Brain and Behavior

Is the Cure for the Common Cold Within Reach?

Handshakes, High Fives, Fist Bumps, And Hugs
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” - Virginia Satir
In 2008 Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, gave each other a fist bump after a well-received campaign speech in Minnesota. The gesture went viral. It became the new handshake. Now, according to some, it may be trending as a health initiative.
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Anger

3 Ways to Be More Assertive at Work – Without Being a Jerk

Have you ever admired a co-worker who’s able to navigate challenging situations with ease and professionalism, no matter the politics and difficult personalities involved? You know the type: She has a Teflon-like ability to deflect anger and frustration in the problem-solving process and doesn’t settle for an outcome that would sacrifice her self-respect or clout among colleagues.

What she’s exhibiting is a key personality attribute that’s important in both business and life: assertiveness. For those of us who avoid confrontation like the plague -- or, on the flipside, those of us who have hair-trigger tempers -- this calm-yet-effective, agreeable-yet-firm temperament seems superhuman. Assertiveness requires skill and can take time to cultivate, but it’s a quality you can (and should) aspire to master.

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General

Differentiating the Pursuit of Excellence from Perfectionism

We want to excel in our lives -- striving for excellence in all that we do. But can we differentiate our noble pursuit of excellence from a dysfunctional desire to be perfect?

A job well done can be enormously fulfilling. It can be meaningful and pleasurable to complete a home project, excel at work, or know that we’re a person who is punctual and conscientious.

But when does our striving for excellence degenerate into the life-draining burden of perfectionism?

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Creativity

Boredom Can Be Dangerous for Mental Illness

While I always recommend making time for relaxation, there’s one facet to having time on your hands that I must caution about.

All too often people with mental illness are left with idle time, myself included, which can lead to trouble. Spare time means more opportunity to worry and overanalyze things that happen. This is common among anxiety sufferers, but it can be even more of a problem for people in my situation, namely people who are living with schizophrenia.

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General

5 Ways to Make Love Thrive

You may have discovered that despite your best intentions, you can’t control the course of love. While the experience of love is replete with awe and wonder, how to create conditions for it is not a great mystery. Rather than exhaust ourselves trying to control people, we’d be wiser to make skillful efforts to create these five conditions, culled over 35 years of being a marriage and family therapist.
Mindfulness

John Gottman, a psychologist an author of
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Creativity

6 Easy Ways to Add Excitement to Your Life

If you’re not content to allow life to slip by, you likely already have a good list of things you want to do. Some are for work, others for the family and still more just for you. Many of these items aren’t all that exciting, and they do nothing to jazz up your life. Below are some ways to get excited about life.

Start an experience list.

Instead of a bucket list of things you hope to do before you die, an experience list is uplifting and can be tackled now. This is an actively pursued and ardently desired list of things you want to experience to make your life richer.

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General

7 Simple Ways to Find Happiness at Work

The dreaded Monday blues, hump day, and ”Thank God it’s Friday.” These are all sayings we use to describe our work week. Everyone wants less work week and more weekend. Heck, I’m sure all of us would enjoy a weekend that lasted forever. However, most of us aren't retiring anytime soon. Until then, we have to find ways to make our jobs more enjoyable.

Work can be challenging and stressful. When you are stressed out, chances are that you will not be very happy while you're working.

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General

These 3 Lists Can Help Singles Find a Great Mate

Accomplishing any goal is usually a step by step process, starting with gaining clarity about just
what we want. Yet too many people do not give the first step sufficient care. If your goal is a good marriage, it can be helpful to first identify qualities you need in a marriage partner.     

Gaining Clarity   

I ask participants in my “Marry with Confidence” workshops for women to make three lists:
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Addiction

10 Tips for Staying Sober During Difficult Times


Self-care is critically important, especially in early recovery. Here are some methods to stay balanced, for 12 steppers and non-12 steppers alike.

My 2016 had a rocky start. It was all relatively manageable stuff -- tremors, instead of earthquakes -- but for a recovering alcoholic, the smallest of shakes can sometimes feel off the Richter scale.

I came down with a nasty, two-week flu, which left me feeling behind on work. That led to me feeling grumpy and stressed about my financial situation, which led me to being grumpy with my family and friends, and soon, I was looking at everything with anxious and hopeless eyes.
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General

How to Stay Motivated When You Get Turned Down for a Raise or Promotion

It’s time for your annual review, and you’re gunning for a raise. You enter the meeting with your boss armed with a list of reasons why you deserve a salary bump, including the extra responsibilities you’ve taken on since a more senior colleague left the company, the major project you spearheaded last month, and the consistent positive feedback you’ve received from your clients, peers, managers, and direct reports over the past year.

With the supporting points you’ve gathered, you’re confident that you’ve got this in the bag.

But after you deliver your points, you’re crushed to hear your supervisor say, “I’m sorry, but we’re not able to adjust your salary at this point in time. Check back in six months, and keep up the good work.”
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Brain and Behavior

The Importance of Being Yourself on Social Media


Over the last few months I’ve been sharing my photography on Instagram. It has resulted in a near-constant desire for validation through likes and follows -- I’ll write another article on that soon. The point is, scrolling through the newsfeed, I see copious amounts of photographers who are at the top of their game. Their craft is so refined and their style is so distinct that I can’t help but fawn over the pictures they take.

I decided I wanted my pictures to be like that. I really needed my pictures to be like that. Soon my admiration became a months-long effort to hone and refine my pictures to the point that they’d look exactly like these Instagram-famous photographers' photos.
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