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By associatesforl1144, Feb 23 2016 05:43PM

Remarriage has been on the rise and why not? Everybody seems to be doing it and individuals are now living longer. You might ask yourself will this time work?

Are you considering marriage again? It’s very popular these days. Although it is easier to get a divorce than ever before and maybe you are thinking that perhaps this time, it will work!!!

Sometimes not enough thought is given to this decision and this may cause tremendous confusion for the children, very supportive parents, grandparents and other important persons in your life. Thinking forward, what about the step-children? It's very important that visitation and living status be defined early in your plans. Continued employment with your company may require long distance travel or even relocation to a new area. These are just some of the issues that need to be thought through carefully and addressed before you actually take the plunge.

Yes, you are in love. It feels wonderful, freeing again, totally alive and smiling! However, it might also be the right time to think about clarifying and defining the new rules and expectations so that the support you will need will actually be there for you.

Thinking through the idea of re-marriage this time is vastly different from the first marriage! Other issues to consider is the possibility of multiple parents and spouses or a large extended family system of all whom want to be involved. Learning to set limits and boundaries is crucial to the success in navigating the family.

When you decide and imagine that this marriage will be the most wonderful, it’s imperative that you also discuss with your new partner obligations of finance, parenting issues, expectations and communication as significant issues can arise that may cause distress to all parties involved.

Before, you take the plunge, give it considerable thought as this time you might have much more at stake and sometimes what we imagine for ourselves, children and partners can become clouded when we are on the love cloud!

By associatesforl1144, Feb 23 2016 05:35PM

Have you ever wondered if you have High or Low Self-Esteem? Self-Esteem is the measure of how we see ourselves, our role in the world and the actions we take to bolster or diminish our Self-Esteem. People with High Self-Esteem are positive, loving, friendly, goal achieving and have healthy relationships with others; while people with Low Self-Esteem act in ways that consistently erode their self confidence. Some of the actions people with Low Self-Esteems take are listed below:

1. Saying “Yes” when you mean to say “No”.

2. Putting other people first to the exclusion of your own needs.

3. Saying “Sorry” frequently, even when you are not at fault.

4. Being scared to take the limelight or express your innermost feelings.

If you have any of these signs, make sure to talk them over with a therapist. Targeting your Low Self-Esteem issues in counseling can bring you greater confidence and success and, ultimately, a happier you.

By associatesforl1144, Feb 3 2016 08:45PM

Recently, there has been much publicity about the dangers of texting, talking on the phone, posting, and taking selfies when driving. On April 24, 2014 a young woman in North Carolina posted on twitter how happy she was while listening to the "Happy Song" on the radio. A minute later there was an emergency call. She had gone into the wrong lane while she was posting and driving and she hit a waste management truck head on. The car swerved off the road and caught fire. Unfortunately, by the time help arrived, she had passed.

While everyone wants happiness, sometimes your level of euphoria can get so high that you lose your reasoning capacity. This creates the same effect as alcohol or drugs where the pleasure center of the brain get stimulated and the reasoning centers of the brain don't work as well. Although the effect is much less intense than alcohol or drugs, it impairs reasoning.

The brain has chemicals that make you feel pleasurable feelings. Serotonin is the chemical that enables you to feel good even when nothing exciting happens. Dopamine makes you go into a happy stupor when you just had good news. That is not a bad thing. Norepinephrine makes you excited and ebullient. Some people who have a deficiency of these chemicals might need antidepressant medication.

When you are very happy and excited, these chemicals get secreted in greater amounts than the usual. It can create a decrease in your reasoning capacities. Suddenly you feel as if the laws of nature do not apply to you. For example, you don't have to drive right, study for a test, or do anything that is a nuisance. The feelings are addicting so you don't want to stop feeling this "high" and go back to your duties. A basic example would be when you go out to lunch with a friend, have a great time but then let out a sigh when you change your thoughts back to the afternoon work agenda.

You might ask, "So we should never get very happy so we can survive?" Who wants to do that? No, the trick is to keep thinking and to realize that you can return to your euphoria later. When you are doing something that requires concentration, being present with your endeavor is a form of quiet happiness. Even if you drive down the same road every day driving the road and focusing on your driving is not only good sense but you may find true happiness when your mind is in the present moment. You can then return to feeling good about your good news. If you are happy about a song on the radio you will do okay enjoying it now and texting your friends only when you get to your destination. You will live, both literally and figuratively.

When you feel intense emotion, whether it is happy or unhappy, your lower brain gets active and your higher brain is not as active. Alcohol and drugs intensify this. This is why it is important to focus and think when you do an activity. You can capture the happy feeling when you finish the task and enjoy it safely.

Finally, by writing this I am not condemning the woman who died in the accident. Anything that happens is meaningful. Her death is meaningful as it can make others aware of the dangers of texting and driving. It can save lives.

If you have ever been feeling great but then your day was ruined by a stupid mistake, it may be that you became so happy that you became careless. This article shows you how to be happy and stay grounded with just minor adjustments.

By associatesforl1144, Jan 27 2016 04:36PM

Using Positive Reinforcement For Family and School Success

I often hear parents express that “my child misbehaves in order to get attention.” Statements such as this reveals a common understanding that attention is a powerful reinforcement of behavior. There are many ways positive reinforcement plays a role in our daily life. For example, if you did not get paid for going to work and doing your job (positive reinforcement) you would probably not continue to work at that job, but if your boss is someone who lets you know when you are doing a good job it is likely you would want to work harder for that person.

A key to using positive reinforcement as a strategy for changing behavior is to selective reinforce specific desirable behaviors and to consistently withhold reinforcement for undesirable behaviors. For example, a reward might be given to start homework on time, with no reward earned for starting homework late. Using positive reinforcement make sense and most parents are aware of it applicability in many areas of life.

The fundamental principals are:

Consistency - Reward consistently for desirable behaviors

Immediacy - As much as possible, give rewards immediately

Specificity - Be clear about what you expect

Saliency - Use reinforcements that are meaningful to your child

4 to 1 positive-to-negative ratio for responses

These principles we know are easier said than done, but reward systems do not work well when they are used inconsistently. With consistency, both you and your child will know exactly which behavior will be responded to and in what manner. You will also probably find that arguments and other conflicts will be reduced.

Immediate positive responses to positive behaviors can make a big difference. Don’ delay! For tasks that are lengthy, provide reinforcement as soon as you notice examples of productiveness.

Being very specific about what you expect and what you are reinforcing is critical. Rewarding a child for “being good” can be very confusing. Instead of saying " you earned a reward coupon for being good” you might say “you earned a reward coupon for following my directions without a reminder.”

It is important to make sure rewards are meaningful to your child. Families cannot get too comfortable with reward systems, since what is meaningful to your child this month may not be very attractive next month. As your child gets familiar with this system, his or her preferences for rewards will change.

Keeping a 4 to 1 ratio will make you feel more positive about managing your child’s behavior and research has shown such a ratio to be very effective. In turn, you will be more likely to be seen by your child as someone who is a “good boss."

By associatesforl1144, Jan 25 2016 05:29PM

Most college students juggle their schoolwork with jobs, school activities, social life, and relationships. When it is time to study you need to remind yourself that this is all that you need to do now. Take some deep breaths to clear your head of distracting thoughts. When you have distracting thoughts, remind yourself that this is what minds do. Let the thoughts go and remind yourself that this is the time to focus on the material. It helps to stay in a quiet place and to study in the same place all the time. If the dorm room or Fraternity/Sorority house is too noisy go the library or another quiet place.

Budget your time so you will spend enough time studying each subject to fare well. A general rule is to spend three times the amount of time in the classroom for each subject. For example, If you spend three hours a week in the classroom spend nine hours a week studying that subject. Naturally you will spend more time on a subject before a test or project is due, and less time for a few days afterwards. But classroom time times three should be the general rule.

The best times to study are an hour or two hours before bed. When study is your last activity before bed you keep more information than if you concentrated on Facebook, a video game or other activity. You keep the last thing you learned because the brain had all night to process it while you slept.

More importantly, do not compare yourself to other students. When I taught college students who struggled, they shared that they caught themselves not understanding a paragraph they had just read. Then they got discouraged and wanted to throw the book across the room. The problem was that they focused on their performance, and consequentially did not focus on the material. This led to frustration and poor performance. Don't get down on yourself if you had to read the material over. Just accept that and read it again. Do not go to a party or any distracting activity the night before a test.

When I was in college, students used to brag that they drank at a party, went to a major league baseball game, or a concert the night before a test and still got an "A" on the test. I never believed any of it. Take a test when you are in the same physical, mental, and emotional state that you were in when you studied. There is a principle called State Dependent Memory. It means that you keep more information when you are in the same state as when you learned it.

Many students study all night two nights before a test then get a good rest the night before so they will be well rested. This might seem like common sense. However, state dependent memory says if you studied tired you will remember more if you take the test tired. Multitasking is a myth. when people multitask they do not do any single task as well as when they do the task by itself. Study one subject at a time. If you have ADHD or a short attention span divide your time with each subject at short intervals. A half hour for each subject works. Finally, do not make studying the only thing you do. Have a social life and be in activities. College can be a challenging time.

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Associates for Life Enhancement, Inc. is a group of professionals in private practice who provide counseling services with offices located in Atlantic and Burlington Counties. We hope to use this blog as a way to provide you with information on different topics that may be of interest. Please feel free to subscribe to our webfeed that will update you when new articles have been posted!