Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about a catastrophe that almost happened, but didn’t. Really?! I’m worrying about the past? Don’t I have enough things I could drive myself crazy with? But if I’m worrying about bad things that almost happened, it’s a sure bet I’m not the only one who does. Last weekend I met my friend Nina in the city … Continue reading More on Luck (Or Moron Luck)
Although we work harder in life when we believe we’re the master of our fate, if we don’t acknowledge the role of luck, we’re bound to be either heartbroken over our perceived failures, or insensitive to the misfortune of others. While raising two sons alone as a divorced mother, I attended a couple of high school reunions and wondered what I’d done wrong. My former classmates … Continue reading The Role of Chance and Luck in Life
We all like to think we’re immune to it, but advertising and market research says we’re not. In the Hidden Brain radio podcast, We’re More alike than Different, Thanks to Peer Pressure’s Relentless Influence, I was reminded of how clueless we are to our own susceptibilities. We’re all familiar with famous athletes being paid to wear certain brands. The basketball player LeBron James made $54 … Continue reading Adult Peer Pressure
I hear some lawyers say, “I don’t like other lawyers. They’re money hungry and unscrupulous.” I hear some police officers say, “I can’t stand other cops. The job is the center of their life and identity. Not me.” I hear some psychologists say, “Psychologists are crazy. I stay away from them in my personal life.” I hear some teachers say, “Keep me away from other teachers. They’re bossy … Continue reading Bias Against Our Own Kind
I was listening to a podcast from Studio 360 called, Can Laughing Make us Healthier?, and my first thought was, everybody’s got a gimmick. In the 1970’s there was primal scream therapy, where the patient remembers and reenacts a disturbing past experience that occurred in childhood. They express their repressed anger and frustration with spontaneous screams, hysteria, or violence. I’d hate to share a neighboring office with a primal scream therapist. … Continue reading Laughter Yoga – Gimmick or Game?
I used to belong to a ski club that traveled often to the breathtaking mountains of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. I was friends with a group of New York City firefighters who also belonged to the club. Once, instead of taking a bus, I decided to take my car and split the driving with a couple of these men. I’m scrupulous about wearing seat belts and … Continue reading Telling Yourself Superstitious Tales
It’s more fun, and a lot easier, to change someone else than to change ourselves. But is it possible? It makes sense that we want to transform someone into the person we thought they used to be, many years ago, such as a spouse who was once loving and attentive. They can certainly be that person again, can’t they? Have you ever tried rewinding your own history clock and … Continue reading How to Change Someone Else, Pt. 1
I recently heard a scientist describe time as 1 dimensional, as opposed to 3 dimensional space. Time moves in one direction – forward into the future, not backwards. But don’t you ever want to travel backwards in time? I hear women say, “My husband has changed. He’s always out. When he’s home, he’s drinking, and when he’s not drinking, he’s angry. I want to get back … Continue reading What if Time Were 2 Dimensional?
I once knew a woman, I’ll call her Michelle, whose daughter died at the tender age of 25. That was 8 years ago, and Michelle still blames herself for the death. “Ellie was an alcoholic,” Michelle says. “But she was so much more. She was kind and funny. She entertained kids at the local hospital with her impersonations of cartoon characters and her homemade puppets. She was a girl … Continue reading Self Blame is Magical Thinking