Brain and Behavior

Pilfered Lunches Point to a Bigger Employee Problem

Stealing lunches from the office frig could be a symptom of a more serious problem -- low employee engagement.

“Hunger does crazy things to you,” was the comment made by an employee interviewed on the Today Show segment, “Pains in the Office.” While physical hunger is one reason employees pilfer lunches, I suspect that employees who steal from each other have a different kind of hunger.

If your office is experiencing a rise in the number of stolen lunches, you are not alone. Recently several call center managers told me that they’re getting a lot more “stolen lunch” complaints. It’s no coincidence that these are the same managers who are plagued by low employee morale.

Low morale can have disastrous effects. When employees are dissatisfied and chronically unhappy they are less committed to delivering great customer service. Low employee engagement translates into sub-standard productivity, too many customer complaints, low customer satisfaction scores, negative turnover, and high operating costs.

If you have an employee morale problem, you have an employee engagement problem. Start by measuring engagement with a survey. I predict that one of the things you will learn from the survey results is that your employees yearn for a different, more personalized type of support from their immediate supervisor. When supervisors provide each employee with the right blend of coaching and mentoring, they feel more valued. When front-line employees feel valued, they make their customers feel valued.

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Brain and Behavior

Does Happiness Follow on Vacation?

One of the holy grails of modern psychology is figuring out what makes people happy. The thinking goes, "If we know what makes people happy, people can then do more of that thing and increase happiness in their own lives." Makes sense.

We've noted previously how an experience -- such as a vacation or going out to dinner -- is more likely to increase happiness than buying a material gift. The reasoning behind this is that experiences create (hopefully fond) memories, which can be later recalled and enjoyed again. While you may also enjoy a gift, it just doesn't seem to have the same impact that an experience does.

But research published last week demonstrates that this finding be more complicated than we originally thought.

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General

On Being a New Therapist: Week 3

It’s the end of Week 3 of being a counselor, and my internal gas gauge is on “E,” with the “low fuel” light on. Usually, I am awake before my alarm goes off, but this morning, it woke me up, and I was none too happy to hear it. The marathon of classes, clinic and work continues.

My caseload is full now: I have six clients. It’s a lot to keep track of and a lot to think about. Each one presents different counseling challenges since each is in a difference place in his/her life. However, I am finding it easier to remember details about their lives than I thought it would be, and making connections between comments in previous sessions to what they are presenting when we are together is coming easily as well. I was concerned about the challenges of not having my own office and the “shuffle” that goes on between sessions that prevents me from taking a minute to settle and focus before greeting my client. The situation is far from ideal, but it isn’t as bad as I thought it might be.

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General

The Gift of Anger

An ancient saying states that just as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend to show rage or worthy purpose. What could this mean? Could anger be an emotion that reveals hidden truths about a person?

In her classic book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron elaborates on the ability of anger to disclose concealed aspects of a person’s direction and purpose in life. One needs to translate the message that anger is sending. It is trying to bring something to the light to be looked at and examined. Usually one tries to conceal or bury anger, feeling the social restraints and consequences. While sensitivity to not hurt others is valid, an individual’s feeling of anger needs private examination. Anger must not master us, but it can become a tool for self-revelation. It can be a guide or map to help us find our purpose in life and the hidden passions of our heart.

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ADHD and ADD

What Do Girls with ADHD Look Like As Adults?

We've long heard about the negative impact of attention deficit disorder (ADHD) on children and teens. We know ADHD can lead to academic problems, problems with friends and socializing, significant sleep problems, and serious concerns in other areas of a child's or teen's life, such as increased criminality for those with ADHD.

But what does the future hold for them? Do these children grow up to be...
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General

The Buzzkill of Google Buzz

Google Buzz is a new social networking tool that Google unleashed upon its unsuspecting Gmail users last week. I say "unsuspecting" because suddenly, without warning or notice, this new "feature" appears to Gmail users as a part of their email program. This was an unprecedented way to launch a product -- in disguise right in the middle of another product.

Google, despite generating billions of dollars in revenue every year and employing the...
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Brain and Behavior

Teens, Sunlight and Sleep

Two new studies out this week demonstrate the importance of teens getting enough sunlight and sleep. Staying up all night -- and not worrying about sleep until later -- can come back to haunt you for numerous reasons. Fatigue leads to poor school performance and general crankiness (above and beyond your normal crankiness). Lack of sleep may also shrink your brain as well as your memory. And sleep problems in children have...
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Disorders

MindApps Releases eCBT Trauma

We're pleased to announce that our partner MindApps has released a new iPhone/iPod Touch app known as eCBT Trauma. As you can guess, eCBT Trauma is focused on individuals who are coping with posttraumatic stress disorder -- PTSD -- in their lives.

"With eCBT Trauma, we wanted to help people who have experienced a trauma by providing education and interventions to help them cope with the symptoms of PTSD," said Michael Hufford, , Clinical...
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Brain and Behavior

Focus on Georgia’s Mental Health Crisis

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will provide opening remarks for a discussion on the mental health crisis in Georgia tonight, Feb. 16, from 7-8:30 at The Carter Center. This Conversations at The Carter Center event is sold out but will be webcast live at

More than 130 patients have died under suspicious circumstances in Georgia's public psychiatric hospitals over the past seven years, according to an exposé by the...
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