Category Archives: Psychology

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of basketball will recognize the name of Michael Jordan, widely considered one of the best–if not the very best–players of all time. Jordan combined ferocious physical and mental strength with incomparable skill and an indefatigable will to win. However, he attributes his legendary success to one train above all others: My best skill was that I was coachable. I was a sponge and aggressive to learn. What does “coachable” mean? Have you ever met someone who seems sure he or she knows it all, someone who has no interest or perhaps even ability to learn from others? How about someone who crumbles under even constructive criticism, externalizing failure or blame? Those are definitely NOT examples of coachability. Instead, consider the traits someone who is coachable shows consistently: Interested in becoming better, even if that requires hard work Willing to listen and learn Eager to…

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Happy Halloween! As we’ve learned so dearly in 2020, some years are scarier than others. But we must not let fear be the reason we fail. So how do you handle the terror of a big test, an important task, or the first step on a journey that will change your life? 1. Don’t let stress make you N.U.T.S. 2. Take a deep breath. 3. Just begin!

This past year has been stressful for all of us, especially high school students. If you’re not sure how hard the COVID era has hit teens, just ask your school counselor how much social and emotional distress increased starting in the spring of 2020. Our support networks and coping strategies have had to adjust to account for social distancing and distance learning. During this current health crisis, mental health needs to be treated with the same urgency as physical health among adolescents: 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24. Teens need healthy outlets for stress so they can grow into resilient adults. New York State Mental Health Resources and Training Center shares essential information, current practices, and guidance on mental health from the NYS Education Department. Here are some valuable tips for families: Talk openly about mental health. When we…

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Multitasking makes us dumber, in that trying to focus on more than one activity at a time not only leads to inferior outputs but can actually produce a measurable decrease in IQ. But, of course, some tasks require more attention than others. Surely, you might say, just answering a text message while studying couldn’t hurt… Wrong. Researchers at Michigan State University found that even short interruptions can have a surprisingly large effect on the ability to accurately complete a task. Among a group of 300 subjects performing work on a computer, interruptions of approximately three seconds doubled the error rate. Erik Altmann, lead researcher on the study, drew a fairly reasonable conclusion about why such brief interruptions caused errors to spike: “The answer is that the participants had to shift their attention from one task to another. Even momentary interruptions can seem jarring when they occur during a process that…

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Very few people love taking tests, just as only a special handful look forward to crisis and conflict. The day you are tested–in whatever way that concept is meaningful to you–is the day you must shake off doubt and distractions, marshal your energy and focus, and rise to the occasion. Luckily, in normal times, those days are few and far between. These are not normal times. For teens hoping to take the SAT or ACT, nearly every Saturday from now through early November (along with various Sunday and school day options) features a test. More generally, the start of another academic year under the same conditions that ravaged the last one presents at least the potential for daily trials and tribulations. How do you not just get by but bring your best when every day feels like test day? Consider the words of the great American transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson:…

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Too many times, our well-meaning attempts to listen to our teens result in failed one-sided snippets of conversation. Parents and teens tire of the same old questions: “How are you?” (fine) “How was your day” (ok please leave me alone) “What’s new?” (…please just get off my back already!) Teens, unfortunately, don’t come with instruction manuals. But I’ll tell you one thing–teens are new to adulting, which, when you think back, is even more daunting. While some teens discover their life passion from early on, some need help to begin forming their life’s passions, goals, and mission. Parents can help their teen, not by asking her to choose a college major or career path, but by first learning more about her developing personal mission. In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Sean Covey says, “Life is a mission, not a career. A career is a profession, a…

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