How To Achieve Balance, Redux

Every once in a while (or perhaps more frequently than I’d like to admit) I find myself overwhelmed by my own life. Taking care of patients, blogging, writing, maintaining relationships (with my wife, son, family, friends, and co-workers), exercising, practicing Buddhism, marketing my writing, answering pages, answering emails, handling unforeseen crises, cleaning out our cats’ […]

How To Tear Up The Good Guy Contract

Photo: Mike George

In a previous post, The Good Guy Contract, I wrote about the particular challenges faced by people dominated by their need to be liked by others. In that post I recounted my own inability to say “no” and then went on to describe my discovery of the reason for it: I’d […]

How To Forgive Others, Redux

Photo: Hamed Saber

A few years ago I found myself thinking about what would happen if as an adult I encountered some of the children who terrorized me when I was in 7th grade (an experience I wrote about in an earlier post, Breaking Free Of The Past), wondering if I’d be able to […]

Breaking Free Of The Past, Redux

Photo: Leonidas Tsementzis

As I wrote in an earlier post, The True Cause Of Cruelty, for me seventh grade was a disaster. I was persecuted by anti-Semites and so traumatized that my parents endured owning two houses at once for six months in order to get me into a new school. I left seventh […]

How Optimism Can Be Learned

Optimism, it turns out, isn’t just defined as the tendency to expect things to turn out better than probability predicts, nor is pessimism defined only as the tendency to expect things to turn out more poorly. Both terms are also used to describe the way we think about the causes of adversity, pessimism in particular […]

Why You’re Stronger Than You Think

Photo: jurvetson

You are far more resilient than you think. In his book Stumbling on Happiness Daniel Gilbert argues persuasively that most of us consistently overestimate the negative impact of adverse events (like being fired) on our lives. When asked to imagine such events happening in the future, we tend to imagine such futures […]

Changing Poison Into Medicine, Redux

Photo: Beverly and Pack

What’s the worst problem you have right now? Have you lost your home? Your job? Are you worried you might? Or are you facing a terrible illness?

From the Buddhist perspective, all people are endowed with the innate ability to create value out of any situation, no matter how awful […]

Leveraging Anticipatory Joy

Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography

Having to confront an indeterminate outcome that might be bad seems to cause more anxiety than having to confront an outcome known to be bad. In one study, patients requiring colostomies (a rerouting of the passage of stool from the rectum to an opening in the abdomen) that were potentially […]

When Everything Seems To Be Going Wrong, Redux

Photo: Robert S. Donovan

In a previous post, The True Cause Of Depression, I discussed how having multiple problems at once seems to cause more stress than having only one or two. I likened the handling of challenges to balancing a “plate” of a certain size and suggested if we pile too many problems […]

Delivering Bad News, Redux

Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography

My heart began pounding as I listened to the sound of the dial tone in my ear. After three rings a woman answered groggily and uncertainly, “H-hello?”

“Mrs. Peterson?” I asked. My voice trembled slightly. It was 2 a.m., and I’d awakened her from what I imagined had been a […]