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Hot Under the Collar? Welcome to the Dog Days!

dog days of summer stress Jul 09, 2024

Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer. It’s the time of year when traffic is lighter, meetings are smaller, and life gets just a little bit slower for most people.

For much of my life, I thought the phrase came from the observation of how lazy and slow dogs became in the heat of summer. Maybe you thought that, too? Nope – the ancient Romans noticed that when Sirius and the sun were in close proximity, the weather became hotter and more humid. Sirius, aka the Dog Star, is the brightest star in Canis Major, or the Big Dog, constellation, hence the Dog Days of Summer.

How does your life shift in the summertime?

If you have school-aged children or grandchildren, chances are you spend a bit more time with them than you do in the rest of the year.

If you teach any kind of class, chances are your classes are smaller this time of year.

If you work in the hospitality industry or any medical field where there’s flexibility in the timing of treatments, your workload increases...

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How Free are You Allowing Yourself to Be?

Today is Made in the USA Day, Thursday is Independence Day, and the short work week means most US workers have more freedom than normal this weekend – four days off instead of two. Today, let’s talk about freedom from a slightly different perspective – let’s talk about the freedom you either do or don’t allow yourself to feel.

  • Have you ever come up against something that felt unfair to you, and you rebelled? That’s you, allowing your freedom.
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you felt intimidated, maybe because of an authority figure? That’s you, disallowing your freedom.

America was formed because of those two different approaches to freedom. Ours is a country created through civil, then not-so-civil, disobedience. The words “free” and “freedom” crop up in our foundation documents eight times – four times in the Declaration of Independence, 3 in the Bill of Rights, and once in the Constitution. As a...

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Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season

Are you a Jimmy Buffet fan? A full-on Parrothead? Or maybe you’re someone who never understood the appeal of a man who wore loud shirts, shorts, and performed barefoot in front of thousands of adoring fans?

It doesn’t matter where you land on the Beach Balladeer’s spectrum of fandom, you’ve probably lived through a figurative hurricane season or two in your life, and maybe even been in the path of one or two literal hurricanes. It’s Hurricane Season 2024 from now through the end of October, and again this year, there will be people who will try to reason with hurricane season. Literal hurricanes, yes – and figurative ones, too.

Let’s use this Jimmy Buffett song as a springboard to talk about the very human trait of trying to control things that are completely uncontrollable. When a particularly stubborn person realizes their attempts at control have failed, they often try their hand at bargaining or even digging in their heels, adamantly...

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How to Change How You Feel

This week marks the summer solstice – it actually happens the day after tomorrow. This week also marks the winter solstice, which oddly enough also happens the day after tomorrow.

How can this be? It depends on your vantage point. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, Thursday at 4:50 PM eastern time is the exact time of summer solstice. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, Thursday at 4:50 PM eastern time is the exact time of winter solstice. It is the astronomical beginning of both summer and winter. Your vantage point determines your upcoming weather forecast.

Have you ever thought about how things can feel very different, depending on your vantage point? Merriam-Webster defines vantage point as “a position or standpoint from which something is viewed or considered.” Point of view can be used interchangeably with vantage point – both mean the same thing. Here are some examples of how your vantage point can drastically change how you experience...

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Can You Appreciate the Price of a Broken Heart?

When something hurts so much we say that it breaks our heart – does it really, or does it save it?

Have you ever lost someone you love? And yes, pets count. Can you remember the physicalness of the pain – the pain in your chest, the hollowness of your being? What is that? Why is that? And can we ever “suffer” a loss without suffering?

Probably not, and you probably wouldn’t want to, either.

Professor Yoram Yovell, a researcher on the relationship between emotional and physical pain and expert on the neurobiology of love and emotions, has studied why love and loss hurts so much. Turns out, emotional pain has a strong survival benefit – it alerts us to the fact that something has changed in our lives that we need to pay attention to.

When babies – human or not – are without their mother, they cry a very specific cry. Yes, the cry alerts their mother to return to them, and for the researchers, there was a surprising finding:...

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Are You Celebrating This Week, Too?

Are you a member of a professional organization? Maybe it’s the American Bar Association, or the Farm Bureau Federation, or the National Association of Broadcasters – there are associations dedicated to nearly every profession that exists. Often, these associations create special recognition days or weeks that are tied to the work done by the members.

This is Pet Appreciation Week, thanks to the American Veterinary Medical Association. This group of people dedicated to the health of pets wanted to create a week-long celebration of the love, care, and devotion exchanged between people and their pets. They also use the week to highlight best practice care for pets of all kinds, and the responsibilities that pet owners take on when they decide to add a pet to their life. The first Sunday in June kicks the week off, which means if you have a pet, you still have the rest of the week to celebrate!

If you have a pet, I’d love to hear the story of how you chose the pet you...

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Better Bodies Equals Bigger Brains

Today is Women’s Golf Day, and whether you’re a golfer or a woman or a woman golfer or none of the foregoing, it’s a great day to talk about sports and how playing your favorite sport contributes to giving you a bigger, better brain and a longer, healthier life.

Human beings were nomadic hunter-gatherers in the early days of human development. It wasn’t until the inventions of things like wheels, levers, and gravity-fed water systems that humans could start setting up permanent living spaces. Even then, life was very active – no one had invented tractors, conveyor belts, or cars to make life easier. For most of our time on this planet, we have been an active species, able to adapt to different climate conditions, different food sources, and different behavioral challenges.

Fast-forward to today, where we can change our climate inside our homes, store food in a specific location in our homes for consumption at will, and actually never go outside if we...

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Can You Believe Your Beliefs?

Have you ever thought about belief? We think of our own beliefs as correct and even judge others based on whether they believe the same way we do or not. Our beliefs feel so real, and so true, that we can’t imagine how others could possibly believe differently.

And yet they do. And they always will. And that’s not just OK, it’s what keeps life interesting.

Today is the 13th anniversary of the end of the world. Well, except for that one small detail – it didn’t actually end 13 years ago. Harold Camping predicted the end of the world would happen in 2011, with the rapture occurring on May 21st and the physical world coming to an end five months later. He was a darling of the media, appearing on any and every news outlet that would have him, and focusing the programming on his Family Radio Network around the mathematical and theological certainty of his predictions. He believed. He believed with such fervor that he torpedoed his own reputation and spent...

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Freedom for Working Moms

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. It’s a lovely holiday designed to let moms relax for one day of the year while being appreciated and pampered. It’s a day that features flowers, favorite foods, gifts, and maybe even a macaroni necklace designed by a 3-year-old. Can AI ever replace those? (Please don’t answer that!)

What about the other 364 days? Most moms are working moms, not stay-at-home moms, who were the norm when Mother’s Day came into being. Working moms have two careers – their job and their child or children – and neither one can be back-burnered.

So, if one person has two careers, neither of which can be neglected, what lands at the bottom of the to-do list?

  • Self-care.
  • Hobbies.
  • Passion projects.

The very things that feed the soul of the working mom get neglected due to lack of time and energy. During the pandemic shutdown, many or maybe most working moms found a way to better balance their various responsibilities, and some were...

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Teachers, Teaching, and Top Traits

Quick – name a teacher who helped shape who you are today. If you’re like most people, and like me, you can name a few.

Mrs. Sharrett, my 4th grade teacher, who made paying attention pay off. She used operant conditioning on her willing subjects, making intentional mistakes and paying the first student to point it out with a piece of candy from a special drawer in her desk.

Mr. Buhn, my high school physics teacher, a man completely grounded in science and yet still fun in the way he taught his passion. He was delighted when his class gave him membership to the Flat Earth Society. He used their monthly newsletter as a springboard for lessons on how things really work.

Miss Gardner, my performing arts teacher and coach, who took raw talent, lit a fire under its container, and created the knowledge and belief that I would be a performer. And I was, for three decades, a very successful major market radio personality. Thank you for believing in me, Miss Gardner!

Teachers...

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