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By Pam Montgomery, Feb 13 2016 08:11PM

Aristotle says that happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existance. Well, I have to say I disagree. I know, I dare I disagree? It's Aristotle after all! But I believe that the pursuit of happiness, above all other pursuits, leads to distruction - think the Roman empire.

So, when I speak of happiness, I'm not speaking of hedonism or "the devotion to pleasure as a way of life", because I don't believe that hedonism leads to happiness. Instead, when I describe happiness, I speak more of contentment, joy and peace - a longlasting sense of hope and meaning.

Additionally, I disagree with the popular notion that "happiness is a choice." Oh gosh, I fear I sound like a totally disagreeable person! If you read on, though, I think you'll find that I'm not. You, like many others, may hold the opinion that happiness is a choice, and that's fine, but if happiness were a simple choice why isn't our society filled with people who are happy instead of stressed, lonely, angry, pessimistic, bitter and resentful? Yikes, that's a pretty grim view of our society..but it is, truly, what I'm seeing.

By Pam Montgomery, Feb 13 2016 07:30PM

It has happened to many of us at one time or another - you're happily perusing the web, posting a brillant status update, sharing your most recent flash of insight or chatting with a friend when "BAM" you get flamed.

From -

flame: a flame is a tirade. The flamer may be quite articulate and intelligent as they question the upbringing of the flamee. One can also flame about a third party to a conversation. Finally, a flame may be from an idiot, in response to a reasonable post from someone else.

So, what to do next? How you respond will either feed the fire or douse it. It will, also, show your friends (and more importantly) the world who truly you are. Remember, anyone in the world can view your posts: your children, your boss, your future spouse...everyone, and what they read will inform their impression of your maturity, communication skills, and character. Therefore, it's important to remember these few important rules for communicating online.

By Pam Montgomery, Feb 13 2016 07:21PM

Scientific studies have recently shown that the use of social media can increase stress for some people.

Whether it is divisive political or religious rants, passive-aggressive status updates, condescending memes, explicit photos and videos or even helpful (but plentiful) posts from your groups and pages, our newsfeeds can become overrun with posts that cause anxiety and stress to interrupt our otherwise peaceful days.

Has this happened to you? You're just going about your day, checking in on your friends on Facebook and you come across this across your friends photos from her most recent vacation to Paris or Bermuda or the park down the think to yourself, "Ugh, I wish I could afford take a vacation! Her life is so much more interesting than mine." Or, "OMG, she looks amazing and I still have baby food in my hair!"

Or, you come across some cleverly worded meme that is actually a veiled insult and you wonder, "Could that be aimed at me?" You don't think you've done anything to your friend, but....hmmm, maybe. "Why doesn't she just talk to me about it?"

...and your peace just flew out the door.

If you find that there are particular people, groups or pages that are spamming your newsfeed with negativity, there ARE steps you can take:

By Pam Montgomery, Feb 13 2016 07:08PM

It may be months, even years, since the last time you spoke with your therapist. You had a good experience, learned skills to cope with your struggles, overcame some hurtful things and gained valuable insights.

I could be that you stopped therapy knowing that you would need to return at some point or that you and your therapist agreed that you were doing well enough to gradually scale back and, eventually, complete therapy altogether.

So, how do you know if it might be wise to check back in with your therapist, even after some time has passed since your last appointment?

Here are some indicators that it might be wise to schedule appointment:

By Pam Montgomery, Feb 13 2016 05:41PM

"I'm an adult! Why do I feel like I'm walking around acting like a child in an adult's body?" or

"Why do I feel like I've been stuck at age 18 for the last 20 years?"

I hear it over and over again, women are struggling to live their lives as adults, with balance, with confidence.

In fact, more and more, research supports the notion of a newly defined developmental stage called adultescence, which is the stage between adolescent and adulthood that seems to be a growing phenomenon. However, this isn't what I'm seeing with my clients. Instead, like many counselors, I see women who are stuck living and believing as a child, not due to over-controlling, hover parents as is the case with adultescence, but as a result of the trauma of childhood abuse.

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I Just Can't Take It Anymore: A Guide to Dealing With Your Overstressed Life"!