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How to Navigate Political Talk During Holiday Gatherings: Interview with Shape.com

If someone starts a conversation leading down a road you know will be bumpy, feel free to duck out—just acknowledge their comment first, says Hanks. “No one can engage you in an intense political discussion without your willingness to enter that discussion,” she says. “You can be really respectful and validate or hear them and then change the subject.”

Our Definition of “Good Mothering” is Bad For Mental Health

Preparing to be a “good mother” is emphasized in Primary, Young Women’s, and continues as a central thread woven throughout Relief Society lessons and discussions. Unfortunately, it turns out that many of our beliefs about “good mothering” are correlated with poor maternal mental health. When I first read findings from a study published in The Journal of Child and Family Studies that suggest that five specific beliefs about mothering–essentialism, fulfillment, stimulation, challenging, and child-centered–are correlated with poorer mental health among mothers with young children, I thought to myself, “These beliefs align with how we, in America, and in LDS culture define good mothering!”

Case Studies for Parenting Young Adults: Marriott Alumni Magazine

Do you have an adult child and sometimes struggle to know how to have proper boundaries in your relationship? You’re not alone! When our kids are little, it’s appropriate for us to tell them to brush their teeth and eat their vegetables, but when they grow up and have their own identities, it’s easy to get confused about how much input we should give into their lives. For example, should we be giving them advice on their jobs, their finances, and their dating lives? Of course we shouldn’t be helicopter parents to a man or woman in their 30s, but what if they’re really struggling and need some direction?

I shared my thoughts on this topic in a new Marriott Alumni magazine article written by Holly Munson. Here’s a summary of common scenarios parents face with adult children and my take on how to best handle them:

Read more

Putting A Positive Spin on Anxiety

The word “anxiety” makes us a little, well, anxious. The truth is, though, that everyone gets nervous; it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The problem comes when we psyche ourselves out and make a difficult situation worse by compounding our worries (also, please understand that I’m referring to normal anxiety, not anxiety disorder, which is a legitimate mental health condition that requires professional treatment).

There’s some interesting new research that shows how reframing anxiety into a form of excitement can help us cope better. I love the idea of viewing our nervousness as a positive thing that can prepare us for demanding situations. Here are 3 ways we can rethink anxiety and use it for our good: Read more

Assertive and Authentic Communication After Faith Transition: Debrief Society Podcast

If you’re struggling to communicate authentically and assertively with loved ones about changes in your faith or religious participation you might enjoy this new Debrief Society podcast interview. Becca and I discuss my new book The Assertiveness Guide for Women and how how questioning your faith or leaving the religious tradition of your family of origin can indicate movement toward a higher level differentiation of self (the ability to be an individual while staying connected to loved ones). We also cover cultural barriers to assertive communication (for LDS women in particular), how to deal with the silent treatment once you’ve talked to family members about your faith

Self-Compassion Exercise from Assertiveness Guide Featured on Weightless Blog

According to Julie, think of a recent situation where you experienced pain, whether from a physical injury or an emotional one. It might be anything from a fight with a friend to a breakup to someone’s passing. She suggests asking ourselves these questions:

  • “What did I tell myself about my pain?
  • Was my self-talk nurturing or was it critical?
  • Did I validate my suffering or minimize it?
  • How did I behave toward myself when I was hurting?
  • Was I able to provide nurturing, comfort and validation to myself?”

On Creativity, the Writing Process, Boundaries & More: PsychCentral Interview

The book features valuable suggestions and poignant real-life examples to help us speak up and effectively express ourselves. As I mentioned in my endorsement, I truly believe it should be required reading for all women and girls. Because setting solid boundaries isn’t something we’re normally taught. And yet it’s the foundation for everything: healthy relationships, a meaningful, fulfilling life.

How to Help Your Anxious Daughter: Studio 5

All parents want to raise strong, confident, happy daughters, but there’s evidence showing that female adolescents are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety. A recent article in the Deseret News suggests that young women are having a rough time; researchers are seeing anxiety, self-harm, and even suicide in girls as young as 10. In recent years, I have witnessed an increase in the number of referrals of young people (girls and boys) to my therapy practice who are experiencing these same sorts of issues. Clearly, we have a real cultural problem to address, and there’s certainly reason to be concerned. Read more