When many people think about Darwin’s theory of evolution and survival of the fittest, they assume that the competition to pass on genes is what defines human beings, and that that competitive impulse makes us ruthless at our core. What’s forgotten in that thought process is that humans have to not only pass on our genes, but also ensure our lineage by caring for our offspring – and that care makes us compassionate, rather than ruthless, at heart. Keep reading »
Even though the chances that you’re going to get Ebola in the United States are extremely, extremely low, it is all the hell over my news feed and it’s been making me freak out. I know I’m not the only one. I’ve been trying to avoid reading about it because I’m afraid that it’ll make me even more worried, but at this point just reading the headlines and noting their frequency and their tone of urgency is probably worse than actually engaging with literature on it.
It’s all well and good to say “You’re not going to get Ebola!” But I think what’s even more helpful is understanding what’s going on in your head that makes you think you are going to get Ebola, or might get it, despite all the evidence. Understanding your brain’s wackiness might be just as valuable as understanding the disease. Dr. Graham Davey at Psychology Today explains that these are five of the ways that your psychology might be disposing you to worry more than you need to about Ebola: Keep reading »
Not all friendships work out. We all can’t be the sisterhood of the traveling pants, okay? Sometimes somebody (with bad taste) just decides you suck. If you’re fortunate, a friendship fizzles out slowly and imperceptibly, without any awkward requests to get that cardigan back. If you’re not-so-fortunate, your friendship is going to end in either one or a series of small confrontations. We can’t avoid breaking up with our friends or getting friend-dumped. But we can apply some rules of engagement so it’s not a complete and utter shitshow, like many a romantic breakup.
Allow me to add an honorary attachment to the Girl Code (although this certainly applies to male friends, too):
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Chaotic and ever-changing as life is, it’s no wonder that we look to external factors to define who we are and how we’re doing. It’s easy to lose sight of how our success in life shows up in intangible stuff, like the way we treat people, how we handle tough stuff, and how much love we put into the world.
Here are some things that never define your self-worth and if they all changed tomorrow, you would still be you: Keep reading »
Clinical depression sucks and it’s only growing more common. Almost one in two people in the U.S. will suffer from depression or another mental health condition at some point and about one in 17 Americans actually has a serious mental illness right now.
Despite its rising rates, depression can be hard to wrap your brain around, especially if you’ve never had it. It’s not easily treated or cleared up by positive thinking, or yanking yourself up by your bootstraps, or shoving your feelings to the dark corners of the back of your mind. It’s so much deeper and more insidious than that. I once described depression this way:
“None of those external [good things you have going for you] truly register or resonate when you have depression. You can logically identify them as Good Things, and you know they are supposed to make you feel Good, but you can’t feel them, they can’t get in. It’s like your brain is wearing a full-body armor designed to keep only the good things out. Bad things … get ushered in instantly, like VIPs.”
People who don’t have depression don’t always know what to say that could possibly help to a friend or family member going through the all-encompassing yet simultaneously utterly numb sensation of your own brain turning against you. Here are a few things not to say (unless you want said friend or loved one to grow homicidal as well as miserable): Keep reading »
Of all the ugly emotions out there, jealousy has to be one of the worst. It can feel childish, petty and almost like a primal rage. But it’s also inescapable; jealousy is almost like an epic equalizer, because everybody feels it now and then. On the path toward emotional growth, jealousy is one of the hardest hurdles to take on because it seem like such an out-of-control, counterproductive emotion, but it can be used for good. Whether it’s competitive jealousy with friends and acquaintances or the kind of jealousy that inches its way into monogamous relationships, this crummy feeling can take us to the emotional maturity level of a 7th grader with the snap of a finger. We can’t just make it disappear, but we can find ways to handle it like (semi) grown-ups. Keep reading »