Archive for April, 2012

Mars and Venus Relationships Collide: New Understandings Can Help!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN FROM VENUS. Most people on earth’s planet have heard of Dr. John Gray’s description of men and women differences using this Mars Venus planet characterization.  Dr. Gray, using his latest culled research, has written about how men and women react to stress in different ways.

Dr. Gray’s thesis is that this age is one of unprecedented levels of stress for both men  and women and that it is taking its toll on relationships.  Couples too often are exhausted, drained, and overwhelmed.  This condition is not conducive to being connected and affectionate.  Thus, individuals often feel isolated, unappreciated, and neglected.
Change is needed!

Couples can reduce stress and thrive when they feel safe and nurtured. Understanding men and women’s unique response to stress gives a new perspective on communication and how to give and receive support.  By becoming aware of such differences, alternative approaches can overcome passionless distance and resentment.

So, how do men and women differ in response to stress?  First, the big picture.  There are physiological reasons why women find comfort in talking about their problems and men prefer to retreat into isolation.  Also, women are able to multitask and remember most everything while men compartmentalize and focus on one thing at a time.  To quote Dr. Gray: “When a man needs time alone or doesn’t want to talk about it, it doesn’t mean that he care less for his partner.  When a woman wants to talk about her day, it doesn’t mean she is excessively needy or high maintenance.”

Some of the otherMars-Venus differences based on the brain help to explain:

1. Why women want to talk and talk and why men rush women to get to the point and get on with decision making.

2. Why, when faced with danger, men’s visual cortex is more stimulated than a woman’s, and therefore takes more risks, is more impatient and impulsive.  A woman’s brain is more connected to feeling than it is to action.

3. Why women never forget a quarrel.  Women’s brains are larger in the area associated with emotional remembering.

Men’s testosterone levels fall during the day.  At the end of the day his body must relax and restore itself.  If not, he is moody, irritable or passive, and libido challenged. Testosterone stimulates stress reduction in men.

Women need the hormone oxytocin for stress reduction.  Oxytocin is the social attachment hormone. Oxytocin levels deplete when feeling ignored or abandoned.

Oxytocin gives a rush in both male and female orgasm.  It reduces blood pressure, cortisol levels, and fear.  Calmness and closeness are the result.

Dr. Gray further elaborates on brain differences in his book as well as gives techniques to bring couples closer together. Such techniques include minimizing fights and learning to reconnect.

This is an interesting practical book that helps both men and women understand some basic differences that exist between the sexes.  Fueled with this knowledge a couple is more capable of developing a loving relationship that avoids collision and creates a more unified connection.

How Bad Do You Want It? How Bad Do You Need It? What is “It”?

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

During the course of our lives we want certain things.  We need certain things.  Depending upon our age, stage of life. current conditions, and priorities we become aware that something is missing or a next step is beckoning

Upon recognizing that there is a need or want to be fulfilled, a person then has to make a decision to go after it – or not to.  If the answer is yes, then a commitment is necessary.

Commitments are one thing, follow through is another. Some people have a greater capacity to carry through then others.  There are three types of people related to getting it accomplished:

1. Those that make it happen.

2. Those that watch it happen.

3. Those that wonder, what the heck happened?

What about you?  What type are you?

 

Do you have a NEED or WANT that is calling you to action?  It may be something to start, finish or stop doing.  The list could include something physical, material, athletic, emotional, spiritual, financial, academic, career change, a hobby, etc…

 

Tim McGraw has the song entitled in the headline of this article. His lyrics say:

“How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?

Are you eatin’, sleepin’, dreamin’ with that one thing on your mind?

How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?

‘cause if you want it all you’ve got to lay it all out on the line

…Can you feel it? Can you taste it?  Can you hear it? Knockin’ at your door.

There’s always a price you pay, no matter what you do.

If you’re going to climb that mountain to the top, it always
comes down to

How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?”

 

A. Are you the lazy type who doesn’t “walk the talk”?

B. Are you the driven type that will pay any price to just “git er done”?

C. Are you the type that goes after that next  NEED or WANT in a deliberate balanced manner, seeing where it fits in with the rest of your priorities?

 

Know your needs.  Know your wants.  Know what commitment and capacity you have to make it happen.  Find it, choose it, grab it – GO!

You Might Be Surprised What a Smile Does for Your Health and Relationships!

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Smiles are potent for improved health and relationships. This statement has been proven to be true.  Are you typically a frowner or a smiler? Howoften do you laugh, tell a job, make a funny quip?

Quality research, particularly that of Dr.William F. Fry, and Dr. Allan R. Reiss of Stanford University, has demonstrated that smiling and a sense of humor significantly enhance:

Physical health

Psychological well-being

Romantic relationships

Physical Health:

  1. Provide exercise by increasing the heart rate, stimulating blood circulation and breathing, and improving muscle tone. Dr. Frye calculated that 100 laughs equal ten minutes on a rowing machine.
  2. Reduces pain by firing the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
  3. Stimulates the immune system

Psychological Well Being:

  1. Stimulates mental functions such as alertness and memory
  2. Reduces stress by lowering levels of cortisol, a stress hormone
  3. Activates a “brain reward system that helps with depression

Romantic Relationships:

  1. Helps us establish and maintain relationships.  People “connect” when they laugh. Some of  the best dates people have are at comedy clubs. Humor loosens people up and they become more “in touch” with one another.

Dr. Clifford Kuler, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, encourages sharpening of one’s “capacity for laughter.”  He wants people to concentrate on having fun.  He also recommends a “daily workout.”
Raise your eyebrows as high as you can. Close your eyes as tightly as you can. Grimace as deeply as you can. Stretch all the major laugh muscles

What do you do for fun?  What brings a smile to your face?  Count the number of times you smile or laugh on a given day. Every smile, every laugh, makes for a longer and
more joyful life.  “Have you heard the one about…” (finish the sentence)!

 

Sir, Are You Married to a “High Maintenance” Woman? Ma’am, Are You One?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

I was driving home from Atlanta late the other night, changing stations with my deft never-miss-a-beat male fingers, and one song played three times within an hour.  It is called “HIGH MAINTENANCE WOMAN”. Since I am always looking for topics that fit under the umbrella of mental health and relationships, I felt that this was a sign from the universe that this topic needed to be addressed.  Actually this topic is often discussed in relationship counseling. (Another motivating factor was that many men got really defensive about my article a couple of weeks ago asking men to quit “fixing” or “improving” their wife and, thus, they felt their wives needed to be under the microscope as well)

In my research I found many descriptors of a “high maintenance woman”.  Most have common threads.  One writer, Madeline Murphy (note I am using a woman commentator here to illustrate my non sexist bias). To quote Ms. Murphy: “High maintenance women are like high maintenance sports cars.  They’re lots of fun when you’re out on the town together, but for every hour of showing off, there are another ten spent on upkeep and repair behind the scenes. … Broadly defined, high maintenance women are those who need many things (money, material goods, affection) to be happy. These women love dressing up whenever possible, and are obsessed with all aspects of their personal appearance and grooming in general.  This almost obsessive attention to detail usually extends beyond their person, to their homes, pets, and even to their men.  They tend to be perfectionists.”

According to Ms. Murphy there are pros and cons regarding the HMW:

Pro: She looks like a million bucks.  Their fascination with their own looks means that whenever they step out of the house, they look perfect.

Con: She knows she looks like a million bucks. She’s never met a mirror she doesn’t like. She may blow huge wads on things like manicures, self-tanning, and keeping up with each and every trend. She also may take herself too seriously.

Pro: She’s a challenge.  For men who like to be challenged on a daily basis, the HMW girl is the
perfect choice.  She likes attention, compliments, and fancy dinners, and she demands the best of these things.  She will keep you on your toes.

Con: She can’t be satisfied.  She is like a ravenous beast, always wanting more of everything.  She will find fault in all your best efforts.

Clinton Bland, author of AMERICAN EPIDEMIC: HIGH MAINTENANCE WOMEN, lists five characteristics of such a breed:

1. Hard to please: she’s never satisfied.

2. Center of attention: she has to have the spotlight at all times.

3. Can’t distinguish between needs and wants: she’s irrationally demanding and confuses what she wants with what she actually needs.

4. Won’t take responsibility: she never admits to being at fault but is quick to blame. She depends on others to meet her needs.

5. Plays hard to get: she prides herself on being a challenge; because it puts here in control. She takes more than she gives.

Bland feels “high maintenance habits stem from a need to fill a void or soothe insecurities.”

The emphasis in this article is not to judge, but rather to describe a certain type of woman. My desire in all articles is to raise awareness at to what exists, evaluate the findings, and change whatever may be deemed suitable for optimal functioning and healthy relationships.  May the focus of this article on “high maintenance women” help women look at themselves and men assess what they may desire, or not.

P.S. I am so grateful that I am not married to a “high maintenance” woman!!

 

Would You Believe, “Right Brainers” Will Rule the World! Are You More Left or Right Brained in Orientation?

Monday, April 9th, 2012

 

Do you know the difference between your left brain and your right brain?  You might want to. An interesting book: A WHOLE NEW MIND: WHY RIGHT BRAINERS WILL RULE THE FUTURE” by Daniel H. Pink, states that an evolving world will be enhanced more by the right brainers than by those of a left brain orientation. He says this book is written for people interested in “personal growth and professional success”.

First, a clarification of terms:

LEFT brain is “sequential, logical, linear,  and analytical. RIGHT brain in non linear and intuitive, and holistic.

LEFT understands text.  RIGHT understands context. Qualities include,meaning, inventiveness, joyfulness,empathy.

LEFT handles what is said. RIGHT focuses on how it is said (the non verbal, often emotional cues delivered through gaze,

facial expression, and intonation).

LEFT analyzes the details, focuses on facts, categories and details. RIGHT  synthsizes the big picture in relationships.

 

To quote Pink: “The right and left brain hemispheres are actually two half brains designed to work together as a smooth single integrated whole in one entire complete brain. The Left hemisphere knows how to handle logic and the Right hemisphere knows about the world.  Put the two together and one gets a powerful thinking machine.  Use either on its own and the result can be bizarre or absurd. To lead a healthy happy successful life depends on both hemispheres of your brain”.

Pink observes that we are moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. He says that to be prepared for this next stage one needs six high concept, high touch, aptitudes – “six senses”.  They are:

DESIGN: create something beautiful, whimsical, or emotionally engaging.

STORY: essence of persuasion, communication, and self understanding to fashion a compelling narrative.

SYMPHONY: synthesis- seeing the big picture, crossing boundaries and being able to combine disparate pieces into an arresting new whole.

EMPATHY: ability to understand what makes your fellow woman or man tick, to forge relationships, and to care for others.

PLAY: enormous health benefits of laughter, lightheartedness, games, and humor.

MEANING: pursue more significant desires, purpose, transcendence, and spiritual fulfillment.

Pink believes that these six senses, aptitudes, will guide our lives and shape our world. He goes on further in the book to give further tools, exercises, and further reading materials to “send you on your way to develop a whole new mind”. Is there a particular area, or areas, that might be enhancing for you?

Thought provoking, stimulating, and inviting are words that come to mind after absorbing the overall message and learning modules designed to help one move from the Information Age (Left brain orientation) to the Conceptual Age (Right brain orientation). An oversight, however, in my opinion is that he presupposes that most people are already Left brained developed. That is not my experience as I work with people and their brain functioning. I wish he had devoted more time to give instructions to help
people enhance that brain hemisphere.

So, respected reader, are you ready to move forward learning, growing, and integrating into a life facilitated by a “WHOLE NEW MIND”?

P.S. For those of you who have not yet entered into the Information Age, you have one helluva lot of catching up to do! If anyone calls you a “half brain” Athens Tech classes would be a good start!