Linking Difference to Achieve Societal Health

We live in a diverse country at a time when difference is often denounced rather than celebrated. Many of us take issue with the dishonoring of diversity, and I would like to make a somewhat scientific case for celebrating diversity rather than censuring it. This case begins with studies in neurobiology that have found that […]

Validate, Validate, Validate

When someone we care about is in need, it is common to want to help or even try to “fix” the problem for our loved one. Though our hearts and heads may be in the right place, unsolicited advice or attempts to “fix” a perceived problem may actually lead to more distress for our loved […]

Spring Cleaning for the Psyche

Spring is a great time to take stock of your overall health and make some efforts to shift away from unhealthy habits. Here are 3 tips aimed at ditching routines and mental hang-ups that are likely to undermine your mental health, and replacing them with more adaptive habits. 1. Notice the Positive. The old saying […]

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 […]

Parents: Daily Dose of Praise Goes a Long Way!

Children experience daily stress of doing well and working hard in school. Spring break is not only a good time to relax and de-stress, but also an opportunity for parents to reboot their child’s self-confidence and self-esteem, which often gets compromised in the face of stress and sometimes criticism throughout the school year. This can […]

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 […]

Inspiration from 2016

Note: This is an adaptation of an article from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley As we begin 2017, many of us are reflecting on the year that has just ended. I think most of us can agree, it has been rough. Acts of terror and violence continue around […]