Mindful Habits that Offset the Stresses of Modern Living

Modern life tends to disconnect us from what really nourishes our brains and bodies. Adopt these easy habits of daily living to reconnect with what really matters, and thrive.

4 Ways Modern Life Is Messing With Your Brain and Body

Modern life is fabulously full of fast transportation, instant communication, easy convenience, and lavish comforts. Then why are we so fussy and discontent?

10 Easy Steps for Breathing Calm Into Your Anxious Brain

If you suffer from anxiety, your brain may have shifted into a perpetual state of “hyper-alert.” Here is a simple technique for restoring calm to your brain and your life.

7 Habits That Shift Your Crazy-Busy Life Into Sweet Serenity

Life can be crazy and too busy, full of trials that drive you to distraction. Adopt these 7 habits to help you calmly and gracefully take on whatever life hands you.

7 Tips for Shaking off Your Critics and Restoring Confidence

A negative voice pierces right through the crowd—and burrows itself into your being. Seven tips for shaking off critics and insults, plus a few soothing mantras & affirmations.

3 Things to Do When You're Not Sure About Your Relationship

Ambivalence is common in long-term relationships because it’s easy to drift apart over the years, but you stay because leaving is too complicated. And yet ambivalence is a stressful place to park. Is your marriage really worth saving? Here are some reasons to set yourself free from indecision and tips for moving toward a more peaceful, fulfilling existence.

Should Disruptive Teens Be Treated As Criminals In School?

When students fail to cooperate, the school is failing them. This situation underscores so many forms of social injustice, including prejudice, unrealistic expectations for children, insufficient teacher education, underfunded schools, ineffective administration, a lack of mental health care, and inadequate police training. Do we have the will to implement real solutions?

Relationship Ambivalence: Should You Stay or Leave?

A whirlwind romance starts out with such promise but has descended into a painful struggle. Should you stay or should you leave? Will it be worth the effort or should you run for cover? Paralyzed with uncertainty, you’re stuck in “relationship ambivalence”. The cure? Get out of your head and tune into your body. Your gut is your “second brain,” whose wisdom points the way.

Are Transgender Women Just Reinforcing Sexist Stereotypes?

Would transgender women, like Caitlin Jenner, exist if men were free to wear dresses? Modern brain research reveals what influences gender identity and expression.

Transgender? Or TrueGender?

Being transgender is not a choice. Transgender people don’t choose to cross over and live as the other gender. They are, and always have been, the other gender. They have never felt aligned with the gender assigned at birth according to anatomy. The choice they do make is whether to live as their true gender or live a lie. This decision can be a matter of life and death.

Coping with Adversity from "Inside Out"

This film effectively and hilariously shines a light on the inner workings of our emotional brains and why we struggle at times. Most powerfully, its metaphor of "Emotions at Your Central Control Panel" offers a useful way to reflect on our own feelings and how they can push us to react, sometimes to our disadvantage. Required viewing for anyone operating a human brain.

After the Break-up: Embracing the Lessons

By seeing a broken relationship as presenting lessons to learn, you can boost your resilience and bounce back from heartache. Embracing lessons also leads to fewer regrets and helps you see any breakup as an opportunity for growth and a better life, rather than a reason to lose hope, feel diminished, or die.

After the Break-Up: Making Sense of What Happened

Whenever someone breaks up with you, it’s normal to ask “why?” and try to make sense of what happened. This week, I received an inquiry from a reader who is mystified by a sudden breakup. She describes the relationship and breakup, revealing some clues as to what went wrong, including enmeshment, dishonesty, and insecurity, which doomed their relationship from the start.

Cinderella: Trash or Treasure?

Is Disney’s new Cinderella just more grist for the princess mill? Is it drivel, schmaltz, fantasy? Or does it go way deeper? Intelligently written, directed, designed, and acted, the filmmakers have created a profound exploration of life, love, spirituality, international politics, and valuable lessons to embrace. Look through a new lens and see what resonates with you.

After the Break-Up: When Moving On Seems Impossible

It’s impossible to win love when you feel like a loser. If you’re trying to recover a lost relationship, convinced s/he’s the one, yet feeling unworthy, then the affirmations in my popular post “Coping with Distress and Agony After a Break-Up” may fall short. Inspired by a recent comment, here are strategies for reclaiming your power and recovering yourself, first.

Trauma vs Treatment for Cassandra in a Connecticut Hospital

Teenager Cassandra C is being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma under court order and against her will at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. She has written about her “hospital arrest” and the trauma of being placed in restraints, procedures performed without consent, and being isolated from loved ones. How might the medical team have handled this situation better?

Holding Onto Hope When a Medical Prognosis is Grim

Receiving a grim medical prognosis is emotionally overwhelming. You may be concerned when a patient or family remains in denial, seems delusional, or holds onto unrealistic hopes. Is living a fantasy or reaching for miracles a sign of serious maladjustment? Resist pushing folks to "get a grip on reality" and trust their process for coming to terms with the situation.

"Death with Dignity" and Brittany Maynard's Legacy

Brittany Maynard, terminally ill, went public with her plan for a physician-assisted suicide in the face of terrible suffering. On November 1, she took the fatal dose. Her careful decision was consistent with her values and based on self-determination of her own best interests. Her legacy is our growing awareness and discussion of the issues raised by her dying and death.

Monday Morning Dementia: Part Six, In Summary

When my mother drove away from home-- in search of home—it was a blessing in disguise. Her wandering got us to ramp up her care to 24/7, which in hindsight, we were remiss in failing to do so sooner. Yet still, we suffer from "Caregiver Dementia" as we continue to be mystified and amazed at her incapacity and ongoing decline. Adjustment is an ongoing challenge!

Monday Morning Dementia: Part Five

This is the saga of my mother’s wandering, our recovery of her, and our adjustments to care. Here we hip-hop to the satellite facility; I gather Security's piece of the story; I swallow the car keys and install flip latches, bolts, & dowels at all exits; and our team of caregivers steps up to provide 24/7 care while my dad’s away-- and beyond.

Monday Morning Dementia: Part Four

When I arrived in the ER to fetch my wandering mother, I was scolded by an Imperious Trio of caregivers. Their brassy, bossy behavior only added to my trauma. In this "Part Four", I describe the treatment I experienced from two other ER caregivers and how their individualized, compassionate care was helped me feel like I could persevere and everything was going to be okay.

Monday Morning Dementia: Part Three

My mother officially entered the Advanced Stage of Dementia when she drove off in my dad’s car, in search of “home.” Her whereabouts were unknown for the eternity of two hours. But as demented luck would have it, she turned onto a highway that dead-ended at a security checkpoint. This is Part Three of the saga, where I detail how hospital staff only added to the trauma.

Monday Morning Dementia: Part Two

Last month, my mother entered the advanced stage of dementia with a flourish. Her descent has been so gradual over the past ten years, we haven’t been able to pinpoint when her mild cognitive impairment turned into mild dementia and then moderate dementia. But she clearly crossed the threshold into advanced dementia when she drove away from home in an attempt to "go home".

Monday Morning Dementia

Wandering, a facet of dementia, is the result of being confused and disoriented even in familiar places. But only 60% of people with dementia will wander away and get lost. Naively, we assumed my mother would be one of the 40% who do not wander, due to her cautious nature. And 5 years ago we took away the car keys. Imagine our surprise when she drove away Monday morning.

On Parents who Choose Hospice Care instead of Intensive Care

When parents of a critically ill newborn choose hospice care instead of intensive care (NICU), they are often judged as selfish cowards who are unwilling to let their baby fight for survival. But as Meloney Dunning’s prize-winning essay in Real Simple demonstrates, choosing hospice can be the courageous decision. It’s not about giving up in fear, but letting go with love.

Dancing with Dementia

Five years ago, my mother claimed she shoveled a foot of snow off the driveway. Indeed, it was cleared of snow, with no other explanation at hand. We were incredulous. Did she? Looking back, we cannot believe we entertained the notion for even a second. But taking care of a loved one with dementia involves a learning curve. And we're learning to dance with dementia.

Providing After-Death Care at Home When a Baby Dies

When hospital births became commonplace in the U.S., babies who died were quickly taken away. But shielding parents this way did more harm than good. Now parents are encouraged to spend time with their babies, and as part of the home funeral trend, more parents are providing after-death care themselves, even taking their babies home until burial or cremation. Here's why.

Bode Miller Unplugged

After winning the Bronze, skier Bode Miller became emotional remembering his recently deceased brother, pro snowboarder Chelone. As tears streamed down his face, NBC interviewer Christin Cooper asked one more insightful question, to which Bode put down his head and wept. Did Cooper cross the line? Is it appropriate for global television to train its lens on a weeping man?

Protect Your Brain from Images of Violence and Cruelty

Our brains are soft-wired with mirror neurons, which allow us to empathize and emulate others. Unfortunately, mirror neurons are what enable children to emulate the violence they witness in life and media. And mirror neurons are what compel people who are enraged with the world to emulate how others express their rage, making violent imagery so potentially poisonous.

Bah Humbug—Are the Relatives Getting On Your Nerves?

Grandma can talk the paint off a fence post. Brother sniffs up his snot. Sister is always running late. Uncle exaggerates and brags. And Mother keeps asking, “Do you want instant coffee?” even though you hate it and always will. Oh, to endure family time without being driven to distraction! Here are some mindfulness-based stress reduction tips to help you keep your sanity.