Columbia University Professor Samantha Boardman is a psychiatrist — but she has come to suspect the whole psychological model might have it backwards: Rather than trying to help patients to change their thoughts as the key to changing their lives, vice versa could be the way to go.
Thatâ€™s pretty radical…and pretty helpful. In her new book, “Everyday Vitality: Turning Stress into Strength,” she argues that satisfaction doesn’t come from “within” it comes from “with.” That is, engaging WITH people, activities, interests, obligations, even nature. Think about how much better you usually feel after taking a walk, or having coffee with a friend.
Which doesnâ€™t mean traditional therapy is pointless. Iâ€™m a New Yorker so you KNOW Iâ€™ve had my fair share of sessions with a shrink. (More than my fair share. To repeat: Iâ€™m a New Yorker.) Talk therapy is not a license to stew or stagnate. But when dumbed down to, â€œLook for your broken parts and ONLY your broken partsâ€ it can be counter-productive.
My Q&A with Boardman is over at Let Grow — click here to read it. But I really must also recommend her book. It has already influenced my life and gotten me to say yes to things I might have passed up on.
Let Grow believes in action when it comes to parenting, too. Until you ACTUALLY let your kids do something on their own, your brain is filled with “What if?” and “I could never forgive myself!” scenarios. These are hard to overcome without seeing FOR YOURSELF just how competent your kids can be.
It’s like you have to leap before you look. Boardman’s book might give you a push. Good luck! — L.
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