In today’s digital age, personal connection and relationships have arguably been sacrificed on the altar of technological efficiency. Our sensory world, and possibly even our neurological makeup, is being altered by headphone-attached iPods, cell phones, laptops and virtual offices. One in five romantic relationships now begin online and social networks like [click to continue…]
Hope & Optimism
What steps can we take to give up a grudge and forgive someone who has hurt, disappointed, or betrayed us?
The following strategy model for learning forgiveness is derived from an amalgam of work by several researchers and my own work as a psychologist:
1. Look deeply into the root of your anger or grudge. Explore the situation honestly without embellishing or rearranging the details. Pay attention to how this anger is holding you back and keeping you hostage in your own day-to-day [click to continue…]
Recently at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health I had the opportunity to attend a three-day workshop presented by Rick Hanson, author of Buddha’s Brain. As many know, particularly those in the world of psychology, there is much documented evidence indicating that we can change our brains from a negative perspective to a more optimistic one by developing certain skills. Changing or reshaping the brain is known as neuroplasticity. The fact that we have the capacity to reshape our brains means we have the power within us to lead happier and more optimistic lives. This is indeed good news.
The bad news is as Dr. Hanson pointed out is that, “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive [click to continue…]
Rachel developed gratitude in the face of personal loss. She learned one of the secrets to becoming happier and more optimistic. Rachel changed the way she perceived herself and others by incorporating a greater sense of appreciation into her daily life.
She found herself going to bed each night feeling a sense of loss, anger and loneliness. Rachel recently ended her three-year relationship with her charming and quite handsome live-in boyfriend after discovering through a trusted girlfriend that Richard had been repeatedly unfaithful. Everyone seemed to know but Rachel.
As human beings we often dream of living better, more fulfilling lives. We wish to create lives for ourselves and our families that are happy, purposeful and passionate. We can not only dream about creating more gratifying lives, but we also possess the cognitive ability to strategize and plan to achieve [click to continue…]
My heart weighed heavy this week. Empty nest pangs gnawing at me yet again. My two college age children headed back to their respective schools in upstate New York and Delaware. I cherished our time together as a family during their summer break as never before. No fancy vacations, no beach time together, none of our usual summer rituals. This summer was devoted to helping Mom get back on her feet after a difficult surgery and reviving her usual active life.
Cheryl possesses a smile that lights up a room. It’s an undeniable blend of mischief, optimism and a great sense of humor. She knows her share of pain and loss and yet she’s somehow figured out the key to maintaining a consistently positive mental attitude, with only the occasional lapses into turbulence.
A breast cancer survivor, Cheryl is the embodiment of the healing powers of friendship. The Brownie slogan “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold” truly resonates with her. Friendships throughout Cheryl’s childhood as well as her high school and college years became an influential and important part [click to continue…]
Today I went to the hospital because the visiting nurse alarmed me to the fact that a small infection formed at the peak corner of my new hip replacement scar. “No time to waste. You never know how fast an infection can travel. This requires urgent care.” She made a succession of anxiety riddled phone calls to my orthopedic surgeon, the surgeons’ two assistants, the on-call resident and finally my primary care physician. She was determined to resolve the infection in question swiftly.
At first, I felt safe with her determination to find an immediate solution to the problem. Then, as we waited for the return phone calls and she continued to apprise me of the meaning of a spread infection [click to continue…]
While taking one of my favorite bikram yoga classes, my teacher came along and slowly nudged me into a deeper position. Ordinarily I like to move at my own pace and I don’t allow anyone to move my body into position. I know my body better than anyone and I figure it’s been serving me well all these years, so I generally choose to go at my own speed.
This one evening I dragged myself to class after sitting for hours in my office. The instructor made her way around the room. “Breathe” she said, “I think you can go deeper still.” I took slow measured breaths and on the exhalation, tried letting go. She placed her hands gently on my back and hips and told me [click to continue…]
Olympians evoke an image of extraordinary persistence, hope and optimism. They embody the notion of mind over matter. Olympic athletes endure years of training, overcoming challenges, injuries, and withstand losses amidst the wins. They give up the usual social life of the young. These spectacular women and men hail from every part of the world to compete and push past boundaries. They dare to dream. They dare to go the distance. On February 13, Nodar Kumaritashvili, Georgian Luge Olympic hopeful, tragically died on the opening day of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. He lost control at a crucial moment while practicing for his competition. Perhaps it was the ice, the unimaginable speed or simply a split second error in judgment. At 21, Nodar embodied the passion, perseverance and optimism known to all Olympians. [click to continue…]