As social species, the social networks of lizards, hyenas, and dolphins influence every pivotal aspect of their lives: finding a mate, reproducing, getting sick, or surviving.
When rats are given an anti-anxiety medication they become less empathetic and are less likely to help free companions that are trapped.
The tragic mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando has sparked renewed interest in the causes of homophobia.
It’s necessary to be conscious of the way we store events in the body and how they create layers of similar emotions—grief with grief, joy with joy, anger with anger, and love with love. These layers are like the strata in rocks, building great cliffs of emotions that are touched each time another similar emotion is experienced.
Back in the old days, plain old products became “brands” when shoppers trusted them to deliver superior performance. Along the way brand advertising arose as a way of boosting consumption and building trust.
Anxiety disorders – defined by excessive fear, restlessness, and muscle tension – are debilitating, disabling, and can increase the risk for depression and suicide.
Funky moods obscure our experience for hours, days, weeks, or even longer. Left unattended, they shape our personalities and determine the quality of our lives. We think that we have no control over our moods but the truth is quite the contrary.
In a 1997 U.S. News and World Report survey, 1,000 Americans were asked the following question: “Who do you think is most likely to get into heaven?” According to respondents, then-president Bill Clinton had a 52 percent chance; basketball star Michael Jordan had a 65 percent chance; and Mother Teresa had a 79 percent chance.
In early May, with Donald Trump on the verge of solidifying the Republican nomination, his opponent Ted Cruz ranted to the press
No matter what your field, or how much you love your job, you’re always going to have days that drain you. Days where you feel exhausted and stressed, days that you are happy to see come to an end. When you are finally done with work and you get home to unwind, there are some healthy ways to go about it.
Life is intelligent, and it’s powerful, too. Yet, we rarely consider it as anything other than unpredictable and unknowable. What an amazing journey we’d have if we trusted life. Instead, in our fear of the unknown, we have turned life into a series of attempts to make the future as predictable as possible.
How come some people love wild roller coaster rides, while others are scared of them? It all starts with your thoughts! It really is up to you in the end. If you have the mechanism to be afraid, you also have the mechanism to enjoy life and move through anxiety!
If we only knew how many times we are rescued by divine intervention, we would completely trust this higher power. There would then be nothing to worry about – ever! Joyce and I had yet another powerful reminder of this truth – and divine miracle – last week.
Sometimes in life we come to a point where we want to leave everything behind and run away from society. It feels as though we cannot take one more abusive comment from our boss, another long drive in traffic or another broken night of sleep. We feel as though our cup is so full that the next time...
It’s as easy as riding a bike … or so the saying goes. But how do we manage to stay upright on a bicycle? If anyone ventures an answer they most often say that it’s because of the “gyroscopic effect” – but this can’t be true.
We feel good when we do a good deed, so there must be a psychological benefit to helping others? But how can we know for sure? The best way to study the health benefits of kind deeds is to look at studies of volunteering.
Are you imagining music in your head? If so, it’s probably a certain Kylie Minogue hit. Sorry. But hopefully, once you’ve read this, you’ll be in a better position than you were before to get rid of it, or any other imaginary music playing on repeat in your mind’s ear.
Just as I was putting pen to paper for this piece I was amused to receive an invitation from a wonderful organization called “Julie’s Bicycle” to an event with the compelling title: “How to be a COPtimist: Culture, Creativity and COP21.”
Ah, yes! Gratitude is magical. Once you get into the groove of it, you will know why. There is nothing so freeing and so exhilarating as pouring out gratitude, not just for what we can easily see as benefits, or enjoyable things and situations, but for every moment of existence and for whatever happens.
God knows that we are artists of life. One day He gives us a chisel, another we may receive brushes and a canvas, and still another day He gives us a pen to write. But we will never use a chisel on canvas, or pens on sculptures. Each day has its own miracle.
When we talk face-to-face, we exchange many more signals than just words. We communicate using our body posture, facial expressions and head and eye movements; but also through the rhythms that are produced when someone is speaking.
When was the last time you opened your laptop midconversation or brought your desktop computer to the dinner table? Ridiculous, right? But if you are like a large number of Americans, you have done both with your smartphone.
"When emotionally aroused, either excited or frustrated, older adults may be more susceptible to being victimized by scammers than are younger individuals," says Ian H. Gotlib. "In the present study, they were more likely to want to pay for an item advertised misleadingly, regardless of how credible they believed the advertisement was."
In addition to mixing up sibling for sibling and daughter for son, study participants frequently called other family members by the name of the family pet—but only when the pet was a dog.
"If stereotypes we have learned can change how we visually process another person, this kind of visual stereotyping may only serve to reinforce and possibly exacerbate the biases that exist in the first place," says Jonathan Freeman.
“Is it possible I could have steeled my purse against him?” the Romantic essayist Charles Lamb asked in 1822, writing about a man who sat each day by the road begging alms. “Give, and ask no questions.” Today, charities must answer plenty of questions before they can persuade an often wary public to untie their purse strings.
"It's very surprising and disappointing to find such low rates of people helping each other and that African-American patients and those in poorer counties are left to wait longer for help," says Erin York Cornwell.
This week the world saw – via that new, visual means of wildfire gossip-mongering known as “trending on social media” – Lil’ Kim’s new face and hair. For anyone who doesn’t know Lil Kim, she isn’t a teenage Instagram model – born Kimberley Jones in 1974, she’s one of the most successful female rappers the world has ever seen.
What’s the downside to not apologizing? Little by little, not fixing our wrongs becomes a pattern. In our relationships it destroys trust, openness, and true closeness. We carry this secret burden and it nags at us.
"Effective action, including technology research, could pay huge dividends in terms of new, environmentally friendly industries and jobs that serve our national interests and the well-being of our citizens," says Lee Ross.
Retirement may not automatically lead to better health but it presents an opportunity to engineer a healthier lifestyle.A few years ago, my mother had a bit of a crisis in the lead-up to her retirement. She struggled with her self-worth, perceived value to society and fears of boredom.
All of the work that my colleagues and I have been doing leads inevitably to this central conclusion. Well-being is fundamentally no different than learning to play the cello. If one practices the skills of well-being, one will get better at it.
“Claustrophobia” is generally described as an irrational fear of confined spaces, and it has been estimated to affect some 5-7% of the world population. Clearly, some people are more distressed than others when they are in confined spaces, but a fear of physical restraint is so normal that it seems illogical not to
The dumb female blonde is a staple of Hollywood movies, such as Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde.” Amazon currently sells many joke books that poke fun at blondes’ perceived lack of intelligence.
People are often forgiven for actions that they would never get permission for in the first place – a phenomenon described as “Stuart’s Law of Retroaction”. Children who watch TV for longer than they are allowed to, teenagers who elope without telling their parents and adults who empty joint
“Life is a series of addictions and without them we die”. This is my favourite quote in academic addiction literature and was made back in 1990 in the British Journal of Addiction by Isaac Marks. This deliberately provocative and controversial statement was made to stimulate debate about whether excessive and potentially problematic activities such as gambling, sex and work really can
So many women are still afraid of being called angry, still afraid of owning their own power, still of afraid of being called a “bitch” or not being feminine or not being spiritual. Which in reality translates into being afraid to say no to the people around them who are actually stepping on their toes!
The subject of narcissism has intrigued people for centuries, but social scientists now claim that it has become a modern “epidemic”. So what is it, what has led to its increase, and is there anything we can do about it?
I’ve been an avid hiker my whole life. From the time I first strapped on a backpack and headed into the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I was hooked on the experience, loving the way being in nature cleared my mind and helped me to feel more grounded and peaceful.
Generally, people consider life to be a natural phenomenon in which one profits without giving anything in exchange. But the miracle requires an exchange: what we were given, we must share with others. If we are not united, we cannot grasp the miracle.
This modern world has a general approach to anxiety and fear: ignore it, avoid it, or take a drug to not feel it. These methods actually keep fear, anxiety, and panic going. These methods send ourselves the message that the fear is too great to handle, and avoidance is...
Do you have a daily showdown with your personal cookie monster? Or does your food demon prefer the crunch of potato chips or pretzels? If you're like most people, you've become the underdog in this internal war.
Nearly every religion, family, and belief system plays on guilt to keep its adherents in line. Yet there are ways to escape from the prison of guilt. Here are the top seven, along with practical applications to become free.
When I was growing up, I was basically allowed to express one feeling, and I had to go to my room to do it. When I came out of my room, I was expected to feel “better,” even if I didn’t. The basic message was that feelings were to be barely tolerated and best kept hidden.
What makes human morality unique? One important answer is that we care when other people are harmed. While many animals retaliate when directly mistreated, humans also get outraged at transgressions against others. And this outrage drives us to protest injustice, boycott companies, blow whistles...
We’ve all experienced those moments when we’ve been working really hard on a task, finally finish and feel like a well-deserved break so we grab a coffee and relax for a few moments. What goes through your mind next?
Many times, after hearing a client’s predicament, I ask them, “What’s really true for you about this?” or “What do you know when you’re feeling good?” Most of the time, an answer comes tumbling out of their mouths before doubts and “shoulds” take over.
Our brains are wired to pay more attention to things that have previously brought us pleasure—a bias that may explain why it’s so hard to break bad habits or stick to New Year’s resolutions.
Problematic Internet Use is now considered to be a behavioral addiction with characteristics that are similar to substance use disorders. Individuals with PIU may have difficulty reducing their Internet use, may be preoccupied with the Internet
Why do you need forgiveness to reach your Dream? When you’re not forgiving, you’re angry and tight. You’re holding onto old hurts and hugging your rightness around you like a parka against the stinging winds of change. Your arms are crossed and your mind is crossing out possibilities. If you think about it...
Along with just about every other aspect of real or imagined differences between the sexes, the idea that your biological sex will determine the sex of your brain – and so your behaviour, aptitudes and personality – has a long and ...
Sweet Sara. That’s what people always used to call me. It didn’t matter where I went in the world — whether it was to visit a cousin in the Midwest, have tea with a girlfriend in Bangkok, or read a piece of fan mail from someone I’d never met before. Everyone I knew at some point arrived at “Sweet Sara” as my nickname.
Whether you're endlessly agonizing over an issue, it's a tough place to hang out. Maybe this, maybe that. You drive yourself nuts, occupying yourself with your dilemma. You feel incapable of making up your mind and feel confused, stuck, indecisive, or ambivalent.
Why do we drink alcohol? And what would make us do less of it? The government has its own answers – on January 8, the chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, announced the new government alcohol guidelines. There is now no “safe” drinking level, and the recommended lower-risk maximum per week has been reduced to 14 units, for both men and women.
It’s no secret that people slow down mentally after making a mistake. Monkeys do, too. Neuroscientists call it post-error slowing or PES.
Smugly looking down from a moral high ground – and secure in the knowledge that we don’t share their character flaw – we often dismiss those who are obsessed with the doings of others as shallow.
Ending guilt asks only that you accept what is right now, and stop forcing your mind to dredge up and continually relive old wounds, pains, and regrets. Forget the past; it is gone and is therefore unreal. Healing can only occur by aligning with Reality, which is located in the present.
You’re at the park with the kids. Everyone’s having fun, and then a strange dog appears. There’s no owner around. It’s eyeballing the kids. Immediately your threat system becomes activated.
Research has shown that about half of all adults make New Year’s resolutions. However, fewer than 10% manage to keep them for more than a few months.
New Year’s resolutions are set with the best of intentions. But they notoriously fail to translate into lasting behavioural changes.
Humankind is fit only to be exterminated – that might sometimes seem like the only answer to our ever-growing population, environmental degradation and the human threat to biodiversity. But if you accept it’s impossible to reconcile this with any meaningful morality, we need a new approach to how we conduct ourselves.
In recent decades, the popularity of self-help has made the discovery of life purpose part of our lexicon but also an inadvertent cause of pain. If no clear answer arises for the seeker, suffering sets in. People think they are flawed if no cosmic assignment is relegated to them.
First, it’s absolutely vital that we acknowledge that we are not alone in this ‘madness’, that the holidays come around every year come what may. There is no escape but there are plenty of tried and tested techniques to assuage the stress, anxiety and exhaustion that comes along with it.
The line between “intended” and “unintended” pregnancy can be blurred. Some unintended pregnancies can lead to wanted births, and some intended pregnancies are aborted. But women should not be blamed for getting pregnant accidentally, because factors outside their control are often involved.
It's obvious that the holiday season is upon us. The idea is to thrive and enjoy during this time rather than just survive. Give yourself two great gifts for the next weeks - a lack of stress and actually celebrating the true spirit of this time of year – joy, love, and peace.
As we get older our physical and mental abilities decline, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Research suggests that the way we live our lives - our diets, our exercise regimes - can have a big impact on how we age. And it’s not just about the things we do to age well, it’s also about the things we avoid.
Every day, we are confronted with choices about how to spend our money. Whether it’s thinking about picking up the tab at a group lunch or when a charity calls asking for a donation, we are faced with the decision to behave generously or not.
Anyone with siblings knows they can differ from us in maddening ways. They share our parents and our family history, but their personalities can be so different. Birth order offers an intuitively appealing explanation for these perplexing differences.
The smell of cinnamon wafts through the air. My guard is down; resistance is futile. Like a zombie, I roll my luggage across the airport food court and stand in line to pay too much for what I don’t even want, a diet-killing Cinnabon.
Recent media reports have raised questions over the therapy undergone by several people making allegations of historical sexual abuse against prominent public figures. In particular, it has been suggested that certain forms of therapy run a high risk of unintentionally generating false memories of sexual abuse.
Many people still operate with an inner belief that if they try harder to be better — the best, perfect — then everything will be so much better in all areas of their lives. So they take a vow: “I have to be perfect and will be critical of myself until I am.”
The best advice I’ve ever heard is what I will tell you right now: When something in your life goes wrong, look for the lesson that you can learn from this event. Somewhere there is energy that is trying to teach you something.
Can something as simple as watching movies—and empathizing with fictional characters—help generate more compassion and understanding in the real world?
Trusting your soul requires immense courage when you are operating as an ego. That is because the ego takes its job very seriously. It was given the task of keeping the body safe from harm, and it forgot that it was performing this service on behalf of the soul...
The history of our species is brutal, tragic in the cruelty we have afflicted upon one another, upon other species, and upon Earth herself. Our situation has come to a critical stage. Are there some heretofore hidden processes in us that we could activate, some homeopathic remedies for our violence that could stimulate more empathy, connectedness, and love?
For the majority of people if they turned on a radio and the station was negative and critical, fearful, whining, or complaining they would turn it off. Most people would take control of the situation and choose something that would be more enjoyable and more productive. You may wish to take some time to tune in and really become aware of the background station that you are tuned into...
I closed my eyes, preparing to list off my offenses. Within minutes, I felt complete forgiveness for all my actions! My first thought was, “Wait. This was too easy! I haven’t worked and sweated hard enough to earn complete forgiveness. I haven’t even gone through the whole list.”
In my daily work as a therapist/coach I've discovered there is one thing that we all have in common. We are all, everyone including me, so amazingly unkind and hard on ourselves. The truth is, I have never met anyone who is not super critical of themselves and who doesn't have unrealistic expectations when it comes to being a so-called "perfect" human being.
We tend to take life seriously… all the problems, challenges, crises… all of these seem to be like life and death situations, and in some cases they are. Yet as Shakespeare told us years ago, all the world is a stage, and we are all players or actors upon this earth.
Do you regret choices you’ve made, opportunities you think you’ve lost, time you see as wasted? If you’re vigorously shaking your head up and down, please stop and listen a moment. You’re succumbing to self-condemnation. When we do, we cultivate a downward-spiraling sense of self-worth...
We must understand our fears if we really want to move on because that understanding is the prerequisite to self-knowledge, which alone is the only requirement for a harmonious relationship – with ourselves. Constant fear prevents us from living our true purpose. We must learn that fear is the basis of all man’s problems...
You might think that people know you are grateful, so you don’t have to share it. But remember that expressing your gratitude is a special gift for you as well. I feel very far from perfect in remembering to say thank you, and yet it has become something that is very important to me...
We all know when we are following our passion or our heart’s desire because it feels right. Everyone has experienced this feeling of ‘rightness’ at some time in his/her life. It’s called integrity. And it’s easy to recognize. It’s a sense of real comfort. A feeling that life is good and that life is moving freely in and through you.
For many, the first sign of difficulties can be enough for them to become discouraged and stop doing what they intended, while others find the determination to discover another way to prevail. Rather than giving up, they look for the opportunity within the challenge—and it’s there, always.
When circumstances in our lives are too overwhelming, chaotic, frightening, or out of our control, the best response, based on courageous wisdom, is to release the circumstances. This is not always easy, but it can be done. This exercise will help you give form to your feelings and provide you tools for surrender.
No one does this conscious-living thing perfectly, so the idea isn’t to always be grounded in the present, but to be there as often as possible, certainly more often than not; know when you’re slipping out of it; and be able to bring yourself back as quickly as possible.
“You owe me” is resentment. “I owe you” is guilt. And the longer our interactions go on like this, the more impoverished we become. We lose our balance, the heart is thrown askew. The gut tightens. The eyes cannot open fully. But forgiveness rebalances the mind and brings kindness to the senses.
It was Voltaire who said: “perfect is the enemy of the good” – and he should know. A strident critic of existential perfection, Voltaire spent much of his working life attacking the notion of a world imbued by flawless divinity.
Holding the hummingbird was a gift. It was an awesome privilege to be given thirty unforgettable minutes when time stood still and I held the most exquisite creature in my hands, felt its warmth, and marveled at its magnificence.
Could it finally be time in the evolution of humanity to revisit our belief in the value of suffering? Many religions and belief systems accept suffering as an inescapable reality, and even glorify it. Christians stoically sing of bearing the old rugged cross. Hindus justify poverty and disease as the paying off of karma...
When children expect aggression from others, it may cause them to be overly aggressive themselves, a new study finds. While the pattern is more common in some cultures than others, a four-year longitudinal study involving 1,299 children and their parents finds it is true in 12 different cultural groups from nine countries around the globe.
Think of the last time you ate some chocolate. Did you feel you had to sneak it? Did you eat too much and regret it afterward? Did you hog down the lot of the precious morsels? And how did you feel after your escapade? Were you able to enjoy the chocolate fully? I certainly hope so!
We live in a time of positive psychology, where the path to happiness is apparently paved with the right thoughts. At its most bizarre, this manifests itself in the popularity of snake oil salesmen like Deepak Chopra, who – for a healthy fee – will grant you eternal youth, and The Secret, which using hitherto unknown laws of physics will bring you health, wealth and happiness.
One morning Rose began our session by saying it was time for me to take a very important journey. “It’s a journey we all must take within this lifetime. It’s the journey that takes us from being a child to becoming an adult. And what you need to make this journey are the powers of love and forgiveness.”
A common experience: you are walking down the street and someone is walking in the opposite direction toward you. You see him but he does not see you. He is texting or looking at his cellphone. He is distracted, trying to do two things at the same time, walking and communicating.
The sentencing of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the Boston Marathon bombing and the sad aftermath of Dylann Roof’s racial killings in Charleston, South Carolina have raised the question of forgiveness in an acute fashion.
A fellow set out to find a particular saint who lived in a remote village. The shopkeeper told him he would find the saint under a certain tree, teaching disciples. Excited, the seeker made his way to tree, but instead of finding the saint he saw a drunkard blabbing with a couple of guys.
“What was going on? What do you want?” She looked up at me and wailed, “I just want to be happy.” Don’t we all? No matter who we are or what our circumstances, isn’t that what we each long for? Happiness, the experience of the sheer joy of being alive.
When we cut through the smoke and mirrors of guilt, we can see that the thoughts and emotions that ignite guilt are all made up. When our self-awareness “muscles” strengthen, we find that we’re less apt to fall into the default pattern of simply reacting to the unconscious flow of our thoughts and emotions.
It has been well established that people have a “bias blind spot,” meaning that they are less likely to detect bias in themselves than others. However, it hasn’t been clear how blind we are to our own actual degree of bias, and how many of us think we are less biased than others.