Author Archives: Danielle Taylor

About Danielle Taylor

Danielle Taylor is a graduate of NYU Steinhardt with a Masters in Counseling, Applied Psychology and she has a BA in Psychology from Yeshiva University. She has experience working with high functioning young adults on the autism spectrum at the JCC Manhattan and she has volunteered at the Toronto Distress Center with the suicide hotline. Danielle takes special interest in counseling and coaching people who are dating, in relationships and working through breakups.

3 Ways To Communicate In A More Meaningful Way

Speech-Bublé2We are all constantly told that communication is key when it comes to any type of relationship or human interaction. And that’s true! How can we better communicate in our daily lives and make our words genuine? Sometimes it just means taking a few extra steps with respect to how we express ourselves.

1. Elaborate on your thankfulness

Instead of just saying thank you, say:

“Thank you, that means a lot to me”

“Thank you, I really appreciate help..”

“I am very thankful that you are doing ___”

Gives your thank you a bit of an extra punch and helps communicate that you are really thankful and why you are really thankful.

2. Express how you feel in the moment even if it seems obvious

It’s important to express how you feel when speaking to others because even though your feelings might be clear to you they may not be clear to others. We can’t assume that others know what we are feeling and thinking if we do not express ourselves clearly. People can be very intuitive but they are not mind readers. This is especially true in romantic relationships where there might be some differences in how men and women choose to express their emotions.

3. Learn what not to say

To make your words more meaningful and important, examine what you say. We express what we value in our words and if our speech is frequently full of nonconstructive negativity, criticism, insensitivity and empty or trivial words we will probably push friends away and maybe attract “like-spoken” people. Try to keep your thoughts balanced so that your words will be positive, genuine and important.

By: Danielle Taylor

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3 Ways To Lessen Your Anxiety About Your New Relationship

Toronto Psychologist Healthy RelaitonshipsYou are in a new relationship. It’s magical yet unpredictable. Things seem to be going great but you may not always know what tomorrow might bring. You may have some concerning thoughts. Is trust a problem? Will the spark fizzle out in a few more months? Will your partner commit to you forever? Do you want to marry this person?

There are countless reasons why a person might be feeling anxiety in his/her relationship. However, anxiety early in a relationship often stems from issues such as commitment and trust.

It will probably be helpful to have a meeting with yourself to examine the source of your anxiety and think about the meaning of your nervousness.

It is very normal to experience some anxiety and worry during the early part of your romantic relationship. In a way, it’s a good sign. It means that your relationship is meaningful to you and that you are allowing yourself to experience some vulnerability. However, it can be uncomfortable and unhealthy to experience too much anxiety so here are three ways to bring more calm to your exciting romantic experience:

1. Examine your partner’s actions

You might feel as if you want your relationship verbally validated very regularly. However, depending on the person, this may not happen as often as you would like. Instead, look at other ways your partner tells you that he/she wants to be in the relationship. There are many ways of expressing affection other than through words and these ways can be even more powerful. Recognize the small things your partner does for you. Basically, if a person wants to be in your life, he/she will make the effort to stay there.

2. Communicate

If a relationship is starting to feel too all over the place and causing you stress, it might be time to sit down with your partner to discuss your relationship. Gently inquire where your partner’s thoughts and feelings are at and check to see if you are both on the same page. This type of conversation might be best down in a private and relaxed setting when it is an appropriate time for both of you.

3. Try to develop balanced thoughts about your relationship

The harsh reality is that many relationships end. Therefore, it might be important to value your relationship for what it is now and recognize its importance even if it will end one day. Try to remember that even if you feel a relationship ended in failure it is still a valuable lesson for the future. Remind yourself that even though you might be very sad if your relationship does not work out, you will be able to recover and move on. Empowering yourself with balanced thinking allows you to have more control over your thoughts and emotions. When you have more control over your thoughts and emotions it may help you feel more control over your anxiety about your relationship.

In the end, it is always a leap of faith!

Best of luck with your relationship! 🙂

By: Danielle Taylor

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3 Ways To Get Into A Positive Dating Mindset

a-purple_tulips_cup_of_coffee-1514218After being stuck in the dating scene for a while and probably experiencing some rejection, many people become jaded about the dating process. While dating is definitely not always an easy or pleasant experience, there are a few ways to develop a positive attitude and make dating a bit more enjoyable.

1. Focus on you before the date

Do what you need to do to feel great about yourself. Participating in some self care is a great way to relax and pamper yourself. Try to keep your mind off the date so that you can avoid becoming too anxious. Tell yourself that anyone would be lucky to go on a date with you and take the time to prepare to present the best version of yourself. Get pumped to some invigorating music while you are getting ready and celebrate you.

2. Decide that you are going to have a great time

Having a positive attitude about yourself and the potential of the date is beneficial for you and attractive to your date. Being engaging is key. Ask your date lots of questions, smile and act at ease as much as you can. We might feel like giving up when a date does not meet our expectations, however, you are still spending time with another human being so make the most of that time. Treat even a person you know you will reject with lots of respect and kindness. Have a great time because you are great company even if your date is not.

3. Share with your friends after the date

Talking about a date afterwards can be cathartic and free some of the tension that built up. If the date went horribly, seek the support of your friends and try to think that you now have a new bad date story to add to your list as most people do.

By: Danielle Taylor

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Creativity- Benefiting You And Your Relationships

Purple-EyesIn our busy lives, much of our focus goes to family and work and our personal creative hobbies sometimes get pushed aside or even forgotten. Having a creative outlet that is rewarding and fun can be a great way to engage in self-care and self-development. Self- expression is also an excellent way to channel negative emotions we might have and create something with them.

However, it is easy to make excuses. How many times have we said?

“I’m not artistic, I can’t draw.”

“I’m tone deaf, I can’t sing.”

“I’m not musical, I never had piano lessons.”

“I can’t write.”

“I never know which colours look good together.”

Remember, take part in creative hobbies for yourself and not necessarily for the benefit of others. Do an activity just for the sole purpose of your own enjoyment. Do you like every painting in an art gallery? Not everyone will like your art and that is okay. Remind yourself that even though you may not be the best singer, singing has health benefits for the heart and lungs and can also lower stress. In addition, learning an instrument exercises and develops certain areas of the brain. So be creative for your own mind and body. You may even discover hidden talents!

Not sure what activity to take up? Think back to what you used to enjoy as a child. Did you draw? Build with Lego? Sing? See if those things bring you the same happiness now. On the other hand, it can be wonderful to try something completely new! No matter what you choose, the main idea is that you are setting some time for some self-care.

Keeping in touch with our creative side keeps the child inside us alive and therefore can keep us happy and playful. Finding creative ways to express ourselves also can do wonders for our well-being and mental health because creating something that is an extension of ourselves can be deeply satisfying.

If you are single, signing up for a new class is also a great way to meet new people with similar interests. You never know who will be there! Another additional perk to creative hobbies is that it keeps you interesting. This is important for your relationships early on in dating and throughout the relationship. Hobbies help define and develop our individuality, are outlets for our energy and emotions and can help attract people with similar interests. Seeing if you have similar interests when dating is a great way to discover if you and another person can connect and explore compatibility. In addition, having your own hobbies shows that you are independent and do not rely completely on your relationship for entertainment. If you are already in a long-term relationship, participating in a creative activity together with your partner can create a memorable bonding experience.

Here are some examples of popular creative expressions:

Painting, drawing

Music playing

Singing

Gardening

Writing

Decorating a room

Knitting, sewing

Sculpture, woodworking

Jewelry making, beading

Photography

Enjoy!

By: Danielle Taylor

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6 Things to Keep in Mind During a Breakup

heart-broken-purple-loveBreakups can be a terribly painful experience. If you are currently going through one, my heart goes out to you. It’s the worst. Our thoughts and feelings can often turn into a chaotic mess of negativity and ice cream doesn’t always help us feel better.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re breaking up:

1. We need to accept our feelings

After feeling sadness, anger and other negative emotions for longer than we feel we should, it can sometimes be easy to turn the negative feelings towards ourselves. Try to accept that your feelings are normal and try not to beat yourself up for feeling a certain way. Give yourself credit for investing yourself in someone else and giving enough that the feelings of loss are painful. It means that you truly tried and know how to give a relationship a real effort. This is good news for your future relationship(s).

2. Sometimes we never completely get over a person

Each person we have a relationship has unique qualities that may be impossible to find in someone else. If you didn’t have a reason to dislike a feature in a person anymore those feelings may not change so easily. This isn’t saying to not try to let go of the failed relationship. We must learn to cope without it. However, we may need to learn to live without it rather than getting over it to the point that it no longer is meaningful. Sometimes relationships are so impactful that they leave a mark on our hearts forever. This is okay to accept and it is important to realize that these types of significant events become part of who we are.

3. It is okay to lean on others during grieving

Breakups are time when it is completely normal and healthy to lean on our friends and family. As much as it feels at time to shut the world out, try to allow in the people who want to be there for you. It can be very cathartic to talk about your breakup to your friends and family if you need to process what happened.

4. We do not have to listen to people telling you to “get over it”

While you are in a vulnerable state it is important to choose who you want support from. Occasionally, there are people will not be able to relate to your pain. They may not understand where you are coming from and tell you things like “just get over it” and “try to stop thinking about him/her”. It isn’t helpful when others tell you how you should feel and what you should do. Finding friends and family who accept your fragile state and can offer proper empathy, sensitivity and relatedness is key. Sometimes finding support from a therapist can provide hugely beneficial guidance as well.

5. There is only so much we can expect from others (our strength will ultimately come from within)

While we can definitely lean on others, it’s important to keep in mind that as much as they can listen and empathize, they cannot ultimately take the pain away. Our strength to be able to cope comes from within even it takes a while to show up. Try to remind yourself of your positive qualities everyday and tell yourself that you do not need others to validate those qualities.

6. Be a friend to yourself

After you have given too much love to someone else it’s possible to feel so empty that you feel as though you lost yourself. Remind yourself that you still have you. When you feel yourself fading from someone’s memory it can start to feel like you are disappearing. Remind yourself that you are still here and take care of yourself. Do things that you like and that make you happy. Find yourself again be there to comfort yourself during this time of grieving. It can also be therapeutic to channel our negative energy into something productive and or creative.

Grieving after a breakup is a normal process and it is not always a straightforward path. Temporary relapses may occur but time and space will dull the pain. If it seems as though there is no end in sight for your tears, the guidance of a therapist may help you process your situation and bring you back to feeling more like yourself again.

By: Danielle Taylor

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4 Important Ways to Cultivate a Deeper Emotional Connection in your Relationship

Learning-disabilities-toronto-psychologistPerhaps you are enjoying the freshness of a new relationship. Everything seems so exciting and romantic. Maybe you want to start laying the foundation for something potentially more serious. Without leaving behind the fun and playfulness, how do we start connecting on a deeper emotional level? Everyone knows that communication is one of the primary ingredients of a successful relationship. How do you specifically utilize our communication skills to create a deeper bond? Here are some important ways to nourish your relationship and deepen your emotional connection.

Actively Listen

Proper listening is at the heart of successful communication. Do you really listen when your partner talks to you? It is not only important to be focused and give your partner your full attention but the best communication comes from participating actively while listening. When your partner is speaking to you, practice active listening by:

· Watching your partner’s body language and gestures

· Making a conscious effort to hear the message your partner is communicating

· Paraphrase or restate what you hear so that you are able to confirm with him/her that you understand what he/she is saying.

Active listening will help you get to know you partner’s personality as a whole. The more you actively listen, the more you will understand and be able to strengthen the emotional connection.

Empathize

Empathy is the ability to recognize, share and understand the feelings of another person. Do you have an idea of how your partner is feeling most of the time? Practicing empathy leads to a better understanding of your partner’s perspective. This allows you to learn more about how your partner thinks and feels and what moods and patterns they experience therefore opening a door into their emotional tendencies. To share empathy with your partner it is necessary to share feelings and emotions associated with specific experiences. Sometimes open-ended questions are needed to explore unexpressed emotions:

· What was it like for you when….

· Tell me more about what was going on for you when….

· What were you experiencing when…

Empathy allows you to be present with your partner and actively show that you care. Empathy also lets you to be supportive when your partner is experiencing negative situations, thoughts and emotions.

Appreciate

Showing appreciation is a way of displaying affection verbally. This is just as important as showing affection physically. What do you value about your partner? Do you thank your partner for his or her positive qualities? It is an important part of communication to verbally show your appreciation. Small expressions of gratitude and politeness such as saying please and thank you go a long way. Frequent compliments and flirtation are nice ways to keep the spark in a relationship going too.

· Thank you for ….

· It means a lot to me that you….

· I love when you….

Self- Disclose

To have a good emotional connection in a relationship you must be able to self-disclose. This allows your partner into your world and lets him/her truly get to know the “real” you while gradually sharing your vulnerabilities.

Examples of this type of self-disclosure include:

· Telling stories and experiences from your childhood

· Sharing your dreams and passions

· Talking about the significant people in your life

· Explaining some of your fears

Proper communication has the power to create strong feelings of trust, love, bonding and satisfaction in your relationship.

Of course, for a relationship to be successful you should be receiving all of the above from your partner. If you find yourself practicing the above list without much in return, it might be time to reevaluate the relationship.

By: Danielle Taylor

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