Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Helping Children Handle Stress

Children often struggle with the stress of everyday life. Pressures may come from a number of different sources, including expectations from parents and teachers, tension and competition in the family, difficulty making friends and finding support, identity issues and peer pressure. How can we help our children handle the stresses of everyday life? Pressure can take many forms, and children need help from parents learning how to respond to stress in healthy and adaptive ways.

Children may respond to some events perceived as stressful with relative ease. Other events may be seen as threats to their own or the family's integrity and well-being, and these events are therefore more troublesome. Whether or not a child takes up the invitation to learn from a stressful situation often has everything to do with the presence or absence of supportive adults. Children need parents, teachers, coaches, and significant others to help them interpret good stress from bad stress – opportunities to learn even when things feel difficult versus situations that are unhealthy, harmful, or even dangerous. Stressful situations can involve figuring out how to better navigate life’s challenges if children have guidance from someone with more life experience.

Children are often very sensitive to changes in their environment and relationships. They may have to cope with a bully on the playground, a move to a new neighborhood, a parent's serious illness, or the disappointment of a poor sports performance. They might feel a constant, nagging pressure to do whatever it takes to fit in at school or to pretend to be somebody they’re not in order for others to like them. Reminding children that they are loved just for who they are is an important and ongoing task for parents.

Sometimes children feel hopeless about their ability to deal with life but don’t know how to ask for help. Adults who care must watch for signs of stress and be proactive about connecting with children in a caring and supportive way.

Sometimes children feel hopeless about their ability to deal with life but don’t know how to ask for help. Adults who care must watch for signs of stress and be proactive about connecting with children in a caring and supportive way.

Some of the signs to be aware of include:

·        loss of sleep or appetite

·        oversleeping or overeating

·        irritability, negative attitude, or unpredictable moodiness

·        problems with academic performance at school

·        behavioral problems and/or aggression toward others

·        difficulty maintaining friendships or getting along with peers or siblings

·        social isolation or difficulty talking about feelings with trusted others


Not all stress is bad. Moderate amounts of pressure imposed by a teacher or a coach, for example, can motivate children to keep their grades up in school or to develop their potential in athletic activities. Successfully managing stressful situations or events enhances a child's ability to cope with life and uncertainty. Most everyone needs encouragement and affirmation sometimes, and parents need to remember how powerfully they shape their children’s self-perception. Staying relationally connected to children and providing opportunities for them to share their experience of life is one of the best approaches for supporting and encouraging them along the way.  Remember, when you need a safe place to talk about concerns regarding your kids, the counselors at Tanner EAP are available and happy to help.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

miracle cure

Ask any of my family, friends, or co-workers ….. I am forever looking for and trying new “keys to health”. While some of these ideas may smell of snake oil, I have recently re-discovered a cure that is, as my Daddy used to say, “good for what ails ya”.

This miracle cure has been shown to:
• Improve heart health
• Strengthen bones
• Help to clear your mind
• Improve symptoms of depression
• Lower risk of stroke
• Lower death rate
• Improve blood pressure levels
• Improve blood sugar levels
• Lower the risk of obesity
• Lower the risk of breast cancer
• Lower the risk of colon cancer
• Reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes
• Improve sleep
• Lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
• Reduce pain
• Improve creativity
• Help with weight-loss
• Improve many, many more health outcomes

Are you ready to sign up for my multi-level marketing plan? Well, there is no need to buy anything, join anything, or take any pills.

The miracle cure is…….. walking. Over 2400 years ago Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine said, “Walking is man’s best medicine”. Hundreds of studies over the past decades have shown the tremendous, even miraculous benefits of walking. Yet, less than 35 percent of Americans walk the recommended 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Taking a walk, alone or with a companion (my wife or my dog), is one of my favorite times of the day. It gets me away from the television, the phone (I don’t take it with me), and chores. Besides the benefits of physical activity, it is stress relieving. It provides me with some fresh air and vitamin D.

Visit Tanner Health System’s Get Healthy Live Well website for some tips on getting started with a healthy walking program.
http://www.gethealthylivewell.org/get-healthy-live-well/get-fit/go-for-30/walking-works-for-everyone And Tanner employees, remember to attend the Workplace Wellness roll-out next week (Monday in Carrollton, Wednesday in Villa Rica, and Friday at Higgins) for information, education, and motivation on moving in a healthier direction.

“If you seek creative ideas go walking.
Angels whisper to a man when he goes for
a walk.”
― Raymond I. Myers

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Making Space for Difference in Marriage

Negotiating personal space and appreciating difference can be challenging for any two people trying to carve out a life together. For many couples, space and difference become an ongoing source of contention. The most common sticking points are how to spend time together and how to express love in a way your partner can appreciate. Regardless of the details of the dispute, the same question lives at the heart of most of these conflicts: Where does the "us" end and the "I" begin? Couples have to find a balance between togetherness and individuality.

Spend Time Apart
Time apart can inspire and invigorate time together in a relationship. Differentiation in marriage is crucial for long-term companionship. Each partner should ideally seek to find his/her own sense of wholeness, autonomy, and personal balance within the relationship. Space between partners and a healthy respect for the solitude of the other person is essential for creating intimacy and connection. We all have a need for physical and emotional space away from others. When two people assume that all their needs are going to be fulfilled by each other, the relationship is set up to fail and become disappointing. Maintaining friendships with other people offers a valuable complement to the limitations of your partnership. Participating in a variety of activities helps to make you well-rounded and gives you more to talk about with your partner at home. Negotiating time together and apart can be a tricky business, resulting in all kinds of uncomfortable feelings, such as: rejection, insecurity, jealousy, mistrust, and resentment. Solutions come when couples recognize each other's needs, communicate honestly about their differences, and create viable compromises together.

Recognize Your Differences
In your efforts to strengthen and sustain your marriage, recognize each of your individual needs. Many couples wrongly believe that they should have the same needs and desires because they're a couple. It may be more constructive to recognize that each of you has different needs and that neither person’s needs are better or more important. For harmony in a relationship, it’s important that each person tries to respectfully honor the needs and values of the other person. Even if your partner’s priorities don’t make sense to you or seem foolish or less worthy than your own, take a step back and humbly acknowledge that at least s/he is letting you know what’s required to make this relationship work. In a cultural era in which divorce is much too prominent, it helps to know that your partner is with you in wanting to make this relationship work!

Talk to Each Other
Talk about your differences in a constructive manner by addressing difficult topics when you feel calm and collected. Talk about what you need, rather than what your partner is doing wrong. Be specific about your needs and goals. Practice being free from judgment: it’s not that one of you is right and the other wrong, one more mature and the other more selfish. Find a way to say what you mean that makes space for your differences. Give your partner the chance to voice his/her needs and goals as well. Think about what you can realistically offer in terms of change. Ask for the changes you need from the other person in order to be willing to hang in there. Remember that you’ll both feel better when your relationship is a source of shared strength instead of conflict!

Tanner EAP is a safe place to sort out feelings and develop diplomatic language.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

get happier

Because I’m Happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof, because I’m happy.
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth, because I’m happy.
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you, because I’m happy.
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do.
(From “Happy” by Pharrell Williams)

If you are going to get a song stuck in your mind, this is not such a bad one. I have seen several television shows on happiness recently. You can look for them on television or the internet and/or read my take on them below.

Shawn Achor is a professor at Harvard University and has traveled the world studying happiness. He asserts that 90% of our happiness depends not upon our external world, but upon how we process the events in our lives. In his book, "The Happiness Advantage" he says that by increasing your happiness level you will:
• Increase your brain health and remember things better
• Lessen your chance of heart disease and other illnesses
• Make better financial decisions
• Have more energy
• Have fewer backaches, headaches, and other fatigue related symptoms
• Be more successful at losing weight
• Live longer

According to Dr. Achor, there are five habits that have been shown to increase your happiness level if you do any of them for as many as twenty-one days. They are:
• Writing down three things for which you are thankful
• Journaling a positive event that occurred within the past 24 hours
• Exercising for ten minutes per day
• Meditating on your breathing for two minutes per day
• Writing an email praising someone

Marci Shimoff wrote "Happy For No Reason" and there was a show on PBS by the same name. Some of the keys to happiness that she discusses are:
• Taking ownership of your happiness level
• Taking care of your health with nutrition and physical activity
• Spirituality
• Nourishing relationships
• Love
• Meaningful activities

And finally, the documentary film, “Happy” that was shown recently on PBS looked at different cultures around the world and how they strive for and achieve happiness. Filmmaker Roko Belic found that across the world some of the activities that promote happiness are community ties, regular exercise, personal improvement projects, and volunteer activities.

Consider trying some of the ideas listed above to increase your happiness level and thereby also increase your health, immunity, resiliency and personal productivity. Contact your Employee Assistance Program. We can also help. 770.834.8327

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Helping Your Child Decide What to Do after High School

Helping to prepare your teenager for life after high school may seem like a daunting task! Although many of us assume that a college education is the next vital step, other alternatives exist and may represent a better fit for your particular child. Educating your son or daughter about his options will not only help him feel more empowered as a young adult but will also likely help him to invest more fully in whatever decision you collaboratively make. Your high school graduate may want to go to college, get a job, or take a year off. Here's how you can help your adult-to-be make the best decision! College or Technical School You and your teenager will probably want to begin researching options for college and/or technical schools during your child’s junior year of high school. Encourage him to think about what qualities he is looking for in a college, such as: academic standards, location, majors and programs of interest, career possibilities, and extracurricular involvement. Help your child begin to articulate his personal goals and dreams. Does a particular college or technical school help them move in the right direction? After doing some online research and talking to people, creating a list of potential schools to visit might be a good idea. Sitting in on a class, talking with students who attend that school, and figuring out options for financial aid will help you both become clear about which options will provide the best fit. It’s important to be upfront with your teen about the level of emotional and financial support you’re willing to provide if he goes to college. Job Options If college isn't an option or your teenager needs extra time to earn money for tuition, finding a job or internship may be a better choice. Going directly into the work force offers several possible benefits, including health insurance, tuition reimbursement, and valuable work experience. Helping your teenager research job options, learn how to create a resume, and prepare for interviews will be very helpful for landing the first real job! Entering the military is another alternative that may help a young person decide what kind of lifestyle, values, and social role he wants for the long-term. Veterans are entitled to many benefits, both while in the service and afterward. Talking with friends and family who have military experience may provide valuable information for this decision. Taking Time Off For some young people, taking a year off between high school and whatever comes after can be beneficial. Opportunities for travel/study abroad, community service, and/or self-exploration abound! Community service organizations offer a wide variety of choices that young people can match with their skills and interests. Americorp, for example, offers hundreds of programs across the United States with a small stipend, plus a chance to obtain money for college or vocational training. Many religious organizations provide international service programs and missions opportunities as well. Remember: It's Your Child's Life When the subject concerns the future, some young people may try to shrug it off. Here's how to get the ball rolling and keep communication flowing: • Really listen to your child and resist the temptation to provide unsolicited advice. If he is struggling to make a decision, a story or two about a tough choice you had to make might be very reassuring. • Provide respect and support while giving up some control. Trying to direct your child's future probably won't benefit him/her in the long run. This is a time for young people to develop invaluable decision-making and problem-solving skills. • Prepare your child to be self-sufficient away from home. This includes making major decisions regarding dating, drugs, alcohol, and sex, as well as mastering day-to-day living skills (cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, paying bills, and managing a budget). • Don't be afraid to set limits on how much you can financially support a teen who decides to take time off. It's important for young people to increasingly move toward emotional and financial independence! It can be tough for families to stay positive and open-minded while their high school graduates figure out what’s next. Resist the temptation to lecture your child and try to remain supportive, even if he keeps changing his mind. Remember that your teenager needs your positive influence and unconditional love during this transition, and eventually things will work out for the best!