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University of Iowa News Release

 

Dec. 15, 2008

UI doctoral student publishes book on creating balance in life

This time of year, people are more likely to feel stressed out with school, work and last-minute holiday shopping woes, especially with the current economic recession.

Jay M. Greenfeld, a doctoral student in the University of Iowa College of Education's Counseling Psychology Program, believes that individuals have a choice in how they respond to difficult situations. To help them, he wrote a self-help book titled, "My Choice -- My Life: Realizing Your Ability to Create Balance in Life," recently published by Outskirts Press.

"Sometimes we cannot control what will happen in the world," Greenfeld said, in reference to war, economic crises and frequent job loss. "What we can control is how we respond to the global situation. Like the current status of the country, life moves in phases, and it's important to be ready for all of them."

The book provides a simple and realistic approach for individuals to live a healthy, successful and determined life by engaging in positive thinking and taking control of their own choices, Greenfeld said. The book is designed to be interactive, allowing space for the reader to reflect and write thoughts at the end of each chapter.

An active international student on campus, Greenfeld said that his choice to come to the UI for the doctoral program and the colorful Iowa City community gave him the inspiration to publish "My Choice -- My Life" to help others integrate balance into their lives. Originally from Canada, he studied undergraduate psychology at the University of Winnipeg and received his master's degree in applied psychology from New York University.

At the end of the year, people often reflect upon their lives and resolve to make a change during the New Year, Greenfeld said. Although he does not want the calendar date to determine when people decide to make better choices, he recommends setting small attainable goals, outlining the steps to achieve them with a written plan, designating another person to check-up on the progress and rewarding oneself for accomplishing each goal along the way.

According to Greenfeld, success is achieved by exhibiting balance physically, emotionally, socially and academically or professionally. Although this might sound like a no-brainer, he insists that it is possible and offers hints and suggestions in his book for individuals to make positive choices to prevent and manage stress.

"Beyond eating right, exercising often and sleeping well, is realizing that you have choices to make in response to setbacks," he said.

Greenfeld knows a thing or two personally about managing a busy schedule. He currently teaches a stress management course in the UI Health and Sports Studies Department that has become a widely recommended class by students. In addition, he is a research assistant in the UI Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and he co-facilitates workshops on diversity awareness. He also is currently doing his clinical practicum at the Medical Student Counseling Center affiliated with the Carver College of Medicine.

He said that he enjoys the one-on-one interaction with people the most and eventually would like to run his own private psychotherapy practice to help people help themselves use positive thinking to lead happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

"A lot of adults say 'I used to ...' and don't keep doing the things they love for whatever reason as they get older," Greenfeld said. "I want to help them understand how they can make the right choices to feel better about their lives while still remaining true to their ideals and what makes them most happy."

STORY SOURCE: University News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Jay M. Greenfeld, jay-greenfeld@uiowa.edu, 347-563-5953; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077, lois-gray@uiowa.edu; Writer: Caroline Jones