Study: If you think of exercise as something fun, you’ll eat less afterwards

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014

This is a fascinating – and useful – look at how we think of  things impacts our behaviors. Towards the end of the article, it reads:

“We can frame our workouts in different ways,” Dr. Werle said, “by focusing on whatever we consider fun about it, such as listening to our favorite music or chatting with a friend” during a group walk. “The more fun we have,” she concluded, “the less we’ll feel the need to compensate for the effort” with food.

Check it out…

NY Times: Losing weight may require some serious fun

Cognition, Mind & Body

The problem with positive thinking explored

Posted by on Nov 14, 2012

This theme seems to be making its way from psychology research into the mainstream media more and more (see the TIME article I posted on June 21). Decades of the “positive thinking” industry have little to show, and folks are looking for something more realistic and useful…

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking (7 minute NPR interview with author)

ACT, Cognition, For clients, Mood & Emotion

Why more choice makes us unhappy

Posted by on Jun 23, 2012

The explosion of choice in affluent countries, argues psychologist Barry Schwartz, not only leads to paralysis, but dissatisfaction with our choices and ourselves, as there are always other choices which might have been better than the one we selected. He starts by detailing the explosion of choice, from salad dressings to mutual funds, and then at 7:50 begins explaining why more choice leads to more unhappiness. This is a good listen for all, including parents who might get more clarity on why limiting our children’s choices and freedoms, and keeping their expectations within reasonable limits, may actually help them feel better about themselves.

Cognition, Mood & Emotion, Parenting & Children

Yes, I Suck: Self-Help Through Negative Thinking

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012

The model I have found most useful in my work as a therapist has been Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is one of what some call the “Third Wave” of therapies (following the first two waves of behavior therapy and cognitive therapy). It is based on the premise that due to the inherent nature of language, we are unable to avoid, change or erase troubling thoughts and feelings. Rather, our goal is to lean into and accept these difficult thoughts and feelings in ways that do not restrict our ability to move forward and create a meaningful life.

This short TIME article points out several studies that illuminate the futility of just trying to think good thoughts, or avoid that which troubles us…

Yes I Suck (TIME Magazine, 7/8/09)

ACT, Cognition, For clients

Watching cognitive distortions in flight

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012

Cognitive distortions + rumination = “super creepy”. This powerful 15-minute radio drama uncovers the raw, scary places our minds can take us if we aren’t paying attention. It is gripping; don’t start it unless you have time to finish it.

Listen to Episode 462 of This American Life by clicking below:

Episode 462: Own Worst Enemy
Apr 13, 2012
Stories of people who can’t seem to stop getting in their own way — sabotaging everything from their romantic relationships to their physical health. Featuring a new radio drama by Jonathan Mitchell.

Cognition, Relationships and relating, Uncategorized

Eat broccoli, walk and… be alone

Posted by on Jun 16, 2012

Psychology and Western culture have had an unfortunate emphasis on the negative side of being alone. It’s as if alone=lonely. However, there is a growing body of research — nicely described in this article — that points to the values of alone-time: creative thinking, increased empathy, better memorization, deeper spirituality and (paradoxically) an increased ability to connect with others. Like exercise and good sleep, it turns out that solitude is an important part of healthy living.

The Power of Lonely (Boston Globe, 3/6/11)

Anxiety & stress, Cognition, Mood & Emotion, Parenting & Children, Relationships and relating