Making decisions in pencil


September 26, 2016
making decisions in pencil

A few years back, I was at a career crossroads and fortunately had an insightful coach to guide me.

I’d always imagined my life as a chess game where I could see multiple moves out — if I do this, it puts me in position for that, which will ultimately land me at my goal. My crisis was that I no longer saw the chess board and I couldn’t tell how the opportunity I was considering would play out in the long
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Why are we afraid of change? How change affects our social lives


September 12, 2016
change relationships

This is part four in our series exploring the science of our discomfort with change.

In the first post of this series, when we explored how human beings handle uncertainty, I mentioned a dream job across the country that you might, or might not, apply for. I mentioned how scary it can be to consider all the unknown outcomes of such a decision, such as where you’d live or whether the job would live up to expectations. But there’s another facet to such decisions: the impact of such a major life change on your relationships. Taking a job across the country could mean leaving family, friends, and a romantic partner behind and having to start over among strangers.

When I interviewed experts in a range of fields about how human beings make decisions, break habits, and handle things like loss and uncertainty, several of them cautioned against thinking solely in terms
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Why are we afraid of change? Examining the allure of habit


August 29, 2016

This is part three in our series exploring our fear of change.

“Lizards don’t learn very much,” writes neuroscientist Marc Lewis in his book, “The Biology of Desire.” “Their repertoire of skills is innate.”

By contrast, mammals have brains that “are designed for learning — they are designed to change — in sync with their environments.” We humans have evolved to adapt to cold weather, to fashion new tools, to adventure to new lands.

So why is change so hard for us, when we are, apparently, so used to it?
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Why are we afraid of change? How fear of loss holds us back


August 22, 2016

This is part two in our series exploring our fear of change.

Why is it so hard to give up what we have in exchange for something that seems better? It turns out, there’s a lot of research into how people make decisions in the economic arena that can help us understand why it can be difficult to change course, even when we say we want
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Why are we afraid of change? The science of uncertainty


August 15, 2016
Fear of change

So many of us struggle to change careers, to leave a bad relationship, to go back to school. In my social circle, I can think of just two friends who are notably good at change; the rest (myself included) tend to freeze up when we consider breaking with the past in a significant way. Neuroscientist Dean Burnett’s new book, “Idiot Brain,” addresses the ways our brains trip us up. I asked him why humans might be wired to resist making changes even when we say we want them.

“In an evolutionary sense, the brain doesn’t like uncertainty. Anything uncertain is potentially a threat,” Burnett
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Diary of a procrastinator


August 8, 2016
diary of a procrastinator

Productivity has never been a problem for me. I know the glowing feeling of accomplishment that comes from a daily to-do list stricken with check mark after check mark. I know what it feels like to be the good kind of tired — the kind that comes from spending hours in the zone getting stuff done. And I know these things because I have a top-secret productivity weapon.

I’m always, always avoiding doing something else.

No surprise, then, that when I recently used the Unstuck app, it told me I was acting like an Avoider.

Bingo.

Procrastination and I go way back. Back to college, when I worked my butt off at internships and jobs, then wrote term papers just hours before they were due. Back to my days as a news reporter, when I produced multiple headlines a day, but left large projects to wilt and die
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Being scared is brave


August 1, 2016
Lauree Ostrofsky

In high school, I was afraid to walk across the cafeteria to throw out my trash. All of those unforgiving teenage eyes watching and judging. I had mastered being anonymous just about anywhere, and then the tumor happened. Even after hair had grown over the scar and I learned to hide my hearing loss and shaky balance, people still saw me for something I’d rather they’d forget, and I felt them seeing me.

And now I was going to stand up in front of all of them to talk about “How My Brain Tumor Will Change Your
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If I have to spend one more minute with this person, I might scream!


July 26, 2016
annoying coworker

We all have “that” person at work, that annoying coworker with an uncanny ability to get under our skin — even make the environment feel toxic. Whether it’s the office know-it-all or a passive-aggressive button-pusher, every interaction makes our blood boil.

Unfortunately, dodging them in the hallways or fantasizing that they’ll get fired only works for so long. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to face them. (Sound of sad trombone.)

The good news is, it’s possible to feel better. The harder news is, doing so is up to you. It’s not enough to behave impeccably despite someone acting horribly; your reactions to them are making you unhappy. So it’s time to change your reactions.

Here are six things you can do to keep “that person” from ruining your day
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How I changed careers (and found work that is truer to my nature)


July 11, 2016
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Rachel Cohen is a licensed New York social worker, freelance writer, and Fordham grad. She currently works at the Association of Community Employment (ACE), assisting the homeless population in finding full-time jobs. She loves writing about social work, self-care, mental health, and vocational development.

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For the last three years that I worked as a digital editorial director, I loathed not only my job, but also my career. “Loathed” is a pretty strong word, but it’s accurate. I felt dread at the first hint of my alarm clock every day. What’s worse, I felt despair every night, thinking that I was powerless and that this feeling would never end.

Depressed, I tried to eat away my problems — my typical solution — which led to major weight gain. I was sick and lethargic, often from the stress.

I didn’t have the nerve to quit, and instead I fantasized about getting
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How to feel better in your bathing suit — and enjoy your summer


July 4, 2016
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It’s summer. Finally. So we start to fantasize about a trip to the beach, only to interrupt our reverie with fear or loathing about how we’ll look in a bathing suit. Or we go to the beach, but when our friends peel off their extra layers to jump in the water, we hang back. We don’t want to expose the parts of us that are too big, too small, too lumpy — too imperfect.

If this resonates, you’re not alone. One survey found that 89 percent of American women are unhappy with their weight. And men are hardly immune from the pressures to look a certain way. As Shape recently reported, the implications of a negative body image strongly affect our happiness:

Researchers from Chapman University in California surveyed over 12,000 participants about their body image and attitudes about their overall happiness and satisfaction with life while
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