“Ten Fundamental Truths We Forget Too Easily” Worth A Peek At!

January 21st, 2018

Respected Reader, how is your memory? I know that mine has plenty of lapses. Certain things I know and should be putting into practice occasionally, okay, often, fall by the wayside. Reminders can help us re-focus, become aware again, on some fundamental things that can make our life work just a bit better, or a whole lot better! Dr. Travis Bradberry has a talent for helping the reader to embrace things that enhance success, both in personal growth, relationships, and in the workplace. I respect his writings and often bring them to this space, with my added contribution. I like these reminders and invite you to reflect on them

1. BEING BUSY DOES NOT EQUAL BEING PRODUCTIVE: “Success doesn’t come from movement and activity. It comes from focus – from ensuring that your time is used efficiently and productively.” You’ve heard the expression “running around like chickens with their heads cut off”, have you not? (google the expression). My calendar is a constant reflection and reminder of how I spend my time. It is a reflection of my priorities. May you evaluate your priorities and spend quality focused time in getting what is important done well.

2. GREAT SUCCESS IS OFTEN PRECEDED BY FAILURE: “The biggest breakthroughs typically come when you’re feeling the most frustrated and most stuck.” Personally, I know this to be true, as I changed my career path two times when in this state of being. I wasn’t failing per se, but in need of a change. In both cases I moved forward in a creative and enlivened manner. Thank you frustration! Life is a series of adjustments moving through the ups and downs. When in the down position it is necessary to have the resilience to progress to your next best situation.

3. FEAR IS THE SOURCE OF REGRET: “When it’s all said and done, you will lament the chances you didn’t take far more than you will your failures. Don’t be afraid to take risks. … The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.” The expression “frozen in fear” is real. Fear stops you in your tracks. One of my favorite expressions is “just do the next right thing”. Overcome fear and move forward. Any particular fear stopping you at present?

4. YOUR SELF WORTH MUST COME FROM WITHIN: Too many people measure their self worth based on the opinions of others or what they have accomplished. Such superficial and transient reinforcement only makes you more needy and dependent. When your self worth comes from within you are your own rock and can withstand any adversarial element in your way.

5. YOU’RE ONLY AS GOOD AS THOSE YOU ASSOCIATE WITH: “You should strive to surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who make you better.” Remember your parents telling you in your teens not to hang around this or that person? They didn’t want you to be influenced by such an individual. “Birds of a feather flock together” makes sense. Look who you are hanging around with. Look to see who you might want to raise the bar towards. Flying high or waddling low?

6. LIFE IS SHORT: Carpe diem, seize the day – while you can. Appreciate the opportunity that each day offers for going forward in ways that are important priorities for you. This one has never meant more than it does these days! J

7. YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR AN APOLOGY TO FORGIVE: “Life goes smoother once you let go of grudges and forgive even those who never said they were sorry. … Hate and anger are parasites that destroy the joy in life.” Carrying negative baggage, emotions and thoughts, just weigh you down. They are a mental burden robbing your brain of the “good stuff”. Park it and leave it!  Not easy, but most worthwhile.

8. YOU’RE LIVING THE LIFE YOU’VE CREATED: “You are not a victim of circumstance. No one can force you to make decisions and take actions that run contrary to your values and aspirations. The circumstances you’re living in today are your own – you created them. Likewise, your future is entirely up to you.”Too often in my office I hear people play the victim card. Life has not been “fair” to them. And, it may not have. My practice is build a lot about the wiring of the brain, both genetically and experientially. But neoplasticity is a reality. The brain and behavior  can be modified to produce wonderful outcomes for those who choose to make the effort. My practice continues to verify that every day!

9. LIVE IN THE MOMENT: Personally I don’t see much of a difference between this one and number 6. Get with it. Don’t hesitate in getting on with life and the choices immediately before you. Another cliché: “He who hesitates is lost.” Be “found”!

10. CHANGE IS INEVITABLE – EMBRACE IT: “Only when you embrace change can you find good in it. You need to have an open mind and open arms if you’re going to recognize, and capitalize on, the opportunities that change creates.” Again, the oft quoted Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Change, but research well the contemplated choice.

Respected Reader, any of these reminders saying anything to you? Or, are you continually on top of these “fundamental truths”?  Any other “fundamental truths” of your that you may want to call back to mind and action?

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

Dr. Stathas can be reached at 706-473-1780. Email: jstathas13@gmail.com. Web site: drstathas.googlepages.com. Blog: drstathas.com

“6 Things You Should ALWAYS Be Selfish About In Relationships”

January 14th, 2018

Getting in, staying, and developing a healthy significant relationship that has depth is not an easy task. Insight of the week! Often individuals error on one extreme or the other in such a relationship. One person may become passive dependent in the relationship, whereas another individual may become egotistical and controlling. Being able to be your full self in a healthy interdependent relationship is a most worthwhile goal. Here are some tips to assist in that endeavor offered by Laura Brown and embellished by me. Ms. Brown has stated that she was such a giver that she lost her true self. She so wanted the other person to not leave that she gave up the following factors to ensure that the other person would not leave. Mistake, now corrected! Now, never give up these six things in a relationship.

1. YOUR INDEPENDENCE: The best relationships exist when both people are independent, not needy or inclined to be dependent. Based on a mutual understanding toward developing a healthy relationship, two independent people thus form a synergistic interdependent relationship with an equal give and take between them. Many years ago I made up a little saying in this regard:  “You come into this world alone. You leave alone. Along the way you hold hands with different people, in various degrees of intimacy, for various periods of time. But you are alone.”   Embrace your aloneness and independence – your essence!

2. YOUR IDENTITY: The goal of each person is to become the best person s/he can be. Healthy relationships foster this. Each person brings experiences, perspective, opinions, etc… to the other. An independent person decides which ones to adopt and make a part of his/her identity. You need to be in charge of the identity you create and live.

3. YOUR HAPPINESS: Various people and experiences bring us happiness. One person’s happiness may not be another’s. Life is expansive enough for each to find separate happinesses, as well as that shared together. Trust and the ability to talk about one’s individual happinesses are important here.

4. YOUR DREAMS AND AMBITIONS: This one seems somewhat redundant to me. If you have your independence, actively developing your identity, and creating happiness, then certainly your dreams and ambitions are part and parcel of them.

5. YOUR FAITH: This is a tricky one, less so in these times than past. Certain religions and believers can make this difficult. However, your faith is your faith, not someone else’s. What you believe and practice is your right. If your significant other has a problem with that then that person does not deserve such a designation and role. You must be free to be who you are, including whatever faith/beliefs  you may currently be espousing.

6. YOUR RIGHT TO BE HEARD: I like the way Ms. Hilton comments here: “Your voice is your power. It’s how you share your ideas with the world, advocate for something you believe in, and stand up for yourself when necessary. Relationships should be breeding grounds for greater security and confidence in our voice.” Healthy relationships help bring out the best in you, build confidence, and enable your voice to be heard.

Relationships certainly are complex. Certainly the ones that have a deeper emotional tie have the most impact in affecting who you are and what you do. Choose wisely, do due diligence, stay aware of the interpersonal dynamic going on, and choose to be all of your best self. May these six reminders add to your ability to do that!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

Dr. Stathas can be reached at 706-473-1780. Email: jstathas13@gmail.com. Web site: drstathas.googlepages.com. Blog: drstathas.com

Are You “Walking On Egg Shells In Your Relationship? This Quiz May Help!

January 8th, 2018

Certainly you have heard the expression “walking on egg shells”. Have you used it? Lived it? Currently living it? I hear this phrase said in many couples therapy sessions. Neil Rosenthal, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, has written a quality article on the subject, including a questionnaire to help you determine if that is your reality. The answers may help you determine if you are living in such a way, perhaps even with a borderline personality companion. Take the quiz.

Answer each question with a O – not a problem; 1 – sometimes a problem; 2 – a problem half the time; 3 – a frequent concern; 4 – an ongoing problem of great concern.

1. Do you find yourself hiding thoughts or feelings because it is easier than dealing with your partner’s overreactions – or because talking about problems simply make them worse?

2. After you try to explain yourself to the other person, does s/he use your own words and contort them to prove his/her own point? Does your mate blame you or all the problems in his/her life, and your relationship, and refuse to acknowledge that his/her actions cause problems?

3. Is his/her temper so unpredictable that you’re constantly on your toes, adrenaline pumping, waiting for the next verbal attack? Is it difficult to enjoy the good times because you’ve learned never to let your guard down?

4. When you come home from work each day, do you wonder whether Dr. Jeckel or Mr. Hyde will greet you at the door?

5. Do you feel manipulated, controlled or even lied to sometimes in an attempt for your partner to get what s/he wants?

6. Does your mate seem to demand constant attention? Is everything always about him/her?

7. Are you afraid to ask for things in the relationship because you’ll be told you’re selfish and demanding? Does s/he imply or show by example that your needs are not as important as his/her needs?

8. Do you feel that your partner’s expectations of you are constantly changing so that you can never do anything right?

9. Are you accused of doing things you never did and saying things you never said? Do you feel misunderstood? When you try to explain, do you find that your partner doesn’t believe you?

10. Do other people remark that your partner is verbally or emotionally abusive? Do they encourage you to leave the relationship?

11. If and when you try to leave, does your partner prevent you from departing?

12. Do you have a hard time planning social engagements, vacations, and other activities because the other person’s moodiness, impulsiveness or unpredictability may destroy your plans at the last minute?

Okay, what did you come up with? According to Dr. Rosenthal a score of 20 or more indicates that your partner probably has a Borderline Personality Disorder. A score of 11-20 indicates a relationship with a “borderline” borderline: someone who may have borderline personality leanings but who can keep them somewhat in check. A score of 11 or below probably means that the person in your life does not have a Borderline Personality Disorder.

Let me stress that this questionnaire is not a diagnostic tool per se. Dr. Rosenthal is putting it out there to help you reflect on your relationship. Are you “walking on egg shells”? Does your partner have possible Borderline Personality Disorder traits? If the answers are pointing out these negatives, please see a qualified Marriage and Family Therapist pronto!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

Slow Your Aging! Learn How To Evolve Your Brain

December 28th, 2017

John J. Stathas, Ph.D., LMFT

If you are of a certain age, or advanced wisdom, you will be concerned about how your brain functions. Slowing cognitive decline, managing negative emotions, stifling brain cell death, while maximizing brain capacity and efficiency are worthy efforts for those aware of the possibilities available. If you are one of those people, Respected Reader, continue on this journey that fascinates me and could be additive to your life.

I have read books, been to conferences, and used myself as a “guinea pig” to better understand the ability to evolve the brain. Some salient points follow.

Evolving your brain contrasts with static activity that gradually erodes the capacity of the brain to function. This evolution, or creation, of new brain cells involves the Hebbian learning theory which is “neurons that fire together, wire together.” In other words, use it or you lose it! Get “fired up”!

Through the process of creativity, association and repetition new neurological pathways are developed and strengthened. You must actively seek new knowledge and ways of thinking and acting, as well as repeating and using current knowledge, to energize the brain. The brain, acting like a computer, is the processing center for all you think, feel and do.

Most people as they age, hopefully not you, Respected Reader, continue to think and act in comfortable familiar ways. They are stuck. By not being creative the brain, like your body deteriorates. The brain develops “hardening of the categories.”

Let’s be practical and realistic. As you look around at many older people what do you often see? Do you see increased negativity, complaining, criticizing, struggling to adjust to new information (“back in my day”), holding on to irrational beliefs, etc… . These people are stuck in static auto pilot thinking which has reduced the telomeres in their brain. (Read up on telomeres!). These people have a greater probability of dementia. Choose not to be such as these as you gracefully and actively age.

It is truly amazing how you can create new brain cells, neuroplasticity, by actively changing the way you think, feel and do things. Heightened awareness, positive thinking, seeking knowledge, optimistically seeing possibilities rather than expecting disappointments, “changing the channel” from depressing or negative thoughts, having loving and fun experiences, etc… can energize your brain to operate more efficiently and growfully. The brain is a powerful tool that can be manipulated by a person with cultivated awareness of what is going on inside the brain. One more time, cultivated awareness.

Certainly there are other complementary components to maximizing optimal brain and body health over the ages. Reducing stress, exercising, meditating, eating healthy, plenty of sleep, taking certain supplements, nurturing and being nurtured, etc… all are beneficial elements for slowing the erosion dimension of your life cycle.

Two authors that have impressed me relative to this subject are Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Joe Dispenza. Both eloquently write about neuroplasticity, changing the brain. Dr. Amen has done incredible work in brain imaging. It is amazing to see what the brain looks like when depressed, anxious, suffering from ADD/ADHD, and other brain states!

I know this is “heady” stuff, Respected Reader, but it is important for you if you want to do all you can to slow the aging process and live a vital energizing seeking way of life. It’s worth it!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

“10 Mistakes Smart People Never Make Twice”!

December 15th, 2017

John J. Stathas, Ph.D., LMFT

Ever made a mistake? Repeated it? Most of you, and me, have done so. Perhaps we just need to get smarter. According to prolific writer, Dr. Travis Bradberry, “smart” people never make a mistake twice. Who are the “smart” people?

Researchers from the Clinical Psychophysiology Lab at Michigan State University found that people fall into two groups when it comes to making mistakes: those who have a “fixed mind set” (“forget this, I’ll never be good at it”) and those who have a “growth mind set” (“wake up call! Let’s see what I did wrong so I won’t do it again”). Those with a growth mind set acknowledge their mistakes and use them to get better. They have the commitment and tools in place to learn from their errors. Those with the fixed mind set are bound to repeat their mistakes because they try their best to ignore them. And which type are you, Respected Reader?

Dr. Bradberry’s  tips on how to not repeat mistakes. If you want to get “smarter” embrace the following directives.

1. BELIEVING IN SOMEONE OR SOMETHING THAT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: Naivety and lack of due diligence can be catastrophic. I remember making a foolish stock investment years ago that turned out to be a dud. A stockbroker near my office was all hyped about it – and I bought in. The stock sunk, as did my trust in him. Did not use him again and have since researched much better my stock choices.

2. DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AND EXPECTING A DIFFERENT RESULT:  Famous Einstein quote. Smart people know that if you want a different result, they need to change their approach, even when it’s painful to do so. I see this in my practice when certain people keep dating and marrying the same type of people – and failing.

3. FAILING TO DELAY GRATIFICATION: This is particularly true during these times of instant news and communication. Smart people know that you have to put in the hard work, whether it be in career or personal relationships, in order to get the reward.

4. OPERATING WITHOUT A BUDGET: Budgets are built on analysis, commitment, and discipline. Such traits are necessary for any worthwhile goal.

5. LOSING SIGHT OF THE BIG PICTURE: Getting caught up in details, needing instant gratification, not adequately seeing the ultimate goal lead to failure. “Keep your eye on the prize!”

6. NOT DOING YOUR HOMEWORK: Shortcuts don’t work. You must pay the price, do the grunt work, get in the trenches, in order to get the desired result.

7. TRYING TO BE SOMEONE OR SOMETHING YOU’RE NOT: This is a big one. Fake leads to failure. Authenticity and integrity, being real, are the core of who you are. Display with openness and confidence.

8. TRYING TO PLEASE EVERYONE: It doesn’t work. You become a chameleon with no core of essence. You must know who you are and live it out with integrity and consistency.

9. PLAYING THE VICTIM: This is a form of manipulation by a weak person. By trying this tactic you unwittingly give up your power – and that makes no sense.

10. TRYING TO CHANGE SOMEONE: People change only when they want to and have the wherewithal to accomplish it. You cannot “fix” someone. Instead, built your life around genuine positive people that can synergize with you into moving forward.

What do you think, Respected Reader? Do you practice some or all of these directives? Perhaps they may serve as a reminder to lessen your mistakes. I leave you with this favorite quote of mine from Nelson Mandela, “I never lose, I either win or I learn”.

“The unexamined life is not worth living”  Socrates

Dr. Stathas can be reached at 706-473-1780. Email: jstathas13@gmail.com. Web site: drstathas.googlepages.com. Blog: drstathas.com”