According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 40-50 percent of marriages today end in divorce. The reasons for these dismal statistics are varied, but the good news is that with commitment and work, couples can beat the odds. One of the most highly respected, extensively researched approaches to couples counseling is the Gottman Method. Through decades of research, including studies of more than 3000 couples, the Gottmans discovered that there are certain factors, or key predictors, that contribute to the success or failure of a relationship.
Today’s kids can be overscheduled, underslept, and overstressed. Yes, kids get stressed out just like adults when they’ve got too much on their plates. Not surprisingly, my daughter showed obvious warning signs, which I minimized for a while. She would cry when she was hungry and couldn’t find time to eat; she became irritable when bedtime was pushed out because she was trying to get everything done; and she rebelled and simply refused when she was feeling too overscheduled.
If only I got that promotion. If only I got into business school. If only my house were bigger. If only he loved me. Have you ever found yourself thinking this way? I call it the “if-only” mindset. It’s normal to have these thoughts, but believing deeply that something needs to happen before we can enjoy our lives can create tension and despair, and prevent us from truly being with what’s going on in the present.
Are we getting self-care wrong? Lately, I’ve started to wonder if self-care itself needs self-care. A few years ago, I was telling a friend about a work situation. My supervisor informed me that everyone in the office needed to try harder. He complained that my colleagues and I were doing C-level work. I felt a mix of anxiety and annoyance since I knew how hard we were all working. And now my to-do list just got longer: I had to add the task of upgrading my performance from his idea of a C to an A+.
It turns out being mindful is hard. The moment I find myself just noticing what’s happening in the present is exactly when I’m whisked away into mental reverie...If I were to make a pie chart of the time I spend focusing on the present versus swimming in my thoughts, the “present” slice would be comically slim, probably somewhere in the 5-10% range. That’s what I mean when I say I can’t do it either.
I am not a perfect mother. I am not Supermom. I cannot do everything right for my daughter. I can’t always be the best spouse to my husband. And I cannot be the perfect career woman. Simply put, I've abandoned the myth of the Supermom, and I feel so much better. You can too.
Does your work day ever go by in a blur and later you barely remember what happened? Are you ever physically at dinner but mentally still at work? Maybe you’re impatient to check email or thinking of all you've got do tomorrow to “catch up.”
In blackjack, when you have 16 and the dealer is showing 10, you have a tough choice. You can either “hit” or “stand,” but regardless of what you choose, you’re more likely to lose than win. In a situation like this, it’s helpful to have a decision-making framework based on the science of probability. When you think in terms of probability, the decision to hit or stand is less likely to be influenced by how you’re feeling.