In the United States, Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. In the early 1600’s, when the first Thanksgiving celebration featuring Englishmen in the New World happened, “giving thanks” was how people expressed their gratitude for surviving a tough year, or for bringing in a bountiful harvest.
The tradition of “giving thanks” was, and still is, a big part of the Wampanoag tribe, who were part of the early celebrations, though not quite as the story is told now. In the middle 1800’s, when the Civil War had ended and President Lincoln was looking for a way to bring the nation back together, Thanksgiving was cemented as a national celebration designed to reflect, gather, and share a communal, traditional meal. The “traditional” meal itself was made up at the time, as was the pastoral story of the early dinners with Pilgrims and tribesmen.
It was called Thanksgiving. Would we still celebrate it if it had been called Gratitude Day or Appreciation...
Our lives are filled with war. War in the mainstream media, war in the social media, and war in the everyday conversations. We don’t have to live in the war zone to be profoundly mentally affected by war.
The social-mediazation of war began with the war in the Ukraine and shows no signs of stopping in this new conflict. From the first attack at the music festival to right now, social media accounts have been showing pictures of things no one should ever see, spreading fake news, and passing off old videos as proof of their version of current events, creating confusion, fear, and despair.
All of this takes a toll on everyone. Everyone, not just Israelis, Pakistanis, Jews, Muslims, innocent people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, as well as combatants. Everyone, no matter how far away or how distantly aware of the events, is affected.
In the Time Before Social Media, the mainstream media had rules that were mostly upheld, and they existed for the physical and mental...
Let’s talk about happiness today, and how difficult it is for scientists to even define it, much less quantify it for us. A focus on happiness has been in the news so much that now its shadow twin, toxic positivity, is making headlines. In this post, happiness is being discussed as one of the large range of emotions that humans feel. It’s nice to feel happy, and not mandatory nor even possible to feel happy all the time. That’s a completely unrealistic goal. What is realistic is for you to learn how to soothe yourself so you can make yourself happier when you choose.
First, what’s the official working scientific definition of happiness?
According to Sigmund Freud, happiness has two components: “the absence of pain and unpleasure,” and “the experience of strong feelings of pleasure.” Not much to argue with there, and yet it’s not a satisfying definition, because that definition chases its own tail....
Caution: cliché alert!!!
Yes, you’re right – this edition of the newsletter is about self-care. July is Self-Care month and yesterday was International Self-Care Day. And if you’re like nearly everyone else, me included, self-care isn’t at the top of your to-do list each day, and it needs to be, for both of us.
Why? Don’t make me point you back up to those cliches, ok? The reason phrases become repeated so often that they become trite and clichéd is because – drum roll please – they’re true. They resonate, and have resonated for decades, if not hundreds of years. And yet here we are, talking about how we neglect our own self-care.
How can we make our own care a priority? First, give yourself credit for the things you already do for yourself:
Today is the day when Louisiana blooms, not with bougainvillea's riotous blossoms, but with partying people, parades and portable adult beverages. Today is the last day before Lent begins, the final day of the Mardi Gras season, and it’s traditionally a day for gluttony of all sorts before the Christian season of atonement and deprivation starts. Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Carnival Tuesday and Pancake Tuesday are some of the names this day gets called.
If you’ve seen a billboard, heard a radio or TV commercial, been inside a store or even just poked your nose outside your front door in the last week, then you already know what today is. Did you know that, in addition to Valentine’s Day, it’s Galentine’s Day, Madly in Love with Me Day, International Flirting Week and National Week of Chastity? Heck, I’m feeling a bit whiplashed with those last two happening at the same time, aren’t you?
This day is fraught with so many emotions and expectations. For happy couples, it’s a celebration of their connection and commitment to each other, wrapped in feelings of love and joy. For unhappy couples, it’s a reminder of what they once had and don’t have now, and that can bring with it sadness, despair and a feeling of letting loved ones down. For those who aren’t part of a couple, it can feel like they’re an outcast in a sea of togetherness and aren’t living up to societal...
Could your self-esteem use a boost, and just how the heck could that be accomplished? Let’s talk about that this week.
This month is International Boost Self-Esteem Month, intended to shine a light on just how tough most of us are on ourselves. If you grew up hearing phrases like, “don’t blow your own horn” and “don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back” then maybe you think it’s not OK to recognize and appreciate your strengths, talents and abilities. If you live or work with someone who is constantly belittling you, perhaps you’ve come to believe in their opinion of you instead of your own. And maybe, like most people, you feel pretty good about yourself most of the time and now and then doubts creep into the dark corners of your mind, gutting your self-esteem for a little while, until you regain your mental balance.
High self-esteem, not to be confused with egotism or sociopathic tendencies, is a healthy regard for who...
It’s the last day of the first month of the new year. And it’s cold. OK, it’s winter and it’s supposed to be cold. Seriously, Mother Nature – 18 in Maine, 4 in North Dakota and minus 1 in Minnesota? The freezing temperatures are coast to coast, north to south, and make me want to hibernate. You, too? Then today is the perfect day to cuddle up to your computer and plan a vacation!
On this National Plan for Vacation Day, let’s look at how a perk at work gets treated like a jerk. Over half of Americans don’t take all their paid time off from work. They have the benefit of vacation and personal days, in addition to sick days, and yet they don’t take full advantage of the benefit.
That, in spite of the fact that in the most recent comprehensive study of vacation time as a benefit, 63% of workers said a generous paid time off package was a deciding factor in whether or not they would accept a job offer. Clearly we want to be offered vacation...
Have you ever had an idea, brought it to fruition, and during its infancy you discovered that your idea was bigger than you knew? International We Are Not Broken Day began in 2019, so is still fairly new, as is the organization of the same name. The founder, Texan Nochola Cotto, intended it to be a day for women who’ve been touched by any sort of trauma to be heard and helped. The “we are not broken” part has resonated with so many people that observance of the day has spread to anyone who’s suffered any kind of trauma.
People with depression
Victims of violent crimes
People with diminished mental abilities
People who are “different” in any way
Just being outside of what humanity at large considers “normal” subjects people to all sorts of unintentional, and sometimes intentional, abuse. Attitudes about people with disabilities, whether mental, psychological or physical, can be quite harsh, and human beings can...
Today, let’s celebrate peculiar people. It’s officially Peculiar People Day, though no one knows how this one got started or why. It seems to be a nod to a group of faith healers formed by Englishman John Banyard, “Peculiar People,” in 1838. Or maybe not – the two events simply share the words “peculiar” and “people.” The peculiar and slightly murky beginnings of this day make it peculiar enough to celebrate, though you know I’m going to dig a bit deeper for you, right?
While most of the world’s institutions, including family units, religion, schools, and governments work to enforce conformity and societal norms, it feels a bit rebellious to celebrate peculiar people. First, just who are these people we’re celebrating today? People like:
The first woman to experiment with blue and purple dye in her hair.
That Chinese man who wore 140 pounds of bees as...