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The Pitfalls of Perfectionism

June 17, 2019

Perfectionism is a personality trait and cognitive mind set that causes people to fixate on details until they are absolutely just right. There is a big difference between aspiring and striving to your best (healthy) and unrelenting standards of perfection (unhealthy). Because perfection is unsustainable, unrealistic, and often unattainable, people are left feeling inadequate, unhappy, and feel like a failure.

There are three types of perfectionism. Probably the most common type of the self-oriented perfectionism. This is self-imposed and standards of perfection that you create for yourself. Alternatively, a person could end up with social prescribed perfectionism. With this type the person adopts the perceived expectations of others. This could be a child taking on a parent’s view to be perfect or the impact of social media channels and trying to live up to other’s standards. Lastly, is other oriented perfectionism where a person imposes perefectionistic standards on others.

Perfectionism is not a specific disorder by itself, but a character attribute that creates vulnerability or susceptibility to other problems. Trying to be perfect is very stressful and creates a lot of worry and anxiety from trying to live up to something that is unattainab

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June 3, 2019

Time management is the process of organizing activities in your life to determine which tasks have priority to you. Learning to manage your time better has a number of benefits. When time is allocated appropriately most people find the quality and efficiency of their work improves. Many people find greater balance in their life when they learn to budget time accordingly, which also helps reduce stress and free them for more self-care.

The average person experiences an interruption every 8 minutes, which is 7 times per hour, or 50-60 times a day. Most interruptions take an average of 5 minutes resulting in 3-4 hours of wasted time each day. Another interesting fact is that people with messy and cluttered desks spend an average of 1.5 hours per day looking for things and being distracted by stuff on their desk. Research also says that one hour of planning can save 10 hours of doing.

Part of the task in better time management is identifying barriers and obstacles. Some of these are internal and part of who you are, and others are external variables in the environment. For example internal variables that can hamper time management include perfectionism, stress and worry about other things in your life, a tendency to procrastinate, or a need to please an

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May 20, 2019

For most parents the only thing worse than talking to their teens about alcohol and drugs, is the sex talk. Comparatively, this should be a lot easier and we will try to help give you some tips and pointers. Nonetheless, having this talk is vitally important. Substance use is at its peak between 15 and 25 years old and this is the time when youth are most susceptible to developing lasting patterns for their use and at the highest risk for developing an addiction. Chemical use during these formative years also has a serious impact on their developing brains and bodies.

The dangers of chemical use in teens is well document and drives home the importance of talking with them. It is natural and appropriate for teens to want to begin to experiment and try out the roles of adulthood. This often includes the use of alcohol and drugs. Because adolescents is a time of great change, it is also a time of great stress. Just as many adults use chemicals to cope with stress, teens are at risk for using substances to cope with their stress. Here are some startling facts about the impact of chemicals on teen development. Alcohol abuse slows bone and muscle growth, can impair nonverbal abstract reasoning, perceptual motor skills, and reduce the ability to learn new information. Regular marijuana use can affect attenti

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May 8, 2019

Scientists and researchers are discovering mounting evidence about the negative impact of loneliness and social isolation. One study found that 1 in 5 people suffer from persistent loneliness signifying this is no small problem. Loneliness affects people mentally, emotionally, and even physically.

The medical and physical effects of loneliness can be quite sweeping. Studies have found loneliness can be a contributing factor to heart disease, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, and can compromise immunity. They also found that lonely people are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Being lonely and isolated can increase stress hormones, disrupt sleep, impact energy level, and impair cognitive abilities. All this makes people more susceptible to developing depression and anxiety disorders.

People of all ages can struggle with loneliness, however some age groups are at higher risk. Surprisingly many young people are at risk. Despite having plenty of Facebook friends and Instagram connections, many young people feel lonely. Social media messaging is not a replacement for face to face human contact and/or touch. Having a few close personal friends is probably healthier than hundreds of online social contacts. That said, most studies find that social

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April 25, 2019

Most of us feel like we are plagued with a variety of stressors at all times. To a great extent, you are both correct and not alone. Despite what you may think as you walk by strangers in the grocery store thinking, “Gee, they all look happy and fine. What am I doing wrong?” Just because people don’t have their issues tattooed on their foreheads, don’t assume they aren’t dealing with their own stressors. For most of us, life is a revolving door of stressors. It seems like just as soon as we unload a few, we pick up some more. This is reality for most people. On that note, let’s try not to plunge into depression, apathy, and hopelessness. The thing that differentiates those who are overwhelmed by their stressors and those who simply manage them, are a set of skills and coping strategies. Let discuss a few of them and see if we can get you in the right camp.

The first thing we need to be able to do is identify the source of the stressor. With this we need more than a general area such as work. We need the specifics such as I am overworked, under staffed, being harassed, in conflict with a coworker, etc. To tackle a stressor, we want to be able to get at the heart of it. When the plumber comes to your house, he doesn’t say, “Looks like your sink is leaking.” You could have figured that

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April 10, 2019

With a divorce rate around 50%, there are millions of people looking to form new relationships that have children of their own, or are dating someone with children from a previous relationship or marriage. The statistics show that 16% of children grow up in a blended family, which is has been pretty stable for the past 30 years. Prior to moving in and/or getting married there are some things to be mindful of that can help facilitate greater success down the road.

One thing that is crucial is to take the time for everyone to get acquainted and spend time together. There is no need to rush down the wedding isle, especially when blending families. It is upsetting for a child to feel like their new step parent is a complete stranger. Taking the time to build a relationship with kids can payoff greatly later on. During the stages of getting to know each other and even into marriage, the parenting approach is important. Most conventional wisdom suggests that the biological parent should be the one to perform any discipline that is needed, at least in the early stages. As the step parent your primary task to build a friendship and relationship with your partner’s children, and taking an authoritarian role often undermines these efforts, especially when it’s met with, “You’re not my mom/dad, you can

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March 13, 2019

The impact of divorce on children is well documented and discouraging, but there is hope and skillful ways to minimize the impact of divorce on children. On the concerning side, here are some startling facts. Adult children of divorced parents experience mental health problems significantly more often than do the adult children of intact families. The college attendance rate is about 60 percent lower among children of divorced parents compared with children of intact families. Divorce has been found to be associated with a higher incidence of depression, withdrawal from friends and family; aggressive, impulsive, or hyperactive behavior; and either withdrawing from participation in the classroom or becoming disruptive. Daughters of divorced parents tend to divorce more frequently than do the sons of divorced parents, with the risk as much as 87 percent higher during the earlier years of marriage.

The facts presented above are not intended to discourage the thousands of men and women, who through no fault of their own are divorced or planning to divorce. Instead, these facts are shared as a reminder to those who are married or are considering getting married that divorce carries with it many potentially harmful and life changing consequences for everyone involved. The impact on children is not to be take

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February 25, 2019

One of the great stressors in life is dealing with difficult people. By definition a difficult person is anyone whose words or action evoke unwanted and unpleasant feelings in you. Before you start making a laundry list of the people you know, remember that we all have a difficult side. Sometimes despite our best efforts, we are only a couple steps away from becoming a case study in an article like this about difficult people. One thing to remember is that most difficult people are temporarily working from a negative side of their personality and are not consciously trying to be difficult. These people are often swept up in their own emotions and are unaware of their tone of voice, body language and behaviors towards others.

Knowing the type of difficult person you are dealing with can be helpful in situations and determines the steps you might take. Steam blowers are people who are upset with a particular outcome or situation and are generally not difficult people on a regular basis. Bullies routinely use aggression to get what they want. Pot stirrers enjoy instigating discord and use passive aggressive methods of expressing their dislikes and upsets. Attention seekers routinely interrupt or may come off as a know it all. Moaners and blamers tend to be negative, find the shortcomings in things and su

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February 13, 2019

As mental health providers, we are often asked by clients about whether what they are dealing with is a result of how they were raised (nurture) or whether it is all just genetic (nature). It is very normal to want to figure out the origin and root of issues, not only to understand how things evolved to be where they are, but also to get to the bottom of things in hopes of fixing it. The short answer to this question, that no one really likes, is that it depends.

There are definitely some conditions and issues that lean much more heavily on the nature side of the fence. This often comes down to the genes we inherited from our family lineage, but can also include our particular biochemistry or physiology. For instance, schizophrenia is a good example of biochemistry gone awry. We have learned through research that there is an imbalance in dopamine that is largely responsible for the hallucinations and delusions that people with schizophrenia suffer. It most cases medication is a necessary treatment to correct this imbalance. Similarly, bipolar disorder is often the result of an imbalance in neurotransmitter that requires a mood stabilizing medication. ADHD is another condition that is more impacted by chemistry and physiology. PET Scans have shown that children and adults with ADHD do not have the same

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January 29, 2019

There are hundreds of books on parenting and nearly as many philosophies and outlooks on how best to parent. Across many of these books are a couple of critical parenting characteristics to make sure to utilize: consistency and follow through. Let’s take a look at each of these.

Consistency is about doing things the same over time. Kids of all ages thrive on predictability. Life is less stressful for children and teens if they know what to expect and what is expected of them. One area where consistency is important is with rules and expectations. If curfew is 10pm on weekends, then keep it consistently at 10pm. If you allow an hour of TV or electronics before bed, then try to watch the clock and keep it to one hour. Being consistent reduces the arguing and limit testing that all kids do. It’s hard to try to justify, explain, and enforce rules when your kids say, “How come last week I got 2 hours, and now I only get one hour?” Even when kids inevitably challenge the rules with, “How come I only get one hour”; being consistent makes it easy to reply, “Because that the rule.”

Another important area to be consistent with is consequences. If you do a 10 minute time out on the stairs with your six year old, then it should remain 10 minutes

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