Microbreaks Improve Happiness and Productivity

Many of us know that it is important to take breaks during the workday. Taking breaks helps improve focus, reduce fatigue, and decrease the risk of work-related physical problems, such as carpel tunnel. While we often think of breaks as requiring large chunks of time (such as a lunch break), recent research has focused on…

Lessons for Today from Mister Rogers

(This entry is adapted from an article by Shea Tuttle published by the Greater Good Science Center) I remember Mister Rogers vividly from my childhood – eating lunch on TV trays sitting on the floor of our living room with a friend, seeing the puppets and listening to the songs. At the time, of course,…

Wordly Wise

Word choice can make a huge difference in how we communicate with one another.  I recently attended an excellent seminar presented by Terry M. Levy, Ph.D., D.A.P.A, the director of the Evergreen Psychotherapy Center and the Attachment Treatment and Training Institute in Evergreen, Colorado.  During his presentation, he discussed one of the styles of communication…

A Parable of Presence

Once there was an 8-year-old boy named Timmy. He was a good boy who always did what his mother asked him to do. She trusted Timmy and gave him age appropriate freedom. One day Timmy said to his mother, ‘Bye, Mom, I am going bike riding with Johnny”. His mother replied, “OK, Timmy. Just be…

Self-Harm: Understanding What it Is (and Isn’t) and Knowing How to Respond

A quick tour of online resources for parents of teenagers reveals that the subject of self-harm is frequently raised, usually in the form of parental concerns over cutting behavior. Parents asking for advice or support when they discover that their son or daughter is self-harming are understandably alarmed and upset. They also tend to run…

The 5 Love Languages

In our most intimate relationships, partners ask each other all kinds of questions to deepen their bond and get to know the other’s true self. Coffee or tea? Beach or mountains? Dogs or cats? What are your hopes for the future? Strangely enough, one important question is rarely asked: what makes you feel loved? Without…

Parenting and Social Media

Teenagers are living their lives online; they spend a lot of their time on social media, posting updates, checking others’ updates, watching videos and shows, playing games, etc. Given that 75% of teens have profiles on social networking sites and that they value the social connections that social media provides, it is important for parents…

Strategies for Building Empathy in Kids

Empathy represents a complex, often misunderstood, and sometimes taken-for-granted set of skills that help us to navigate our social and emotional world. It includes not just feeling concern for others who are in distress, but also our ability to “see” things from another’s perspective as well as to imagine how someone else might be feeling.…

The Simple Power of Gratitude

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude” – Brené Brown “Gratitude is a potent vaccine that inoculates us against negativity” – Donald Altman In the 1990s, the field of positive psychology ushered in a new awareness of how…

Overcoming Loneliness

More Americans than ever before are feeling lonely. In 2010, approximately 40 percent of Americans reported regularly feeling lonely, whereas only 20 percent of Americans in the 1980’s regularly felt lonely. The feeling of loneliness is all about perception. We become lonely if we do not feel meaningfully connecting with our friends or if we…