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May 2010

netPsychologist.com Newsletter

Tools and Tips For Success With Relationships.

Americans love the idea of marriage, but they are not very good at it.

Most of us agree that marriage is undoubtedly connected to health and well being. New research is fine tuning that picture. For example, the research tells us that single people who never marry are more healthy than people who marry and then divorce. Another finding indicates that a stressful marriage can damage the heart as much as a regular smoking habit.

Researchers such as Ronald Glaser and Jan Kiecolt-Glaser (a married couple), Timothy W. Smith and James A. Coan are giving us a more specific and detail look at the interaction between health and the quality of marriage and other significant relationships.

Notable findings:

  • Troubled couples should first attempt to repair marital discord, but if staying married means endless acrimony, as far as your health is concerned, you are better off divorced.
  • Couples in distressed marriages are more susceptible to illnesses than happier couples. Literal, physical wounds take twice as long to heal in relations where the bickering occurs with high levels of hostility than among happy couples.
  • The drip, drip of negativity in a marriage renders couples at a higher risk level for heart attacks and cardiovascular disease than couples in supportive relationships.
  • In happy marriages, a wife holding her husband's hand can have as much of a calming effect for her as the use of a pain relieving drug.

And this is but a sampling of the current and soon to be released research findings.

With all the evidence establishing this link between health and marital stress, there is little doubt couples who are concerned about their physical wellbeing need to monitor and manage their level of marital discord... or call it quits and move on to happier emotional places.

The Many Effects Of Marital Discord

 

marital discord

What Did Your Work Bring You This Week?

 

mirrorIt is not easy for me to accept a commonly held idea about work, that it is all and only about money and making a living. Really, I think that is the least of it. Work brings us much more: pain, pleasure, relief from turmoil and chaos at home, ego gratification, power, isolation from other people's realities, a sense of accomplishment or failure, a place to feel needed or to be lost.

I'm not only talking about work as in a place away from home you go to and exchange your time and expertise for someone else's money. Work can be your school, your job at home or on the road. If you're a stay-at-home mom or the ruler and CEO of a huge corporation, you have work. Students have work, retirees have work, preschool kids have work. Yes, different kinds of work, but work in that you expend energy (muscular, neurological, emotional, spiritual) to make something happen, even if it is kicking the ball on the play ground at recess.

What's the point? In America, what ever you call work, it is one of the best mirrors you have for looking at yourself. Work is one big reflection of you. Again I ask: "What did your work bring you this week?"

Pain showed up in my counseling work this week. Pain of choosing forgiveness over hard, resentful feelings. Pain of hearing about children being abused. Pain of losing dreams and hopes. Pain that comes from lethargy and satiation from overindulgence of self.

There were celebrations of success and achievement, "hi fives" over finally seeing the light and a willingness to embrace hope at the end of a dark tunnel. Struggles for peace of mind, stubborn denial and quiet acceptance of self had their moments in my work place, as well.

My work brought me a microcosm of human life, of my life. I saw myself reflected in the flow of human existence. What a gift to me to have this opportunity to be part of such a magnificent mystery, tears and all.

This week my work brought me the blessing of knowing I am in the right place at the right time, right where I need to be. How about you?

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Contents of this newsletter © Paul W. Anderson, Ph.D.

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