Don’t Quarrel

Who do you argue with? The Practice: Don’t quarrel. Why? It’s one thing to stick up for yourself and others. But it’s a different matter to get caught up in wrangles, contentiousness, squabbles . . . in a word: quarrels. Similarly, it’s one thing to disagree with someone, even to the point of arguing – [...] [Read more...]

One Breath at a Time

Are you breathing? The Practice: One breath at a time. Why? [If for you the breath is associated with trauma and discomfort, you probably shouldn't try this practice in its form below. But you might adapt it to something that is more nurturing for you, such as a saying or image.] Breathing brings you home. [...] [Read more...]

One Breath at a Time

Are you breathing? The Practice: One breath at a time. Why? [If for you the breath is associated with trauma and discomfort, you probably shouldn't try this practice in its form below. But you might adapt it to something that is more nurturing for you,... [Read more...]

See Good Intentions

What do others want? The Practice: See good intentions. Why? Hustling through an airport, I stopped to buy some water. At the shop’s refrigerator, a man was bent over, loading bottles into it. I reached past him and pulled out one he’d put … [Read more...]

Speak Wisely

What are you saying? The Practice: Speak wisely. Why? “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Ah, not really. Often it’s words – and the tone that comes with them – that actually do the most damage. Just think back on some of the things that have been said [...] [Read more...]

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 [...] [Read more...]

Give No One Cause to Fear You

What puts people at ease? The Practice: Give no one cause to fear you. Why? We evolved to be afraid. The ancient ancestors that were casual and blithely hopeful, underestimating the risks around them – predators, loss of food, aggression from others of their kind – did not pass on their genes. But the ones [Read More...]

Hug the Monkey

Longing for love? The Practice: Hug the monkey. Why? Your brain evolved in three stages (to simplify a complex process): Reptile – Brainstem, focused on avoiding harm Mammal – Limbic system, focused on approaching rewards Primate – Cortex, focused on attaching to “us” The first JOT in this series – pet the lizard – was [Read More...]

Feed The Mouse

Got cheese? The Practice: Feed the mouse. Why? As the nervous system evolved, your brain developed in three stages: Reptile – Brainstem, focused on avoiding harm Mammal – Limbic system, focused on approaching rewards Primate – Cortex, focused on attaching to “us” Since the brain is integrated, avoiding, approaching, and attaching are accomplished by its [Read More...]

Remember The Big Things

What matters most to you? The Practice: Remember the big things. Why? In every life, reminders arrive about what’s really important. I’ve recently received one myself, in a form that’s already come to countless people and will come to countless more: news of a potentially serious health problem. My semi-annual dermatology mole check turned up [Read More...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X