Author Archive

Mind Matters: Hope in COVID time

Americans across the political spectrum may be more in tune with each other than they realize. Even though measures taken to handle the spread of the Coronavirus have been politicized, a recent survey conducted by the Harris Poll for the American Psychological Association shows that there is consensus among Republicans and Democrats about prevention measures to ...

 
 

Mind Matters: A diary in COVID time

June 9, 2020 Last week we had an outing to a New England beach where the water was stinging cold. It was our first adventure into stationary social distancing — that is, sitting on a beach for hours with other people albeit a good distance away. It was almost a normal event with granddaughters playing in the sand and the water and with us enjoying a picnic. After our ...

 

Mind Matters: Reframing reality

Recently, one of my cousins died suddenly—not of Covid-19, but of a heart attack. In “normal” times, such an event would have had all the extended family gathering together out of the diaspora we have become. Instead, her family will mark her death privately until a later date. There will be no great convening of large families now. The rituals of life and death have ...

 

Mind Matters: Reflections in the time of COVID-19

Welcome to the new normal of social distancing. A month ago, it seemed surreal to be doing the six-feet apart dance and seeing no one, but it is becoming eerily status quo. My personal life has changed in that I am reaching back in time when I was the mother of two tiny tots living in the middle of nowhere Western Pennsylvania. Now I am the grandmother of two tiny ...

 

Mind Matters: Crisis as opportunity

How quickly life can change. Got to admit, I never expected life to change all across the globe so abruptly. Not so abruptly perhaps if you are a scientist paying attention to the signals from China or a self-serving politician who figured the stock market would tank because he had been forewarned of an imminent pandemic. Now that we are quarantined en masse, how ...

 

Mind Matters: Thoughts are not facts

How about some fireside non-fiction reading for winter hibernation? When Antidepressants Aren’t Enough: Harnessing the Power of Mindfulness to Alleviate Depression by Stuart J. Eisendrath, M.D., would be a good start. This psychiatrist’s antidote to depression taps into the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. Depression may be fleeting unhappiness or a temporary ...

 

Mind Matters: Grief revisited

I sit at a college in Massachusetts, staring out the window at a stand of lodgepole pines. Students, staff, tread the paved walkways cleared of snow. I am here because a young woman athlete named Grace died in a car crash. Some of her rowing crewmates are still in a Florida hospital, hopefully healing from their injuries. The local Boston papers have reported sudden ...

 

Mind Matters: 2020 vision

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for 2020? Perhaps if you share your goals with a “higher status” individual, you will be more committed in reaching them. According to research summarized in the American Psychological Association Monitor’s In Brief column (January, February 2020), people appear more committed to achieving their goals when they share them with ...

 

Mind Matters: Empathy

The word empathy gets bandied about a lot these days, becoming yet another platitude. If we slap the word in a “PR” paragraph, it must mean a corporation cares. If we use it in conversation, it must mean we really own it. Well, no, on both counts. True empathy is the unsung hero of the quotidian lives we live. What is empathy anyway? It is not to be confused with its ...

 

Mind Matters: Help with holidays

Sure, sure, sure, I have written about holiday stressors many times before. However, just as holidays return every year, it can’t hurt to revisit some of the stresses they conjure and also what might help to allay those stresses. It’s sort of like old recipes — we know them, but we forget them and so we need to go back to the cookbook or the spilled-on index card ...

 

Mind Matters: Recent psychological observations

From family dinners to telecommuting, psychologists have done their homework, according to research summarized in the October, 2019, issue of the APA Monitor on Psychology. According to family therapist Anne Fishel, research on the importance of family meals notes that “regular family dinners are associated with less depression and anxiety, lower rates of substance ...