The gay marriage struggle, modern racism, and the disregard for the poor shown in the opposition to Obamacare all have a common root. We are wired for empathy, but not for a sense of common humanity and emotional openness. The challenge is not that we do not care: it is that we do.
The last 50 years have seen an explosion of anti-smoking campaigns as public health officials realize that smoking is a chief cause of cancer, cardiovascular illness and a host of other diseases.
To some extent these campaigns have worked: We are seeing a dramatic reduction in smoking among younger generations. Good progress, but frankly it isn’t enough.
Just because you’re not sick, doesn’t mean you’re healthy.
We are used to that idea in physical health. The clarity we have with physical health, however, vanishes once we get to our own emotional, psychological, and social life.
In the wake of the NFL domestic violence scandal the media has exploded with questions about what we need to do governmentally, institutionally, and politically to better manage partner abuse. Some have called the current rash of stories a “national teaching moment". I couldn’t agree more. A new way forward is desperately needed.
The West African Ebola crisis is holding up a mirror to the world, and what it is reflecting back is worrisome. I was listening to the news reporting yesterday with a mixture of interest and horror. The horror was not just about what is going on in these West African countries.
Among the problems countries like Sierra Leone face in the battle against Ebola, two strike the American mind as all but incomprehensible: 1.) the widespread skepticism that the disease actually exists and 2.) burial practices that to our eyes are not only clear disease vectors but even a little macabre.
First, let’s do some perspective taking here.
Your smart phone could be making your miserable.
Young Americans today are facing levels of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses that are higher than they were a generation ago. And the rest of us aren't doing much better.
The human mind did not evolve for the world we live in.
Over the last twenty-four hours I’ve gazed at the image of a reporter about to be beheaded. Moments later in the same newscast I watched a mother and father express their rage, sadness, and dismay when their teenage boy was shot to death after an unarmed altercation with a police officer...
Research in ACT shows that social connection and caring requires enough perspective taking and empathy to feel what it is like to be someone else and enough psychological flexibility not to run away when that is hard. Horrific events such as the Sandy Hook disaster challenge us to do this instead of looking away, but the suffering of those who died demands nothing less.
Like a spider weaving a web, our stories of who we are cover us like a second skin. The methods used by the acceptance and commitment therapy community and other mindfulness based methods will help you alleviate psychological suffering as you become more flexible in your own thinking.
No one seems to want to talk about it or do anything about it, but sometimes watching porn can be a problem. When it is, psychology has had nothing to offer that was empirically tested. Until now. It is counter-intuitive, but it works.
Thoughts cause our actions, or do they? We need to stop treating out own minds with the automaticity of tying our shoes or any idiot with a microphone has access to buttons to control us. In between agreeing with thoughts and disagreeing with thoughts, there is a middle path. In the noisy culture we have created we need to learn how to get there.
I received this message a few days ago from someone involved in the ACT work. It was a message so painful and yet courageous I thought some might find comfort and support from it on this important day: Between the ages of about 5 until about 8 and a half I was sexually abused on almost a daily basis. Throughout high school I had panic attacks and was dissociating. Today I am alive. I'm not just going through the motions. I can have relationships with people. I can feel the rain, and the sun...
What makes us most human is what we care about. In a word, what matters most are our values. The problem is that what we care about is also where we get hurt – so we tend to hide out from our own caring. We keep it from others – if we are really good at it we keep it even from ourselves. If you've been holding back from life, what you need to do can be summarized into a single word.
Horror and judgment in the modern world is restricting our ability to find peace of mind. It is no wonder we are seeing a resurgence of interest in acceptance, mindfulness, and values. We need to learn how to create a modern mind for the modern world.