Our Thoughts of Care and Concern go to the Victims of Today’s Terror in San Bernardino

When witnessing an event with as much magnitude as on the news today as the terror attack in San Bernardino, CA, its time to stop what you are doing. PERIOD! Take a mental break, take a self assessment, drink some tea, well, you get the idea, no? Next, determine either on your own, or with someone you care about, how has this news, the vivd pictures on-line, and the ongoing feeds you have been reading impact you.  Do the images flash through your mind like a snapshot while carrying on throughout your regular routine?  Do the images appear when you lie down at night to go to sleep, making sleep nearly impossible, spurring racing thoughts through your mind? Ugh, let me sleep, you may be saying to yourself! Are you more irritable than usual, less motivated?

We all carry the burden of being human, which may cause you to experience a normal, albeit unpleasant and inhibiting reaction.  This is to have a normal response to an abnormal situation.  Let me say this again, as it is very important. Listen up, now:  You are having a NORMAL response to an abnormal situation.  It is normal to feel, to be emotional.

Word from the Wise Therapist…..expect to have a lingering sadness, anxiety or increased irritability following a major event for around 2 weeks or so.  After about 10 days, and your symptoms have not waned, set yourself up with one of our life coaches online, or schedule in person to get things in the mental department checked out and running like a well oiled machine.  It MUST be a priority for you to take care of you!(At least a weenie teeny teensy tiny little bit!!!)

Give those love ones a little bit of an extra hug and try to enjoy some quiet time together…carve out a little break for some rest and relaxation, and afford yourself the support you need, and seek help of a qualified professional to get you through the slump that you may be feeling.  Not only do you Deserve it, you actually need it, or it may linger longer than you may ever expect.

We here at Strategies for Success want to express our deepest thoughts and condolences to the victims and their families of the horror that occurred today in San Bernardino, California.  As I learn more about it, my heart feels heavy with despair.

The Holidays, Children And Divorce – 5 Things To Do And 5 Things Not To Do During The Holidays

Divorce effect on kids concept with sad boy-focus on child


Written by  

Article from www.firstwivesworld.com


A journalist recently interviewed me to discuss the most important things to keep in mind during the holidays after divorce if you have children, and the following suggestions were my recommendations:





5 Things to Do:

  1. Be sensitive to the fact that your children are looking forward to the holidays with you and also with your ex. Do not take it personally that children like to spend time with both parents. Create new or continue old holiday traditions to make your children feel good about the holidays.
  2. Do coordinate big gifts with your Ex. There is nothing like the letdown of both of you getting your child the same big gift. It is a letdown for both the parent and the child and is completely avoidable by communication between both parents.
  3. Do send a card to your Ex’s family if you are close to them. It is natural to still have feelings for them if you were close emotionally to them. However, do not say anything derisive or negative about your ex in the card.
  4. Call a truce with your Ex in the spirit of the holidays if you do not have a mutually respectful relationship or still harbor animosity toward them. The holidays are a time to transform anger and to have goodwill to all men (and women)… even if that includes your ex.
  5. Do take care of your self during the holidays. Take time to de-stress in healthy ways (exercise, massage, good nutrition, refrain from over-indulging in food or alcohol). If the children are not with you over the holidays, then plan to do something that would be fun and nurturing rather than sitting at home and being miserable.

5 Things Not to Do: 

  1. Do not compete with your Ex to out-do in gift-giving; it only spoils the children and makes everyone feel uncomfortable (including the children).
  2. Do not punish the children for having a good time with your Ex or sharing stories of the good times they had at your ex’s home. Don’t you want your children to have good memories of their holidays? They have a good time with you too and are also sharing that with your ex. Your children need to feel happy and loved in both homes and not be made to feel guilty about it.
  3. Do not send a mean card to either your Ex or your ex’s family. If you can’t say something nice (especially during the holidays), then don’t send anything at all.
  4. Do not tell your children how lonely you are when they are not with you over the holidays. It is NOT fair to make your children feel responsible for your feelings, thoughts or behaviors. We are very powerful in our choices, and we can either choose to be miserable or choose to be happy. After all, the adults were the ones who chose to get a divorce. The children just have to deal with the situation.
  5. Do not over-extend your self over the holiday with attempts to be super-parent to outdo your ex (by volunteering in the school, with sports team, or community parties).

(originally posted by DocTracy)

8 Tips for Surviving Depression and Anxiety During the Holidays

by , Assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, NYU Medical Center

Article from The Huffington Post

Depressed man

Ah, the holidays! Most people feel a sense of anticipation and joy as we approach the holidays. Time for family gatherings and other fun activities. However, a considerable number of people, including those people in therapy, can feel depressed, frustrated, and anxious thinking about the holidays. These could be people without a family or without a significant network of friends. Or they can be people who have had mixed or negative experiences with friends and family in holidays past. What can they do to make the holidays more enjoyable?

“I don’t think I can stand another holiday,” said John*, my patient, a 54-year-old lawyer who lives in the city. He’s never been married, although he’s had a few short-term relationships. His parents died years ago, and he never was that close with them. He doesn’t have any siblings. His few friends all have commitments for the holidays. He has had depression since his mid-30s and has been off and on anti-depressants with good results. Of course, he has the week of Christmas off, but no idea what to do with himself. Last year he was so depressed in November and December that he considered committing suicide. A close friend of his did commit suicide 10 years ago around the holidays.

John and others like him are at considerable risk during the holiday season. He falls into a vulnerable category of older white men who have a higher risk of committing suicide, although the highest risk is for men over 75.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are commonly reported in the general population, especially during the holidays. People who may attempt suicide complain of hopelessness, rage, and the need to seek revenge. They are more impulsive than the average person. Other behaviors that may be associated with potential suicide include people making arrangements for someone else to care for their dependents, including children, pets, or elders.

John felt a lot of anger and he told me he was starting to drive recklessly. He said he felt trapped with no way out. He was increasing his alcohol use, but he didn’t return to his marijuana smoking, which he’d done in his younger days. Other people who have family and friends might withdraw from them and isolate themselves. John couldn’t isolate himself any further, but he said he felt no sense of purpose in life.

I suggested the following ways for him to get through the holidays. Even if you or your loved ones aren’t exhibiting the type of intense behavior that John is, the following ideas can help lift depression and anxiety:

• Try to schedule a theater or dance performance either the night before or the day of the holiday. In major cities across the United States, many shows are on during Thanksgiving and Christmas. If there is no live theater, go to a movie theater and watch a film. You can do this alone or extend an invitation to a neighbor or business colleague who may be spending the holidays alone.

• Go on a trip out of town. There are many cruises or day trips during this season. John expressed an interest in staying in a country inn upstate where he had Thanksgiving dinner once before. I encouraged this because it linked an image of the holidays with a past memorable experience and could boost the spirits quickly.

• Join a community group such as the YMCA, or take a photography or art class that has planned activities on or just before the holidays. John could take a class photographing trees and turning those pictures into holiday cards or presents.

• Organize a hike into the countryside or a park tour with a group. In New York City and Los Angeles, there are tours every day of the week, including during the major holidays.

• Go to a yoga retreat or a spa resort. Many hotels and spas have special weekend activities and rates at Thanksgiving and Christmastime.

• Plan an intensive exercise routine. John hadn’t exercised for a while and he was putting on weight. He hired a trainer who was free the week of Thanksgiving to work him out because exercise increases certain chemicals in the nervous system that fight depression and anxiety.

• Help others who are less fortunate by volunteering at a soup kitchen. One of the best ways to forget your own loneliness is to help others at shelters or hospitals. Getting “outside of ourselves” and helping others in need helps take the focus off of our own situation, circumstances, and feelings, and often delivers a significant emotional boost.

• Try an AA meeting if you find yourself drinking too much. For John in particular, I suggested he go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on the holidays, especially if he couldn’t do any of the above. AA and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) are immediate communities that help people deal with alcohol or drug abuse, which may be covering up negative feelings at this time of year.

Experimenting with a different way of celebrating the holidays this year can lift your spirits and get you out of a funk. For some, major depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts are alleviated if they are engaged in healthy activities leading up to and during the holidays.

*Not his real name.

For more by Carol W. Berman, M.D., click here.

Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Pet Project

by Suzanne Northey, M.S. LMFT at Strategies for Success in Chandler, Arizona



Do you ever feel unappreciated or unsupported?

Do you ever get lonely or bored?

Do you have difficulty talking yourself into getting off the couch to go outside and enjoy some physical activity?

Do you want to find additional tools to teach your kids responsibility and compassion?

Have you ever thought it would be rewarding to donate some of your time to a worthy cause?


If you answered yes to any of the above, having or assisting a pet could be the answer.

Here’s why:

Pets are loving, loyal, and always happy to see you. They live for your attention. There is research that shows that having a pet lowers blood pressure and decreases the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease and may even lower one’s cholesterol.

Pets are also great for mental health. That’s why so many professionals in the social service industry advocate the use of therapy dogs that go to visit residents in assisted living settings, and patients in skilled nursing facilities and hospitals. Pets simply make people feel happier.

Pets are also great entertainment. Watch a dog or cat play and see if you can keep from cracking a smile. Their behavior is spontaneous, infectious and they have no hidden agenda. Also, observing fish in an aquarium is great for your health because it slows the heart rate and helps manage stress.

And if you have wanted to begin a fitness program but haven’t found inspiration, a dog may be a great solution. Research shows that individuals that have dogs are more likely to get exercise because they walk or run their dogs, take them to a dog park, or play fetching games.

Do you want your children to learn stills to grown into responsible adults? Do you want them to be kind and compassionate in their interactions with others?  Having a child exercise, feed, and clean up after a pet teaches them accountability. Also, there is significant evidence that having and caring for a pet teaches children and teens to develop greater empathy and sensitivity towards others.

Finally, if you or your teen are passionate about giving back to the community, why not volunteer at a pet shelter or animal rescue organization?  There are so many dogs and cats in need of love, attention, and finding placement in a good home. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be a part of something so valuable?

In summary, there are multiple benefits to having a pet. It is a win-win situation for both you and your beloved furry friend. So consider welcoming in a new member of the family. You will be glad that you did.

Copyright 2016 by OutLoud Marketing Studio for Strategies for Success