Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Public School? Private School? Home School?

Even though taxes pay for public schools, millions of parents spend a fortune to send their kids to private school or home school them. They fear the public schools will shortchange their child.

If you’re not sure what to do,

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Case FOR Social Media, TV, Phoning, and Video Games

Parents are urged to have kids watch less TV, text less and interact in-person more, and play less video games. My PsychologyToday.com article today offers a dissenting view.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Jews are Going Extinct: Why that's bad, why it's coming, and how to stop it.

The Jews are going extinct. My PsychologyToday.com article today explains why that's bad, why it's coming, and how to stop it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

How I Try to Make My Work Life Healthy

WeWork Magazine asked me to write about how I try to make my work life healthy. Here's what I do:
  • A major cause of stress is lack of control. I have crafted my work life to give me a lot of control. Notably, I've chosen to be self-employed, which gives me more freedom to do what I want when I want. That means maximizing time on tasks I'm good at and enjoy doing (counseling, writing, being on the radio, giving talks) on issues I know a lot about (career and education).  I don't have to spend much time on things I'm bad at--like working on a team. 
  • I work long hours because I believe that work-week hours 40 to 60+ are more wisely spent being productive than on what I'd otherwise doing. I try to avoid the health risks of working long hours by trying not to rush or get angry.  Being self-employed creates an environment that makes it easier to go slow-and-steady and avoid situations likely to make me angry. 
  • I also reduce stress by working at home: no stressful commute, and home is about as relaxing a place as exists: I can set up my office exactly as I like: in a room with lots of windows, that's quiet, with lots of plants. And I can take little breaks for gardening, playing the piano, and with my doggie, Einstein.
  • I try, not always successfully, to follow the new rule: Get out of your chair at least five minutes every hour. To facilitate that, I do my own housekeeping, laundry, etc.. And because I have a dog, I take him on frequent walks.  
  • I am scrupulously honest. If I believe a prospective client doesn't need to hire me, for example, if a bit of free advice is what feels appropriate, I always do that. If I feel I can't champion a particular client, I won't work with him or her. If I believe a client would be better served by another career counselor, I make the referral. That all is de-stressing and thus healthy.
  • In my client sessions, I balance seriousness with humor. And as appropriate I'll take them out to my garden or play the piano for them.
  • I try to eat frequent small relatively healthy meals. Typical day: Coffee and croissant at 9 AM. Plain yogurt with fruit added at 11. A salad with some tuna fish at 1, etc.  But I occasionally cheat and take myself out for, for example, an Indian buffet lunch, but try to keep the carbs and high-calorie sauces to a minimum.
For me, at least, that seems to be working. I'll be 65 in June and have as much energy as ever, and in my most recent wellness exam, my doctor, as usual, gave me a clean bill of health. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Your Health Care, America's Health Care, Today and Tomorrow

Already, a New York Times/CBS poll reports  that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) has resulted in decreased access and increased cost. How can you cope? What should America do? My PsychologyToday.com article today 
attempts to tackle those thorny questions.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Workaholic or Heroic?

We used to call people who worked long hours "hard workers." Now, we tend to pathologize them as "workaholics," like alcoholics, addicted. My PsychologyToday.com article today argues that many would be more accurately described as heroic. This is an only slightly enhanced version of an article I wrote on this topic for Time.com. So if you read that, there's no need to read this one.

Monday, February 16, 2015

What Does That Person Really Mean?

For different groups, the same sentence can mean something very different. My PsychologyToday article today may help you figure out what that person really means.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

When You Feel Washed Up: An exploration of what to do when you feel you've been put out to pasture.

Do you feel washed up? Perhaps you’re in your 60s, been “laid off” and doubt you can ever find another “real” job, but you’re not ready to retire. 

My PsychologyToday.com article today explores what you might do when you feel out-to-pasture.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Your Dark Side's Upside

America rewards optimism, cheeriness, and moderation. The new book, The Upside of the Dark Side by Todd Kashdan, argues that you’re more likely to be successful and feel good about yourself if you, as appropriate, invoke less societally encouraged behaviors.

My PsychologyToday.com article today offers ideas from the book plus my reaction to each.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Pros and Cons of Giving Advice

A tenet of counseling—whether therapist to client, doctor to patient, or even friend-to-friend, is that it’s better to not give advice, especially if not asked for. Better to listen well and ask questions to facilitate people coming up with their own solution.

Indeed, avoiding advice-giving has advantages, but sometimes advice-giving is indeed wiser. My PsychologyToday.com article today explores the pros and cons. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Aging Well: A practical guide to the not-so golden years

I’ve written many posts on aging and thought you might find it helpful if I synthesized their most important advice in one place. That's what I've done in today's PsychologyToday.com article. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dismiss Pollyanna: Beware of people who cheer you on with pollyannish optimism

In America, being optimistic is key to being liked and successful.

  • Politicians know they get votes with such statements as, “America’s best days are yet to come.”
  • Self-help gurus sell more books and get more clients by blithely proclaiming, “Work hard and you can achieve your dreams.”
  • Clerics get more parishioners and donations with “With God’s help you can accomplish anything.”
  • Friends who say, “You can do it” will be much more popular than those who make a probabilistic assessment, for example, 
Your chances of paying back your student loans let alone making a sustainably middle-class income from that music or art or fashion or broadcasting degree are lower than of a rattlesnake biting you in your bed. Of course, highly talented people who can get into a nationally-top school, cannot be so denigrated. But outside of those few elite schools, artsy degree and certificate programs can, without much exaggeration, be described as bizarrely expensive four-to-six-year summer camps that enable their lackluster students to claim to be pursuing a career.

Imagine a friend saying the previous paragraph to you—You’d probably de-friend them faster than you could say “mean-spirited.” 

Yet being popular should be less important than being helpful. My PsychologyToday.com article today attempts to be helpful even at the risk of your disliking it.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Making Peace with Your Aging

Perhaps the hardest thing to accept is your aging. Each sign of decline is a reminder that you’re moving ever closer to the end, and the closer you get, the more limited your powers and the more likely you’ll be in pain.

Yet accept it we must because, even if you take good care of yourself, decline and end are inevitable.

But it’s a lot easier to say “Accept it,”  than to accept it. Perhaps the internal dialogue in my PsychologyToday.com article today will help.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Is Electronic Recreation So Bad? The case FOR TV, videogames, Facebook, etc.

Parents are urged to have our kids watch less TV, text less and interact in-person more, and play less video games. 

In my PsychologyToday.com article today,  I cite a wealth of research that suggests we have far more important battles to fight.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

We're Sadder as a Nation...and How We Might Better Cope

Statistics indicate America is sadder, more depressed, and yes, more suicidal. 

My PsychologyToday.com article today offers explanations for why and probably inadequate suggestions for how to better cope.

How Big a Deal Should Valentine's Day Be?

Valentine's Day is a big deal. Should it be? I offer an internal debate on the subject in my PsychologyToday.com article.

Using a Light Therapy Box for Seasonal Depression

A light box is a first-line treatment for seasonal affective disorder, sometimes called seasonal depression. In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I summary how to use it.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Making and Keeping a New Habit

Make a new habit and keep it and it could change your life. 

In my PsychologyToday.com article today, I discuss how to do that, based largely on Gretchen Rubin's new book, Better than Before.