As time goes by, as we grow and change, the nature of our class reunions can change. We may have new insights into how we've grown with the years, the wisdom of letting go of what no longer matters, the value of warm reconnections and the blessing of love that has thrived and matured through the years. In this episode, Dr. McCoy shares insights, reflections and surprises that came from her own recent 50th college reunion at Northwestern University.
Why do people cry at weddings? From happiness as well as sadness? When feelings and life are so full? Or when they feel hopeless and alone?
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses all kinds of tears and reasons we shed them. She also discusses the therapeutic value of tears that may extend beyond a release of stress hormones. The fact is, there are times when we need to cry for our own health and well-being. And that old saying about real men not crying? From the wisdom of the ages, we hear that tears are a sign of strength and self-awareness and an important part of our lives in transition.
The conflicts and fears may center on you or your spouse going deaf or not engaging in enough self-care or getting alarmingly forgetful. These are the emotional ghosts and goblins of older age: decline, disease, death, the fear of losing each other.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses how to hear and how to deliver words of concern and how to cherish your life as it is today without letting fears for tomorrow come between you and those you love most.
What are your most treasured life coincidences and blessings? Perhaps it's a special friendship that came from an accidental pairing on a school or work assignment; perhaps it was a chance meeting that led to lifelong love.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy talks about these chance relationships with staying power that impact our lives so much. And she memorializes a special friendship with Elizabeth Canfield, a social activist, health educator and Holocaust survivor, who died recently. She reflects on the many unexpected blessings in all our lives -- as life so often surprises us.
Making a habit of kindness not only brightens the days of strangers, family and friends alike, but it can also make a positive difference in our own lives and feelings.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses how we can make kindness a habit, what specific things can help and the impact this can have on the lives of others.
There is nothing like money to spark family feuds and emotional divides and some money mistakes can lead to ongoing conflict between parents and their adult children.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses the five most common money mistakes parents make with suggestions on how to avoid these and why doing so can lead to improved relationships with adult children.
Whether you're a frazzled bride or groom facing the disapproval of parents or adult children or a parent contending with a Bridezilla with expensive tastes or a divorced parent wondering whether to issue an ultimatum about your attendance at your child's wedding if your ex and his new spouse attend, there are ways to cut the drama.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses how to deal with disagreements, obnoxious wedding behavior, straining budgets, and boycotts or ultimatums to ensure more harmony in your life as an extended family.
There are definite health benefits to maintaining good relationships with your adult children. This podcast explains why this is so and how to repair rifts and stay close to your adult children.
Anxiety happens to all of us. It may be evident in sweaty palms, in butterflies in the stomach, in procrastination or avoidant behavior. Although some have severe enough anxiety to require medication and psychotherapy, others can tame their anxiety by taking steps to manage their feelings and fears.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy outlines five steps that can help overcome anxiety -- whether this is anxiety about giving presentations at work or driving in heavy traffic, test taking or attending social events.
All our lives, we face so many obstacles to finding our authentic voices, expressing our true feelings and being the unique individuals we are.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses these obstacles, using some examples from her own childhood and young adulthood, and sharing some ideas for self-discovery and building confidence in speaking your mind.
Responding to a letter from a listener about her dismay when her husband began taking Viagra and suddenly wanted much more frequent sex, Dr. McCoy discusses what to do when sex drives don't match, when men face a crisis of confidence with varying degrees of erectile dysfunction and women endure the side effects of menopause that sometimes make frequent or prolonged sex uncomfortable.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses what to do when your libidos are at odds, what to do when a partner wants more or less sex than you do or, perhaps, no sex at all. She discusses sources of help and the health and relationship benefits of maintaining a sex life together.
Animal companions can be our own personal angels during difficult times. They can comfort and soothe in a way that other friends and family members can't.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses the joy of companion animals and the effectiveness of animal assisted therapy which she has used, in certain instances, in her private therapy practice. It can be especially useful with patients who prefer the company of animals to people and who may need the reassurance of a canine or feline presence in order to open up to a human therapist. Dr. McCoy talks about the two cats -- Timmy and Marina -- who helped her in her practice and who were the focus of her later book "Purr Therapy", a memoir about animal-assisted therapy and two outgoing cats who left a legacy of love. Dr. McCoy discusses the qualities that make animal companions particularly effective in healing emotional pain.
There was a time when career success and stability all came down to a few basics: showing up, working hard and treating others with respect. Those qualities are still definite job assets but are no longer a guarantee that you will be able to work as long as you wish. With more Baby Boomers looking to work until age 70 or beyond or at least part-time after retirement, having a strategy is more important than ever.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy offers suggestions for those who still have a job but are worried and those who are facing unemployment and less than welcoming prospective employers. She has special advice for those facing changing realities in their occupations and the necessity of making a new start.
There are times when we need to look back at history for inspiration that can carry us through our lives now.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses the courage and commitment of the Danish people and their leaders to work toward the common good and to keep hope alive when all seemed lost in the darkest days of World War II. Some of their individual choices and actions resonate today and can give us ideas and inspiration to keep our society a kind and compassionate one. It all starts with us -- each one of us.
Have you ever heard yourself saying something to your adult child that sounded alarmingly like your own mother's or father's voice? Or made a cringe-worthy comment that seemed to come out of nowhere? Or said something you thought was innocuous, but that elicited a negative reaction from your adult child?
In this episode, Dr. McCoy talks about ways we unintentionally offend or alienate our grown children and how to avoid this.
Please Note: This is a re-recording of a recent podcast that, due to technical difficulties, did not broadcast clearly.
What IS it about our memories as we age: when childhood and other long ago memories remain vivid while remembering what we had for dinner last night or where we left our keys have become ever more elusive? Why does this happen?
Dr. McCoy discusses what is going on with our aging brains and what we can do to maintain brain health. She also discusses the fluid nature of memories -- how these can change over the years and how divergent memories can spark family conflicts. She offers suggestions for looking at divergent memories in a new way.
A positive aspect of aging is simplying our lives to focus on what matters and letting go of what no longer fits. The conscious and unconscious changes we make in our lives as we age can help us to embrace what we most cherish and live fully in this new phase of our lives.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses communication mis-steps that can cause distance between parents and adult children. How do you keep from having your words come between you and your beloved son or daughter?
Dr. McCoy has five suggestions for better communication: think before you speak;let go of being central in your adult child's life; edit your comments and soften your approach; keep quiet and finally, apologize for verbal transgressions instead of making excuses. Sometimes silence can signal love and a vote of confidence to an adult child. So can a respectful observation or an immediate and heartfelt apology.
Talking about a future of illness and loss with your adult children is far from easy, but so necessary. It's important to approach the subject of your aging and eventual decline and demise in a thoughtful, collaborative way.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy shares stories of adult children whose lives were changed drastically by parental expectations and demands. She asks the questions how much is reasonable to expect, in terms of future care, from our adult children as we age? And how much is too much to ask?
Dr. McCoy makes suggestions for future planning with your children in ways that will enable all of you to achieve your future hopes and dreams.
There are some unique challenges for married couples in retirement. There is the reality of a long marriage. There are the losses and challenges of retiring and the pervasive possibility for further losses. There may be new isolation. And there is increased togetherness.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy shares some ideas for increasing marital harmony and happiness in the retirement years.
Although the current generation of young adults is more well-traveled, technologically sophisicated and accomplished than young people a generation ago, it seems that it's harder than ever for young adults to leave home emotionally and for parents to let go.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy talks about the necessity of loving our kids and trusting in their competence enough to let them go. Giving our children a firm sense of values and a sense of who they are and where they come from is vital. So is giving them wings -- wings build by teaching them independent living skills, letting them fight their own battles and solve their own problems, letting them know that it's O.K. to go, to be scared, to be unsure and to be excited as they venture out of the nest. Your beloved children will thank you, even many years later.
Why do we keep doing things that make us unhappy? What do certain things seem to happen over and over in our lives?
In this episode, Dr. McCoy explores some common repetitive scenarios: when you find yourself attracted to romantic partners or friends who cause you unhappiness, when you find yourself in similar situations at different work places, when you find yourself having trouble with change.
Spousal punishment can be inspired by and cause misery for a variety of reasons. As a therapist, Dr. McCoy has seen spouses punish the other for a long ago or more recent transgression: an infidelity, a lost investment, a wayward child, a business that went under or a career that never quite blossomed. Another frequent cause of spousal punishment: a relocation.
Living with such tension is hazardous to health and happiness. It takes two to perform this malevolent marital dance: the outraged punisher and the partner who feels guilty or otherwise deserving of punishment.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy explores ways to stop the cycle of marital punishment before it completely erodes love and good will. Even if peace seems impossible, she emphasizes that where there is love and a willingness to work together, so much is possible.
We all have life stories and scripts by which we live our lives. What one does with one's story can cause painful inertia in the present or facilitate positive change.
For some, clinging to an outdatd life story is a habit, an excuse not to risk change. Some have a story that is an endless loop of victimhood. Some have life stories and expectations that complicate family relationships in many ways.
Changing one's perspective and one's life story can be difficult and painful, but can lead one toward growth and a more satisfying new life. It may mean letting go of old pain to make room for new possibilities. Letting go of old family roles can be liberating and lead to better relationships with kin. Letting go of bitter life stories of victimhood can open your life to new opportunities. Letting go of old anger can create room for joy.
When you change your story, you can change your life.
What is life like when the retirement honeymoon is over?
Settling into this major life transition is much like we experienced in settling into our life's work or a long marriage: taking responsibility for our own choices and behavior and living with gratitude.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses the fact that constant happiness is an impossibility, even under the best of circumstances, but we cn make the choice to stay positive, to accept current reality and to make peace with what is. Gratitude is a major part of this. So is understanding that happiness comes most readily not from getting, but from giving, not from hedonistic pleasures but from doing what gives our lives meaning at this phase of life.