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Cell phone use for calling, texting, emailing and internet browsing has become a major factor in the downfall of relationships and undermining trust and connectedness.  If you are in a relationship of any kind (friendship, marriage, dating) be very careful how much you use your cell phone or other computer devices during time you spend with your partner.  Here are some suggestions to consider:

SET IT ASIDE:  Don’t have your cell phone, computer, iPad or other technology even present while you are sharing time with your friend, spouse or significant other.  The mere PRESENCE of a device is a problem whether you actually use it or not.  Leave it in your car when in a restaurant and don’t charge it in your bedroom.  SET IT ASIDE!

RE-THINK SOCIAL MEDIA:  How much Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. do you REALLY need and would your time be better spent focusing on and talking with your significant other.  Actually SPEAKING to each other is really good and can build trust and respect in a relationship. If you do text later when you are not together, TEXT YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER and don’t focus on people less important.

MAXIMIZE CONNECTING IN THE TIME YOU DO HAVE TO INTERACT:  In truth, we really only have about 6 hours outside of work and sleep to interact with a significant other person.  It is vitally important to plan events and projects together, spend time talking about future ideas and goals and even paying bills together.  Landscape projects, painting rooms, taking walks or exercising together can build and positively affect a relationship.

SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!:  We learned in kindergarten to share with others.  Sharing will build confidence, trust and respect in relationships.  Share household responsibilities, car keys, checking/savings accounts, ownership of vehicles, etc.  While these are only ‘tokens’ of TRUST it is TRUSTING and will build and solidify trust and connectedness in a relationship. 

NEGOTIATE EVERYTHING!:  ONLY ONE RULE for relationships and that is it:  Everything is Negotiable except Negotiation!  Everything!  This means that each person feels fairly treated and gets some of what they want most of the time.  It is important to believe that your significant other will consider your needs and wants as well as you considering those of the other.  A critical factor in trust and respect. 

CUT THE CLUTTER: Reduce the STRESS!!! - Steve J. Leatherwood, LPC, CEO

Well, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all!  It’s that time again to make some promises and commitments for the New Year.  Sometimes we make a plan and stick with it for a little while and then it fades away.  BUT whatever you have planned to accomplish, here is another little suggestion that might help CUT THE STRESS in your 2017 year by CUTTING THE CLUTTER in your life. 

This is one we pretty much have agreed to do at MY house so we will see how that works! You might call it “Should I KEEP it? or Should I LET IT GO?”.  Most of us have things like this around the house.  Clothes that are too small or worn out, furniture that isn’t necessary or is broken, and maybe even just empty cardboard boxes that keep stacking up.  Well, time to ask: KEEP IT or LET IT GO!???

Here are a couple questions I think may help ME to make the decision and maybe will help you too:

1.      Have I used or worn this item in the past year?

2.      Will I need it to wear or use in the near future, REALLY?

3.      Is this something from my past that I really LOVE and has some memory value for me?

4.      Has anyone in my household needed or used this item in the past year or will need it in the future?

5.      Does anyone else in my household LOVE this item or does it have special meaning for them?

6.      Do I need it for TAXES or LEGAL purposes? (by the way, I think seven years is enough of that!).

7.      Is it more important to keep this item than free up the space it occupies to use in better way? (think CLOSET, BASEMENT and GARAGE)

8.      If I really needed to replace this item in the future, would it be very costly or hard to replace?

9.      Does this item serve any useful purpose in my life today and will it ever be useful again?

10.   If I did decide to LET IT GO, would I really miss it in six months or would I even remember it?

Ok, so here’s the deal.  Ask yourself the questions and answer YES or NO to each one.  There is not a right or wrong answer, only for you and whether you need to KEEP or LET GO of the item.  ANY “YES” answer to any question is probably justification for keeping the item around either for yourself or someone else.  BUT if you have a “NO” answer to all TEN questions, it probably needs to GO! Start a big box, bag or truck load to go!

Thank goodness our area just started a recycle pickup every two weeks.  We have a “special recycle can” and all the recyclables go in there and out to the pickup every couple weeks.  That has been especially helpful for cardboard boxes for us.  But there are other options for LETTING GO.  Most areas have Salvation Army centers that take clothing, furniture and such.  Habitat Houses also take used furniture and household items and so do other non-profit agencies and they can sell them to make money for their organization.  YOU get the SPACE you wanted and THEY get the FUNDING they need.  It is a WIN-WIN. 

BEST WISHES TO YOU IN THE NEW YEAR.  And start checking out the STUFF you can LET GO! Clear up the CLUTTER and REDUCE YOUR STRESS!!!  Usually having some clear space is less stressful and it also gives you a chance to organize the things you REALLY USE and NEED in your life.  HAPPY 2017!