Principles of motivational interviewing and attunement can help in having these conversations

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How can you best encourage your friend, family member, or coworker to get vaccinated against COVID19 when they’re still reluctant? You know the facts are on your side. The virus has killed over 600,000 Americans, and we in America have readily available vaccines that are safe and effective. Getting vaccinated protects you and the people around you from hospitalization and death. The vast majority of people being hospitalized and dying from COVID in America now are the unvaccinated. But no matter how many facts you cite, your friend or relative seems unconvinced, and even tunes you out as you continue…

With a never-ending news cycle filled with one global crisis after another, our bodies are affected by what we read more than you may think

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Bad news seems to follow us daily. And it’s likely you’re seeing or reading about it right from the moment you wake up, as 80% of Americans say they check their phones within 10 minutes of waking up. This continual absorption of the latest headlines probably continues throughout your day since most Americans also check their phone once every 5.5 minutes. It’s no wonder that negativity can seem ubiquitous.

While it’s good to stay informed, unfortunately the ratio of news you’re digesting skews heavily towards the negative. Part of this stems from a human negativity bias — or the tendency…

Social dos and dont’s can be useful guides, but high-quality interactions require “contingent responding”

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“Five things you shouldn’t say to people who are grieving.” “Do’s and don’ts for first dates.” “Three ways to have ‘the talk’ about where your relationship is going.” We see stories with titles like these all the time. Rules of thumb for social situations can be really helpful. It’s hard to know what to say to a grieving person, and who wants to say the “wrong” thing and hurt them more? Who wouldn’t want that first date you’re excited about to go well? And who couldn’t use tips on how to approach difficult topics with a partner, like where your…

If you’re nervous about the reemergence of a full social calendar, here are some ways you can gradually adjust

The United States is well on it’s way to have a summer filled with social gatherings, especially since the CDC declared that most fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in many settings. Vaccination protects not only individuals themselves, but also those around them. As a result, cities like Washington, DC and New York City have unveiled full reopening plans starting this month. While the announcement leans on sound empirical evidence of the effectiveness of vaccines in people who are not immunocompromised, it still left many with mixed emotions. Which makes sense. Some people may understandably feel cautious…

A therapist and a psychiatrist offer six effective ways to personally help solve a global crisis of connection

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In our last post, “Why Do We Hate?” we wrote that our delusion of separateness is fueling systemic racism, violence, war, and impeding our response to imminent, global existential threats like climate change. We argued that it is urgent for us to develop our capability to connect, and extend it beyond our close inner circle.

So what can we do to develop our sense of connection?

There’s no simple solution, as this is a problem that humanity has been grappling with throughout recorded history. But there’s a greater sense of urgency now, given the problems we face. …

The idea that we are separate from one another fuels much of the hatred, violence, and misery in our world. But it’s just not true

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One common misconception fuels much of the hatred, violence, and misery in our world, and even threatens our very existence as a species. It’s the idea that we are separate from one another.

To some extent, we are hardwired to view other people as separate, alien, at times threatening. Within fractions of a second of meeting someone, our brains subliminally label the other person as a potential friend, mate, or foe. Our brains naturally prioritize and become rapidly conscious of faces that seem threatening. On top of that, the “other-race effect,” or the tendency to recognize faces of your own…

In this phase of the pandemic, genuine, lasting connections might feel elusive. Attunement is the key.

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Quality connections are hard to come by… especially during the pandemic and with social distancing. But even in the Before Times, genuine, lasting connections seemed elusive.

But why?

Part of the problem may include the addictive nature of smartphones and social media. During the pandemic, these devices are a lifeline to our friends and loved ones. But in non-pandemic times, being glued to our screens and devices is more of a boon for marketers and advertisers than it is for the quality of our relationships.

Then there’s the chronic stresses and anxieties we face. It often feels impossible to manage…

What the Dalai Lama can teach us about reconnecting

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This past year has brought a universal experience of struggle, one that looks different depending on who you ask. The cascading effects of COVID, social injustice, political strife, and climate change are just a few of the biggest stressors making this year feel like a marathon we did not willingly sign up for. Article after article, book after book, tell us how disconnected we are, physically and emotionally, and how this lack of social connection is insidiously impacting our wellbeing. We want to feel connected. We want to stop feeling alone on this marathon. …

Ashley Pallathra and Edward Brodkin

Co-authors of the new book “Missing Each Other: How to Cultivate Meaningful Connections.” Twitter: @ashleypallathra @tedbrodkin

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