Like strangers, and every person in our path, we encounter acquaintances and friends for a reason. More accurately, we attract them. Sometimes the reasons appear obvious, and at other times the reasons are not obvious at all and may take months or years to dawn.
As post mortems of the 2016 presidential election began to roll in, fingers started pointing to what psychologists call the confirmation bias as one reason many of the polls and pundits were wrong in their predictions of which candidate would end up victorious.
Learning healthy ways—a collection of skills that researchers call resilience—to move through adversity can help us cope better and recover more quickly, or at least start heading in that direction.
Scientists have studied twins for many years to understand how genes and environments influence differences among individuals, spanning conditions such as cancer and mental health to characteristics such as intelligence and political beliefs.
We want to wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving. This year, with all that is happening in our country, it seems more important than ever to take a break from the news and focus on gratitude and loving.
My heart aches for the division and anguish revealed in our November election. The fabric of our society is indeed torn and I wonder, can we find a way back together?
We are a divided nation; that is an understatement. What’s more, we increasingly hear we are living in our own “bubble” or echo chamber that differing views cannot penetrate.
For years I understood the concepts of loving more and unconditional acceptance. I knew the woman I wanted to be: more loving, more accepting, more compassionate. But in day-to-day living I struggled with keeping my heart open, especially when I felt afraid...
On the night of the US election, Manhattan’s magisterial, glass-encased Javits Centre stood with its ceiling intact and its guest-of-honour in defeated absence.
Throughout primary school, I became accustomed to being in the crossfire of two opposing camps. When a French friend would insult my English friend, I would raise my hand, step forward, and launch into my own variation of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech...
The thoughts that have accompanied me throughout these recent weeks regarding the US presidential elections are both ‘God Bless America’, in the literal sense, and “God Help America” (and the World). Viewing events consciously through half closed eyes...
Would you be more grateful for a trendy new sofa or for a relaxing family vacation?
For many women, people of color, LGBTQ people, Muslims and immigrants, the victory of Donald Trump seems to have endorsed discrimination against them.
How do we become aware of our own thoughts and feelings? And what enables us to know when we’ve made a good or bad decision? Every day we are confronted with ambiguous situations.
What do you look for in a partner? Surely that depends on what the partner is for – you’d probably want a business partner to be innovative, a choir buddy to be musical and a romantic partner to be attractive and funny.
Mahatma Gandhi once instructed his devotees to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” His point was: don’t identify the problems of the world and kvetch over the shortcomings of humanity. He advocated instead actively embodying the higher qualities of being...
Privacy campaigners this week applauded Facebook’s decision to block big UK insurance firm Admiral from using young people’s social media data to help set their car insurance premiums.
Whether you support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, fear might be the biggest factor driving you to the polls.
What we’re being called to do as a species before we either destroy ourselves or most of life on our planet is to meet ourselves fully. We must have the courage to meet our own prejudices and encounter every single place within us that would rather resort to blame than to face the collective human pain body.
The vitriolic presidential campaign left many of us feeling anger, and the election of Donald J. Trump as President hasn’t erased it. Hearing about or seeing vicious personal attacks, criticism of parents who have lost a child to war, accusations of fraud and talk of sexual assault have affected our psyches, souls and bodies.
That famous phrase, “an man’s home is his castle”, neatly captures longstanding ideas about what the private home really is: a place which we can control and defend, a private territory where we decide who enters and who doesn’t.
The desire to create a more humane business often coincides with the desire to be a force for good in the world. This reflects the higher purpose we feel emerging inside us as a result of greater self-awareness. Such increased self-awareness eventually expands to include the surrounding community and the world as a whole...
The recent finding that telling lies induces changes in the brain has stimulated a number of misrepresentations that may wreak more harm on our understanding than the lies on which they report.
Fear continues to saturate our lives: fear of nuclear destruction, fear of climate change, fear of the subversive, and fear of foreigners.
This Halloween may be the scariest in a long time. Facing the usual huge crowds of zombies, witches and vampires, deep down, many of us most fear running into one of the “killer clowns” that have been spotted in creepy places across the world over the past few months.
Do you feel like your mind freezes during exams? Do you find yourself thinking “I really can’t do this”? Does your heart race fast or do you find it hard to breathe during exams?
There is a story that has kept popping up in my work over the years. It is one of the tales of Nasruddin, a Sufi amalgam of wise man and fool. He has the peculiar gift of both acting out our basic confusion and at the same time opening us up to our deeper wisdom.
No matter what challenges or difficulties you are facing, it can be a big help to remember that if you can only do one minute at a time, there's nothing to worry about. One minute at a time. That’s all you have to do.
A research team of psychologists has found that teaching Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli teenagers that groups are generally capable of change—without ever mentioning a specific adversary—can significantly improve their ability to cooperate.
Do you ever think that you're not good enough to act compassionately? Not quite holy enough, so maybe you would rather leave that sort of behavior to the saints and sages, the ministers and priests. After all, aren't these the people who are in charge of communications with God?
In 1959, Peter Tripp, a popular New York DJ, pledged to stay awake for 200 hours for charity while continuing to host his radio show.
Halloween is a chance to seek out the spooky, as well as the gross and horrifying. We enjoy the emotional rush—free of any actual danger—from both, says Daniel Kelly.
Even after mounting evidence of Donald Trump’s exploitative and demeaning treatment of women, his standing in the polls still hovers above 40%. On the face of it that’s more than a little shocking – but less surprising is the gender split among his supporters.
A new study shows low socioeconomic status and fear of abandonment early in life can lead to poor health in adulthood—regardless of adult socioeconomic status.
How often in your life have you avoided doing something because of the terrifying story you concocted in your head? Maybe you avoid ﬂying or swimming in the ocean (amazing how the ﬁlm Jaws forced many of us back on to the beach). We’ve learned to tell ourselves the story of fear so well...
I've been holding back. I've been biting my tongue until I can process the current events and search inside myself for my personal truth before I add to the noise. I've been wanting to transform this whole thing into something positive and I wasn't having much luck...
As Hurricane Matthew approached the Atlantic coast earlier this month, more than 2.5 million people were told to evacuate in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
What drives professional sportspeople to break the rules of the game? And what makes them believe, or hope, that they won’t get caught? Or think that their actions will bring glory to them and their team?
Sleep is critical for physical and mental health, and our quality of life. While 3% of the population are genetically programmed to function with less than six hours sleep regularly, the rest of us need around 7.5 hours a night. But what determines whether we like to go to bed early or late?
From the moment they are born, babies are exposed to information that can teach them about who they are. By touching their own face and body, or by kicking and grabbing things, they start to enjoy the influence of their actions on the world.
Decisions are based on the way choices are framed. This is because people use emotion when making decisions, leading to some options feeling more desirable than others.
The best way to move into authenticity with ease is to roll up your sleeves and get comfortable in your own skin. No one even has to be around for this to start, it’s just about you being comfortable with yourself.
A few years ago, I discovered that a friend was cheating on their partner. This immediately blackened my perception of my friend. Then I remembered that I had done something quite similar some years earlier.
Anger fuels our dark side. We give into the impulse to strike out justifying our mean words and destructive actions by unspoken thoughts such "You hurt me and so I'm going to hurt you back." We escalate, tell ourselves "they deserve it" and erroneously think...
Without knowledge of what’s happening, sensitive individuals may grow up coping in unsatisfying ways. But this doesn’t have to be the case. For someone who is highly empathic, refining and modulating this deep way of knowing involves several keys...
Human memory does not operate like a video tape that can be rewound and rewatched, with every viewing revealing the same events in the same order. In fact, memories are reconstructed every time we recall them.
I began the practice of “stepping aside” only after years of stepping into business that was clearly not my own. I had mistakenly assumed that helping others make their decisions was an important calling. It showed them I cared. It was my way of remaining important to them. Or so I thought . . .
Small but insidious dragons lurk to intercept us on our spiritual journey through the land of ecstasies and voids. One of these is the infamous sheltering dragon.
"Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened." Those nine words by Ted Geisel (Dr.Seuss), one of our country’s favorite storytellers, contain so much wisdom. They apply to many different aspects of life, but I would like to focus on the area of relationships.
Whether it’s better to brag or to be humble can depend on what perception you seek to change and whether the truth will ever come to light, research suggests.
The biases we hold below the surface influence how we view this election season, says Efrén Pérez, an associate professor of political science and sociology.
Most people will categorically agree that one of the most difficult emotions to express is forgiveness. More lives have been destroyed by bitterness and the inability to forgive than perhaps any other negative emotion. Even the most minuscule issues that we refuse to let go of can poison...
For us humans, getting involved in an aggressive conflict can be costly, not only because of the risk of injury and stress, but also because it can damage precious social relationships between friends – and the same goes for monkeys and apes.
You don’t have to be a naturally mindful person to reap the emotional benefits of meditation.
Magicians, dictators, advertisers and scientists all know it. It is possible to influence people without them even realising it.
Globally, women are triumphing in historically male-dominated areas. 2017 may begin with women at the helm of Germany, Liberia, Norway, South Korea, the UK, the US, General Motors, the IMF, YouTube and possibly the United Nations.
“Somebody woke up on the wrong side of bed this morning.” You know that comment; the one that rarely makes you feel any more gracious towards the world (or the person saying it). At other times you might feel particularly gracious and sunny, for no reason at all.
Feeling accepted seems to feature so highly in our lives. We set such great store by how others perceive us. Even amongst people you would count as close acquaintances, do you let them see the real you?
Social media is a wonderful way to connect with others, share experiences and opinions and express ideas. But it can have a dark side for body image, which requires a critical and thoughtful approach to counteract.
A recent article offering men advice about how to proposition a woman wearing headphones – encouraging them to block her path to prevent her from ignoring them – rightfully provoked a major backlash.
To really know about peace is to embody the truth that you and peace are one. But since so many aren’t aware of what they truly are, how can they possibly know lasting peace? This lack of awareness is why, despite the efforts of activists, seekers, and indeed so many in the world who desire peace, an enduring peace escapes us.
While alcohol is a legal and common way many societies stimulate social interaction, when consumed at high levels over long periods it can undermine physical health and cause cancers and other disease.
Your eyes begin to open after a good night of sleep, but something feels weird. You try to rub the tiredness out of your face but can’t lift your arms. In a panic you try to take a deep breath but can’t draw air.
Our linguistic and legal obsession with “insult” and “offence” is nothing new. In 1832, Sydney resident William McLoughlin was given 50 lashes for using the word “damned” against his master.
Sometimes what looks like a fight is only the fierceness of love. We have moved from a condition of silent hostility, buried resentment, and covert low-intensity warfare to open conflict. We are wrestling together, changing roles in the hay, engaging in honest intercourse, yessing and k(no)wing each other. And contact is the first condition of love.
Tear-jerkers such as Adele’s Someone Like You frequently top the charts these days, while gloomy classical compositions like Mozart’s Requiem have moved people for centuries. Both portray and bring about a strong sense of loss and sadness.
People were more likely to underestimate their own level of drinking, drunkenness, and the associated risks when surrounded by other drunk people, a new study shows. Those people also felt more at risk when surrounded by people who were more sober.
Perfectionism can prevent us from acknowledging the best in ourselves because our attention becomes focused on overly obsessing with the worst in ourselves. As a result perfectionists often beat themselves up with negative self-talk and self-defeating behaviour.
Do you feel like you're never enough? That there's never enough time? Money? Friends? Great opportunities? Recognition? Do you believe if you had or did something else -- got married, earned more, looked more beautiful, danced better, or had more time -- you'd finally relax and feel okay? Do you believe more is better? Are you rarely satisfied?
If there is one emotion that seems to get out of control, it is anger. We express it, and then we regret it. Repressing anger does no good. It just builds up, and then we feel as if we have a bomb that’s about to explode. Can we put unwanted anger to rest?
It’s 10:00 at night, and you have a paper due tomorrow morning. You’ve been trying to come up with a good idea all afternoon, but you became distracted by your friends’ Tumblr posts.
Philanthropy watchers such as Forbes, Business Insider and the Chronicle of Philanthropy regularly produce rankings of the most generous philanthropists in the United States.
We spend so much time helping people who punish themselves and constrain their lives with an overdeveloped sense of guilt that it's easy to forget the other side of the coin.
How many times have we stopped ourselves from doing something we really really wanted to do, but were afraid to? If you think back, imagine where the road would have taken you had you had the courage to do what your heart wanted you to do, or not do... or to say, or not say.
Negative experiences on Facebook may increase the risk of depressive symptoms among young adults, a new study finds.
Wherever you go online, someone is trying to personalise your web experience. Your preferences are pre-empted, your intentions and motivations predicted.
Sometimes the thoughts bothering us are not based on anything concrete, like health or career problems. But they’re in our mind anyway, and it’s unsettling us enough to make us feel agitated or irritated, and maybe even angered by it...
When “L” was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, it hardly came as a surprise, even to her. She had been experiencing subtle but distressing symptoms of psychosis
You work late and finally crawl into bed absolutely wiped out. But you can’t fall asleep because your mind is still racing. Oooo! You finally do fall asleep! But then you wake up in the middle of the night. You can’t go back to sleep, so you get up and...
When you use fear, guilt, threat, or punishment to control someone who bothers you, you add to the dark mess. Teaching others that they are guilty, small, stupid, or owing are forms of psychological terrorism. When you release others, you release yourself.
Afroman’s 2001 hit Because I Got High tells a potentially important story: smoking cannabis makes you lazy and demotivated. In fact, the fable of the lazy stoner has been around for decades. But is there good evidence in support of it?
Pictures of Nigella Lawson wearing a burkini on Bondi Beach and nuns paddling on a French beach in their religious garb show how selective and ridiculous the burkini law is.
I remember once believing that guilt was a wasted emotion. Like all emotions, there is a place for guilt. A centered spiritual being, one who has moved past limiting beliefs, will feel guilty doing something that goes against who she is or wants to be.
Humor is observed in all cultures and at all ages. But only in recent decades has experimental psychology respected it as an essential, fundamental human behavior.
We develop the capacity to experience happiness, ecstasy, and tranquility to the degree to which we can free ourselves from the residue of our emotional body.
New research suggests that upbeat music can foster cooperation at work.
In 1957 Vance Packard’s book The Hidden Persuaders shocked the world by revealing that messages exposed subliminally, below our level of perception, were able to increase sales of ice cream and Coke.
The conviction of radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary for swearing allegiance to Islamic State shows that those breaking the law by inviting support for a terrorist organisation can and will be prosecuted.
We are currently living in what I call the Never Enough Story, a cultural myth characterized by ideas of separation, unworthiness, and scarcity. It is a culture that indoctrinates each and every one of us to the idea that we are separate, on our own, and there is never enough to go around.
Personal problems are only as big and as real as we make them. In fact, they only exist if we allow our egos to create them and then we feed them through our incessant attention. Take a look at the following suggestions for changing how you look at the “imagined problems” in your life.
Guilt is a difficult burden to carry around with you. And guilt perpetuates what you are guilty about; how does it do that? Guilt is a very negative, destructive energy. It is different from remorse, the feeling we get when we know we have done something wrong and we’re dreadfully sorry. In the case of remorse...
It is 25 years since cricket commentators Brian Johnston and Jonathan Agnew famously got the uncontrollable giggles on live radio, while reporting on that day’s Test Match between England and the West Indies.
We may expect great transformations throughout human culture, as mankind becomes more responsible for its knowledge, and thus its deeds.
Crisis hotlines have been around for years, but until recently there’s been very little data on which counseling strategies seemed most effective at helping people cope. The recent emergence of text-based crisis help lines is changing that.
Humans have evolved a disproportionately large brain as a result of sizing each other up in large cooperative social groups, propose researchers.
We all experience the ups and downs of life sometimes. We might be treated badly by others or miss out on something we think we deserve, like a promotion at work.
All we can ever hope to do, Sigmund Freud once wrote, is “to change neurotic misery into common unhappiness”. This pessimistic statement from arguably the most influential psychological theorist of modern times captured the mood that prevailed in psychology through most of the 20th century.
According to new data, supporters of Donald Trump prefer to get their news from television and enjoy watching crime dramas.
Older African Americans and Latinos have an edge over whites when it comes to being able to quit smoking, according to a study of nearly 3,000 smokers.