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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Needs Within Relationships

7:02 PM Posted by Skyler Schuyler , , , , ,
When considering healthy living and lifestyles, it is important to reflect on the health of a relationship. As we grow and move through different stages of our lives, our relationship needs tend to change and shift. With this change, you are more than likely to experience a shift in actual relationships. – Have you ever lost touch with someone close to you? Have you ever felt confused why jokes your friends told you are just not as funny? Have you ever felt like as though only a certain few individuals could truly understand what you are feeling? – We begin to question our relationships as our needs change.

More specifically, when considering basic needs, we are looking at what psychoanalytic clinicians would refer to as dependency needs. These are needs within a relationship that we cannot provide for ourselves and therefore must rely on others for. We become dependent on other to fulfill our needs. You are likely to observe reliance of others during infancy (feeding, bathing, comfort, etc.) and in later adulthood when daily tasks become more challenging.

Even as adults, we continue to experience needs similar from childhood and adolescence. These needs are companionship or belonging, verbal and physical affection, as well as emotional support or validation. Specifically, within romantic relationships, we search for partners who are good companions, are emotionally supportive and provide affection. For couples engaged in healthy romantic relationships, these needs are typically met. However, when an individual’s needs are not met, they can become dissatisfied creating tension and stress among couples. For those not involved in a partnership, their needs are met in different ways. Strong connections with friends and family are good sources to receive physical affections (hugs and embraces), validation and praise. Those who know and understand us best are likely to provide these needs that romantic partnerships would typically provide.

As February is upon us, many start to consider and evaluate relationships. Personal needs are important aspects to consider within our relationships. However, there are needs that we can strive to meet for ourselves, and there are those needs we are dependent on others for. Within healthy relationships both parties recognize the importance their role plays for those around them. Whether you are single, engaged, married, separated, divorced or widowed, everyone is capable of helping those around them meet their needs. Sometimes the best way to improve a relationship is not looking at what you need, but helping others meet their own.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Encouraging Self-Control to Meet Goals

8:04 PM Posted by Skyler Schuyler , , ,
We are almost two weeks into the New Year and how are everyone’s New Year Resolutions going? Upon doing some research regarding New Year Resolutions, I found some interesting information about self-control strategies that may hopefully continue to encourage everyone in holding to their resolutions this year AND encouraging those around you. For this week, we will look at how you can help others (family, children, friends) develop appropriate skills to maintain self-control. Self-discipline is not easy and it comes with a lot of hard work. With positive encouragement and appropriate modeling, you can help those around you continue to develop their own methods of self-control.

In order to be a positive support for others, you need to build a foundation of trust. If those closest to you trust your judgment and care, they will be more likely to respond to any concerns you might have on their current level of self-control. Also, be mindful that friends, family and especially children learn emotional regulation from your modeling. Individuals are likely to follow your lead, so take a moment and reflect on your own responses to be the best influence and role-model you can. Be mindful that others can feel your anxiety. If people close to you notice your behavior is shifting and nervous tendencies develop, they are likely to respond in a similar fashion. For those encouraging young adults, adolescents and children, it is important to understand that self-control is made possible by the developing brain. Your prefrontal cortex (controls impulses) is not fully developed until you are 25. So you have time to encourage those around you to strengthen this area of the brain through practice.

Encouraging self-control of those around you will be hard, but rewarding work. Be mindful that practice makes self-control easier. People are more likely to accomplish goals that they set themselves and are more willing to practice them. Encourage your family and friends to practice the goals they would like to reach often, but know with this encouragement, you will also have to set limits. If you were asked to keep someone accountable or would like your child to follow through with goals set at home, set realistic expectations and limits to these goals. Your limits will remind people of their own goals. With limit setting, patience is key. Individuals attempting to improve self-control and reframe their behavior will experience emotional difficulties such as frustration and agitation with others. You are likely to be that individual, so be patient and process with your friend, family or child your role and how you will continue to help support their growth of self-control. Finally, be mindful that people can learn to master self-control on their own. Sometimes you might have to take a step back and let your child or friend practice what they have learned. People learn through both success and failure – all aspects of their lives.

So remember, you have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. Encourage your friends, family and children to practice self-control in all aspects of their life to obtain and achieve their short- and long-term goals. It’s not easy, but the more support we have – and give – the easier it is to develop self-control.

Keep working on those Resolutions!