February 2010

Journaling while having coffee

Throughout my life I’ve always had a secret passion for writing. Stacks of journals accumulated over the years line my office book shelves. My first journal dates back to second grade. Back then I wrote about the activities of the day, the weather or the food I ate. Over time the writing became more inspired and more of an expression of my inner world, my relationships, losses, successes, dreams and aspirations.

In college and graduate school, I wrote as a way of communicating ideas, research and different views with others. My career as a psychologist led me down the path of writing extensively about the lives of my clients. Writing always inspires a deeper understanding and connection with my inner world as well as the particular subject about which I write. [click to continue…]

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Lauren Penn and Margie Lipshultz, Creators of JILLIES

Sandy just underwent a mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery for breast cancer. When she returned home, she put on her JILLIE® and wore the cozy 100% cotton garment throughout her recuperation. “It was soft and feminine and made me feel better, less like a patient,” she said. “The Velcro made access to my post-surgical areas easily accessible, too. Knowing the company was founded by two women touched by breast cancer and that their mission was to help women like me felt especially inspiring.”

Great ideas sometimes come from life’s most difficult experiences. JILLIES came to fruition as the result of a wonderful friendship between two women with a passion to make a difference in the lives of women undergoing breast cancer treatment and recovery. [click to continue…]

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The shadow of a man and a woman holding hands

Healthy relationships are one of the most important keys to gaining balance and happiness. Intimacy is the experience of belonging together. It embodies shared knowledge, experiences, sexual encounters, and memories. Cultivating intimacy is the best gift we can give to ourselves and our loved ones.

Intimacy is a basic human need like eating, breathing and sleeping. It adds to the quality of our lives and contributes to our health and longevity. Without intimacy we put ourselves at risk physically, emotionally and spiritually. [click to continue…]

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Male athlete going down the luge run at the Winter Olympics

Olympians evoke an image of extraordinary persistence, hope and optimism. They embody the notion of mind over matter. Olympic athletes endure years of training, overcoming challenges, injuries, and withstand losses amidst the wins. They give up the usual social life of the young. These spectacular women and men hail from every part of the world to compete and push past boundaries. They dare to dream. They dare to go the distance. On February 13, Nodar Kumaritashvili, Georgian Luge Olympic hopeful, tragically died on the opening day of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. He lost control at a crucial moment while practicing for his competition. Perhaps it was the ice, the unimaginable speed or simply a split second error in judgment. At 21, Nodar embodied the passion, perseverance and optimism known to all Olympians. [click to continue…]

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A woman hugging another person

How do you let go of the hurt that another person has inflicted on you?

Robin grew up with an older brother that sexually abused her for years, when their parents were sleeping or not home for the evening. Erik, 15 at the time of the first episode, was left to care for his 12 year old sister. He warned her that he would call her a liar or worse if she ever told. For almost three years, until Erik left home, Robin endured his abuse. No one ever found out until she came to therapy. [click to continue…]

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Post image for The Healing Powers of Friendship

Remember those times when you felt lost and all alone. Maybe your relationship was on the rocks. Maybe you were sick and no one was around to take care of you. Perhaps you screwed up at work or that you were about to get downsized. Maybe you thought no one could possibly understand the pain and loss you were experiencing.

Then remarkably something happens. You contact a friend or vice versa. You accidentally run into someone you’ve been meaning to talk to. There is a connection. You share. You laugh. You cry. Suddenly you feel lighter, more in control and less overwhelmed. Healthy friendships are one of the most important keys for gaining balance and happiness throughout the life cycle. Friendships are enlivening, empowering, and at the core of happiness. [click to continue…]

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The Love Game

by Dr. Kamen

Happy couple holding hands

Everything changes when you feel love, especially your brain. Valentine’s Day reminds us to take stock and acknowledge what matters most – the connection we feel for others. Think about the people in your life with whom you experience love. Learn to “fire up” your brain and feel more love and intimacy in your life. The truth is we can celebrate the people we care about most in our lives on a regular basis and not only special occasions.

Love creates a powerful force that connects us all. It is the energy that runs through us like electricity. We feel it through touch, through words spoken kindly, through gestures and actions, and when we feel truly heard. Sometimes we are tuned into its presence and sometimes in our haste we remain oblivious. [click to continue…]

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Abdominal breathing, meditation, mindful walking, constructive rest and building friendships are some of my favorite behavioral strategies for balance and happiness. Click on any of the titles listed at the bottom of this page and learn how to create these practices for yourself.

Abdominal breathing is useful anytime and can be practiced in a concentrated way (5-10 minutes once or twice daily) or whenever it comes to mind. The kind of deep breathing always helps with initiating a feeling of relaxation and a greater [click to continue…]

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How to create a practice of enhancing intimacy:

  1. Learn to tolerate difficult feelings through abdominal breathing. Deep breaths bring you back into the present moment.
  2. Remember that all feelings have a rise and fall. The intensity of any feeling you experience will subside.
  3. Actively listen to your partner or friend by paying close attention to the nonverbal cues as well as the spoken words.
  4. Share your own thoughts and feelings to help strengthen the connection with your partner or friend.
  5. Self-disclosure leads to greater openness, deepens bonds and builds trust in a relationship.
  6. Practice unconditional kindness. Your partner will likely return in kind.
  7. Improve your capacity for compromise by paying attention to the needs and wishes of your partner and being willing to meet half way or better
  8. Build patience and empathy into your interactions

Practice daily.

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Photos directly above by Laura Bergstein, all rights reserved; Portrait Photography of Dr.Randy Kamen by Janet Wolbarst Photography www.janetwolbarst.com