Reducing Stress

Reducing Stress

Give Up Stinkin' Thinkin' For Lent


"You must manage yourself before you can lead someone else." Zig Ziglar

Yeah, daylight savings time is here, and if you can't tell, I absolutely love it. Lent has also started. I'm sure you've thought about what you're going to give up for Lent. Some people give up sugar, chocolate, wine, bread, etc. I could go on with a list of things to give up. I've been telling people to give up give up their cognitive distortions (aka stinkin' thinkin') for Lent. Here are ten cognitive distortions you absolutely must give up for Lent:

  1. All-or-nothing thinking: You look at things in absolute, black-and-white categories.
  2. Overgeneralization: You view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
  3. Mental filter: You dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives.
  4. Discounting the positives: You insist that your accomplishments or positive qualities "don't count."
  5. Jumping to conclusions: (A) Mind reading - you assume that people are reacting negatively to you when there's no definite evidence for this; (B) Fortune-telling - you arbitrarily predict that things will turn out badly.
  6. Magnification or minimization: You blow things way up out of proportion or you shrink their importance inappropriately.
  7. Emotional reasoning: You reason from how you feel: "I feel like an idiot, so I really must be one." Or, "I don't feel like doing this, so I'll put it off."…

Read more: Give Up Stinkin' Thinkin' For Lent


It's not always about being right. In the Gottman's research we have found that in order to gain influence you need to accept influence. This means trying new things that your partner suggests or trying things the way your partner does things, for a change. Relationships don't need to be difficult or about power struggles. They need to be about nurturing the friendship and accepting one another's differences. Nobody is perfect; this is not an expectation you should have in a relationship. If you do, then you are setting it up for failure. Whenever we see a couple we give them survey's to fill out. This helps us learn crucial information about the relationship. One of the surveys is the Accepting Influence Questionnaire. The questions are listed below; please take a few minutes to answer them.

Read each statement and answer true or false.

  1. I am really interested in my partner's opinions on our basic issues.
  2. I usually learn a lot from my partner even when we disagree.
  3. I want my partner to feel what he or she says really counts with me.
  4. I generally want my partner to feel influential in this marriage.
  5. I can listen to my partner, but only up to a point.
  6. My partner has a lot of basic common sense.
  7. I try to communicate respect even during our disagreements.
  8. If…

Read more: Sharing Power and Accepting Influence in Your Relationship

Five Tips to Help You Through the Holiday Season


It's hard to believe that December is already here. The holiday season can be a wonderful season, but it can also be a crazy season. The media has really taken over. Stores open on Thanksgiving, sales everywhere and lines of people waiting to buy that one last gift. Sometimes, we are so busy taking care of everyone else that we forget about ourselves. This can also be a time where people get run down and stressed out. Here are five tips that will help make the holidays more enjoyable:

  1. Loneliness? Plan a date with You. Many people don't have family to spend the holidays with. If this is the case for you, then treat yourself to something you normally wouldn't do. Help the less fortunate and volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Find an organization to go caroling with or go to church.
  2. Gifting on a budget. Take advantage of this time to get in touch with your creative side. Hand crafted gifts can be more cherished than store bought gifts. Baking, knitting, homemade art and framed photo cards are a few examples of inexpensive, yet very thoughtful gifts. 
  3. Social Anxiety? Plan ahead. Many parties allow you to bring a plus one, don't hesitate to bring your partner and if you are single invite a friend. When you are at the…

Read more: Five Tips to Help You Through the Holiday Season

When going through treatment for breast cancer, GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.


If you are going through treatment for breast cancer, or you have gone through treatment for breast cancer, then you know how physically and emotionally draining it can be. When I think back to the days that I had chemotherapy. I wanted to keep going but eventually it did catch up. I felt like I had to put my life on hold and that I wouldn't accomplish anything while I was going through treatment. That was back in 2001. I now realize I was really hard on myself during that time. When it was all over I realized life still goes on and I could pick up where I left off. I also met some amazing people during the process, and even became closer to some friends and family. I also realized that I did accomplish something, I fought my hardest to beat cancer and I did. I am writing this article to help people that are like I was, while I was going through treatment. Here are five tips while going through treatment for breast cancer:

  1. Go easy on yourself. Work will always be there, the laundry will always be there, and the house doesn't have to be spotless. 
  2. Turn off the negative tape in your head. This is not your fault. No one plans for breast cancer. There is nothing you…

Read more: When going through treatment for breast cancer, GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.

Unexpected Detours: Three Tips for Breast Cancer Patients


"It's the not knowing aspect of breast cancer that increases the emotionality in regard to all your relationships." Katherine Puckett 

Breast Cancer's Relationship Toll: For many women breast cancer is not only a major physical battle but it is also an emotional battle. It can affect every relationship in your life. From friendships to romance, from being a parent to being a daughter, the way your relate to everyone and the way they relate to you - can be affected. 

For some women, breast cancer can be the catalyst that turns casual friendships into deep meaningful friendships, it can bring couples closer, and help family units bond and become stronger. Although, for others it can be a lonely and isolating time. It can be a time where the people we counted on most disappear. 

So, what determines how breast cancer will affect your life. Some of the experts have said, it's often linked to a willingness to share your burden with others. For many women, this is not easy. Women are the caregivers. We are used to taking care of everyone else and it can be difficult to give up of some of that control. Even when women have breast cancer they still want to handle everything. Here are three tips that can be helpful if you have breast cancer and you are in…

Read more: Unexpected Detours: Three Tips for Breast Cancer Patients

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Lianne Avila, MFT
1510 Fashion Island Blvd.
Suite 110
San Mateo, CA 94404

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