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Posts from the ‘Resources’ Category

Transforming Others by Loving Yourself – Lessons on Love from Tich Naht Hahn.

“If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform”…. Tich Naht Hahn.

Tich Naht Hahn talks about our capacity to love as transformative. He says, “When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change. But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore. We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others.”

Furthermore, the paradox is that with expanded hearts, “we accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform.” In fact, he states that, “Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.”

But how can we expand our hearts? How do learn to really listen and understand? Listening without reactivity and with open-ness is a skill which we can all develop. This skill interestingly requires us to tune into ourselves, connect with our own emotions so that we can manage our own reactivity to be available to listen to another. Over the last few decades, developments in psychology and neuroscience have taught us a lot about our emotions. As we understand emotions more, therapists are teaching people that understanding ourselves with compassion and building our capacity for happiness is the only path to a life of joy and deep connection with others. This agrees with Tich Naht Hahn’s teaching which  says, “when we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That’s why to love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness.”

According to him, four elements constitute real truthful love — loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity both for the self and for the other. Self acceptance and compassion is very hard for many of us. He offers, “trust that you have a good and compassionate nature. You are part of the universe; you are made of stars. When you look at your loved one, you see that he is also made of stars and carries eternity inside. Looking in this way, we naturally feel reverence. True love cannot be without trust and respect for oneself and for the other person.”

Helping Friends with Mental Health Needs

I was recently interviewed for an article on helping a friend with mental illness. The article was for college students.

To read more:

Build Successful Work Relationships

We spend a large part of our adult life at work. Relationships with colleagues, bosses and subordinates are critical for our productivity, our success, our stress levels and our sense of fulfillment. These relationships are also complicated and ruptures and conflicts are inevitable. Here are some tips for building effective relational interactions and managing conflict.

Download brochure: Build successful work relationships

Strengthening Intimate Relationships

We now have considerable evidence from neurobiological, psychological, and sociological research to validate what we know at a basic experiential level: When we feel secure and happy in our intimate relationships we feel physically and emotionally healthy. We experience a release in our creative energy and can express our best selves. Yet, the development of this secure bond can be elusive. Here is some information that may help you to strengthen your relationship.

Download brochure: Couples

Building Marital Happiness for South Asian Couples

Research documents the marriage advantage. In other words, successful and happy marriages contribute to our physical and mental health and provide us with a sense of well being. We live longer, are happier and more productive. However, several studies also show that the marriage advantage doesn’t extend to those in troubled relationships, which can leave a person far less healthy than if he or she had never married at all. One recent study suggests that a stressful marriage can be as bad for the heart as a regular smoking habit. For South Asian immigrants as well as second generation couples, building a successful relationship that both values cultural traditions and also helps us succeed in American culture can be complicated. This brochure provides some helpful information about improving your marital relationships.

Download the brochure: Building Marital Happiness-Tips for South Asian Immigrant Couples

From Distress to Success: How to Help Your Teenager Through High School

Adolescence is a complicated time of identity development when every aspect of an individual’s sense of self is examined, redefined, and integrated. It is an important developmental stage and can be stressful for the teen and the family. However,  it can be a time of great growth, creativity, and success and does not have to be a time  of family conflict and crises!

Transform the parent-teen relationship from distressing to successful. Empathy on the part of parents is first step. Developing an understanding of the multiple demands on our teens helps to foster empathy. There is now a great deal of brain research that tells us what is going on in the mind of our teens. We also know that the teen body is undergoing tremendous hormonal shifts. At the same time, as teens approach the verge of adulthood, their social and academic lives require attention, clarity, and energy for which they do not yet have the skills.  Parents can become their best allies, supporters, and partners in navigating this complicated life stage successfully with minimal distress.  This powerpoint provides information and suggestions that can help you build a constructive and rewarding relationship and avoid becoming opposing poles in ever present conflicts and mood fluctuations.

Download powerpoint:  Promoting Success, Reducing Stress Final

Tips for immigrant parents of bicultural teens

Bringing up children in America can be challenging for multiple reasons and the teenage years are particularly complicated. How do we understand the changes that our children begin to exhibit and how do we ensure that they envelop the cultural values that we treasure and are successful academically and professionally. This brochure offers some tips and suggestions to help immigrant parents develop more effective communication with their teenage children, reduce possible conflicts and help the children become effective in the American culture while retaining the values of their cultural heritage.

Download the Brochure: Tips for immigrant parents of bicultural teens

Tips for Parents of Teens

Communication between parents and teens is complicated and yet, essential for the negotiation of this important developmental life stage. But parenting an adolescent can sometimes be a challenge -a roller coaster of emotional reactivity coupled with the never ending crises of fast approaching and nearly missed deadlines of academic work, college applications, and other potential achievements. This coupled with the emotional highs and lows of highly complex teenage social interactions, romantic forays, questions of identity and the meaning of life can make for a roller coaster ride that beats most amusement parks. During all this, parents are also worrying about the dizzying array of potential risks their teens are facing ( of addictive and harmful substances, sexual activities, gambling options, unsafe behaviors, emotional decompensation, and academic failure). Staying connected to your teen and keeping lines of communication is the antidote to distress and essential for reaping the benefits of the considerable change this period of life offers. This brochure offers some tips that can help parents empathize with their teen and develop a constructive, open, supportive and communicative relationship.

Download the Brochure: Tips for Parents of Teens

Video: What is Depression? What is Bipolar Disorder?

While mood fluctuations in life are normal for all of us, if mood disturbances persist and start to affect our functioning in non-productive ways, we may meet the the criteria for the diagnosis of a mood disorder.

There are two kinds of mood disorders: Depressive Disorders that are also called Unipolar Mood Disorders and Bipolar Mood Disorders.

Depression, in all of its variations, represents one set of conditions in which a disturbance of mood is a primary feature. However, just a sad or low mood without other indicators may not indicate the presence of a depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder, in all of its variations, represents an entirely different set of conditions in which a disturbance of mood is a primary feature. Again, just ups and downs in mood without other indicators may not indicate the presence of a bipolar disorder.

To learn more, watch this video clip recorded on December 16, 2013 for the TV show FOCUS ON in Princeton, NJ.