POSTS WITH TAG: emotional health

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    Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I find myself in a compromising position with a near-stranger. It's usually a man, and we're locked in a strange sort of embrace. My fingers might be laced together on the back of his head, pulling his face close to my neck. His hand might be gripping the back of my shirt, one elbow pressed against my cheekbone. We shuffle around awkwardly as if slow-dancing in a school cafeteria to "Lady in Red," softly kneeing each other in the groin.

    Later I drive home, battered from head to toe, a giant bruise already blooming down my arm like a long winter shadow. I can see in the rearview mirror that my hair has pulled loose from my headband in unflattering sweat-slick tufts, and the majority of my makeup has probably been smeared down someone's shirt. Every part of my body aches. I turn up my radio and lustily sing along, butchering the lyrics and caring not a whit. "Clap along if you feel like a broom without a hoof!"

    I'm completely and utterly exuberant.

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    Women have complicated relationships with each other. Any girl who has gone through middle school knows this. One day, someone is your best friend. The next, you are persona non grata. Problem is, it's now happening to more and more grownups too. It hurts no matter how old we are, noted Sarah Jessica Parker in a new interview with British Harper's Bazaar. According to the Sex and the City star, women are more cruel to each other now than ever. And she's right. So when did this mean girl behavior become the rule rather than the exception?

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    Does this sound like you when you’re talking about your fitness? "I’m so out of shape." "I’m fat." "I could never do that." "I’m so slow/weak/unfit."

    I’d guess you don’t realize how often you’re saying these kinds of negative things about yourself. Whether you’re just listening to an internal critic or voicing your criticism aloud, it’s a huge detriment to your confidence and hinders your work out progress. Negative self-talk can become self-fulfilling prophecy -- if you tell yourself you're likely to fail, you probably will. With a positive attitude, you're less likely to give up on a workout and you're more likely to give it your all.

    If you want to get more out of hitting the gym, it's time to kill the negative self-talk. Don't know how? Here are 8 ways to kick negativity out of the way so it doesn't kill your workout.

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    I spent much of my life looking about five steps ahead of me, always planning my next move without ever actually experiencing or enjoying what was happening right at that specific moment.

    Perhaps it's because I'm getting older (and my kids are getting older), but I've decided that focusing on today is not just the healthier choice, but also the happier one too.

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    Euthanasia is a hotly contested topic, as it should be. The decision to assist a person in dying because he or she is suffering greatly from an illness is not a matter that should be taken lightly. But now we've thrown an additional question into the mix: should seriously ill children be allowed to have a say in whether they live or die? There's no way, as a parent, you won't feel something just thinking about that possibility.

    This week, Belgium became the first country to remove age restrictions on euthanasia, which has caused folks from both sides of the debate to come out and speak their minds. Those in favor of it argue that children who experience incomprehensible pain deserve the same respect adults receive to choose whether they want to put an end to their suffering. But plenty of people oppose the practice and feel it's immoral or inhumane to help a child end his life.

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    For most women, the three or four days right before the arrival of their period are much like a trip to the dentist. Not entirely pleasant, but nothing they can't handle. At worst they may suffer some cramping, maybe they'll be slightly bloated, a little irritable. Some jerk at work may make a PMS joke about how she's on the rag and everyone should look out.

    Roll your eyes at those kind of jokes, do you? I shudder. I'm the kind of woman those jokes were made about. But then, I don't just get PMS. I have pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD. I'm one of the approximately 5 percent of women of childbearing age who suffer from pre-menstrual symptoms so severe that they can affect our work and our relationships.

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    I'm not quite sure when I decided my own instincts weren't good enough to protect me. I suppose when you grow up in a household where you need to control your emotions, you learn to do just that so you can survive another day.

    Now as an adult, I struggle with knowing whether those twinges, those gut feelings (sometimes literally), are to be acknowledged and listened to, or quashed and excused as defenses.

    Well, here's how I finally figured out my instincts are always right.

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    Are you a Buddhist? If you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, or anything in between, you're probably thinking, "Nope! Don't even know what that is! Wait, is that that weird religion where people shave their heads and dress up in orange robes and dance around the airport banging tambourines?" Yes and no. For one, it's Hare Krishnas who dance around the airport -- though I haven't seen them in awhile. And while Buddhist monks do shave their heads and wear orange robes, laypeople do not.

    But you might be more Buddhist than you know. In fact, if you've posted something to Facebook like, "In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you," then you're already being a bit Buddhist. (Although Buddha didn't say that, I don't think he'd disagree with it either.) Here are 7 ways you're already totally Buddhist.

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    I tend to have expectations that are much too high for other people (and, heck, even for myself), and all they ever lead to is a whole lot of disappointment.

    But the truth is, just telling myself to lower my expectations doesn't work either, because let's face it: if you expect something, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

    So lately, I've been trying a new approach introduced to me by my therapist that I think is pretty darn smart. Maybe it will work for you too.

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    Over the years, I've worked a lot on my "anger issues." Don't get me wrong, I'm no Alec Baldwin. I've never punched anyone; never threatened to bodily harm anyone; never even tweeted out anything nasty. But I did have a habit of yelling when I got angry or frustrated. In that, I'm hardly alone. Perhaps what does make me slightly unique (or maybe not) is that I would feel horrible guilt afterwards. Granted, sometimes -- okay, a lot of the time -- people can be incredibly clueless, rude, and disrespectful. Sometimes they deserve a good verbal lashing. But because of the guilt I would suffer over it, not to mention the relationships I was risking and occasionally even ruining, I went into deep "fix it" mode. This is not easy. Habits are deeply ingrained. But I learned some techniques to manage (if not banish entirely) my knee-jerk reaction to raise my voice when I was upset. But for one exception. Customer service representatives!

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