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Ethics & Morality

Do You Take Up Space or Make the World a Better Place?

The question crept into my consciousness in the early morning hours yesterday. When open to receiving them, the best inspirational thoughts do, and I jump on the opportunity to mold them into teaching tools. Turning 59 this year has set me on a trajectory and track that runs forward and backward. Taking stock as I enter the sixth decade of my life, I have a strong desire to propel myself into an empowered future, and I am aware that to do that, I need to glean treasures from the past that led me to this moment.  
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Celebrities

What’s Happening to Men Today?


Recently I wrote about my experiences growing up with guys who groped, leered, flashed me and more. Since then I’ve received many letters from women who thanked me for writing about “their” experiences. And one letter from a man, expressing regrets that I had to go through all that.

This week I’m writing about the growing tide of #MeToo stories that are toppling powerful men.

Four important questions are haunting me; questions that we need to ask ourselves if we want to fully appreciate the changes that are happening in our culture. Though a book could be written about any one of these topics, I’ll attempt a brief answer to each one.
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Ethics & Morality

Behave Yourself Before I Tell Your Mother: Sexual Harassment Then and Now

Oh, how I wished I could have faced down the gropers when I was a kid. I wish I could have said something. Anything. But way back then, silence was the order of the day. You didn’t tell. Not your mom. Not your friends. Nobody.

But that doesn’t mean you didn’t stew about it. Or obsess about what you’d want to do. My obsession, strangely enough, was not to have the courage to tell my mom, but to tell the groper’s mother. She would then lecture him, shame him, punish him for his behavior. At least, that was my fantasy. Reflecting on it, I realize that I was looking to turn the table on my tormentor. Let him be disgraced. Dishonored. Mortified. Let him feel what that’s like. Yeah!
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Brain and Behavior

Subtle Tools of Unconscious Power

Embodied Cognition is a branch of neuroscience which explores the unconscious effects of touch (and other senses) on the mind and emotions.

Soft Things


Touching a "soft" article or texture has been linked to creating deeper states of kindness and social friendliness.1,2

Feeling a soft object (like a teddy bear) stimulates the motor cortex, which in turn stimulates the higher thought centers. The implications suggest that squeezing a rubber ball before (or during) a meeting, for example, could enhance a situation that requires social affiliation, relaxation, tolerance, or similar moods.
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Ethics & Morality

Spouses Who Volunteer Create Awesome Marriages

You cannot love someone maturely and try to control him (or her). The behaviors of both partners should be voluntary.

As you discuss the kind of life you want to have together, focus on what really fits for you. Ideally, before marriage, you will discuss how you would like to handle money, chores and responsibilities, parenting (or step-parenting) concerns, if applicable, where you want to live, and so on.
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Children and Teens

Talking to Your Children about the Threat of Nuclear War

On Nov. 29th, the Today Show reported on North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch and then my 13-year-old son Tommy asked, "Is North Korea going to bomb us? Mom, is this going to be our last Christmas?"

I was struck by Tommy's intelligence and lack of innocence in his startling inquiry. I was born in 1963, the year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and grew up during the Cold War. But I would have never had the wherewithal to ask something such as this. Schools had stopped teaching duck and cover. I don't think I even knew in junior high what a nuclear bomb was. The only hint I had that these types of weapons existed was the fact that my older brother had a poster on his wall which offered advice about what to do if a nuke bomb went off. It said, "Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye."
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Children and Teens

How Parents Can Overcome the Consumerism Trap This Holiday Season

Consumerism and materialism can be challenging for parents as the holiday season is approaching.

Many people experience pressure to buy gifts, sometimes in excess of what they might be comfortably able to afford. Kids often have high expectations for receiving gifts based on how many gifts their friends are getting and messages from the media telling them that they need more and better.  

Without mindful awareness, we as parents can easily fall into the trap of going on automatic pilot and doing what we think we “should” do to keep up with societal expectations instead of making choices based on what is most meaningful to us.

Here are a few suggestions for how to step out of the consumerism trap this holiday season:
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Bullying

Victim Shaming and Blaming

With all the allegations coming to light about sexual abuse perpetrated by celebrities, including Harvey Weinstein (no relation to the author of this article), Roy Moore, Louie CK and Kevin Spacey, it seems timely to write an article, about supporting survivors, how to avoid victim shaming, even if it took years to speak up, ways to prevent abuse, as well as means to deal with disillusionment when our icons commit such crimes.

First and foremost is the acknowledgment that sexual assault, whether it comes in the form of words or touch, is about power and control. Sex is merely the vehicle of transmission. It dehumanizes. It steals sovereignty. It robs a person of their sense of safety in their own environment and their own skin. There is no ability to consent when someone has power over another, whether it is economic, legal or by virtue of having given birth to the victim.
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Ethics & Morality

What We Can Learn from Thanksgiving

There is a chill in the air (in New England anyway), we’ve “turned back” our clocks, and the fall foliage has peaked. This can only mean one thing -- Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is fast-approaching. I love the simplicity surrounding the meaning of the holiday -- it began as a gathering to give thanks for the bounty of the harvest. Today, for many, it has become a day to be thankful for all our blessings.

I don’t believe the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians who celebrated the first Thanksgiving almost 400 years ago were aware of the health benefits of expressing gratitude (who knows, though, maybe they were?) but in recent years, studies have shown that taking time in our lives to express gratitude can indeed have major health benefits.
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Ethics & Morality

Podcast: Gabe & Vin (Probably) Rule the World

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales, inspired by the TV show, Kevin Probably Saves the World, discuss how exactly one would go about choosing a small number of people to help them rule the world. They discuss many of the different factors that should be considered when choosing the composition of a group, including the balance between the sexes, races, ideology, skill sets, and more. It also touches on nepotism, cronyism, and other personal biases, and examines the ways in which we come to agreements and reach decisions as a group. 
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