Stephanie Livingston–Psychologist

Archive for August, 2015


by on Aug.18, 2015, under Articles


Have you give up on dating? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? I’m speaking to you, thirty- something, single females out there, because men don’t usually give up on finding someone with whom to cuddle no matter what the circumstances. Ladies, on the other hand, upon reaching the big 3-0, when dating has become a chore after more than a decade of finding Mr. Wrongs and no trip down the aisle, start thinking about alternatives. If you have traded in your stilettos and mini-skirts to dance the night away, for sweat pants, potato chips and a trot to the couch to watch the latest episode of Scandal—you just might be on the road to technological birth control. Dancing to the wee hours of the morning just seems like too much work with very little return. “After all, I probably won’t meet anybody anyway”, is a common refrain. You have a stressful job, working 60-80 hours per week and now your boss wants you to spend your leisure time with co-workers bonding in a game of laser tag or hanging out at a bar after work and sometimes on weekends! Has she lost her mind! It’s bad enough that I’m expected to answer e-mails in the middle of the night and eat lunch with my co-workers, that last thing I want is to spend “quality time” with the hired hands. So with all this time I’m spending with people I don’t mind working with, but with whom I don’t particularly care to socialize, I have no energy to develop my own personal life. It is unlikely I am going to meet my husband at work because most of the guys are dweebs, and even if I found a diamond in the rough I have a firm policy of not dating or even befriending co-workers. It rarely turns out well and then you still have to work together.
So you do the math. Let’s say that you spend 45% of your time doing work related stuff, 30% sleeping (yea right) and what’s left is me time–maybe 25% or six hours per day or 42 hours per week. That sounds like a lot of time but that includes, eating, hygiene, errands, church, volunteering, chores, and the list goes on. So you can see, if you don’t make a good faith effort to get out there in the dating game, you may be freezing your eggs sooner than you think.
Countless women have fallen for the ruse—women can have children into their forties and fifties these days. Modern technology has given us a taste of the fountain of youth. But no one really talks about the long term effects of various birth control methods, artificial inseminations, stimulating ovary hormones injections, or the psychological consequence of your test tube baby not knowing who their father is. Yes, it’s nice to have the option of freezing your eggs, but be careful not to see it as your first course of action. Some companies are even offering to pay for their female employees to have their eggs frozen. This may appear to be a real benefit on the front end, but may be detrimental on the back end. Companies are trying to make it alluring to commit most of your time to the office. Having beauty shops, food and cleaners on site makes it easy just to stay at the office. This is a trap. Freezing your eggs may just be an extension of dedicating your entire life to the office. If you don’t have to worry about having time to date because you are spending 80 hours a week working, you at least have the assurance that if you whittle away your childbearing years, modern technology is there to save the day.
The message is that there is nothing wrong with climbing the corporate latter or merely advancing your career by putting in the time, but keep in mind that time waits for no one, and if you’re thirty something, single without children and working 80 hours a week, you’re running out of time. Your default should be going the traditional route first—having balance in your life. If you are making time for yourself and engaging in social activities on a regular basis and actively looking for love you are more likely to find it versus hoping that prince charming will show up when you have reached the pinnacle of your career. Dating sites, meet up groups, introduction, being social, engaging in activities, blind dates, are all good ways to increase your chances of increasing your odds of finding companionship and maybe a daddy for your baby. If you aren’t doing any of these approaches, you are relying on luck to get you through. But remember that luck is merely preparedness when opportunity presents itself. So get your head out of the sand and off the couch and try to make something happen. And if you have been trying all these years and things just haven’t worked out re-examine yourself while you are in the process of putting those eggs on ice. Maybe you are getting in your own way. Maybe it’s you and not them who has issues. If so, fix it. Start by being aware of these pitfalls
1—be a workaholic—setting goals for your career but not your personal life
2—be afraid of intimacy
3—develop single-it is—getting used to being alone
4—date unavailable men (married, living with someone, commitment issues, gay,
5—–replace love with addictions (eating, gambling, shopping, drugs)
6—avoid socializing
7—hang out with the girls, married people, or family too much

1—have good work/life balance and set goals for your personal life (be as diligent in your personal life as in your career)
2—figure out if you have a fear of intimacy (daddy issues, abuse)
3—do get comfortable with the idea of sharing your life and space being single (let him leave his toothbrush at your place, watch a football game even if you don’t know what the heck is going on)
4—date men who want the same things you want—commitment (if he says he doesn’t want to be tied down—believe him)
5—acknowledge that you are eating, drinking, gambling, shopping, or drugging because YOU ARE
6—get off the couch, put the ice cream back in the freezer and go mingle
7—spend more time with single friends who are also looking for love

If you see yourself way too much in the Don’ts list, you’ve got some work to do. Start today. Every day do one thing on the list. In just one week you will be well on your way to getting the love you want and keeping your eggs off ice.

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by on Aug.18, 2015, under Articles


Although we typically think of people who are logical, linear, methodical and verbal as being left siders. While the more creative, artsy, sensitive, and holistic ones are right siders. All the left siders in the house say “hey”. Now, all the right siders in the house say “hey.” If you are an accountant, engineer, or bank teller, you probably rely on the left side of doing things. However, if you are an interior designer, artist or entertainer, you tend to swing to the right more often. One side is not better than the other—just different. In fact we need both sides to function fully and to achieve the success and happiness we desire.
To give you a little neuroanatomy, the brain has two hemispheres connected by a small strip called the corpus callosumum. As mentioned earlier, the left side helps us to acquire and use verbal skills (e.g., language) and the right side more visual-spatial skills (e.g., driving a car). Another little tidbit is that the brain is contralateral to the body—meaning, if you had a stroke on the right side of your brain it would affect the left side of your body. But fortunately, if you have damage to one side of the brain, the other hemisphere helps to compensate for the loss. For instance, someone who loses their sight, might develop a keener sense of hearing. Our bodies are wonderful creations that have checks and balances to help us live full, productive lives. We have evolved to be survivors.
Our society so far has tended to lean more heavily on left side thinking. From hunter-gatherers, to farming, to industrialization, to technology—the southpaw brain has dominated. We tend to pay more respect and financially compensate more for logical linear thinking. How often have you heard, “when you go to college, major in the hard sciences (i.e., math, engineering, computer science), you’ll make more money. Or don’t become a “starving artist”. The message is– if you want to be “successful”, you should choose a path that will provide financial security. You can pursue your passion to become an actor or musician, but be prepared to live on a shoestring, until you make it big. Fortunately, that thinking is beginning to change. Schools of higher learning are beginning to realize that high scores on standardized tests are not the only predictor of success in life. Longitudinal studies have demonstrated that good grades are just as predictive of success in life as standardized test scores (e.g., ACT, SAT). Not to mention, it is becoming more and more important to be able to demonstrate that you are a well-rounded person versus just being a good test taker. I think the movie Internship is a good example of demonstrating the importance of balance. The nerdy, overachieving, highly educated, Millenial, Google interns were able to learn a great deal from the fast talking, fun-loving, unemployed salesmen—Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, and vice versa. Together, they made a winning team—left brain and right brain working together.
More and more, companies are recognizing that to move into the future, technology, combined with creativity is the winning strategy. Using both sides of the brain coupled with incorporating people from diverse backgrounds yields better results. Logic and creativity, will be necessary to compete in a global economy. So start padding your resume with activities outside the classroom. Are you volunteering or taking music, dancing, or acting lessons? Isn’t this a much fairer system than giving an unfair advantage to students who have the resources to take test preparation classes, or who have contacts to pave the way to enter college? Everyone has something to contribute, if given the chance. The graffiti artist from meager means may make a great graphic designer. Or the drug dealer, might possess the skills to run a legitimate business one day. You never know where the next Steve Jobs is coming from.
And lastly, let’s not forget your mental game. Performance of any kind is largely dependent upon your thinking habits. Whether you are primarily a left or right brain thinker, your emotions can either hurt or help how well you do. You may know a lot of facts, but when it comes to taking a test, your anxiety may make you fall on your face. Similarly, if music is your thing, and singing in your apartment or recording studio is great, but when you get on stage you freeze, you are not in control of your thoughts and emotions. Or if you are a writer, writer’s block can be a terrible demon to tackle. The strategies for managing performance anxiety are the same whether you rely on the left or right side of your brain to perform. Read my article on Test Anxiety for more information on this topic. Regardless of which side of the brain you rely on, try to develop the other. I learned in Martial Arts that whatever exercise we do on the dominant side of the body, we do twice as many on the non-dominant side. So if you are right handed and you did 10 moves with your right arm, you would do 20 with your left. In that way you are training your brain to use both hemispheres. Don’t neglect your non-dominant side—nourish it. It will pay you great dividends. Memory games, crossword puzzles, playing sports, can all help you to integrate both brain hemispheres. Don’t become too one-sided. Don’t be the nerd who doesn’t know how to have fun, or the laid back person who doesn’t have a plan. A little of both should do the trick.


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