28 August 2013

30 Things to do for yourself

Marc And Angel Hack Life: Practical Tips for Productive Learning recently gave 30 tips to start doing for yourself, to compliment their 30 things to stop doing to yourself.

I want to highlight a couple of things to start doing for yourself today that stuck out to me:

  • Spend time with the right people
  • Be honest with yourself
  • Be genuine
  • Forgive yourself and others
  • Help those around you
  • Nurture your most important relationships

27 August 2013

Benefits of Mindfulness

I have to admit that I am new to this whole mindfulness movement. But once I read Calming Your Anxious Mind, a self-help book that teaches mindfulness theory and techniques, I was sold. Huffington Post recently published an article listing 20 benefits of mindfulness practice, I wish to list a few here.


  • lowers your perceived stress levels
  • may increase your marks at school
  • helps us to get to know ourselves
  • makes moments, such as listening to music, better
  • is a protective factor during cold season
  • lowers depression risk
  • improves sleep
  • overall, makes you a better person.

26 August 2013

Gender Stereotypes in Pornography

Research has frequently shown that 9 out of 10 males have viewed pornography at some point in their life, and about 4 out of 10 women are exposed to it. I wonder if this is actually true, and well, it all depends on how we define pornography.

For the most part pornography is interpreted as visual stimulation, images and videos, that are found in magazines and online. What constantly gets over looked is books. Books, and most notably 50 Shades of Grey, can still be "mentally pornographic" and as indicated by a recent report, it may be more abusive, or hardcore, than just sexually stimulating.

But apparently reading material that is sexually stimulating is more acceptable, especially among women. If a man was caught watching a video that was the portrayal of a scene from 50 Shades of Grey, there would be turmoil in that couple. But a woman caught reading it, all is well.

I believe this comes down to gender differences. As the saying goes, men are like microwaves and women are like slow cookers. Men get stimulated by clicking through clips on a website and women get stimulated by slowly turning the pages of a book.

So when we say that 9 out of 10 males are exposed to the gender stereotyped pornography of images and videos, I wonder if we should too say 9 out of 10 females are exposed to their gender stereotyped pornography of reading.

24 August 2013

Seven Myths About Autism

The Autism Support Network recently wrote an article combating seven common myths about autism.  These myths are:

  1. Autistic people are all alike
  2. Autistic people don't have any feelings
  3. Autistic people don't build relationships
  4. Autistic people are a danger to society
  5. Autistic people are all savants
  6. Autistic people have no language skills
  7. Autistic people can't do much of anything
I agree with the author that these myths need to be blown away. For me, all of these boil down to not treating someone who is autistic as an individual person, or as a human being, period. If we would get to know someone with autism, and I mean truly get to know them, you would see they are an individual, who has feelings, who wants relationships, who can communicate and can accomplish a lot of things.

23 August 2013

Is there such thing as a ‘normal’ family?

I have been frequently told that the population I work with is only a portion of the actual world, and that the families I see are of the 10% that are experiencing mental health concerns, typically in their children, and that not all families are going through this kind of experience. And that those other families are normal. But then again what is ‘normal’?

Is a normal family the family where dad works 9-5, mom stays home and children are graceful and obedient? They eat dinner together each night and have family activities together? They are able to pay the bills and put their children in activities? Well, it turns out that the ‘normal’ family, or the ideal family for some, is actually abnormal in our society.

If we judged families by what we would consider the ideal, 96% of families would be considered dysfunctional in some sort of manner, making 4% of families living the ideal family lifestyle.

The definition of normal as a noun is something that is the average, usual, or typical. Why is it that what we consider normal in a family isn’t actually the usual family, the typical family or the average family?

Why do we strive daily for a dream that some of may not achieve, or only may attain for a period of time?

I believe that families can achieve that desired state of normalcy, but I also believe life is meant to be challenging and that it throws the occasional curve ball. We go through tough times like job loss, poor grades, unpaid bills, societal demands, health issues, jobs away from home and other events that disrupt our daily lives and routine and impact our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

I do feel the need to distinguish between trials and challenges in our life that are unpredictable, and the trials and challenges that are self-inflicted due to choices.

I also feel that families need to be less judging of themselves through their expectations, and come to love and accept who they are and what they can do. We sometimes get caught up in what we can’t do and our weaknesses that we forget to see our strengths. We especially get caught up in comparing ourselves and our family to others.

As individuals and families we have immense potential, and maybe in order to reach our potential we need to have periods in our life that build character. So let’s be proud to be part of the 96%.

And maybe those families that I see are actually normal, average, usual and typical. They are just like any other family, experiencing a challenging point in life.

Romantic Dog Owners

It's time for me to get rid of my dog. According to a survey of Canadians on Match.com showed that dog owners are more likely to have had a one night stand, 55% to be exact. However dog owners are also more romantic in the sense that they are likely to spend $40-50 on a first date, and that 77% believe in a soul mate.

21 August 2013

When does anxiety become problematic in a child’s life?

Anxiety has been the number one issue for clients I have been seeing. What has been interesting, however, is that the anxiety being reported, which they are truly experiencing, is normal experiences by the body and not abnormal or clinical.
Anxiety is the body’s natural way of preparing itself to respond to a perceived, or actual, threat or fear.  When this threat has been identified, the body is then able and ready to react in the flight, fight or freeze responses.
Children experience anxiety in many different ways. Some of the physical symptoms are: increased heart rate, nausea, shortness of breath, stomach aches, sweating, headaches, dizziness, muscle tension, insomnia, diarrhoea and restlessness to name a few. In the brain, anxiety may provide less access to memory, a decrease in verbal comprehension, and lead to poor planning abilities.

19 August 2013

Communication Basics

Psychology Today recently published a piece on communication. When you look at the communication diagram, and add that research shows 93% of communication is non-verbal coding, I can understand why there is a lot of miscommunication in our world, and especially in digital messaging.

18 August 2013

LDS Missionaries Playing Basketball

It truly looks intentional that they miss the warm up shots, but still, this is great to see.

16 August 2013

Taking the Temperature of the family

I am someone who believes in methods that Virginia Satir and John Gottman propose, in that if families cannot talk about surface topics calmly they cannot talk about deep desires and hopes.

Gottman has a questionnaire that is often found in his books or as a deck of cards, called the love map. Couples ask each other basic questions about favourite trees, food, ice cream, and moments. This is sometimes done in with a counsellor and they observe whether or not the couple can communicate at this level. If they cannot, interventions are done to get the couple to communicate on that level before going deeper. If couples can talk about surface topics, they are more likely to be able to go deeper and discuss hopes, wishes, and desires.

However, the love map, while effective, may not be family friendly. Satir developed something called a thermometer reading of the room. In which there are five levels of family communication depth which can help determine how a family is functioning. But better yet, this thermometer can be used to help families get to the core and discuss.

These levels on the thermometer are:

Appreciations or Excitements. This is a time when a family member can share what they are excited about, who or what they appreciate, or who they want to thank.

Worries, Concerns or Puzzles. Families can wonder together about certain puzzles that are occurring within their family system, or concerns that they are seeing in an individual or a trend.

Complaints and Possible Solutions. This level is tricky, as all members in a family have something to complain about. But this section is complaints and possible solutions, which can be tied to the worries, concerns or puzzles. At this level I prefer to structure the sharing with ‘I don’t like…. And I would lie to change that by…’

New Information. This is a chance for family members to share something that is new to them, a new decision, a new goal, etc.; whatever is information that will be new to the family.

Hopes and Wishes. Just start statements with ‘I wish that…’ or ‘I hope that…’ When families can get down to their core hopes and wishes, it influences what they appreciate, worry about, complain about, how they solve problems, and what they are willing to share as new information.

As families learn to take the temperature of their family unit, the better grasp they will have on how everyone is feeling and doing within the family system. I would encourage weekly or biweekly check-ins, or at least once a month to allow members of the family to share their perspective.

Hunger Lives Next Door

Visit Food Banks Canada for more information

14 August 2013

Jimmer Fredette vs Sheri Dew

Sacramento Kings player, and former BYU star Jimmer Fredette played a game of H-O-R-S-E with previous LDS Relief Society President Sheri Dew.

13 August 2013

The Battle Over Housework

A study showed that Swedish women do 66% of the housework. In Greece women do 80% and in the United Kingdom women do 70%. In Canada, according to a Stats Canada study, women do about 58% of the housework.

This takes me back to a previous post about labour division, where I pointed out the quantity of hours worked by males is higher than females. But I think this time it would be worthwhile to break it down to percentages.

Looking at 20-29 year olds of the baby-boomers, gen x, and gen y, this is the break down:

  • Baby-boomers:
    • Women did 73% of housework, 42% of paid work = 115%
    • Men did 27% of housework, 58% of paid work = 85%
  • Generation X
    • Women did 67% of housework, 43% of paid work = 110%
    • Men did 33% of housework, 57% of paid work = 90%
  • Generation Y
    • Women did 58% of housework, 43% of paid work = 101%
    • Men did 42% of housework, 57% of paid work = 99%
It is almost on par for Generation Y in terms of an equal distribution of labor. So I find the new study around housework, while an issue overseas, isn't as much of an issue here in Canada, and we should celebrate it.

12 August 2013

The Importance of infant attachment

One of the first key developmental crisis for humans is to attach to a caregiver, primarily a mother. Sometimes that secure attachment doesn't occur, and then there are toddlers, children, teenagers and even adults still seeking for that security. New research found that infants who spent one night a week (or more) away from their primary caregiver (typically a mother) were less attached and therefore have an insecure attachment.

11 August 2013

Mormon Men Perspective

LDS Living recently did a survey on mormon men, and they are currently releasing their findings.  For me, I found the first article the most fascinating where they looked at what LDS men look for in a spouse.

I was however, amazed at some of the comments, regarding physical attractiveness being so low (9 out of 15). I think I get were some women are coming from, that if they have been perceived as not-attractive by a man those other top 8 categories may not compensate for physical attraction. LDS men are not shallow, they are like any other man when it comes to courtship, however, eternity is at stake, that's why other factors rank higher, but they still need to find a spouse that is attractive to them. It's hard to propose marriage, have children with, and be together for eternity with someone you are not attracted to.  I think it would have been fun to see what LDS women would have listed as the priorities for men in a wife.

LDS Living has published five articles so far:
  1. We keep it to ourselves
  2. We don't want unrighteous dominion
  3. I can't keep my wife happy
  4. Women have more options than we do
  5. What do mormon men want in a wife?

10 August 2013

Childhood Injuries Caused by TV's

In 1990 there were 5,455 TV-related injuries. In 2011 there were 12,300 TV-related injuries. This is the result of a new study looking at TV-related injuries. I feel one just needs to consider how TV's are stored today compared to 1990. TV's in the early 90's typically sat on the floor, or on a sturdy table (atleast in my house), with all the weight resting on the table. In 2011, TV's are being mounted to walls or stands, where the point of connection is the piece between the TV and the wall. Sometimes it just takes a bump for TV's to become ajar from their mount and fall.  Better make sure if you have a little one, that the TV is stored safely!

09 August 2013

Sleep instead of Sex

There have been several articles and studies done saying that new mothers would rather sleep than be intimate. New research is indicating that sexual desire declines for both new parents. It appears that priorities change as the couple works together to care for the baby, and therefore are tired, stressed, and fatigued by days end. So sleep becomes the priority, because you never know just how much sleep you will get each night with a newborn.

08 August 2013

Changes in Young Adult living arrangements.

Living arrangements of those 18-31 have sure changed since 1968. I am not at all surprised at the slight increase in living at home, nor the "other" living arrangements. With more and more of this generation going to college and university (and the cost associated to that), it is cheaper to live at home, or to share costs of living with roommates.

07 August 2013

Write a letter to the Eating Disorder

The Kids Help Phone has released a cool page to their website where visitors can write a letter to the eating disorder.

This is what the opening page says:

This letter building tool is intended for people who identify as having an eating disorder and want to get better. The purpose is to help point out the impacts of the eating disorder on your life, and to help pull out some of your strengths and to reflect on what keeps you going.
Some questions might be hard to answer, and that's okay. It might help to have support from someone in your life, like a caring adult or a counsellor, as you go through the letter. It's okay if you only get partway through – it might take more than one sitting to complete the whole thing.

06 August 2013

Dealing with children's emotions after a divorce

The Huffington Post has a great article of how parents can help children through a family breakup. Parents can help their child by:

  1. Reassuring them that they are not to blame for the divorce
  2. Letting them know you will not leave them
  3. Reminding them that they are special
  4. Expecting unpredictable behaviour from
Just to name a few things.

03 August 2013