Personal Growth / Mental Health

A Mayonnaise Jar and Coffee - a story for busy people

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very  large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. (more)

In praise of empathy!

Bestselling author, political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society.  (It's also a very clever animation).

The Empathic Civilization 

Be careful with email messages

Most of the work I do teaching communication skills involves talking in person. However, these days people use email for many things and often run into trouble. It can be a mild misunderstanding or a huge disaster, causing such things as the end of a relationship, job loss, or legal trouble. Why? A number of reasons. Email can be easily misunderstood since there are no visual cues or voice tones to convey meaning.

Managing Emotional Flashbacks

This article by Pete Walker is a good explanation of "emotional flashbacks" which result from childhood neglect and emotional abuse.  In essence, current stress can trigger old pain; recognizing the signs and learning to manage the emotional reactions is important for healthy functioning.  I think that this work provides valuable insights that coincide with my own approach with taming the "idea monster" and learning to actively care for one's inner child.   -- Marlene Winell (more)

Understanding ourselves with an evolutionary perspective

July 10, 2011.  This online article for a college class  at William and Mary is an excellent description of evolutionary psychology, which helps tremendously when trying to understand ourselves and others.  Here's an excerpt - go to the link for the rest and enjoy.   MW

Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer   by Leda Cosmides & John Tooby

A Conversation Menu for Getting Closer

Ever want to get better acquainted with someone but wonder what to talk about? If you want to be emotionally closer, it helps to share thoughts and feelings that are deeper than the usual daily chitchat. Here's a game you can play: take turns picking questions off this list and answering them. Feel free to add questions of your own. Enjoy. (click on title to open whole list)

Getting to know you. . . .
• Tell me about an important friend that you no longer have contact with.
• Share an emotional childhood memory.

Fun Activities for Couples

Important to every relationship is time together just relaxing and having fun.  Here are some ideas for things to do.  Feel free to come up with your own as well.

Learnings that Last

I’d like to think that the work I do has lasting effect, so I was thrilled to hear from a client after many years who told me she was still using life skills from a workshop I taught a long time ago.  It confirmed for me that crucial concepts and skills – the ones they never cover in school  – can indeed be learned with ease and efficiency. 

Rediscover Sensuality

Techniques in Touching to Revitalize Relationships

     The skin is the most overlooked and underemployed sex organ of the human body. There are many areas of the body that you may consider nonsexual that respond pleasurably to stroking and caressing. To start developing comfort with touching and being touched, a simple massage of the skin is a good place to begin. A massage of the neck, the face, the temples, the eyes, the back, the buttocks, the legs, and even the feet may be pleasurable and nonthreatening. You may want to soak your feet in a container of soapy water while your partner massages them.

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