|What really makes us more attractive
||The trick to appearing more attractive to others may have as much to do with our facial expressions or body language as the cosmetics we wear.
|How to Practice Resilience
||Resilience can be cultivated by making a practice of identifying and then acting in accordance with your personal life values. It is important to approach this as a life practice. In fact, author George Leonard referred to this way of living as mastery in his book by that title. You...
|How does the brain adapt to the restoration of eyesight?
||Recent scientific advances have meant that eyesight can be partially restored to those who previously would have been blind for life. However, scientists have discovered that the rewiring of the senses that occurs in the brains of the long-term blind means that visual restoration may never be complete.
|Want Success and Happiness? Be Divergent, Not Perfect
||One of the tenets of my Sweet Spot Manifesto is “Accept that you are divergent. Go with it.” A lot of people are asking me what I mean by that.
My daughters—and all their middle school friends—love the dystopia that Veronica Roth creates in her book Divergent (the movie version of the sequel, Insurgent, will be released this season). In it, the characters are allowed to develop and display only one of the following character strengths: intelligence, courage, honesty, peacefulness, or selflessness. People who demonstrate more than one strength are considered “divergent,” which is seen as highly dangerous and threatening. The main character, Tris, is divergent—she is smart, brave, and selfless. Because the divergent are hard for the government to control, they are usually killed.
The appeal of Divergent to the middle school crowd is obvious, given the pressure that many teens feel to conform to a rigid set of standards set by their peers, parents, and schools. But I also see Roth’s dystopia as a commentary on the adult world we live in, where most of us are constantly comparing ourselves to three common, and powerful, archetypes that personify only one strength: the ideal worker, the intensely involved mother, and the provider father.
I don’t know anyone who has worked for a traditional business who hasn’t run up against our cultural notion of what journalist Brigid Schulte calls “the ideal worker”—the perfect employee who, without the distractions of children or family or, well, life, can work as many hours as the employer needs. Ideal workers don’t have hobbies—or even interests—that interfere with work, and they have someone else (usually a wife) to stay at home with sick children, schedule carpools, and find decent child care. Babies aren’t their responsibility, so parental leave when an infant is born isn’t an issue; someone else will do that. The ideal worker can jump on a plane and leave town anytime for business because someone else is doing the school pickups, making dinner, and putting the children to bed.
Most working parents can’t compete—in terms of sheer hours of work—with these ideal workers. And, truth be told, they often struggle with the other archetypes: the intensely involved mother and provider father.
The intensely involved mother might work outside the home, but doesn’t seem like it—if she does do paid work, it certainly doesn’t interfere with her mothering or volunteering in her children’s classrooms. The intensely involved mother always knows best. She was the one who breast-fed her children for years, after all, and so she (and she alone) knows what the babies need and when they need it.
When her children reach school age, she becomes the ideal parent volunteer. She’s a room parent, fund-raising worker bee, pizza-day helper, field-trip driver. She juggles so many roles that she seems omnipresent on campus. Her children are shuttled from every ideal enrichment activity available and are enrolled in the best summer camps. She takes lots of pictures, diligently documenting her children’s carefully constructed childhoods, but she herself rarely appears in the photo albums. Her needs are seldom considered. How fulfilling she finds her job serving her family is not relevant.
Similarly, provider fathers—who focus on making as much money as possible for the benefit of their families, yet rarely spend quality time with them—shame working dads who turn down promotions or take lower-paying work so they can spend more time with their kids.
Like the characters in Divergent, it’s easy for us Americans to get fixated on living up to any of these three archetypes. Our single-minded fixation on these idealized selves can lead us to hone only one strength: the ability to work long hours, or the ability to be a great and selfless parent, or the ability to make a lot of money for the family.
But here’s the thing: The ideal worker is not necessarily ideal. Nor is the intensely involved mother or the provider father. Reams of research suggest that people who work long hours, to the detriment of their personal lives, are not more productive or successful than people who work shorter hours so they can have families and develop interests outside of work.
And nothing in the research indicates that intensely involved mothers are more successful raising happy or high-achieving children than moms who invest in activities that are not 100 percent centered on their children. In fact, there is plenty of evidence that kids do better when they are given more autonomy. And we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that children benefit hugely from having an involved father—even when the father earns less money than he would if he worked more.
In other words, if we are to be our most productive, successful, and happy selves—what I call finding our “groove” in our work and our home lives—we must be divergent, as threatening as this can be to our cultural norms and to the people around us who strive to be ideal workers, intensely involved mothers, and provider fathers. True happiness and satisfaction are found in balance, not in the unyielding pursuit of an impossible ideal.
Divergence is especially threatening to the ideal workers who still run many of our corporations and government institutions. As in Roth’s novels, people wedded to the ideal archetypes will seek to control and, if necessary, discredit or undermine people dedicated to being good (enough) parents and good (enough) workers and community contributors and happy individuals.
To develop our multiple talents, we must stray from the herd of our cultural archetypes. Because humans are deeply social animals, our nervous system is designed to keep us in a group, so straying from the herd can be terrifying and disorienting. In Divergent, the strong female protagonist, Tris, is forced to join a single-strength faction in order to hide her divergence. She chooses to become “dauntless”—the group that prizes bravery—even though she secretly knows that she also has a predisposition for the highly intelligent “erudite,” or the selfless “abnegation.” She knows that changing the world, and her life, will take a great deal of courage, and only when she has enough courage will she truly be able to help others or make better use of her intelligence.
We will not find our groove by conforming to unrealistic ideals or outdated stereotypes. To find our groove, we must allow ourselves to be complex and divergent—our authentic, balanced selves.
|Who Uses their Head and Who Listens to their Heart?
||Whether a person identifies with their head or their heart can say a lot about their personality. Are people in their heads really smarter than those in their hearts? The head/heart distinction might reveal something about how personality and intelligence are related. Shifting a person's attention between the head or the heart might change the way they think and behave.
|Like Jung and Wharton, Do You Remember When You
||In my writing about habits and happiness, I keep coming back to the same idea: to shape our habits, to build our happiness, we have to start with a knowledge of ourselves — our own nature, our own interest, our own temperament. It sounds so easy to know yourself — after...
|ADHD & Mental Health Diagnosis As Therapy
||I’ve met a lot of people who may have ADHD. Some say “I have that. Well, I’m pretty sure I do.” Others don’t say anything, possibly not recognizing themselves as being on the spectrum. But without a diagnosis, you really don’t have a starting point for treatment. In fact, without...
|What Dr. Martin Luther King Has Provided For Mental
|| As you read the headline I’m sure you questioned what relevance Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr serves to the discussion of severe or untreated mental health. Rarely do we ever hear people emphasize the importance of following the example of Dr. King in our “fight” against society’s lack of...
|VIDEO: What we know about female ‘squirting’
||It's been a mystery for years, but scientists might have finally figured out female ejaculation!The post VIDEO: What we know about female ‘squirting’ appeared first on PsyPost.
|Scientists find brain protein aids influenza recovery
||Washington State University Spokane scientists have found a brain protein that boosts the healing power of sleep and speeds an animal’s recovery from the flu. Research by WSU Regents Professor James M. Krueger has determined that a brain-specific protein is uniquely involved in sleep responses triggered by the influenza virus in mice. Without the protein, [...]The post Scientists find brain protein aids influenza recovery appeared first on PsyPost.
|Sound mind, strong heart: Same protein sustains both
||A Roman philosopher was the first to note the relationship between a sound mind and a sound body. Now the findings of a new Johns Hopkins study reveal a possible biochemical explanation behind this ancient observation. The research, published ahead of print Jan. 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that [...]The post Sound mind, strong heart: Same protein sustains both appeared first on PsyPost.
|How to Live With Greater Purpose and Significance
||“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” – Wayne Dyer Do you ever feel like something is missing from your life? Like there is a void that isn’t being filled by your current life...
|Being Social: In-Q
||I was given a ticket for a live poetry show for Christmas. It was a gift. It was s ticket with a price tag on it so, I had to go. I don’t recall the last time I went to a social event where I went to will call, got...
|iPhone Separation Anxiety
||Are you suffering from iPhone Separation Anxiety?
|7 Tips to Avoid Letting Money Negatively Affect Your
||It is said that money is one of the No. 1 challenges in relationships; however, it is not just the lack of money that causes problems. The pursuit of money and the use of money are also capable of challenging, if not destroying, our relationships. As we put a firm...
|How does meditation affect your brain? This video explains the science of mindfulness
||How exactly does meditation affect your body? Watch and find out.The post How does meditation affect your brain? This video explains the science of mindfulness appeared first on PsyPost.
|Libido & Conversing: What Transsexuals Can Teach Heteros
||How much do you desire sex and conversation? Transsexuals show us that sex hormones play a big role in both of these needs.
|Keeping actively bilingual makes our brains more efficient at relaying information
||There is increasing evidence that bilingualism can affect how the brain works. Older, lifelong bilinguals have demonstrated better cognitive skills in tasks that require increased cognitive control. These cognitive effects are most pronounced in bilingual people who speak two languages in their everyday life for many years, compared to those who speak a second language [...]The post Keeping actively bilingual makes our brains more efficient at relaying information appeared first on PsyPost.
|Scientists identify a novel precursor to neurodegeneration
||Alteration of lipid metabolism in brain cells promotes the formation of lipid droplets that presage the loss of neurons, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital in a report that appears online in the journal Cell. Neuroscience graduate student Lucy Liu, and [...]The post Scientists identify a novel precursor to neurodegeneration appeared first on PsyPost.
|Is lower stress the secret to finding empathy?
||How is it that people can sometimes show such empathy when other times our ability to feel compassion seems to be in such short supply? A study published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on January 15 shows that stress is a major factor. A drug that blocks stress hormones increases the ability of [...]The post Is lower stress the secret to finding empathy? appeared first on PsyPost.