The Functions of the Adolescent Brain

*Note: This blog is based on the ideas and research of Daniel Siegel, M.D. and his book Brainstorm. The teenage years often get a bad reputation. Adolescents are typically described as hormonal, argumentative, reckless, selfish, and a host of other unpleasant labels. Parents of adolescents are often left feeling frustrated by their teen’s emotional outbursts […]

Learning How To Soothe Ourselves

Self-soothing involves learning how to comfort ourselves when we are upset. While we, as social creatures, often turn to others for support when we are hurt, upset, angry, and/or scared, it also is important to be able to help ourselves become more calm and relaxed in response to upsetting events. Self-soothing skills typically start developing […]

The Gut-Brain Connection

The originator of the phrase “trust your gut” may have been onto something, after all. While we typically think of emotional states like anxiety, stress, and anger as originating exclusively from our minds or social environments, studies on humans and animals have indicated that they may also stem from a very unlikely source: The gut. […]

Understanding Confirmation Bias in the Age of “Fake News”

In these tense political times, an increasing number of people admit to getting much of their news from Facebook and Twitter. One of the problems with using these social media platforms as one’s primary news source relates to the danger of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is a concept from psychological theory referring to our tendency […]

Letting Go of Rumination

Do you often find yourself thinking about a problem over and over? What about continuously replaying an unpleasant exchange in your mind and turning over every detail? If so, you might be prone to ruminating. Ruminating is the act of thinking about distressing issues or events at length. When ruminating, we dwell on problems and […]

Changing Our Relationship to Stress

Stress is a normal response to events that make us feel threatened or upset our balance in some way. These events can occur outside of our bodies within our environments, or even within our bodies caused by illness, or depressive or anxiety symptoms. These ‘events’ can be thought of as ‘stressors’ and we all have […]

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Goal-setting is an important function of personal development. Learning how to set goals effectively is what makes the difference between a wish (“I hope I get all A’s and B’s this semester!”) and a viable action-plan. Goals that are too vague or too lofty are likely to create feelings of failure and frustration rather than […]

Screen Time and Your Kids

Kids are spending more time than ever using screens. In fact, most American children spend more time in front of electronic screens than they do in school. According to Common Sense Media, preteens spend an average of four-and-a-half hours using screens every single day. For teens, that number soars to nearly seven hours a day […]

Teaching, Modeling, and Living A Respectful Life

Demonstrating respect for oneself and others is a hallmark of living a happy, healthy life. Acknowledging and honoring our similarities and differences, and truly seeing ourselves and others as the unique beings we all are, can bring a sense of inner and outer peace. In the world of 2016, it is no small feat to […]