I recently spoke on panel about ocean conservation at the San Francisco Aquarium, moderated by Environmental Defense Fund marine ecologist Dr. Rodney M. Fujita. Psychologists, activists, marketing experts, and even a futurologist gathered to discuss how to best educate and motivate the public about the dangers of everything from overfishing and pollution to climate change.
In this kind of discussion, things always start with awareness: how to we let people know what’s happening, what the risks are, and what needs to be done to prevent them? Logically, you need to be aware first—then comes caring. From caring, comes acting.
But a new report points to just how hard that first step is. Psychologists at Duke University and Waterloo University conducted a series of studies looking at how open people are to information about serious challenges, from the economy to the environment.
The bad news: people don’t want to know.Read more »
It was around this time of year in 2007 when The Washington Post organized a grand social experiment—one definitely worth revisiting. See what happens in the 3-minute video below.
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Two new studies caught my eye recently. They are from different research teams, and studying total different outcomes, but both used the same simple fifteen-minute psychological intervention.
In one study, the intervention reduced schadenfreude, or taking pleasure in another person’s suffering. After the brief intervention, participants reported less schadenfreude in response to another person’s failures. And while most people savor schadenfreude as positive emotion, it can be a major obstacle to our happiness. The more we enjoy other people's suffering, the harder it is to feel sympathetic joy (happiness for others), compassion for others, and even self-compassion.Read more »
When did you first start practicing mindfulness and why were you motivated to do so?
I first became interested in mindfulness in 2002 while trekking in the Himalayas and reading a book by Thich Nhat Hanh called Being Peace. When I returned to the States after my 16 month trip in Asia, I quickly got sucked back into the craziness of graduate school and thoughts of mindfulness faded.
This all changed when I became pregnant. I knew that I needed to become more centered and peaceful in order to be the parent I hoped to be (not to mention the wife I wanted to be). I was always rushing around, stressed out, thinking about the future, worried about the past and I wanted to change so that I could be fully present and calm with my daughter once she was born.
Did you take a class? If so, what sort of a class did you take?
A midwife I was studying with for my Nurse Practitioner certificate recommended a Mindful Birth and Parenting course to her patients eager to have a natural childbirth. I looked this class up online and was excited about the depth of the course, the commitment to daily meditation, and the ability to share the experience with my husband.