Dr. Kristin Schaefer-Schiumo| Manhasset NY

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How Many Windows Are Open In Your Brain, Right Now?

Well, we're in the first part of June and, if your home is anything like mine, there's an unbelievable amount to accomplish! Whether its permission forms for field trips or sports tournaments, completion of camp forms, or helping study for endless finals, the huge to do pile following a full days work seems never ending.

Hey New Dads - Don't Be Afraid To Be Afraid! It's Perfectly Normal....

When you think of Father's Day, what comes to mind? Perhaps it's your longstanding tradition of family BBQs or outdoor time with loved ones. Maybe you take some time to think about, or reach out to, the men who have influenced your life. Maybe you stop to wonder who has become a new father this year. Or, just maybe, you are a new father yourself.

Choices Matter - What choices are you REALLY making?

I have been extremely busy these last few months....working full time both teaching and in my private practice and being the best wife, mom, daughter, friend and colleague I can possibly be. None of this is new but, in itself, is enough to keep most keep quite active! Now add being primary caregiver for a family member with significant medical needs and the load gets even heavier. During these months, some people have asked, " did so and so call, or is so and so helping you?" With a scowl on their faces, or a tone in their voices, it seems to me that people are poking around hoping to stir up some negativity. Now believe me, I could choose to fan that fire, pointing out who has not done what, where people "failed me." But what would I really gain from those choices?

Six Ways to Improve Your Goal Setting...Today!

Goals are standards that most of us use to measure where we are in relation to where we want to end up. Many people believe that behavior is actually guided by the presence, or absence, of goals. For example, poorly defined and ambiguous goals often lead to weak intentions to meet those goals. That leads to amotivation, procrastination or inconsistent behaviors toward goal attainment. But, fortunately the opposite is also true. There are a number of steps you can take to develop well defined and truly achievable goals.

Anxiety & Depression: Is It Emotional? Is It Physical? Or, Is It Both?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, it can be immensely helpful to engage in therapy. As a practicing psychologist with over 20 years of experience, I have seen first-hand the powerful and positive effects of successful therapy. But, I am also a huge proponent of the mind-body connection; so, when working together, clients will often hear me integrating questions about blood work or recent examinations by their PCP...

5 Ways To Find Your Calm In These Topsy Turvy Political Times!

There is simply no getting around it..... We are currently drowning in a defensive, fearful, angry and belittling political climate. We are bombarded daily by an overload of information at every turn. Taking care of our physical and emotional well-being needs to again become a top priority at times like this....

The Five Minute Couple’s Conflict Zapper!

Anyone who is truly in love knows that all couples argue. It’s just a part of (intimate) life! No matter how exciting or compatible your relationship is, it eventually comes with disagreements about something or other. BUT, if you can learn to resolve these conflicts successfully, then you will enhance the trust you have in your partner and the faith you have in your relationship. Successfully resolving disagreements fosters a process of discovery critical for a healthy relationship, whereas recurring, unresolved conflicts cause damaging scars that can ultimately threaten the survival of your love relationship.

Learn to Argue Successfully, Just in Time for Valentines Day!

Discussions about the mind body connection have made their way into mainstream society. Research examining areas including stress, medical illness, and emotional expressiveness clearly has found that there are connections between physiology and emotion. So, it should not be all that surprising to learn that recent research has found that arguing poorly with loved ones negatively impacts not only our emotional health, but our physical health as well. A 20-year, longitudinal research study conducted at the University of California, Berkley has begun to uncover some of the long-term health effects of arguing poorly...

I Love My Phone More Than My Husband!

I love my phone! I'll admit it, it's hugely helpful both in my work and personal life. And frankly, at times, it's fun! In fact, sometimes I find it to be more soothing than my husband! But, how can that be, as I truly love my husband? Let's look at what's really going on a little more closely...... How many times have you been at an event with your partner and found that you needed to (again) just quickly check your email, scroll through Facebook, or be sure that you missed nothing urgent on the never ending newsfeeds? You think to yourself, "I'll just check once… or twice… or 15 times… what's really the harm?" So you sit down on a chair, or "discreetly" turn away from the group to check your phone for just a second. "This is fine," you think," there's no harm." Think again.

Rethinking Resolutions....

I am not a fan of traditional New Year's Resolutions. If you struggle to control your anger, to limit sugar intake, or purge toxic relationships throughout the year, it's not likely that an artificial date will change that. In fact, research shows that less than ten percent of people actually achieve and maintain their New Year's resolutions. As you consider working toward lasting and meaningful change in your life, set goals tied to compelling methods for success. For example, losing weight may become a reality for you through true motivation...whether due to a life experience or a doctor's warning. Lasting, meaningful change does not come with an arbitrary date on a calendar, but rather through patience, commitment and thoughtful, steady action...

Scheduling In "Down Time" During The Hectic Holidays

As I start my early mornings in November in quiet meditative practice, my mind occasionally wanders to the upcoming holiday season - searching for the perfect holiday gift, putting together the finishing touches on parties or meals, or working to get those greetings cards out "on time." The seemingly endless family gatherings and obligations sometimes lead to feelings of pressure and stress. It is not surprising to experience both anticipatory anxiety and excitement just in time for "the most wonderful time of the year!" But to be clear, I truly love this time of year.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset in Your Children

The term growth mindset was coined several years ago while studying how different children react to challenges. What was discovered was that how we praise our children has a tremendous impact on their mindset and, thus, their academic success. Students with a fixed mindset (who believe their intelligence, strengths and talents are set at birth) are more likely to give up, become easily frustrated, and tend to avoid challenges. In comparison, growth mindset children (who believe that intelligence and talent are a starting point but hard work, perseverance and "grit" are what really matter), work harder, take on more challenges, make more improvements, and ultimately perform better than their fixed mindset peers.

My Brain Wants The Frappuccino....Seriously!

How many times have you said to yourself, "this is it, I'm changing my life"? Maybe you've worked out, decluttered your closet or home, stopped working out, lost weight, gone gluten free or dairy free or both, gained weight, or feasted on dairy and gluten to your hearts content. In short you, like most people, swing back and forth between what you know is healthy for you in the long run and what you "need" or "want" in the short run to feel good.

Argue Well....And Recover Quickly

Discussions about the mind body connection have made their way into mainstream society. Research examining areas including stress, medical illness, and emotional expressiveness clearly has found that there are connections between physiology and emotion. So, it should not be all that surprising to learn that recent research has found that arguing poorly with loved ones negatively impacts not only our emotional health, but our physical health as well. A 20-year, longitudinal research study conducted at the University of California, Berkley has begun to uncover some of the long-term health effects of arguing poorly. While angry outbursts predict cardiovascular problems, shutting down emotionally is tied to muscular skeletal problems including stiff muscles or back problems. Even though many people feel that conflict is a part of intimate relationships and life in general, the way we respond to conflict and choose to communicate during these times of stress may literally be a matter of life and death in the long run.

It's Back To School Time... Again!

It's hard to believe that the summer is almost over. While some parents are thrilled that this is the case, and others are not, it is critical that all parents prepare their children for this important transition. With the summer stretched out before them, children became accustomed to staying up later, having more free time, and needing much less structure. The successful start of the new school year requires the opposite...consistent, healthy sleep habits, less free time, and more structure

"Unplug" On Your Summer Vacation

What do you think of when you read the word vacation? Do you think of a time of relaxation and recreation in a far off or exotic place? Do you think of the now popular stay-cations, which also are meant to be a time of rest and fun? Or, has vacation come to mean a time in which you frustrate yourself and those around you by trying to cram office work into your time of "relaxation and peace?"

How to Squash Sibling Rivalry This Summer..And Beyond

August is here and with it the “dog days” of summer. Are your children getting a bit restless, with the level of bickering and taunting going up along with the heat and humidity? Instead of feeling pushed to the limit, try some simple mindful awareness strategies with your children to restore balance and calm to your family...

Living in the "Shoulds" and "Musts"

The "shoulds" and "musts" of our everyday life are the greatest destroyers of mental health. Everyday I work with my clients as they discuss the things they are unhappy about. Many times, it is not the thing itself that is causing the unhappiness, but how they think about what is happening in their lives. Perhaps they believe they're falling short of what their family, culture or society expects from them. Or perhaps they feel they are fully meeting outside expectations, but are still unhappy because they are not living the lives they want to live...

Floating Leaves on a Gentle Stream.

Blog / Podcast

How often are you bothered by persistent, troubling thoughts? Research clearly shows that our negative thoughts cause more symptoms of distress and disease than difficult circumstances themselves. The Floating Leaf exercise may help you in taking the first step in decreasing your negative, ineffective thought patterns and increasing your sense of calm and well-being.

Meditation on kindness and self compassion.

Podcast

Mindfulness Meditation Exercise

Blog / Podcast

The Parent Trap

Don't underestimate the importance of the Bank of Mom and Dad when it comes to teaching your children about money. The truth is, you can't rely on your children getting lessons about money from school. While most states now include a personal finance course in their K-12 education, only 17 states require it. But, even if you live in one of those states, parents are still the Number 1 influencers of their children's money habits. As a parent, early and consistent involvement is key in helping your children avoid financial mistakes as young adults...

Self-Compassion Instead of Self-Criticism

Research is demonstrating very clearly that, in many ways, we are what we think. Focusing on the negative has been linked to increases in mental illness, stress levels, and physical ailments such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular symptoms. The good news is that the opposite is also true. If you can learn to think more positively, you will experience encouraging changes across many areas of your life. One piece of positive thinking is developing true self-compassion. As you go about your day...

Lose That Grudge

As human beings we often want people to know when we're hurt and we want the responsible party to pay for their unjust actions. The question is, "Is that so wrong?" The simple answer...yes! It is now clear that holding onto anger and a desire for some sort of retribution has profound physical, emotional, and interpersonal consequences. I'd like to discuss why it's better to forgive than to hold onto that grudge. Anger can make us physically sick. The American Heart Association found that high levels of anger may increase the risk of coronary artery disease, particularly in...

Family First- The "Little" Things

Recently, I asked you to consider ringing in the new year with a renewed focus on family. Today, I'd like give you simple tools that you can slip easily into family life. We can all benefit from improving our positive thinking. What we think about greatly impacts our mood. If we can find the good in a situation, see our positive actions, feel gratitude toward others, then we are more likely to feel energized, content and focused. The question is, how do we teach ourselves and family members to think in this way? Here are some...

Confidence and Fear?

I'm sure you're thinking to yourself, "that's quite a strange title.".. But hear me out. How often have you wanted to make a change or try something new, whether in your personal or professional life? But, then self-doubt creeps in. You may feel as if people won't like what you do, or that you lack the knowledge or training to do it. In reality, none of that is so. It it is true that when we take on bigger challenges, we have to deal with self-doubt or a lack of confidence. When was the last time you were frightened to do something...

Family First

As we wind down this wonderful and often hectic holiday season, I thought it time to discuss the importance of family. I hope you enjoy the following parable: There was a young boy whose father worked very hard. One night, when the father returned home from work, the boy asked, "Daddy how much do you make an hour?" "Why do you ask me that...stop pestering me and go to sleep," his father said. But the boy kept asking.."please Daddy it's very important." Finally, his father replied," I make $20 an hour." "Daddy," the boy replied, "can I borrow $10? It's very important."...

Integrative Psychology-Ballet for Neuropathy?

As many of you already know, I am a strong advocate for intergrative psychology, an approach that values working with an individual's emotions, mind and body. For that reason, I would like to bring your attention to a wonderful, recurring series of ballet classes (SAMPLE brochure attached. Please reach out to Christina_Hanford@hotmail.com for information on Fall 2016 classes). This class is designed specifically to help individuals struggling with neuropathic pain secondary to chemotherapy treatments...

Possible Exercise and ADHD Link

I am privileged to spend a great deal of my time working with parents and their children to better their overall lives. Within my practice, I am ever focused on the principle that the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind. This is known as integrative mental health, a multi-focused approach used to ease suffering around experiences such as depression, anxiety, relational conflicts, or inattention. To that end, please enjoy the following article, which discusses how current research is examining the effects of physical exercise...

Emotional Regulation Strategies

Are your emotions getting the better of you? If so, there are many strategies that you can learn to regulate your emotions. Many people try what is called situation selection. Here, you choose the situations you are in based on how you think you will feel or react in them. For example, if you fear crowds you may choose to avoid crowds. The benefit of this strategy is that it allows you to avoid certain difficult situations and avoid being overwhelmed by negative emotions. But situation selection alone can be very limiting despite allowing you to regulate your emotions...

Using Imagery to Diffuse Emotions

A few months ago, I spoke to you about the benefits of mindfulness. As the summer comes to a close, and we become busier with work, family, or school demands, it is important to carry inner calm into the fall. So, I would like to take some time to discuss imagery strategies with you. Studies show that imagery can affect your emotions in a very positive way. Learning how to picture your peaceful place is critical to mindfulness and emotional regulation. 1. Close your eyes and picture a place that brings you peace and...

Are Our Children Over-Scheduled?

As we head from winter into spring, many parents start to turn their attention to their children's spring activities. With that comes the age old question...how much is too much? It is true that many parents are concerned that their children would be alone if not for sports, karate, piano. Many remember fondly the days of children running, bike riding, and playing in our neighborhoods and are saddened by the current empty streets many of us see daily. It is also true that gymnastics, math clubs, and tennis teams are fun for...

Parenting Lessons (from the Sports Fields)

I must admit, I am not very good at sports. But, I do enjoy them very much...playing them, talking about them, and looking for the life lessons they teach us over and over again. In our household there has been much talk about-and playing-soccer, basketball, lacrosse and baseball. Unfortunately, many recent drug scandals have likely made many of us view professional athletes with more skepticism than admiration. But, tremendous value remains in organized sports themselves. There are many parenting...

My Wish for You...

Spring is in the air..at last! For many of us, this is a time of renewal and growth. I have been fortunate enough to walk around my lovely town a few times this week. I took note of the beautiful blue sky, the warm sun on my face. During this time of year, I often find that I pay increased attention to the question, "What is it that I am meant to do with my life at this time?" This is a very exciting, meaningful question and a bit of a "nerve making" one as well. I recently came across a poem, written by a colleague, that seems very appropriate...

Stepping Stones for Stress Reduction

With standardized testing season steadily approaching, it can be a stressful time for children and their parents. At times, it can be a demanding task to help your child remain calmer when studying or preparing to take exams. Here are some tips to help your child relax, increase productivity, and enhance concentration. Take a moment to pause. When your child is feeling overwhelmed, allow them a moment to walk away from their work and do a different activity, such as playing outside for 15 minutes, listening to music, or playing...

Mindfulness

In these hectic and, at times, highly stressful times, it is difficult to find time to be mindful and present throughout our experiences. It is important to our mental health to dedicate time for ourselves to relax, take a step back, and be present with what we're doing. Mindfulness is a way to be fully present in our actions and thoughts in a nonjudgmental manner. At times, it can be difficult to truly enjoy our experiences because our minds are so preoccupied in thoughts of the future instead of being focused on the here...

New Years Intentions

The New Year is a time not only to reflect on everything you have accomplished over the past 12 months, but also to put forth new intentions for the upcoming year. Many people make resolutions for the New Year but often times it is difficult to follow through with them. There are many factors that contribute to the challenges people face when working towards this type of goal. Here are a few tips to successfully setting and achieving your resolutions for the New Year: - Set a goal that is realistic and attainable for you. Setting goals...

Finding Calm During the Hectic Holidays

With the holiday season right around the corner, we sometimes find ourselves franticly searching for the perfect holiday gift or quickly putting together the finishing touches on our parties. Our seemingly endless family gatherings and obligations sometimes lead to feelings of pressure and stress. Not to mention, the drop in temperature and shorter days can influence our mood and cause us to experience a lack of motivation and overall dreariness. It is important to know yourself and be able to identify when something is...