In the early 1990’s, a middle-aged health psychologist, Ed Noffsinger, Ph.D., developed a serious illness—pulmonary hypertension. For a period of several years he found himself exhausted, lying in bed for days, barely able to breathe. As time wore on, he felt angry, alone, and frightened. His wife was sympathetic, but she was taking care of their three young children and her ill father. She didn’t have much time or attention to listen to Ed’s fears and concerns. Also, he was very frustrated with the health care system. It was hard to get into to see his doctor and when he did, his visits... Read More
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Family Talk Blog
What kind of childhood is ideal for children?
Naturally, we want our kids to be happy and healthy. We want them to have the values we hold dear. We hope that they will turn into resilient and successful adults. But what nurtures these outcomes? How do we form the soil that grows these sturdy individuals? It’s so difficult to know how today’s parental decisions will impact our youngsters 20 years in the future.
Reflect back on your own youth. What do you remember? What do you think influenced your life in a positive way? What was unhealthy? I rarely hear adults talk about all... Read More
It’s so easy to focus on the disappointments in your life—both in the past and in the present. Our minds have a way of pulling these moments out of the closet, like old clothing, and putting them on, even if they don’t fit very well today. When we look in the mirror, we feel sad, angry, or hurt. Without intending to, we periodically find ourselves digging through this closet. It brings us pain.
In that regard, I am no different than anyone else. I can think about my parent’s divorce, my messy adolescent years, and my brother’s traumatic death. Like most adults, I’ve had my share of... Read More
There’s so much to do. Work, kids, dinner, activities, pick them up, drop them off, laundry, dishes, email, Facebook, texts—it’s endless. In addition to kids, many adults take care of elderly parents too. It can be unrelenting.
As a result, many folks struggle with fatigue. At the end of the day, they’re just plain tuckered out. A recent survey found that close to 40% of adults complained of being... Read More
In the last 10 years, political ideology in the United States has become highly polarized. The right, center, and left seem to live on different planets. During this decade, the government has frequently ground to a halt. No one is interested in compromise. Republicans and Democrats alike are trenched into their positions. Each side is passionate about why they are right and the other side is wrong. The government has been on the brink of financial default several times. It hasn’t been a pretty picture. At times, it’s become downright ugly.How do partisan politics affect you and I in... Read More
Americans work long hours (We are actually 16th in the world according to a 2015 report). It’s a cultural thing. Perhaps it originates from immigrant people, trying to fashion a new life in a new land. Even the pilgrims had to work hard, just to survive (Of course, there is a lot more to this story than just toil). It goes without saying-- we are an ambitious people. We expect a lot from each other and ourselves.
While our productivity and wealth are among the highest in the Western world, our sense of balance between work and life are near the lowest. According to one index, we... Read More
The other day I listened to Sarah give herself a hard time for being inpatient with her 8-year-old daughter. “We were picking up her toys and she just wouldn’t finish the job”, the mom complained. “I just got more and more annoyed. Later in the day, I was still thinking about it. It ruined my entire afternoon!”
Sarah found herself ruminating about the incident, but what was it that really bothered her? Why was she thinking about it hours later? After all, the whole business was pretty minor.
Of course, most Moms and Dads take parenting pretty seriously. It’s a big assignment... Read More
While I’m no Scrooge, during the hubbub of December, I do look forward to January. For one, the lengthening days become particularly noticeable towards the end of month. The longer days herald spring, which comes early to the Northwest. It’s a season I happily greet.
But January has a dark side too. It brings many telephone calls to our behavioral health department requesting appointments for couples whose marriages are falling apart. Couples worked hard to keep everything on an even keel for Christmas. They... Read More
This Christmas holiday, I joined a battalion of kids and adults at the movie theatres to see the latest version of “Star Wars”. In 1977, Diane and I stood on a long line in San Francisco to watch the original. At the time, its special effects were stunning. Harrison Ford, a new actor, was brilliant as the swash buckling Hans Solo. We were all captivated by the “force”, which channeled the power behind mind, body and spirit. It had elements of Eastern spiritual traditions, like meditation and yoga, which were newly introduced in the West, popularized by none other than the Beatles. Bruce... Read More
When I was a young man, I was pretty sedentary. I grew up in a family of physically inactive adults. My parents played tennis every blue moon, but didn’t really move their bodies very often (except maybe to the bakery to buy pastries on Sundays!). I didn’t play sports in high school. I preferred to read long depressing Russian novels. In college, I occasionally played basketball during lunch. That was pretty much the extent of my moving in space.
But, when I met my wife in graduate school, I was influenced by her good habits. She had been a professional modern dancer in New York... Read More