Saturday, March 4, 2017

Keeping The Bromance Alive. Yes, You Can!

Now that Obama and Biden have left the building, is the bromance over? We'll have to wait and see. But why not use this as an opportunity to evaluate your relationships with your bruhs.

Why bother? Because research shows that relationships are among the most important factors contributing to happiness and longevity. Loneliness is unhealthy and breeds stress. 

According to Geoffrey Greif, psychologist and author of a book about men's friendships, both men and women expect friends to be understanding, trustworthy, dependable individuals with whom we have things in common. We also expect our friends to be available for activities, to reach out to us and to stay in touch.

I'm sorry to say that men are often not so good with reaching out and staying in touch, behaviors that nurture relationships. When you're young, it doesn't take much. You go to games, work on projects or party together. As those activities disappear, generally after college, you have to find new reasons to get together. 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

4 Marriage-Material Qualities To ALWAYS Look For (And 4 To Ignore)

As Daniel Gilbert described in his aptly named book, Stumbling on Happiness, we don't always know what will make us happy. The same can be said about finding partners for relationships that are likely to make us happy.

My clients and friends tend to have a laundry list of things to look for in a guy, who absolutely, positively has to be attractive and intelligent, love the beach (especially for watching a sunrise or sunset), speak a few languages, enjoy travel, desire many children, and many more.

You may want to reconsider that list.

While we say we want a handsome mate, if we also want an understanding one (as most of us do), recent research shows that the handsome partner who is not understanding will be a terrible disappointment.

Read more here...

Saturday, January 14, 2017

How To Find A Soulmate (Hint: It Has Nothing To Do With Luck!)

One of my pet peeves is people telling me they're just "unlucky," as an explanation for why they don't have a great job, don't live in an exciting city, or aren't in a fulfilling relationship. Really?

Even in poker, while there's luck involved, there's also skill and the work of honing that skill. When it comes to being discovered as an actor, or getting that coveted job at an amazing law firm, there's always the luck of being in the right place at the right time, but you're not getting the job without skill and hard work as well.

So when I read Jesse Singal's piece, chiding Americans for ignoring the role of luck when it comes to prosperity and success, I was a little perturbed. I get his point and I don't disagree. But, as he notes, it's not ONLY luck that gets us where we want to go.

Read more here...

Saturday, January 7, 2017

10 Unforgettable Lessons About Being A Woman I Learned From My Mom

It's been almost six months since my mother died and she is still everywhere. It's difficult to distill the wisdom of 91 years, but the rules of life I learned from her are my constant companions. This is just a sampling.

It Never Hurts To Match
Whether partnering a purse and shoes, blouse and skirt, or clothing and jewelry, avoiding clashing colors, patterns and styles is the key to looking smart and successful. Not referring specifically to partners in life here, she thought the same about those. You can't live successfully with someone with whom you clash on basic values and beliefs. Or clothing.

Every Pot Has Its Cover
Here she was clearly speaking metaphorically; you will find your match. This came up as I agonized over someone or other so long ago I can't remember the specifics. It's one of those aphorisms that comes back to me when I talk to friends and clients. It's like one of the Ten Commandments. I took it on faith and it got me through many a dark day. Now I know it's true.

Continue reading...

Monday, December 26, 2016

4 Ways Your Thinking Can REDUCE Your Anxiety

We all have an internal dialogue. There's the good guy on one shoulder that says you're great, and the bad guy on the other that says you're an idiot. When the bad guy drowns out the good guy, anxiety results. The bad guy offers a lot of self-criticism, like, people will think I'm stupid, awkward, selfish, or, you fill in the blank.

Instead of allowing the negativity to drown out positive self-statements, cognitive strategies for anxiety reduction help us reframe, dispute or otherwise convert self-criticism into positive or neutral self-statements. It works like this:

1.  Notice what you're thinking. This is always the first step. Sometimes you realize you're feeling anxious and you haven't even been aware that your thinking is triggering that anxiety with self-doubt. Just noticing that you're thinking something (for example, When the boss said I looked tired I said I had a late night instead of telling him I was just deep in thought, now he's going to think I'm..) may help you realize that it's no big deal.

2. Consider the alternative. Let's say you notice the thought and it still seems problematic. Maybe the boss is going to think you're blowing off your work by staying out too late, but what's another possibility? Perhaps everyone comes in tired some days and she was just expressing concern. Given your strong work record, why would she doubt you?

3.  Problem-solve. Sometimes anxiety really does have a purpose. That purpose is not to ruin your day but to alert you to something you need to change, address or otherwise deal with. So let's say you fear your boss might think you're blowing off work because you often stay out late, come in tired and aren't as productive as you could be. That's a problem that can be solved. You know what you need to do and worrying about what the boss thinks isn't it. You need to get more rest, come in energized and get it done.

4. Let go of worry. Most worries are about things that could actually happen. Your kid might get into a car accident, you might have cancer or you might become destitute. These things could conceivably happen. But are they likely? Probably not so much. This type of worry, the "what if" kind, doesn't lead to problem-solving. These are the worries you need to learn to let go. It's helpful to name the thought as a worry, note that it's not likely and remind yourself that thinking further about it is not useful. Distracting yourself from the thought by moving on to an activity that will mentally engage you is one way to let go. Acknowledging that a thought is not a fact, it's just a thought, is another step toward letting go.

These are steps to take to start working with your negative thinking, and flipping it, so your good guy drowns out your bad guy. Coupling this strategy with reducing your physical anxiety by practicing relaxation or meditation and exercise, in any combination, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet is a great start to living anxiety-free.

To learn more about cognitive behavioral approaches to anxiety and depression:
Read: Mind Over Mood, by Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky

Judith Tutin, PhD, ACC, is a licensed psychologist and certified life coach. Connect with her at to arrange psychotherapy to reduce the anxiety in your life (Georgia Residents only please).

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Why Your Emotional Support Animal Is Not Treatment For Your Anxiety

I was on a recent teletherapy call with an anxious young college student. Let's call him Robbie. Half-way in he told me he thought he needed an ESA. ESA, I thought…is that one of those texting anagrams I should know, like FOMO or YOLO? Before I had a chance to ask, Robbie said that having his long-time companion, his adored tabby, in his dorm room would make his anxiety manageable.

It came to me in a flash: Emotional Support Animal. I'd read about these. A quick Google search after the call revealed that people are contacting teletherapy services, like the one I took Robbie's call on, to obtain virtually (pun intended) immediate certification to have their ERAs in dorms, pet-unfriendly apartments and on airplanes. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Do Powerful Women Really Need Killer Smiles and Heels?

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend recently chided folks for how powerful women are treated. From her experience we can only infer that a powerful woman must wear rouge, stockings, heels and not too many bracelets. Ridiculous, you say; no one calls it rouge any more. It's dated, right? But I think not.

Witness the recent clamor over Hillary Clinton's smile, or more appropriately, her lack thereof. Then there was the grumbling about Harriet Tubman's facial expression in preparation for the 20. A NY Times article about the resting bitch face, or RBF, noted that some see Botox, and even surgery, as viable solutions to "the problem." These things made me angry.

I'm not gonna lie; it's personal. When I was a girl, people would often look at me, widen their eyes in an exaggerated way, as if beholding a rare bird or maybe a unicorn, and throw me a slightly confused look. It mystified me because I was not an unusual looking child. Read more here...