Mindful Expat Episode 34: Recognizing & Guarding Against Destructive Patterns in Relationships

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• How not all issues in relationships can be completely resolved, but how this may actually be ok — we just need to learn how to manage them!
• Some problematic patterns that couples can fall into (what John Gottman calls the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” — criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling — because in his research these variables have been used to predict divorce with impressive accuracy) — and how to shift away from these into healthier, more productive dynamics with your partner
• Some specific examples of how you can word things to address problems that may come up in relationships. 

Resources mentioned in this episode (and related resources):

• I mentioned the research of relationship expert John Gottman as well the organization that he cofounded with his wife, The Gottman Institute. To learn more about the research discussed in this episode, you can go here.
• You can also check out John Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, which is a fantastic resource for couples (whether they’re married or not).
• If you’re interested in looking into other books that I think are excellent for couples, check out this section of my resources page.
• We also discussed some options for looking for a couples therapist near you. The International Therapist Directory is a wonderful resource for finding English-speaking therapists around the world who are familiar with some of the unique challenges of people living abroad.

Stay in Touch!

To make sure you don’t miss future episodes of Mindful Expat, you can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app.

To receive monthly summaries of podcast episodes and stay up to date on other announcements and resources, sign up for the Mindful Expat Podcast Newsletter! (When you sign up, you’ll also receive a free mp3 guided mindfulness exercise to practice on your own!)

And, finally, if you’d like to get in touch and leave me a voice message with a question or comment that may be played in a future episode, you can do so here!

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Mindful Expat Episode 33: Challenges & Opportunities for Expat Partners: Meaningful Work, Sense of Purpose, & Professional Identity

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Claudia Landini!

Claudia is an intercultural trainer and mobile careers coach. Originally from Italy, Claudia has been living abroad for the past 27 years, since 1989! She has lived in four African countries (Sudan, Angola, Congo Brazzaville and Guinea Bissau), two Latin American countries (Honduras and Peru), in Jerusalem, and she now lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. She also speaks quite an impressive number of languages – Italian, English, French, Spanish, and German – and as if that weren’t already enough, she also knows a little bit of Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia, and Arabic.

Claudia is the founder of the non-profit organization ExpatClic, which is an online platform and community supporting expat women in a number of different ways through their transitions abroad – both personally and professionally.

She is also an intercultural trainer and cross-cultural transitions coach with a focus on helping expat women develop and maintain their careers as they move abroad.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Some of the challenges that expat partners may face in their careers when they move abroad and how this can impact their sense of professional (and personal) identity.
• The importance of finding meaningful, satisfying activities that allow us to continue to learn and grow — whether or not we have an official job that pays the bills.
• How our professional paths can evolve and shift when we move abroad in ways that we might not have envisioned but that can be incredibly enriching and satisfying.
• How moving abroad and navigating some of these challenges can actually teach us important things about ourselves and foster not only profession but also personal development. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 32: Thanksgiving & Gratitude (Even If You’re Not Feeling So Grateful at the Moment)

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• The benefits of practicing gratitude (to our emotional, psychological, and physical health!).
• What it even means to “practice” gratitude. (And how doing so can help you experience more spontaneous gratitude as well!)
• A short gratitude practice that you can incorporate into your daily routine that is supported by a bunch of research. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 31: Learning to Trust Yourself Through Pregnancy & Birth Abroad

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Karen Wilmot!

Karen was born and grew up in South Africa. Growing up with a mother who was a midwife, Karen was exposed from an early age to inspiring stories of women giving birth. She followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a midwife herself. Karen’s love of travel led her to live in many different countries – including Saudi Arabia, Mauritius, and Mexico. For the past 13 years, she has been living in Oman, where she established the first private community services there supporting expat women during pregnancy and birth. More recently, Karen was inspired to take her work online to reach women around the world in search of support and guidance as they navigate the birth process while living abroad. She started the Virtual Midwife, an interactive online platform where she provides personalized care, information, and support for expat women around the world, many of whom who have limited or no access to quality prenatal advice and care. An advocate for a holistic approach to birth, Karen incorporates mindfulness, yoga, and other methods for working with the mind and the body to promote health and wellbeing for the women she works with.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Some of the cultural differences that women and families may encounter when navigating pregnancy and birth in a foreign medical system.
• The importance of being informed about the medical system in your host country and knowing the right questions to ask to make sure you get your needs met.
• The importance of mindset and expectations in our experiences of pregnancy and birth (whether in a foreign country or not).
• How to recognize the factors that are within your control and accept those things that may be outside of your control as you navigate pregnancy and birth in a foreign country.
• The importance of self-awareness and mindfulness (the ability to remain truly present) in pregnancy and birth.

Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 30: Challenges & Opportunities While Studying Abroad

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Some of the different contexts in which students may study abroad and how these contexts might impact their experiences as international students.
• Some of the amazing benefits of studying abroad!
• Some of the common challenges that international students may face.
• Some of my recommendations for current and future international students to help them make the most of their experiences abroad. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 29: From Surviving to Thriving Abroad! (With Guest: Louise Wiles)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Louise Wiles!

Louise is an expat coach who works with international assignees, expat partners, and international organizations to help expats and their families not only survive but thrive in their lives abroad!

Louise is originally from the UK, but she has spent much of the last 18 years living in Spain and Portugal. Three years ago, she repatriated back to England with her husband and 2 daughters.

When Louise first moved abroad for her husband’s career, she left behind a corporate career of her own, so she is intimately familiar with the challenges that dual career couples face when deciding to move abroad and navigating their expat experience. Along with her (former) business partner, Evelyn Simpson, both trained coaches, she began a business called Thriving Abroad, to help expat partners and expat assignees navigate these challenges and create a life they love.

Louise also has her own podcast, also called Thriving Abroad, where she interviews guests and covers topics related to helping expats face personal and professional challenges in their lives abroad, and I highly encourage you to check it out.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• About Louise’s experience of navigating multiple overseas moves and her professional journey of creating her coaching business, supporting expats and expat partners.
• The importance of our expectations and really thinking through our decision to move abroad ahead of time.
• Some tips for people already living abroad who feel like they’re in survival mode to help make the shift from just surviving to actually thriving in their lives overseas!  Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 28: Reflections on Foreignness

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• My reflections on foreignness during my travels in South Korea.
• Some of the pros and cons of being an obvious foreigner vs. a hidden foreigner (or “hidden immigrant”).
• Some of the benefits of living abroad and experiencing being “the other” first-hand — and how this experience can make us reflect differently on our own cultures as well as become more compassionate to other people’s experiences.
• How all of this relates to my idea for starting this podcast in the first place. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 27: Creativity & Other Sources of Resilience for Latino Immigrants & Others Living Abroad (With Guest: Carmen Roman, Ph.D.)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Dr. Carmen Roman!

Dr. Roman is a licensed psychologist in the state of California. She is originally from Mexico and practiced as a psychologist there for a number of years before moving to the United States in 2007.

Dr. Roman is bilingual in English and Spanish and offers bilingual and bicultural psychotherapy to her clients in the San José region of California, where she lives. She also has a specialty in creative expression and art therapies.

Dr. Roman also has her own podcast, called Emotions in Harmony, which is a bilingual podcast (in English and in Spanish) and which focuses on topics related to emotional wellbeing – so very relevant to things we talk about here on this podcast too, and I highly recommend you check it out!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• About Dr. Roman’s experience of moving to the United States from Mexico and her journey of becoming a licensed psychologist in the US, specializing in working with Latinos living abroad and navigating this intercultural space.
• Some of the particular stressors that Latino immigrants to the United States face as well as some of the factors and mindsets that may positively impact their immigration experience.
• About the importance of creativity in helping all people (but perhaps especially those living abroad) come back to their core sense of self, develop a new sense of identity, and find community abroad. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 26: Bonne Rentrée! Turning Over a New Leaf This Fall

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• I’ll introduce you to the concept of the “rentrée” in France (basically back-to-school but for adults and kids alike!).
• We’ll discuss how this time of year can be an opportunity to take stock of what we have accomplished and learned in the past year and set our intentions for the year to come.
• I will provide you with some tips for how to begin to build habits in the service of your goals so that you can continue to make progress throughout the year on the things that are most important to you.  Read More