Showing posts from February 10, 2019

8 Signs That Alcohol May Have Too Much Power in Your Life

By Seth J. Gillihan, PhD
Clinical psychologist

I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. I hear this statement a lot in my therapy office as patients discuss their pattern of drinking. Usually they’re thinking of an alcoholic as someone whose constant drinking leads to missing work, DUIs, losing relationships, and hitting rock bottom. However, the majority of alcoholics don’t fit this stereotype, and remain largely functional despite their use.

Whatever the definition, I find that it’s not necessarily helpful to reduce our relationship with alcohol to a single black-or-white question, Am I an alcoholic? The implication is that there’s a problem if I am, and no problem if I’m not.

But our relationship with alcohol isn’t that simple. We don’t have to be chugging vodka first thing in the morning, blacking out, or driving while intoxicated for there to be an issue. The better question is:

Is the way I’m drinking a net positive in my life?

Full disclosure: I never had a healthy relationship with alcohol, …

Could Gut Bacteria Be Linked to Dementia Risk?

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

People with dementia show a different makeup in the bacteria dwelling in their guts, a preliminary study finds -- raising questions about whether the "bugs" play some role in the brain disease.

Researchers in Japan found that compared with dementia-free older adults, those with the disease typically had a very different gut "microbiome." The term refers to the trillions of bacteria and other microbes dwelling in the digestive system.

As recent studies have been revealing, those gut bugs do more than aid digestion. They appear to affect a range of bodily functions, from immune defenses to the production of vitamins, anti-inflammatory compounds and even chemicals that relay messages among brain cells.

Researchers have also found that the makeup of the gut microbiome is linked to risks for various conditions, such as obesity, asthma and type 1 diabetes.

Those studies do not prove that gut bacteria directly contribute to, or protect against, …

Growing a Cross-Cultural Garden

Padma Hejmadi paints a delightful landscape of her life of travels and setting roots through gardens all over the world. She weaves back to memories of her roots and family gardens in India and learns of community and connection and culture through her relationships with the garden of life.

How Neuroscience Can Help Your Kid Make Good Choices

Learning self-regulation will set up your child for success in life.

By Diana Divecha

Imagine the following scenario: Your eight-year-old son is repeatedly poked with a pencil by his classmate at school. How does he respond?

He might endure the pokes without complaint by using willpower, or he might stay silent, succumbing to feelings of fear or powerlessness. He could lose his self-control and act out, attacking his classmate verbally or poking him back. Or does your son “self-regulate” by considering his options and resources, taking stock of his feelings and strengths, reflecting on past experience, and responding deliberately?

Self-regulation may sound like a tall order—but it’s also the best choice, according to Erin Clabough, a neuroscientist, mother of four, and author of the book Second Nature: How Parents Can Use Neuroscience to Help Kids Develop Empathy, Creativity, and Self-Control. Self-regulation is a skill that we need whenever we want to make a good choice or work toward a…

Three Research-Backed Tips for a Grateful Workplace

Professor Ryan Fehr from the University of Washington shares research on how to build a culture of gratitude at work.

By Ryan Fehr

Scilla Ellsworthy: A Business Plan for Peace

A distinguished activist for peace for over 30 years, Dr. Scilla Ellsworthy has met with scientists and nuclear weapons policy makers from all five nuclear powers. She founded the Oxford Research Group, Peace Direct, and co-founded 'Rising Women, Rising World' and FemmeQ, and was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. She is interviewed here about her latest book, "The Business Plan for Peace: Building a World without War." In it, she points out that while 1,686 billion dollars is spent on militarization every year, it would only cost two billion dollars to put into action methodologies that are known to work to prevent war and armed conflict worldwide.

Maira Kalman: Daily Things to Fall in Love With

Maira Kalman would describe her life as very boring. "If most people had to live it, they would go, 'Oh, that's it?'" she says. Yet the visual storyteller, and author and illustrator of over 20 books for adults and children leads a life that would leave many with feelings of awe and fascination. Paying keen attention to its details, she is a master of introspection, curiosity, and awareness. In this conversation with Krista Tippett of On Being, Kalman elaborates on "life's intrinsic quirkiness and whimsy" alongside its "intrinsic seriousness." As she delves into her family history, love of dogs, and daily routine, it's impossible not to be inspired by her deep wisdom and gentle reminder that beauty and joy reside in the ordinary.

How Your Arguments Might Change After You Get Married

A new study finds that commitment changes both transgressions and forgiveness in a relationship.

By Pavica Sheldon, Mary Grace Antony

In a romantic partnership, disagreements and mistakes are inevitable—but forgiveness is not.

So, how does deepening commitment change the arguments we have? What conditions in a relationship make forgiveness more likely? Why do some relationships weather powerful storms, and emerge stronger and more resilient when the tempest has passed—while others don’t?

Those are some of the question we explored in a recent study of 123 married participants and 93 people who were still dating one person. Prior research does indeed show that the greater the level of commitment, the more motivated we are to forgive our partner and restore harmony when problems arise. The stakes to repair the relationship may be higher for long-term married partners compared to relatively new couples. Conflicts and transgressions can also become more multifaceted and complicated over time…

How Conscious Leadership Can Unlock a Better Workplace

Diana Chapman is one of the world's foremost experts on conscious leadership, and co-author of the influential book, "The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership". Her mission is to help individuals, teams, and organizations learn how to eliminate drama and suffering from their individual and collective lives. In this interview, Diana shares her ideas about what conscious leadership is, how to start practicing it, and the transformation it can bring to workplace cultures of all types.

How Love Can Help Your Child Become More Compassionate

New research suggests that warm and loving relationships with parents help children grow into compassionate adults.

By Maryam Abdullah

I was running errands this weekend with my preschooler, who operates at a leisurely pace under nearly all circumstances. Clutching my shopping list, I headed straight for the produce section as soon as I entered the grocery store. He decided to stop at the floral section. He picked out a bouquet, placed it in our shopping cart, and said, “This one is beautiful for you, Momma.” 

My son reminded me that love is a good reason to pause—and a recent study by psychologist Mirka Hintsanen and her colleagues reminds us all that experiencing love in childhood can help kids grow into compassionate adults.

For over three decades, researchers have followed over 2,700 three to 18 year olds in Finland as part of the ongoing Young Finns Study. At the start of the study in 1980, their parents completed questionnaires about their relationships with their children on two d…

12 Truths I Learned from Life and Writing

A few days before she turned 61, author Anne Lamott wrote down everything she knew. "There's so little truth in the popular culture," she says. "And it's good to be sure of a few things." In this TED Talk, with her characteristic wit and wisdom, Lamott delivers 12 things she knows for sure. Reflecting on grace, faith, family and more, she explores what it means to be human in a world where blessings and hardships are inevitably intertwined.

--by Anne Lamott

My seven-year-old grandson sleeps just down the hall from me, and he wakes up a lot of mornings and he says, "You know, this could be the best day ever." And other times, in the middle of the night, he calls out in a tremulous voice, "Nana, will you ever get sick and die?"

I think this pretty much says it for me and for most of the people I know, that we're a mixed grill of happy anticipation and dread. So I sat down a few days before my 61st birthday,and I decided to compile a…

How Science Can Help Your Love to Last

Two relationship experts explain how to foster positive feelings and overcome challenges for a long-lasting relationship.

By Jill Suttie

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I’ve started to think about how I might celebrate with my husband of 27 years—and about our relationship in general. We’ve always enjoyed being romantic, but we’ve also settled into a more comfortable routine with fewer surprises.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there’s always room for nurturing our passion for one another and keeping our relationship strong. Loving, committed relationships require ongoing effort, just like staying in shape requires regular trips to the gym.

Enter relationship experts Suzann Pileggi Pawelski and James Pawelski. In their book, Happy Together, they’ve combed through research to identify four keys for keeping love alive in relationships: promoting healthy, harmonious passion (as opposed to obsession); cultivating and prioritizing positive emotions, rather than just waiting for them …