Lynn E. O'Connor

Fighting for Our Democracy

This has become a serious socio-cultural problem; paranoia is contagious; we’ve all become paranoid temporarily, thanks to the conspiratorial thinking of the paranoid...

How to Stop Fighting With Your Partner

Fighting between you and your partner is miserable, sometimes devastating, and can negatively affect all areas of your life. The problem is the cycle of blame and guilt. Your partner blames you for something; you believe the accusations. To get rid of the guilt you start to feel, you turn it around and blame your partner. To stop fighting, stop the blame-guilt cycle.

How to Beat Procrastination: Obsession with Productivity

It must have been eight years ago that I became obsessed with “productivity," the elegant euphemism for ideas on "how to beat procrastination." This led to my ongoing quest for the perfect computer-based & paper-based scheduling & planning system, in efforts to implement "GTD" (Getting Things Done). The result: A major time-suck, while becoming an expert procrastinator.

Update on Addiction, Marijuana and Legalization

The debate over legalization of marijuana continues, while alcohol is known to be the most damaging drug of all. Pot may be less destructive, but current research suggests that it disrupts the neurotransmitter crucial to the ability to feel pleasure and to enjoy life. The potential for addiction, and loss of motivation is confirmed by neuroscientific research.

How to Meditate (Made Easy): Mindfulness Meditation

Learning to meditate on the breath --mindfulness of the breath-- is easy and something you can do right now. By meditating, you are using your mind to make positive changes in your brain. Spend a few minutes focusing your attention on your breathing. When thoughts distract you, notice them, and turn your attention back to your breathing. This is where the magic happens.

How to Get Off Marijuana

How to get off marijuana and deal with the depression that follows: Steps to take that will make it easier.

The Profiling of Women

In our long overdue discussion of profiling we seem to have forgotten women. Women are terrified when walking alone at night in an unpopulated section of town, when noticing a man behind her who might be following her --a man of any race, ethnicity, or age. There is good reason, a woman alone at night is profiled, simply by gender.

The Myth of "Evidence-Based" Treatment of Depression

Outcome studies of treatment for depression comparing medication to talk therapy are flawed. Using only one class of medication when many depressed people need another, its no wonder medication seems the same or less effective than talk therapy. If you give people the wrong kind of medication, the comparison to talk therapy becomes meaningless.

Marijuana Use and Addiction: Update, One Year Later

Reflections on new research: While current studies present a mixed picture, pot addiction may still be a problem. Marijuana may be helpful for multiple medical problems, including pain and even anxiety disorders, however at the same time addiction to marijuana is problematic on multiple levels.

Are Republican Leaders Hostages?

Republican leaders may be too frightened of NRA & extremist rhetoric, threats of violence ("civil war"), threats of impeachment, to stand up and support gun reform. We've assumed the fear is based on concern they'll lose the next election. Maybe Republican leaders are hostages, afraid for their own & families' physical safety; they may need better real protection.

Male Dominance and Female Depression: Based on Ideas?

Recent study of Orangutans demonstrated cultural differences are transmitted by deas. This suggests that our cultural differences (and problems) such as sexism, racism, may be altered through changes in ideas. A study of antecedents to depression in Chimpanzees found depression arising in females at adolescence, similar to people. This might change with changes in ideas.

The Death of My Mother

The death of my mother felt like a hole in my heart, Then a study summarized in Scientific American described how cells prenatally may wander into our mothers' brains, and are then found there decades later. And as adult children we may have cells of our mothers lodged within us. The cycle of life may be far more complex than we have imagined.

How to Find, Select, and Hire a Psychotherapist

The kind of therapist, the license or degree she has is not important. What matters is how you feel when you are meeting. If you leave a session feeling worse than when you began, you're probably seeing the wrong therapist and it's time to look for another. Even well-considered "empirically supported treatments" may not necessarily be the best therapy for you.

Guilt and Worry About Someone You Love

Empathy-based guilt, worry about someone you love, feeling overly responsible and sorry for someone, is based on our ability to identify with others, on our compassionate impulses. However it may be the source of great unhappiness, sometimes even depression and serious inhibitions in work life and in relationships.

How to Have a Happy, Long-Term Partnership (With or Without “Marriage”)

Sometimes deliberately concealing or not articulating negative thoughts you might be having about your mate is part of the road to a happy, long-term marriage or partnership.

Meditation, Happiness and Compassionate Altruism

Meditators across all groups are less prone to feeling guilty for imaginary crimes, less prone to depression and anxiety and higher in openness, general agreeableness, and altruism towards strangers.

Forgiveness: When and Why do We Forgive

In a recent dissertation, Kirsten Acker found that we’re willing to forgive those who harm us when they feel guilt and regret.

Soldiers, Jocks, and Victims of Domestic Violence: Brain Damage Comes to Our Attention

A few days ago a Scientific American blog post directed our attention to yet more information about the kind of debilitating brain trauma /brain damage that a single blast from a bomb can inflict upon our soldiers in active duty.

PTSD: the Latest, Hottest, Maybe Most Controversial Diagnosis

In a recent Scientific American Mind article, Scott Lilienfeld provided a rundown on the currently controversial diagnosis, “post traumatic stress disorder. The literal flood of PTSD diagnoses now being used for people whose therapists believe suffered from “childhood trauma” is suspect.

Wolves, Dogs and People: Is It Time to Reassess Our Beliefs About Attachment?

An important difference between dogs and wolves in how they relate to humans has been demonstrated to be the result of genetics rather than life experience.

Marijuana Addiction Today

Marijuana addiction is subtle, deceptive and often hidden, even to the user, while its effects pervade every corner of the user's life.

What if We're Wrong About the "Cause" of Mental Illness?

What if serious mental illness is entirely unrelated to lousy parents??

Contemplative Science and Practice: "How to Do Research You Love"

In early January I presented a lecture on "Contemplative Science and Practice: How to Do Research You Love." A few days later, an opinion piece appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Owen Flanagan, essentially trashing what he called "Hocus-Pocus Buddhism."