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Dr Gayle-October 2016 Column

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Ask Dr Gayle

September 2016 column

By Dr. Gayle

Q: Why is Donald Trump so popular when he’s such a crazy narcissist?

A: Both his supporters and Bernie Sanders’s are understandably angry at how our government is controlled by lobbyists and the inability of members of Congress to work together for all of us. Trump’s attack on “political correctness” is the alt-right’s term to justify their racism and sexism and that of many uneducated people. Trump appeals to our “Stone Age brain” that responds to fear and anger rather than logic. His main insult is to call his opponents weak or small. His constant use of the macho words strength, strong, tough, and great appeal to people who want a patriarchal father to protect them. Father figures are part of politics, divided into the nurturing father of progressives and the strict father of conservatives, observed George Lakoff. As powerful father, Trump told Michigan voters, “I’ll get you a new job; don’t worry about it.” In his messianic cult leader acceptance speech at the Republican convention in July 2016, he told voters, “I alone can fix it.” Being able to turn it over to daddy apparently appeals to some people who don’t otherwise have hope for their futures.

 

Q: My brother has terminal cancer. Do you think spirit continues after death?

A: A psychologist wrote Finding Jordan with his son in the spirit world, including how they communicate with automatic writing. Matt McKay’s book gives a concise explanation of how the universe works—that we’re here on this difficult planet to evolve. We continue to grow and create with people we love on other dimensions. For an update, listen to Nancy Wiegman’s interview with the author on NSPR at http://mynspr.org/post/nancys-bookshelf-matt-mckay.

 

Q: I’m moving into a house where my husband lived with his first wife. How do I make it feel like it’s my house now?

A: Tape up photos of you all in every room for a while. Change the paint colors and fabrics and do energy-clearing exercises such as these. Put sea salt in containers in every room with the intention of absorbing old energy, and then throw it away or use it to define the exterior perimeters of your yard. Stand silently in each room and see what you feel. Go through the house with drums and rattles or beating pots and pans to shake up the energy, and then refine clearing with sage, incense, and lavender water spray. You can change the energy of a room with gemstones in the corner, such as pink quartz for love and black hematite for grounding. More clearing techniques are described in Essential Energy Tools.

 

Q: My young son is scared of monsters and thinks he sees them.

A: Tell him he’s the boss of his space and command anything scary to go home, as if he is talking to a stray dog. You can give him a powerful flashlight to shine on them; tell him bad guys don’t like the light. Feelings are facts so it’s not effective to tell him they’re not real. I do Mind Power workshops for kids as well as adults.

 

Q: My boyfriend will change plans we’ve made at the last minute and ignore me when talking with an attractive woman. It’s very irritating. How can I handle this?

A: Talk with him about his need to feel he’s not being controlled, to have freedom from manipulation. Then explain that you may leave when you’re feeling ignored or find someone else to talk with at a social gathering. Also discuss the childhood roots of these emotional patterns that trigger both of your buttons and use this as an opportunity to heal the old wounds. If he’s not willing to compromise and grow and you’ve had enough humiliation, check out The Tao of Dating by Ali Benazir to learn how to find a good partner.

 

Q: I’m with people all day. How do I keep from being drained at the end of the day?

A: Visualize your energy bubble separate from those of other people. Do BrainGym exercises when you go to the bathroom, such as cross-crawl in which you touch opposite elbow to knee, so you stay balanced. Go for a walk during your lunch break to get grounded. Remind yourself you’re not responsible for solving other people’s problems. When you leave work, imagine separating from it 100 percent and focus on the present.

 

Q: I’ve never liked my body because it’s always been wider and bigger than those of other women. Any hope for me?

A: Post pictures of 17th-century painter Peter Paul Rubens’s voluptuous nudes to remind yourself that beauty standards are socialized and change through time rather than being based on some “truth.” For example, some African women pay to enlarge their buttocks to fit the local beauty standard and women in the United States also buy devices to make them look bigger.

 

Q: My husband is still enmeshed with his first wife. I don’t think he knows how to let her go without being manipulated by her. I am fed up with hearing his compassion and empathy for her in a recent health scare when I’m the one who is pregnant. I want to work out my upset before I give birth. How?

A: Look at how you’re repeating the dynamic with your unpredictable and sometimes absentee father and this is an opportunity to go into neutrality. Instead of complaining, which puts him on the defensive, I’d focus on the positive action. Let him know what makes you feel supported and nurtured by him. Suggest specific actions he can take, such as a back rub, talking about your plans for the baby, going out to dinner, and so on.

 

Q: My husband is an alcoholic. He doesn’t drink at home, but he goes out to drink and I worry about his safety. I know AL-Anon says not to try to rescue alcoholics but I live with him.

A: Remember that alcoholics often suffer from anxiety, irritability, and depression and try to calm down or self-medicate with alcohol. It looks to me as if part of the reason he drinks is to numb his sensitivity. I’d make sure he takes nerve supports such as vitamin B and eats frequently to keep his blood sugar at a healthy level. Visualize him surrounded by a protective shield. Go to AA meetings with him to find the group he likes so he can work with a neutral sponsor or addiction therapist to learn coping tools that work for him.

 

Q: I freeze up when I try to submit a job application; I’ve had so many rejections. How can I motivate myself to follow through?

A: Dance out an exaggerated fit before you sit down to type, exaggerating your resistance and fear. See what energy psychology works best for you: EFT, TAT, EMDR, and so on, explained in Essential Energy Tools. Aim to send out one application a day followed by a fun reward.

October 27, 2016 |

Ask Dr Gayle-July-2016

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Ask Dr. Gayle, 2016 July Lotus Guide

 

Dr Gayle KimballQ: Young people are the largest and best-educated generation of all times. How are they different?

A: A global youth culture exists for those with access to ICT. Youth are more tech savvy, less religious, and more accepting of differences and less prejudiced than their elders, but they value their parents. They’re not like baby boomers who said don’t trust anyone over 30. Youth are less religious than older people but may have spiritual beliefs. Youth want us to know that they’re not hoodie-wearing troublemakers lacking in knowledge and skills because they’re young. They’re capable of leadership and insights now. If you’re interested in knowing more about how youth are changing our future, email me and I’ll share drafts of book chapters on global youth.

Do you have interesting questions from kids? I’d like to answer their concerns. Please email earthhavenchico@hotmail.com.

 

Q: My boys are getting ready for tests. One of them has a bit of test anxiety and I want to support him so he’s comfortable and surprises himself with positive results.

A: Before studying or test taking cross-crawl to get balanced and do the 4-8 breathing: Breathe in through the nose for 8, hold for 8, exhale as long as you can to calm the nervous system, and hold. Before the test, visualize walking out feeling “I aced it.” If anxious during the test, put a hand on the forehead to bring blood to the rational forebrain away from the emotional midbrain and move the eyes in a horizontal 8. If unsure of an answer, go with your first thought.

 

Q: I’m starting to date seriously. What should I look for in a partner?

A: If you’re looking for a man, avoid one who had either a controlling mother or one who did everything for him. Some men tell me they avoid especially beautiful women because they get used to being courted. In either sex, look for a best friend who is interesting to talk with and you respect, as well as being attractive to you. We tend to attract the familiar, so think about the relationship patterns you experienced growing up and decide what you want to repeat and what you want to do differently.

            I asked a newly single man about his perspective on dating. Jack said, “So many people are socially conditioned to be a princess/player. We co-create our relationships so they mirror our weaknesses. Going into a relationship thinking we aren’t going to get hurt or work is naive. Our society has a skewed point of view about love; most people think of love as all about themselves, but really, love is wanting the best for someone else. Relationship love is the dance of giving and taking. To return to a love life, dating, one should be ready to love unconditionally and expect nothing in return. There are lots of guided meditations for new lovers. Be playful, have fun. If a person likes someone, tell him or her! I honestly rarely have any idea if a girl likes me because they don’t say it and act aloof. Love is constantly morphing, recycling, undying, reemerging.”

 

Q: I have chronic intestinal problems. Any hope for me?

A: If we think about illness as a metaphor, a message from the body, what can’t you digest in your emotional life? Research holistic health remedies, such as Dr. Andrew Weil’s website and books.

 

Q: How do I correct having no sex drive?

A: Have your hormones checked by a medical professional and then put creativity into making love in new ways, new places. Consciously think about romantic dates. Check out numerous books about sexual possibilities. We have more sexual energy if we exercise and eat well. If you’re resenting your partner, this block needs attention. Our main sexual organ is the brain, so fantasize about making love to your favorite star. Practice by yourself so you understand what turns you on.

 

Q: My son is bullying me about my divorce settlement, aligning with his father. How can I put a stop to this?

A: Make it clear that this is between his parents and he should focus on his own issues. Tell him he can make judgments after he’s been married. Don’t listen to his comments.

 

Q: My significant other lies to me and is often unpredictable and mean to me. What should I do?

A: Talk with a therapist about why you are attracted to punishment and don’t feel deserving of love. Remember about 80 percent of our behavior is governed by the unconscious so we need to understand our patterns, expectations, and subpersonalities. About lies, confront your partner with “I messages” rather than blaming communication. Ask, “What keeps you from telling me the truth? What can I do to make it safer to be direct?”

 

Q: I can’t get over my ex, who dumped me and is remarried. How can I stop feeling sad about her?

A: What other times in your life did someone make you feel you weren’t good enough? If we look at every difficulty as a lesson and opportunity for growth, look at this as a chance to develop your inner sense of worth and meaning. Look on dating sites to see if there is anyone you would like to get to know with similar interests so you have playmates.

 

Q: I’m the head of a business who has had trouble with dishonest employees so I have to do most of the work, plus I have young children and a wife. My coping technique is to drink, which distresses my family. I go to AA. Other ideas?

A: Build daily physical exercise into your schedule to relieve tension. Think of pressure to get so much done as a boa constrictor squeezing you. When you’re aware of the pressure, imagine melting the boa away and listen to calming music and exercising. (Learn these techniques in my monthly Mind Power workshop at the Yoga Center of Chico, which has my books in its store.) Also, try to make jokes about the stressors because laughing is relaxing. I’m sure you’ll do background checks and extensive interviews with future employees.

 

Q: I’m too sensitive and emotionally reactive to other people’s emotions and judgments. What can I do not to feel so raw?

A: Instead of reacting from your emotional second chakra below the navel, shift to the sixth chakra by imagining a peaceful room behind your eyes in the center of your head. This chakra is neutral and clear seeing. Also imagine an iridescent bubble defining your energy field separate from other people’s bubble. Intend that it filter out other people’s emotions. Give a number to how reactive you are on a scale from 1 to 10 and visualize gradually turning it down. In psychological terms, develop an internal locus of control rather than an external one, meaning you feel in charge of your life rather than a victim.

 

Q: How do I let go of clutter and stop saving everything?

A: Hire a student to help you sort into four boxes: throw away, recycle, donate, or save. This will ensure you take action and help out a young person. For paperwork, sort it in folders right away.

 

Q: How do I keep from being bogged down by the world’s hate, negativity, and fear? How can I maintain inner peace with so much violence and turmoil in the world?

A: Realize this is a kindergarten planet. Practice on doing what Gandhi said: Be the change you want to see.

 

Q: How do I feel gratitude when I don’t have much to be grateful for?

A: Write a gratitude journal daily, such as: “I don’t live in Syria or Afghanistan. I’m grateful I have the gift of a living human body”—and so on. People I interview in poor countries are happy because of their social support from family and neighbors, so you may need to reach out to support groups.

 

Q: I get extremely irritable about small things such as gum chewers, foot waggers, and people on cell phones in public places. How can I calm down?

A: Move away from them and imagine that you’re blind and deaf to the irritants. Turn your focus inward by meditating on a soothing phrase such as “I’m calm, cool, and collected.” Do you have any irritating habits?

 

Q: How do I get more comfortable with changes in my life?

A: Focus on the opportunities for growth.

 

Q: How do I reign in judgment of others and myself and negative self-talk?

A: It doesn’t work to just say no to a habit. Acknowledge the judgment and your mental dialogue, and exaggerate it until it’s funny. Think about where you learned the habit of being judgmental, and then think of a corrective affirmation such as: “No one is perfect. We’re here to learn from our mistakes.”

 

Q: How do I improve my communication in my relationship?

A: Set aside time each week to check in about the previous week, using “I” messages and starting with appreciation and praise. Take a Nonviolent Communication or similar class to learn new skills.

Books Available by Dr. Gayle

Essential Energy ToolsWoman's Culture

July 11, 2016 |

Dr Gayle-March 2016 LG Column

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Q: I’m starting to date seriously. What should I look for in a partner?

A: If you’re looking for a man, avoid one who had either a controlling mother or a mother who did everything for him. Some men tell me they avoid especially beautiful women because beautiful people get used to being served. In either sex, look for a best friend who is interesting to talk with and whom you respect, and who is attractive to you. We tend to attract the familiar, so think about the relationship patterns you experienced growing up and decide what you want to repeat and what you want to do differently.

I asked a newly single man about his perspective on dating. He said, “So many people are socially conditioned to be a princess/player. We co-create our relationships so they do mirror our weaknesses. Going into a relationship thinking we aren’t going to get hurt or work is naive. Our society has a skewed point of view about love; most people think of love as all about themselves, but really, love is wanting the best for someone else. Relationship love is the dance of giving and taking. To return to a love life, dating, one should be ready to love unconditionally and expect nothing in return. There are lots of guided meditations for new lovers. Be playful, have fun; for myself I don’t plan to give away my heart so easily. If a person likes someone, tell him or her! I honestly rarely have any idea if a girl likes me because she doesn’t say it and acts aloof. And guys have no clue what they want versus need. Love is constantly morphing, recycling, undying, reemerging.”

 

Q: My boyfriend’s mother tries to break us up. She announced she’s coming to visit us in our small apartment, without consulting me and I don’t know for how long. How can I survive?

A: She will try to bait you to lash out at her so her son will defend her. She’ll look for flaws in your housekeeping and how you relate to her son, so don’t take the bait. Go out and exercise or do volunteer work or whatever to stay away from her and keep your cool. Focus on your breathing before you say anything to her no matter how irritated and angry you feel. You may need to go visit a friend while she’s there. When she leaves make it clear to your boyfriend that in the future you expect to be consulted about houseguests.

 

Q: I have two bosses who harass me at work, keeping me from sleeping at night and from enjoying life. What can I do?

A: Look for allies who are on your team. Keep a record of any unfair or illegal actions by your bosses. Instead of being defensive, think about the struggle as a chess game in which you successfully block their moves to undermine you. It really helped me at CSUC to read Chimpanzee Politics by Franz de Whaal about the dominance struggles, alliance forming, and posturing of chimps, so you look at your workplace as if you are a primatologist. You can also think of it as a chess game to give yourself some perspective. You’re probably looking for another job.

 

Q: My significant other lies to me and is often unpredictable and mean to me. What should I do?

A: Talk with a therapist about why you are attracted to punishment and don’t feel deserving of love. Remember that about 80 percent of our behavior is governed by the unconscious. I would read Voice Dialogue articles that define common subpersonalities so that you can take charge and not let self-sabotage run your life.

 

Q: I suffer from ongoing depression and anxiety but don’t want to take drugs. What can I do to feel better?

A: Researchers at Rutgers University reduced symptoms of depression by 40 percent with an eight-week program combining 30 minutes of aerobic exercise and mindfulness meditation focusing on breathing. Dr. Andrew Weil recommends at least five days a week of exercise, plus breathing exercises. Kathi Kemper, MD, suggests remedies for anxiety in her book Mental Health, Naturally. Natural remedies that contain GABA, ashwagandha, chamomile, B vitamins, L-tryptophan, SAMe, and 5-HTP can help balance neurotransmitters. A new approach is use of the probiotics Lactobacillus helveticus strain R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum strain R0175 as sold by Life Extension.

 

Q: I’m starting out in my career. What do I need to know about financial planning?

A: If they are available at work, fund your 401(k) and IRA to the limit and have the investment deducted from your paycheck. Invest in a stock index fund with a little in a bond fund using a discount broker. Keep an emergency reserve in a money market account. If you decide to hire a financial planner, pick one who charges a fee rather than a percentage of your investment. Buy basic term life insurance if you have dependents and make a will. Avoid credit card interest by paying the card off right away and consider a card that will give you a mile of air travel for every dollar spent. Some will give you 25,000 miles to sign up so it’s worth the yearly fee for the card.

 

Q: I’m the head of a business who has had trouble with dishonest employees so I have to do most of the work, plus I have young children and a wife. My coping technique is to drink, which distresses my family. I go to AA. Other ideas?

A: Build daily physical exercise into your schedule to relieve tension. Think of pressure to get so much done as a boa constrictor squeezing you. When you’re aware of the pressure, imagine melting the boa away and listen to calming music and exercising. If you’re grounded and centered in the sixth chakra rather than the reaction second chakra, you won’t be as reactive. (Learn these techniques in my monthly Mind Power workshop at the Yoga Center of Chico, which carries my books in the store.) Also, try to make jokes about the stressors because laughing is relaxing. I’m sure you’ll do background checks and extensive interviews with future employees.

 

Q: I’m too sensitive and emotionally reactive to other people’s emotions and judgments. What can I do not to feel so raw?

A: Instead of reacting from your emotional second chakra below the navel, shift to the sixth chakra by imagining a peaceful room behind your eyes in the center of your head. This chakra is neutral and clear seeing. Imagine an iridescent bubble defining your energy field separate from other people’s bubbles. Intend that it filter out other people’s emotions. Give a number to how reactive you are on a scale from 1 to 10 and visualize turning it down to 1. Say the kundalini yoga mantra Sat Nam: “Truth is my identity.” In psychological terms, develop an internal locus of control rather than an external one, meaning you feel in charge of your life.

 

Q: My mother abandoned me when I was 5. I’m still angry. I need a powerful EFT (emotional freedom technique) script to put all my systems back in order; I need to get all this unforgiveness, hurt, and anger out of my system so I can heal my body.

A: I would tap on this:

 

“Even though I’m still angry that my mother abandoned me, I deeply and completely accept myself and maybe her.”

“I love and forgive myself and maybe her.”

“I choose to focus on enjoying my present.”

 

Readers can email me for info on emotional freedom technique.

April 15, 2016 |

Dr Gayle-July-2015

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Dr Gayle-1-6-15 column

 

Q: I’m very angry because I gave my power and lots of money to a guru for 15 years, even followed her advice not to see my daughters. My anger is affecting my health. What can I do?

A: Move to gratitude that you learned a very difficult but invaluable lesson to maintain your own center and to listen to your inner guidance rather than to external powers. Anger issues harm the heart, so release your anger by journaling and kicking boxes, hitting pillows, walking—whatever physical release works for you. With your daughters, keep reaching out, apologizing, and telling them you learned your lesson the hard way. Try the Hawaiian Hooponopono meditation while thinking of your daughters: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.”

 

Q: My wife feels unsupported by me, second fiddle to my work or hobbies. What can I do to make our marriage more fulfilling for both of us?

A: Together read Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages to understand what is affirming for each of you: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. Then frequently take action. I would talk with her, with the help of a counselor, about who she felt second to in her childhood. This is an opportunity for her to deal with her lifelong pattern of feeling neglected and for you to be more demonstrative.

 

Q: My workplace is undergoing a long stressful transition. How can I cope with the frustration?

A: Humor is a powerful tool. Imagine work as a cartoon, a soap opera or reality show, or a chess match, and try to predict the day’s moves. Read Chimpanzee Politics by primatologist Frans de Waal to be amused at how much human power struggles are like those of other primates.

 

Q: I’ve been overweight since I had my first baby as a teenager. How can I get a handle on my binge eating?

A: Focus on getting healthier rather than losing weight, because the idea of loss scares some bodies and weight gain is associated with defeat. Notice what triggers wanting to binge, and EFT (emotional freedom technique) tap on “Even though I’m bored, I deeply and completely accept myself … Even though I’m craving candy. …” Instead of eating, do something interesting. When you want food, eat popcorn, apple slices, rice cakes, or other filling foods and do not have candy available in your home.

You might be self-medicating with sweets for low dopamine levels in your brain, reduced by sugar, alcohol, stress, and so on. Research precursors such as tyrosine and vitamins such as B, C, and E as well as iron, folic acid, and niacin to trigger dopamine release. In your case, it feels as if part of your weight issue is shame about past sexuality and a desire to not stand out as special. I’d try the affirmation, “I give myself permission to be healthy and look great.”

 

Q: My only relative is a rude, impolite control-freak jerk who expects everyone to walk on eggshells around her or she will fly off the handle. It saves me a lot of money to stay with her when I’m working near her home. How can I cope with her drama- queen temper tantrums?

A: I would approach her as the child she is, with clear consequences for bad behavior and timeouts. In this case I’d give yourself a timeout, either in a bedroom, bathroom, or taking a walk outside. Also, praise her when she acts like a convivial adult. Observe what triggers her outbursts and try to avoid them and her.

 

Q: How can I prevent Alzheimer’s, which runs in my family?

A: The “People’s Pharmacy” radio show aired a very informative interview with Dr. Dale Bredesen, who has successfully used a multifaceted approach to restore memory in his patients by reducing inflammation and balancing other body processes. He recommends checking your body chemistry with blood work, and then correcting deficiencies in vitamins B12 and D, insulin resistance and blood sugar, avoiding sugar, fasting for 12 hours after dinner, eight hours of sleep (he says melatonin, 5HTP, and trypthophan can help), reducing stress, regular exercise, and ayurvedic herbs that improve cognitive function such as ashwagandha, curcumin, bacopa, rhodiola, gotu kola, and the mushroom lion’s mane. This approach will of course help prevent other illnesses caused by inflammation and other imbalances that interfere with the immune system. For more information visit http://tinyurl.com/reversing-alzheimers.

 

Q: My young son is wiggly and has trouble concentrating in groups. How can I get him to settle down?

A: Look up “brain gym” exercises—have him cross-crawl and draw horizontal eights before class. Dr. Andrew Weil suggests fish oil for any brain imbalance and avoiding sugar. Consider enrolling him in a martial arts or other class that teaches focus. Make sure you give him time between transitions to adjust gradually so he’s calmer.

 

Q: I use marijuana as a daily coping mechanism. It keeps me mellow, but I’m going to be a parent soon and probably should rethink my habit. Suggestions?

A: Daily use is addiction so try out an NA group. It doesn’t work to just say no, so experiment with other calming techniques. I list some suggestions on my blog https://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/cope-with-stress. Practice grounding because herb is so spacy. Be prepared for unresolved issues to surface as you no longer numb them and embrace the opportunity to get clear.

 

Q: I manage my medical office and have a husband and children. My problem is that work consumes a lot of energy, with my feeling pressured to hurry and managing staff problems. How can I save energy for my family?

A: Ask yourself how much perfection a job really requires, so you’re not wasting energy on unnecessary effort. Deal with staff problems one-on-one, starting with praise if possible, and then suggest changes with consequences if change doesn’t occur. When you feel frazzled, do cross-crawl and other “brain gym” exercises to get balanced so you can think clearly, drink water, and do long, slow exhalations to calm the parasympathetic nervous system.

July 6, 2015 |

Dr. Gayle-April 2015

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Dr. Gayle

Q: I function but I’m depressed a lot. What can I do?

A: Read Dr. Stephen Ilardi’s The Depression Cure. He said the depressed brain is like someone’s getting the flu who wants to shut down. He points out that a trial of 4,000 people treated with drugs such as SSRIs reported without fanfare that only 6 percent of the patients were better after a year of treatment. His approach is to take 1,000 to 2,000 mg’s of omega-3 oil daily because the oil is anti-inflammatory and anti-depression, but it is not made by the body. Also, use a 10,000-lux light box a half hour a day, plus the well-known benefits of exercise, sleep, and social connection. His sixth step is to limit “rumination,” negative self-talk, by engaging in activity instead. He of course recommends seeing a trained clinician.

 

Q: I’m a teenager who sees a white glow around my teacher. She said it’s her aura. What should I do about this?

A: Practice looking at people’s energy fields by focusing a little to the side and drawing what you see. Take notes and see if they’re patterns in what you know about the people—introverts and extroverts, or sick and well. Your teacher might be easier to see because she’s projecting energy to the class. Search the Internet for descriptions of the aura and look at Barbara Brennan’s book Hands of Light. My Essential Energy Tools discusses chakras and how to keep them healthy.

 

Q: I’m newly in love, thrilled but terrified of getting hurt or his changing his mind. I’m reading the book How to Be an Adult in Love (David Richo) that helps. I see myself with him for a long time but it’s scary. It’s superexciting … just scary. How can I keep from getting burned?

A: Take it one day at a time. I’d repeat a mantra such as “I’m deeply grateful for creating the loving relationship that I deserve and am ready for. Neither of us is perfect but we can evolve together.” Keep in mind that your default reaction is to worry. Say hello to that subpersonality, and then call on your wise adult self to keep you centered and grounded.

 

Q: There’s lots of cancer in my family. How can I prevent it?

A: My notes on alternative methods are listed on my blog, including turmeric and green tea. To stay healthy I have fun with daily exercise, essential oils, mantras, slow deep breathing, acupressure points, food supplements and juicing, Reiki, doing something helpful for others, and meditation. Come to my Mind Power workshop for demonstrations. Avoid sugar and other toxins. An urban legend tells about a boy who successfully visualized PacMan eating up the tumor. Read You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter by Dr. Joe Dispenza to learn more about the power of thought. And visit https://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/remedies-that-claim-to-fight-cancer/

 

Q: We worked very hard at getting pregnant. Now that I have my baby I feel bad that I haven’t fallen in love with him and kind of resent him. What’s wrong with me?

A: People should warn new parents that babies are agents of torture, waking us up frequently, preventing us from getting simple tasks done, inhibiting spontaneity. A father I interviewed for 50/50 Parenting said having a baby is like getting hit in the head with a golf ball. But, wait until you get your first smile. Love at first sight is rare, and know that the baby will sleep longer once he starts eating solid food at around six months. Be sure and start baby sign language now as it’s bonding to be able to understand each other. It may take six months before the baby signs back, but keep at it.

 

Q: I’m a nice guy, a model, and an athlete, but I can’t make relationships last with women who seem so emotional. Any hope for me? I’d like to settle down.

A: We pick the familiar so you probably grew up with a drama queen mother. Try EFT with the problem statement, “I’m only attracted to drama queens.” Go slowly when you find yourself quickly attracted to a new woman. Be warned that when you meet a stable woman you may feel bored, so plan to consciously create fun drama by going on little trips to new places, acting out adventures, and so on.

 

Q: My daughter-in-law is crazy and rude, but I need to get along with her for the sake of my grandkids. How?

A: Relate to her as a business partner with politeness or relate to her emotional age, say 12. Praise her when you can and minimize contact. It’s easier if you have a routine time to see the kids that doesn’t require negotiation. Remind her you two are on the same team, working for the good of the children.

 

Q: My boyfriend is emotionally unstable and sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees, but he resists my efforts to keep him healthy. He’s also rude and hangs up on me a lot.

A: Instead of saying, “You should take your vitamins,” ask a question: “Do you think taking your vitamins would be a good idea?” Let him know when he hangs up on you that you understand he doesn’t want to talk to you for the rest of the day and don’t call him back.

 

Q: My family is selling a large commercial property. What should I do with the money I’ll receive?

A: I believe in a diversified portfolio, land, green mutual funds (I like Pax World, socially pure and profitable), some gold coins such as US Gold Eagles or Canadian Maple Leafs, and a savings account for liquidity. If you have kids in your life, open a college savings account for them sponsored by states—it doesn’t have to be the state where you live. You could set aside some of these assets for your favorite cause so your money keeps on doing good after you pass on. You can do this by creating a life insurance policy with the charity as the beneficiary to bypass probate. A financial adviser and tax expert can save you money.

May 9, 2015 |

Gayle kimball-July 2014

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July Column-Gayle 2014

Q: I love my toddler’s mother unconditionally, but she doesn’t want to be a family. I don’t know how to let go. The messed-up part is I know she still loves me. She tells me that when she spends the night and we cuddle so I don’t understand why we aren’t getting back together. I feel as if I’m falling apart. What can I do?
A: Believe her when she says she doesn’t want to settle down although she cares for you. Consider that you love the dream of family—Mom and Dad and Baby—more than you love the actual rebellious person. It’s crazy-making to continue bonding actions. I’d treat her like a drug addiction. No touching, no spending the night that keeps the addiction going. It’s like an alcoholic can’t go in a bar. I call it paper clipping, as a clip will break if you bend it back and forth, but not if it stays in one position. Exchange your daughter someplace other than your home, such as preschool or a park, as discussed in 50/50 Parenting. Post this quote from Margaret Mead on your refrigerator: “We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.”

Q: I can’t stop worrying. Any way to stop?
A: Snap your fingers, clap your hands, or snap a rubber band on your wrist every time you catch yourself worrying. Take a deep breath, exhale an extended breath to expel the habit, and say a prayer or affirmation to replace the worry. Post the Serenity Prayer:
“God [or higher power or inner wisdom], grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”

Q: I’d like to learn more about holistic medicine. Are there schools?
A: Dr. Andrew Weil’s program offers courses for medical professionals with degrees and other online courses for the general public.1 Search “integrative medicine training online” and American Holistic Medical Association for many other university online courses. Read books by Weil and by Dr. James Balsch to start and then my Essential Energy Tools. Check the Lotus Guide directory for local programs. Check out my monthly Mind Power workshop.

Q: My husband has lost interest in sex and me. He just comes home from work and wants to sit by himself in his chair and watch TV. We’ve been married a long time and I don’t want to have to break in a new man. Any hope for us?
A: Encourage him to have a medical checkup and let him know how you feel. Request a weekly date night where you get out of the house to spark romance. Don’t depend on him for sparkle in your life; perhaps take a dance class where you’re getting some male contact. Read Mantak Chia’s book Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy. Life is short; if he declines to try to correct his inertia with the help of a counselor and doctor, you may want to do a trial separation.

Q: I lost my joie de vivre after my boyfriend betrayed me to please his mother. I lost all my happiness as if eternally. I am deeply grieved and am fighting for my confidence, my existence, my faith in myself. After a year apart, we got back together but I’m still struggling to feel OK. How can I regain happiness?
A: Erich Fromm in The Art of Loving says love is a verb—it takes action.2 It’s the same with happiness. I would suggest regular exercise because it enhances endorphins in the brain, the best natural remedy for depression. It could be dancing, walking in nature, or whatever interests you. It’s useful to join a gym and have a regular schedule. I’m not disciplined enough to do something such as Pilates by myself for an hour, but I happily follow a teacher. Also keep a daily gratitude journal. Dr. Robert Emmons’s studies proved it does enhance well-being.3 Also, help others, watch funny videos, listen to happy music, and pay attention to what pleased you.
Your boyfriend has been programmed to obey and care for his mother, so I wouldn’t be too harsh or ask him to choose between you and her. She must have done something right to produce someone you love. You’re going to need to forgive him to heal yourself and the relationship, especially because no one is perfect.

Q: I’m still suffering over a divorce I didn’t want. How can I stop the pain?
A: Meditate on Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet: “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy. …
Express gratitude for the good years you had with him and focus on what you want to manifest now and in the future. Remind yourself the past is water under the bridge. It’s not coming back. The best technique for clearing stuck negative patterns is acupressure tapping such as the emotional freedom technique. I can show you how at our weekly energy clearings at 1010 Mangrove, Suite D, or in a private session.
Post this from Alan Wilson Watts: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

Q (From a 22-year-old female student from India): The gender inequality has suffocated me, while awake, while dreaming, while bathing, while eating, while laughing. … I cannot tolerate dependent and household women who have no stand of their own, no boldness.
A: Sexism prevails everywhere, even in Scandinavia, which has the most egalitarian countries. Look at the thousands of stories of sexism in the West on The Everyday Sexism Project and #YesAllWomen. Perhaps your karma or dharma is to help elevate the status of women and to have compassion for how they were socialized. You might find work with an NGO that works with women, such as the 50 Million Missing campaign. Realizing we live on a kindergarten planet helps us to be less judgmental about the less evolved, especially when they were brainwashed into their dependency. So shift from judgment and sadness to resolve to make a difference in the lives of younger women. Are there girls at your school who need your encouragement to think for themselves? I imagine so.

Q: I have a new friend who is always creating drama, up and down, back and forth, and she’s controlling as well. What’s up?
A: Read about borderline personality disorder and read Wilhelm Reich’s personality typologies, including “psychopath”—he uses the term differently from the usual meaning. You’re not going to change her.

Q: I love my boyfriend, but he’s very stubborn and not willing to work through our problems. Should I stay with him?
A: The bottom line of a relationship is the willingness to compromise and work through issues. If he’s not able to do that, the relationship is not going anywhere. If he won’t go to counseling, you should explore codependency to find out why you stay in an unsatisfying partnership.

Q: My grown children are like mice nibbling on my resources, asking me to bail them out. I’m getting irritated and depleted. How can I stop them and still keep good connections between us?
A: Every time they ask for money, say, “You’re an adult. I trust that you will find a solution on your own.” Ongoing rescuing prevents them from learning their lessons.

July 9, 2014 |

Dr-Gayle-Apr-May-Jun-column

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Note to readers: I tweet a daily tip @gaylehkimball

Q: My husband left me for another woman. I can’t get over it, as I thought we had a happy marriage. How can I get on with my life?

A: I’d approach it like a death, as it was the death of the marriage. A trauma usually is more painful when it triggers past hurts, in your case, abandonment. I’d work with a therapist to clean this out so you have emotional freedom. You’ve probably gone through the stages of grieving so now tell yourself to move on. Of course it takes time to recover—the longer the marriage the longer the recovery period. Picture yourself walking down a beautiful path leading to new adventures. When the old tape starts playing in your mind, imagine immediately taking it out and replacing it with a tape that says, “I am manifesting a juicy meaningful life.” Consider participating in a singles’ group and at least once a week go to an activity where you could meet new people.

Q: I’ve suffered from a lot of anxiety and worry because my boyfriend of several years told me he’d like to have an open relationship. I don’t know what to do.

A: I’d follow nonviolent communication advice to focus on the need. The two of you should try to understand the underlying need with the help of a counselor; does he want more variety? Is he afraid of getting too close and dependent on you? You could role-play different people with costumes and such. Does he need to check out if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence? He may want to act on that need, but you need to be true to your principles. Some people are comfortable with polyandry and some are not. No one is worth a violation of your principles: You’d just end up resenting him.

Q: Life is so busy with kids, a job, and going back to college. How can I get more done with less stress?

A: Bundle tasks. For example, when you take a shower, also shampoo your hairbrush and clean out drain strainers. Avoid going out on one errand. When you see a holiday or birthday gift possibility during the year, buy it and put it in your gift box so you avoid holiday crowds. Deep exhalations calm the nervous system. Schedule in time to exercise and have fun so you keep your batteries charged.

With your family, make a list of all the tasks needed to run your household, including social responsibilities, finances, car maintenance, and so on. Assign points to the tasks; cleaning the toilet will get more points than watering plants. Then, take turns picking tasks until all of you have your fair share. Decide on consequences for not doing a task and rewards. Have a weekend family housecleaning hour with motivating music, followed by a fun activity to celebrate working together to create a clean house. A fun way to clean floors is to walk on them with wet soapy rags.

Q: I have obsessive self-critical thoughts that make me anxious. How can I quiet them?

A: It doesn’t work to say “No” to the out-of-control inner critic, as that just emphasizes the negative thoughts. Acknowledge the judgments as you would acknowledge a child’s nightmare, and then start creating a positive voice. Your critic feels like a teen boy, rather rash and angry. Call forth your wise man to give him kind counsel. It’s fine to make up this new inner voice because the unconscious doesn’t know the different between belief and reality. For example, if a hypnotherapist tells a subject “I’m touching a cigarette to your skin,” but actually uses a pencil, the body will blister. Another example is that people with multiple personalities (dissociative identity disorder) have very different health issues with different “alters,” as do conjoined Siamese twins. One may be diabetic and the other personality not, one wear glasses and the other not. Read about the inner critic from the viewpoint of voice dialogue therapists at http://delos-inc.com/articles/The_Inner_Critic.htm.

Q: I have an entity, I guess you could say a ghost, who won’t leave me alone. I feel him in my body and it’s very annoying. How do I get rid of him?

A: It looks as if he was a Civil War soldier who was madly in love with you and still is obsessed with you. Talk to him the way you would a misbehaving dog. Declare firmly and clearly that he go to his own place. Send him the image of his guardian spirit assisting him to move on to a place where he can find love. Imagine a contract between the two of you; stamp it with today’s date, write “VOID,” and tear it up and burn it. Visualize clearing any energy that’s not your own from each of the seven major chakras. Experiment with visualizing different colors to see which are inhospitable for him, starting with an earthy brown or an electric blue. Then ignore him and focus on your goals and enjoying each day.

Q: I am a vet who did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now I don’t feel safe going out in crowds, so the thought of using my GI bill to go to college is scary. Any hope for me?

A: Emotional freedom technique works well on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Check out this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4hhMm8qsCs. If you haven’t yet gotten counseling at the VA center, make an appointment now as PTSD can be treated. Ease into college slowly by taking one class that really interests you. Come to my energy balancings on Wednesdays for tune-ups. My energy tools workshop teaches basic grounding, centering, and other ways to harness the power of thought.

Q: I’m going out with a high-maintenance princess whom I enjoy in many ways, except for her supercritical expectation that I won’t meet her standards. Can I change this?

A: Give the princess feedback about how you feel when you’re criticized; hold your own integrity. Do not try to resolve any emotional issues by text or email. Remember that 80 percent of communication is nonverbal. You need to see facial expression and body language, be able to hug or have a pillow fight.

Q. I feel very out of sorts, affected by others; it stinks. I’m still trying to get centered and grounded, but I’m really influenced by other people’s energies, even by my computer. I feel it in my gut. What can I do to feel more comfortable?

A: Your first chakra looks too open. Visualize it like an upside-down cone at the base of your spine about 40 percent open. The chakra’s dimension is about the size of your thumb and first finger touching, making a circle. Imagine running your female energy from the ovaries (or the etheric ovaries if they’ve been removed), maybe a peachy pink color, looping up the spine over the head and down the midline of the body. Men can run male energy from the testicles, perhaps red or orange. Male students in my energy tools classes have done this at parties and women always walk over to meet them. The idea is to create a strong energy field that won’t absorb outside energies.

Q: My girlfriend was a yo-yo, off and on, but I still obsess about her and what I could have done to save our relationship. How can I get over her?

A: It doesn’t work to repress obsessive thoughts. Simply acknowledge them and replace them with a positive thought such as “I am ready for a healthy happy relationship.” We tend to repeat a childhood wound until it’s healed, so be clear about the pattern in the kind of women you find attractive. Walk away from women who seem initially very compelling but familiar. Being uncertain creates anxiety that can seem like intense love, but it’s not. In a future non-yo-yo relationship, it may seem boring so be prepared to create excitement in healthy ways, not through uncertainty.

Q: My dreams are remarkably vivid and powerful. What are your thoughts on dreams?

A: Dreams are the best way to understand the unconscious mind. It’s the 80 percent of the iceberg that’s under the water and propels it, so it’s vital to be aware of our unconscious personalities, such as what Carl Jung calls the shadow. If we’re not conscious, the shadow projects on others irrationally, for example falling in love with unhealthy people.

Q: My boyfriend is using meth, but I love him and can’t stay away from him.

A: Read about codependency; go to an AlAnon group. Don’t see him until he’s been in rehab and has a track record of sobriety. You deserve better.

Q: If I bring up something that bothers me in our relationship, my partner thinks I’m being abrasive and argumentative.

A: A relationship won’t last if hurts, disagreements, and small conflicts are gunnysacked. They need to be brought into the light to be resolved. Both of you need to be clear on what this kind of confrontation reminds her of in her past relationships and specific triggers such as a loud voice. It’s important to be aware of the “ghosts” from parents and past partners. Ask for permission to raise an issue, “Is now an OK time?” Use the formula, “I feel___ because___. My solution to put on the table is ___.”

Q: I came up in a middle-class family, have a college education, and raised my two children. After a terrible divorce, everything fell apart. I’m living in a homeless shelter, have nothing. What now?

A: The shelter can refer you to resources to find a job, a support group, and housing. Think of this as a fresh start to create a good life using your experience as a resource that you didn’t have when you were 20. It could be worse if you lived in Afghanistan, Sudan, or North Korea!

April 16, 2014 |

Ask Dr Gayle Kimball-Apr-May-Jun 2013

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Lotus Guide March 2013 column

Dr. Gayle Kimball

Q: How do I talk to my teenage daughter about sex?

A: Lectures don’t work well but peer experiences do. Talk about your own sex education process as a teen and what you wish you’d known. Or, talk about a case study that illustrates the point you want to make, such as that condoms don’t prevent contracting herpes sores on exposed parts of the body. Make books available, such as the chapter on sexuality in my The Teen Trip: The Complete Resource Guide based on teens’ experiences. Rutgers University has a sex ed website written by teens for teens (http://sexetc.org). Do the talk now before a romance interferes with rational thought.

Ask if she has any questions and offer to exchange questions and answers in writing if it’s too embarrassing to talk in person. When my son started asking about sex, I made a point of explaining how a clitoris is analogous to a penis and should not be ignored. He told his friends so some accurate information went out on the teen grapevine; know that you’re educating more than your daughter.

Q: My wife and I get into disagreements that leave me feeling exhausted and hopeless. How do we break the stalemate?

A: Discuss feelings as they come up. Don’t gunnysack resentments and irritations because when they explode it seems unreasonable. Share your feelings with this formula, “I’m feeling ___ because ___ and a possible solution is ______.” Be flexible and open to negotiation. Check out your assumptions with something such as “It sounds as if you’re feeling _____ because ______.” Often your partner will have an insightful clarification that you need to understand. Men are tempted to want to skip the sharing of feeling to get to a solution, but this is shortsighted as feelings can cloud logic and understanding if not acknowledged. Feeling heard and understood, even if not agreed with, goes a long way toward feeling good about each other.

Set aside time each week to listen to each other, just doing clarification and active listening, not inserting your reactions or defenses. Always include appreciations for each other. Give each other praise every day and do something fun together at least once a week to enhance the glue that holds you together. Check the Internet for suggestions on conflict resolution or email me for websites.

Q: My grandson goes back and forth to Mom’s house, Dad’s house. Both are remarried and both the stepparents are critical and short-tempered with my grandson. Any advice I can give him?

A: I’d give each couple helpful parenting books, such as Jim and Charles Fay’s Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood or Siegel and Bryson’s The Whole-Brain Child, but it’s unlikely you can change them. Focus on teaching your grandson coping techniques such as the visualizations in my CD for kids, Kids’ Mind Power. Explain that it’s not about him; it’s about the stepparents’ own frustrations and that he’s learning to be a strong boy who can handle difficult challenges. It helps that he feels safe talking with you.

Q: My boyfriend likes his women friends. He’s faithful to me, but I still get jealous. How should I handle this?

A: Be appreciative that he likes women, as some men don’t because of unresolved mother issues. Use the bit of anxiety to be creative in adding romance and interest to your relationship. Also, cultivate and spend time with your own friends.

Q: I work at my desk in front of a computer all day. I’ve read that sitting so much harms your health, but what can I do? I need the money.

A: Many studies find that sitting too much is bad for our health and shortens life expectancy. Get up and stretch and change position at least every 30 minutes. Stand up and squeeze your bottom to realign the pelvis, slightly tighten and release the abdominal muscles, and roll your shoulders back with the thumbs pointing away from the body and then forward. Avoid slumping forward while sitting in front of the computer as forward rotation of the shoulder can result in damage to wrists and carpal tunnel problems. As you sit, keep your chin behind your chest bone. See a YouTube video by physical therapist Kelly Starrett (www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfg_e6YG37U).

A study of more than 6,000 adults found that those who exercised for about 10 minutes were as healthy as those who exercised for longer periods, as long as the short exercises added up to 150 minutes a week. Use your work breaks to walk or use a resistance band, available online, along with exercises. You might start a trend at work.

For your eye health, look away from the computer or book at various distances. Rub your palms together and rest them over your eyes, visualizing black velvet cloth for two or three minutes to relax your eyes. Gently push in and out in the notch in your eyebrows. Download a Tibetan eye exercise chart to strengthen your eye muscles.

Q: My brother won’t talk to me and my daughter-in-law and I aren’t close. I feel sad but what can I do?

A: Continue to be friendly, send your brother greeting cards, and tell your daughter-in-law what you appreciate about her, but put your energy into creating an intentional family with friends who want to spend time with you. Let go of your expectations of how family should behave. Wayne Dyer pointed out that “peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than how you think it should be.”

 

April 3, 2013 |

Divorce By Dr. Gayle Kimball

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Q: I’m angry at my ex-husband for not sharing our financial resources and making me go to court.

A: Just because someone is an adult doesn’t mean he or she is emotionally mature. Expecting him to be fair leads to disappointment and more resentment, as you’re dealing with someone who is about 13 right now. Anger can provide good fuel to take action, and then it needs to be released. This is important for your health as illness results from blocks and stuck, repressed emotions. Let your attorney deal with your ex, think about the good he contributed to your life–such as your children, and plan fun activities where you can meet new people each week. Do a separation ritual, perhaps go to a creek and throw in rocks representing your completed divorce, then find a token from nature to take home representing your new path of joy and expansion.

 

Q: It’s been a year since my divorce, but I’m still in tears and feel like I’ve been discarded and lack value.

A: Would you take him back if came knocking at your door? I don’t think so. The break up of a family with kids is a kind of death and one needs to go through the stages of grieving spelled out by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. We all have tapes starting from early adolescence on about the humiliation of being dumped, which feed into this separation. However, I think you’ll realize you’re relieved to be free of the tension and it was a blessing in disguise.

 

Q: I’m recently divorced but I’m painfully jealous about my wife’s dating other men. I see guy’s cars at her house when I drive by.

A: In her book about the physiology of emotions (The Molecules of Emotion), cell biologist Candace Pert, Ph.D., says there are no bad emotions as long as they are acknowledged and allowed to flow on. Try acknowledging the feelings as they come up and also do physical exercise like walking or cycling to help them move on. You can also try “cognitive restructuring,” thinking about what the positive lessons you’ve learned and what you can apply in your interaction in adventures meeting new women. Think of this as a time for you to play rather than thinking about what she’s doing. Have fun being a single guy again and keep your focus on the present rather than the past. It’s water under the bridge.

June 5, 2012 |

Marriage By Dr. Gayle Kimball

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Q: [Japan] My husband gambled all our savings playing in Pachinko parlors after his retirement from teaching. He drinks and doesn’t listen to me.

A: Look for the underlying issues, his lack of life purpose after retiring, his need for approval he didn’t get from his mother. Praise him when he does the right thing. Put your money in your own name and focus on changing your reactions rather than changing his behavior. Since you want to travel, I would fulfill your dream of leaving the country to help him break his gambling habit.

I realize divorce is rare in Japan, but it is a legal option if your home life is miserable and he jeopardizes your financial security. Life is too short to spend it in unnecessary suffering.

 

Q: My husband isn’t interested in spirituality and alternative health and my interest in them is growing. It feels like we’re growing apart rather than together.

A: Actions speak louder than words. Someone can say they’re spiritual and be hypocritical and someone can say they’re not spiritual and act in admirable ways. No one person is going to satisfy all our needs. Couples I’ve interviewed for 50/50 Marriage and 50/50 Parenting say the most important factors are being best friends, having similar values and goals, as well as being attracted to each other. Use effective communication, as he may not understand how important your interests are to you. Perhaps you could agree on what to read, learn and discuss together a little each week so he won’t feel overwhelmed. Remember to use “I feel ___ messages” rather than “You’re wrong” messages as you explain your feelings to him. Ask for a specific solution to negotiate with him for a win-win solution. Marriage was instituted when people died after raising children–usually before age 50; it may be that some of us need serial relationships

as we grow and develop, although I admire couples who keep their relationship alive over decades, in sickness and in health.

 

Q: We’re definitely at the seven-year itch in our marriage. Any suggestions for how to make it as a couple?

A:University of Washington researcher John Gottman developed a 95% accuracy rate in predicting whether a couple will stay together, after only an hour interview. Couples with at least a ratio of 5 to 1 positive supportive comments such as “uh huh” and “you’re right,” are likely to stay together. Contempt–feeling superior, is the single most significant sign of disaster, followed by defensiveness, criticism, and stonewalling. These negative interactions are also associated with frequency of colds. Gottman didn’t find a gender difference in who was likely to express contempt, but women are more likely to be critical and men to stonewall. If you want to stay together, focus on the positive and having fun together. For a helpful bibliography see www.stayhitched.com/books.htm. I’d add my 13 50/50 Marriage.

 

Q: My wife and I are fighting, I’m not sure we can make it as a couple.

A: When I’m coaching a couple, I ask them to write down the qualities that originally attracted them to each other and to list patterns in their previous relationships, including their own parents.

We repeat the familiar until we figure out a happier way to be in relationship. Pair bonding is based on the shared memories of good times, so make sure you have a weekly date to do something enjoyable as a couple. Also on a weekly basis, set aside time to listen to each other. The listener uses “active listening,” by letting the speaker know she or he understands. Don’t interrupt with your reactions or defend yourself, just reflect back what your partner is saying. It’s very affirming to feel understood even if you don’t agree. It’s important to fight fair: ask for a specific solution, listen and make eye contact, avoid blaming, sarcasm, ridicule, and bringing up other problems. Stick to one issue at a time. Get help if you’re stuck. When we get in a downward spiral of not feeling nurtured, it usually takes a neutral third person to interrupt the vicious cycle.

 

Q: My wife often saves up her bad feelings from her workday and dumps them on me when she comes home. She says she’s too busy during the day to vent. I’m tired of it.

A: Put a limit on complaining by setting aside 10 minutes or so when you will listen with 100% concentration and empathy. Don’t offer solutions, just pay careful attention and do “active listening” to let her know you understand. When the dumping time is over, don’t listen any more.

If she persists, take a shower, go for a walk, or call a friend to illustrate the limit was reached and now it’s time for an enjoyable evening together. Make sure you have at least one fun romantic outing a week where you go out and do something fun for both of you. Romance needs to be cultivated just like a garden needs to be tended or a car needs servicing.

Remember, bonding is based on the shared happy memories and trust-building communication, while it’s eroded by stress, such as being dumped on.

 

Q: [Japan] My husband spends our money on buying art and is critical of my religious practices.

A: I imagine your father was controlling too. Remind yourself frequently, “My husband is not my father. We’re both adults with the right to our own beliefs.” You don’t need to discuss your beliefs with him if he’s negative about them. Can you encourage him to find another outlet for his expensive interest in art acquisitions, such as taking an art class or collecting plants for your garden?

 

Q: [Japan] My husband won’t eat dinner with my son and I because the house is too messy for him; he usually eats out.

A: I realize it’s common for Japanese men to eat dinner with colleagues. Do you want to eat dinner with him? If so, as a professional you can afford to hire a housecleaner. Also, set aside 15 minutes a day for you and your son to put away your things.

 

Q: Our sex life has lost pizzazz since we’ve had children. Any suggestions?

A: Parents I interviewed for 50/50 Marriage and 50/50 Parenting reported that to spark romance they must leave their home; some of them go to a motel in their hometown if they don’t have time or money for a more distant weekend away. Some swap kids with another family for a 14 weekend to free up time. Scheduling a regular date night away from home helps build romance, although some couples try to do dinner and conversation at home after the kids are in bed.

Another couple renewed their spark by creating fantasy scenarios such as he’s a virginal exchange student in a foreign country; one night the daughter comes into his room to seduce him . . .. When President Coolidge’s wife asked him why they didn’t have sex as often as their chickens, he replied that the rooster had new partners to excite him. You can act out different partners for your spouse. Together you can write the script for an erotic video to learn about your partner’s fantasies.

 

Q: I’ve been faking orgasms for the last three years with my partner and don’t know how to tell him or to improve our sex life.

A: You might want to say something like, “I’ve wanted to please you so I haven’t let you know that I don’t have orgasms when we make love. I’d like to experiment with new ways to enhance our lovemaking for both of us.” Sex therapists William Masters and Virginia Johnson suggested that couples remaking their sex life stop having intercourse for a while and experiment with “sensate focus” where you touch each other to find out what feels good, avoid erogenous zones and focus on sensations instead of mentally judging your performance.

Most women need direct clitoral stimulation to orgasm and it should be lubricated when rubbed. Some couples do this in a modification of the missionary position called “coital alignment technique” (use this term to search the Internet for specifics). Our main sexual organ is the brain, so use it to teach each other about what pleases you and resolve unspoken resentments.

Anger gets in the way of sexual pleasure, which explains why men who do their share of family work enjoy more frequent sex with their wives. Both of you list on index cards one idea for enhancing romance or pleasure for you and draw one when you make time for each other.

Read books with new ideas for romance and sexual expression and schedule regular dates because sex occurs in the context of your romantic feelings for each other.

June 5, 2012 |
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