Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Relationships Under Construction

For many of us, few things are as irritating as having a road you frequently travel come under construction. You often have to deal with dust, delays, bumps and detours for many months. The upside to having to endure the challenges of construction is that if the job is well done it will make your future travel much easier and enjoyable – the same is true for relationships under construction.

Like roadwork, successful relationships, whether at home or work, require a process of assessment, planning, and construction. Whether you are building a new relationship or attempting to improve an existing one, if you fail to adequately prepare and build you will not be able to effectively meet the demands that come your way.

Assessment

Building or improving a relationship begins where you are right now. What values need to be in place? Is your foundation set on honesty and trust?

Planning

Talking about shared interests and things you have in common can draw you closer to someone....

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Growing Through Change

The beginning of Autumn signals a welcome relief from blistering summer heat in some parts of the country. In others, it is the harbinger of dark, cold winter coming. Regardless of where you live, seasonal change is inevitable, but growing through change in your own life involves a choice.

Seasonal changes almost always require adjustments – to the thermostat, to your choices about what to wear, to your favorite warm or cold meals and drinks, and to your activities. But whether you’re reaching for an ice cold water bottle or a pumpkin spice latte, it’s time to say, “See you later” to the passing season and “Hello” to the new one!

Seasons of life aren’t always about the weather, of course. They’re about natural progressions and cycles that occur in our lives that include birth and death, youth and maturity, practice and mastery, needing and giving, sickness and health, gain and loss. Changes are inevitable, and yet they can still...

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Recovering from a Broken Friendship

Relationships… we were created to desire, seek and be enriched by them. When they thrive, the joy is intense. When they break, the pain is devastating.  But as difficult as it is, there are steps you can take to get over – and get through – a broken friendship.

Let me introduce you to Cindy and Lisa, who met each other at work and soon began developing a very close friendship. They spent time together on the telephone, hiking, taking their children on outings, and playing tennis. They encouraged, advised and comforted each other and trusted one another with their greatest hopes, dreams and fears.  

Five years into the friendship, Cindy sensed that Lisa was beginning to pull away. The telephone calls decreased, invitations to dinner became infrequent and the usual warm greeting exchanged in the office began to feel awkward and forced.

At first, Cindy shrugged it off by telling herself that Lisa was just busy with her family and other commitments....

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Self-Talk: What Are You Saying?

Self-talk is what psychologists refer to as the continual mental dialog you have with yourself. It can serve many purposes. It helps to release stress, evaluate potential threats, solve problems, make decisions, form objective judgments, generate positive emotions and behaviors, and construct and reinforce realistic self-beliefs. Simply stated, sometimes talking to yourself (either silently or out loud) can help you work things out.

“The most influential and frequent voice you hear is your inner-voice. It can work in your favor or against you, depending on what you listen to and act upon.” –Maddy Malhotra

Unfortunately, for many people, their self-talk is fueled by the internal voice of a brutal critic or what psychologist Eugene Sagan calls the pathological critic – the negative inner voice that attacks and judges you. It might sound like your own voice or your mother, father or other influential person in your life. It’s a voice you are...

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Fear – The Great Impostor

Fear wears many masks. Some of these masks include procrastination, avoidance, perfectionism, anger, passivity and impatience. These behaviors and emotions often reflect fears of failure, rejection, abandonment, loss of security, looking foolish and being taken advantage of. The negative attitudes and actions we possess will only change when we begin challenging our fears.

Here’s how:

Understand your true worth.

Your value as a human being is not based on the opinions people have of you or what you accomplish or achieve. Therefore, the experiences of rejection, failure, criticism and abandonment, although painful, can never diminish your true worth because it is inherent!

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” Karl Menninger

Take positive action.

In other words, be willing to risk. Inaction or avoidance only breeds fear. Start off with small, relatively safe risks and then work your way towards the actions you...

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Where’s Your Focus?

How would you describe the quality of your life right now? Is it satisfying, positive and fulfilling or painful, difficult and discouraging?

Perception is reality

No one can deny that life can serve up some pretty harsh challenges. However, your quality of life isn’t based on circumstances as much as it is on what you choose to focus on. There are many things in life that we can’t control, but the good news is that we can control what we choose to think about. You see, what you focus on becomes your reality. Every day, it is your focus that influences what you feel, see and experience.

You see what you think about

To illustrate this truth, think about the last car you purchased. No doubt you thought about the make, model and even color you wanted for days, if not weeks, leading up to your final decision. Can you remember how many of the same exact vehicles you saw on the road both before and after the purchase? That’s right – it was like you saw the same car...

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It’s Summer! Are you Hot Under the Collar?

I think we can all agree that the weather has been a bit unusual in many parts of the country this year. It’s July, and some people are wondering if they will ever be able to put away their sweaters and winter coats. But many others are experiencing the summer heat with higher than average temperatures.

Extremes in the weather can have an effect on your physical and mental health, your attitude and your temper. This can lead to a greater level of stress, fatigue and irritability. Some of the factors to consider as you endure the hot days are:

Changes in your daily routine

For a lot of people, having the children out of school can be a lot of fun, but it can also add a lot of stress when you have them home all day (often accompanied by boredom and bickering) or when you have to arrange and pay for child care. If possible, coordinate with other parents to take turns supervising, transporting and entertaining the kids this summer. Many churches have vacation Bible school, the...

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Simple Self-Care Advice for Improving Your Head-to-Toe Health

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kimberly Hayes, and I’m confident you will find her simple self-care advice to be informative and highly beneficial. – Dr. Todd

Doctors, personal trainers, life coaches, and the like can be helpful to all of us who try to live a healthy life. At the end of the day, however, we are responsible for our own well-being. That’s why taking steps each day to better our head-to-toe health is so important. If you’re looking to develop a lifestyle that fosters your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, here is some simple self-care advice to put you on the right track:

Indoor Air Quality

One of the most essential aspects of living healthy is ensuring that the air you’re breathing is clean, as the inside of a home is more prone to pollution than the outside. To remove as much smoke, dust, pet dander, mold, and pollen as possible, it’s important to replace your filters regularly. The severity of pollution in...

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Why Bad News Grabs Our Attention

Every day we are bombarded with television, radio, internet and newspaper headlines and stories that draw our attention to bad news.  We hear and read about natural disasters, economic uncertainty, wars and other tragedies that serve to trigger distress and worry in many people.

Did you know that 53.4% of the news on television alone depicts violence, conflict and suffering? The worse the report, the more likely it is to be the lead story because humans are naturally attracted to bad news. 

Humans exhibit this attraction to bad news thanks in large part to what is called the negativity bias.  This bias refers to a psychological phenomenon by which humans pay more attention to and give more weight to negative rather than positive experiences.  Researchers found that bad news… 

Attracts the pessimistic side of humans
Distracts us from boredom
Reminds us that we could have it worse
Reminds us to be careful and cautious
Often motivates us to take...

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How Is Your Life Balance?

Many of the patients and clients I work with daily express some level of frustration with their lack of life balance. Sometimes it is their work that steamrolls over their personal life or prevents them from exercising, recreating, or spending meaningful time with the people they love. Others are so consumed with family issues and responsibility that there’s no time for a relaxing break.

The first challenge to having greater life balance is to figure out what, exactly, is out of balance. We have a simple tool to help you assess your life balance.

This exercise will help you gain greater clarity with regard to your level of satisfaction and effectiveness in the eight important domains of your life – Career, Money, Health, Friends & Family, Significant Other/Romance, Personal & Spiritual Growth, Fun/Leisure/Recreation and Physical Environment.

It will also help you identify your priorities for goal-setting by visually demonstrating the areas of your life that need...

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