Children and Teens

Running in Place: Improving Public Education

Reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. In popular culture, we have a cheerful image of little Jim and Jane skipping to their suburban elementary school. Cute? Yes. Accurate? Only if Jim and Jane hail from upper-class backgrounds.

Compare Jim and Jane, two adorable first-graders from Coldwater Canyon, to Marcus and Mariel, two adorable first-graders from Los Angeles. For Marcus and Mariel, domestic violence, physical violence, and food insecurity pervade their daily lives. On Mariel’s walk to her gang-infested school, she dodges used needles and condoms. In their bleak environment, elementary school represents a critical, stabilizing influence.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

A Doctorate in Life: Dual Degrees

“I’ve wanted to be a doctor since the age of 4,” an ex-girlfriend once confided. She said this with absolute certitude.

At age 4, I was whimpering for Little Debbies. Doctor? Sure, I was a precocious child, at least according to my mother, but terrorizing babysitters and sparring with brothers was my chosen profession.

I marveled at Haley’s preternatural obsession with medicine. She knew, like, in her bones knew, that medicine was her destined profession. “How do you know?” I would inquire -- a touch of amazement and disbelief lining my voice.
Continue Reading

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.”

Continue Reading

Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 23, 2016


Earlier this week, a recently unemployed friend of mine began a round of several interviews for a new job that, if all goes well, potentially could be the perfect fit for him. During the first interview he was asked, "What is your strongest attribute and how would it benefit our company?"

My friend is a quick thinker and delivered an answer that, after talking about it later, we both decided indeed summed up his strongest attribute; however, the interviewer's question made us both start thinking more deeply about our attributes -- especially as they relate to employment and personal relationships.

Continue Reading

Children and Teens

3 Hard Truths about Your Dream Job You Need to Accept

You’ve been told you can achieve anything you set your mind to, right? That’s the message that’s been ingrained in us since childhood when we imagined becoming astronauts, athletes, and movie stars. Most of us come to realize that we can’t all be LeBron James or Taylor Swift -- and that we don’t want to be, anyway! As we get older, we typically outgrow these fantasies of youth and begin mapping out a career that’s aligned with our personal goals and values.

Yet, in spite of this seemingly straightforward and logical process, many people still have a number of misconceptions about what a “
Continue Reading

Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 2, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I'm hoping you all ended your week with some funny April Fools' Day shenanigans, and are ready to start the weekend with some of the latest developments in mental health!

Read on for news on how men are more vulnerable to developing stress-related depression, how people with mental health issues fit in when it comes to physician-assisted suicide, ways you can effectively help another person cope with anxiety or depression, and more.

Continue Reading

Books

10 Books on Happiness & Success for Your Reading List

Being an entrepreneur is stressful work. You pour blood, sweat, and tears into making your business work. Even though it can test you down to your last nerve, there’s nothing more rewarding than starting your own company.

While it can be challenging to successfully balance your workload plus family, friends, fitness and some personal time, there are few things that rings true for most successful entrepreneurs. It’s their unwavering commitment to continuous self-improvement in all areas of their life from their business prowess to their personal relationships.
Continue Reading

Family

3 Tips for Making Phone Conversations Less Awkward

Let’s be honest, nobody likes talking on the phone these days. At least, nobody in my generation (the infamous Millennial generation) likes it.

One of my good friends -- a young woman who’s usually warm and social -- greets anyone who tries to leave her a voicemail with the following message: “Don’t bother leaving a message here because I won’t listen to it. Just text or email me. Death to phone calls!”

Hyperbolic voicemail messages aside, many people have a deep negative sentiment toward talking on the phone. I’ve asked both friends and clients how they feel about keeping in contact with people over the phone. The consensus is that calls make us feel anxious, annoyed, and often disappointed in the lack of meaningful conversation that’s possible over the phone.
Continue Reading

College

How to Get Comfortable with Change & Fear of the Unknown in Your Career

It’s natural to desire a clear direction and sense of control in our careers. After all, the unknown can be intimidating, especially when it comes to your professional future.

But while it’s certainly comforting to have specific instructions provided at work, a fixation on structure and a constant need for direction can limit your potential. Fear of the unknown can prevent you from taking risks that could elevate your success, such as pitching an innovative idea for a new project or
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Networking for Introverts: 4 Secrets to Meet New People

Networking can be, at times, awkward and even produce anxiety. The thought of reaching out to people you don’t know to build potential business relationships can seem daunting. How do those “super connector” social butterflies carry themselves with such confidence while others stammer and stutter?

As it turns out, there’s a psychology to relationship building that will not only help you feel more secure when meeting new people, but will also transform your stack of business cards into meaningful connections that may advance your career.
Continue Reading