How To Keep Your Breakup From Making You Literally Sick

One from a female reader!

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The first time I ever smoked a cigarette was the night my fiancé broke up with me over the phone. After he told me he didn’t love me anymore and that I could keep my engagement ring, I hung up, went into the kitchen, and grabbed a cigarette from an open pack that belonged to my dad. I didn’t think twice — I just needed to burn something.

The end of that relationship was so sudden and unexpected that I didn’t know how to process it. So, I smoked cigarettes and started drinking alcohol excessively. Hanging out in bars and getting wasted had never appealed to me, but I had just turned 21, so I figured, why not? For a few brief hours every Friday and Saturday night, three or four Long Island iced teas could help me forget how devastated I felt the rest of the week.

“Breakups are painful — literally,” says Rosie Shrout, a postdoctoral researcher at Ohio State University who studies the intersection between health and romantic relationships. “Just like any other stressful experience, breakups can cause a psychological and physiological stress response, meaning our bodies produce stress hormones that wear and tear on our mental and physical health.”

Too often, we turn to behaviors that affect our physical health — such as binge drinking, smoking, using drugs, or exercising too much — to help cope with the aftermath of a relationship ending. We may view these behaviors as a way to get back at our ex, or we may turn to them because our inhibitions are lowered or our self-esteem has been damaged, Shrout says.

That was Penny’s* experience. The 31-year-old says she started drinking heavily, getting high, and hooking up with people who didn’t make her happy after she discovered her boyfriend had cheated on her. “Drinking and getting high numbed me, and sleeping around gave me validation,” she says.

Shrout says that while these types of responses are not uncommon, they’re also not great coping strategies. You might feel better in the moment, but these behaviors “don’t treat the emotional distress from the breakup and can even contribute to long-term health problems.”

Research shows that romantic relationships play a role in a person’s overall health — and not always for the better. One study found that people who said their closest relationships (including those involving an S.O.) were filled with conflict had a 34% higher risk of developing heart problems, even after adjusting for things like age and overall health. Another study found that people who were married and unhappy had higher blood pressure than those who were single. Researchers have also found that women who’ve dealt with multiple breakups have worse mental health than women who’ve managed to avoid heartache by staying single or sticking with their very first romantic partner.

But let’s be real: The chances of that happening in 2019 are pretty slim. We will all likely experience a bad breakup at some point. Knowing that, here are a few ways to stay healthy during those tough times.

Unfollow your ex.

To preserve your well-being, Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist in Georgia, recommends disconnecting from your former partner on social media — at least for now. “A lot of times when we’re trying to stay connected with the ex, we’re trying to answer questions that social media will not give us the full answers to,” she says. “We’re trying to see if they’re hurting as much as we’re hurting or if there’s somebody new that they’re dating.”

This can create more emotional distress than forcing yourself to let go. And, as Bradford explains, that distress can manifest in physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, random pain or tension. Thanks, but no thanks.

Stay active.

Working out might be the last thing you want to do after getting dumped, but exercise has been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and increase self-esteem. “It doesn’t have to be full-blown Orange Theory every day,” Bradford says. Even a walk around campus or a few yoga poses while you binge on “Stranger Things” can be beneficial. The endorphins you get from exercise can help stabilize your mood — and yes, that’s true even when you’re convinced you’d rather spend the next six hours with your face in a tub of popcorn.

Get nutrition.

It’s not uncommon to lose your appetite post-breakup, especially if you’re really sad. The stress of a broken heart can unleash a swell of hormones and put your body in survival mode. As a result, the urge to eat becomes secondary — even a plate of authentic savory tacos from your favorite Mexican restaurant can look unappetizing. (The horror!) If that’s the case, Bradford recommends a smoothie or meal replacement shake. “Sometimes it can feel really hard to eat,” she says. “I typically will recommend people drink because that’s a little easier.”

Find a voice box.

Showing up to a party without your ex will likely raise questions, especially if you’ve been joined at the hip since day one. If it hurts too much to talk about the breakup, ask someone you trust to give people the heads up on why you’re riding solo. “When you are telling the story over and over again, sometimes you get stuck there,” Bradford says. “You can’t move on to the healing place if you are stuck in the reporting place.” Ask a friend to simply tell it like it is so everyone can move on: “Yes, they broke up, and no she doesn’t want to talk about it. How was your week?”

Allow yourself to feel all the feelings.

Everyone deals with painful events differently. Avoidance, however, is not an effective coping mechanism. “Those feelings don’t go away because we’re distracting ourselves,” says Bradford. “[It’s important to] really allow yourself to sit in the depth of those feelings, even though it sounds really miserable. There is no way for them to go away unless you actually allow yourself to experience them and then come to realize you can come out on the other side of this.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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The Four Simple Rules for Dads Getting Divorced

A single dad life coach gives his most common and useful advice for men heading into divorce involving kids. Hope all you guys had a good Fathers Day.

As the man in the divorce, you have an opportunity to lead the process with grace and empathy. You cannot control how your ex behaves, the only thing you can control is your own response to the challenges ahead.

I’m going to make this as simple as possible. It’s the conversation I have every week as I speak to dads about ready to enter in the process (voluntarily or otherwise) of divorce. Most of them are scared out of their wits. They were unprepared for the “filing.” And now they are scared and lacking an adequate support system to carry them through the coming storm.

It’s going to be hard, but you are going to make it. And here are the three top mantras for you to remember.

  1. You have to take care of yourself first. Your health and clear direction is necessary for you to lead your kids through the emotional trouble ahead for all of you
  2. Keep the fight of the divorce between the adults only. Deal with your soon-to-be-ex as civilly as you can, but never debate or degrade each other in front of the kids. Never speak poorly of your co-parent
  3. Let go of your ex completely. She no longer deserves your attention and energy
  4. Don’t go it alone, talk to others, build community, and please don’t isolate

Take Care of Yourself First

Do you know how they instruct you before takeoff on an airplane? “In the case of emergency, oxygen masks will come out of the ceiling. Put your mask on first. Then work on your kid’s masks.” Here’s why that matters. If you lose consciousness (or in the case of divorce, lose your mind) everyone will suffer. As the man in the divorce, you are going to be hit with a lot of unfair rulings and family law precedents. You may want to lawyer up and fight, or you may decide to make peace with the divorce and simply act in the best interest of yourself and your kids.

Also, as the man in the divorce, you have an opportunity to lead the process with grace and empathy. You cannot control how your ex behaves, the only thing you can control is your own response to the challenges ahead. If you can keep your kids in mind any time you are responding to some new request or modification in the divorce agreement, you can relax and make the right decision. Not being reactionary, not buying into potential drama, and simply stating what you need, and what your kids need. That’s the best past forward. Don’t buy into the drama. Don’t try to be detached and emotionless, but keep your kids at the heart of your response. Always think of the kids.

Your Health (Mentally, Physically, and Spiritually) Is Your Highest Priority

What can you do today to start taking better care of yourself? Are you sleeping okay? Are you drinking a bit too much? How is your diet and exercise? Are you getting together with others? Are you praying? What things about your life can you be grateful for today, even as things feel like chaos around you?

Here are the parts of your life you can control easily:

  1. Watch what you eat and drink
  2. Get enough sleep, make it a priority
  3. Get some exercise, anything is better than nothing, start small
  4. Talk to someone about what’s going on

Keep the Fight Contained Between the Adults

You are going to have disagreements with your ex. The idea of co-parenting sounds nice, but in practice, it takes a lot more than good intentions. There are going to be negotiations about holidays and birthdays, negotiations about school and who should stay home when one of your kids is sick. You are going to need the goodwill of your ex-spouse, and often their cooperation and coordination around home life and school life. Complaining about your ex in front of the kids is a lose-lose situation. Just don’t do it.

Work on getting your support team together. Who can you call when you really want to call and bitch at your ex-partner? Do you have a counselor or a friend who is willing to keep your struggles confidential? In all that is going on, your isolation will only make things harder. Make sure you get out of your house and get involved in some activities with others. Al-anon is a great program for emotional healing. Meetup groups can provide activities and new hobbies for your alone time. But most of all, keep the fighting between you and your ex. And when possible, let them win. If there’s no loss for you, just let them get their way. Just to reduce the conflict. If it’s not that important to you, let it go.

The Big Release of Your Ex

One of my last lessons in my divorce journey was to let all expectations about my ex-wife go. She is never going to be a cooperative co-parent with me. She may never get over being mad a me, even when the divorce was her idea. She’s not going to say “thank you” when I do something over and above the call of duty or outside of the divorce decree. She’s not going to celebrate your victories with you. She may be able to celebrate the victories of your kids with you, but more than likely, she’s going to keep most of those to herself. You’ve got to let go of all expectations. The “relationship” with her is over. There is no closure. There is nothing to get from your ex-wife.

As I began to understand my ex-wife’s inability to be cordial, I began to communicate with her only around the logistics of getting the kids where they needed to be. It’s as if they are a convenience store clerk, you go into the store to get milk, you don’t need to know about the clerk’s life troubles. In the same way, you don’t need to know everything that’s going on with your ex. As you can let go of their approval and permissive involvement in your life, you can begin to let go of them emotionally too.

It’s taken me nine years to get clear of my optimistic expectations of my co-parenting ex-wife. I still think about calling her from time to time about something regarding our kids. But I don’t. And I’m not going to call her. She gave me my kids, initially. She can’t give me anything else. As you detach from them, the hope is that your resentment and anger at them will also dissipate. That’s the hope. I’m not sure I’m ever going to be okay with the time I lost with my kids as a result of the divorce my wife initiated.

I’m still releasing, daily. You can begin releasing your ex right now, too.

Return to the basics.

Your health.

The energy and health of your kids.

Moving on to what’s next in your life.

Don’t Go It Alone

Men don’t do all that well at supporting one another when things get hard or emotional. But you can find other men, and even women, who are willing to support you just as you are. In my experience, Al-anon meetings are the best self-help programs in the world. They are in your town, and there are probably 3 or 4 meetings you could attend over the next week or so. Find a place you can go and talk about what’s going on.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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18 Things Women Find Irresistible About Their Man

One would assume that if you’re in a happy, healthy relationship and were given a challenge to name 5 things you found irresistible about your mate in 30 seconds you could do it, right? Ok I did start this blog with the word assume – so I’m assuming you could.  But guys if you’re reading this, I somehow happened upon 18 things women find irresistible. So, you’re welcome if any of these helps you out:

  • Own a pair of really nice shoes and actually wear them.
  • Brush the hair out of their eyes.
  • Are able to hold a baby or push a stroller without squirming.
  • Plan an evening out from soup to nuts, from finding a movie to making the dinner reservations.
  • Kiss creatively.
  • Handle our emotions with grace and compassion.
  • Have impassioned, informed opinions about women writers and women’s issues.
  • Can distinguish between being courteous and being wimpy.
  • Know how to inscribe a card with a heartfelt, personal message.
  • Demonstrate respect for others by standing up when your mother comes to the table, giving up a seat on the bus for a pregnant woman, asking your dad for his opinion and really listening, etc.
  • Show genuine, platonic interest in your female friends’ lives.
  • Are playful around dogs, cats and kids.
  • Make the bed in the morning and fold the laundry — competently.
  • Offer juice, soup and TLC when we’re sick.
  • Do the come-from-behind cuddle-hug, just to say hello.
  • Remember insignificant details, like our favorite color or flower, and make use of that knowledge.
  • Are unfailingly polite to all members of the service industries.
  • Offer us caresses and compliments for no particular reason.

Ladies, do you agree? Does your man already do any of these? You’d think some would be a given. And I’ll be honest; I can’t wait to read your comments! Be sure to sound off. As always, thanks for stopping by my blog today! – Chaz

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing publishes of Amazon June 20th!

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What It’s Really Like to Be Sober Curious: When an Alcohol “Break” Becomes Permanent

In the spring of 2018, 42-year-old Kim Banks found herself in a lonely place. Struggles with anxiety and depression interfered with life as a wife, mother of 5-year-old twin boys, and her work in public relations. Despite self-improvements like daily exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep habits, Banks wasn’t happy.

“I was feeling lots of anxiety and depression, along with irritability, even though I was trying to do all the right things,” she says.

In the back of her mind, Banks describes a nagging thought, “Give up the alcohol.”

“I was in a constant, daily argument with myself,” she says. At the root of was the question: “Should I drink tonight?”

Photo credit: Instagram/@kimbanks_reset
Photo credit: Instagram/@kimbanks_reset
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Banks ended each workday with a few glasses of wine. On weekend nights out with her husband, she describes “going a little hard,” and leaving a wave of bad feelings for the next day.

“I knew I needed to eliminate alcohol, but it was the last thing I wanted to eliminate,” she says. “I really enjoyed wine, and I definitely bought into the idea alcohol enhances experiences,” she continues. “Tell me to give anything else up but the wine.”

Initially, Banks describes a curiosity around “taking a 30-day-break” from alcohol. She researched online for information about what impact alcohol has on the body. “I mainly searched for success stories from people who gave up drinking for 30 days or more,” she explains.

Her online searches turned up first-hand accounts of people like herself, who hadn’t suffered major life-altering consequences from drinking, but saw their drinking as problematic all the same. Others identified as “alcoholic” but blended traditional 12-step recovery with other support among fellow “sober curious” followers.

Banks made the decision to go alcohol-free. “I was thinking, ‘This isn’t making me happy anymore, but it’s ingrained in my daily habits,'” she says.

How Giving Up Alcohol Became a Wellness Trend

Ruby Warrington’s 2018 book Sober Curious is something of a guidebook for this less-threatening, label-free, booze-less trend. The book describes Warrington’s “gray-area problem drinking.” Uncomfortable with the label “alcoholic,” she developed a following of like-minded non-drinkers via her book, podcasts, and social media. Banks is one of many who either gave up drinking altogether or drink more mindfully.

Sober coach Rae Dylan lives in New York City and sees the trend up close. Cities like New York City and Chicago are seeing a rise of sober-free bars and events. Instagram and Facebook pages devoted to alcohol-free living boast followers in the tens of thousands.

“I see it as part of what’s happening all around us,” says Dylan, who works with recovering addicts and alcoholics requiring protection from the press, nutritional guidance, mental health issues, medication, and detox. “People are more interested in a healthy lifestyle and part of not-drinking is part of this healthy culture which recognizes it’s not healthy the way Americans drink,” she adds.

In particular, the idea of not drinking in what some consider awkward social situations, like a bar atmosphere, is encouraging, Dylan believes. “It’s a good thing; the movement gives younger people, who may feel pressure to drink or do drugs, another outlet,” she says.

“Instead of feeling pressure to drink,” Dylan continues, “the focus comes off labels like ‘alcoholic’ and, instead, people focus on having a cool virgin mojito with maybe organic cane juice.”

Finding Like-Minded Non-Drinkers

Banks admits her first steps into a sober lifestyle weren’t easy. Friends and family didn’t object, but they had difficulty supporting what they couldn’t understand.

“I was surrounded with casual drinkers who didn’t understand why someone would choose to give up alcohol without being an alcoholic,” she says. “I wasn’t a rock-bottom alcoholic, so it wasn’t a black-or-white issue for me.”

Instead, the issue, like Warrington describes, was more of a gray area. “I was tired, my skin was breaking out and I had tried everything else,” she continues. “I knew in my heart what I needed to cut.”

Finding support from other non-drinkers meant turning to the internet and social media. At first, Banks was unaware she was part of the sober curious movement. Her first steps going wine-free centered on setting up an Instagram page to record an initial 30-day break from alcohol. “I would post things like, ‘This is my second day without alcohol!’”

Today, Banks has nearly 6,500 Instagram followers celebrating her alcohol-free experiences. She credits this early support with her sober lifestyle today. “There were so many supportive people on Instagram,” Banks says. “I felt like I had these online pen pals who really got what I was going through.”

She describes the connections as uplifting without shame. Followers celebrate her victories and help her navigate rough days. Plus, she knows she has 24-hour access to a community of support. If she and her husband go out for the evening, she’s only an Instagram away from others who are also abstaining from drinks on a weekend night.

Trend vs. Lifestyle

Living in Greenville, SC, Banks doesn’t have the luxury of countless, trendy sober bars to visit. But, time away from drinking has made it easier and less appealing to go backward. She says she focuses on the reality of drinking versus the fantasy.

During a recent family vacation, Banks said the idea of having a drink sounded tempting. She reminded herself, however, of the reality behind the “one drink,” which included, for her, likely more than one drink, a bad night’s sleep and heavy anxiety in the morning. “In the beginning it was so hard, but now I’ve had so many experiences under my belt, and I feel more confident,” she explains.

“I think through the drink,” she explains. “I admit to myself I have the urge, but I know the ‘idea’ is way better than any glass of wine.”

The days of pushing through moments of temptation are fewer and further between. If she needs support, she knows her Instagram followers are always nearby, along with other sober curious friends she’s made on the journey.

Her friends and family are still casual drinkers, but Banks has been abstaining from alcohol for the past year and a half, and has no intention of going back to her evening wine. “I love waking up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning without a hangover,” she says.

Enjoying sober experiences has left Banks feeling healthier, more focused, and more present for her husband and children. In addition, her family’s finances have improved without the steady purchase of wine. She says her husband is proud of her accomplishment, and her children are enjoying a more active family life with hiking and trips.

“There are so many physical and emotional benefits from intentionally taking a break from alcohol,” says Banks. “It opens a whole new world. I’m a better friend, wife, and mom,” she adds. For now, she remains alcohol-free, one day at a time.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Feeling Calm During The Coronavirus Pandemic Is A Valid Reaction, Experts Say

The news is full of advice on how to stay calm during the coronavirus pandemic — but what if, actually, you’ve been feeling pretty OK? Psychologists say that keeping your cool isn’t an inappropriate reaction to what’s going on right now, even if you feel like everyone around you is in panicking. People who feel less rattled than they think they should might be reacting in line with their temperament, their experience with previous traumas, and their overall panic levels over time.

“While the impact of coronavirus is global, the reactions are decidedly individual,” Dr. Gregory Nawalanic M.D., a clinical psychologist with the University of Kansas Health System, tells Bustle. “There is no specifically ‘right’ way to respond to a pandemic.” A person’s reactions to extreme situations tend to moderate over time, and you may feel more relaxed now if you were initially very worried. “The folks who initially panicked trend toward a calmer space of acceptance, in the same way that those who initially dismissed the potential impact will trend toward activated understanding,” he says. Or so we hope.

Some people are also inherently calmer than others in the face of threats or anxiety-provoking events. “Everyone has their own innate temperament, how they are wired, so to speak,” Dr. Nadia E. Charguia M.D., a psychiatrist with the Department of Psychiatry at University of North Carolina Health, tells Bustle. “We all are on a spectrum when it comes to our character traits,” she says.

A woman bakes bread at home. If you're feeling calm during the coronavirus pandemic, experts say that's okay
miljko/E+/Getty Images

You may also be finding some aspects of isolation soothing, especially if you’re introverted by nature. “The reduced interactions, and not needing to be ‘on our top game’ socially, can give us a sense of safety, familiarity, and calmness,” Dr. Joshua Klapow Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. “We are reminded that we can be in our pajamas, take off our shoes and sit in our favorite chair.” The familiar things in your environment can be really effective in calming you down.

Previous experience with trauma can also make people more chill. “Many people have had prior exposure to highly stressed situations, and as a result, may no longer exhibit a stressed, strained or anxious response,” Dr. Charguia says. If any part of this experience feels familiar,  you may feel more relaxed about living through it.

That said, some people might be feeling extra calm because they’re repressing their anxiety. Dr. Nawalanic says that if you’ve been feeling oddly detached or unemotional, your anxiety might be manifesting itself in other ways, like mood swings, sleep problems, depression, or strain in your relationships. If you’re repressing your feelings about coronavirus, he says, it’s likely they might bubble up after the situation is resolved, and you could start feeling really anxious once lockdown is over.

“Those who appear strangely calm in the face of loss and hardship right now might be more in need of mental health support than those who are appropriately acknowledging and expressing their feelings,” Dr. Nawalanic says. If you’re concerned that your no-worries demeanor is covering up deeper feelings, talk to a supportive person in your life, or try reaching out to a therapist.

If you’re feeling pretty OK about things right now, though, try not to stress about it — some people just deal with upheaval in their own, calm way.

If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Why Anxiety Increases Sex Drive In Some People

It’s all about emotions and attachment.

Have you ever received bad news, and all you’ve wanted to do was have sex? Or, perhaps sex is literally the last thing you want to do when you have anxiety?

As a sex therapist trained in affect-focused therapy, I know that emotions, anxiety, and sex are connected. Here’s why sometimes they mix — and  sometimes they don’t.

What exactly are emotions?

Emotions are basic evolutionary processes that have developed to keep us alive. They act like compasses, telling us what our needs are in all situations.

In their rawest state, feelings have specific purposes. And if we listen to them and do what they’re telling us to do —  we feel better.

Positive feelings usually urge us toward connection with others, whereas negative ones work to keep us safe.

Generally speaking, negative emotions such as worry and fear dampen our sex drive because their prime goal is to save us from potential threats.

Hormones are spurred by emotions.

When something dangerous happens, like someone pointing a gun to our head, our body springs into action, creating the stress hormone cortisol, getting us ready to fight, flee, or freeze.

This is a good thing, because getting horny when someone wants to pop our head off, could potentially lead to our death.

The thing is though, worry and fear can also be ignited by things that aren’t actually dangerous  —  at least, not on a physiological level.

These are all examples of situations our brain might perceive as a real threat:

  • Our partner making advances in bed
  • A big presentation at work
  • An erection that suddenly falters

If sex has turned into a stressful duty where you feel the need to perform by having a long-lasting erection or multiple orgasms , worry and fear will inhibit our libido.

Can emotions affect your sex drive? Most definitely.

For most of us, negative emotions put a damper on our libido.

Meanwhile, for others, worry, fear, and anxiety can drive them toward sex  as opposed to away from it.

And this has a lot to do with their attachment styles and patterns.

Attachment styles inform how our sex drive responds to negative emotions.

Your attachment pattern affects your relationships. And to understand why some people prefer to screw away their anxiety ,  you need to know what attachment is.

Attachment, just like our emotions, is a basic human drive developed to ensure we bond with our babies and, thus ,  take care of them.

Our attachment patterns differ, depending on the quality of the bond established with our primary caregivers.

The quality not only affects our relationship with our parents  but  it also governs how we relate to other people in the future , romantically or otherwise.

Secure versus insecure attachment patterns.

Roughly speaking, a secure attachment pattern leads to more balanced, healthy relationships, whereas an insecure attachment pattern leads to more issues in our relationships and, sometimes, more sexual problems, too.

One of the two insecure attachment patterns that can be developed in early childhood — that can lead to a higher sex drive — is the anxious-preoccupied attachment pattern.

This pattern emerges as a response to a home-environment with emotional inconsistency.

Perhaps our parents showered us with love and attention at random; sometimes meeting our emotional needs and other times minimizing or ignoring them.

When our primary caregivers are inconsistent and unpredictable we develop clinginess as a means of getting the love and attention we as a species so desperately crave.

As toddlers, this meant we needed to scream loudly in order to have our needs met, or cling to our parents’ bodies in order for them to hear us.

And so this pattern continues into adulthood.

We meet someone we fancy and we latch on quickly, clinging to them to receive confirmation and feel loved. One of the prime ways we receive this validation and affection  is through sex.

Why does an anxious-ambivalent attachment pattern increase sex drive?

There are several reasons an anxious-ambivalent attachment pattern can create a ferocious appetite for sex. One of them is that society holds sex in a relationship in high regard.

We equate sex with love and therefore, to have sex is to, literally, “make love.”

This pairing of sex and love is perhaps best seen in our western society’s quest for “the one” and our goal of life-long monogamy.

The whole concept of monogamy is that all of our wants and desires are replenished by this one person.

However, it also means if we’re not satisfied by our partner or if we even desire another person sexually, there’s something wrong with us.

And because of the monogamous ideal and the way it links sex and love ,  sex serves as one of the ultimate ways of getting close and feeling cared for.

It can validate us and make us feel like we’re truly seen  —  no matter what attachment pattern we possess.

But, especially, for those of us who are anxious-ambivalent, sex can be the fastest route to feeling valued by our partners.

On the flip side, this means not having sex can be construed as a sign that our relationship is over or our partner has fallen out of love with us.

In order for this not to happen, our attachment pattern drives us toward a higher libido, trying to ensure our relationship’s survival. And, in a more philosophical sense , our own.

By having sex with our partner, we’re safeguarding ourselves from being left on our own ,  the way we felt when our primary caregivers were emotionally inconsistent.

Our sex drive isn’t only sparked by society’s views of sex.

It’s also ignited by the emotions and states that are triggered by our attachment pattern — worry and anxiety.

When we’re anxious-ambivalent, we might suffer more from regular worry and anxiety because relationships, in and of themselves, trigger it.

Sex can be a great way to regulate negative emotions.

The cortisol coursing through our veins doesn’t dampen our drive, as it does for most people who have a secure attachment pattern — it amps it.

Regulating emotions through sex doesn’t have to be a negative thing. In fact, a lot of people, feel like it’s a great way of dealing with difficult feelings.

The problem arises when you feel the only way to relieve anxiety, stress, or worry   is through sex.

Without any other strategies to regulate negative feelings, sex can turn into a compulsive act. Be it through masturbation or having sex with a partner or two.

So, when asking yourself if emotions can affect your sex drive, it’s important to take both feelings and attachment patterns into consideration.

Everyone’s libido is affected by their emotions.

For those who have an anxious-ambivalent attachment pattern, sexual desire can be ramped up by negative emotions and for those who are securely attached, they shut it down.

It’s all completely normal. You’re completely normal.

 

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5 Ways Women Try To Impress Men (And Why They Don’t Work)

Women do a lot of silly things to try to impress men; I know this, because men do a lot of ridiculous things to impress women, too. It’s like the circle of life, only it ends with quiet sobbing into a pillow.

The elements of sexual attraction aren’t too complex. Though, even accepted societal norms for picking up a guy often miss the mark because women overthink things. Here’s a look at some of the most surefire ways that women think that they can impress a guy—and why they’ll fail miserably every time.

1. Perfume

No man I know minds when a woman smells like nothing—a simple stick of deodorant accomplishes this. Women who slather on the perfume end up smelling like the front counter of Macy’s, and it’s a bit of a turn-off. A spray or two there might be nice for a special occasion, but I can’t think of a situation where I’d ever think, Man, she’s nice, but I’d like her better if she smelled like someone was pouring a stream of animal urine that vaguely smelled like flowers onto her head.

2. Tanning

Tanned skin wasn’t seen as a necessary beauty treatment in American society until the last 20 years or so, with the exception of the taxidermy community. Now, it’s reached a fairly feverish pitch. Tanning salons are all over the place, waiting to help you turn your skin into a sort of orange, glowing monstrosity that looks like it was sprayed out of a can (and in some cases, it actually is). There are men out there who are impressed by a good tan, but they’re what the scientific community calls “pig-ignorant slimeballs.”

3. Name Brands

You shouldn’t wear name brand clothes that cost more than they need to just because you want to impress men. If you’re trying to impress women, this sometimes works, but name brand items don’t do much for any man other than Ralph Lauren. And just to prove that men don’t know anything about brands, I just referenced Ralph Lauren. I have no idea if he makes good clothes. Probably not. But he’s the only designer I could name.

4. Makeup

Makeup doesn’t do a lot for guys. In small doses it’s alright, but if I want to get eyeshadow all over my clothes, I’ll go see the Cure in concert.

5. Cosmetic Surgery

It almost sounds trite to say that cosmetic surgery is ugly and disgusting. Everyone claims to hate it; yet, it’s still a thriving industry. The thing is, though, the cosmetic surgery industry caters to a specific kind of person—the type of person who wants to look fantastic at all costs. The industry isn’t set up for making people beautiful. It’s set up to make people think they look beautiful. And if the results were fantastic, well, then all’s fair in love and war. Ultimately, breast augmentation, fat reduction, Botox treatments … all of this looks terrible to men, women, small children and animals. Plastic surgery may eventually provide a way for people to cheat themselves into looking younger, but right now it’s more lip service than anything else, pardon the pun.

What futile attempts to impress men do women make? Post in the comments section below.

 

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9 Signs You’re Drinking Too Much Alcohol During The Coronavirus Pandemic

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans have been panic-buying more than just toilet paper and eggs. U.S. alcohol sales spiked 55% in the week ending March 21, according to data from market research firm Nielsen. Online alcohol sales were up 243%.

Much of that can probably be attributed to stocking up on booze for several weeks’ worth of self-isolation. According to a survey by Alcohol.org, 1 in 5 respondents said they stockpiled alcohol for just that reason. However, many people are also drinking more in general: 1 in 3 respondents said they are likely to increase alcohol consumption in isolation.

While a few extra drinks to get you through the stress and boredom of being stuck at home might not be a big deal, it can become a slippery slope.

How much drinking is considered normal?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Keep in mind that these guidelines refer to the amount you drink on any single day ― it’s not meant to be an average of drinks consumed over several days.

However, these are just guidelines; what’s considered “normal” drinking is somewhat subjective and based on your own body and behaviors. “If you don’t have a problem with alcohol, an extra glass of wine here and there isn’t something to be worried about,” said Brian Wind, chief clinical officer at alcohol and drug treatment center JourneyPure. “People are bored, stuck in their homes and really stressed out. For some, kicking back with a drink is perfectly normal.”

It’s when your habits and thoughts surrounding alcohol begin to change for the worse that you should be concerned. Unhealthy alcohol use exists on a spectrum, which can range from alcohol misuse to abuse to dependency, according to Sari Eitches, an integrative internist who practices in Los Angeles.

“During the challenges of the looming threat of the pandemic, plus the stresses of lockdown, we are naturally turning to any coping skills we have available,” she said. “Many of us are shut off from our best coping mechanisms, including social interactions, yoga class, time with extended family and friends and even time in nature.”

That means some people turn to coping methods that are available at home, including alcohol. Maybe that includes you. If so, keep an eye out for these signs that you might be drinking too much.

1. You drink because you’re stressed.

In general, it’s considered problematic when alcohol intake increases during stressful situations, “even during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Amanda Brown, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and an associate at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “It means that we are using alcohol to cope with the negative emotions caused by stress.”

Brown explained that when you’re stressed, you experience new or uncontrolled emotions that you’re not used to dealing with and your emotional equilibrium falls off balance. To adapt to these changes, you turn to coping mechanisms that help regulate emotions.

“But not all coping mechanisms are adaptive,” she said. “Alcohol use, for example, is a maladaptive coping mechanism that can ultimately cause more harm for an individual.”

2. You drink because you’re bored.

The thought of spending another Saturday night at home in front of the TV might seem unbearable. That is, unless you also have a glass (OK, bottle) of wine at your side.

Similar to drinking due to stress, drinking to cope with boredom is a red flag, according to Andrew Mendonsa, a clinical psychologist with addiction treatment center Sprout Health Group. “When you say, ‘I’m bored at home, I’m going to turn to the bottle,’ that’s when you start to cross the line,” he said.

When you feel bored or restless, Mendonsa recommends going for a walk outside (as long as it’s safe to do so) or calling friends and family. If you feel like you can’t rely on these healthy coping methods alone and must drink, you likely have a problematic relationship with alcohol.

3. You drink on the job.

Transitioning to a fully remote job can be tough if you’re not used to working from home. It may be stressful learning new tools and communication methods. Plus, you might struggle with productivity. With no office to drive to and no boss looking over your shoulder, there may be more temptation to Irish up your morning coffee or crack open a beer at 3 p.m.

“If you’re working from home and have justified that it’s okay to drink while working, you are mistaken,” Wind said. “While working from home, you should conduct yourself just as you would being on the job. If you’re drinking to get through the workday, it’s a sign that you have a problem.”

4. You’re constantly worried about having enough alcohol.

Another way to know that you’re drinking too much during isolation is if you worry about having enough alcohol and find yourself making extra trips to the store or gas station just to buy it. “We should be minimizing trips that aren’t essential right now, so if getting alcohol feels like an essential to you and you’re going out often to stock up on it, you’re probably drinking too much,” Wind said.

5. Your responsibilities are falling to the wayside.

Balancing your job, your child’s education and relationships with family and friends is hard enough without a pandemic adding to the chaos. It’s understandable if you drop the ball on your obligations sometimes. However, Eitches said that if alcohol use interferes with your priorities and obligations in any realm of your life ― including work, social connections and self-care ― it’s a sign that there’s a problem.

6. You’ve been making poor decisions while drunk.

Many of us have let a secret slip or gone overboard online shopping after a few drinks. Hey, mistakes happen ― we’re not here to judge. But those alcohol-induced slip-ups should be few and far between. If you regularly make decisions when intoxicated that you wouldn’t make or would regret when you are sober, there’s a larger issue at hand, Eitches said.

7. You don’t feel good physically.

Hangovers are a reminder that overindulging on alcohol isn’t great for your body. So if you regularly wake up with headaches, sensitivity to light, dehydration and other hangover symptoms, it’s a sign you’re going overboard.

Eitches added that generally feeling crappy due to drinking, due to disrupted sleep and eating patterns or less motivation to exercise, are also warning signs.

8. You experience withdrawal symptoms.

When you drink often enough, your body becomes reliant on alcohol to function. Stopping alcohol intake when your body is dependent on it results in withdrawal symptoms, which range from mild to severe and can include shaky hands, anxiety, sweating, racing heartbeat, hallucinations and even seizures. You may begin to experience certain withdrawal symptoms within six hours of your last drink.

If mild hangovers have progressed to more serious signs of withdrawal when you stop drinking, it’s definitely time to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol.

9. You want to stop drinking but can’t.

Finally, if you recognize that drinking alcohol affects your life negatively but can’t seem to slow down, it’s time to get help. Fortunately, there are many resources available.

If you’re experiencing difficulty coping or having problems with drug or alcohol use, you should immediately call your doctor or the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). They can refer you to local treatment facilities, support groups and community-based organizations.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also has an online treatment navigator to help you find and evaluate the right type of care for you.

Remember that we’re all experiencing an unprecedented situation that is scary and challenging for many people. We all use different coping strategies, some healthier than others. If you become dependent on alcohol during this time, it’s not a reflection of your character, intelligence or strength. We all need help sometimes, so don’t be afraid to seek it out.

 

 

If You’ve Managed To Do 7/66 Of These Things While In Quarantine, You’re Doing Great

Woke up before noon

Got out of bed

Made your bed

Changed out of your PJs

Worn something besides sweatpants

Put on makeup

Washed your hands

Remembered to have breakfast

Took a shower

Brushed your hair

Brushed your teeth once a day

Brushed your teeth twice a day

Shaved your legs

Shaved your beard

Shaved under your arms

Done the dishes at least one time

Done the dishes daily

Walked your dog

Made lunch

Cooked dinner

Had a good night’s sleep

Worked from home

Participated in a work meeting

Attended school online

Paid attention for more than five minutes in an online class or meeting

Checked your email

Responded to an email

Survived a day of homeschooling your kid

Talked to your parents

Talked to your friends

Used Zoom or FaceTime

Taught yourself how to use Zoom

Taught a family member how to use Zoom

Used a funny background on a Zoom call

Played a game with your friends on Zoom

Did laundry at least once

Cleaned your room

Just picked one singular item off the floor

Took out the trash

Changed your bedsheets

Cleaned out a cluttered closet/shelf

Deep-cleaned your house

Baked something (bonus points if it’s bread)

Cooked a meal you’ve never made before

Made whipped coffee

Gone on a (socially distant!) walk

Finished an entire TV show

Finished a book

Gave in a finally bought Animal Crossing

Cut your own hair

Dyed your own hair

Attempted a DIY

Gotten all dressed up just because

Put on a face mask

Done any form of exercise (Like literally at least one single sit-up is valid)

Done yard work

Painted your nails

Done a puzzle

Gone to the grocery store

Tried knitting or crocheting

Helped someone do groceries

Made a sign to thank first responders

Sewed face masks

 

How many did you get?

 

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Here’s How To Bond With Your Partner While Quarantining Together

The coronavirus outbreak has made life feel troubling and uncertain, and now, more than ever, it’s important to seek out the silver linings. One nice thing about social distancing is that it offers a unique opportunity to bond with the people you love, whether they be friends, family, or your partner. If you’re not sure how to bond with your partner while quarantining together, it really just comes down to turning quantity of time (because, truthfully, it feels like there’s no shortage of time these days) into quality time. And with the heightened emotions most people are experiencing right now, Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women, calls this an ideal time to reinforce your connection.

“Both of you have the same circumstances now and are probably feeling the same way about it. That already bonds you in a way,” Chong tells Elite Daily. “Not to mention that now, your priorities have shifted and work isn’t as important as health and loved ones. Being homebound forces you to make the most of this time, and it’s never been a better time to connect with your partner.”

If you and your partner are holed up together, take this opportunity to grow even closer. Here are some ways the experts suggest you can bond.

Ask Each Other Deep Questions.

FG Trade/E+/Getty Images

Life gets busy, which can make it hard to slow down and have a deep conversation with your partner. Quarantine means you probably have nothing but time to have the kinds of conversations that lead to closer bonds and a better understanding of one another. Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships, suggests approaching the subject by asking your partner the 36 questions created by Arthur Aron for his experiment in creating closeness in interpersonal relationships (made famous by The New York Times).

“This list is known to help couples fall in love, and you’ll learn more about your partner based on their answers. In short, it’s a bonding exercise. To make it more interesting, take turns asking the questions,” she tells Elite Daily.

Have Fun In The Kitchen Together.

Being in quarantine puts a damper on dining out, so embrace cooking at home by creating a meal together or baking a treat to share, suggests Chong. “[It] can be a lot of fun, especially if it’s a recipe you haven’t tried before,” she says. “Decorating the cookies might just allow you to unleash your creative sides together, not to mention all the licking of cookie dough!”

Play Together.

When times are frightening or stressful like they are now, having fun with your partner is not only good for your emotional well being, but a great way to reinforce your bond. Chong’s advice is to play games together. “Any game, from a classic deck of cards to Xbox, will do, as long as it evokes laughter and competition,” says Chong.

Exercise Together.

JGalione/E+/Getty Images

If you want to feel closer to your partner, Spira suggests getting your endorphins flowing with a workout for two. “Just because you’re housebound, that doesn’t mean you should stop working out,” she says. “Climb up and down the stairs together if you’re in a multi-story property, set up a make-shift gym, join an online workout class, and put it on your calendar to stream daily together.” If it’s possible to go outside, she suggests taking advantage of that, safely. “Take a walk to get some fresh air, while maintaining the proper distance and wearing rubber gloves,” she says.

Meditate Together.

“Taking care of your mind, body, and spirit is crucial now, especially with the news cycle reporting additional cases of COVID-19 daily,” says Spira. Consider meditation as a way to bond and release tension. “Use Amazon’s Alexa Skills to request a meditation that you can do together, or download the Calm app on your mobile phone, where there’s an abundance of meditations to add to your daily schedule.”

Being under quarantine is certainly far from an ideal situation, but at least by putting some focus and energy into your connection with your partner, you’re taking a challenging time and turning it into a win that can last long past the social distancing order is lifted.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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