Monthly Archives: December 2016

Stress is Just a Fact of Life—How to Live Life With It

Stress is not pressure from the outside: Challenges at work or at home, money problems… Those are the stressors.

Your response to those situations, those stressors, is what we call stress.

This distinction is important. Stressors are the multitude of daily occurrences that require you to adapt. Stress is your response as you attempt to make the adjustment.

Stress can be positive or negative. Meeting a deadline, preparing to drive on ice, making it through a crisis on raw courage, cramming for an exam, making a terrific impression at a job interview or an audition, walking into a room full of strangers at a party, are all defined as positive stress.

Stress can also be destructive. It can turn into distress. It can gnaw away at you and sap your energy over the months and years.

Violin strings need just enough tension to make beautiful music, but not so much tension that the strings snap. That is the way it is for people and stress. Each of us has a level of stress that is positive and not harmful.

Your body will tell you about your stress. It will send you messages when you are experiencing too much stress:

  • Tight throat
  • Sweaty palms
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vague uneasiness

Be aware. Listen to yourself.

Once your personal distress sounds the bell of awareness and lets you know that the stressors in your life need attention, the management decisions are up to you!

Continue reading

The Joys and Dreads of Giving and Receiving Gifts

What do you think about giving and receiving gifts? Are you an enthusiastic, appreciative receiver or does getting a gift make you feel uncomfortable? Are you a spirited gift giver picking up small (or large) tokens of your esteem and affection wherever you go for the people you care about?

In a small survey I conducted over several months here’s what I discovered:

  • Women tend to be more comfortable than men giving gifts to family and friends not related to a special occasion.
  • Women are more apt than men to give a gift to a friend.
  • Men are willing and eager to buy gifts for loved ones especially for special occasions, though they feel enormously uncertain most of the time that the gift they buy will be valued and appreciated by the receiver.
  • Men have less of a need to receive a personal gift than women, particularly for birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Men are more welcoming and appreciative of a wider range of gifts than women.
  • Women make more meaning of the gifts they receive than men.

Here are a few personal Gift Giving & Receiving Guidelines I’d like to offer for your consideration:  Continue reading

Family Gift Giving for the Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time of year for many people. Often you are juggling shopping, traveling, visiting and entertaining. For many of you, the most stressful part of the holidays is family gift giving.

Here are some suggestions to ease your stress:

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • Who do I want to buy gifts for?
  • How much do I want to spend?
  • What do I want to give?

Make a list of all of the people you would like to buy gifts for. Set a budget of how much you’d like to spend and then jot down at least two gift ideas for each person on your list.

Tips to reduce the number of gifts you buy: Continue reading

Just Dating—Holiday Do’s and Don’ts

The holidays can be a confusing time for those who are “just” dating. There are so many considerations and questions that arise. I believe that some issues in our lives come up over and over and that helpful reminders are timeless.

Gifts:

  • Should I buy him a gift?
  • Should I simply send her a card?
  • Am I cheap or selfish if I don’t want to buy a gift at this point in our relationship?
  • How will I look to him if I don’t?
  • Am I creating some kind of pressure for her if I do?
  • If I do, how much money should I spend?
  • How personal a gift should I/can I buy?
  • Is it okay to buy a gift that is simply a token of my enjoying his or her company?

Celebrations with Family and Friends:

  • Should I invite him to my family’s home for traditional family holiday celebrations?
  • Should I include him in the traditional gift exchange? Is it okay to ask him to pay for a gift?
  • Should I invite her to accompany me to my office party or to the homes of friends and family for holiday parties?
  • What message will it send if I do or if I don’t?
  • Is it rude to not include him or her?

Then there are even more quandaries and sticky situations you could find yourself in if you and your new honey are of different faiths, or spiritual inclinations. And what if she or he has children or elderly parents living with her or him? Continue reading

Dr Jackie Black Newsletter


Hello. I am Dr. Jackie Black, your Couples in Trouble Expert. Since 1999, I have guided many formerly frustrated and desperately unhappy Couples in Trouble to happiness, closeness and having more fun together than they ever imagined. My years of experience combined with your commitment to your personal growth will enable you to welcome the results you have always wanted and never believed were possible in your marriage.

Learn more at DrJackieBlack.com