• Are we developing the right kind of smart?
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    There seems to be wide support for the idea that we are living in an “age of complexity?, which implies that the world has never been more intricate. This idea is based on the rapid pace of technological changes, and the vast amount of information that we are generating (the two are related). Yet consider that philosophers like Leibniz (17th century) and Diderot (18th century) were already complaining about information overload. The “horrible mass of books? they referred to may have represented only a tiny portion of what we know today, but much of what we know today will be equally insignificant to future generations.

    In any event, the relative complexity of different eras is of little matter to the person who is simply struggling to cope with it in everyday life. So perhaps the right question is not “Is this era more complex?? but “Why are some people more able to manage complexity?? Although complexity is context-dependent, it is also determined by a person’s disposition. In particular, there are three key psychological qualities that enhance our ability to manage complexity:

    The full article is a thoughtful assessment of the other two types of intelligence: Emotional and Curiosity quotients. Though thoughtful, if you think about it, it’s also rather disturbing. The author said it well:

    Although IQ is hard to coach, EQ and CQ can be developed. As Albert Einstein famously said: ““I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.?

    Yet, most of our education system is designed to augment IQ — often to the harsh suppression of the remaining 2/3rds of intelligence.

    And, when you look at what passes as our world, we’ve got way too little of the last two…

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  • Neuroplasticity?
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    Fast Company


    Science has shown we actually can thanks to a phenomenon called experience-dependent neuroplasticity. “It’s a fancy term to say the brain learns from our experiences,” says Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of the book Hardwiring Happiness. “As we understand better and better how this brain works, it gives us more power to change our mind for the better.”

    Hanson assures he isn’t just talking new-age mumbo jumbo. “This is not just ‘smell the roses,'” he says. “I am talking about positive neuroplasticity. I am talking about learning. … The brain is changing based on what flows through it.”

    Understanding how our brains function can help us better control them. Here are some key takeaways from Hanson on how our brains work when it comes to wiring for happiness:

    There’s a lot more in terms of real uses for neuroplasticity — not the least of which is decent treatment for addiction.

    But, simple happiness is certainly a worthy use as well…

    And, really our definition of happiness needs a rewrite anyway — a couple thousand year reversion actually…

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  • Abstinence after marriage?
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    After a few years, the researcher checked back to find fourteen of the men had since gotten married. She discovered that their lifetimes of fighting sexual desire conditioned them to regard sex as taboo even after the knot had been tied, causing poor communication in the bedroom.

    “After marriage, the church culture assumes that couples become each other’s support, regardless of the issue at hand,? Diefendorf said. “There’s little support in figuring out sexuality in married life, and these men don’t know how to talk to their wives about it.?

    One of the men said, “For me to come home from work and say, ‘hey, did you like it last time?’ I mean that would be – that would be such a weird question for me to ask.?

    After getting hitched, the men also struggled to discuss sex with one another for fear of disrespecting their wives.

    “While the whole point of these support groups is to honor sex in marriage, these men have gotten so used to thinking about sex as something negative that they bring those concerns with them to the marriage bed,? Deifendorf said. “Once they’re married, these men struggle to manage those concerns in the absence of the supportive community they once benefited from.?

    Ok, as funny as these guys and ESPECIALLY their sequel are, it turns out they are not quite on the mark…

    Turns out, sex does happen after marriage — it’s just so shame based no one can talk about it or make it better.

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  • How to stay married.
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    The recession hit our family hard, too, but somehow we are still married. I’m not sure why. I’d like to say it’s love, but perhaps it’s simply luck. At one point, as we faced our construction business faltering, our life savings dwindling to nothing and a slew of other problems, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s not make it worse by getting divorced.?

    And so we stuck it out. Sometimes staying together is just about pragmatism.

    But the recession also gave us something unexpected: time and perspective. Without an onslaught of homes to build, we had space to reflect, talk and get to know each other again. I began to appreciate my husband for who he was rather than who I thought he should be.

    He may not be someone who buys me flowers or delivers on birthdays, but when I became obsessed with Dave Matthews, he bought me every Dave Matthews CD ever made, and when we go to restaurants he often orders my second choice so I can eat his meal if I don’t like mine.

    Approaching my 50s, I know the “no divorce? pledge Josh and I made all those years ago is just one of those rules people make up to give themselves the illusion of control. Though I believe loosening our grip on our pledge saved our marriage, I think the pledge saved it, too. Our pledge gave us a strong foundation before we were ready to go it on our own, and by the time we realized we had outgrown the pledge, it had taken root and grounded us as we found the space to deepen our relationship.

    The child in me still wishes there was a secret formula to make a marriage last: perhaps a dose of bringing each other coffee in the morning along with a smidgen of holding hands at the movies and a dollop of passionate nights.

    I know so many of these people.

    Couples who, in the midst of their pain, turmoil and the loss of all hope that their marriage was worth more then the paper the certificate was printed on, who simply decided to stop.

    They decided to stop and take the risk of listening, learning a set of new skills, remembering how to trust again and taking a whole lot of risks to forge a new relationship.

    People, in other words, who are still married and who think that was the best decision they ever made.

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  • The most wonderful time of the year?
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    You may be feeling zen now but for many teachers the start of term is like an onslaught. To help you get ready for a new school year, psychologist Gail Kinman offers advice on how to prepare and how to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year — that time when teachers all over this continent seek professional help as they anticipate the wonders of entitled parents, dysfunctional administrations, school boards which actually fail to grasp even the most basic concepts of how competent education is provided and the resulting stacks of marking generated by our futile homework based use of parents to try and fill in the gaps.

    As bad as the system is though, there are good — even amazing — people working (And/or trapped) in it and they still need help — and they need to survive.

    And really, the above linked article is pretty decent advice for anyone trying to cope in 2014’s version of a labor market…

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  • What happens when you crowd-source marriage advice?
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    Getting married is quite possibly the biggest commitment two people can ever make to each other — but how do you make sure that promise lasts a lifetime?

    Thanks to a recent Reddit thread that asked married couples to share their best piece of advice for newlyweds, we have a better understanding of how to make a marriage work for the long haul.

    “Make sure that you make time for sex.”

    “Choose your battles. Sometimes you just need to breathe and carry on. Communication. Communication. Communication.”

    “Always have each other’s back in public. Never belittle your spouse. Have all the disagreements people normally do but let the world know you two are best friends.”

    “Show appreciation! Always say thank you, even for little things. Being married to someone doesn’t make you entitled to anything that they do for you.”

    “Arguing occurs when being right is more important than listening to your spouse.”

    “Always assume the other person has the best intentions. Let the small stuff go. Never stop being considerate or doing small gestures ‘just because.'”

    “No matter how bad the fight, how frustrated you are, look for something to be thankful for in your spouse. It will help calm you and give you a second to clear your head.”

    “Kiss each other EVERYDAY.”

    What happens? Surprising wisdom from a site normally dedicated to cat photo criticism… ‘Expert’ marriage book author level actually…

    But, don’t take my word for it — have a look at the full article.

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  • When is a marriage really in trouble?
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    Psych Central

    “But,? you say, “I have only threatened divorce a handful of times, only under stress, or when we are fighting, which is only often and not constantly, and half of the threats are in my own head. We still have sex at least a couple times a month, and I like my partner at least half the time. Well, a third. What percentage is a fifth again??

    “Surely others,? you continue, “who are truly bad off, are the ones who need couples counseling. My spouse just needs to figure out how not to be such a jerk, and then we will be fine.?

    To this series of defenses mixed with white lies and outright denial, I rejoinder, snappily: “If your leg was infected, would you wait for gangrene to set in before seeking medical attention? Do you think marriages improve as you get farther and farther away from the honeymoon period and have more stressors, some which crawl and destroy your home, to contend with??

    “How is your spouse going to realize to shape up when in fact they think it is you who needs to learn how to do so? How is it that you are smart and goal-oriented in other aspects of your life, yet when it comes to working to improve your own marriage, you put your head in the sand? Would you treat your own diabetes? Fill your own cavity? Why, then, do you hesitate before finding a couples therapist when you know in your heart that nothing is going to improve anytime soon without working on it??

    There are a lot of lists out there as to when it is time to get help for your marriage. Strangely though, there are even more authors that republish almost the exact same list under the heading of, “When it’s time to get a divorce…”

    Sadly, both publishing strategies are correct.

    Because, yes, while they are lists of legitimate danger signs, they are signs of the same type your microwave gives off: It beeps when it’s done…

    The above linked list is different — it’s a list of the early warning signs — and listening to them generally is a recipe for a great relationship.

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  • Food for thought…
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    The image mostly speaks for itself — disturbingly so. Think it over — what colour is most of our world? What colour are the vast majority of our public institutions, social networks, political leaders and churches?

    (For full sized image, just right click and open in new tab — or click the link to the main image host.)

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  • Are you trying to be different?
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    Consider assertiveness, as a random example. People who are very assertive were simply born that way. They were the little 2nd graders bartering for extra candy from the teacher while you looked on, probably rolling your eyes.

    Sure, they reap the benefits of being assertive. However, is it really self-improvement when we try to mold ourselves into those we view as “successful?? If a timid person coerces herself to be assertive, does she really reap any benefit? Probably not. On the contrary, she might set herself back, stress herself out, or worst of all, lose sight of what she’s good at. In cases like this, we’re trying to be a different person while calling it self-improvement.

    On the other hand, real self-improvement would be to look at the people who have what you lack, and try to learn a bit from them. That helps us become well-rounded. It’s a slight nuance from the previous scenario, but it makes a huge difference. In the first scenario, we are not respecting who we already are.

    The simple fact is that all innate traits have benefits, even if you don’t see yours as valuable. The most valuable traits are not always the ones that get the most attention in society, but who cares? Mainstream society is typically behind in the learning curve anyway. If you aren’t reaping the benefits of your strongest traits, then you aren’t quite honoring who you are. If you neglect your strengths, other people won’t recognize or benefit from them either.

    Carl Rogers, a long dead great grandfather of psychology, held that if people were treated with unconditional positive regard, their automatic response would be to come to enough of a state of rest, look at themselves, abandon futile self protection and finally start living the lives they were supposed to have had before they became so intimately acquainted with shame, fear guilt etc…

    People now expect the above from a therapist – but, from themselves, they still lean towards the motivational ‘power’ of tearing pieces out of themselves.

    Apparently, it’s called, “Self help…”

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  • I’ll bet you’re right and she’s WRONG!!!
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    Huffington Post

    At the end of the study, researchers found that when parents argued, their relationship with their child was negatively affected. However, mothers were able to recover from this fairly quickly and the next day, even showed improvement in their parent-child relationship.

    “Moms appeared to compensate for their marital tension,? said Chrystyna D. Kouros, lead author of the study, in a press release. “Poor marital quality actually predicted an improvement in the relationship between the mom and the child. So, the first day’s adverse spillover is short lived for moms.?

    Fathers, on the other hand, did not recover so quickly, and their relationship with their child remained strained even into the following day.

    You know all of those Scriptural directives to, “Love your wife,” and, “Honour your wife,” that patriarchal, right-wing fundamentalists like to treat as suggestions?

    Ya, about those… Guys, it turns out they were actually a pretty decent idea if you’d like to retain relationship with your kids…

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