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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tips: Are Smart Phones and Computers Turning Us Into Vulcans Like Dr Spock on Star Trek

Thought for the Day: It is amazing how dependent we become on our computers. Yesterday, while anxiously awaiting to pick up my new computer with all my programs loaded into it, I felt somewhat handicapped when I tried to work on my cell phone. Although I was able to upload a photo, when I tried to post it to my blog it would only capture a video that was not related to the post. Late last night, I was thrilled to get my new computer. It is faster, lighter and far more powerful than my 7 or 8 year old Mac. I was planning to write about the days of awe between the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement, but something else which seems related arose in light of my new acquisition. It's a longer "tip" than usual, but I hope you will take the time to read it and let me know what you think about these important issues.

While talking to a colleague about the benefits of new technology, we wandered into the down sides, dangers and challenges it represents for parents, children and people of all ages. On the one hand, technology has opened new avenues of communication with people worldwide. The opportunities to communicate with people are endless. It's easy and quick to just write a text, tweet or send an email to anyone, anywhere in the universe. Skype makes it possible to talk and even see the person in real time, whether they are around the corner or on the other side of the world. There is no doubt in my mind that these communication techniques as well as the wealth of internet support groups and chat rooms can be invaluable resources.

However, there are dangers and challenges that worry me both professionally and personally, as well. Could all the technological advances be jeopardizing our ability to connect face to face and maintain real relationships? Could smart phones and computers turn us into dumber human beings with limited, robotic interpersonal skills? Are immediate gratification and shorter attention spans produced by the speed of technology actually impeding our ability to delve deeper into both concepts and relationships? Will we become like the fictional character, Dr Spock, on Star Trek who was incapable of understanding or expressing human emotions? 
Read on to see some of the questions it is raising for me...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

#FF Wonderful Weekend Review

Thought for the Day: This has been a busy weekend with travel and tha purchase of a new computer. Therefore till sometime tomorrow, I will not have my computer. They are transferring things from the old one to the new one. So I just prepared a weekend review on Flipbook. I don't have the program to make a better image. I hope google+ will do it for me. I also don't know how to edit or rearrange posts from my phone, so there is a mix of mainly Sunday's comics, some songs for the soul and a couple if articles about psychology. I don't know if I will be able to post tomorrow. Have a great end of the weekend!
     Here's the link to the magazine:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Make Time Your Best Friend Or It May Become Your Worst Enamy

Thought for the Day: On Monday, I showed how time can be the greatest motivator. It can help people change. On Tuesday, I gave you an assignment and promised to explain why it is important in today's post. If you have not read Tuesday's post or completed the brief assignment (5 - 10 minutes), I would encourage you to do it since it will be helpful to you in making time your best friend. Today's quote will give you insight into the task I gave you on Tuesday. Here's the quote, incase the movement makes it a bit hard to digest:
"To make time your best friend, dream as if you have forever and act as if you only have today. To Make time your worst enemy, act as if you have forever and dream as if you only have today."
Here's how you can use this quote and the assignment I gave you to start making time your best friend...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tip: Make Time Your Best Friend (Part I)

Thought for the Day: I started this post yesterday, but am not even sharing what I wrote. Ironically, I had too little time to complete it. Perhaps the scope was too broad for a simple psychology tip and I will use it some other time. Since the Jewish High Holidays start this evening, I saw most of my clients on Monday and Tuesday leaving too little time to write a post I would be willing to publish. Either way, it serves as a lesson about making time your best friend. Best friends are flexible and forgiving with one another. I hope you will be as well. So today, I will be posting Tuesday's Psychology Tip right now, followed by Wednesday's Words of Wisdom later today. To do this, I need your help.

I'm also going to do something slightly different today. I always try to make my posts thought provoking. Today, I want you, my readers, to do more than just think about the post. I'd like to give you an thought provoking assignment. Although it could take longer, all I ask is that you spend one to five minutes on the assignment today. You can come back to it when you have more time, but for today, take just a few minutes. It will help you turn time into your best friend.   Read on to see the assignment...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Motivational Mondays: The Greatest Motivational Tool Is Time

Thought for the Day: In preparation for each week's writing for the blog, I mull over a few ideas. My thought process this week began by focusing on the turn of the seasons. Then it moved to something a client said about four months ago which helped motivate me and many of my clients over the last few months. The client's suggestion dovetailed with something I learned about my grandmother's nephew, Herb Crane, z.l., whom I wrote about in another post after he passed away at the age of 95 last May. It also resonated with and fit well with psychological research findings about habit change. Somehow these four thoughts collided inspiring what appears to be another miniseries on time and motivation.

Back in May, one of my clients came in and told me that she had started working on getting fit. She had been working long hours and neglecting all physical activity. Not only was she uncomfortable with the extra pounds she had gained, she also wanted to improve her life style. One of my client's friends with similar concerns about her own health and fitness suggested that they could help one another stay motivated. They decided to start walking together whenever possible. The friend had heard that it would help to practice this principle: "Don't break the chain." The basic idea behind the "Don't break the chain" method is simple. Most great ideas are simple and here's why I believe this is a great motivational concept...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

#FF 9/19/14 Wonderful Weekend Review: Self Help, Earth Wind & Fire's September and Sunday's Comics

Click Here to View the Magazine

Thought for the Day: Somehow I thought things might slow down once the summer ended, but it feels like life has speeded up. Here's this week's review of Fabulous finds. It's a mix of psychology articles, a little music for your soul from Earth Wind and Fire and a lot of funny photos and GIFs (like the one on the cover). Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday's Psychology Trivia: Which Comes First? Depression or Low Self Esteem?

Thought for the Day: it's Thursday, making it time for some Psychology Trivia. All week I have been posting what I called a mini-series of articles on the importance of de-cluttering your brain of negative self talk (If you missed the earlier posts, check out: Motivational Monday:Cleaning Out The Closets In Your Mind, Tuesday's Psychology Tips: How To Stop Negative Thoughts & Improve Self Esteem, and Wednesday's Words of Wisdom:The Main Reason People Cling To Self Doubt And Negative Self Images).  I decided to complete the series with today's trivia question which is a chicken or the egg type question:
Which comes first?
      a) Depression then low self esteem, or
      b) Low self esteem then depression
Psychologists have wondered whether depression leads to low self esteem or negative view of oneself leads to depression for years. Since they are clearly correlated, it is hard to prove causality. Do you think you know the answer? Read on to see if you are right. As with all the psychology trivia questions that I share here, answer is far from trivial. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: The Main Reason People Cling to Self Doubt and Negative Self Images

Thought for the Day: As I promised, today's Words of Wisdom are part of a mini-series on cleaning out self doubts and negativity from the internal closets of your minds. On Monday, I introduced a client's dilemma and some ways to fight depression. Yesterday, I offered 4 specific tips to help stop negative thoughts and improve one's self image. Today's quote will address why it may be hard to follow the tips, even if you want to change and know the suggestions could help. Here's why it is so hard:
     "Paradoxically, the main reason people cling to self doubts and negative self images is fear of venturing outside their comfort zone."
You may be wondering, how can low self esteem be a comfort zone? I know it sounds counterintuitive but here's why...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tips: Cleaning Inner Mirrors: How To Stop Negative Thoughts & Improve Self Esteem

Thought for the Day: Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of cleaning the outdated, negative self thoughts out of closets in your mind. I relayed a story of a client named June who is tormented by self doubts. Today, I will offer some suggestions which can help fight negative self talk and doubts. 

Current psychological studies have found that your thoughts impact on how you feel.  It's not surprising that negative thoughts can bring you down while positive thoughts can be up-lifting. Unfortunately, one of the symptoms of depression is negativity. When someone suffers from depression, not only do they see catastrophe around every corner, they also are plagued by  constant questioning of their self worth. This is true for people regardless of their professional and personal accomplishments. The consequences if depression is left untreated can be deadly. The recent suicide of Robin Williams is a sad reminders of the dangers of depressive thinking. 

The most successful treatment for depression combines antidepressant medication with psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral techniques have been highly effective. If you are suffering from self doubts and recrimination like June, here are 4 things you can do. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Motivational Mondays: Cleaning Out The Closets In Your Mind

Thought for the Day: For the past couple of weeks, in anticipation of the change of seasons, I have been working on a fall clean up. A few times a year, I focus on my closets. Each time I do, I come up with better ways to keep things organized and in clear view. I try coordinating color and types of clothing, use plastic boxes, label things and think that I have found the solution to disarray in my closets. I donate the impulse "bargain" purchases that often I have not worn making them expensive mistakes. I give away clothes that don't fit anymore and put other things away for the off season. When I finish, my closets look wonderful. However, over time the clutter seems to magically reappear. I take advantage of the change of seasons and the need to switch from summer to winter apparel, to set out to conquer my closets one more time.

This morning, while thinking about what I want to write, several ideas arose, not just for Motivational Monday, but for the other weekly segments of this blog. If you like this segment, you may want to come back for the Tuesday's Psychology Tips, Wednesday's Words of Wisdom and Thursday's Psychology Trivia. It may be like a mini-series of posts addressing ways to de-clutter your internal closet and reset your mind. This too is an ongoing process which can be beneficial for our mental health.

When I think about the process that led to today's post, "Cleaning Out the Closets of Your Mind," the ideas actually began following a meeting with a client on Friday. I'll call her June (not her real name). June is a very bright accomplished woman who has been struggling with depression most of her life. On Friday, she reported that the change in seasons and some anniversaries of difficult life events that occurred in the fall contributed to a very dramatic decline in her mood.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

#FF 9/13/14 Wonderful Weekend Review: #911Memorial, #Psychology Finds, #Songs4theSoul & #Comics

Click Here to View the Magazine

Thought for the Day: I chose the GIF cover of today's magazine because it was filled with sunshine, butterflies and a feeling of hope for the future. I hope it eases the sadness which the moving photos from the 9/11 Memorial bring. It is hard to believe it has been 13 years since the attack. The magazine also includes some interesting psychology finds on "The Power of Sleep." a different photographic perspective on #Autism, and ways to improve To-Do lists. Saturday's Songs for the Soul include a powerful musical tribute by Neil Young to the 9/11 heros on Flight 93, "Let's Roll," and an article in honor of Bob Crewe, singer and songwriter for Jersey Boys ("Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man" and "Rag Doll") who died Thursday at the age of 82. In addition, some music from Ravi Shankar and some amazing dance moves. Perhaps it should become a new area of  competition at the Olympics. Finally, a few comics for your weekend enjoyment. 

Have a great weekend! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

9/11/14 Special Edition: 9/11 and Terrorism: Are We Winning Battles But Losing The War?

Thought for the Day: Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of 9/11. I had planned to write this post, but spent most of the morning watching the Memorial Services instead.  On 9/11 over the years, I have often felt the need to turn off the television and reflect privately on the events of 9/11,  but this year I felt compelled to watch  the powerful images of grief, resilience and rebuilding that the families, New York and our nation have made. I could not help thinking about the recent attacks by ISIS on innocent American journalists and Arabs who disagree with ISIS'  beliefs. President Obama's announcement of a strategy in the eradication of ISIS was also running through my mind. We all owe the people who lost their lives and their families to make every effort possible to win the complicated battle against terrorism.
    As a psychologist with expertise in trauma, resilience and conflict resolution, I also feel an obligation to examine this challenge from a psychological point of view. This post is in no way comprehensive, but I hope it will raise questions and help you come up with ideas that you will share to help find creative ways to resolve this important dilemma which threatens the civilized world.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tips: How to Find a Psychologist Who Cares About the Outcome Of Their Patients

Thought for the Day: Somehow, September has barely started and I am busier than ever. Perhaps people are saying goodbye to the summer and determined to get their lives back into order. On Tuesdays I have been sharing psychology tips. Often I look back on tips or answers I have given on Since I have been very busy, I have not answered any questions for a while and decided to pay a visit and contribute some answers. One of the questions saddened me. The 26 year old woman who asked this question may have had some bad experiences in therapy in the past. When there are only 400 characters allowed it is hard to say all that I would have liked to but here I can say a bit more. Here's the question:

A 26 year-old female asked:
How do I find a psychologist or psychiatrist that really cares about the outcome of their patients?
Here's what I answered with a bit more than 400 characters...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Motivational Mondays: Inspiration from Joan Rivers Dreams

*Photo Credit
Thought for the Day: I didn't want to write about Joan Rivers. So many newscasters and specials have followed her sudden death last week. Being a clinical psychologist and writer has it's own unique professional hazards. To be a therapist, one must not only be aware of one's own feelings but also have the ability to empathize with others emotions. It helps therapists to relate to their clients' woes. When I go to movies, a funny scene can have me laughing out loud. In sad movies, I cry prolifically. Last week, when Joan Rivers lost consciousness during what was supposed to be a routine medical procedure, I found myself, like many people around the world, checking online, hoping that she would recover. Even as the news seemed to be less and less hopeful, what psychologists call denial kept me thinking that somehow, the comedienne who joked about death and everything else would somehow live on. All the research on laughter says that it can add at least 10 years to your life expectancy. I imagined Joan Rivers laughing on like George Burns to at least 100 years of age. However, I was wrong. As the tributes and the requests to keep laughing kept streaming on TV and the internet, my unconscious mind sent me a message no psychologist can ignore.

The unconscious works in mysterious ways. I was saddened by the news of Joan River's death and laughed when her jokes were replayed on TV. I was not a huge fan of her humor, but appreciated her talent. I did not know much about her life and learned new things from all the coverage. I went on in my life feeling fine until Friday, when I found myself in a funk.

Here's what I noticed and am sharing in hopes that it will help others...

Friday, September 5, 2014

#FF Wonderful Weekend Review: #Psychology of Happiness, Depression & Learning, NPR: Trampled Turtles, Jimmy Fallon & Adam Levine, & Remebering Joan Rivers

Click here to see the magazine

Thought for the Day: In today's Wonderful Weekend Review, I have selected an array of great #FF Fabulous Finds. On the serious side, there are articles about depression and fighting the stigma of mental illness. On the lighter side, there is a selection of 11 TED Talks on Happiness and suggestions of ways to enhance your learning skills. Sadly, this week we lost another great comedian, Joan Rivers. Since she would want us all to keep laughing, I chose an article with a clip of some of her hilarious jokes. For Saturday's Songs for the Soul, there is a 15 minute video from Tiny Desk Concerts NPR of Trampled Turtles with some great melodies and harmonies. I also chose a hilarious clip of Jimmy Fallon and Adam Levine impersonating Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and other well known performers. Finally, there are some funny photos of infants, a bunny and a GIF of someone trying to fly for Sunday's Comics.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday's Psychology Tips: 25 Ways to Ask Your Teen, "How Was School Today?" WITHOUT Asking "How Was School Today?"

Thought for the Day: Instead of a Psychology Trivia Question today, I chose to copy a series of questions posted on August 29th on a blog called Simple Simon and Company. I did play with their image and added colors, but this is simply their ideas which I think will be helpful for parents.  It is written by 2 stay at home moms. The author of these questions worked for about 10 years as a  middle and high school teacher in her "past" life before motherhood. She also wrote a 2nd  list of questions to ask younger children, but I chose to post these since teens are a bit harder to engage. Conversing with teenagers is an art and good questions can help! I hope this repost is useful as you start the new school year. Here are their 28 (they added a few extra ones for good measure.) questions to start conversations with teens about their day at school...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Depression and Hope Don't Mix

Thought for the Day: Although the weather this summer has been delightful, here in the northeast, the news lately has been very depressing. War has plagued the Middle East. The murder of American journalists covering the battles has brought the horror of the conflict graphically into Americans' lives. The Ebola epidemic in Africa threatens the world. Suicide of yet another great actor, Robin Williams, shocked and saddened people around the world. As a clinical psychologist, I have helped people overcome adversity for many years. I know that depression and hope don't mix. In fact, hope may be the secret weapon in fighting depression. When hope dies, depression wins. This fact lead me to today's words of wisdom:
"If life's challenges seem insurmountable, a daily dose of hope can help you cope." 
Find something to be hopeful for every day. Instead of a spoon full of sugar, a spoon full of hope may be the best medicine. You do not have to become a Pollyanna, but research has shown that finding something or doing something that gives you hope can help reduce feelings of despair and depression. Support a research project to find a cure for Ebola. Read about or join a program that is working towards peaceful solutions to political strife. Learn about or support an organization that helps prevent suicide. Teach your children things they can do to make the world a better place and hope that they will find better solutions in the future. Take time every day to find ways to feel more hopeful, it can help.