Tag: Toronto Parenting Expert

Do Happy Lawyers Exist? 4 Tips On How To “Rest Your Case”

By Natasha Sharma

Although I’m deeply hooked on “How To Get Away With Murder” right now, one of my favourite television shows of all time is ‘Frasier.’ And one of the most memorable lines from the show was quite possibly from the episode where the character of Niles says to Frasier: “I hate lawyers but they make wonderful patients: They have excellent health insurance and they never get better.”

For a profession that has yielded some of the greatest and most inspirational leaders of our time – from Mahatma Gandhi to Barak Obama – the practice of law has a reputation as being, well, uninspiring. At least to those behind the casebooks. Consider the research: In a study of over 100 occupations, lawyers lead the United States with the highest prevalence of depression. Research has also indicated that the profession has one of the highest rates of suicide, and up to 20% of lawyers in the US struggle with alcoholism or another form of substance abuse. So do happy lawyers exist? Or are they an urban myth, like free parking spaces?

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What Tragedy Can Teach Us in the Land where Grass is Greener

By Natasha Sharma

The first thing I saw was his feet. Tiny and limp, encased in familiar looking dark blue Velcro-strap shoes. Much like the dark blue Velcro-strap shoes I struggle to get onto my 2-year old son’s feet every day. Then I saw his little legs. I had just sat down for a coffee break. As I finally registered that what I was looking at on the cover page of Metro Toronto was a policeman carrying a drowned toddler on a beach, I experienced a jolt. Probably like most of the world when they saw the same image. I quickly put the paper down. Then I threw it in the trash so I wouldn’t be tempted to read it. As a Psychotherapist, I’m well in tune with what can impact me emotionally on a personal level, and I had clients to continue seeing after my short break for whom I needed to be clear headed and unaffected.

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Pregnancy: Is it Really ‘All That?’ 4 Tips for Keeping it Real.

By Natasha Sharma

I have a confession to make: I did not enjoy being pregnant. There. I said it. And I’m pretty sure I’m far from the only person who feels this way. But you won’t hear people admit it. That’s because we live in a society where women are taught that being pregnant – and all that goes with it – is supposed to be the most beautiful and glorious time of your life. A time when you feel energetic and alive, when you are “glowing” from the inside out, and when you sit on a proverbial lily pad all day while doves coo at you and deer eat out of the palm of your hand. Ok, I’m being a little facetious, but heaven forbid if a woman should admit that she secretly felt anything less than total and utter bliss when with child. Notwithstanding the fabulous monologue delivered by one Elizabeth Banks in the film “What to Expect when you’re Expecting” in which she proclaims “pregnancy sucks” while her younger counterpart played by Brooklyn Decker appears pleased as punch with pregnancy (and didn’t we all just want to Deck-her at some point?!).

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“I’ll do it tomorrow…” 4 Tips for How to Avoid Procrastination and Get Things Done!

By Natasha Sharma

A stunningly high number of clients I see in my practice complain about the dreaded P-word: Procrastination. They have ideas, goals, small tasks and large ones, and never seem to complete any of them. When I ask them what gets in the way, the answer is often “I don’t know.” Procrastination – aka the ‘art’ of putting things off until another day – is incredibly common. Not that big of a deal for things that actually can wait, but perfectly annoying when there are things we genuinely need to get done sooner rather than later. It’s a problem that plagues the busy and the not-so-busy, over-achievers and under-achievers, the younger and the older. Why is this?

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How to be Happy and Get the Most Out of Life!

By Natasha Sharma

Problems, as we all know, are a reality of living. Life can be unpredictable and will most certainly be stressful at one point or another. But it is how we respond to changes and solve a problem that have the most impact and influence to the quality of our lives, as opposed to the actual problem itself. In my practice as a Psychotherapist, I have worked with many individuals and families of all ages, ranging from issues as harrowing as psychological trauma in small children to more commonplace issues such as conflict in the workplace, or dating and relationship issues. Over the years, I have come to realize that a problem is a problem, relative to the unique context of a person’s life and individual phenomenology. Which is to say that they exist – or do not exist – based on our own personal circumstances and subjective experiences of life.

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Is There a ‘Right’ Time to Have a Baby?

By Natasha Sharma

At least twice a week in my practice, I will have a young, bright, and ambitious 20-something year old woman sitting across from me. We’ll ponder life together: Career, friends, hobbies, and relationships. And invariably at least once a week, one of them will tell me that she has a life plan, which includes having kids before the age of 30. The closer they might be to said age without the prospect of procreation in sight, the more angst they feel about ‘missing the deadline.’ When I inquire as to why the deadline is age 30, the response is usually that having kids over the age of 30 is “too old.” Other female clients of mine feel the opposite; they are in no rush and instead state that they in fact prefer to have kids much later in life. Still others, albeit a much smaller percentage, report that they know they never want to have kids and that, my friends, is totally fine (hey, it’s 2015!) But for the ones who know they want them, which is still likely to be most, it raises an interesting question: Is there such a thing as the right time to have children in life? Since 2013, the average age at which Canadian women had their first child topped 30 years. Assuming planned pregnancies by couples and/or otherwise stable familial units, I looked at the pros of having children under age 30 and of having them over age 30 (30 truly seems to be a demarcation point for so many in life, and on so many levels!). Here goes:

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Does Everyone Have a Mental Illness?

By Natasha Sharma

The answer to this question of course is ‘No.’ Nevertheless the percentage of people diagnosed and dealing with a mental illness increases with each passing year. Certainly over the years, due to advances in society and technology, we have become more aware of the biological and psychological markers of mental illness, and more willing to recognize it. Another reason put forth to explain the rise of mental illness is the idea that we currently live “in more difficult times” than previously. I don’t agree with this. The reality is we now live in arguably the easiest times in the course of human history, and we seem to have lost some of our “toughness.” But I’ll save that last point for another article. Sure, we have our fair share of problems (faster pace of life, career burnout, environmental concerns), but I wouldn’t trade these problems in for the ones our ancestors had (such as world war and widespread disease) any time soon. And we are no more pre-disposed to mental health issues now than we were then. So what is really going on here? Are we all getting sicker? Or do we simply need to understand the difference between a mental illness and a normal response to the experience of life? I think it’s the latter.

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Top 4 Ways Social Media Is Killing Your Relationship

By Natasha Sharma

How many times in the last hour have you checked in with any Social Media platform on which you have a profile? Once? Twice? More than 10?? Studies show that people between the ages of 18 and 64 currently spend an average of about 3 hours per day on Social Media sites. That’s a little over 11 minutes each hour, figuring a 16-hour day. That works out to an average of about a minute for every 5 minutes. And that equals almost 20% of our waking lives! If we are going to dedicate that much of our precious time to something, it would be wise to understand and evaluate the quality of our experience.

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Relax! It’s OK for Your Kids to be Angry with You

By Natasha Sharma

Early on in my practice as a psychotherapist, I worked with a lovely but troubled young family from Maryland. These were parents of an 8-year old child who struggled with his mood. He often had emotional ‘melt-downs’ at school and home that involved severe tantrums and oppositional behaviour. One evening when they came to see me for an appointment, the boy was wearing a t-shirt that read: “My Family is Afraid of Me.” Funny enough in a tongue in cheek sort of way. But for this family it spoke volumes about their issues. This was a trio where the power dynamics were consistently in favor of the child. Every effort was made by his parents to ensure he wouldn’t become upset or angry or dislike the outcome of something, even if that meant never saying the word “no” to him. When I gently confronted his parents about this, their response was simple enough: “We don’t want him to be mad at us.”

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5 Quick Tips to Boost Your Mood

By Natasha Sharma

As the summer starts drawing to its inevitable close, many people find themselves feeling a little glum. And who can blame them? There’s something about warm wind and long, lazy days in the sun that seem to make time slow down. And for a few short months, it seems we all gain the ability to mentally stand still for a moment. We stop fretting over the past, and worrying about the future. We get outside more, we see friends and family more, and there are endless opportunities for pure, unadulterated fun! For a change, we can be light, carefree, and almost entirely in the present. Whatever gets you down here and there, it’s worth noting that everyone feels a little ‘blue’ at times. In moderation and when proportionate, it’s as natural a part of the human condition as almost any other emotion. Slight downturns in mood usually pass within 1 or 2 days, and this reminder in and of itself is often helpful. In those moments where we could use more of a pick me up, here are some tips for a booster shot to the old amygdala:

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