Psychology

The Courage of Goodbye

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 in Miscellaneous, Psychology, Writing | 0 comments

The Courage of Goodbye

Today I’m delighted to host a guest post from my good friend, Marianne Elliott. I first connected with Marianne around the time she published her thoughtful, vulnerable, memoir about spending time in Afghanistan (Zen Under Fire: How I Found Peace In The Middle Of War) . I love Marianne’s writing, and I know many of you will resonate with her topic today – saying goodbyes. Despite all the practice I’ve had, I have a ways to go in this area! You can find out more about Marianne on her website, here. I’ve had to say a lot of goodbyes. I recently calculated that between...

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Introducing … Modern Love Long Distance

Posted by on Feb 7, 2013 in Psychology | 10 comments

Introducing … Modern Love Long Distance

I know I’ve been promising to share details of my latest creative project for months. Why the delay? Well, life (read: herniated discs, upcoming moves, consulting work, pregnancy, and my beloved firstborn) has conspired to throw off my desired schedule.  Things on this project just haven’t come along as fast as I would have liked them too, while at the same time the scope of the project has taken on a life of its own. It has sprouted like a mushroom in a tropical forest in all sorts of funny, potentially delicious (or potentially poisonous, I guess) directions.  This seems to happen...

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This I used to believe

Posted by on Jul 25, 2011 in Psychology | 8 comments

This I used to believe

Mike arrived safely in Australia on Saturday morning. Hooray! We’ve had a wonderful time so far, except for the sleeping together. As in the sleeping together in the same bed, just to clarify. Mike and I have never been all that sleep compatible. He can climb into bed before 10pm and be happily asleep within 3 minutes. This inspires in me a great envy-fed annoyance, for I’m the type that climbs into bed at 10pm, reads for two hours, and then struggles for at least 30 minutes to tiptoe towards slumber. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we wake up differently, too. Mike usually springs awake in the...

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What will you be grateful for today?

Posted by on Jun 28, 2011 in Psychology | 4 comments

What will you be grateful for today?

I chatted to Mike over breakfast for a good 45 minutes this morning. In one respect, at least, this three-hour time difference serves us well. Mike can get up at 6am (or, often, before) and make coffee and get breakfast. I am up at 9am having just finished mine, and we both at the same level of “awakedness” and being ready to embrace the day. Consequently, we have much more substantial conversations over a virtual breakfast table when we’re separated by the equator than we do when we’re living in the same house. At home our morning routine for the past six months has involved Mike...

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The curse of too much choice

Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Psychology | 46 comments

The curse of too much choice

Almost everyone who has spent time in the developing world knows the paralysis that can hit you in the cereal aisle of any well-stocked grocery store after returning to a land of plenty. There’s something about trying to pick from 435 types of cereal after you have been confronted with the fact that many people in this world have no choice in what they eat for breakfast – and, indeed, count themselves lucky to have breakfast at all – that is both horrifying and overwhelming. The particular type of guilty, angry immobility that can ensue when you are smacked in the face by this sort of...

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Three ways to increase your happiness (The pursuit of happiness, Part 2)

Posted by on May 9, 2011 in Psychology | 5 comments

Three ways to increase your happiness (The pursuit of happiness, Part 2)

Last Thursday I started a short series on the pursuit of happiness. That night, Mike and I walked down to the Khan River to try a new restaurant. It’s been storming nearly every day here for the past two weeks (something I’m very grateful for on a personal level as it cools everything down, but worried about on a broader level – these rains have started about two months too early). Everything is bursting green and both rivers – brown and increasingly turbulent – are rising every day. Over purple sticky rice, stir-fried chicken with basil, and river fish sautéed with ginger, we...

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The pursuit of happiness (Part 1)

Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Psychology | 8 comments

The pursuit of happiness (Part 1)

Yesterday I was dragged away from my work by a positive storm of barking. Zulu might only be two dogs long and one dog high, but when he puts his mind to it he has the bark of a German Shepherd on steroids. Yesterday he was clearly very unhappy about something. “What’s going on?” I asked, as I reached the front of our house and found my neighbor, Barbara, already there. “Oh,” she said, laughing. “It’s a big, scary, toad. He’s not the world’s bravest dog, is he?” She was right about the big part – the toad was enormous; it could barely heave its bulk along the pavement....

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Resilience Research Report – The Executive Summary

Posted by on Mar 29, 2011 in Humanitarian work, Psychology | 6 comments

Resilience Research Report – The Executive Summary

Here is the Executive Summary of the Report I introduced yesterday: Building resilient managers in humanitarian organizations (plus some photos from Cambodia, just because). The research report is available for purchase from the People In Aid website. Background, and purpose of the research In the last decade there has been increasing interest in the level of stress, trauma, or violence experienced by humanitarian workers, but relatively little focus on the other side of the coin – qualities that promote resilience and thriving in these challenging environments. People In Aid, through this...

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Resilience Research Report – The Introduction

Posted by on Mar 28, 2011 in Humanitarian work, Psychology | 6 comments

Resilience Research Report – The Introduction

Resilience is a defining theme of my life at present – last week’s chapter for the distance learning course I’m writing was on personal resilience and this week’s is on organizational resilience. In April, I’ll travel to Bangkok to spend a week working with the DART Center for Journalism and Trauma as they bring together journalists from around Asia for a week. Guess what I’ll be speaking on… Yup, resilience. And back in November I completed a research report for a very cool organization in London, People In Aid, on Building Resilient Managers in Humanitarian Organizations. That...

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Happiness and the Mango Tree Rains

Posted by on Mar 2, 2011 in Psychology | 6 comments

Happiness and the Mango Tree Rains

It rained last night and today – a brief, wet, respite right in the middle of the dry season. Locals have told us that these rains generally come every year, sometimes just for a day, sometimes for two. “They water the mango trees,” they say, nodding, as if these clouds have arrived specifically to provide the mango trees with the boost to get them through until the monsoon. So Mike and I are calling them the mango tree rains. The mango tree rains are making more than just the mango trees happy – they have dropped the temperature at least fifteen degrees and that’s always cause for...

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