La Coop P.A.- General and Forensic Psychiatry - Boutique-Private Psychiatric and Forensic Practice in Tampa-Clearwater-Florida


March 2017 - Character is Defined by How You Handle Disappointments


I hope all of you are having a great 2017. For me, it's been a test to see how far I can spread myself while still maintaining high function. One of the things that I discuss with my patients is the importance and development of character. I might not specifically say that in the session, but that's ultimately one of the key things I focus on in treatment. In order to be an exceptional person, you have to have an exceptional character.

Some people think that character cannot be created or molded, and that is wrong. Though we are all born with a certain temperament, we can discover our deficiencies through introspection and work on our character to change it from something that looks like swiss cheese to a solid foundation onto which growth can occur. It's possible, but it's tough.

This month has been a challenge for me personally and professionally, but I keep my eye on the prize and know that I will figure out how to make this seemingly impossible situation - possible. I plan on transforming something that appeared to be dying to a place that is thriving. It's happened before and it will happen again. All it takes is a concentrated effort and a positive attitude.
I hope you all have a lovely Spring and use some of what I have in this newsletter to make some positive changes in your life. I have seen many of my patients do some amazing things with discipline, self confidence, and persistence. You can TOO!

Dr. L

In order to do your best you must BE your best! Increasing your physical reserve.

One of the great litmus tests of true character is the ability to tolerate distress. One of the things that I feel like separates the typical person from the exceptional person is one's ability to tolerate defeat, disappointment, or temporary setback. This year already, I've had my share of temporary setbacks. It's not something that I look forward to, but it seems to be something that I always plan for.

I work on increasing my patient's reserve so that way they can tolerate MORE distress. Whether it's physical, or emotional, we all have a certain amount of reserve from which we can pull from when the going gets tough. In order to keep that reserve at a good level, you have to physically remain strong. That includes eating healthily, regular exercise, and sleeping well. At least getting the amount of hours that your body really requires. There is a reason why people always strive to get eight hours of sleep per day, because it's been shown in Olympic athletes that amount of time is optimal in order to repair all of your tissues after working hard. Additionally, food is very key. I talk with patients about this quite frequently given that I am a dietitian. But again, I just want to reiterate it.

One of the things that I'm focusing on dietary wise for myself for this year is to eat more fruits and vegetables and just eat a more balanced diet in total. It's not necessarily just about portion control, but if your body feels that it's at a deficit it's not going to function at its highest even if you get enough calories. You can get a whole day supply of calories or more just by eating a large bag of chips. You could also do that by eating a couple pieces of pizza from your favorite restaurant, or eating a large bag of candy (which I have been known to do!). So even though we're getting the calories, we're not getting the nutrients. So we need to focus especially as we get older on having all of those nutrients come from food. Yes, you can get them from supplements but, to get it in whole foods we are getting other things that pills cannot capture. How I really figured that out was when I was breast-feeding my babies and you can buy all different types of specialized formulas, but at the end of the day even though we are very sophisticated in terms of science, we still cannot replicate breast milk. This is the same thing with food and vitamin supplements. So just keep that in mind, and also you'll feel fuller because you'll be eating more.

Along that same line, we need to keep hydrated. There's a reason again why people say to drink 8 glasses of water a day, because it is really important in order to keep all of our body cellular functions going at optimal. So just remember, to drink those eight glasses of 8 ounces of water per day at the very minimum.

Emotional reserve - how to get going when the going gets tough!

Finally, in order to deal with the reserve, we need to talk about emotional reserves. Just spoke with one of my new patients about this the other day, in order for us to keep going emotionally, we have to know that the end of the day that we're doing the right thing. There's lots of people that go through life and all day long they're looking behind them because they know that they haven't been doing everything with the right intentions. What I demonstrate in my own life is that you have to act as if there is a camera watching you all the time. In my house, there is a camera watching me all the time, but it also is the case for me testifying in court or for other things where I'm under a lot of scrutiny. My husband and I were talking about this just yesterday that people that aren't doing the right thing have a problem when somebody else is monitoring what they're doing. Unfortunately, I had that experience with a worker that I had been dealing with in Marigold's cabin. He was doing fine emotionally with me until my mini me (my sister Beth) came to stay at the cabin. She and her boyfriend are staying at the cabin and helping me with some projects. Therefore, this person then had scrutiny that he hadn't had before. He had been working for me for over a month before she came but within three days of her being there, he quit. He abandoned his job.

This person is in their 50s. This person is a supposed to be a professional that has been doing this their entire lives. He supposedly prides himself in his work, his honesty and integrity. However, once my sister got there, she realized that a lot of the things that he told me he completed, he had not. Once I was able to find this out from my sister and confronted him about it, he quit within less than 24 hours. This person doesn't have good character. This person doesn't have good integrity. We don't want to be like that person. As I said in a previous Facebook post, my job in helping patients (in my mind) is not to just help them become functional, it's to help them become exceptional. In order to do that, you have to have exceptional character. In order to have that, you have to have all these other building blocks we've discussed in this newsletter. Once these are in place building a sold foundation - it's only then that you can start moving up Maslow's hierarchy of needs to self actualization.

In closing, I just wanted to reach out to you guys since I hadn't spoken with you in several months. I hope that all of you are well. I look forward to seeing each and everyone of you very soon.

Also, Happy Easter! I'll be sure to send all of you little pics of my girls enjoying their holiday.

Take good care.

Dr. L

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