Monthly Archives: April 2014

31 Easy Ways to be Happy Right Now

how to be happy1. Practice kindness in every aspect of your life. While you’re driving,  wave someone through who is waiting to get out of a parking lot into the road. Give your leftovers to someone who is hungry.

2. Do simple things to make yourself feel nurtured. File and clean your nails– maybe even get a manicure or pedicure. Take a nap,  clean your sheets and make your bed, shower, wash and condition your hair, shave, and let yourself relax.

3. Face your finances and deal with your debt. Look at how much you owe and how much you have. Make a plan to pay off your debt. It will just make you feel better.

4. Take a long, quiet walk in nature. Being in nature is good for your mind, body and spirit. 

5. Sit down and drink a hot cup of tea. 

6. Rent a funny movie and laugh a lot. 

7. Smile at 10 random people. You will instantly feel bright and joyous and full of love when you infuse good into the world and it will integrate it into your own psyche.

8. If you don’t feel like smiling, force it.  The activation of the muscles used to create a smile actually decrease stress in increase feelings of well-being.

9. Express gratitude.  One of the great tragedies of our psyches is that it is so difficult to appreciate what we have one we are wanting more. It’s important  to want more, but the way to really find happiness is to appreciate and love and be grateful for what you have. Don’t let yourself believe that you’ll be happy when… Be happy now. Be grateful now. Don’t allow your happiness to be held hostage by future events that may or may not happen. Make a list, even in your mind, of all the things you’re grateful for.

10.  Try self-hypnosis to bring joy into your world. This works because your world is created  by the thoughts you think.

11. Spend time with your pet. Being around animals and caring for them make humans happier. 

12. Pray to whatever deity you believe in, even if it’s your own higher self.

13. Jump up and down for 60 seconds. Your endorphins will release and you will feel good!

14. Put music on and dance like crazy. Even if  you think you can’t dance, just dance. My toddler loves to shake his head back and forth to any rhythm and it makes him deliriously happy.

15. Talk to the dead. Just get into a quiet mood and begin talking either out loud or in your head to someone you miss. Having conversations in your head with people who have passed away can be incredibly healing.

16. Compliment someone. Tell someone how beautiful they are, or what a good job they’re doing or how much you appreciate them. It will bring joy to their world and make you happy too.

17. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time.

18. Drink a glass of water. Mild dehydration can cause a bad mood and pessimism.

19. Stretch your legs, roll your ankles, your wrists, roll your neck, get your body into a comfortable position. Stretching makes you happy!

20. Play in the dirt!  Gardening can make you feel happy. Mycobacterium, which occurs naturally in soil, has the same effect on your brain as anti-depressant medications.

21. Look at old pictures — for a bonus happiness boost, share them with someone you love.

22. Try to do a push up. If you cannot, try again the next day. Within a week, you’ll be able to do a pushup. Do this everyday and by the end of a month, you’ll be doing 5 push ups a day. After a year, you’ll be doing 50 pushups a day. You’ll feel super accomplished, not to mention strong.

23. Sing a song out loud.

24. Have only 20 seconds? Choose one. 

25. Hug someone. Human touch makes us calm, relaxed and peaceful.

26. Take a bath with epson salts. Magnesium relaxes your muscles and helps you have a sense of peacefulness making you happier.

27. Send wishes for the people around you to be happy, kind and compassionate.

28. Let go of people that make you unhappy. You can choose to let go with compassion of friends who feel toxic. It’s okay to do that.

29. Read the Alchemist. I read this book right after my Mom died and it changed my mood immeasurably. It’s an amazing mood lifting book.

30. Floss your teeth!

31. Take a nap. Being well rested is the best way to be happy. Get your sleep in order.

 

How To Help a Partner with an Eating Disorder

how to talk to your girlfriend about her eating disorder

After about six months of seeing Michael and Claudia for couples counseling, Michael called me up crying, “She won’t stop, no matter what I do, I can’t get her to stop, she’s going to die! Please help me, how can I get her to stop? ” Michael and Claudia, both 35 years old with two children had been together since they were 17 years old. Claudia had been bulimic for the past twenty years, but despite them being together for more than half their lives, Michael had only recently found out about her eating disorder, which is what brought them to me. He was angry, depressed, and felt utterly betrayed and helpless. He couldn’t believe that Claudia had been holding this secret from him the whole time they’d been together.

It seems unlikely, insane even, that someone could actually hide an eating disorder from their partner for so long, but it’s actually fairly common. Eating disorders notoriously thrive in isolation, so the eating disorder itself is going to make sure that it has vast amounts of privacy. It does anything it can to protect itself. However, if you find out that you’ve been in a relationship with someone who has an eating disorder, you might feel betrayed, helpless, angry, scared and a whole host of other emotions. That’s normal.

Here are some important dos and don’ts for dealing with the situation.

1. DON’T try to fix it.
You, your relationship and your partner will all suffer if you take on the task of trying to fix them. You might be tempted to take on the role of Drill Sergeant, closely monitoring what your partner is or is not eating, noticing when he or she gets up to go to the bathroom, or even following your partner to the bathroom and trying to physically restrain him or her from vomiting. If your partner is under-eating, you might try to push him or her into eating, yelling at them or threatening them to start eating. This is not your job. This is going to create a huge amount of codependency in your relationship. It is also going to catapult your partner into a shame spiral, which will make his or her eating disorder worse. He or she will then become more isolated and in their behaviors while trying to hide it from you. This will pull you apart even more.

2. DO participate in couples or family therapy with an eating disorder specialist.
In my book I discuss how sometimes the eating disorder becomes triangulated into the relationship and gives the couple something else to focus on besides each other. Sometimes couples use the eating disorder as a way to avoid the health of their relationship. Couples counseling will help you focus on your relationship as well as teach you how to best support your partner through this. It will also help your partner understand how his or her eating disorder is affecting you. Your feelings and needs must to be addressed as well. Check out EDReferral or Something Fishy to find an eating disorder specialist.

3. DO encourage your partner to get individual help.
But don’t force it. Just as you cannot fix your partner, you cannot force them to get help.

4. DON’T mention Your partner’s weight or appearance.
Don’t tell them that they have gained weight or lost weight. Aside from the “you’re beautiful and I love you no matter what …” don’t engage with their eating disorder. Let them know that you won’t be playing the “do I look fat?” game with them. Tell them that that is their eating disorder talking and you won’t be answering. If your partner says “Do I look fat in these pants? Do you think I’m fat? Have I gained weight? I’m so disgusting …” Just simply tell them that you love them very much but you are not going to be engaging in that line of questioning. It doesn’t go anywhere and it just feeds eating disorder thinking and you are choosing not to align with their eating disorder

5. DO remember these five words: “How can I  support you?”
This is my absolute favorite  phrase to teach couples- all couples, whether they are dealing with an eating disorder or not.  It’s never, “I’m going to fix you,” it’s always “you do what you need to do to take care of yourself and let me know how I can be supportive.” Discuss in advanced with your partner how he or she wants you to handle it when you see them either inhaling large amounts food, or heading to the bathroom after eating, or restricting food. Perhaps they just want you to check in with them and say, “hey how are you doing? Do you want to talk?”

6. DON’T ask your partner about his or her food.
No, “don’t you think you’ve had enough?” or “should you be eating that?” Again, if you notice something, and you feel compelled to mention it, you can be more gentle about it, “I notice that you seem to be eating very little, is everything okay? Do you want to talk?” If they say no, don’t push it.

7. DON’T blame yourself.
Your partner’s eating disorder is not your fault. Don’t blame yourself for not knowing or for what your partner is doing. Eating disorders are very tricky and usually are not caused by one person or event. They are also sneaky and tend to be able to fool many people. That doesn’t mean that your partner is sneaky, it’s the eating disorder that has a hold of her that has taken on a life of its own.

8. DO get support for yourself.
Either in the form of psychotherapy or a group such as Codependents Anonymous. Living with someone who is a slave to their eating disorder is very difficult and it is okay for you to get support. You don’t want all of your energy to get sucked into your partner’s eating disorder. You can do very little to heal someone else’s eating disorder. That is very rough when it is affecting someone you love. It’s important to get support managing all of these emotions.