Relate Well! Blog

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

Taming the Beast of Disorganization

Have you ever noticed that when you are disorganized life seems more chaotic and stressful? This experience often makes it difficult to know what to focus on or tackle first in an effort to regain a sense of calm and control. It’s frustrating to be late for work because you forgot an early meeting or to have to dig through a pile of papers to find the forms for a doctor appointment at the time you should be leaving the house. When I am disorganized, I find myself feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and off balance. The only way I can feel more settled and ready to face my day is by taming the Beast of Disorganization.

Here are two reasons why being organized helps you feel better:

It frees up time. Time is a very precious resource that can never be renewed. When you organize your mind and your physical surroundings you will be better equipped to identify what needs to get done and create a system to help you complete tasks efficiently. Having your life organized also helps to...

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Are You Poisoning Your Relationships?

Imagine you are sitting in a coffee shop, chatting with friends. One of your friends reaches into their pocket and brings out a vial of poison and begins sprinkling it into each person’s cup. Wouldn’t that be shocking? You can imagine that you would be very unlikely to invite that person to coffee again!

You will not likely ever have that exact experience, but did you know it’s possible to poison yourself and your relationships without even being aware of it? Nearly every day I talk to men and women who are either engaged in, or hurt by, behaviors that are a form of relational poisoning. The damaging toxin is gossip.

You would be hard pressed to spend a day in any workplace, social media site or other gathering and not be exposed to some form of gossip. Gossip involves the spreading of rumors or information about others. Although there can be sociological benefits associated with some forms of gossip, today I want to address the epidemic...

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How to Stay Focused During Covid-19

Have you found yourself saying, “I just can’t think straight lately!” One of the primary complaints associated with the Covid-19 pandemic is the inability to stay focused. Whether it’s work, school, or just having a conversation with a spouse or friend, it can constantly feel like a battle to pay attention, concentrate, and stay focused. 

Since February of this year there has been a 300% increase in people searching “how to get your brain to focus”. For most people, even if they try, it isn’t getting any easier and in many cases it’s getting more difficult. Here’s why:

The part of your brain that controls rational thinking, concentration, impulse control, and the ability to focus occur in the prefrontal cortex, which is located right behind your forehead. Both acute and chronic stress weakens the functioning of the prefrontal cortex and strengthens the primitive brain known as the limbic system, or what some refer to as the...

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How to Tell if Work has Taken Over Your Life

You may be thinking that your life needs more balance, more time spent doing things you enjoy and less time working. Perhaps you’ve even mentioned this to your spouse, girlfriend, best buddy, doctor or co-workers. 

If you have, it is likely that at least one of these people raised an eyebrow and explained the facts of life to you. That is, that nearly everyone is overworked these days and you should get used to it. Besides, there’s that one friend who says, unsympathetically, “I work a lot more hours than you do, so you have no reason to complain”. 

Some jobs have natural cycles of busyness and down time (tax professionals between January and April, summer tourism, retail stores at Christmas, etc.) Peaks and valleys may just be normal, but when it never seems to let up you begin to feel that nagging doubt. That feeling that you shouldn’t always be so stressed, so tired, so short on time, coupled with the knowledge that you...

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Getting Along with Critical People

We all have to deal with critical people at times. You know the type - the person who can spot a flaw from across the room, gives unsolicited advice, frequently complains and passes judgment, is negative and seems impossible to please.

We can all be critical. Every day, we literally critique everything that goes on around us consciously and unconsciously. Unfortunately, some people tend to verbalize the thoughts many of us have learned to keep to ourselves. When things don't go our way or we're in a bad mood it is easy to become critical. It's true, miserable people prefer miserable company. Critical people actually feel better around others who share the same negative attitudes. Before we spend time learning how to cope with other people's critical traits let's make sure we have our own well under control.

It can be quite challenging to get along with a critic, especially when we live, work or attend church with them. Here are 10 tips to help you get along better with critical...

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Draining the Last Drop of Joy

Nearly every day I talk with men and women who are suffering from worry, discouragement and despair. Their emotional pain can be triggered by many different sources, but one thing they often share in common is the absence of genuine joy in their lives.

This mindset is increasingly fueled by the flood of negative news and opinion stories and programs offered by media outlets. If you believe everything you hear, you may feel like giving up! But your circumstances and the news don’t have to diminish the gratitude and joy that comes from appreciating the good things in life.

Whether you are struggling with fears about the Covid-19 pandemic, political frustrations, financial problems, relationship conflict, career uncertainty or physical illness you don’t have to live in a state of gloom.

Life will always include circumstances we don’t like, so in order to help my clients manage emotional pain I encourage them to consciously make the effort to drain the joy from their...

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This Could Be Your Lucky Day!

When Irish immigrants came to America, some became wealthy as gold miners, so the phrase “luck of the Irish” became a phrase that some people used rather literally, meaning that it was very lucky that some struck gold and became rich. However, it was also a time when Irish immigrants experienced a lot of prejudice in America, so some people used the phrase to suggest that they weren’t smart enough to get rich by their own brainpower, so they must have been “lucky”.

Another view of Irish luck is that it’s bad luck. After all, the Irish have endured a lot of hardship from invasion, persecution and natural disasters affecting their agriculture. But the optimistic view is, “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough!”

A lot of people have pondered the concept of luck, and here are some notable quotes to add to what we know about it:

“I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have...

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Solitude - A Hidden Fortress

Paula R. Starker, RN

You don’t need to go far from your front door to notice that people avoid it. The driver in the car next to you talks on his smart phone or sings along with music from his satellite radio. The shopper next to you talks on the phone (and you listen!). People work out at the gym or the park or take bike rides arrayed with a variety of earbuds and headphones entertained by their favorite music play list or podcast. We are swept away into the steady stream of communication, information and ideas that flow into our minds 24/7. Natural opportunities for solitude, which were once an integral part of life in generations past, are avoided and drowned out.

Did you know that your need for solitude is as basic to your well-being as your body’s need for food and sleep? Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception (Harper and Row, 1970) suggested that our sense organs, nervous systems, and brains are basically eliminative in nature. They keep us from being confused...

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The Power of Expectation

I want to share a truth that was first revealed to me by my mother when I was a child, then later reinforced through my own life experiences:

“What you expect has phenomenal power over the quality and course of your life.”

Your expectations about your relationships, work, finances and every other area of life are almost always either positive or negative; they are rarely neutral. 

Good and positive expectations trigger excitement, optimistic anticipation, encouragement and hope. In fact, the absence of good expectations is a definition of hopelessness. Negative expectations such as, "People won't like me," "It's going to be one of those bad days," "My kids are headed for failure," or "I will never be out of debt" often lead to discouragement, unhappiness and poor choices. 

Of course in real life, bad things do happen. No one is immune from disappointment, rejection, and bad news at times, but if you expect these themes to be a regular part of...

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What is the Content of Your Character?

The speech that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King made on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial never fails to inspire me as he fought for equal rights during a difficult time. He eloquently expressed some deep truths and values for every precious member of the human race. One sentence that always stands out is, “I have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Regardless of the color of your skin, your physical traits, your education level, your income bracket or any accomplishment you may have to your credit, the one thing that will help you sleep at night – or keep you tossing and turning – is the content of your character.

Have you thought about the character traits that are shown in your life? Would people describe you as mostly honest or dishonest? Hardworking or lazy? Generous or stingy? Brave or cowardly? Positive or negative?...

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