Glenora Psychology Tip Sheets

Category Archives: Personal Development

Imagine your kind of Christmas – Carole Solberg, M.A., R.Psych.

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The human mind strives for meaning. It is well recognized that people create meaning in their lives by how they interpret life’s events. Suppose your vision of the holiday season is lots of entertaining, shopping and family get-togethers as well as maintaining the spirit of the season. This image would necessarily involve money, effort and time to make this happen. Suppose you inject the image with an overlay of happiness with no delays or upsets. Add to that picture the element of “perfect” moments. What would be anticipated with joy and eagerness could easily leave you feeling empty, tired and disillusioned. This scenario implies that even the best of intentions may not produce the result you desire. Make sure that the people in your family agree about what makes a satisfying holiday season. Spending time, working hard and interacting with others, even those we love and cherish, will fall short…

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How to Get Things Done

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Procrastination is a problem that can interfere with all aspects of your life. If you are a procrastinator, then the important people in your life are probably angry and frustrated with you. You continually let them down because you don’t get things done when you are supposed to. What’s worse is that you end up being angry with yourself too. Guilt and low self-esteem are often the companions of procrastination. You can overcome this problem and get things done. Everyone procrastinates sometimes. Usually it has to do with putting off a job that you really don’t like. Things like cleaning the garage or writing a year-end report may have little intrinsic appeal so it’s quite natural for you to resist doing them. Occasional procrastination may have to do with avoiding a task you find difficult to do like talking to a friend about an issue between you, or asking your…

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Holiday Season and Loss

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Perhaps no issue is more complex than that of dealing with a loss. The death of a loved one can take years to work through. Other losses such as divorce can be equally difficult. The additional problem with a divorce is that a person is often unsure when the loss really begins. Is it when the break-up first happens? When the divorce becomes official? When can the split become final if children are involved? Once, in speaking to a group in Edmonton I asked the audience how long they thought it took to get over a loss. I will always remember the timid, yet honest, response made by a person from the back of the room, “Well, it has been about five years and I think I am half way through it”. I hope for those of you who have faced losses, your progress is somewhat faster than the person…

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The Happiness Habit

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Your outlook on life and your general feeling of satisfaction with life can be attributed to a number of factors. Your genetic history, your family upbringing, and your life experience all influence who you are and your way of being in the world. These factors, however, are not a life script that determines your future. You determine your future and how you experience your life. If you are negative and critical, if you are unhappy much of the time, and wish you could enjoy life more, then this article may be just what you need. Happiness is a habit. You can be happy just as easily as you can be unhappy regardless of what you’ve been born with, or what’s happened to you up to this point in your life. I don’t deny that life holds many difficulties for each of us and it can throw more than a few…

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Gratitude and Other Keys to Happiness

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Let’s start with what does not lead to happiness: complaints, possessions and wanting to get more possessions. Complaining is kind of like going out, starting a car, letting it run for an hour, then turning it off. It doesn’t really get you anywhere.  Now if that same one hour of a car’s motor running was put into some form of positive action, you could actually get somewhere and accomplish something.  While awareness of our feelings is important, dwelling on them is often not helpful unless it leads to a plan of action.  Similarly, gaining possessions or wanting to gain possessions does not produce long lasting results.  Those who measure happiness with possessions find that it becomes an addiction and the happiness becomes shorter with each new acquisition.  A refreshing attitude was seen on a bumper sticker on a well worn car that stated “whoever dies with the most toys ……

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Care for the Caregiver

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Living with a child, spouse or family member/friend who has a serious mental or physical illness can cause many difficulties for families. When the illness is discovered and diagnosed, the life of all family members changes dramatically. At first, family members may feel relieved that there is a diagnosis of the problem. There is no more struggling to understand what is wrong and the desperate search for answers seems to be at an end. There is hope that if doctors know what is wrong, then certainly they can heal the illness. Diagnosis of a serious illness, however, is often just the beginning of a long and difficult path. Following diagnosis, the caregivers may attempt to deny the full and long term implications of the illness, especially if the illness is debilitating, if the ill person will require ongoing physical care, if the treatment will financially stress the family, and/or if…

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The Best of Intentions

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You usually have the best of intentions when you say or do something. You have had education and training that teaches you how to be professional in your communication with your colleagues. Through the process of trial and error, you have found a way to communicate with family and friends and to maintain these relationships. Far too often, however, our good intentions miss the mark. The other person takes offence and is openly angry, or the conflict simmers just below the surface only to erupt later creating tension in the work or family environment. Despite our best intentions, we end up with hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and the breaking down of important connections. When this happens, we wonder why simple communication and everyday relationships are so complicated and charged with difficulty. We question if we are doing something wrong or if others are just too sensitive and take everything personally. The…

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Becoming Resilient

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Have you ever wondered why some people are defeated by the challenges of life while others seem to bounce back and even find a way to turn a tragedy into a gift? The difference between these two types of people is a matter of resilience. To be resilient is to be both strong and flexible. You also have to be willing to examine and understand your experience and take the opportunity to learn from it. You learn about your strengths and weaknesses, your illusions, beliefs and values, relationship patterns, what worked and what didn’t work, and you learn about other people and about the world. Knowledge is power. When you take the opportunity to learn all these things each time you stumble in life, you will naturally develop confidence in yourself and in your ability to deal with similar situations in the future. You begin to know that you are…

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Be Still

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Life is moving so fast that it’s going to take all of us to an early grave. Unfortunately, many of us will end up on our death bed feeling like we have somehow missed the whole point of life. To truly live your life, it is essential for you learn how to be still. This thought actually confuses or terrifies most people. It’s confusing because we really don’t understand what it means to “be still”. You are not still when you sit and watch television, or sit and think, or hang around and fill time. You are still when you calm your mind and your body and you sit with yourself – no distractions inside or outside of yourself. There is just the awareness of the sensations of your body, mind, and spirit rising and falling. You are aware of them but you don’t follow them or gnaw on them…

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Baldness And Other Developmentally Normal, but Difficult, Issues

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Baldness And Other Developmentally Normal, but Difficult, Issues Emotional and physical development does not stop with becoming an adult. Individual growth is a life-long process that presents numerous challenges and demands ongoing change. Many developmental theorists refer to times of change as developmental crises. The word crisis implies that we often experience difficulty as we move from one emotional or physical stage of our life to another. For example a key psychological and spiritual task for adolescents is to become more independent. In middle age, one of the important developmental tasks is learning how to live creatively, i.e. to love well, live well and play well. Also, in midlife, many physical signs of getting older (including losing one’s hair) are seen as threats and as diminishing our stature or power in society. A significant issue in facing hair loss, or any of the normal life changes, is your view of…

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