View Post

The Mixed Blessing of Adult Coloring Books

Adult coloring books can help with relaxation – or pave the way to avoidance of the real problem. What should you be aware of about the benefits and potential pitfalls of this beautiful, soothing outlet? 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 …

View Post

Defeat Your Snooze Button, and Triumph Over Your Whole Day

What you and your brain need to know about hitting the snooze button – it’s not just a waste of time. Consider these facts about sleep and snoozing when you’re waking up tomorrow, and give yourself the chance for a better start every day. “I’ll just hit snooze one more time.” Nine minutes, fifteen minutes… whatever the length of your …

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

Solicitation, Mad Men, and Psychologists

Like any business, my office gets contacted by companies who offer help with marketing. Unlike most other businesses, psychologists have special obligations, responsibilities, and professional ethical standards for how they let the public know about their services. Even a basic listing in the phone book used to be prohibited. It wasn’t until 1972 that psychologists were allowed to advertise at all. …

View Post

Mettā 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 …

View Post

Brain Myths for $400, Alex

It’s great when brain science goes mainstream – understanding how our brains work goes a long way in living better lives. There’s a problem, though, when brain science goes bad. Or at least, when lots of people get it wrong, and brain myths trample reality. As a culture, we’re paying more and more attention to the brain, wanting to understand it, talking …

View Post

Basic Mindfulness Practice Intro – Audio Download

Interested in improving how your brain works, prune old unhelpful pathways, and change how you feel, how you “do” your feelings, and even your relationships? I’ve created a basic introduction to mindfulness practice that you can download for free. I hope you’ll take a little time to read why I think this is important, as a neuropsychologist and a rabid fan …

View Post

Optimizing Your Brain: 22 Ways to Hack That Fabulous Blob

The brain’s the thing. It’s a gloppy collection of staggering numbers of neurons and other stuff, made up mostly of water, that can’t support its own weight if you put it on a table (which I don’t recommend). The fluid that supports it in your skull is about the same density as the brain itself. In short: It’s delicate, unbelievably …

View Post

Fair and Accurate Insurance Reimbursement for Psychotherapy

Getting the information you need to get fair and accurate insurance reimbursement for psychotherapy can be confusing — here’s a guide with the facts and steps you can take to be sure you’re a well-informed consumer, and a strong advocate for yourself. I’ve written this guide to help you get the information you need from your insurance company to get …

View Post

Sleep, light, your electronic devices, and melatonin

Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone related to sleep, needs to be released a few hours before bedtime. In a “natural” situation (one without artificial lights), daylight wanes, melatonin is secreted, and a couple of hours later, you’re drowsy and ready to sleep. Not only does bright light in the evening make it hard for melatonin release, light in the blue end of …