On one of our “walk and talks” around the lush trails of Rock Creek Park in DC surrounded by bikers, runners, cars and the occasional deer, Wendy and Lisa talked about aging. Wendy’s mother, who had her children in her early 20s, was still joining the family’s grueling summer hikes with her children and nine grandchildren well into her 60s. Wendy mused about how much older she would be when their kids could have their own kids. It dawned on her that her health was not just a here and now issue, but an investment in that future. We agreed to help each other cultivate the habits and make time to build strength as well as reserves, both physical and mental, for the long-term. Their goal: to enjoy being active in their 40s and 50s while also laying the groundwork to continue being active into their 60s, 70s, and beyond. [Read more…] about New book provides practical guidance for women (and men) to rebalance our lifestyles and build Cognitive Reserve
As psychologist Ethan Kross describes in his new book Chatter, that voice is constantly analyzing the situations we’re in, reflecting on the past and future, and telling us who we are. While sometimes friendly and optimistic—it’s OK, everything’s going to work out!—it can also be critical and downbeat. Our inner voice can berate us for mistakes or decide our life is ruined. It can ruminate on negative emotions and experiences, dredging them up without any kind of constructive resolution.
According to Kross, there are three main ways we can turn down the chatter in our heads: shifting our perspective so we’re not so immersed in our problems, talking with others to get support, and changing the environment around us. [Read more…] about Shape your environment, shape your mind
A Neuroscientist’s Poignant Study of How We Forget Most Things in Life (The New Yorker):
Any study of memory is, in the main, a study of its frailty. In “Remember,” an engrossing survey of the latest research, Lisa Genova explains that a healthy brain quickly forgets most of what passes into conscious awareness. The fragments of experience that do get encoded into long-term memory are then subject to “creative editing.” To remember an event is to reimagine it; in the reimagining, we inadvertently introduce new information, often colored by our current emotional state. A dream, a suggestion, and even the mere passage of time can warp a memory. It is sobering to realize that three out of four prisoners who are later exonerated through DNA evidence were initially convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony. “You can be 100 percent confident in your vivid memory,” Genova writes, “and still be 100 percent wrong.” [Read more…] about Neuroscientist Lisa Genova, author of the beautiful novel Still Alice, releases non-fiction book on Memory
In a rapidly changing world, it’s important to be able to adapt and change rather than stubbornly adhering to old ideas and opinions. This was one of the lessons of 2020, a year that forced us to question many of our assumptions about what behaviors are safe, how work and school can be conducted, and how we connect with others.
“In a changing world, you have to be willing and able to change your mind. Otherwise, your expertise can fail, your opinions get out of date, and your ideas fall flat,” says organizational psychologist Adam Grant, author of the new book Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know.
In his book, Grant explains why it’s so important for people to be humbler about their knowledge and stay open to learning and changing their minds. The book is filled with fascinating research and guidance on becoming more flexible in our thinking, while helping others to be more open-minded, too. This skill is crucial not only for facing crises like the pandemic, but also for navigating complex social issues, making good business decisions, and more. [Read more…] about To prevent “cognitive entrenchment,” think like a scientist and be wrong often
We have all experienced it, even if we didn’t know what to call it. Whether we’re overlooking a beautiful view after a challenging hike or watching a new leaf grow on the plant we’ve been nurturing in lockdown, the feeling we get in that moment—amazed, inspired, transported—is what researchers call awe.
In his new book, Awestruck, psychologist Jonah Paquette explains the process underlying the experience of awe and uncovers both its complexity and its value to our well-being. Walking readers through various scientific findings, he shows that awe helps improve our relationships, decrease our stress, and make us happier. By illustrating awe’s many benefits, Paquette gives us a reason to seek more awe experiences in our lives—and then shows us how to do it. [Read more…] about How Wonder and Awe help us transcend self, regulate stress, and improve well-being
If you’re interested in the life of the mind, here you have an awesome window into a unique mind — a profound memoir by bestselling writer and psychotherapy pioneer Irvin D. Yalom. It was published back in 2017 but, like good wine, it has aged well and is more relevant today than ever.
Irvin D. Yalom, MD, is an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and a psychiatrist in private practice in San Francisco. He is the author of many books, including Love’s Executioner, The Theory and Practice in Group Psychotherapy, and When Nietzsche Wept. He lives with his wife in Palo Alto, California.
Description: Irvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In this profound memoir, he turns his writing and his therapeutic eye on himself. He opens his story with a nightmare: He is twelve, and is riding his bike past the home of an acne-scarred girl. Like every morning, he calls out, hoping to befriend her, “Hello Measles!” But in his dream, the girl’s father makes Yalom understand that his daily greeting had hurt her. For Yalom, this was the birth of empathy; he would not forget the lesson. [Read more…] about On becoming a psychotherapy pioneer and bestselling writer: A fantastic memoir by, and window into, the unique mind of Irvin D. Yalom