Four Sentences That Lead to Wisdom

I love to read mysteries. Perhaps that is why I like being a psychologist so much. I think of each person as a puzzle with one or two pieces missing and try to figure out how to help each client find the right pieces to become happier, more productive, have better relationships, feel less anxious, or be better at what they do. Recently, I was reading a mystery by Louise Penny and found a few sentences that really got to me. Here they are. … [Read more...]

Empathy vs Sympathy

There are many times when we don’t know what to say. A friend’s spouse is ill, someone doesn’t get the promotion they really wanted, or someone is just having a really down day. We feel stumped and either say nothing or end up saying something we later think is stupid or wrong. In my job teaching medical residents, I work with them on empathy and how to use empathic words. Often, however, what comes out is just “I’m sorry.” When we talk about empathy, we really mean trying to stand … [Read more...]

Self-Care for the Holidays

You can feel the intensity starting about a week before Thanksgiving. People are beginning to make lists, worry about family gifts, think about how much money to spend, and stress over getting through all of their holiday responsibilities. It doesn’t matter if you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanza, the pressure is on! Once we make it through the non-denominational Thanksgiving dinner, it is almost as if the anxiety about the holidays becomes more prominent than the holiday itself. … [Read more...]

What Is Mindfulness, Anyway?

    Mindfulness has become such a hot buzzword, that it is used all the time.  People refer to it when they talk about medication, or relaxation, or doing yoga.  Recently, I picked up two magazines totally devoted to “Mindfulness” and neither one of them defined what it meant.  These publications talked about improving sleep, reducing stress, and even faith, but never defined what mindfulness is.  So I thought it was time to do that. Essentially, Mindfulness is awareness or focus on … [Read more...]

How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions

As I thought about New Year’s Resolutions, it occurred to me that they often derive from some negative way that we see ourselves. I spend too much money; therefore, my resolution is that I will save more. I am 10 pounds overweight; thus, I will exercise more and eat healthy. I work too much, so I resolve to spend more time with my family.   The problem with these resolutions is not only that they come from some judgmental part of our self-image, but that they are hard to keep. We all have … [Read more...]