m not speaking about people who have genuine and deeply psychological eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia. I’m referring to people who have a mildly dysfunctional relationship with food caused by the diet industry and the messages we get from the media about the shoulds and musts of eating. If you were to ask most of these people what the worst kind of eating is, they would probably speak about binge eating – you know, the classic...

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Part 3 of a series on parenting – Yes, you will tidy your room!

Part 3 of a series on parenting – Yes, you will tidy your room!

Parenting can often be a battle of wills – a standoff between adversaries that can degenerate into aggression and negative feelings, which if repeated often enough, can tarnish a very important life-long relationship. So how does one constructively handle these difficult situations? I first learnt about this technique when my first baby was a year old, and it has been one of the most powerful lessons I have ever learnt – with profoundly...

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Duchesses and Flower Girls

Duchesses and Flower Girls

Do you find that your relationships at work or in your family are less than ideal? Perhaps characterized by conflict, or worse – distant and cut off – as though people have stopped trying to bridge the gap with you, they’ve just given up? We can never change other people, only ourselves, so it may be a good idea to quickly do a personal check-in with regard to how we are relating to other people. Basically, it’s in our attitude to...

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Making music out of Life.

Making music out of Life.

Reading an old but pertinent article in Vanity Fair on Greece’s economic woes*, I saw the following idea: The smart person accepts; the idiot insists. This got me thinking about the concept of flow, and just how draining resistance is. In his psychological philosophy Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, Albert Ellis takes this idea further when he speaks about how the shoulds, ought tos and musts in our thinking styles cause us suffering, and...

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Who’s the boss?

Who’s the boss?

What are your driving nightmares? Have you ever driven behind a really inconsiderate driver, the kind who on a nice road trip slows down up hills on a barrier line, and then speeds up like crazy just when you have the opportunity to finally overtake, so that you can’t? Or who parks on a red line which clearly means no stopping, let alone no parking, and so holds up all the frantic traffic behind! Or my favourite: the person turning right...

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Good fences make good neighbours

Good fences make good neighbours

Mending Wall, Robert Frost very famously said, Good fences make good neighbors. I say, fences are important even in your relationship with your significant other. Good boundaries, are a sense of where you end and others begin, and are a measure of your self-esteem and your esteem and trust in others. If on some level you doubt yourself, or you doubt your partner’s ability to show up reliably in the world, you may allow your boundaries to...

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