Here’s some Funday Friday humor to assist with your New Year’s resolution motivation.
If you would like some help with your humor and joy in your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
Here’s some Funday Friday humor to assist with your New Year’s resolution motivation.
If you would like some help with your humor and joy in your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
By Kyle Benson
A cheating wife or husband is the betrayal our society focuses on, and rightfully so. It’s a massive betrayal of trust, love and commitment. But it is actually the subtle, unnoticed betrayals that truly ruin relationships. When partners do not choose each other day after day, trust and commitment erode away.
Partners may be aware of this disloyalty to each other, but dismiss it because it’s “not as bad as an affair.” This is false. Anything that violates a committed relationship’s contract of mutual trust, respect, and protection can be disastrous.
Betrayals are founded on two building blocks: deception (not revealing your true needs to avoid conflict) and a yearning for emotional connection from outside the relationship.
Below are three betrayals that ruin relationships. Only by confronting and taking responsibility for them can couples reestablish their trust in each other.
It’s very easy for platonic friends to bond in the trenches of work, day after day. Sometimes we call this person a “work wife” or “work husband.” Even friendships made at the gym or local coffee shop can threaten the bond at home.
These nonsexual relationships can lead to both parties sharing intimate details about each other’s lives. That doesn’t make it a betrayal. What makes it a betrayal is this: if your partner would be upset by the things you’ve shared or would be uncomfortable watching the interaction.
Tom first learns of his wife’s sexless affair when they hosted a Christmas party. Emily has never mentioned Chris, the new manager of her department. At the party, Chris seems to know about Emily’s entire life. He even brought their son Marshall a Bumblebee Transformer. His favorite.
Tom looks at Emily with a shocked expression. Her sheepish look sinks his heart. When he confronts her after the party, Emily argues about her friendship with Chris. She tells Tom it’s “nothing” because they are “just friends.”
She then turns against Tom and defends Chris. She accuses Tom of being irrationally jealous and tells him it’s the reason he didn’t know about Chris in the first place. Tom feels there is nothing irrational about his jealousy. Whether he admits it or not, his wife is cheating. The evidence lies in her secrecy.
5 signs your partner’s friendship is not an innocent friendship:
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, the friendship may be too intimate. Use Dr. John Gottman’s Conflict Blueprint from his book What Makes Love Last? to help talk to your partner about this issue.
Couples don’t feel supported when one partner keeps a foot out of the relationship. They don’t feel like their partner has their best interests at heart, that they have their back. When this happens, it’s not uncommon for the betrayed partner to blame a trigger as the real problem, when it’s actually the lack of commitment.
As Kristina reflects on her first marriage, she knows she began to feel betrayed when her husband stalled on starting a family. At first she thought he was anxious about becoming a father, but in couples therapy it became clear that he was hesitant to deepen his commitment to her.
Like an anxious lover, she clung onto him with desperation, terrified of losing her marriage until she realized she never really had one to begin with.
Sometimes a partner may pressure the other to marry or move in, believing the “next level” will deepen their connection, but it’s difficult for a marriage to succeed if it is built on a vow to create a strong bond rather than the result of one. The shallowness of the bond will eventually bleed through the connection.
Steps to create unconditional love: When couples ignore or dismiss talking about difficult issues, they are left with a shallow commitment. By using conflict as a catalyst for closeness, couples can intentionally use problems as an opportunity to discuss their goals, fears, and dreams. Couples that unconditionally love each other live by the motto, “baby, when you hurt, the world stops and I listen.”
Emotional withdrawal can be something big, like choosing a work meeting over a family funeral, or it can be as small as turning away when your partner needs emotional support.
A committed relationship requires both partners to be there for each other through the life-altering traumas and everyday nuisances. That means celebrating joys and successes with your partner, too.
Everybody has different ways of expressing themselves. In a committed relationship, it is the responsibility of both partners to uncover and disclose these preferences to understand what the other requires to feel loved, protected, and supported. Think of The Five Love Languages.
In his research lab, Dr. Gottman discovered that happy couples turned toward each other 86% of the time, while unhappy couples turned towards each other only 33% of the time. That means unhappy couples withdraw 67% of the time! Emotional withdrawal sets in when bids are ignored.
Solution: To improve your emotional connection, focus on rebuilding and updating your Love Maps, cultivating a culture of admiration and fondness, and turning towards bids more often.
Do any of the items listed above feel familiar or make you feel uneasy? If so, you may be facing a betrayal. Maybe it’s as serious as finding discomforting text messages between your partner and someone else. This list is not about who is right or wrong. Like sexual affairs, these betrayals can be overcome if you recognize the problem and repair the relationship together.
If someone is struggling with infidelity though, it might be worth checking out some natural aphrodisiacs to add some fire back into the bedroom. One comes from a Spanish fly and you might be asking yourself what does spanish fly do to women? For women it increases their sexual responses, they become a lot more receptive to touch and stimulation.
By Drs Les and Leslie Parrott
Many married couples–ourselves included–recommend regular date nights as a way to keep your marriage healthy and strong. Taking intentional time to connect with one another away from kids and other distractions is essential, but we often over-complicate it. Time is often the commodity that we have the most difficulty finding. Once that time is set aside, it’s important to plan how you will spend it.
If you already sense yourself buckling under the pressure of creating the perfect date, remember this: dating your spouse doesn’t have to be hard! Here are 7 tips to take the pressure off of your date nights and give you the freedom to just enjoy one another.
We make time for what is important in life, and if your marriage isn’t healthy, the rest of your world can easily crumble around you. If you don’t carve out time for each other in advance, dates either won’t happen, or they’ll be fewer and farther between. One date every three months isn’t going to cut it.
A natural drifting apart occurs in any relationship whose members don’t connect regularly. With friends, we can allow this to occur for a season, and effortlessly pick up right where we left off. With our marriages, we simply cannot let it happen.
Find a system that works for you and your spouse. You could schedule your dates a month ahead of time, or agree to set aside some time to be together each week. Whatever you decide, make this time a priority–whatever it takes.
It can be hard to think of activities or destination ideas under pressure, so relax and put your heads together. Take some time to think of fun and easy date ideas, writing them down as you come up with them. When you’re drained of creative suggestions, lean on your list! This will take the pressure off both of you, and can be especially handy if you’re in a very busy season, like the child-rearing years.
Not every date has to be an original idea. If you and your spouse have hobbies that you like to do together, or restaurants or traditions that you enjoy, stick to those. Forming traditions can also spark a sense of anticipation around doing something you both truly enjoy. So, if you both love pizza, why not grab the best pizza Greensboro has to offer (or the best pizza in your area) and make it into a tradition. Planning dates is not a competition. It is honoring your marriage by setting aside some sacred time to spend together. If that happens to be at the same restaurant each week, or over the same meal or activity at home, then let it be!
When you’re the only one doing all of the planning for date nights, you can quickly become burdened. Taking turns planning with your spouse can alleviate this burden and keep things interesting. You will also have the chance to put some extra thought into what your spouse may like, and vice versa.
This might sound contrived, but it actually works. Conversation may flow easily between you most of the time, but there will be times when it isn’t so easy. It can be difficult to shut off a day’s worth of work and stress when it’s date time. Instead of intentional talk, you can end up filling your time with awkward silence, complaining, or small talk.
A great way to combat this is to bring some talking points or starter questions along to your date night. One simple question could lead to an entire conversation. Or perhaps you have been saving something that you would like to talk or dream about with your spouse during your time alone. Either way, coming prepared with something to talk about can be a way to take the pressure off of your date time.
Some dates should just be spent doing something fun–with no other agenda. Your spouse is your best friend, and that should leave room for you two to just let loose and have some fun! Different dates can serve different purposes. Sometimes, the best medicine is laughter…and not taking yourself too seriously.
It’s not always practical or cost-effective to get out of the house, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create space for the two of you there. Pick out a dinner or activity, order take-out or make dinner, and do date night in. Just remember not to blur those lines too much at home.
You may be more tempted to give into distractions, but honor your time there as you would at any other place. A date night at home is often relaxing, and a time to reconnect with your spouse–and you don’t even have to leave the house!
If you tend to get overwhelmed at the thought of planning and keeping regular dates with your spouse, keep these tips in mind! Dating your spouse doesn’t have to be hard; it just requires commitment and follow-through. Protect the time you’ve set aside to be together, and your marriage will thrive!
If you would like help with your marriage and/or relationship, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
By Sanaa Hyder, M.S.Ed.
Kindness is not just important in the heat of an argument, rather, it is about your mindful and considerate behavior throughout your relationship.
When we enter into a committed relationship, most of us make some sort of declaration – a promise or a vow – that we will uphold our partner and care for them. We also make a secondary promise: that we will be our best selves , full of integrity and hope for a successful future.
The act of not choosing kindness is therefore doubly hurtful – to our partners and to ourselves – because it undercuts our efforts for growth and the potential for greater intimacy.
A relationship is the concerted effort of two people who mindfully and enthusiastically work towards a shared vision. Despite the difficulties of daily life, partners are in charge of their own behavior. While a couple grows together, they are not precluded from growing as individuals as well – in fact they must evolve as individuals in order to continually bring their “best selves” to their partner.
How can you cultivate a habit of kindness in your relationship? Below are 3 powerful tips that you can put into action right now, regardless of where your partner is on their journey:
1. Think good thoughts
We are wired to feel how we repeatedly think. Thinking positive thoughts about your partner will make it easier for you to think more positive thoughts, and to speak and behave positively towards them. In order to get into the habit of being kind, you must practice the thoughts as well as the actions.
Remind yourself of the nice things your partner has done each day. For instance, did they take out the recycling or come home early one night for dinner? However small the action, make it a habit of noticing the kindness as it is happening and make a mental note of how happy it makes you feel. When you see your partner, mention it to them. Noticing the good things about your partner helps to keep you in what Dr. John Gottman calls the Positive Perspective or Positive Sentiment Override. It is a sense of hopeful well-being that arises from a positive thoughts and positive interactions.
2. Accept responsibility
Take responsibility for assessing your own feelings before presenting them to your partner. Whereas anger and frustration are legitimate emotions, further exploration might reveal that in fact you feel annoyed or sad about a situation. Perhaps upon reflection you find that in fact you felt abandoned or that your dreams are not being acknowledged. Being able to accurately pinpoint your feelings will help you to convey them in a kinder, gentler tone to your partner.
You might think it is more authentic to say exactly what’s on your mind without filtering anything for your partner, but consider that once they are hurt, it is harder for them to connect with you empathically. Take a moment to process your feelings with a therapist or by yourself. Try keeping a journal or log of your day and how you were feeling. Processing your feelings through writing often helps to sort out and organize thoughts.
3. Let hope win
Have faith in the relationship and in your commitment. Even though you will have ongoing arguments with you partner, focus on your friendship. I see couples in my office who want to “solve” their issues first before going out for an ice cream or relaxing over dinner. It’s not possible to solve problems with someone you don’t want to collaborate with.
I often encourage couples to do an activity together to enjoy their love – despite their gripes! It is much easier to discuss problems with your best friend than with your “enemy.” It may take effort to institute a date night, but being close and connected is a habit, and habits have to be practiced consciously and regularly. Try going out of your way to be friendly to your partner.
For instance, pour milk in their cereal in the morning, or offer to walk the dog. Look up a movie they’ve been meaning to watch, or even send them a text message today (not about errands or scheduling) about something you’re looking forward to doing with them later.
Ultimately, kindness serves your expression of difficult emotions by offering your partner the capacity to really hear you. Even if you are angry, in order to approach your partner effectively you must be kind. If you’ve paved the way for your partner to be open to you, they are more likely to hear your frustration and respond with compassion. Kindness gets your needs met.
Being kind and gentle is a decision. Just as we offer a smile and hold the door open for a stranger, we must remember to cultivate this habit in our relationship no matter how many months or years have passed.
The longer we try, the easier it gets to summon up a positive picture of our beloved. The more we practice kindness, the easier it is to recall that our partner is also a human who is experiencing life alongside us. It becomes easier to offer a smile and to extend an olive branch to the person who is in the struggle with us – not against us.
If you would like help with your relationships, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.
By the Mayo Clinic
The holiday season often brings unwelcome guests – stress and depression. And it’s no wonder. The holidays present a dizzying array of demands – parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few. But with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would. There are so many different ways to ensure you have a positive holiday season, but one of the most popular methods is to purchase some essentials oils that smell of the holidays! There are multiple options from AromaTech, including oils that smell of pine and cinnamon. When they’re diffused, they can help to create a therapeutic feeling that prevents people from feeling depressed, ensuring everyone has a lovely time together. Hopefully, that will keep people from feeling depressed, whilst also making the house smell festive. That’s just one method, there are so many others!
Try these alternatives:
Try these suggestions:
Some options may include:
If you would like help with stress and depression, please contact CornerStone Family Service at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
Here is some holiday Funday Friday humor for you:
If you would like to add some more humor or joy into your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.
By Cassandra Sheppard
The science is in. Singing is really, really good for you and the most recent research suggests that group singing is the most exhilarating and transformative of all.
The good feelings we get from singing in a group are a kind of evolutionary reward for coming together cooperatively.
The research suggests that creating music together evolved as a tool of social living. Groups and tribes sang and danced together to build loyalty, transmit vital information and ward off enemies.
What has not been understood until recently is that singing in groups triggers the communal release of serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and even synchronises our heart beats.
Group singing literally incentivised community over an “each cave dweller for themselves” approach. Those who sang together were strongly bonded and survived.
In her book Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others, Stacy Horn calls singing:
An infusion of the perfect tranquiliser – the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirit.
For a decade, science has been hard at work trying to explain why singing has such a calming yet energising effect on people. Numerous studies demonstrate that singing releases endorphins and oxytocin – which in turn relieve anxiety and stress and which are linked to feelings of trust and bonding.
Singing helps people with depression and reduces feelings of loneliness, leaving people feeling relaxed, happy and connected. Music and singing has the ability to transform a person’s life and to help them feel better both mentally and physically. Another method that can provide the same benefits of reducing any depression that you are experiencing, is taking certain strains of medical marijuana, (you can look at places similar to leaf2go for more information), as this has been known to help relax the mind and body. But who knew that singing could make such a positive difference? What’s more, the benefits of singing regularly are cumulative. People who sing have reduced levels of cortisol, indicating lower stress.
UK singer, singing teacher and choir leader Sophia Efthimiou describes singing as a process of consciously controlling our breath and larynx to create and sustain certain pitches and we blend that with rhythm and poetry to create songs.
In a group setting, each group member feels the musical vibrations moving through their body simultaneously. Our heart beats become synchronised. Sophia explains:
We literally form one unified heart beat.
One of the great things about singing is that you can receive the wellbeing benefits even if you aren’t any good. One study showed that:
Group singing can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality.
Tania de Jong, singer and founder of Creativity Australia, has effectively harnessed this ability of group singing to lift every member of the group up, no matter their singing ability.
One of the great things about singing is that is connects you to the right side of your brain. This is the side responsible for intuition, imagination and all our creative functions. It connects us to a world of possibilities. In modern life we are constantly bombarded with so much information that we process and analyse. We tend to get stuck in the left, processing side of our brain. So it becomes fundamentally important to nurture the attributes of human beings that set us apart from machines. The best way to do that is singing.
These benefits are free and accessible to all. We all have a voice. We can all sing, even if we don’t think we can.
There was a time when we all used to sing. We sang at church, around camp fires, at school. While group singing is experiencing a resurgence, not so many of us sing anymore. At some stage, someone told us to be quiet or judged our imperfect singing voice. Sophia Efthimiou suggests that singing is very personal, an expression of sound coming from within us, so we cannot help but take this criticism very personally and it sticks.
Yet, people who claim they cannot sing because they are tone deaf are more likely to be very unfamiliar with finding and using their singing voice.
Tone deafness is comparatively rare and means that you would be unable to recognise a song. If you can recognise a song you are not tone deaf, you are just unpractised. In fact, almost anyone can improve their singing just through practice and you can even use something like this starmarker app on fileproto to help you improve your voice by singing along karaoke-style to many of your favorite songs. Being a good singer just comes down to practice and confidence. Once you do have the song ready, all you have got to do is to have the confidence of showing the world what you are capable of! Registering yourself on music platforms like YouTube or SoundCloud might do your confidence a whole lot of good. If garnering followers is something you are worried about, opting for sites that help promote Soundcloud users could be a good option. Whatever the situation though, don’t give up. Sophia clarifies:
When our voice makes the wrong note we can feel terrible as though it is a reflection of our self worth. But – if you can talk, you can sing.
US opera singer Katie Kat wishes to encourage all of us to sing far more often regardless of our perceived skill.
Singing increases self-awareness, self-confidence and our ability to communicate with others. It decreases stress, comforts us and helps us to forge our identity and influence our world.
When you sing, musical vibration moves through you, altering your physical and emotional state. Singing is as old as the hills. It is innate, ancient and within all of us. It really is one of the most uplifting therapeutic things we can do. Katie continues:
However, society has skewed views on the value of singing. Singing has become something reserved for elite talent or highly produced stars with producers, management, concert dates – leaving the rest of us with destructive criticism of our own voices.
She claims that singing is instinctual and necessary to our existence. You do not have to be an amazing singer to benefit from the basic biological benefits and with practice the benefits increase.
I have fond memories of hearing my grandmother singing throughout the day and of large group singing sessions with her friends.
One of my favourite memories of group singing is the old Scots tradition on New Year’s Eve of singing Auld Lang Syne. My grandmother and all her friends would stand in a big circle just before midnight.
Everyone would hold hands, and then at the beginning of the final verse we would cross our arms across our bodies so that our left hand was holding the hand of the person on our right, and the right hand holds that of the person on the left. When the song ended, everyone would rush to the middle, still holding hands. It was beautiful fun and as a young girl I felt so safe, included and loved within that singing circle.
The phrase “auld lang syne” roughly translates as “for old times’ sake”, and the song is all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year.
A tradition worth resurrecting, considering the benefits of singing in a group.
If you would like help in increasing your joy, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
By Bruce Y. Lee
Even though songs such as “Winter Wonderland” and “Jingle Bells” can make the winter holiday season seem like a time for pervasive cheer and mirth, in actuality, holidays can bring stress, depression and anxiety, which in turn can lead to physical problems such as weight gain and Holiday Heart Syndrome. But many people may be suffering in silence. After all, we don’t have songs such as “Rudolph the Depressed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus has Overeaten Again” or “Jingle Bell Stress” to raise awareness. So why may the holidays be stressful to you and what can you do about it?
Here are some common causes of holiday stress:
So what can you do to prevent and combat holiday stress?
And if all of this doesn’t do enough relieve your stress, you can always try singing…
If you would like help with dealing with holiday stress, anxiety, or depression, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
When Carson came to see me for counseling, his life was falling apart. He had lost his job as a welder because of downsizing. His young wife had left him and moved back to West Virginia to live with her parents, taking their six-month-old with her. His car was repossessed, and he was now reduced to taking the bus. Now on welfare, Carson barely had money to eat and rent a room. I agreed to meet with him pro bono until he could get back on his feet, but Carson was a proud young man, and would have none of it! He committed to meet with me weekly to work on his depression and anxiety, and was insistent on paying $10 per session. After several months, Carson’s mood stabilized. Nevertheless, for several appointments in a row he showed up late, apologetically blaming it on the bus schedule. He looked gaunt, like he had not slept for several days. When I finally pressed him, he confessed that he had been covering the cost of his $10 sessions by regularly giving blood.
Carson has long since completed his counseling. With his depression and anxiety in remission, he returned to West Virginia to reunite with his wife and young daughter. Like most of the people who come to see us for counseling, he could not afford to pay $125 per hour, nor did he have insurance to offset the cost. He needed a hand, but not a handout. He was invested deeply in the process, not only putting skin in the game, but his very life blood as well.
At CornerStone Family Services, we believe in the counseling/coaching services we offer, and the healing it provides for people like Carson. We believe in meeting our clients where they are in life. We believe in helping individuals and families who are falling through the cracks. And we believe in providing all individuals access to caring counseling and coaching when they are in need.
CornerStone offers a helping hand to hundreds of people like Carson who walk through our doors every year. Please consider becoming a partner in our mission through a year-end gift or a monthly scholarship contribution. For more information about the CornerStone mission and how you can contribute click here.
By Mental Health America Wisconsin
Although the holidays are supposed to be a time full of joy, good cheer and optimistic hopes for a new year, many people struggle during the holiday season when expectations are high and disrupted routines can feel overwhelming. However, some mental preparations and planning can help everyone cope with the season — and even enjoy it.
Self-care. Pay special attention to your eating, sleeping, and downtime. It might be OK to skimp on a few hours of sleep just before a relaxing weekend, but think again if that weekend will include the stress of traveling, visiting or other activities out of your normal routine. Don’t forget to factor in downtime, too. Planning every hour of your time off can seem like a great idea, until you realize there is no time left to unwind.
Fun, not perfection. Resist the urge to do everything you can to make the season perfect for everyone. Just have as much fun as you can and don’t expect it to be perfect.
Anticipate stress. Plan ahead of time what your strategy will be when times get stressful. Is it possible to take a walk outside for 15 minutes when a family gathering gets stressful? How about a trip to your favorite store if your schedule gets you down?
You have the right to…
If you would like help dealing with depression or stress, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.