Ari Sytner

Discovering the Secret to Happiness: Just Look Inside

Posted by in Kidney Donation, Relationships & Marriage, Stress & Adversity

When it comes to thrill rides or risk taking – I’m the guy that is always off to the side. I am the most risk-averse person you’ll meet. Ironically, however, I voluntarily donated my kidney to a total stranger. How do I reconcile this enigmatic reality? On the one hand, I’m terrified of needles, but on the other hand, I willingly gave away a vital organ! It makes no logical sense whatsoever! The answer is simple. It really comes down to gratitude. When a person looks at what he or…read more

There’s no Such Thing as a Phone Addiction. Is There?

Posted by in Addiction, Relationships & Marriage

The traffic light turns red and the row of cars slowly crawl to a stop. It turns green and then red once again, but strangely, not a single car moves. As each driver is looking down at his or her phone, squeezing in just a few extra seconds of email or social media time, the world around them remains paused. Nobody has noticed the passing clouds, the ticking clock, the children’s laughter, or the changing traffic light. This unfortunate reality has become the new normal.  Yet, many ask, “so what?” If…read more

What Were We Fighting About in the First Place?

Posted by in Relationships & Marriage

For many couples, what starts off as a simple miscommunication often evolves into a disagreement. Before long, it turns into a dispute, followed by a full-blown fight. By the time it is all over, there is yelling, crying, anger and resentment – and sadly, many hurtful comments which can never be unsaid. While this may be a normal part of any relationship, what blows my mind is that in most cases, the conversation ends with, “I don’t even know what we were fighting about in the first place.” How is…read more

Breaking My Silence: A Kidney Donor Speaks Up

Posted by in Blog, Kidney Donation

You’re at Starbucks during your lunch break when you realize you’ve forgotten your wallet at your desk. Feeling embarrassed, you turn to the coworker standing behind you on line and reluctantly ask, “do you mind paying for my coffee today?” If asking a friend to buy you a coffee can feel utterly embarrassing and uncomfortable, imagine the discomfort for a renal patient who must turn to a friend or neighbor and ask them for a kidney. While the guilt associated with such a request can often be crippling, what choice…read more

Like 2 Phones Passing in the Night: How to Fire Up Any Relationship

Posted by in Organizations & Leadership, Relationships & Marriage

Do you prefer to text, rather than call? It seems that most of our daily communication today comes in written form. Why do we prefer to text and email people, instead of calling them?  Well, does it really matter in the end? After all, if the dry cleaning, groceries or children need to be picked up, does it really warrant a phone call if I can more efficiently just send a text message?  Why waste the extra time listening to the ringing of the phone as you wait for the…read more

How Apple’s New iPhone Can Help You Find Love and Prevent a Midlife Crisis

Posted by in Relationships & Marriage

Oh, the outrage against Apple! With the long-awaited debut of the newest and best iPhone, Apple apparently disappointed millions of people with the release of the iPhone SE. To summarize, they have taken the previous iPhone 6 and put it into the even older casing of the smaller iPhone 5. Critics who were long awaiting the next big reveal were terribly disappointed by the very company who defined innovation. Yet, perhaps the problem is not with Apple, but with ourselves and consumer expectations. In 2007, we were transformed from a world with no…read more

Head-On Collision: How to Actually Win a Good Fight

Posted by in Relationships & Marriage

Newton famously said that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Yes, this applies to relationships, and the way people’s words and hostilities collide when fighting. When a couple fights, think of it as two freight trains racing toward one another. The stronger and faster they go, the more disastrous the impact will be. Plus, in all likelihood, at least one, if not both trains, will be severely damaged and even totally destroyed. Therefore, in order to win a fight, the goal is to avoid a collision altogether by…read more

It’s the Most Dysfunctional Time of the Year: Dealing with Family on the Holidays

Posted by in Parenting, Relationships & Marriage, Stress & Adversity

The holiday season evokes many joyous emotions and memories. Yet, research repeatedly demonstrates the increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression. At the end of the day, when we gather among family, the experience for many is not one of joy, but dread. Sitting across the table from Grandma or Dad, and hearing a barrage of passive-aggressive questions just hurts.   What ever happened to that last boyfriend, I liked him? Are you still in that same job, I thought you have more potential than that? Any plans for a…read more

What is the One Word Needed for Happy Relationships?

Posted by in Organizations & Leadership, Parenting, Relationships & Marriage

Countless iconic leaders have boasted to the world how they’ve clawed their way to the top by setting goals, writing them down and tackling them one by one. Come on, let’s be realistic! Nobody, no matter how talented, can just predict and script their future. Failure is a crucial ingredient in the recipe for success! Disappointment is actually one of the greatest tools for learning how to grow stronger. Without a healthy amount of frustration, we cannot develop the resilience we really need to be successful. It is only through a hearty serving…read more

Is Religion Something to be Ashamed Of?

Posted by in Parenting, Relationships & Marriage, Stress & Adversity

Religion often gets a bad rap. We live in a world where moderate religious folks rarely make the headlines. It is the radical extremists that always seem to get the bulk of the attention, making the rest of us look bad. With such a negative light cast on religion, why would anyone wish to be involved with faith or a religious community? Even in the mental health arena, religious people have historically been viewed as “unwell”. Sigmund Freud himself established this fundamental belief in the field of psychology. After all, if…read more

Here’s a Quick Way to Stop Those Embarrassing Texts

Posted by in Organizations & Leadership, Parenting, Relationships & Marriage

The pen was once mightier than the sword. Today, there is something even more dangerous – the send button. I am not afraid of the words I write, for they are easy to edit, undo and delete. The part that scares me is that little send button. It represents a tiny, but dangerous window between myself and the rest of the universe. Who hasn’t experienced the embarrassment of watching a text message being sent, just as your brain registers the autocorrected version of your text? Instead of telling someone, “…read more

How to Have a Business You Can be Proud of: Why Venture-Philanthropy is a Game-Changer

Posted by in Organizations & Leadership, Parenting, Relationships & Marriage

Years ago, an older man visited our synagogue once each month to make a modest donation. Although I thanked him each time, he always gave the same reply, “rabbi, please don’t thank me, I do it because I am selfish. I just enjoy the way I feel when I give charity”. Whether helping individuals or organizations, everyone has different motivations for why they donate, volunteer or help out. In the corporate world, there are new massive trends which encourage charity and volunteerism. Why would a company care whether their employees donate…read more

The Secret to Finding Meaning in Life

Posted by in Organizations & Leadership, Parenting, Relationships & Marriage

Treadmill + Shower + Coffee + Newspaper = Happiness? Who doesn’t love their morning routine? We all love habits, as they make life comfortable and cozy. Instead of having to confront the dreadful anxiety induced by facing the unknown, we can simply find a soothing rhythm and live within the confines of that comfort zone. Yet, there is a downside to living a robotic existence. When we settle into a life of complacency, it can quickly become stale, and at best, we will strive for mediocrity. How do we overcome…read more

When the Romance Dies Down: Is it a Sign of Trouble?

Posted by in Relationships & Marriage

Many people believe that marriage is the best way to take a glittering romantic relationship and send it down the road to a slow and painful death. That’s right, say goodbye to the heels, hair and makeup and hello to flip-flops, sweatpants and scrunchies. But here is a little secret, romance does not die as a relationship develops. With the right perspective, romance can grow, and more specifically, it can grow up. Every couple enjoys the early phases of their courtship, which are filled with flirtatious ways to spice things up….read more

Are there too Many Choices for Communication?

Posted by in Parenting, Relationships & Marriage

It seems today we are bombarded with more options than ever before, and the truth is, we crave them. When I buy a car, I want to make sure I can get the most number of options available, so that I have the choice to not use any of them! When it comes to dating, there are so many avenues that one can take, that it only adds to the confusion. In some cases, it even prevents people from taking that important step forward, as they are more obsessed with…read more

When a Leader is So Funny, it Hurts

Posted by in Organizations & Leadership, Parenting, Relationships & Marriage

How Humor Can Help or Hurt Relationships Although every leader has their own style, some are genuine and others are manufactured. Steve Jobs was terrific at inspiring his employees with the innovative vision that Apple so desperately needed. Yet, he also managed to instill terror in the hearts and minds of his employees. Regardless of whether this approach is a replicable model to be taught in business schools, it was genuine. Like it or not, this is just who Steve was. He was not out to make friends, rather, he…read more

Self-Improvement 101: How to Fill the Negative Spaces

Posted by in Addiction, Relationships & Marriage

Change is hard. Who doesn’t enjoy settling into a comfortable routine? However, when a person is finally motivated to break their mold and strive for self-improvement, the shackles of our habits can be debilitating. It is for that reason that I look forward to the Jewish High Holidays, which give me an opportunity to look at my habits – both good and bad take a personal inventory of how I can improve. However, beware the trap of the negative space! When a person digs deeper and deeper, chiseling away at the…read more

Technology Overload: What is Real Anymore?

Posted by in Addiction, Parenting, Relationships & Marriage

It was a beautiful Labor Day weekend and I decided to take my children fishing. As I stood with them at the water’s edge, I tried to let go of all of my responsibilities, work and social media connections. I proudly watched my children as they were trolling for sunfish and feeding the geese. It was truly a beautiful moment in time. Then it happened!! I heard the chirp. That high pitched tweeting sound that pulled me right back into the world of social media. For a moment, I felt…read more


Confessions of a Mom/Teacher: How Do I Help My Child Succeed in School?

Posted by in Parenting, Relationships & Marriage

Guest Post by Author & Parenting & Educational Specialist, Dawn Casey-RoweWhether you’re putting a kindergartener on the bus for the first time or sending off a senior in high school, you’re probably wondering if you’re doing all you can to help your student succeed. “Does anyone have the school supply list?” “I lost the summer reading–can someone post?” “We haven’t touched the summer computer math.” Those are the types of things I hear from most every parent I meet.  Even though I’m a teacher as well as a mom, I…read more

Technology, Sex and Dating: Navigating a Crazy New World

Posted by in Relationships & Marriage

I recently asked my readers to share what their biggest frustrations and problems are. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the incredible number of responses from loyal followers and readers and I took great time and energy to read and respond to each one. While there were many topics that dealt with addiction, marriage, parenting, stress and work (all to be addressed in later articles), there was one topic, by far, which stood out above all others. Like a perfectly woven thread, this topic unknowingly bound together dozens of perfect strangers, all of…read more

Indulgence or Addiction: Where is the Fine Line?

Posted by in Addiction, Relationships & Marriage, Stress & Adversity

Today’s world offers a smorgasbord of enticing gateway drugs that can appeal to virtually anyone. That’s right, no longer does a person have to be a full-blown heroin addict to struggle with substance abuse. Addictions and dependencies can be connected to virtually anything – not only addictive chemicals such as nicotine. Consider that things such as ice-cream, coffee, TV, internet, shopping, music, Netflix and exercise are generally not considered to be inherently harmful, yet, when they are used in a maladaptive or compulsive manner, they can develop into full-blown addictions. The…read more

D.I.Y. Relationships

Posted by in Relationships & Marriage

When it comes to power tools, l have just enough experience to be dangerous. Like many people today, I enjoy tackling a job myself, rather than hiring someone else to do it. I’ll admit that whenever I start a project, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. But with the help of Youtube, I have successfully managed to tackle a wide range of projects including painting rooms, hanging wallpaper, tiling floors, refinishing cabinets, countertops and even wiring electricity. Sure, I’ve gotten my share of cuts, scrapes and mind-numbing electrocutions….read more

Facing the Fear of Falling: Overcoming Stress & Anxiety

Posted by in Stress & Adversity

It was time for the training-wheels to come off, literally. With his helmet fastened and standing next to his two-wheeler, my son had a mixture of pride and panic on his face. Like every parent that has done this before, I told my son, “just pedal, I’m holding on to the back of your seat so you won’t fall.” The logical part of his brain says, “you’ve got to be crazy to try this.” Yet, amazingly, the calming voice of a parent overpowers the grips of anxiety and stress. With…read more

The Marriage Fumble, Timeout & Reset

Posted by in Relationships & Marriage

OK, so you’re marriage is great and things are going well. Until… After a stressful day, with lots on your mind, you feel like crashing and unwinding. Incidentally, it is the same time that your spouse feels like having an engaging conversation with you. While you’re not trying to be hurtful, you’re frankly in no condition to have a deep conversation. All you’d like is to get out of it without being hurtful or rude. Nevertheless, your spouse senses your distance and feels rejected, even though it was never your…read more

7 Ways You Can Teach Your Kids Respect

Posted by in Parenting, Relationships & Marriage

“Honor your Father and Mother!! Respect your elders!!” We’ve all grown up hearing these phrases. Yet, the challenge in using these directives on our kids, is that they tend not to work. What does respect really mean and how is it taught? For most of the parents that I work with, they describe how they strive to impart these values upon their children, yet, are met with frustration when the kids don’t seem to get it. Most often, however, where the parents might be going wrong, is that they are simply demanding…read more

Wanting to Date a TEN: Looking Beyond Appearances

Posted by in Blog, Relationships & Marriage

There are many experiences in life which guide us and inform future decisions. The foods we eat as a child, the movies we watch, the social interactions that we have, will all impact where we land as adults and what we consider to be our comfort zone. According to Psychologist Jean Piaget, a child develops early life conceptions based on what they see around them and draws conclusions which are then applied to other scenarios. When a child first uses a crayon and learns to scribble with it, he or…read more

Do Your Kids Push You to the Limit? You’re Not Alone!

Posted by in Parenting, Relationships & Marriage

Have you ever heard a parent say that they just want to throw their kid? Perhaps it was across the room, or out the window, or from a moving car. While it is a highly inappropriate thing to think, even worse to say – of course, it is something which must never be done! Though I hear my clients occasionally use these terms to describe their frustrations at home, any sensible parent would deny ever making such remarks. Truth be told, however, we all know that, at some point or…read more