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Archive for May, 2016

Focus on enjoying life – use this psychological technique to get yourself out of the dumps.

Once in a while even the happiest and most well-adjusted person starts to feel down in the dumps. Sometimes the cause of the person’s depression is easily pinpointed. Other times he simply seems to have lost his zest for life and what used to bring him pleasure no longer does. It’s as if the person is sitting on the edge of the swimming pool watching all the other people do their thing, but for some reason he is unable to get back into the water. Things he has done in the past to make himself feel better no longer work.

When this happens, and it does to everyone from time to time, try this simple psychological technique. Write down 20 things each day that you enjoy about your life. Do this for six weeks.

Here’s a few of the items one man wrote.

– Wearing old baggy clothes on the weekend.
– Driving my car on a recently paved highway.
– Running in the park.
– M&M’s.
– Clean socks.
– Cruise control.
– Watching my neighbor blow glass in his studio.
– The sound of the tennis ball hitting the racket.
– A good bottle of wine.
– An Italian meal.

Here are some items from a young mother:

– The smell of coffee brewing in the morning.
– Nice green leaves on the trees.
– The feel of a new book.
– A glass of Pepsi with lots of ice cubes.
– Sitting on my back porch early in the morning smelling the air and listening to the sounds.
– Snuggling with my children in bed.
– Watching my children when they aren’t aware I’m watching them.
– Fresh sheets on the bed.
– Putting on a newly ironed blouse.
– Opening a new bar of soap.
– Spraying myself with cologne.

Now it’s your turn to make a list.

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Take two steps back during an argument with your significant other and think about what you should say.

I was driving down the road when all of a sudden the driver of the car ahead of me and to my left started moving over into my lane. As he did so, this driver almost sideswiped the car in front of me. The man who was almost sideswiped, swerved to avoid being hit and honked several times. The woman who was in the passenger’s seat, whom I assume was the gentleman’s wife, looked over at other driver who had almost caused an accident, and shook her fist at him.

A moment later, we all pulled up to a stop sign. The two drivers who had almost had the accident were now side by side. The wife leaned over to the driver’s side of the car and started shaking her index finger, parent style, at the guy who had made a mistake. The husband at this point focused his attention not on the other driver, but on his wife. He put his hand on her shoulder and patted it in the way you pat a child’s shoulder when you want her to calm down.

Meanwhile, the other driver started wagging his index finger back at the woman in a mocking fashion. To make things worse, he had a nasty grin on his face.

Thank goodness the light changed.

By the time the couple got to the next intersection (I was still behind them), the two of them were arguing. No doubt the argument was over the fact that this woman wanted to tell the other driver off and her husband didn’t like what she was doing.

Sadly, this type of interaction is a common one between couples. Instead of the husband agreeing with his wife’s angry righteous feeling, he focuses on her behavior, which he obviously doesn’t like. In the end, this only causes her to be more upset, because now she must defend her behavior to her husband. The real culprit in the situation is no longer the issue.

A similar interchange occurs, for example, when a couple attends a party and one of the husband’s friends takes a potshot at the wife. Neither the wife nor the husband says anything at the time, but when they get home, she starts to complain about the fellow’s comment. Instead of the husband supporting his wife at this point and saying, “That was really lousy,” he defends the guy, saying, “Oh, Matt probably had too much to drink. You know how it is when he drinks.”

Once again, I’m forced to muse: “Does familiarity breed contempt?”¬†For, certainly, it doesn’t seem to breed support.

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