As the New Year approaches, many of us will pursue happiness by setting goals. But when it comes to happiness, we cannot trust our brains to point us in the right direction. Our brains confuse ‘wanting’ with ‘happiness’ because of the simplicity of the dopamine reward mechanisms.
Sometimes people talk about luck as a kind of “magical wish” that’s outside us. I don’t know if such a thing exists, but I certainly know that “feeling lucky” is a powerful force. Life happens, then we can choose how we feel about that. If we choose to feel lucky, we create a sense of abundance and gratitude – which reduce stress, increase optimism, and strengthen our ability to solve problems. Maybe that’s a really lucky way to live?
Betrayal is a strong feeling that can be difficult to process. Why? Because the trauma of the betrayal creates fear, shame, secrets, and intensity. These feelings may even mix with love and longing for the person by whom we feel betrayed. In 2009 I experienced a situation where I was hurt by someone I trusted. [...]
I was seventeen years old and had been an only child for that entire time. I had reveled in having no rival for my parent’s love and attention. But then in the spring of 1957, my mother reported she felt nauseated. She’d recently taken a bad fall and only went to the doctor because my [...]
I love hats. I once held a dinner where many hats were on show. My guests were in awe of my collection. I had to confess that only some of them were mine – a couple of friends had brought their own to round out my display – but I am fond of hats, so [...]
When I was very small – probably about seven – I read a fairy tale about a princess who was born with a glass heart. In the story, this princess grew into a lovely young woman. Early one day, feeling joy at the sight of the first crocuses or daffodils or tulips in the palace [...]
I was recently talking to a group about the fact that we can choose how we feel. “But didn’t you say emotions are an automatic biological response?” Yes, in fact, I did… but don’t we have choice about our biology? I remember years ago interviewing neurobiologist Debra Niehoff about the way some people seemed [...]
I had my tonsils out when I was thirteen. That’s significantly beyond the normal age to have tonsils out, don’t you think? I seem to do everything when I am older. ☺ My mother, to keep me occupied during the recovery, gave me a paint-by-numbers set. I loved it. Just follow the numbers and out [...]
Last night on my way out the door for my ritual run (a euphemism for a walk/jog,) I stuck a $10 bill in my jacket pocket because, who knows: 1) I might want a lemonade from the two young female entrepreneurs, who live just over two streets or 2) a frozen yogurt (currently my favorite [...]
Fog hangs like a thick quilt over the morning. You anticipate that you’ll return from your walk damp and cold. You almost don’t go, but then you decide not to allow the habitual rhythm of your day to collapse. When you are only ten minutes from home and a cup of steaming hot chocolate with [...]