Back to Basics

What’s fundamental? The Practice: Back to basics. Why? In middle school, I thought it would be cool to play a musical instrument, and picked the clarinet. My wise parents rented one rather than buying it, and I started practicing. (In the garage because it sounded pretty screechy.) After a week or two of doing scales,

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Wake Up To Good News

Are you exaggerating sticks while downplaying carrots? The Practice: Wake up to good news. Why? “Tell the truth.” It’s the foundation of science, ethics, and relationships. But we have a brain that evolved to tell lies to help us survive. As I’ve written before, over several hundred million years our ancestors: * Had to avoid

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Pay Attention

Is your mind wandering? The Practice: Pay attention. Why? Moment to moment, the flows of thoughts and feelings, sensations and desires, and conscious and unconscious processes sculpt your nervous system like water gradually carving furrows and eventually gullies on a hillside. Your brain is continually changing its structure. The only question is: Is it for

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Don’t Rain On The Parade

Why do we have cheerleaders? The Practice: Don’t rain on the parade. Why? Let’s say you’ve had an interesting idea or moment of inspiration, or thought of a new project, or felt some enthusiasm bubbling up inside you. Your notions are not fully formed and you’re not really committed to them yet, but they have

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Enjoy Sobriety

Out of balance? The Practice: Enjoy sobriety. Why? By “sobriety,” I mean healthy self-control, a centered enjoyment of life, and an inner freedom from drivenness. We typically apply this sense of balance and self-care to things like food, drugs and alcohol, sexuality, money, and risky behaviors. And if you like, you could bring sobriety to

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Enjoy The Freedom Not To

Do you got to? The Practice: Enjoy the freedom not to. Why? We’re pulled and prodded by financial pressures, commuter traffic, corporate policies, technology, advertising, politics, and the people we work with and live with. As well, internal forces yank the proverbial chains, including emotional reactions, compelling desires, “shoulds,” and internalized “voices” from parents and

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Enjoy Four Kinds of Peace

What’s your sense of peace? The Practice: Enjoy four kinds of peace. Why? “Peace” can sound merely sentimental or clichéd (“visualize whirled peas”). But deep down, it’s what most of us long for. Consider the proverb: The highest happiness is peace. Not a peace inside that ignores pain in oneself or others, or is acquired by

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Get Out of the War

What are you fighting? The Practice: Get out of the war. Why? By “war” I mean here a mindset, not combat between nations with tanks and bombs. The “war” I’m referring to is an attitude of conflict and animosity toward a person, object, or condition. Parents can feel at war with a misbehaving teenager, and

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From Shame to Self-Worth: Development of Shame Spectrum Feelings in Childhood

Welcome to the third and last part of the series, From Shame to Self-Worth. Last week we discussed the Neurobiology of Shame here and we started with the Introduction here. This week we will learn that shame is a very primal emotion, one that has a lot of traction in the mind. As we grow up,

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Rick’s Picks: Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Rick’s Picks is a new series of posts highlighting the very best content online. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing pediatric HIV infection and eliminating pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention, care, and treatment programs. Founded in 1988, EGPAF works in 15 countries around the world.

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