Thoughts On Grieving

Recently I read a very slim volume called Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Adichie.  Having grown up in a family where my mother was a widow three times, and where we, as children, lost our father and two stepfathers, grief seemed like a constant in our lives.  As a result, I have always been interested in the effect of parental loss on children and the family, and the degree to which that kind of trauma shapes the future of the family members. I did not expect a lot from Adichie’s 67-page book … [Read more...]

Are You a Perfectionist?

To be perfectionistic means to have very high standards and expectations.  Is that bad, you ask?  Not necessarily.  Although perfectionism can be adaptive when it leads to high productivity and life satisfaction, it can be maladaptive when it leads to being self-critical, angry, or not having a life balance between work and recreation. Joan is an example of someone who does not recognize that she is a perfectionist.  Her children’s clothes must always be ironed and she must look perfect in … [Read more...]

When Feeling Bad Is Good

Many years ago, I read a book by Ellen McGrath with the same title as this blog. McGrath’s focus was on recognizing that the early signs of depression could be a good thing, a warning sign that help is needed. Recently, I revisited this idea since so many people are talking about the depression they feel arising from world and national events that are troubling. I think all of us can agree that war, isolation from a pandemic, and lack of civility in politics does not make the world an easier … [Read more...]

INFIDELITY: You Can Forgive, But Can You Forget?

After infidelity, many people sweep their feelings under the rug. Some people go to couples counseling and work through the issues in the marriage that were causing problems that predated the infidelity. Some people stay married and stay angry. Some actually move on emotionally. Recently I have had several calls from people who have said that although they have stayed in the marriage, forgiven their spouse, and really believe that things are better, they cannot forget the infidelity and just … [Read more...]

BODY IMAGE: Are We STILL Worrying About That?

As someone who has always struggled with her weight, I have, in recent years, focused on eating healthier, doing more walking, and cherishing the extra energy that gives me. What I have not been doing is focusing solely on what the scale says. I was very pleased to see an autobiography from TV star, Valerie Bertinelli, called “Enough Already” about how the actress and food show host is essentially delivering the same message. The nice thing about famous people writing books about popular topics … [Read more...]

Should We Always Be Afraid of Anxiety?

For most people, anxiety is a burden. It makes them feel as if they cannot control their lives and that they must endure a lot of distress when doing things that make them nervous. In the DSM V, the psychiatrist’s and psychologist’s diagnostic manual, there are 11 different anxiety “disorders.”  But, as a recent article by Christina Caron in the New York Times Wellness Advice section shows, there are times when anxiety can actually help us. She acknowledges that too much anxiety can be … [Read more...]

Facing the New Year With HOPE

Usually, at this time of year, people have made resolutions and are trying to keep them, or perhaps have already broken them.  However, with the new strain of the Covid virus, many of us are looking ahead and worrying about another long winter with the possible need to quarantine. But there are some things you can do to face the new year with optimism and a belief that you can not just survive, but can thrive, in spite of many challenges. First, take a deep breath and try to believe in … [Read more...]

What Qualities Do You Want to Nourish In Yourself?

Recently I read an article by the CEO of Korn Ferry, Gary Burnison, about how to define grace.  He sees it as the goodwill of people who help others.  During the past year, and before, as we all struggled with the COVID epidemic, there were many examples of people who cared for others, helped them physically and lifted their spirits emotionally.  Just think about the people who hung out of the windows of buildings in New York City and cheered for health care workers and first responders.  Or the … [Read more...]

Sleep & Our Immune System

Because of the COVID pandemic, there is a lot of conversation about how strong people’s immune systems are, and who may be “immune-compromised.” While that is important, what a lot of people ignore even during more normal times is the relationship between sleep and immunity. One of the key elements in helping your immune system function well is sleep. Sleep is not just a way that we rest and heal emotionally from our day. It is also the time that our bodies produce white blood cells (T-cells) … [Read more...]

OCD and the Covid-19 Pandemic

People with OCD have unwanted recurring thoughts that lead to repetitive behaviors.  They are not just quirky or eccentric.  They are suffering from a highly upsetting condition that triggers a great deal of anxiety and can be time-consuming in its behaviors.  At the beginning of the pandemic, people with OCD often felt worse as they feared there were germs everywhere. Others found that their taboo thoughts about sexuality or religion increased.  Those with rituals of counting or checking may … [Read more...]