Bi-weekly Roundup

Hey all, I'm back with more interesting reads (and a radio program)!  Today you can learn more about positive characteristics of long term relationships, how stress impacts the brain, how to teach kindness and empathy to our children, a few pros to playing video games, and a discussion on surviving and thriving through traumatic experiences.   


1.  Want to know what characteristics make for lasting relationships?  Kindness and Generosity.  Based on years of relationship studies done by John Gottman and Robert Levenson at the University of Washington, it was found that couples that are kind and generous in their interactions with their partner stay together, and are happier.  Couples that leave out these core ingredients were found to have higher physiological responses in their partner's company (high heart rates, less calm) and seemed to be in a constant state of "fight or flight".  Their interactions were more often critical, dismissive, passive/passive aggressive/aggressive, and pessimistic.  

What does it look like to be kind and generous?  It means being happy for your partner when good things happen, considering the partner's intentions rather than actions, giving warmth and affection, and responding to your partner's "bid" for connection (showing interest when your partner attempts to share with you).  Read the full article here:  

2.  Did you know stress changes the physiological structure of your brain?  It does.  Parts of the brain affected: the hypocampus shrinks (important for learning, memory, and regulating emotion); the prefrontal cortex shrinks (important for decision making, memory, and regulating impulsive behavior); the amygdala gets bigger (storage for memories with high emotional impact).  

A good antidote for managing stress:  EXERCISE.  I'd also suggest scheduling an appointment with me ;) Read more here:

3.  Today's first article demonstrates how important kindness is to our personal relationships.  Kindness and empathy (understanding other's experiences) help individuals have healthy happy relationships of all kinds.  This article discusses some ideas for how you can help your child develop kindness and empathy.  It suggests making caring for others a priority (demonstrating in our own lives is important, it teaches responsibility, and helps create balanced individuals), providing opportunities to practice caring and gratitude, expand your child's "circle of concern" (develops empathy at a larger scale), and guide children in managing feelings.  For more details on how to teach/guide your child read here:

4.  Are you for or against letting your child play video games?  There is a lot of advice out there on this topic.  I personally think that video games have great potential, but parental discretion and overview of content and age appropriateness, time limits, etc should be in place.  This article suggests that some games help kids hone the following skills: focus, problem solving, thinking and reflection (metacognition).

5.  This last addition isn't something to read, but something to listen to!  If you have about an hour, this is a really interesting discussion.  It is an edition of KQED's Forum with Michael Krasny.  Michael Krasny interviews David Feldman and Lee Kravitz on their new book "Supersurvivors".  The book and discussion are about how people survive and thrive post very difficult and traumatic experiences.  David Feldman was a professor of mine at Santa Clara University.  I have only good things to say about him and his work.


Have a great day!


Bi-weekly Roundup

I've been thinking it might be nice for me to share interesting therapy/psychology related articles now and then that have caught my attention.  I'll be doing a post like this every other week.  Who knows, maybe you'll find a few of these articles relevant too!

In the last little while I've been reading about:

1.  Do you struggle with getting your child to "behave"?  This article suggest a number of "play" strategies to help reduce frustration, stress, and "misbehaving" such as story telling, launching a game, and singing songs and nursery rhymes.  The article explains why these strategies work, and gives some examples of appropriate times to implement them (transitioning activities, acting out behaviors, building a routine, chore time).

2. This next article describes a recent study done by researchers at the University of Washington.  Toddlers as young as 15 months were shown a play toy and how to use it by a demonstrator.  Then an "emoter" enters the room and expresses anger and annoyance about the toy to the demonstrator.  In some instances the emoter leaves the room, stays (but remains neutral), or turns around.  The 15 month olds had a variety of responses, but the significant response was that the children were less likely to play with the toy in the presence of the emoter.  Signifying that children as young as 15 months are making decisions based on the emotions of those around them, even strangers.  There are other factors to consider, such as impulse control, previous exposure to conflict, and natural temperament.  

3.  This next article is for those parents who have a toddler that has difficulty sleeping alone at night.  It discusses how separation anxiety comes into play, and causes the child's young brain to go into panic mode.  My favorite quote from the article sums it up pretty well: 

"First, you make sure there is no physical reason for her actions. Call the pediatrician to be safe. Barring that, you must relax her brain. The role of the parents is not to train a child to sleep. It is to provide the child with a feeling of safety so that sleep naturally ensues."

4.  This next article is about what is thought to cause Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that comes and goes seasonally.  The article says that a serotonin transporter protein (SERT) transports serotonin to nerve cells where the neurotransmitter is inactive (during the winter months), this causes lower levels of SERT in the winter months, and higher levels in the summer resulting in a serotonin deficit in the winter, and hence the depression.

5.  This is a fun article about what many people think therapy is, and what it actually is.  Enjoy!



Hope you found something interesting here, I know I did ;)  Happy Monday!