Friends

Love Thy Boundaries

“Love thy Neighbor; yet don’t pull down your hedge.” -- Benjamin Franklin
Boundaries. You know you’re supposed to have them. Maybe your boundaries are abstract, and you just go with the flow. Maybe you think it’s only people who are “too nice” or forgiving that have their boundaries violated. But at some point everyone has their physical, emotional, and spiritual limits pressed.

Perhaps a friend going through a breakup leaned on you too much to meet their emotional needs. Maybe someone violated your spatial boundaries by standing too close or being touchy-feely. At some point, you’ve probably accommodated people who have fundamentally different core values at the expense of your own emotional well-being.
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Brain and Behavior

The Daily Grind

Rise and grind. 5:58 a.m. You jolt up; the blaring alarm clock interrupts the morning stillness. Rousing yourself from your morning stupor, the ritual begins: a glance outside, dry toast with jelly, and a quick part of your thinning hair. Lingering in front of the mirror, your sunken eyes and ashen face stare back. Middle age looms; those carefree university days are receding like your hairline.

Before turning down Reminiscence Road, you remember that you have a 6:45 a.m. bus to catch. Boarding the bus, you nod at the driver and exchange glances with your dreary-eyed workaholics; most are staring into space or mumbling into their phones.

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Addiction

The Physical and Emotional Parallels of Hoarding

In the newly-released indie film "Hello, My Name Is Doris," sweet and eccentric Doris (played by Sally Field) is an older woman who lives in her deceased mother’s immensely cluttered house. Needless to say, Doris grapples with hoarding issues, tightly clinging to all kinds of items from her past. Her home’s disarray is a barrier of sorts, physically creating entrapment to what was - and not what could be.

Doris blossoms through a new relationship with a younger man (played by Max Greenfield). Though the outcome of their relationship may not be the one she unequivocally pines for, their time together symbolizes hope for what is very well possible in her next life chapter. She’s merely grateful for the friendship they share -- for its impact.

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Family

How to Curb a Smart Mouth

The tendency to shoot from the lip has doomed many an endeavor or personal interaction. If you are prone to speak first and think later, you could be missing out on opportunities. These tips can help to curb your impulsive blurts and make your life happier as a result.

Imagine you’re stepping off a cliff.

The next step you take could be momentous, or it could be disastrous. Before you open your mouth to say whatever pops into your head, think of the potential consequences or ramifications. This will give you a little time to edit your words before they’re spoken. Remember, you can’t take back what you said, so use your words wisely.

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Healing with Nature

If you have ever tried tending a garden or plant, you probably have experienced both joy and frustration, as in life. Nature offers many examples of our human spirit, and how to navigate ourselves, relationships and change. Many great writers and philosophers have echoed nature's wisdom and ability to heal. Tuning into nature allows us to cultivate the following:

Patience.
We are so hard on ourselves about where and who we should be in life. We often forget that we have our own seasons of development and change throughout our life cycle. Do we expect newborns to dress or feed themselves? Of course not; we know they are not there yet in their growth and development. If a loved one became disabled due to disease or accident, we would appropriately adjust our expectations of their growth and development. Start with what you know and meet yourself where you are, just as nature does.

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Brain and Behavior

The Long and the Short of It: Answering Questions in a Complex World

Last week, I was driving home from work at a local university, where I teach freshman writing. As usual, I was listening to NPR. A story came on about how Alaska Airlines had struck a deal to buy Virgin America. I wasn’t really paying attention to the details until someone asked the reporter a question about the takeover. The reporter said “The short answer is -- ” and then proceeded to answer the question.

At that phrase, my ears perked up. “What a wonderful way to frame information!” I thought. Life is complicated. There are short answers, and there are long answers. It struck me as very smart to begin explanations by saying either “the short answer is” or “the long answer is.”

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General

Making History with The National Museum of Psychology & How You Can Help

The history of psychology is filled with famous and inventive figures, significant discoveries and fascinating research -- everything from Sigmund Freud and talk therapy to the birth (and demise) of dementia praecox to Phil Zimbardo’s prison experiment to Stanley Milgram and the shock heard around the world.

At first glance, these might seem like highly specific subjects only relevant to people in the psychology field. After all, who really needs to know about antiquated illnesses, decades-old experiments and psychology theories?

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Brain and Behavior

19 Ways You are Emotionally Abusing Yourself

He is a multimillionaire client of mine. Handsome. Accomplished. Respected. Gentle. Reflective. Kind.

And I was examining every angle of why he was allowing a clearly destructive woman (borderline personality disorder) out of his life. He agreed over and over again that she was bad for him, that she felt no remorse, that suddenly abandoning partners was her longtime modus operandi, and yet, he couldn’t let go.

With enough digging, a story emerged.

“I was small as a kid. I was the last guy picked for all the teams. I guess I’m afraid nobody will pick me again if I can’t get her back.”
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Books

4 Tips for Really Hearing Someone Even When It’s Hard

How often do we actually listen to other people when they’re talking? I mean listening without focusing on how we’re going to respond, without interrupting, without debating what they’re saying, without getting defensive. Probably less often than we like to think, even though listening is incredibly important. It’s important for building beautiful relationships and for navigating every area of our lives.

We need to listen carefully at work to our bosses and colleagues. We need to listen carefully to our clients. We need to listen carefully to our partners and our kids and to all of our loved ones. This is how we gain a deeper understanding of the people we’re interacting with. This is how we avoid misinterpretations and miscommunication. It’s how we resolve conflict. And it’s how we genuinely connect and strengthen our bonds.
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Bipolar

Genes and Mental Illness: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

During my long and narrow-eyed search to find information online regarding having a schizophrenic mother, I have often been faced with information which is a complete and utter downer. Something like this:

Hey, you know how your mother is schizophrenic? Well, guess what? That means you have more chance than other people of being schizophrenic yourself! You also have more of a chance of being depressed! And of living in poverty!

I’ve read statistics about how likely the child of a schizophrenic is to develop the same illness. It’s like Death knocking at your door.
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Brain and Behavior

Understanding the Fascinating World of Dreams

“I was walking down a dark street, whistling and enjoying the darkness. Suddenly, I heard footsteps. Somebody was following me. I tried to run but my legs were cement. I couldn’t budge. I screamed. Nobody heard me. My heart was beating so fast. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do.”

Maria continued: “I woke up in a cold sweat, shaken by the dream and wondered what it meant. I couldn’t figure it out. I have no enemies. There’s nothing that’s scaring me in real life. So, I kind of just tried to get it out of my mind by telling myself it’s just a dream.”

Dreams are mysterious. We’re both fascinated and perplexed by them. When they frighten us, we try to push them aside, saying “it’s just a dream.” Too bad. We can learn a lot from our dreams once we learn to speak their language.
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Friends

Facebook Fame, Real-Life Shame

“People aren’t posting about their Pinto breaking down on I-80 or their glamorous work trip to Walla Walla,” a friend wryly observed.

No. No, they aren’t. Instead, we are treated to a barrage of adorable baby photos, beaming couples, and far-flung destinations. If Tinder requires every attractive female to proclaim their love of (insert hometown) sports team, Facebook stipulates that every couple proclaim their undying devotion in mushy status updates. Maybe Facebook should sponsor Prozac -- or, at the very minimum, provide every singleton with a complimentary bouquet of flowers.

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