Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do

Anxiety & Women-Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #anxiety #women #hormones #sleepIt’s 3:30 a.m. I was simply rolling over to fall back asleep, when my brain switched on like a 100-watt light bulb, and now I’m flooded with stress, worries, and thoughts of what I “need to get done” or about “my overwhelming life,” when I thought I’d put those thoughts to bed hours ago. I know I won’t fall back asleep. Still, I try. I try belly-breathing, then progressive muscle relaxation, then letting myself think for a while, to tire me out. Then, I pray. I pray for sleep. I pray that this knot of tension inside me will leave, that the fatigue my body is feeling will overpower the thoughts that hold me hostage. Finally, at 5 a.m., I get up and begin to type. It helps to get these thoughts out of me and maybe do some good for others in the process. Finally, I sneak down to the basement and exercise; I know it’s one of the best things I can do to not only distract my mind, but to provide much-needed energy for the day and hopefully later, the ability to finally rest.

 

This is anxiety, and trust me, it’s miserable. I don’t know why I haven’t written more about it before. That’s one thought that was spinning through my mind while I wasn’t sleeping this morning—Why haven’t I written about anxiety, when it’s the predominant symptom with which I struggle? When it’s one of the most common issues for all women, for all people? (Read “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety): Overcoming the Stigma”)

 

 

Anxiety & Women

It’s not only my predominant symptom: “Anxiety disorders include phobias, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD, and separation anxiety disorder, and are considered the most commonly occurring class of mental disorders (CDC 2015)” [2].”

 

Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in women. Yes, more common than depression. Anxiety will affect one in three women throughout their lifetime [2], and often, depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Women are also twice as likely as men to develop an anxiety disorder, and symptoms tend to appear earlier in life for women [1].

 

 

What is Anxiety?

So, what, exactly, is anxiety? Clients have described it to me as, “I’m on edge all the time.” “My mind won’t shut off.” “I can’t stop thinking about everything I need to do” or “worrying about everything that could Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What you Can Do; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comhappen.” “I can’t relax;” “I’m on edge all the time.” Or, I described it, above, “I can’t sleep even though I’m exhausted: My mind is holding me prisoner.”

 

Anxiety is, first and foremost, a feeling. We need anxiety to warn us of danger or to make us to take action when something needs to get done. If something is wrong and we feel worried, stressed, or afraid, anxiety helps set off the sympathetic nervous system, raising our heart rate and blood pressure and setting off stress hormones, like cortisol, in the brain, preparing us for action, telling us, “You need to do something about this!” When we take action, or when we are able to relieve the stressor or resolve the situation, our mind is supposed to shut off, our parasympathetic nervous system returning our body to a calmer state, heart rate slowing to normal, stress hormones subsiding.

 

What is an “Anxiety Disorder?”

Chronic anxiety, like an anxiety disorder, however, comes from an overactive stress response. Instead of resuming a calmer state once the threat has been overcome, the parasympathetic nervous system doesn’t kick in for those with an anxiety disorder. Instead, the mind stays on, keeping the body on high alert, even when there is no actual present threat. This keeps cortisol coursing through the body, blood pressure high, and heart rate working over time. This, understandably, makes it very difficult to relax, for the brain to shut off, to sleep. In turn, poor sleep and little relaxation contribute to anxiety and depression, among other things, and the cycle continues. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

 

Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are several forms of anxiety disorder, including: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (intense, pervasive anxiety), Panic Disorder (including panic attacks), Specific Phobias (or extreme fears), Social Phobia (or fear of social situations), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD, consisting of obsessive, stress-filled thoughts and compulsions to alleviate the stress), and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD, with a traumatic trigger, followed by re-experiencing the event, like in nightmares of flashbacks, numbing/avoidance of things associated with the event, and heightened state of arousal).

 

Additionally, as mentioned above, anxiety may co-occur with major depression or other mental illnesses.

 

Anxiety & Hormones

In women, anxiety is also a common component of hormonal shifts, like those in pregnancy, postpartum, with PMS, PMDD, or in perimenopause. In fact, many women experience the most anxiety during the years leading up to menopause; and many of these women have never experienced anxiety before!

 

In pregnancy and postpartum, anxiety is common, as well, with approximately 6% of pregnant and 10% of postpartum women experiencing a perinatal anxiety disorder. Approximately 10% will experience pregnancy or postpartum panic disorder (with associated panic attacks), 3-5% will experience pregnancy or postpartum OCD, and 9% will experience postpartum PTSD, usually following a traumatic childbirth.

 

Unfortunately, thanks to society’s “myths of motherhood,” many believe it’s “normal” for moms to feel anxious or worried, so too many mothers live with unnecessary anxiety that can make life miserable. The truth is constant anxiety is not normal, and it’s important for women to recognize their symptoms so they can seek and receive treatment to overcome the anxiety and to heal.

 

 

Anxiety, Hormones & Sleep

Anxiety is often associated with insomnia or other sleep issues. Again, this is a vicious cycle, as lack of sleep continues the cortisol and adrenaline in the body that only make anxiety worse, and vice Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.comversa.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, women are much more likely report sleep issues than men, one reason being the many hormonal shifts women experience premenstrually, in pregnancy and postpartum, and during perimenopause. A few days or a week before a woman’s period starts, she may find she can’t fall asleep or, more commonly, can’t stay asleep, as I described above. As I’ve studied the link between sleep, anxiety, and hormones it’s become clear: women are much more vulnerable to sleep disturbance during times of shifting hormones, and each month those hormones shift twice! First, there’s a drop in Estrogen around day 14, or around ovulation, and then the bigger drop in Estrogen and Progesterone occurs a few days to a week before her period starts. This can make sleep feel impossible for women who are sensitive to these shifts, with terrible sleep one or more weeks every month. (For more on this, read myWomen’s Emotions blog series, parts 1, 2, and 3.)

 

What can You Do for Anxiety?

You don’t have to suffer, living with anxiety. Treatments are available and highly successful.

 

  • The “gold standard” for anxiety treatment is a combination of anti-anxiety medication (including antidepressants, which also reduce anxiety) and psychotherapy. The medication works to correct the overactive brain chemistry while therapy teaches techniques and skills for how to manage daily symptoms. Either one of these treatments on their own will likely be beneficial, as well, research shows. (More on “Antidepressant or Not?” here.)

 

 

  • Learning relaxation skills, like mindfulness, deep breathing, and meditation are also beneficial in treating anxiety. Research shows these self-help techniques allow you to train your brain and body to let go and relax. Additionally, anything that helps relieve tension and stress can help–like massage, naps, quiet time, a hot bath, reading, watching a television program (not a scary one!), or time with friends and family.

 

  • Exercise is another helpful treatmenteither alone or as an addition to these other options. The benefits of exercise are proven and extensive, and for anxiety, exercise can not only work out the tension and give the mind a way to let go; it also helps the body become tired, so you’re more likely to sleep better. Though some who struggle with anxiety find cardiovascular exercise difficult, because it may mimic the feeling of anxiety (heart rate up, shortness of breath), lifting weights, doing yoga or Pilates, or very mild walking have shown incredible benefits in rAnxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.comeducing symptoms of anxiety. (Read more about this, as well as strategies to make exercise work for you, in my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise!” [See Coupon to save 25%, below!])

 

  • Realize anxiety is not you! Then, FEEL the anxiety. One of the most helpful things I’ve learned over the years is that I am not the anxiety. It is a feeling in my body, not me. Too often, anxiety takes over like it’s running the show—the show being your life! And too often, we let it run the show. We feel like we are the anxiety. We fight feeling it because it’s so uncomfortable and we don’t know how to handle it. Or, at least, we think we don’t. One thing you can try is to sit and FEEL the anxiety. Notice where it is in your body. Breathe as you feel it and recognize it is not you. I find it helpful to imagine the anxiety is slightly in front of me as I lean my body away from it. It reminds me I am in charge of my life; my emotions are not. As we FEEL powerful emotions, like anxiety, they truly lose their power. (Read How to FEEL Powerful Emotions & watch the related 3-Minute Therapy video, here.)

 

  • Treat the sleep issues to treat the anxiety. If your sleep is severely affected by anxiety, it may be better to start by treating the sleep. Temporary sleep aids, including melatonin supplements, can help you finally get some rest, and just getting some sleep can help the anxiety begin to decrease. CBT can also help in treat the thoughts associated with sleep disturbances. Sometimes, there may be another sleep disorder, mental illness, or physical illness in play that’s causing your symptoms, so it’s always best to get a full physical evaluation first and talk to your doctor about what’s right for you. (Read Sleep Better, Cope Better: 6 Insomnia Causes & Cures, here.)

 

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is worth looking into for perimenopausal/ menopausal-related anxiety, and some women benefit from hormone therapies for perinatal anxiety disorders, PMS and PMDD. It can be tricky getting hormone therapies right, however, and many women are sensitive to hormone-based treatments, which may make symptoms worse, at least at first. It is therefore important that you work with a knowledgeable doctor about the best therapies for you. S/he can help monitor your mind and body’s response to hormone treatments as well as your progress. It may take some time to get it right, but when you find a treatment that works, it’s well worth it.

 

  • Avoid/limit caffeine and other stimulants. If it’s your routine to wake up with a heavy dose of caffeine and/or to keep it pumping throughout the day, you may need to tackle that habit first. Caffeine and other stimulants only exacerbate anxiety. If you want the anxiety to diminish, first the caffeine has to vanish.

 

 

 

You can beat Anxiety!

Bottom line: you don’t have to live with constant anxiety. Yes, it will take work. Yes, it will take time. Yes, it will take patience–with yourself, and with others. But anxiety is not a normal part of life—for women, for moms, for men, for dads, for kids, for anyone.

 

If you’re suffering from any form of anxiety, please seek help. Talk to your doctor or mental health provider and ask what treatments might be best for you. And if you’re not finding the right answers, keep searching and asking until you do.

 

Don’t let anxiety get the better of you. Start right now. Breathe. Deeply. In and out. And again–in and out. Then, repeat after me, “This anxiety is not me. If I seek help and let it in, I can, and will overcome this anxiety, one breath, one moment, one step at a time.”

 

 

Do you struggle with anxiety? What is most helpful for you in treating symptoms of anxiety? What lessons have you learned that you can share with others experiencing the same thing? Please leave a comment, below, and let us know.

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[1] Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2016). Anxiety and Women: Facts. 

[2] Hibbert, C. (2016). 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise. W.W. Norton Publishing: New York, NY.

“Mom Mental Health” through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum & Beyond!

Mom Mental Health Through Exercise-Pregnancy, Postpartum, & Beyond! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Childbearing Years Mental Health & Exercise

The years of childbearing and parenting young children can be some of the most challenging. For one, the hormonal shifts that accompany pregnancy and childbirth can throw many women into a struggle with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, like postpartum depression, and this can significantly impact her partner/spouse, children, and the entire family. Men also experience shifts in emotional functioning after a baby is born and can develop Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND).

Lack of sleep is another issue that’s common in the childbearing years, with most parents fighting off fatigue and exhaustion on a daily basis. Time is suddenly consumed with caregiving, providing for, and spending time with children and family, in addition to previous work and personal responsibilities. It’s a season of high stress and no sleep that can take its toll on a mother or father’s mental health.

 

Mom Mental Health: The Facts

To better understand the unique mental health needs of the childbearing years, let’s look at the facts:

  • Pregnancy and the first year postpartum are a particularly vulnerable time in a woman’s life. In fact, a woman is thirty times more likely to experience a psychotic episode in the days immediately following childbirth than any other time in her life. This shows just how stressful and challenging the childbearing years can be.
  • Postpartum mental health falls on a spectrum, with disorders ranging from mild to severe. On the mild end, up to 80% of women will experience some change in their emotional healthMother Holding Infant --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbisduring or after childbirth. This is most commonly referred to as “The Baby Blues,” and typically goes away without treatment. In the middle of the spectrum, we see depression and anxiety disorders. Up to 15% of women will have depression in pregnancy, and as many as one in five will experience Postpartum Depression. Approximately 6% of pregnant and 10% of postpartum women suffer from an anxiety disorder, while 3-5% experience pregnancy/postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and 1-6% experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (PSI, 2014). On the severe end of the spectrum, 1 in 1000 women will experience postpartum psychosis, a serious and potentially life-threatening mental illness that requires immediate treatment to protect both the mother and the baby.
  • If untreated, pregnancy/postpartum mental illness can become chronic. Maternal depression affects approximately 10% of mothers, after the postpartum period, each year. Only about half seek and receive treatment, and it is estimated that at least one in ten U.S. children has a depressed mother in any given year (Ertel at al, 2007). Maternal depression is one of the strongest predictors of future behavioral and cognitive problems in the developing child (Canadian Pediatric Society, 2004).
  • It’s estimated as many as 10% of fathers worldwide, and 14% in the U.S., experience Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND) (Paulson, 2010), which can also become chronic if untreated. Some estimate these numbers to be even higher, considering many do not discuss their symptoms nor reach out for help.
  • About half of men who have depressed partners are also depressed. When both parents are depressed, it can have a significant impact on parenting, bonding, and the overall development and wellbeing of the baby and other children.

 

The Benefits & Challenges of Exercise in the Childbearing Years

As you can glean from the facts above, if we want healthy children, we need healthy mothers and fathers. Considering the high risk of mental illness during the childbearing years, it’s crucial for parents to be Mom Mental Health Through Exercise; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #pregnancy #postpartum #ppd #mentalhealthprepared. Receiving education, like the statistics above, is a first step, and understanding the treatment options is a second.

Psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two, are considered the go-to treatment for maternal and paternal mental illness. Psychotherapy, it’s now shown, should be considered a first-line treatment for postpartum depression (Stuart et al, 2003), which makes sense, since it can also teach skills and new coping strategies for the stressors of parenthood. Considering the drastic effects of untreated maternal depression on the child, antidepressants are often recommended for moderate to several maternal mental illness. Research has shown that antidepressants and some other psychotropic medications are considered relatively safe for use in pregnancy and while breastfeeding (Chad et al., 2013). Yet, medication use in the childbearing years can be a tough choice for a pregnant/postpartum mother and her partner; they may fear the risk to the infant, and some mothers who do take medications, knowing it’s the right thing, still harbor terrible guilt about it.

 

Exercise as Treatment!

Exercise is a valuable preventative and treatment method for mental health in pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond.Mom Mental Health Through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum, & Beyond! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

  • Research has shown exercise can significantly elevate mood in pregnant and postpartum women and should be considered a first-line treatment option, especially since so many mothers worry about the risks of antidepressants (Daly et al., 2007).
  • It’s not only safe for moms and dads; it’s safe for babies and children, too.
  • Exercise also promotes physical and mental health in pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting, and thus it’s truly a win-win.

 

Barriers to Exercise in Motherhood

Many parents do not exercise, however, and for many reasons. Becoming a parent shifts priorities from self-focus to child-focused. While this is no doubt a good thing, many parents give up their own physical and mental fitness as a result. Some feel, with such a full life, physical activity is no longer as important as it once was.

Of course, lack of sleep can also impact motivation and ability to exercise, as well as the heavy responsibilities new parents face. Finally, having a baby or young children can make it tough for many parents to find the time and space to exercise.

 

Tips for Exercise in the Childbearing Years

It is possible to maintain a regular exercise program with babies and young children at home. With six kids of my own, trust me, I know. And the good news is that developing an exercise program now will not only benefit your physical and mental health; it will benefit your children, as well. Here are a few suggestions for how to make exercise work for you:

  • Involve your child in your exercise program. Put the baby in the sling and do squats or lunges. Place him in the bouncer and do a yoga video, making faces and interacting with him while you do. Use a stroller or sling and go for a walk. Research shows that stroller, or pram, walking is an excellent way to improve mental health with your baby.
  • Exercise during naptime. Babies typically enjoy a ride in their stroller or sling while they sleep, and you can benefit by getting out in the sun and moving your body, too.
  • Create a home exercise “studio.” This can help you cut your exercise time. During naps, head to your exercise area do a home video, lift free weights, or stretch.
  • Join a gym with babysitting included. I taught aerobics for years using the free babysitting, and my kids loved it!
  • Exercise together, as a family. Put the kids in the stroller or sling and go for a family walk at the end of a busy day. Great bonding time, and you’re modeling self-care, too.
  • Trade off. Couples can take turns watching the kids while the other exercises. My husband and I used to do this: he’d watch the kids while I went for a jog or did a Pilates video, and then he’d head to the gym to play basketball, while I stayed with the kids.
  • Involve friends. Meet at the park and take turns watching the kids while the other goes for a jog, or start a babysitting co-op, where each person takes a turn watching all the children, and rotate.
  • Little kids can workout “with” you. When my kids were very young, they used to stretch and do yoga with me, or follow along with my exercise video, or they’d ride their Big Wheel up and down the street, while I ran alongside. It’s a great way to instill in kids a love of exercise, too.

 

~Exclusive, editor-deleted excerpt from my brand new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise” Coming April 2016, and available for pre-order TODAY on Norton.com (COUPON: save 25% plus free shipping with code HIBBERT) on Amazon & Barnes & Noble! Watch for more sneak peak excerpts, coming soon!

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My NEW book is almost here!  “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Pre-Order on Norton.com and SAVE 25% plus free shipping, with the code HIBBERT,
 or order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

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 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
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Be of Good Chee

 

How to Get (& Stay) Motivated! (Sneak Peak Excerpt from my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise”)

How to Get (& Stay) Motivated-Sneak Peak Excerpt from my new book, %228 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise%22 www.DrChristinahibbert.com #exercise #mentalhealth #motivation

It’s late January and there’s no better time to talk about motivation. We may have set goals, resolutions, and themes, but are we still going strong? Or is motivation starting to wane?

I’ve been counting the days ’til the release of my new book, “8 Keys To Mental Health Through Exercise,” but in the meantime, I thought I’d give you a sneak peak, sharing some of “Key 4: Get Motivated!” Though written for those trying to get and stay motivated to exercise, you will see you can apply these strategies to any goal you’re trying to achieve. Be sure to do the exercises at the end, too! It’s a sure way to start feeling more motivated today. And check out 8 Keys to Mental Health Through ExerciseSAVE 25% plus free shipping, with the code HIBBERT, on Norton.com or find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
—Mahatma Gandhi

“What is Motivation?’

“We can all relate to feeling motivated by something, or unmotivated, can’t we? The first example that comes to mind is school and homework. I’m sure each of us can recall a time from school or college days when we needed to complete a paper, project, or studying, but we just didn’t feel motivated to do it. Perhaps we were able to make ourselves get up and do it anyway, but perhaps we procrastinated and paid the price later. Either way, we know what motivation, or lack of motivation, feels like. What we may not fully understand is what motivation really is and how it really works.’

“Motivation is a psychological construct used to explain behavior. It also helps us understand our desires, needs, wants, thoughts, and feelings. It’s what gets us up and doing what we know we could, should, or need to do. It’s what makes us want to change, grow, and improve. It explains why we want to repeat or to stop a behavior, and also helps us understand why we don’t act—why we avoid, reject, or even fear certain behaviors, feelings, and experiences. Motivation is a word that’s part of our daily thought processes and vocabulary, and it’s one of the most popular concepts that we’ve adapted from psychology into everyday life. Motivation is quite literally in everything we do (or don’t do).’

“Unfortunately, for the most part, we don’t understand or comprehend our own motivations. This is where so many of us get stuck. We know when we feel motivated. We know when we don’t feel motivated. But how regularly do we check in, evaluate, and try to understand our motivations—our motivations for how we treat people, why we do the things we do, what we avoid, and yes, our motivations for our daily behaviors, including exercise? For most of us, I’d say, it’s pretty infrequent. The truth is we don’t always know why we do what we do, and until we can understand our motivation, we’ll continually struggle to get to where we want to be. Let’s do an exercise to help illustrate what I mean. Please grab a pencil, find a quiet spot, and take a few moments to honestly ask yourself the following questions.’

“Reflection Questions: Self-Motivations”

“1. Why did I [decide to read this article] in the first place? What motivated me to [click on the link]?

2. Once I [clicked on the article,] what motivated me to [actually] start [and keep] reading?

3. …What do I hope to gain from reading this?

“Did you answer the reflection questions? If so, what motivated you to take the time to do this exercise? Was it because I asked nicely? (I did say, ‘please.’) If you did not answer the reflection questions, then what motivated you to skip it?’

“See? Motivation is in everything that we do (or don’t do), and when we begin to examine our motivations, we begin to find the key to initiative, drive, follow through, and ultimately, to achieving what we most desire.”

“How Does Motivation Work: Theory and Understanding”

“In order to understand our own motivations to implement and continue an exercise for mental health How to Get (& Stay) Motivated; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comprogram, it’s helpful to learn a little more about motivational theory and how motivation really works. There are numerous motivation theories (I recall taking a “Theories of Motivation” class in college that was three hours per week and lasted four months). This is not a book about motivation, and so we will not examine all the motivational theories. Instead, we will focus on three theories that, according to research, and in my opinion, are the most helpful when it comes to motivation in physical activity and exercise, especially exercise for mental health.”

“Self-Determination Theory”

“One of the most well-studied and validated motivational theories, when it comes to exercise, is called self-determination theory (SDT). Originally developed after years of research by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, self-determination theory grew from a humanistic perspective, meaning that, similar to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (another, well-known theory of motivation) SDT focuses on the fulfillment of human needs, self-actualization, and how we can realize our potential as human beings (Teixeira et al., 2012). In short, self-determination theory posits that we are most motivated when our motivation comes from within—when we are self-motivated and self-determined.’

“Some of the key elements of self-determination include the following:’

“Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation”

“First, SDT differentiates between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation means doing something because we enjoy, are excited about, appreciate the challenge of, feel accomplished at, and/or like putting our skills to use in a given activity. Examples of intrinsic motivation include someone who swims because she is talented and accomplished at it, someone who dances because he just loves to dance, or someone who enjoys the satisfaction she feels after rising to the challenge of a difficult workout. Each of these intrinsic motivators makes the activity itself worth doing, for different reasons but all of them internal and related directly to the activity.’

“On the flip side, extrinsic motivation refers to doing an activity to gain some form of outside reward. It involves a separate gain from that achieved by doing the activity for the activity’s sake. For example, we may exercise to gain the approval or acceptance of others, earn a tangible reward like money or a treat when we’re done, or because, if we don’t participate, say, in a school physical education class, we’ll get a bad grade. Extrinsic motivation can also involve our values and goals, such as someone who is motivated to exercise because he values becoming more muscular to feel better about his physical appearance (Ryan & Deci, 2000;Teixeira et al., 2012).’

“The best motivators for short-term activity are extrinsic motivators, but for long-term commitment, intrinsic motivation is key. Thus, we need to develop both if we want the optimal motivation to exercise for mental health [or to accomplish any other goals we’ve set for ourselves].”

“Causality Orientations”

Another element of self-determination theory, which goes along with internal and external motivation, is called “causality orientations”—a fancy term for the idea that we each have specific dispositional tendencies

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when it comes to motivation. These tendencies can impact our motivation to exercise, and keep at it. Some of us are more internally oriented and more likely to follow our own thoughts, feelings, and courses of action. Others are more externally oriented, meaning they are more likely to follow external norms, advice, and directives. And some are generally “amotivated,” meaning they’re more likely to be unresponsive or passive to external or internal factors that might motivate their behavior (Teixeira et al., 2012). These differing orientations impact our beliefs, motivations, and practices of exercise for mental health (Markland, 2009). However, just because we have a tendency to act a certain way doesn’t mean that we’ll always act that way. Understanding our “causal orientation” simply provides an invitation to be more self-aware about what might, or might not, drive and motive us. Remember what we learned about practicing self-awareness [read this post]? It can help us become more self-accepting, self-loving, and ultimately, can increase our sense of self-worth. We can then use this awareness to find ways to overcome or improve our motivational tendencies when they don’t seem to be working well enough. (Review The Pyramid of Self-Worth…for more on how practicing self-awareness can improve self-worth, and thus internal motivation.)”

“Basic Psychological Needs”

“The third element of self-determination theory that’s useful when we’re talking about exercise motivation is the human need for: competence, relatedness, and autonomy (Ryan & Deci, 2000; Teixeira et al., 2012). We’ve already seen how feeling competent in activity is a huge predictor of sticking with an activity—for children, teens, and adults. Additionally, we’ve discussed how social interaction and connectedness are strong motivators for, as well as benefits of, exercise. When we talk about autonomy, we mean that people like doing what they like to do. When we enjoy the activity or feel some intrinsic reward for doing it, we’re more likely to feel motivated to start and stick with it. All three of these basic human needs combine to influence our exercise motivation, for better or worse. When we can identify our competence, relatedness, and autonomy needs concerning exercise for mental health, we can find ways to better meet those needs, thus improving our motivation.”

“Three Premises of Self-Determination Theory”

“Finally, self-determination theory is based on three premises, and these premises play an important role in exercise motivation. First is the premise that we humans are inherently proactive about seeking to master our internal world. This means we tend to work on developing and conquering our drives, thoughts, and emotions. This is a good thing when it comes to exercise for mental health, because if we want to master our internal world, then we’re more likely to prioritize our mental health, and consequently, the strategies needed to “master” it, including exercise. Second, we tend toward growth, development, and integration. This means our natural tendency as humans is to want to improve and be whole. Third, however, is the premise that, though we may seek to master our internal world and inherently tend toward optimal actions and development, they don’t happen automatically. We have to work at it (Ryan & Deci, 2000).’

“That’s what this book is all about—working on new ways to master your internal world, or mental health, and seek the optional actions, like exercise, that will get you to your optimal development. The activity below, and others in this book, can show you how…”

“Reflection Questions:”

“Self-Determination Theory and You”

“1. What is your “causal orientation,” or your natural dispositional tendency, when it comes to exercise [or whatever your current goals may be]? Are you more motivated by internal factors, like your own thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about exercise? Are you more motivated by external factors, like social interaction, accountability, and rewards? Or, are you more in the category of “amotivated”—more passive or unmoved by either internal or external rewards?

2. How does your orientation impact your desire, motivation, and actions to engage in physical activity [or to actively work on your goals, resolutions, or theme]?

3. How important are competence, enjoyment, and autonomy to you, in your life? How important are they in motivating you to exercise [or to achieve your goals]? Write about each of these.

4. What are your thoughts on the “three premises of self-determination theory,” above? Do you believe you’re “inherently proactive” when it comes to mastering your internal world—your mental health, emotions, drives, desires, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors? Why or why not?

5. Do you feel naturally drawn toward growth and integration or is this more of a struggle for you? Why or why not?

6. Do you agree that these things don’t just happen without hard work? Are you willing to do the work you need to do? Why or why not?”

-Excerpted and adapted from key 4 of my brand new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise.” Coming April 2016, and available for pre-order TODAY on Norton.com (save 25% plus free shipping with code HIBBERT) on Amazon & Barnes & Noble! Watch for more sneak peak excerpts, coming soon!

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My NEW book is almost here!  “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Pre-Order on Norton.com and SAVE 25% plus free shipping, with the code HIBBERT,
 or order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

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"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
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Listen to my episode of  “Motherhood” radio, “How to ‘Choose to Grow’ & Make Lasting Change,” for more tips on motivation!  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

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New Year, New You! Top 6 Strategies for Change & Personal Growth

New Year, New YOU! Top 6 Strategies for Change & Personal Growth; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

There’s something about January and another new year that gets my personal growth juices flowing. I just love the meaning of this time of year—the idea of hope and renewal, of a second (or fiftieth) chance, of the unrealized potential just waiting to be tapped and developed.

 

Decembers are always trying for me. Though I love the message and meaning of Christmas and the feel of the holiday season, it seems that, for as long as I can remember, it’s been a time of particular challenge, a time of once again “overcoming.” These past two months have been exactly that– filled with family stressors that left me with physical and emotional challenges, it has been a time of winter both literally and figuratively. Once again, I’ve retreated into my home, into my family and faith, and focused only on the basics as a way to pull through and to grow. And I have. I’m feeling much better—renewed, and ready to emerge once again, as it works with the seasons of personal growth.

 

Now, I get to focus on a new year, a new theme, and hopefully a newer, improved me. As we each emerge from seasons of winter, or as we drift into fall, or blossom in spring, we feel the hope of summer and flourishing, and that’s what January is all about. In fact, the word “January” comes from the Roman god, Janus, god of gates and doorways. Janus is depicted as having two faces, one facing forward and the other back. Let this time of year be your chance to look back and forward at the same time, to learn from the past and move on through the doorway to a newer, brighter future (and you!).

 

 

My Top 6 Strategies for New Year’s Change & Personal Growth

The following are 6 of the best strategies I can offer to help you create a new you this year, based on many years of my own personal growth and of helping others “choose to grow,” too. Use these suggestions to inspire, motivate, direct, and guide you into this new year’s opportunity.

The past is gone, and the future is yet to be written. Today, the present, is a gift, a clean slate. So, grab a pen and begin to write–a new future, a new you!

 

 

  • Get clear on your mission and vision. After you know where you are, it’s important to envision Personal Growth Tools: "How to Create Your Life's Vision"; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comwhere you hope to be. Or rather, envision who you’d like to become. Creating a mission statement can help; it can give your life focus and purpose and remind you of what really matters, day to day. My free gift, “How to Create Your Mission Statement” is a great place to start (coming next week–subscribe, top right or below, for first dibs!). Once you know what you want for your life’s purpose, it helps to create your vision. This is the shorter term application of your life’s mission. Use your mission statement to see your future, and then keep that future in mind and apply it each day by living with vision. These posts, Personal Growth Tools: Creating Your Life’s Vision & Beyond Resolutions: Discovering your New Year’s Vision can help. (And join my “This is How We Grow” Personal Growth Group, season 2, for more on how to discover & fulfill your life’s mission & purpose!)

 

  • Push yourself, but not too much. Just enough. What if you could be just 5% more loving, or 5% better at a talent you’re developing, or at your work? Imagine how that 5% would add up, over time. Becoming the Butterfly-The Powerf of Personal Transformation www.DrChristinaHibbert.comAnd it’s not overwhelming, is it? 5%? It’s completely doable for all of us. We must push ourselves out of our comfort zones—that’s what personal growth is all about. But we don’t have to jump out of the nest before we’re ready to fly. Focus on believing in yourself. Actively develop a strong sense of self-worth, and remind yourself each day that you can, and will, continue to grow, if you choose to do so. Then, use the 5% rule to push your comfort zone and prepare to take flight! (Read “How to feel Self-Worth: The Pyramid of Self-Worth” and check out my book, “Who Am I Without You?” for a 52-week guide to developing self-worth.)

 

  • Set one, two, or a few achievable goals or, instead, try a yearly theme. One problem too many of us create for ourselves is trying to do too much at once or tackling something that’s too big or we’re not ready for. Change is a process—one that’s more like a spiral staircase we ascend and descend several times before we get to the top (read this to learn more about making lasting change). We have to be ready to make change in order for it to actually work, and we have to set goals that are realistic, achievable, and measurable. You might try what I do, instead, and select a yearly theme. This is a way to focus deeply on one important trait or quality you’d like to become, for an entire year. Then, you can set smaller goals to help you along the way. Whatever you do, however, don’t overdo it. One step at a time is all it takes. Trust me. (For help and ideas, read “New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps to Personal Growth Success.)

 

 

  • Do it your way. While these are my best suggestions, learned through years of focusing on change and growth, both personally and professionally, they may not encompass what you need to make change. There is no one way to fulfill your life’s purpose or to achieve your goals. The best advice I can give is to find what works for you and do that. Don’t compare to how others are doing things. Don’t turn to social media to see if you’re “measuring up.” Do it your way, and let it be good enough, because it most definitely is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

And for those who’ve already registered, keep your eyes open for “the next 30 days”–coming soon!

My Gift to You! Happy New Year!

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

Listen to my new episode of  “Motherhood” radio, “New Year, New You–How to “Cultivate the Good Life & Record It,” available Monday January 4, 2016, for more ideas! Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe to the show.

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Share your best strategies for New year’s resolutions, goals, change, and growth, by leaving a comment, below!

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My NEW book is almost here!  “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Pre-order today!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

New Year, New YOU! Top 6 Strategies for Change & Personal Growth; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram!

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

 

“This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan–My New Year’s Gift to You!

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

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Beyond Resolutions: Discover your New Year’s Vision

What I’ve Learned about Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

Get Mentally & Physically FITT: How to create an exercise program that Works!

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Holiday Stress Survival Guide: How to feel more Peace & Joy this Season

Holiday Stress Survival Guide-How to Feel More Peace & Joy this Season; www.DrchristinaHibbert.com #holidays #christmas #mentalhealth #stress It’s that time of year again—time for “getting it all done,” time for planning and parties and presents and…peace?

 

Are you feeling peaceful this season? Are you feeling joyful? For many, the answer is, “no.” In a season when the reason for the holidays is supposed to be focused on the peace, joy, and hope of the birth of Christ, or on the miracle of the Hannukah oil, or on the unity, purpose, and faith associated with Kwanzaa, the truth is the real meaning is often lost in the hustle and bustle.

 

Our physical and mental health can also be lost in the holiday bustle, thanks to too-full calendars, shopping, decorating, wrapping, less sleep, relationship stress, poor eating, less exercise, and the mental and emotional toll all of this can take. I know, because I end up seeing more clients just before and right after the holidays, due to holiday-related stress, than any other time of year. They often show up right after Thanksgiving, then disappear during the middle of December, and reappear after the new year, exhausted and in need of succor.

 

I also know, because I’m not much better than my clients. I try to be, but I feel it every year—the push to “get it all done,” the high expectations I put on myself to make this “the best Christmas ever,” or to make handmade gifts for my family, or to host a party for friends, or to attend too many events, or to keep adding “to do’s” on to my already-full family schedule when all we really want is “to be.

 

That’s what I’m seeking this holiday season—a little less “doing,” and a little more “being.” I’m seeking to not only talk about but to feel the true meaning of Christmas. I’m seeking to give gifts that matter, that mean something, that last far longer than those that come in a box. I’m seeking greater peace, and joy, and meaning, and love.

 

 

How to Feel More Peace & Joy This Season

How can we make the holidays less stressful and more peaceful? How can we feel the joy this season is meant to restore? The following guide is here to help you not only survive, but to truly thrive this holiday season. Read it well, then get out there and do even one thing to make this year the most meaningful, peace-filled holiday of all.

 

  • Slow down and see. Before you can understand what you really need and desire, you have to stop Slow Down and See: How to Appreciate LIfe's Richness, via www.drchristinahibbert.comall the doing. Even 10-30 minutes of stillness can allow your brain and body to slow down and allow you to get in tune with what’s really going on. Ask yourself, “How am I really doing?” Then, ask, “What wonderful things am I missing in my life because I just haven’t been paying attention?” Too often, we miss the best parts of life because we’re moving too fast, but when we stop and pay attention, we begin to see and feel the true richness life has to offer. Finally, ask honestly,  “What do I need?” Only once you see what’s really going on can you choose to make a change. For more help on this, try this exercise in Slow Down & See: How to Appreciate the Richness of Life or read Stress Management: 15 Proven Ways to Stress Less & Smile More.

 

  • Simplify. It seems like an oxymoron, but the holidays are when we need simplicity the most. 10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life- www.DrChristinaHibbert.comWhatever you can cut out of your schedule, do it. For instance, I recently took a few months off of seeing clients and a month 1/2 off of blogging so I could focus more on family and self-care. Say a polite “no” to extra events you just don’t need or even to sending Christmas cards. Opt for a movie night with your kids, in PJs, instead of throwing a party or having a night on the town. Let go of the need to make everything look perfect and instead do the bare minimum decorations. And when it comes to presents, try “The 4-Gift Christmas.” It’s made a world of difference in my family, and it could just do the same for you.

 

 

  • Give gifts of meaning. I decided this year to give my family the gift of a more loving me. So, on "The 5 Gifts of Meaning," via www.drchristinahibbert.comDecember 1, I put myself to work on being more loving. Each day, I’ve been looking for ways to actively put more love into my family’s life. When I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed by my kids (which happens often!),I stop myself so I can instead seek the more loving alternative. I move to a quiet area and pray for help to change how I feel and show me a better way to be. I sit and feel the frustration or worry or whatever it may be. And when I’m ready, I go back and approach my family in a more loving way. I’m still learning, and I’ve got the rest of this month to practice (and all of next year–“Loving” is my new yearly theme!). So, I know I will improve, and that’s what counts. The best gifts don’t come in a box. This season, create a more meaningful holiday by giving gifts of meaning. For more ideas how to do this, check out “Create a More Meaningful Christmas with The 5 Gifts of Meaning” and “Give the Gift of Hope.”

 

  • Focus on relationships. How much more meaningful can we get than to improve relationships Love Greatly, "Mental Illness, Stigma & Suicide: Finding Hope in the Darkest Times"; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comthat need improving, connect with those with whom we need to connect, and spending time with those we love most? Make your holiday activities about strengthening relationships this year. My example, above, of seeking to be more loving is one way to focus on and improve relationships. It’s also a time to look for ways to spend quality time with those who mean the most to you. And if you’re struggling with family relationships, use my Holiday Relationship Stress Survival Guide to get you back on the right track.

 

  • Create joy. Don’t wait around to feel joyful. Instead, try acting cheerfully. No matter how you feel, you can choose to be of good cheer, and when you do, you’ll find you begin to feel more joyful as a result. If you want more joy this season, seek to create it. Smile on purpose. Seek ways to laugh more. Look for the good, and put more positivity into your vocabulary and emotions. Isn’t this what the holidays are all about? Joy, love, peace, hope, cheer? Let the good stuff begin with you. For some great ideas on how to be more cheerful, read Be of Good Cheer: 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful!

 

 How are you surviving and thriving this holiday season? Share your tips, thoughts, and ideas, by leaving a comment, below!

Listen to  “Motherhood” radio for more ideas! Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe to the show.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile, here, or above, right.

 

 

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My NEW book is almost here! “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Pre-order today!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
 TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

Holiday Stress Survival Guide-How to Feel More Peace & Joy this Season; www.DrchristinaHibbert.com #holidays #christmas #mentalhealth #stress
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram!

 

 

 

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Making Marriage Work By Resolving Conflict: 20 Tips on our 20th Anniversary

Making Marriage Work by Resolving Conflict-20 Years of Advice on our 20th Anniversary www.DrChristinaHibbert.comMaking marriage work takes work…period. It’s not easy and it’s not always blissful. You will have your high and low points. In fact, if there’s one thing you can count on for sure about marriage, it’s that you will have conflict. It may come from one another or from parenting challenges. It may come from outside your relationship, in the form of loss, change, or illness. It may come as a result of “normal” life transitions, but no matter how it comes, conflict will come.

 

It’s okay, though. That’s just the way long-lasting relationships, like marriage, work. Research shows the number one thing that makes marriage last isn’t that they don’t have any conflict. It isn’t that couples who make it never argue or have no life challenges. To the contrary, the ‘best’ couples have their fair share! The difference is they know how to handle conflict well. That’s the number one thing that makes marriage work–the ability to handle conflict.

 

Today, my husband, OJ, and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary!

Our wedding day, October 19, 1995. We eloped to the Mesa, AZ Temple two days before we were supposed to be married (that's a whole other story). We've been overcoming challenges and doing it our way ever since. (We were so young!)

Our wedding day, October 19, 1995. We eloped to the Mesa, AZ Temple two days before we were supposed to be married (that’s a whole other story). We’ve been overcoming challenges and doing it our way ever since. (We were so young!)

Looking back, we’ve had all kinds of conflict–graduate school, dissertations, raising children, work and career plans; depression, diabetes, exhaustion, and major life stress; death, loss, grief, and emotional pain; having babies, inheriting children, raising teenagers; court battles, attacks against us as parents and people, and building a family while striving to keep our passions alive; and yes, times when, even though we loved each other, we didn’t feel like we liked each other very much. And these are only a few of the incredibly long list.

 

But through these challenges, we’ve had the chance to change. We’ve been pushed to learn, to overcome, and to choose each other, time and again. Yes, though conflict can break a couple apart, it can also bond them tighter than they ever imagined.

 

Recently, OJ joined me as my guest on “Motherhood Radio.” It’s my favorite episode so far, because it helped me see how much we’ve grown and how much we have to share with others on how to make marriage work, too. So, for all of you seeking to make a marriage that lasts–to make marriage not only work, but work for both of you, here are our 20 best bits of advice. I hope you’ll read these and then watch or listen to our episode on Motherhood radio! They can help you overcome the conflict. They can help you build the relationship you desire. We don’t have all the answers, and we’ve still got plenty to learn; but we do have a few answers, and we hope they help you as much as they’ve helped us these past 20 years!

Listen to OJ and me on “Motherhood Radio” as we share how to “Make Marriage Work by Resolving Conflict–20 Years of Solutions on our 20th Wedding Anniversary!”

 

 

Resolving Conflict to Make Marriage Work: 20 Years of Advice on our 20th Wedding Anniversary!

1) Actively build the positive side of your relationship, every day. It’s not just about overcoming the negative, or the challenges. It’s also about building the positive, and this happens with small acts of love, every day.

 

2) Keep your emotional bank account in the black. Just like your monetary bank

Another pic of our wedding day. We were so young!

Another pic of our wedding day. We were so young!

account, your emotional bank account can be easily overdrawn if you don’t save up in advance. When you have a huge positive balance, a small conflict won’t set you over the edge, but if you’re at zero balance or overdrawn, any little thing can wipe the whole thing out! Kind words, deeds, listening, understanding, helping, giving, receiving, acknowledging, gratitude, love, and tenderness are just a few forms of currency that will keep your balance strong.

 

3) Set up “rules for negotiation” to help you fight fairly. When you’re in a good place, take time to set up “rules” for how you will argue. For instance, “No bringing up the past. If one person gets too heated, s/he can call a time-out. We will resume the discussion only after both are calmed down…” Knowing what to expect when things get tough can make a world of difference and help you keep focused on the issue at hand and not extra, irrelevant conflicts.

 

4) Take a time-out. When you’re too upset, it’s good to call a time out. It’s helpful to set up rules for this, too, so both people know what to expect. Usually it’s best to have at least an hour to calm down, since that’s how long it takes for your body to fully restore and calm itself. Just make sure you have a plan for how you’ll get back together and finish the discussion.

 

5) Set a time cut-off to avoid late-night fights. So many couples fight at night, when both are exhausted and really need sleep instead. OJ and I have a rule that we won’t discuss anything heated after 10 pm. If it’s really important, it can wait until the next day. And often, a little sleep makes that “important” issue suddenly seem far less so.

 

6) It’s okay to go to bed angry! Sometimes, I believe, it’s the best thing you can do. If you’re going nowhere and things are getting more heated, and you’re way too tired, you’re far better off getting some sleep instead of continuing to drag things out. Again, you’ll likely find that your terrible fight isn’t so terrible once you’ve both gotten some rest.

 

7) Write a letter. Some arguments are too heated no matter what you do. Instead, try writing to each other. Writing has three important benefits: 1) It gives you time to really consider what you want to say, 2) it removes the heated emotion behind your words, and 3) it helps to be able to re-read what you’ve both written, to help you both better understand what you really mean.

 

8) Practice “bids for affection.” This is a term used by top marriage researcher, Dr. John Gottman, and it means that even when things are feeling heated, it’s important to do small things

Before we were even dating, we were best friends. This is us, on our first ski trip with my family. Even when I'm scared, he pushes me on. He's been pushing me ever since! (Don't you love my outfit! It was totally rad back then.)

Before we were even dating, we were best friends. This is us, on our first ski trip with my family. Even when I’m scared, he pushes me on. He’s been pushing me ever since! (Don’t you love my outfit! It was totally rad back then.)

to show you still love them. Making them laugh, giving a funny look or gesture, offering a hug, or kissing them goodnight even though you’re still not happy with them, is an important way to keep things from turning ugly.

 

9) Let love in. When your partner gives you a bid for affection, let it in. Accept the hug, the kiss, the kind act or gesture. Never block love. And if you do, apologize as soon as possible. (Read 10 Ways to Let Love In, here)

 

10) Apologize when you’re wrong. It’s good to admit when you’re wrong. Too often, we’re caught up in getting our partner to take their blame, but OJ and I have found that when we initiate the apology, the other person is much more likely to chime in and apologize for their part in things, too.

 

Watch this video of OJ and me recording our episode of “Making Marriage Work by Resolving Conflict” on Motherhood Radio! One of my favorite episodes yet–On my YouTube channel!

"Making Marriage Work by Resolving Conflict: 20 years of Solutions on our 20th Wedding Anniversary" on #Motherhood #radio! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

11) Know and practice their love languages. Learn to “speak” the language they need to hear to feel loved. Be it acts of service, verbal affirmations, physical touch, gifts, or spending time, when you show love the way they want it, you’re so much more likely to get through to one another. (More on Love Languages here.)

 

12) Seek first to understand and then to be understood. Many couples really struggle with this one. We so desperately want the other person to see our point of view! But, when we stop and listen and seek to see theirs, first, we often find the deeper understanding we really need to actually hear one another.

 

13) Talk to each other regularly and actively continue to get to know one another. Another important part of building the positives and putting deposits into the emotional bank account is simply continuing your courtship. Remember when you used to want to know everything about each other? Now, you may feel like you’ve heard it all. But you haven’t. Trust me, you haven’t. Make it a point to get to know each other, continually, your whole marriage long.

 

14) Watch out for the top conflict-causers and head them off. Sadly, “children” is the top-cited conflict-causer among married couples, with financial issues/work/career a close second. Others include chores, hobbies/personal interests, relaxation and “free” time, and of course, sex. Recognize which issues are hot-button ones for you and watch for the times when an argument is coming. Knowing something will cause a fight can often help, if you stop, calm down, and find another way to deal with it instead. A counselor or third party person can be very helpful in these cases! (Read, “My Kids are Driving Me Crazy!” (again) Why Parenting is so Darn Tough)

 

Making Marriage Work: 20 years of Advice on our 20th Wedding anniversary www.DrChristinahibbert.com

I love this picture because we didn’t know our kids were taking it. We were dancing and cuddling while driving the houseboat out, and the kids caught the moment. 💗

15) When it comes to intimacy and sex, OJ says, “Just do it,” and after careful consideration, I agree. Keeping your sexual relationship strong and healthy builds that positive closeness we were discussing above. It keeps the emotional bank account in the black. BUT, it’s not just about sex. It’s about cuddling and hugging and being with one another in healthy, positive ways. It’s important to make sure you’re BOTH getting your needs met. Find what works for both of you. Understanding the Love Languages can help. Schedule sex if needed (and usually, if you’re a parent, it will be needed!), but do it. Regular sexual intimacy not only keeps you mentally and physically healthier, it grows your relationship and wards off conflict, too. And if your conflicts revolve around sex, then seek to resolve those conflicts first. Find a way to help both of you get your needs met. (These articles, The 5 Love Languages, The Importance of Alone Time, and 9 Ways to Build Intimacy in Romantic Relationships, can help!

 

16) Repeat after me, “I’d rather be happy than right.” So many conflicts just aren’t worth it. Ask yourself, “Is it really worth the pain, conflict, and  sacrifice of our happiness to ‘be right?’ right now? Or is it better to let things go and be happy, together?”

 

17) Don’t expect him/her to read your mind! You have to identify your own needs and then communicate them effectively if you ever want those needs met. I’ll say it again, “Don’t expect him/her to be a mind-reader.” It won’t work and will just leave you frustrated. (Read 4 Ways to Get Your Needs Met

 

19) Do it your own way–as a couple. There is no one “right way” to make marriage work. Even these suggestions are based on what works for us, or for many people, but they won’t all work for you. Find what does work and do that!

 

20) Making marriage work takes work. Don’t forget it. Don’t expect it to be easy or breezy.

A few weeks ago, at Horseshoe Bend. Isn't it gorgeous? Happy day!

A few weeks ago, at Horseshoe Bend. Isn’t it gorgeous? Happy day!

It’s not. You’re building a future here. A lifetime. A partnership. You’re growing love. Be willing to give it your all. Don’t give up. Don’t quit on each other. Roll up your sleeves and do what it takes. With two committed partners, you can, and will make it work, and work well, for both of you!

 

21) Bonus! Do your own work first and seek help as needed. Sometimes, the problem isn’t a lack of love in the relationship, but a lack of self-love or self-worth, mental or physical illness or something else. If you’re not well, your relationship will suffer. Seek help when you need it through counseling, trusted friends or family members, church or faith leaders, and community support. We all need outside help from time to time, especially when it comes to making marriage work. Do your individual work. Then, do your work as a couple. And start as early on in the problem as possible. Don’t wait. Your marriage, and your happiness, are too important! (Join my FREE webinar on “Women’s Emotions”–perfect for women of all ages and stages AND the men who love them! See below.)

 

 

What have you found to “make marriage work?” How do you resolve conflicts? Please leave a comment, below, and share your wisdom and insights, too!

Listen to my episode, with OJ, “Making Marriage Work by Resolving Conflict,” in honor of our 20th anniversary, on  “Motherhood” radio! Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe to the show.

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10 Ways to Let Love In

Couples & Romantic Love: 9 Ways to build Intimacy in Relationships

17 Secrets for Making Marriage Work (on our 17th Wedding Anniversary!)

Relationship Rescue: The Reconsideration Exercise

The 5 Love Languages: Improve relationships & Feel the love!

Men & Postpartum Depression: The facts on Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND)

“The Pyramid of Self-Worth: Step 3, Practice Self-Love

50 ways to Love your Loved Ones

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In Praise of Fathers: 15 Research-based Ways Dads Impact Kids for the Better

To All Who Fear They’ll Never Heal- On the 8th Anniversary of My Sister’s Death (A “Day of GratefulLovingJoy”)

 

To All Who Fear They'll Never Heal-On the 8th Anniversary of My Sister's Death (A Day of GratefulLovingJoy) www.DrChristinaHibbert.comToday, October 17th, is “Shannon day,” the day my sister died, eight years ago. When Shannon died, it was so unexpected, so traumatic, so tragic, so unbelievable, it sent my entire family reeling for years. Not only did we inherit our nephews and have a baby a couple weeks later, but it shattered the little bit of innocence we had left–that we were safe, that life could go on–at least, it shattered us for a while. (Read our story in my award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow)

 

My youngest sister, Miki, had died of cancer 14 years prior, sucking up my first bits of innocence, teaching that death must come to all—for some, it seems, far too soon. When Rob (Shannon’s husband) died, and then, two months later, Shannon, it seemed like death was on a rampage. We lost 6 family members in two years during that time, including our beloved “Papa Dave.” It was tough enough for me to try and make sense of things, but for my kids? It seemed incomprehensible they should experience so much death, so young.

 

But kids are resilient, and so are we. Though time alone doesn’t heal the wounds of

Shannon and me, in Jamaica, in 2001. What a joy to have had that week together, making memories I'll treasure always!

Shannon and me, in Jamaica, in 2001. What a joy to have had that week together, making memories I’ll treasure always!

living on when those we love are no longer living, time plus work plus love, does heal. Each year, we worked through more pieces of the pain. Each year, we grew as a family. We adopted the boys, and the children matured and thrived. We stopped when needed, to catch our breath, to feel, each returning to counseling or grief work to heal a bit more. Then, we got going again. It’s the only thing we can really count on: life keeps on going.

 

Last year, when our dear friend, Jody, took her life—another unexpected, traumatic, tragic loss for us all—it felt like too much once again. It felt like, “Why does this keep happening to us? To me? To my children?” It felt like, “I don’t want to be stuck in the land of the dead. I don’t want to be flooded with grief again.” But I was, and we all were, and we struggled again, and then, we began to heal–again.To all Who Fear They'll Never Heal- On the 8th Anniversary of my Sister's Death; www.DrChrisitnaHibbert.com

 

Grief is an important step in this indescribable experience of life and death—a sign of love for those we’ve lost, a sign we love them still. As my family and I grieved Jody, we grew to love her husband and children as part of our extended family. Again, we lost innocence, but again we matured, again we learned and we grew.

 

 

To All Who Fear They’ll Never Heal: “You Will.”

Today, on the 8th anniversary of Shannon’s death, I can honestly say, “I’ve healed.” I don’t feel grief. I don’t feel fear or pain or sorrow. In fact, I almost forgot this day was coming—a huge change from years past. Because life changed so drastically those years ago, this time of year–the fall, the chill in the air, the month of October–has naturally reminded me of our Fall. However, this year, the weather has remained warm and beautiful and inspiring, until today. This year, I did not fear. I did not hide. I did not ignore. I simply let today come, as the rain has come, and here it is, and here am I.

 

It’s a rainy day, but a remarkable one. The clouds are hanging around, yet hardly a drop has fallen. The sun has poked through and warmed us, and I’ve even had the windows

Our first scuba dive! Such joy I feel when I see these pics! Oh, how I love my sis.

Our first scuba dive! Such joy I feel when I see these pics! Oh, how I love my sis.

open, to bask in the stillness and the majesty of life. Birds chirp, people stir, and I listen, and I smile. Then, the drops begin to fall once more, and I feel full of peace and joy. Rain washes away the old and makes all things watered, refreshed, vibrant, and new.

 

That’s how I feel today—refreshed, peaceful, vibrant, and new. I feel changed. I feel evolved. I feel at peace. Proof we can heal. Proof we do carry on.

 

Tomorrow is Jody’s birthday. Today is Shannon’s death day. This year, these feel significant—only hours separating the days of life and death. Isn’t that how it goes? Life and death coexist together, and it is terrible and beautiful all at the same time. But mostly, beautiful.

 

All I feel is gratitude—gratitude for breath and life and waking and sleeping, To All Who Fear They'll Never Heal-On the 8th Anniversary of my Sister's Death www.DrChristinaHibbert.comfor hearts beating and souls enlarging, for love flowing and God growing us in love, endlessly.

 

Mingled with gratitude is love—how can it be otherwise? Love for my sister and for my dear friend, and for our children and families. Love for my husband, for having been given so many opportunities to truly love others, to share the wisdom and goodness and light that have come through these trials.

 

Where gratitude and love are, joy must abound, and so it does today. Joy for all we’ve been through—joy because without Shannon and Rob, we wouldn’t be who we are today. Joy knowing there is a plan, and it is a plan of happiness, a plan where families are forever, a plan that allows us to be together again one bright day. Joy for feeling this, knowing it, alive in my soul.

 

 

A “Day of GratefulLovingJoy”

Today, I say goodbye to “Shannon day.” Not that I don’t want to remember her. I will never forget her, and especially not on October 17th. No, I say goodbye because I am changed. As the saying goes, “The leaves are about to show us how to let the dead things go.” We don’t let our loved ones go. No. But, as we heal, we let the pain and sorrow go. We replace them with things like gratitude and love and joy.

Laughing, as usual, at Dunn's River falls, in Jamaica. This is how I will always remember Shannon and me--laughing, together!

Laughing, as usual, at Dunn’s River falls, in Jamaica. This is how I will always remember Shannon and me–laughing, together!

 

Today, instead, I institute the “Day of GratefulLovingJoy“! A day to focus on all we’re grateful for. A day to feel and offer love. A day to tap into the joy that is deep within us all, a permanent reminder that life carries on, through loving greatly. Since they cannot be separated, the word expresses the same: grateful-loving-joy. Like lovingkindness, it’s a concept we should embrace and live.

 

So, tonight, today, join me in expressing gratefullovingjoy. Remember those you love. Number your blessings, and express them to those in your life and to your Creator. Love with a hug, a smile, a kind word, a shoulder, a burden lifted. Let love in, and feel the joy. It’s there. It’s always there, even when it’s raining outside. The joy—the sun—is always there.

 

 

Will you join me in my “Day of GratefulLovingJoy?” Even if it’s another day of the year, I hope you will! We all need a little more gratitude, love, and joy in our days, and we can create it by focusing, purposefully, upon it. Please share your experiences with me in the comments section, below.

 

 

 

Listen to “Motherhood” radio. Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, or visit iTunes to subscribe to the show.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

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#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
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"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

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Perinatal Loss & Grief: Coping, Hoping & Healing Together (in honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day)

Perinatal Loss & Grief-Coping, Hoping & Healing Together www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #perinatalloss #grief #loss #pregnancy #postpartum #miscarriage #stillbirth #infantdeathToday is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a day for families to remember the loss of their baby. Whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death, the loss of a baby is one of the most difficult experiences a mother, father, and family can go through, and today is a day when we can all reach out in support, and love, as we remember, too. Tonight, at 7 pm, millions will light a candle to remember the lost babies. Will you light a candle with us?

This post is for all remembering their babies today, and each day, for all who are grieving, healing, and finding hope again. May these words buoy you up as you seek to cope with and heal from perinatal loss. May you feel my love for you!

 

Coping with Perinatal Loss

One thing that makes perinatal loss especially difficult is the many associated losses that accompany the loss of a baby. Not only has your baby died, but you may also experience:

  • The loss of the future–dreams, hopes, and what “could have been.”
  • A loss of innocence–knowing now how painful life can really be.
  • Loss of support–from friends, family, and even partners who just don’t understand the grief you feel.
  • Loss of confidence–doubt about your body, your habits, and your ability to cope. Loss of confidence in life, in others, and even in God.

Perinatal loss often feels like a “silent” loss, like you’re grieving alone and wondering why no one is feeling this devastation, this hole in the world. You may feel you’re all alone, isolated, like no one understands your pain, like you’ll never be whole again.

 

Allow me to say the words you need to hear, and I pray you’ll believe them:

1. “You’re not alone.” Perinatal loss is, unfortunately, all too common. According to research, more than a million miscarriages occur each year in the United States alone.[1] In 2006, there were 25, 972 reported stillbirths, and 28,509 reported infant deaths.[2] This means millions of women, men, couples, and families are grieving the loss of a child each year. Though you feel isolated in your experience and your grief, reach out. There are many who understand. You’re not alone.

 

2. “You have a right to feel devastated, to feel cheated, angry, depressed, fearful, overwhelmed with The Skills of Overcoming…Depression, Anxiety, PPD, Grief, Hormones, Stress, etc., etc.; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comgrief.” You have a right to feel however you feel–it’s part of grief, and it means you loved your baby. Let yourself feel what you feel.

 

3. “Many people really don’t understand your pain, and that is a horrible truth. But, many people can, and will, understand, if you let them in.” You may feel like nobody “gets it,” like your loss is trivialized or forgotten. Unfortunately, this is common. Many people don’t understand perinatal loss, and few who haven’t been through it really “get” it.  Even couples going through it together experience perinatal loss in unique, and often completely opposite ways. This may make you feel like even your partner doesn’t understand how you feel, that even he or she isn’t grieving the loss of your child as you are. Help them understand by bringing them into your world. Talk about your grief. Explain how you feel. Keep searching until you find that someone who truly understands. (Visit MISSFoundation.org to find support groups for perinatal loss.)

 

4. “As a mother, you’re likely to experience this loss more profoundly than even your partner will, because this baby was carried by you.” You knew this baby best, and often it can feel like no one cares but you. But, they do care. It’s just that you were closest to the baby. It makes sense you would grieve the most deeply. Grief is a sign of love, and you loved your child.

 

5. Pregnancy and postpartum loss not only affects mothers; it can have a significant impact on the father/partner, the couple’s relationship, other children, and the entire family system. Loss and grief have long been considered an individual process, but couples and families who turn together in times of perinatal grief will not only heal as individuals, they will strengthen the family, too.

 

6. Each will experience the loss and grieve in his or her own unique way. Mothers can feel alone in their grief process—like they carry the weight of grief for the family. Fathers/partners may isolate into work or activities to cope with grief, making it difficult for couples to come together and work through grief as a team. Siblings or other children are often forgotten in the grief process because parents are so overcome by their own grief. Thus, families often bear the stress of grief symptoms, with family members feeling isolated or like the family is pulling apart. Yet, families who FEEL together HEAL together (This is How We Grow). (Read “Dealing with Grief,” “Siblings & Grief” and “Children & Grief”). 

Watch my episode of Motherhood Radio, “Coping, Healing & Carrying On After Perinatal Loss,” on YouTube, here

 

Grieving the Loss of a Baby

How can one find hope again after perinatal loss? The first step is to grieve your loss. Until you grieve sufficiently, it will be challenging to fully heal. And until you fully heal, it’s tough to feel the hope you desire.

Grief is part of pregnancy and postpartum loss, and can have a wide range of emotional, physical, and mental symptoms, including: sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, loneliness, numbness, fatigue, tightness in chest/throat, sleep disturbance, changes in appetite, restlessness, confusion, inability to concentrate, poor memory, and even experiences like hearing or seeing the deceased.

In fact, experts estimate there are over 100 symptoms of grief. That’s why it can feel so hard. We become overwhelmed with a horde of emotions and symptoms that leave us wondering, “How do I deal with my grief?”

Perinatal grief, like that after miscarriage or stillbirth, can be even more complex and unique. It often involves a sense of biological failure and a loss of self. It can be tough to process because, as we discussed above, the loss is often minimized by others, leaving mothers, fathers, and families feeling vulnerable. Loss in pregnancy and postpartum can also be accompanied by a loss of innocence, a knowing that death and painful loss are real and do happen. This can increase anxiety, worry, and fear in mothers and their family members, and these fears often carry over into future pregnancies as well. (Read Sharon Martin, LCSW’s post, “Healing Perinatal Loss“).

 

What is a family to do in times of perinatal loss and grief, to restore hope and to heal?

1)   First, know that your loss is real. It matters. And it is real and matters for your family members, too. Even if they feel or express their sense of loss in a different way, know that it matters to each of you.

 

2)   Know that grief is the body and mind’s healthy response to perinatal loss, and grief work is necessary to move forward. You must grieve your losses, and your family members must as well. Help children, partners, and other family members understand their need to grieve and give permission for family members to talk about or work through grief openly. (Read “How do I grieve? Grief work & TEARS)

 

3)   Remember it is normal for each of us to experience and work through grief in our own way. Try to respect your family member’s methods of grieving, but also try to turn together and bridge the gaps. (Read Dealing with Grief Together, www.DrChristinaHIbbert.comGrief & the Family“)

 

4)   Grieve individually AND grieve together, when possible. Grieving individually is important to help you process and experience your own grief reactions. But turning together and grieving as a family is powerful and can protect and strengthen family relationships. Mark the loss with a memorial or creative project, talk about it, cry together, ask, “How are you feeling today” and listen. Families who can do these things will not only heal; they can and will grow stronger through perinatal loss and grief. (Read “The 5 Stages of Grief“)

 

A few more things to remember about coping with and grieving Perinatal Loss…

1)   There is no set time frame for how long grief “should” last. However, actively working on grief in the ways described above or through counseling or other methods can help grief resolve more quickly.

 

2)   Honor special anniversaries and occasions. It helps process your grief to remember the people and things you have lost. Involve family, friends, and your children. (Read “Grief & Children: What you can Do?“)

 

3) As much as possible, turn toward your partner in times of perinatal grief. As we turn toward one another, instead of away, we offer one another the opportunity to grow as a couple, to heal, and to move on, together.

 

4)   Involve other adults if you feel unable to cope with parenting while you treat your grief. It can be tough for parents to maintain their parenting role in times of grief. If it gets to be too much, ask a family member or friend to step into a “parent” role for a while. This will give you time to heal yourself while insuring your other children are not left to cope alone.

 

5)   Seek grief counseling and support. Working with a grief counselor or perinatal loss support group can be incredibly powerful. It helps to have someone to guide you through and to remember you are not alone. (Visit MISS Foundation for info on support and counseling.)

 

 

Healing from Perinatal Loss & Finding Hope Again

Through grief work, turning toward one another, and relying upon family, friends, and other supports in your time of need, you can, and will heal from this loss.

This doesn’t mean you “get over it.” You never “get over” the loss of a loved one, especially a child. But you do move on. You carry on. You heal. You grow. And you begin to feel that seed of hope sprouting once more in your soul. Hope for the future, hope for seeing your little one again in that bright day, hope for Join PSI's Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop! www.DrChristinaHibbert.comfamily growth and healing, and hope that everything we go through we can also choose to “grow” through (from my memoir, “This is How We Grow).

So, today and everyday, remember your child. Honor your child. Talk about your child. And for all who wish to support a family through perinatal loss, I say the same: Remember their child. Honor their child. Talk about their child. Use the child’s name (if s/he has one). Remembering is healing. It is keeping them alive. (Read Sharon Martin, LCSW’s post, and “How to Support a Friend Grieving Pregnancy and Infant Loss“).

Today, on this Day of Remembrance, remember. Remember all the children who have been lost. Remember all the parents who have survived and are carrying on. Tonight, at 7 pm, join families around the world in lighting a candle to remember the babies who’ve been lost (more info here). Remember, today. Love, today.

 

 

Please share your memories, feelings, and thoughts about this article in the comments, below. 

 

 

Listen to “Coping, Healing, & Carrying On After Perinatal Loss,” featuring Sharon Martin, LCSW, personal and professional expert on perinatal loss, on “Motherhood” radio. Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, or visit iTunes to subscribe to the show.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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Don’t miss my FREE Webinar, “Introduction to Women’s Emotions: What you were Never Taught about Hormones, the Brain, & Your Mental Health.”

Click here to claim your spot, today!
Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My NEW book is almost here! “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
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#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
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 Perinatal Loss & Grief-Coping, Hoping & Healing Together www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #perinatalloss #grief #loss #pregnancy #postpartum #miscarriage #stillbirth #infantdeath
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Related Posts/Articles:

How to Cope with and Treat Perinatal Loss & Grief (guest post from Postpartum Progress blog)

Dealing with Grief

Siblings & Grief

How do I Grieve? Grief Work & Tears

Grief & the Family

Grief & Children: What You Should Know 

5 Skills of Overcoming…Grief, PPD, Stress, etc.

Understanding & Overcoming Anger

FEEL: How to cope with Powerful Emotions

Women & Depression: 12 Facts Everyone Should Know

Postpartum Depression Treatment: What Everyone Should Know

Postpartum Depression & Men

Women’s Emotions: Part 3, The Menstrual Cycle & Mood 

Relationship Rescue

15 Proven Ways to Stress Less

12 Facts on Depression & Medication 

References 

1 Ventura SJ, Curtin SC, Abma JC, Henshaw SK. Estimated pregnancy rates and rates of pregnancy outcomes for the United States, 1990-2008. National vital statistics reports; vol 60 no 7. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.

2 MacDorman MF, Kirmeyer SE, Wilson EC. Fetal and perinatal mortality, United States, 2006. National vital statistics reports; vol 60 no 8. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.

FREE Webinar! Intro to “Women’s Emotions”: What you were never taught about your Brain, Hormones, & Mental Health”

Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

What creates the ups and downs so common in female emotions?
What role does the brain play, and how do hormones factor in?
Why is it that most women were never taught these crucial truths?

 

Join me for my new, FREE webinar all about “Women’s Emotions,” as we explore the relationship between hormones, the brain, life experiences, and the unique qualities that create women’s emotional and mental health.

 

Register Here!

 

I’ve been teaching seminars on women’s emotional health for years, and I’ve found that this is information EVERY woman is needs.

Those who work with women, especially in the medical or mental health fields, need this information; those who love women (like husbands and partners) need this information; and those who want to better understand their own mental and emotional health so they can pass this information on to friends, family, and daughters especially need it.

In fact, many women are desperate for this understanding–desperate for answers to why they feel how they feel, why their moods fluctuate so much, and what they can do to increase wellness and mental and emotional health in their lives. In fact, my previous articles on “Women’s Emotions,” parts 1, 2, and 3, have been some of my most popular, and each time I teach on this topic, the women in the audience (and often the men who love them) ask, “Why was I never taught these things?”

 

This is why I am so thrilled to share this brand new webinar series with you!

Personally and professionally I have found this information to be life-changing, and I hope it will be for all who join us, too!

 

 

Here’s what you will learn in this FREE webinar!

 

 

In the first 30 minutes:

  • Learn the facts on female emotions, why they can be so challenging.
  • Understand the underlying factors creating women’s mental and emotional health.
  • Receive tools to help you overcome mental health struggles and build emotional wellness.
  • Leave with a new framework for understanding your, or women’s, mental and emotional health.
  • And, most importantly, know what you can DO.

 

The second 30 minutes will be a LIVE Q & A!

Submit your questions in real-time, and I will answer as many as possible. This is a wonderful opportunity to have your questions answered, live! If you can’t attend live, no problem! The webinar will be recorded, so you can access and view it any time!

 

Register Today!

Just click this link and you’ll be taken to the registration page, which includes a short video introduction to the webinar and easy registration!

Don’t stay in the dark about your own emotions any longer. Register for “Introduction to Women’s Emotions” today!”

 

 

 

P.S. If you have any questions about the webinar or registration, feel free to ask in the comments, below!

 

 

Be sure to check out my New show, “Motherhood,” on WebTalkRadio.net!

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
 TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

 Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram!

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

Creativity & Motherhood: 10 Ways to Uplift & Inspire Your Kids, Family, & Self!

Motherhood & Creativity- Uplift & Inspire! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

As women, and especially as mothers, we are creators. Creators of human beings, creators of families, creators of homes. We nurture, love, uplift, and inspire, and all of these requires creativity.

 

It’s easy as busy women and moms, however, to let our creativity fade, to let the busyness of life overtake us, ruling our schedules and making us believe our need for creation is unimportant, impossible, or insignificant. Yet, we need to create. We were born to create! We must continually nurture our creative qualities and pursuits if we want to keep our spirit alive and kicking, and when we do so, we have so much more to offer. In fact, it is through creativity that we uplift and inspire–our kids, our families, our communities, and yes, ourSELVEs.

 

 

10 Ways to Boost Creativity & Uplift and Inspire!

I was inspired by my interview on Motherhood radio with Rhonna Farrer, graphic artist and creator of the award-winning apps, Rhonna Designs & RD Magic (which I LOVE!). It is truly energizing to be around people who embrace & actively foster their creativity, and Rhonna is definitely one of those people! In fact, her tagline, “Uplift & Inspire,” inspired this blog post as well as our radio episode on Motherhood & Creativity: Uplift & Inspire! (Listen here on demand or download podcasts from iTunes!)

 

If your creativity needs a boost, check out the following 10 tips I believe are essential to nurturing and keeping creativity flowing in motherhood. Then, use that creativity to get out there and uplift & inspire, today!

 

I struggled with my confidence as a writer for years before I finally made myself believe in me. 2 years later, I'd not only published my first book, but I won an award for This is How We Grow! Others obviously believed in me, too. :)

I struggled with my confidence as a writer for years before I finally made myself believe in me. 2 years later, I’d not only published my first book, but I won an award for This is How We Grow! Others obviously believed in me, too. :)

1) Acknowledge your creativity. 

I can’t tell you how often I hear people say, “…but I’m not a creative person!” To that I say “Wrong!” We are all creative in some way or another; the trouble is we think creativity only applies to artistic ability, when in reality it’s so much more. You may be a creative thinker, problem solver, or nurturer. However and whatever you create–be it a clean home, happy disposition, or physical or mental health–is your creativity shining through. Your creativity may shine in your garden, at the dinner table, or while playing with your kids. It may pop up in how you handle your relationships, how you serve others, or how you learn. We ALL create. The first step is to acknowledge your preferred forms of creativity.

 

 

2) Believe in yourself. 

Of course, for any of these things to happen, you’ve got to believe in yourself. You’ve got to recognize your creativity and believe you can and will be able to apply it to make the world, or your home, or even your life, better. If you don’t have confidence in your creativity at the start, then fake it ’til you make it. Practice, like you would with weight lifting, until your confidence muscles become stronger. Even if you don’t feel confident, you can still practice creativity. The more you work on building your creative muscles, the more likely your confidence is to start shining through. (For more on building self-confidence and self-worth, click here.)

 

 

3) Practice nurturing your creativity each day.

To flourish, creativity must be nurtured. That means making creativity a part of each day–on purpose! It may sound difficult, but it’s simpler than you think. Writing, drawing, singing, dancing, crafting, gardening, decorating, brainstorming–even (and especially) mothering can get your creative juices flowing! The trick is to make creativity a practice–part of your daily routine. Rhonna Farrer has a fabulous way to nurture her creativity. Each day she selects one of 100 creativity-boosting exercises from a jar and does it. For example, doodling on a chalkboard or writing down thoughts or ideas throughout the day. Check out Rhonna Farrer’s “Boost Your Creativity” post, workshop, and kit to try it out, too!

 

 

4) Ditch the excuses. 

Created with the Rhonna Designs app!

Created with the Rhonna Designs app!

Okay. I know it’s not easy to cultivate creativity when you’re exhausted, sleep deprived, barely showered (or not quite showered), and just trying to keep up! Trust me, with 6 kids, this is my life every day. BUT, I can also say that creativity can fit in with motherhood, no matter what season of ‘being mom’ you’re in.

There truly is a “reason for every season,” and you can fit creativity into every stage of motherhood. Sit and practice piano with your baby strapped to your back, pull out the finger-paints and dig in with your toddler, or work with your teenager on redecorating her room. Practicing creativity doesn’t have to add more time to your already busy life. It’s more about using your time as wisely as possible, about simplifying things by creatively approaching each task. It’s about getting out of the “box” of excuses for why you can’t be creative and finding a whole new box to explore!

 

 

5) Nurture your relationships with creativity.

When I was in high school, my friends and I started “creative dating.” We’d invite new guys out

My husband, OJ, and me at my 39th birthday/ "This is How We Grow" book release party! Such a fabulous, fun night!

My husband, OJ, and me at my 39th birthday/ “This is How We Grow” book release party! Such a fabulous, fun night!

each week and then plan outrageous, fun dates with them that included things like playing cards in the airport, dinner on mountaintops, gondola rides with Italian opera, and a serenade in 3-part harmony (by us) to top it off! We can bring the same creativity to our marriages and relationships, if we focus and work on it. Play games, tell jokes, dance, sing, laugh together. Anything that gets you out of your rut!

For my birthday a couple years ago, we had a super fun game/competition/book launch party, with Jenga, Perfection, Connect 4, and “SingStar” competitions, as well as a few intense “Down on the banks of the hanky pinky…bullfrog” hand slapping competitions between my friends to win copies of my book! Other prizes included a “Bacon Wave,” kitchen appliances we no longer needed, and even our old TV! Everyone felt like a kid again; it was a great time! Think outside of the box with your family, partners, and friends–it will not only uplift and inspire your relationships, it will strengthen your creativity!

 

 

6) Practice creativity in your parenting.

Whether it’s helping your child find a solution to their problem, doing the end-of-the-year projects with them at midnight (the day before it’s due!), or finding creative discipline solutions that work, parenting is all about creativity. Actively incorporate creativity into your daily parenting by looking for new ways to handle your children’s needs, respond to intense situations, keep your family healthy and active, and teach important values and skills. Instead of talking out a problem, have them draw a picture of it. Then, together, draw a picture of a creative solution. There are countless ways to boost your creativity as a parent. All you have to do is look for and implement them! (Read more about Parenting Skills, here.)

 

 

7) Create the Life you Desire. 

It’s up to us to envision, execute, and ultimately to create the life we desire. It won’t just fall into our lap. It takes work, and it requires creativity. Don’t sell yourself short. Learn to use your creativity to bring to pass the life of your dreams! Learn how in Create the Life you Desire, Parts 1 & 2!Create your Life’s Vision, and Becoming the Butterfly: The power of personal transformation!

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

8) Create the body and mind you desire.

Physical and mental health are both acts of creation, as well. We can’t be healthy, and happy, until we make our health a priority. Exercise is one of the best tools for creating the body and mind you desire, and this article can show you how to create an exercise program that works for you! Sleep, nutrition, alone time, and self-care are other elements of creation that build wellness and help us flourish. We have to see these as creative acts, as acts that ultimately lead to health. Then, we have to practice creating the body and mind we desire. (For more ideas, read 6 Strategies for Body-Mind EmpowermentThe Mind-Body-Spirit Connection, and w5 Steps to a Clutter-Free Mind (and life!) And be sure to check out my new book, 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise!)

 

 

9) Create happiness.

Research shows that only 50% of happiness is determined by genetics and personality. The other 50% is up to us. Only we can create happiness and discover joy; we can’t afford to wait around, hoping it distills upon us. How do we do this? These posts are a great starting place: Beyond Happiness: 10 Ways to Create Joy, Living a Life of Meaning & Purpose: The key to true happiness, and Joy is in the Moments.

 

 

I love this quote and created this meme using the Rhonna Designs app!

I love this quote and created this meme using the Rhonna Designs app!

10) Create love.

There is no greater creative purpose than that of creating love. And yes, loving is a highly creative process. As we focus on others’ needs, seek to meet those needs, nurture, uplift, and inspire, we grow, and as we focus on personal growth, we have so much more love to share!

As I write in This is How We Grow, “…Love comes from God and nature and light, and fills us, if we let it, like a well that never runs dry. As we receive this love, we become so full of love it pours out our eyes and mouth and arms, filling those around us, too. Love cannot be kept, but must be given and received again— a continuous cycle that, when complete, generates greater and higher love. Yes, choosing to grow is choosing to love.” (Kindle Locations 6847-6849). 

 

We can create the love we desire. We can create the life we desire. As we nurture our creativity, we will be “constantly filled” with “beautiful stuff.” Then, it’s up to us to tip over and let that beauty out. It’s up to us to share, to serve, to uplift, and to inspire.

 

 

How do you keep your creativity alive? What inspires you? How do you use creativity to uplift others? Share your ideas, tips, and creative pursuits with us, below, by leaving a comment!

 
 
 

Be sure to check out my New show, “Motherhood,” on WebTalkRadio.net!

Link for this episode: Motherhood & Creativity: Uplift & Inspire!

(Featuring Rhonna Ferrer, of Rhonna Designs!)

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

For updates on the release of my NEW book,

8 Keys To Mental Health Through Exercise, subscribe today!

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
 TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

Design created by Rhonna Farrer, using her fabulous RD apps!

Design created by Rhonna Farrer, using her fabulous RD apps!

Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram!

 

 
 
 
 

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