General

On the Destructive Belief That No One Can Make Us Feel Anything

When I studied psychology back in the day, Fritz Perls was very popular. I felt a new sense of empowerment reading his compelling writing about “owning” the self and developing radical self-reliance -- moving from environment support to self-support.

Perls’ views may have been what the doctor ordered when social values encouraged being agreeable and placating others rather than honoring our experience (our feelings and wants) and staying connected to ourselves. Perls cajoled, jolted, and perhaps even shamed people into becoming self-reliant and self-sufficient. One popular view was “No one has or ever will make you feel anything.”

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Anxiety and Panic

Am I Normal or Nuts?

Oh, it’s so easy for people to attach pejorative labels onto individual quirks. So, if you’ve been wondering (or been told), you’re nuts, weird or wacko, listen up! None of us is as “normal” as we seem. We all have mannerisms that are a bit quirky; traits that are a bit peculiar; idiosyncrasies that make us -- us. So, are you normal or nuts?

Oh wait a minute, I’ve goofed; “nuts” is not politically correct! Forgive me! Before I get a slew of hate e-mails, I’ll correct myself. Are you normal? Or, do you “suffer” from a “disorder” for which you need treatment, often with prescribed drugs?
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Anxiety and Panic

When Worrying Takes Over

There are many worriers out there: The man who constantly worries about whether he has or will get cancer or another terrible disease. The woman who lies awake at night, fearing that she will never meet the right one. The grandmother who can’t let go of the idea that the plane with her grandchildren on board might crash. The employee who can’t concentrate because he fears he may have made a mistake that will cost him his job.

They are all different, but worriers also have a lot in common: Unconsciously, they see worrying as a useful strategy to get prepared and gain control.
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Anger

How Meditation Helps Our Relationships

We may think of meditation as a way to gain inner peace and tranquility. But have you considered how a meditation practice can create a climate that deepens intimacy and improves communication?

John Gottman’s research into what makes marriages succeed rveals that when partnerships are marred by a high degree of criticism, contempt, stonewalling, and defensiveness, they often end up in divorce. How can we reduce these intimacy-busting behaviors and create a climate that supports the love we want?

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Marriage and Divorce

Is Your Partner Really ‘Emotionally Unavailable’ or Is It You?

"He's just so emotionally unavailable." This is one of the things I hear most often in my practice and one of the things I heard myself saying most often before I did my own work. I remember being utterly convinced of it. The evidence was in everything my husband did -- the way he stonewalled me during arguments, the way he zoned out and disappeared into the television so much, the way he got sleepy and indeed did even nod off when I was talking to him sometimes. I was outraged by his "emotional unavailability" and I experienced it as deeply wounding.
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Caregivers

How to Stop Apologizing for Everything You Do

Do either of these situations sound familiar?

You start an email to your boss with, “I’m sorry to bother you, but…”


A colleague plops his papers down on the conference table, knocking your coffee over. “Sorry! Let me get this stuff out of your way,” you say as you begin cleaning up.

Maybe you’ve fallen into this over-apologizing trap or have found yourself saying “I’m sorry” for things that don’t merit an apology in the first place.
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Interview

Mindfulness and Sleep: Advice from Experts

This article is Part Three in a series, click to read Part One and Part Two.

I am just a little bit obsessed with sleep. My own, my children’s and... well... even yours really. Of course I am not alone in that. There are many books, websites, organizations and careers built around getting better sleep!

When you are a new mother, the level of sleep deprivation you experience can be a shock, unlike any kind of tiredness you have ever felt before. It can undermine your health and well-being very quickly, and clearly has flow on effects on your enjoyment of motherhood and your child’s well-being.
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Anger

The Role of Make Believe Play in Adult Life

“You cannot change the past, but you can change how you feel about the past.”

We often hear how important it is for children to use their imaginations. But did you know adults can strategically use imagination and make believe play to manage their emotions and feel better? In fact the use of fantasy is one way trauma therapists heal psychological wounds.

Amazing scientific fact: The brain cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality.
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Brain and Behavior

Facebook’s Flimsy Denial of Fake News & Its Impact

Facebook paints a very dichotomous, contradictory picture of itself. On one side, they claim to be the world's largest social network, impacting the lives of over a billion people each month. On the other side, CEO Mark Zuckerberg -- apparently not using his own social network or perhaps living under a rock this past year? -- claims that Facebook has virtually no influence on national elections.

The disconnect is important, because it shows that Facebook doesn't appear to take a leadership position of responsibility for unleashing and reinforcing the technology that has become a part of billions of people's lives everyday. Is fake news an actual problem on Facebook, and if so, what can be done about it?

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Brain and Behavior

Fake News: Facebook Helps You Feel Well-Informed, Regardless of Actual Reading

After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook faces the spotlight for spreading fake news stories. There are now hundreds (perhaps thousands) of fake news web sites -- sites that publish news articles that look and seem to be real, but are complete fiction. Unlike older, well-known satirical websites, such as The Onion, many of these sites don't indicate their fakeness.

But even if Facebook is helping spread fake news more than any other service ever, it begs the question -- do people even read the news stories that appear in their Facebook feed? Let's turn to the science...

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