For some couples, the decision to have children is something that was discussed long before marriage—in some cases; I am told, on the first or second date ! But for many couples, deciding whether or not to have children can be one of their most daunting issues. With couples getting married later and women much more likely to have career dilemmas, the choice of whether or not to have children is often more urgent, since there’s so often a smaller window of time when women can safely conceive. Because this is one of life’s few decisions that is irreversible, it’s one that cannot be taken lightly or be made with haste.
Practically everyone whose been in a serious romantic relationship with all of the deliciously intense and passionate feelings that go with it, have at one time or another experienced jealousy, which is really the fear that —to some degree— your partner is not being exclusive to you either physically or emotionally. But it’s what you do with your feelings of jealousy that can bring you closer together or ultimately tear your relationship apart.
An unfortunate reality of difficult economic times is that layoffs and cutbacks become business as usual. And economic crisis or unemployment can throw even the best functioning families into emotional turmoil as nothing before it has.
With the current unemployment rate at 7.4% (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000) plus an untold number of people underemployed and out of the workforce altogether due to having given up looking for suitable employment, it is quite likely that you or someone close to you is affected in some very personal way, such as living with an entirely different set of financial standards than you’ve been used to.
Can you relate to the following scenario? You once approached your work in a dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic way. You were eager and excited about your responsibilities. While you were aware that there are built in frustrations in your work with coworkers, clientele, or the system itself, you felt that you were making an important contribution to your organization and/or field. But gradually, you’ve begun to feel a sense of stagnation. This has slowly led to feelings of apathy, to the point that it’s become difficult even to feel motivated anymore. But since it’s not in your nature to give up or stop trying, your apathy causes an internal conflict that brings upon feelings of cynicism, depression, hopelessness and low self esteem related to your job, career or profession. If this description resonates with you, it’s likely you are experiencing job burnout.
In his classic book Oh, the Places You’ll Go, the great Dr. Seuss said “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” This epitomizes the excitement new graduates experience as they pick up their diplomas and eagerly set off on their new career paths. But this sentiment can quickly turn to discouragement with the realization that launching the perfect career is not as easy as you may have thought; and perhaps your college degree doesn’t smoothly transition into the job track that’s best for you. My most recent book Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential addresses this exact issue, as many new graduates have accomplished something great educationally, but feel stuck when it’s time to find their own career path. Here are some important ideas for getting your mind in the right place and gaining a clearer direction when thinking about your future:
The term “helicopter parent” is a relatively new one in our culture, but the practice is quite prevalent. When a child leaves home (for college, for instance, or even overnight camp) the helicopter parent does exactly what the term implies –hovers. Helicopter parents usually have the best intentions– to protect their children from life’s hardships and prepare them for adulthood— but as with many other aspects of parenting, the results don’t always match the intentions. If this sounds familiar and you find yourself “hovering”, here are a few common mistakes to be aware of and what you might want to consider instead:
When there’s something important in your life you’d like to change, like being less anxious, having better communication in your marriage or coping with a stressful work situation, the process of figuring out where to begin can feel daunting. Sometimes difficult challenges feel like they can’t change; or the thought of achieving long-lasting change seems so overwhelming that you may not even try. Remember, it’s our attitudes and beliefs that power our behaviors and emotions. So whether you are making a major life change, merely working to accept a difficult part of your status quo or anything in between, the task is to hardwire the new attitudes and beliefs that will work for you.
In my recent article, I discussed some of the common myths that often hold parents back from doing what it takes to help their adult children to launch into independence. Some parents who are still caring for their children as well as their own aging parents are part of what is sometimes referred to as the sandwich generation. Such a situation often comes with various emotional and financial challenges, as modern medicine allows people to live longer, while young adults have a harder time finding jobs. So this scenario is a trend that is likely to continue.
If you’ve recently experienced a relationship breakup, regret is one of the many emotions you might be experiencing. But regret is usually just a form of temporary and needless pain. Here are a few perspectives to make the end of your relationship an exciting and bright start to a new beginning for you:
Many times throughout the years, I have observed anecdotally that people have a higher risk of mortality shortly after retirement. And there’s even some empirical evidence of this. For example, in a study of past employees of Shell Oil, the mortality rate was significantly higher for subjects in the first 10 years after retirement at age 55 compared with those who didn’t retire until later (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1273451/). Of course, it’s possible that these statistics might be somewhat skewed by the fact that people with preexisting health issues may tend to retire earlier. Nevertheless, I have seen several people in my clinical practice “crash” psychologically after retirement; and the reasons are clear.