Thursday, April 21, 2011

How To Make Friends... Even if You're Not Sure How

We’ve all heard the adage, to have a friend you first have to be a friend.  This is absolutely true, but what does that mean?  Often, we don’t know what it means to be a friend.  Most people made friends easily when they were young.  They went to school and mixed with a lot of people their own age five days a week.  Many, went on to after school activities and met and related to even more people.  Most people made at least one friend given these circumstances. 

As we grow older and leave school, we have far fewer opportunities to make friends.  When we leave the highly social structure of the school environment for the work environment we find ourselves increasingly more isolated.  We get up, go to work, come home, feed the dog or cat and go to bed exhausted.  Not much time or energy left to devote to making friends.  The longer we continue on this path the more accustomed to this routine we become and the more isolated we become.  If we don’t devote some energy into making friends, we will find ourselves alone. 

I tell my patients that there are seven pillars that hold up a good friendship.  Those are respect for one another, acceptance of the other, non-criticism, listening, being emotionally present, support for the other’s goals, and our accepting their influence. 

When making friends remember to relax, smile and make eye contact.  When you smile at someone, they have a reflex response to smile back.  If you don’t believe me, try it out on a stranger.  They average person will have a reflex response to smile back.  It started when you were a baby and continues to serve you today.  

Introduce yourself to people and then initiate that you get together.  Go out for coffee or lunch.  Find out what interests them and ask them questions about it.  Explore to see if you can find some common interests.  Keep the conversations light and cheery.  Stay clear of heavier more emotionally charged topics like politics and religion for the time being. 

Where might you meet new potential friends?  Join organizations that you have interest in, join a sports team, join a choir or dinner club.  There are also activity clubs such as hiking or camping clubs.  Join Facebook or Twitter.  Even has a section for just making friends. 

There are many things you can do to make new friends.  But the most important thing you have to do is to take some action.   Get off the couch and become more active in circulating with other people.  Making friends is like riding a bike.  You may be a little rusty, but once you’ve learned how, you never forget.  That reminds me, biking clubs are a good way to make new friends too!

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Company You Keep

This was sent to me by someone whom I consider a true friend.  I found it's words  both insightful and inspiring and wanted to share it with my readers.



                Tell me who your best friends are, and I will tell you who you are. If you run with wolves, you will learn to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights. “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.” The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate --- for the good and the bad.

            The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. You will make new friends. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dreams. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you. 

Consider this:

·         Never receive counsel from unproductive people.

·         Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person.

·         Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere. Remember, with some people you spend an evening, with other you invest it.

·         If you ask someone who is going nowhere fast where to go or what to do, guess where you will be going ---nowhere, and guess what you will be doing---nothing.

·         Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life.

·         Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. It is said that a true friend is a second self, someone who wants as much for you as they do for themselves.                                                                                                                                                                                                         
·         Remember everybody is not your friend and that’s OK. Recognize them for what they are and move on.  They become somebody you just know. Associate yourself with people who are doing good things, positive things, the right things!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Love Pounds": Why Do We Gain Weight with New Loves?

There are actual studies that show that when we are optimistic, it strengthens our immune system.  When our immune systems are strong, we have less inclination to crave unhealthy foods.  There is a very strong link between our mind, mood and body.  When we finally fall in love, we are completely optimistic about our world.  It brings us incredible joy.  Joy is the emotion we are least willing to let go of and it is an emotion that has been clinically shown to boost our immune system.  You would think that with a booted immune system your healthier body wouldn’t gain weight. 

Food is used in all cultures as a part of celebration.  It is part of an erotic and soothing experience and it enhances or feeling of joy.   Because we want to hold onto the feeling of joy we may sometimes gain some weight after coupling with another because we traditionally include food as part of the love/coupling process.  Generally, we gain a couple of pounds and nothing very serious.  Food is a part of our celebratory process and the sharing of food contributes to our feelings of love, safety and caring.  After the initial rush of the relationship, we may find ourselves returning to the gym and working together to take those few extra pounds off.

We tend to overeat in an obsessively unhealthy way to sooth the feelings of emptiness that come from being lonely.  When we fall in love, that emptiness disappears, maybe temporarily, or maybe for good.  But when it disappears, so does our impulse to obsessively eat comfort foods.  When we fall in love, we find ourselves more self-accepting.  We feel a greater sense of satisfaction through the loving eyes of another and that allows us to treat ourselves, and our bodies, with more love and respect.  This releases us from the pains of yo-yo dieting which is so disrespectful and damaging to the body.  When we are truly in love, we may actually glimpse ourselves as being loveable and worthy of love.  This does make us more accepting our bodies and ourselves, as well as, accepting of others.  As a result, we treat our bodies and ourselves better.

In general, people live longer who are involved in a committed relationship.  This is also true of people who have beloved pets.  In a couple, people look out for each other.  They remind each other to take their medication, get enough sleep, eat better diets, etc.  As a result, people in coupled relationships are healthier although they may not be as slender as they would like.

We can certainly turn any good thing into something that works against us.  It is more typical of men than women to become so comfortable in their relationship that they stop paying as much attention to their physical appearance as their female spouse.   Men are more visually stimulated and women are more emotionally stimulated.  Given that scenario, men do have a tendency to “let themselves go” some after marriage.  This is not so true for women.  Certainly there are women who seriously gain weight after marriage but that might have more to do with depression, self-loathing and loneliness than it has to do with being comfortable in the relationship. 

If somebody became so comfortable in a relationship that it led to health concerns, there would be another serious issue going on in the background.  When we are in love, we want to take care of ourselves, as well as, the object of our love and we dance a tricky balance between celebrating our love through food and wrestling with those few extra “love” pounds. 

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