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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Relationship problems? Consider this...

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Feb 2nd 2009

mother daughter

"If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?" ~  Stephen Levine

 One of the greatest fears that lie under the surface in most people's minds is death. So as a defense to this fear we develop this uncanny ability to not talk about the inevitable with anyone and almost pretend as if everyone is immortal and will live on forever. While this may alleviate us of discomfort temporarily, at the end of the day, it gets in the way of the most important piece of our mental health...connection. We simply get caught up in our day to day and don't take the time to intentionally pay attention to those we care about. We take them for granted and only when something drastic or life threatening happens do we realize how much that person really means to us. It doesn't have to be this way.

On the flipside, what about our own lives? We take our physical and mental health for granted until some challenge or illness befalls us and we wish we could be healthy again. We don't take time during the week to be appreciative or even caring to ourselves for all the hard work we do to earn a living, to care for our bodies, to even read this blog to support our minds. Every action you take deserves recognition and this recognition will feed you and make you feel better because it sends the intentional message inward that you really do care about yourself. This is an act of love and is healing.

Ok, a serious question to consider: Are there people you feel you need to communicate with to reconcile any past issues? Is there anyone today you wish to tell how much you care about them? Yes there will be inertia and fear there, it's Ok. You may even be holding back out of some resentment or grudge you are holding. Have compassion for yourself, it's not easy to break out of deeply ingrained habits that have been practiced for so many years.  

Again, ask yourself: "If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?"

Make a plan to connect. Put it in your calendar if need be. It's our connections and support systems that we now know are the seeds to resilience with our mental health.

As always, please feel free to write comments and questions below. Did you practice this, how did it go? Do you have an example of this from the past? What is holding you back? Your comments and questions provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

What if we don't? - bearsstar - Mar 12th 2009

What if we don't have anyone we need to call and nothing to say?

Does this mean that we (I) have found a healthy way to precieve my relationships or does this mean there are still issues I do not see but exist?

 Is it possible to not have things to say? (at least at this stage in life?)

 (I have undergone psychotherapy before and resolved most family issues)

What would you do? - Can't believe im here - Feb 21st 2009

I have been engaged to my fiance for over a year now and we are going through some financial problems at the moment, short term. In a few weeks things will pick up and be back to normal. Two days ago, her and a friend went to a mall and spent the day using those wonderful giftcards from christmas. She went there with $80 dollars, all she had (I had 50) to get her through the next four days. Now, we need diapers and wipes for the little one and she claims "have $8 dollars in the bank...Keep in mind that I have to buy gas to get to and from work, thus my $50 to spend..."I went over on the gift card $19 dollars and spent $30 to get a manicure... HUH??  We have been having problems, mostly because of her irresponsibility.. seriously, how can a woman spend her last $30 dollars for a manicure before buying diapers for our childl... I know in my heart what I need to do.. I just want to know that I'm not overreacting...

please send advice

interesting article - Leticia Plaza Ramos - Feb 8th 2009

Its and interesting article ,but we need help in Puerto Rico to make a good people. Thanks

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