View Post

Go ahead, be selfish: VOLUNTEER

Doing good for others is good for you – and the fact that you’ll benefit from it personally doesn’t make it count any less. Here’s a compiled list of the benefits to YOU from volunteering to help others — it probably covers a lot of your own New Year’s “resolutions”. Over and over, research has clearly demonstrated these wide-ranging benefits. …

View Post

Ruts and Holes Along the Way

I was reminded of this piece by Portia Nelson while sitting with a patient today – thought I’d share it here. Walking your path isn’t always as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, and sometimes you fall into ruts — or holes. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters Chapter One I walk down the street. There is …

View Post

Balancing Your Brain’s Negativity Bias

Fear is essential – to a certain degree. It keeps us alive by insisting we pay attention to potential dangers and threats. However, living with too much fear – and fear’s conjoined twin, anger – leaves us living lives that are small, miserable, and stressed. In order to protect you, your brain has what’s called a negativity bias. The bottom …

View Post

Body Scan Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness practice, as succinctly defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn:  Paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally. In a body-scan practice, the thing you’re paying attention to (on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally) is your body — everything from your toes to your scalp. Using your body as the focus of your attention to often makes it easier to stay in …

View Post

Poor sleep hurts your brain: Risk factor in the development of Alzheimer’s

I’ve written before about the importance of good quality sleep (here, for example). Now you’ve got yet another powerful reason to get your sleep together: Poor sleep (especially quality of sleep) may be key in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Research from brain scientists at Oregon Health & Science University moves our knowledge forward about how lack of deep sleep …

View Post

Narcissism and Running A Major World Power

It takes a certain level of narcissism to believe you should have a hand in the running of a major world power. But there is a very important difference between healthy and unhealthy narcissism. Healthy narcissism is a real and valuable trait. We all need to feel loved, important, and powerful in our lives to a certain degree. In general, …

View Post

The Mixed Blessing of Adult Coloring Books

Back in 2008, when I was having a health issue that was going to require surgery, I was grateful to have accumulated a number of ways to decrease the understandable stress in my body as well as my mind. I put to good use the benefits of various relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, guided imagery, and more. The surgery went very …

View Post

Defeat Your Snooze Button

“I’ll just hit snooze one more time.” Nine minutes, fifteen minutes… whatever the length of your snooze alarm, you’re both kidding yourself, and robbing yourself. A full sleep cycle runs about 45 minutes, and partial cycles (like that snooze alarm) disrupt us in ways that are not only unproductive, but counterproductive. The sleep (or snooze) you get after hitting the …

View Post

Attached at the Hippocampus – First Love, Later Love

Why do psychologists always want to dig around in your childhood? Shouldn’t it be more like, “That was then, this is now”? Isn’t it supposed to be “live in the moment, don’t blame your parents for everything that’s wrong, keep calm and carry on”? The thing is, though, that even from a brain-wiring perspective, your first experiences with love and relationships—those …

View Post

Metta Practice

The meditation practice described below is called a mettā practice. Mettā translates roughly as “loving-kindness” from Pāli (a Sanskrit dialect). It’s one way to help yourself break out of the “autopilot” of self- (and other- ) criticism – the unconstructive kind. In this mettā practice, you’re going to be practicing the intention for well-being in yourself, then going through a list of …