Success Stories from the Last Resort Blog

At Marriage Works we want to support your relationship to new heights. Unfortunately many of us leave it until our spouses hand is on the doorknob, or get the divorce papers in the mail.

The LAST Resort Technique Blog is for exactly this type of scenario. It’s your best bet and may be your only chance  to get your relationship back.

I am so impressed with the  good people who write in and share their stories of pain, hope and healing, thank you!

Hope shines through! You can save your marriage with Last Resort Technique.
Hope shines through!

I want to share their advice and success for those of you struggling with relationship despair and heartbreak. There truly is genuine hope with the LAST Resort Technique (LRT). Please read on to be inspired.

Steve writes: I thought I’d post a positive response to your article, to show this can work. Long story short – married to my wife of 15 years, 2 kids. I had a history of working too hard (long hours and occasionally weekends), playing sport every weekend and seeing my (male) friends. Basically whilst I provided a good lifestyle for the family I wasn’t there – mentally, emotionally or even physically – often enough.

A you a team player in your marriage?
A you a team player in your marriage?
Is your partner teed off with you?
Is your partner teed off with you?

I think you can guess what happened next. A male friend of the family became a shoulder to cry on, to help out at home, and then eventually an affair started. I knew something wasn’t right when I would come home on time from work and she would start an argument would start as soon as I walked in the door. Sometimes I would come home from work or sport and find my ( male) neighbour in our house talking to my wife in the kitchen. We nearly split up a couple of times prior to that.
I used to read this article on a daily basis to give me hope. I realised that I did everything wrong (see the LRT phases), and struggled not to chase, ask questions about the relationship or check up on her. We went to counselling (together and on our own) which helped with communication between us. After many sessions, the counsellor confronted my wife – who did she want. TOP or me? Heart breaking, but she chose him.

So, why are we together now, and making vacation plans for next year?

Steve’s great advice :

1. Confront the issue early (very difficult without evidence), listen to your gut instinct.

Philipa here : Please do this without accusation and with openness to listen. Example : I feel there is something coming between us and want to help us get our marriage back to the love. What are you feeling? And really listen.
2. Listen to your partner to work out why they strayed.
3. Don’t vent on social media (as much as you want to). Only do this to trusted friends or family.

Don't over share, honour your marriage vows.
Don’t over share, honour your marriage vows.

Philipa: integrity and respect are hallmarks of a great relationship. And when you are back together:

4. In the early days limit yourself to 15 mins a day asking questions, any more and it’s like pursuing.

5. Work on where you went wrong (see #2), but really be that person. They will suspect you are just doing it to keep them. Make the changes and keep doing them – even if it annoys your spouse.

Philipa: You can’t fake it til you make it you have to invest in understanding the issues.

6. In the midst of this all, don’t lose sight of who you are. You didn’t stray or cheat. You are a good person, do the LRT.

7. DON’T do the LRT too early. I did and my wife thought I was pushing her away. Its for when all else fails.

Philipa, yes it’s at desperation point, not before. Get help earlier please!

8. When the time comes do the LRT fully. It will seem wrong, but if everything has failed do it. Don’t pursue, beg, spy – just be you. And let them go.

Philipa: this has to be with an big heart and a faith you may never have had to test before in yourself.

9. The LRT prepares you for life without your spouse, but you need to continue being a parent. Remember you can’t control your spouse – they are free to make their own decisions.

Philipa : this is super important if there a children in the mix. They need you regardless. Curiously the more you let go of control the freer your spouse will be to circle back.

10. Be friendly, their best friend even, but not a doormat. Set boundaries – mine were if you want to see him I’m not being your child minder.

11. If your spouse wants to move out (mine did, but never went through with it), let them. But you need to discuss finances, and who pays for what.

Philipa: Yes Steve, this is vital. Mature relationships discuss financial issues.

12. Its their choice. Let them make it, you need to give them reasons to stay. Not to push them out or away.

Philipa: This is a real gem, exactly what is required of you.

Ultimately we stayed together – TOP gave up as my wife couldn’t make the final decision to leave. This combined with our kids wanting us to stay together, and my changes to be a better husband and parent. I also think looking at her finances provided a reality check as well.
You need to be strong, look after yourself and have trusted friends / family. You will go through hell emotionally. You will have bad days, days where you can’t function, where you want to give up and can’t take any more. Keep going. I lost 12 lbs in 3 months, felt like this was going to drive me mad or kill me. But it worked. It took 7 months from finding out to properly turning the corner.
The turning point is letting go, and really, really meaning it. Then the penny will drop.
Thanks for this article Phillipa, it really did work.

Thank you Steve, glad you took the effort and energy required. Seven months is doable and not a bad investment to regain 15 years of marriage and your family.

And from another kind soul, Jetty’s remarkable work:

I have to say, that I am so impressed with the way this article helped me reign in my behavior. Following the tips here, along with some personal reflection, it seems like it has turned a corner.
The fighting has stopped. He is pursuing me. He is showing affection and effort. Just last weekend, HE asked me, to go away to Los Angles together. We hadn’t seen each other in six months and I don’t think it could have gone better. The change in myself is huge – I feel better about life, and about the way the relationship fits now. Just the fact that no fights have been had (with things coming up still) in over two months is mind blowing.

Thank you so much for this article, it really changed my perspective, and in turn, everything!

Your growth will inspire your partner's !
Your growth will inspire your partner’s !
 Thanks Jetty, you email will encourage others to think about their behaviour, the desired outcome and what works. Your change has offered your relationship a new beginning.
After a while when things are on stronger ground you then need to address the issues which got you to this catastrophe. Marriage therapy can fast track this. Learn Imago dialogue. Good luck and keep up the good fight!
Out of despair comes hope and chang
Out of despair comes hope and change

See me talking about the LRT on Youtube

Prepare for 10 of Life’s Unexpected Stresses

Stressful events are things that come out of the blue and knocks us for a six. Planning Plan B by Kylie Parker will help you recover from the top 10.

I am super excited to introduce you to Kylie’s fabulous book as I had a small part to play in contributing to it. I did not hesitate when Kylie asked me to write as a relationship expert to help others.

 

Planning Plan B, is written for when life’s bumps in the road through you off track. It gives you the how to get back up and running again.

Kylie consulted with experts to bring us practical, prudent and real world advice. Here you will learn from financial planners Mark Bradley and Hamish Thomson from Priority Advisory Group, Melanie McFarlane business owner, Melinda Winning family lawyer, Alan Prasad, Michael Gottlieb, Vanessa Billy, Mark Sacks, Campbell Fuller, Kate Fitzsimmons, Michael Long and myself how to be prepared for Plan B.

Planning Plan B author Kylie Parker
Planning Plan B author Kylie Parker

Kylie has taken the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scales (Holmes & Rahe, 1967)  10 stressful events and compiled a way forward when disaster strikes.

The Stressful 10 are:

1. Death

2. Death of a spouse or close family member

3. Divorce or permanent separation – without kids

4. Divorce or permanent separation – with kids

5. Disability or incapacity due to accident or illness.

6. Dismissal from employment

7. Disaster occurring whilst traveling

8. Dissolution of a business due to financial loss or unforeseen circumstances

9. Depression, mental illness or Dementia

10. Distressed sale of a home.

Life’s big things, we may never have to go through but if you do it is best to be informed. So get Plan B today!

References

Holmes, T. H., & Rahe, R. H. (1967). The social readjustment rating scale. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 11, 213.

Want to take the Stress scale? click here Holmes Rahe Stress Inventory

TedX Talk -The Sex Starved Marriage…

Sexual frequency and libido difference are a huge relationship challenge. In my general experience men use to sex and physical touch to connect, whereas women need to feel emotionally connect in order to have sex.

Michele Weiner-Davis’s gives us her words of wisdom on the sex starved marriage. Here she is:

I love Ted Talks they are a superb free way to access thousands of amazing and inspiring speeches on every topic imaginable.

Want Michele’s book? click here: The Sex Starved Marriage author Michele Weiner-Davis.

Look up Ted Talks click this link  : Ted Talks – be amazed! 

They really do deliver.

I love Ted Talks they are a superb free way to access thousands of amazing and inspiring speeches on every topic imaginable.
TedX Talks – ideas worth exploring.

8 Powerfully Potent Communication Skills for Couples

Can you guess the number one presenting problem couples have when they come in to see me? Yes you’d be right if you’ve said it is communication. Complaints begin with s/He doesn’t communicate, or s/he never listens are catch cries repeated in my office.

Accusations fly and a load of words move between the spouses like arrows. The discouraging thing is it’s usually totally negative. Making it virtually impossible to stay connected and positive.

conversation-799448_640(2)
Crappy Communication. Can you read the body language? Know what this feels like?

When we feel attacked and criticized we usually get defensive, worn down and ultimately one or both withdraw, shutting down in sheer frustration.

Sound familiar? Perhaps you can see how this applies to your arguments and attempts to talk on the hot topics – parenting, finance, the in-laws the list goes on.

Now it’s not that they can’t talk, the truth is they can’t communicate effectively. When I listen it becomes clear key skills are missing. Communication is often misunderstood, especially in partnerships. That’s why couple coaching works.

Learning the techniques to communicate clearly will allow you to find freedom, joy, love and genuine connection. Disconnection is the second major complaint couples have.

Paint your wall differently. Look, learn and listen.
Paint your wall differently. Look, learn and listen.

When you communicate clearly you create:

  • Clarity and perspective
  • Deeper connection
  • Creativity
  • Consideration
  • Minimal conflict
  • Faster results
  • Better outcomes for all
Love in each others company. Learn the ability to communicate effectively
Love in each others company. Learn the ability to communicate effectively

 

Who doesn’t what these life-enhancing benefits?

Where Couples go Wrong.

If you have ever found yourself in the equivalent of a communication traffic jam, then you will recognise the roadblocks. Once you realise and release these barriers, next time when you see the signs you can take a different route entirely. You are in the drivers seat!

Common Roadblocks:

Common Roadblocks to Communication to Stop Today

  • Missing the message
  • Accusation
  • Defensiveness
  • Poor tone
  • Lack of politeness
  • Reactivity

As I promised here are 8 Potently Powerful Communication Skills

1 Create Connection.

Before we even start to have a discussion we need to ensure we are ‘with’ the person. This means getting in synch with them. In therapy speak we call this joining. What we want to do is build rapport.

Communication experts believe the majority of the message being both sent and received is nonverbal. Words only account for a lousy 7% of communication is the oft-stated figure.

We have amazing things inside called mirror neurons, which, allow us to understand and feel what other people are going through.

That’s why when you watch those kids on TV bouncing off the see saw hard your body winces and you go ouch! And possibly laugh.

Mirror neurons give us this capacity for social synchrony, promoting bonding and empathy in our relationships. Scientists have determined analytical thought destroys and creates misunderstanding. Stop any analysis paralysis.

Caught up in thoughts ? Not useful for in-depth communiques
Caught up in thoughts ? Not useful for in-depth communiques

How do I create connection?

Simple you copy and match your mate’s body language as your chatting to them. It’s human nature we like others like us. Pay attention to your partner’s gestures, placement, and tone of voice.

If they tilt their head to one side you match this. If they are speaking slowly, so do you. When then breathe you breathe with them. They have crossed legs you might cross yours at the ankle. The key is to do it subtly.

These guys are not succeeding in the subtle !
These guys are not succeeding in the subtle !

Next time you are with someone and having fun, you will most likely find yourself doing this automatically. It is an unconscious process. So get back into synch with your partner today.

 

2 Forget Mind Reading. Become a Body Reader.

It’s not as creepy as it sounds. Too many partners are busy reading their significant others mind and totally missing vital information.

You won’t be surprised to hear body speak is a vital component. Don’t worry you don’t need to be an Allan Pease body language expert to decode your partners message.

What you do need is an idea of what their body is signalling to you. Is there a sign of relaxation and ease or discomfort?

Signs of comfort and ease are leaning towards, physically coming closer, twinkling eyes, turning to face you, a head tilt, a pat of the hand, a smile and touch.

Create connection in your courtship and collaboration
Create connection and collaboration see this couples intimacy and comfort levels are high

Signs of discomfort appear as head or neck touching or rubbing, head turning away, arms crossing, body angle or feet turning away and poor eye contact or looking away.

Read this mans comfort levels as low. Crossed arms, flattened mouth and rigid body posture are a give away.
Read this mans comfort levels as low. Crossed arms, flattened mouth and rigid body posture are a give away.

What you want to do is note where the person’s general comfort levels are. High comfort gives you a green light to keep going and low comfort you may need to back off a bit.

For example I am in connection with my partner and I notice he goes rigid and starts smoothing his hair with his hand frequently, his face looks taut. I know that he is in discomfort and most likely not able to hear things clearly. So I soften and go back to creating connection.

3 Own It.

They best way to own your communication I know is with the tried and true “I Statement.”

An I statement is where you describe your experience and feelings on something. It is the gold standard in assertive communication.

If it goes something like: Hi honey did you take the garbage out (you know they didn’t as you can see the overflow out of the corner of your eye). They say Sorry I forgot. I’ll do it, why do you have to keep asking? Don’t you trust me? You respond you take forever to do it.”

You get the picture and I am sure you know where this one goes off into the ditch in your own life experience.

When you use a you statement which is sadly often followed with a never, always don’t, it will come across as an accusation. No one likes to be accused. Naturally they go into defense mode. These are part of what John Gottman refers to as the four Horseman of the Apocalypse and good predictors of divorce in communication patterns.

Read this statement and see what is wrong with it. “ I feel/think that you….”   Warning this is not an I address of usefulness. The You overtake the I.

Bad news right? So the antidote is the “I Statement.” The EYE (I) has it!

An “I” offers an objective opinion; it opens space and gets your message across. Try taking a true I statement personally. Use this vital skill today in all your relationships and interactions. Watch the change.

4 Be Open.

This should really be at the top of my list, please make it your priority.

When you are vulnerable and open to others real magic happens. People will feel safe and will be open towards you. True vulnerability builds trust and strengthens bonds while deepening connection. See why it’s a priority? This will give you increased joy and security in all your relationships. Vulnerability is the cornerstone of intimacy.

When we feel safe we are like the flower opening to the sun, the bird spreading her wings to soar and the dolphin dancing in the waves.

Vulnerability advocate and researcher Brené Brown has improved our knowledge tremendously. I recommend her books and you will find these in the Book Resource section.

If you want your partner to be open and share their vulnerabilities you are going to have to take the lead and be the first to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability and gentle honesty can provide you with a powerful relationship, now who doesn’t want that? Let’s have a go at increasing your joy and stimulating satisfaction.

5 Silence.

Yes the next thing you need to do is to shut up. Finding silence helps you listen intently to understand.

Shhh, listen you will hear something good
Shhh, listen you will hear something good.

Quietness is a true gift for your spouse and you. This gift will create a deeper soulful relationship.

The stillness of attending silence offers you the opportunity to be a better listener. It is an active process of being soft and taking things in without interpretation or reaction.

 

Creating a silent space for others encourages them to talk more. (Yes I can hear some people cheering at this. Talkers, get ready to listen more.)

Interruption and its accomplice inner rebuttal (thinking of what you are going to say, how wrong they are in your mind while the other is speaking) are the murderers of silence. These shut down and diminish relationships.

True silence gently allows your significant other an invitation to help you both learn more about each other and the situation. Offering you real growth potential. Sit in attended silence more.

6 Respect.

While respect is not so much a skill as an attitude. It says to your loved one you matter to me. I will show up in this discussion. If you wish to be an influential parent, a thoughtful partner or caring friend this outlook is the key to successful interactions. It all starts with you.

Respect is shown is a light tone of voice, it says I am here ready to hear you. I care about you, your issues matter to me and I want to help you.

Opponents to Respect are:

  • Problem Solving
  • Thinking of your answer
  • Intellectualizing
  • Asking too many questions
  • Talking over another person
  • Intimidation – yelling, aggression or worse still throwing property or making threats
  • Bringing out all the issues at once
  • Dredging up the past resentments– dirty fighting

So as Aretha Franklin say show a little Respect! Forget any interjection, and relax. This alone will go a long way to resolving your issues and makes for a safe landing zone.

Respect you and your partner.
Respect you and your partner.

 

7 Reflect for Clarity.

In therapy we us a term called reflection, or mirroring. Basically this is where you paraphrase the other person’s comments back to them. It’s an integral part of a listening exercise using called Imago dialogue many couple therapists employ.

Pussy cat reflecting on the dialogue
Pussy cat reflecting on the dialogue

You let your partner speak and feedback what you have heard. This allows both you and them to really feel heard and attended too.

The real power here is will provide clear communication. No longer will you misinterpret your mate. You will check in with them. They will even help you if you have missed something.

When you partner has said their piece you paraphrase back to them. “So what I hearing you saying is… is a good starter or From what you said I heard … did I get that?

Practice, practice and then some more practice. Here you do not add anything in this process is for creating connection.

8 Add in Empathy to the Mix.

After you have reflected for clarity you can add the most potent communication enhancer empathy to your skills.

This is where you have a guess at what the other person is feeling on an emotional front. Connecting with a partner on a emotional basis will advance your relationship to a new level of fulfillment. Empathy is the healing influence. It is also the cornerstone of emotional intelligence.

So work at developing this and the above core skills to advance your relationships and connections to a higher level today. Challenge yourself to take these words off the blog and into your life, have fun!

Happy communicators make good friends and lovers
Happy communicators make good friends and lovers

Please let us know in the comments below what have been your bugbears and what has made a difference. Perhaps you have a suggestion you would like us to help you further with in your communication quandaries or would like to share your successes – we would love to read about them.

Big Love to you all xx
Big Love to you all xx

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Philipa

 

 

‘Life is Good’ according to the Man Who’s lived through 101 January’s.

I was at the library in December and I looked over, as I felt drawn to a sandy coloured book and indeed the title appealed immensely

” Life is Good.”  Sounded like the perfect start to my holiday break reading.  Was it ever!

George Dawson’s life is expressed beautifully by Richard Glaubman, and was an incredibly inspiring journey.

 

Here’s the back of the book blurb : “What makes a happy person, a happy life? In this remarkable book, George Dawson, a 101-year-old man who learned to read when he was 98, reflects on the philosophy he learned from his father- a belief that ‘life is so good’ – as he offers valuable lessons in living a fresh, first-hand view of America during the twentieth century.”

George was born into the 19th century,  experienced the 20th Century and lives in the 21st Century.  I can’t even imagine what he’s seen and been through. This book allows us a wonderful glimpse into history. George was the grandson of slaves and despite hardships, lack of access to education in his childhood, poverty, danger and discrimination used his Father’s words and respect to live a rich life.

Here are some of the wisdom gems from George Dawson with 101 January’s to back it up.

After witnessing a murder,  George is justifiably angry, and he tells his father. His father’s view is matter of fact. He says ” His suffering is over, son…You don’t need to worry for him.” George is still upset with the injustice, naturally at the loss of life and blames the group. To which his Papa responds:“Some of those white folks is mean and nasty. Some were just scared. It doesn’t matter. You have no right to judge another human being. Don’t you ever forget.”

These are words that set the course of George’s life, to which he abides by even to this day.

This for me is a reminder despite all the evil and stupidity there is in life we don’t know what is going on inside another. Who among us has not done anything we feel some remorse or regret for?  Not judging another is a good axiom to live by and of course we need to include ourselves

I am a eternal optimist and believe in the good of humanity. That’s why I do the work I do.

The flower blooms from earth, water and fertiliser to feed them
The flower blooms from earth, water and fertiliser to feed them.
The Dalai Lama lives love and non-judgment.
The Dalai Lama lives love and non-judgment.

 

We learn more from encouragement to see our ‘mistakes’ as opportunities to learn and grow from.

Richard let’s George voice narrate an elegant epithet of George’s response to his 16-year-old son Junior getting into trouble at school leading to him  being sent home.

With his hard working, ethic George was never late
With his hard working, ethic George was never late

The first thing he did was call work and tell them had was going to be late. George prioritised his child’s need for him to show up at the school. Mind you George had never been late. George prides himself on being a hard worker.

When George got to the school with Junior he addressed the Principal.  He said “I got a have to do every day and I can’t come in all the time, I expect my son to do his job  at school. His work is at school. If Junior does something wrong, you don’t need my permission to punish him. That is your job to discipline him at school.”

Junior never got into trouble again, doing really well in school.

Here is the key piece of George’s parenting wisdom – : “Mostly I told them something and they listened. I only said something one time. See, I respected my own father and did what he told me. With my own children it was the same. We was the parents. It was our job to have the children ready to be in this world, A child doesn’t learn so much by words as he does by watching, The children were always watching their mother and me. That’s how they learn right from wrong, by watching what we do.”

George lives his own words.  When Richard shows him the terrrible news heading 15 CHILDREN DEAD AT COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL, and asks what he thinks has gone wrong? George responds with “Children killing children.. is a terrible thing. Its not just the children. It’s the grown-ups too.”

Children are the blooms we parents produce through our efforts
Children are the blooms we parents produce through our efforts

His take on parenting is “With children, you got to raise them. Some parents these days are growing children, not raising children, and there’s a big difference .”

I understand this coming from a family that once had market gardens. Every year we would plant the seeds. One of my favourites were the runner beans, we used to sell them on an honour system for 80 cents a kilo at the our gate. Can you believe how cheap things were! This is in New Zealand where I was born. When the beans first poke out of the earth sprouting, they need protection from the elements and gentleness. As they reach for the sun the trip skywards needs them to have something to climb on so they don’t collapse. We put up wire mesh and rope for them to hold firm to and raise their bounty. They flower in appreciation, delicate red jewels and it is time to harvest the crop of beans sown and cared for with love.

If you ignore your beans they will wither and die. Too much food or water and they are dead from kindness. Raise them well those little sprouts of yours!

From these little sprouts majestic trees, wonderful food and sources of joy emerg
From these little sprouts majestic trees, wonderful food and sources of joy emerge

George didn’t read about history he lived it. He became a student at 98, learning to read saying he had always had a dream he would learn to read. For nearly a century he kept this secret. He worked around it by listening. He has been going to school for three years now. Every day he is excited to be learning. When Richard asks him if he was afraid he couldn’t do it, George replies ” Son, I always thought I could drive a spike as good as a any man and cood as good as any woman, I just figured if everybody else can learn to read, I could too.”

All dogs can learn new things, so can we at any age. Thanks Mr Dawson
All dogs can learn new things, so can we at any age. Thanks Mr Dawson

I love this, and totally believe the old saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is now defunct. We now know from the research on neuroscience and plasticity our brains and our behaviour can change. Hallelujah.

There are many more pearls of wisdom from George long existence, which Richard has given us access to ( thank you both!), in this delightful book. I highly recommmend it to you as a heart warming read to share with your friends.

I’d be ever so grateful if you wish to purchase this fantastic book, please click on the book image to go directly to Amazon. This is an affiliate link through which I make a small commission. If you would kindly buy via the link it helps us to offset the cost of running this website. Of course you don’t have to use the link, you can search for “Life is Good” and buy it without the affiliate link. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Last Resort Technique (LRT) Video Series

I’ve posted a 4-part video series explaining my take on The Last Resort Technique (LRT) which is the most popular page on this website. See that page for a detailed breakdown of LRT.

Questions and comments are welcome either in YouTube comments section or in the comments on the page dedicated to The Last Resort Technique. Please like and subscribe on YouTube to help others find this information.

Introduction video

1:36 mins part 1 of 4

Michele Weiner-Davis The Last Resort Technique is also known as LRT or “The 180”. It comes from her amazing book The Divorce Remedy.

I’d appreciate it if you wish to purchase this  worthy book, you click on the link to go directly to Amazon. This is an affiliate link through which I make a small commission if you buy via the link to offset the cost of running this website. You don’t have to use the link, you can search for “The Divorce Remedy” and buy it without the affiliate link.

In second video we get into the details of

Step 1 – Stop Chasing

4:17 minutes – part 2 of 4

Step 2 – Get a Life

9:38 mins – part 3 of 4

Step 3 – Wait and Watch

8:05 minutes part 4 of 4

Again, please like and subscribe on YouTube to help others find this information. A tweet or a share on social media would also benefit others.

Five Steps to Better Your Mental Health today!

Welcome to mental health awareness week.  I wanted to give you some options for you to help yourself. This will be very useful for those of you who have seen the Last Resort Tehcnique – Relationship saving advice on my Blog. Here is the link just in case you missed it.Last Resort Technique.

Love in the world.
Love in the world.

If you find this helpful please pass on to friends and family who may benefit.

Depression, anxiety and many mental health conditions become isolating and hard to deal with alone. So I want you to know there is help for you, you are not alone. Here are the five tips you can start today to get yourself back to you.

1) Find your tribe

It is well known social connections are crucial for a person who is experiencing depression. Social isolation is one of the hallmarks of a depressed person as they withdraw from social connections. An Australian study’s (Cruwy’s et al., 2014) findings demonstrate that those who not only joined a local group (some did yoga, art, Professor Alexander Haslam (Cruwy’s et al., 2014), a co-author, said:

“We were able to find clear evidence that joining groups, and coming to identify with them, can alleviate depression. “Our work shows that the ‘group’ aspect of social interaction is critical.” “…a group has to matter psychologically in order to be beneficial for depression – simply “showing up” without commitment or engagement is unlikely to be sufficient.”

The authors conclude that their study suggests…

“…that tackling the challenge of depression involves not just putting the person back into the group, but also putting the group back into the person.”

hawaiian-hula-dancers-377653_640
Fancy hula dancing well give ti a try!

It seems finding your tribe, mob or community is important to healing depression. It’s vital this group is a place where you feel a connection. It could be taking up a hobby, acting classes, Yoga, community classes, Laughter Yoga, dancing, sports, it could even be online.

I was on a talkback radio show for ABC 702 with Radio host Philip Clarke and Professor Katina Michael from the University of Wollongong, where we were pondering is ‘Facebook making us sad.’ A lady called in and said Facebook had helped her recover from depression and it’s isolation. She told us that when a relative put up a profile for her, at first she was unnerved but as she found her friends and family coming out to support her she felt connected. How wonderful.

Facebook can connect you to a new world of online friends.
Facebook can connect you to a new world of online friends.

Look at the resources section at the end of this chapter, to find useful links.

So find your support network to gain connection and healing in the long term. We all need a cheer squad at times to send us love, validation and affirmation.

2) The Power of Pets

The other option is to start up your own tribe. I had a car accident where I was rear ended, leading to an injury and my beautiful car being written off. Very sad loss of course. Certainly an unexpected and tough break, to say the least! This event turned out to be a turning point in my life. My days spent on the bus travelling 90 minutes each way to go to work got rather tedious. I decided to go full time in my private practice Marriage Works, and it has been a fantastic change for the better.

Another light that shone at this time was a friend suggesting I get a pet, which I did. Taneisha was 12 years of age when she came to live with me from a breeder. She was well loved but ready to retire as she could no longer have kittens. I joke, I rescued her from sex slavery – she was a champion Burmese breeding feline. I have always had animals for most of my younger life, raising lambs, fish, chickens, budgies, a duck and cats.

Tanesiha unoffical Therapy feline of Marriage Works. Animals offer uncondtional loving.
Taneisha unofficial Therapy feline of Marriage Works. Animals offer unconditional loving to many humans who need TLC.

Taneisha as you can see is a beautiful chocolate Burmese (low allergy too!) and spectacularly loving. She has a sixth sense for knowing when a person is down or upset. I was seeing a family and I was surprised when she went straight up to the girl who was agitated and upset and jumped up into her lap. Naturally the child started to stroke her as she settled down to sit. Boy did Taneisha help soothe her.

Pets such as dogs, cats, birds or any animal you personally connect with can become a wonderful and devoted part of a person’s life. The benefits are profound. The unconditional loving of an animal cannot be underestimated. I have seen people care for their pets so tenderly. They will take them for walks, feed them, talk to them and cuddle them, incredibly healing for anyone.

There is scientific evidence from studies of therapy animals visiting nursing homes; hospital units and so forth are helping healing and bringing cheer to all. Only the other day I heard the ‘baa’ of a goat. Now I live in metropolitan Sydney, so this is an unusual sound to hear when it’s not coming from the TV. None of my neighbours has a goat in their yard. I look across my balcony to see the ‘baaing’ was coming from the nursing home across the road. Evidently there was a petting zoo there for residents to touch and connect with physically. What joy I felt as I could see the residents outside in the fresh air enjoying this interaction.

3) You Are What You Eat

It is long known that a healthy diet plays an important part in a persons overall well-being and ability to handle stress. In a large study of 15,093 people who were followed over 10 years, the traditional Mediterranean diet, which includes eating nuts, fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish/seafood, cereals, and monounsaturated oils, had a protective effect and lowered the risk of depression (Sánchez-Villegas et al., 2015). There is a body of thinking from scientists that depression could be partly down to a lack of essential nutrients. There is an added benefit to eating healthily. Food is fuel and if we fill our ‘tank’ with nutrient rich and healthy foods, our system is likely to feel the benefits. This is something we can control in our lives. Luckily fresh vegetables are relatively cheap and easy to come by.

carrots-155714_640
The colours of love for your body. Vegetables are natures multi vitamins.

There is also tentative research into the role inflammation may play in depression. Please visit here  –Healthy place information on inflammation effects on mental health. so review you’re eating and plan for a healthy start.

 

Here are some books I recommend :

Michael Mosley Clever Guts Cookbook

 

I’d appreciate it if you wish to purchase this  worthy book, you click on the link to go directly to Amazon. This is an affiliate link through which I make a small commission if you buy via the link to offset the cost of running this website. You don’t have to use the link, you can search for “The Divorce Remedy” and buy it without the affiliate link.

4) Movement Counts

Now to our bodies. We are movement machines and much research has been done to demonstrate the effectiveness of exercise on our mind and our bodies. We release endorphins, which are neurotransmitters and powerful brain chemicals to lower stress. Research also suggests that the benefits of exercise involvement may be long lasting. Depressed adults who took part in a fitness program displayed significantly greater improvements in depression, anxiety, and self esteem (Craft and Perna, 2004).

She's on a runner's high, feeling good with endorphins flowing through her body.
She’s on a runner’s high, feeling good with endorphins flowing through her body.

The endorphins are our body’s natural pain relief substances and provide positive feelings, similar to that given by morphine. Perhaps you have heard of the ‘runner’s high’ where a person feels euphoric and energised after a workout. (Craft and Perna, 2004).

Exercise has many positive benefits these include

  • Lowering stress
  • Improving self- esteem
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Depression relief
  • Better sleeping
  • Improves heart health
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases strengthen and tones muscles
  • Strengthens bones
  • Helps reduce fat

And it is free. Start small at first. A walk around the block is a beginning, and then adds a bit more. Great if you can access a park or a nature reserve. There is something special about being in nature for us humans. Get your green on. The beach is another wonderful place; take a dip in the ocean and get your dose of positive ions for free. I find there is something very cleansing about being in water that is incredibly healing.

5) Nourish your Spirit

Today in Australia and most of the western world we live in a highly materialistic world, overflowing with technology. The pressure to compete and maintain expensive lifestyles may be draining our spirit. It is thought that a sense of spiritual impoverishment is a contributor in modern societies ever increasing epidemic of depression and anxiety. Perhaps we are undernourished spiritually, leading us to feel a deeper sense of dissatisfaction, disconnection and distress.

In talking about spirituality, I am referring to your belief system that informs and guides your life for it’s highest good. Spirituality is uniquely personal and can be connected with nature, animals or those beliefs espoused by organized religions. Faith can be very healing. Perhaps you grew up in a particular religious system – Judaism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam and Hinduism to name a few. You may want to revisit your local church, synagogue, temple or mosque to reconnect.

If this isn’t your thing you can find spiritual support in many forms. Music offers many people relief and has long been available for spiritual nurturance.

Sing!

Joining a choir offers us a powerful spiritual expression, support of a group and brain growth. It’s hard to be unhappy for long at a sing-along. I enjoy Salsa as a dance and the music is cheerful and uplifting. I have a Buddhist friend who loves singing in an Anglican choir, so there are many possibilities.

A Cyprus band, they could be playing your tune.
A happy band, they could be playing your tune.

Songs are often intimate and celebratory, offering you harmony- sorry for the pun. Singing lifts your spirits in all senses emotionally and physically. Your brain releases endorphins and oxytocin, powerful mood enhancers and alleviates stress. Music is soul food.

The Power of the Pen.

Writing a journal whether in paper or digitally has been a form of cantharis for centuries. There is something incredibly potent in putting pen to paper that aids in release and reflection. Oprah swears by a daily gratitude list as a supportive practice. Affirmations can be amazingly influential especially when written. I especially like Sondra Ray’s books how to write affirmations, although slightly dated, as they are from the 1970’s. Think about it, our negative thoughts are merely negative affirmations we repeat. What if we were to swap them out for good?

Beautiful script writing.
Beautiful script writing.

I particularly like Emile Coue’s simple affirmative sentence – “Every day in every way I am getting better and better.” Write and say it out loud and with conviction 20 times a day for 31 days for an experiment. Let us know how it works.

Many a novel takes us on a journey of enquiry, curiosity and fulfilment. For some it may be the Bible or Kabala, or something in a fictional book we can connect with. A personal hero of mine is Rachel Naomi Remen; her books are full of stories that heal (see resources). I also enjoy fantasy novels as usually it involves the underdog rising up and completing a quest, involving their personal growth and triumph for the good guys.

A book brings the world into your life.
A book brings the world into your life.

We are so lucky to have access to the written word, whether it is on paper or in our kindle; your local library is full of them, so join up for free. While there you might even look around for a book club to join and discuss the emotional journey an author has taken you on.

Personal blogs are like online diaries, which offer a form of connection. There are blogs on every interest out there – cooking, parenting, fitness, fishing, you name it. Often people can authentically share their perils and success in an honest and intimate manner. Google and find your online community.

Meditation

Naturally I must mention meditation as a means of spiritual nourishment. Eastern traditions have been using meditation for many centuries both sitting still and in the form of movement. Mindfulness meditation in particular has been taken up by mental health professionals. You can find many groups, self help books and online forums, to access mindful meditation. (See the resources section).

Yoga, Tai Chi and martial arts offer some form of spiritual practice to explore, as well as the added benefit of physical movement in a group environment.

Yoga and Meditation are powerful healing methods from the East.
Yoga and Meditation are powerful healing methods from the East.

If you want to go for an intensive and have 10 days spare, then I would suggest a vipassana retreat, The word vipassana means “ to see things as they really are” and help you to a greater self understanding and reboot your emotions and priorities. I attended the International Centre for Mediation in Morisset, a Buddhist group from the Burmese tradition headed by Mother Sayamagyi in her life. It was both challenging and divine and all for $50 a day with the healthiest and yummiest food. Yoga weekends away can be a wonderful escape and time out from the world.

Touch and Connection

We are tactile creatures; the touch of massage is supportively intimate with a trusted professional. It can put you in touch with your humanity. Both giving and receiving massage can bring connection and energy to one’s spirit. Many of us do not have another to caress or hold us; massage can give you a safe place to feel nurtured.

The safe touch of massage can be very beneficial. Combine with essential oils to fill your senses.
The safe touch of massage can be very beneficial. Combine with essential oils to fill your senses.

I hope you found some help and inspiration in reading this. You are certainly not alone and there is help out there. Please have the courage to reach out. I say this with a heavy heart as last week; dear friends of mine have lost their son to suicide and are heartbroken and devastated. Get help and this too shall pass.

With love, light, hugs and healing,

Philipa Thornton.

Recommended Resources

Here is some helpful information to links for practical support, which I have found to be both ersonally and professionally beneficial. Of course I would love to hear from you if you found something useful, please add your own suggestions and comments you found helpful below. I will personally respond.

Buddhist Vipassana Retreat NSW and worldwide

Buddhist Vipassana Retreat NSW and worldwidel

buddha-2505791_640
Buddha is always smiling it seems.

Emmerson, G. (2012) Healthy Parts Happy Self, 3 Steps to Like Yourself. http://www.resourcetherapyinternational.com/store/p2/Healthy_Parts_Happy_Self_-_By_Gordon_Emmerson_PhD_%282012%29.html available here at a 20% discount follow instructions to download.

Happy Parts, Happy Self. 3 Steps to Like Yourself. Gordon Emmerson PhD.
Happy Parts, Happy Self. 3 Steps to Like Yourself.
Gordon Emmerson PhD.

Head Space

Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds, along with assistance in promoting young peoples’ wellbeing. This covers four core areas: mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol and other drug services.

Information and services for young people, their families and friends as well as health professionals can be accessed through this website, headspace centres, online counselling service eheadspace, the Digital Work and Study Service and postvention suicide support program headspace School Support.

Head Space Website

HEALTHYPLACE

Mental Health Support, Resources & Information

HealthyPlace.com is the largest consumer mental health site, providing trusted information on mental health disorders and psychiatric medications from both a consumer and expert point of view. We have online psychological tests, breaking mental health news, mental health videos, and unique tools like our “mood journal” and more. We’re glad you found us. Visit the website Healthy Place.

Ted Talks (Utube)

Ted Talks offer you an amazing place to access free educational and inspirational material starting at five minutes to view. Please find your interests here TED: Ideas worth spreading

Fine examples:

Depression, the secret we share, Andrew Solomon.

This is an excellent informational source and heartfelt personal experience of Andrews journey into depression land.

Andrew Solomon speaks on depressions impact in his life.

Lift Depression with These 3 Prescriptions without Pills by Psychologist Susan Heitler

3 Prescriptions for Depression by Susan Heitler.

Yoga Laughter

Yes you read that correctly and there is science to back up the benefits. Here is what their website says “Laughter Yoga Australia is a Social Enterprise, dedicated to providing health and wellbeing programs to organisations that are serious about the care of their staff and clients.” Click this link to visit Yoga Laughter.

Utube

Yoga Laughter on UTUBE.

A huge selection to choose from. I personally like Michael Sealey’s voice and others (find one you like) have great free mindfulness and hypnosis resources available to help.

Here is Michael Sealey’s Depression Relief Hypnosis & Meditation for 10 Days:

Michael Sealey’s Depression help in 10 days.

There are many more, please explore.

I would personally love to hear from you, what you have found helpful in boosting your self esteem, so please drop me a comment section below. I will respond, Thank you and I hope this helps. Please share too.

Love Philipa

Heal your heart with love and light.
Heal your heart with love and light.

Save

Save

Is your partnership in danger of being a House of Cards Relationship?

In the House of Cards American hit television series, husband Francis Underwood’s ruthless ambition has taken him to great political heights. With wife Claire successful and supportive in her own right.

There is a price to be paid unfortunately!

Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood in House of Cards.
Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood in House of Cards.

At one time this was a passionate meeting of hearts. Sadly as Francis’s need to win at any cost (Boy nothing will stand in his way!) makes them the ultimate power couple externally.

house-cards-729_20140218162857797518-620x349
All is not well in Claire and Francis’s marriage. It really is a House of Cards.

Whereas Claire has sacrificed her needs in service of her desire for power also. This childless couple fostered their careers, which has become the baby to be nurtured and developed. Meantime their relationship founders.

Both partners have become lonely. So much so they have found lovers. But even this distraction does not fulfil their needs. Somewhere along they way they lost each other. There is a fantastic episode where you see the house the first owned, with flowers and it looked like a home – their humble beginnings. Very different to living in the White House as the President of the United States of America

Now of course this House of Cards is a fictional television series, well worth viewing. And the characters portrayed are flawed characters to the extreme in this intense drama series. I am certainly not suggesting your marriage or personal situation is similar to the Underwood’s.

in House of Cards. Wife of Francis Underwood, President of the USA in the TV series.
Robin Wright – Claire Underwood in House of Cards. Wife of Francis Underwood, President of the USA in the TV series.

The House of Cards relationship is really a metaphor for the instability of what appears to be the perfect partnership. A really strong gust of wind will blow that tower over in a millisecond.

This partnership is characterized by its inner workings. What began, as a loving match of two, over time turns into a husband and wife team great at the practical matters, functioning as business team.

People will often admire this marriage from the outside, as they see two people working side by side, looing like a co-creation partnership. Usually this couple is a great parenting team, ferrying children to sports, dance and all manner of activity, running a household, finically secure and to all appearances successful.

In this relationship style each partner has a sense of the fragility of the relationship. It is the elephant in the room as they just get on with getting on. The foundation laid at the beginnings with good times and dating, has not progressed into a sound structure to withhold the inevitable crisis in any relationship.

This couple bonded together as a pair. But struggles when children are introduced in the mix. Often with Mum (or Dad) finding their love and attention needs being met by the kids. Dad (or Mum) feeling on the outer of this emotional bond either directs their needs into productivity and shifts his focus further into work, sport, or problems with another person or addiction to address this emptiness.

Both recognise on some level each others desires and adult needs are not being met but communication and vulnerability are generally avoided for safer topics of parenting, holidays or investments and such.

No emotional risks are taken, or if one partner attempt to reach out they do it in a manner doomed to fail, with anger, ultimatums, repeated criticisms, seeking solutions, demands and other ineffective immature communication practices.

This leads to the escalating fights. Where both stand wary and further drives a wedge in their partnership. The trade off is silent stagnation.

The secret to addressing the House of Cards relationship is to get really honest and be open to change. You need to really shift you’re Axx in gear as my dear Mum would say. And really hear your partner, listen to understand without defending, solution finding and see how it is for them, and give empathy. Share honestly your feelings with I statements and without accusation or blame.

Healing can happen with effort. If you recognise your insecurity is affecting your self worth, and your relationship. Take steps to deal with it.

If you can acknowledge your relationship as a House of Cards Series, don’t wait for nature to take its course.

Share your love, repair you
Share your love, repair your relationship today.

Take affirmative action and learn how to express your needs and desires and work with your partner to understand their heartfelt concerns and work together as friends building the structure of House of Care.

Start putting your relationship as the priority. The kids will thank you, work will improve, and your happiness will grow in your partners glow.

Is the House of Cards Relationship something you can identify with?

Perhaps you recognize the red flags?  Or possibly you now see it looking back after a loss. Please share your thoughts, comments and insights. I will respond.

Thank you and good luck!

Philipa

Save

Rethinking Infidelity – Esther Perel TED talk sheds light on the hurt

As a relationship therapist, infidelity is a common issue couples enter counseling for.

I’m glad I am able to say many people report a positive experience after processing the affair. While they wouldn’t want to repeat the distress and pain, the learning and growth in themselves and the relationship is a worthwhile reward.

Know affair recovery is possible – seek professional help, find your local relationship expert, a good psychologist or counselor that you feel can help you.

Esther Perel – a certified relationship therapist has some interesting insights into this marital crisis. Please click on this link : Rethinking Infidelity by Esther Perel – relationship psychotherapist.

Broken Heart mend it with counselling
Infidelity and a broken heart can be repaired with good therapy and in time.

Husbands Who Help Get More Bedroom Action Study Finds

Cloth Clips Alessandra Favetto alessandrafavetto.com
Research shows men – more chores you do, more sex you get. Photo credit: Alessandra Favetto, Spain

This morning I spoke to John Stanley and Garry Linnell of 2UE’s breakfast show on this very topic – the division of labour in the household. Interestingly Garry said he actually does most of the housework.

He is more enlightened than most, as around 70% of household duties in a partnership are still performed by women.

Research to the rescue, guys – Neil Chethik’s study VoiceMale: What husbands really think about their marriages, their wives, sex, housework and commitment found the more housework husbands did, the more sex they were having with their wives. De Facto couples do not despair, as I imagine similar correlations are apparent as men perform more household duties – please let me know if this is the case.

Curious to think what may be behind this? Perhaps as women are freed up from the kitchen sink it brings out their wild side. Or they may have more energy to offer up in the bedroom?

So guys the sum of this is the more chores you, do the more sex you will get!

Read on for help if you are stuck in a hopeless battle in the chore wars in your relationship.  Continue reading Husbands Who Help Get More Bedroom Action Study Finds