Life and Living

Why Winning Doesn’t Always Bring Happiness

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This article was first published in Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper.

 

This year, as I mash up some fresh guacamole and settle in to watch Super Bowl LIII, I’ll remember (as I do every year) how my oldest daughter reacted to her very first sight of American football. Two-year-old Katie peered at the TV screen and proclaimed, “That not football. That head ball.” She’d been taught that balls are round, and the roundest things on that field were the players’ helmets. Once I’d explained about the pointy pigskin, Katie came back with a question. “But mommy,” she said, “why [...]

The Wilderness Is Not Frightening to the Wild

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You may have noticed that it’s getting wilder and wilder around these parts (and by “these parts” I mean planet Earth). Familiar industries are toppling, traditional family models are no longer dominant, and every social structure is being transformed. This is flat-out terrifying for most people.

 

But I suspect you aren’t most people.

 

There’s a certain type of human being who never really thrived in the old structures to begin with. I’m one of them. I’m guessing you are too. Unorthodox and almost unable to conform, we’ve always wanted to color outside the lines. After years of studying the people in [...]

When You Trust Yourself, You Live Your Best Life

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This article was first published in Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper

 

I’ll tell you this for free: Not all resolutions are created equal. As a new year begins, many of us write lists of noble promises—and break them before the ink dries. Why do most resolutions have so little sticking power? Because they’re what I call “outside-in” goals. They aren’t based on our real, intrinsic desires. We set them because we’ve learned from the culture around us—family culture, religious culture, media culture—that they are Good Things To Do.

By contrast, the kind of new year’s resolution that genuinely improve our [...]

Adventures in Boundaryland!

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You know how sometimes you look around your house and realize that your house is full of homeless orphaned drug addicts and you’ve gone broke paying for your brother-in-law’s best friend’s new car and you’re still feeling sore from donating your kidney to someone you saw on the news? Don’t you hate it when that happens?

DON’T WORRY, I’M JOKING!!! The paragraph above is a huge exaggeration of something that really does happen to compassionate people. Sometimes, we want so much to help everyone that we drop our personal boundaries very low—so low that our efforts to care for others [...]

Why It’s Okay to Change Up Family Traditions

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This article was first published in Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper

Holiday traditions have always made my heart beat a little faster—not with excitement, but with stress. Growing up as the seventh of eight children, I spent every December struggling to find gifts and make treats for everyone in the family. Things got easier when I started my own small, nuclear family. But our numbers are growing, and in recent years I’d begun to feel a touch of the old anxiety. Still, I was a bit shocked when someone suggested that we switch up our traditions by assigning each [...]

The Holiday Hurricane: Finding Shelter

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December is a month of intense psychological ambivalence. On one hand, there’s a lot to love about songs and sweets, parties and presents. On the other hand, the holidays present us with a host of stressors. I’m not just talking about vague malaise. This season forces our brains to face challenges that, at any time of year, can push them into confusion, anxiety, even panic.

Understanding what our brains undergo during this month can help us deal with the season more easily. So here’s some information that may help you weather the hurricane of mental pressures you’ll almost certainly encounter [...]

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