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The Examined Life: Single on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is almost here again, a day that is pretty tough for a lot of single people. So many of us have uncritically bought into the notion, almost universally assumed in popular movies, music, and books, that romantic love is the One True Road to happiness. Life doesn’t really begin until you meet your…

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The Examined Life: The Shadow Side of Social Media

In the last few months a number of people have told me that they’re taking breaks from Facebook (or other social media) because they believe that it’s making them increasingly unhappy; and I’ve been looking into what the research says about the effects these media have on emotional well-being. The studies show that when we…

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The Examined Life: Happiness Isn’t Enough

In September 1944, Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist in Vienna, was transported to Auschwitz along with his pregnant wife and parents. By the time the camp was liberated, they had been murdered, but he had survived. Soon after being freed, he spent nine days writing an account of his experiences and what he’d learned…

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The Examined Life: Overcoming Chronic Resentment

Q: I’ve been with my husband for almost fifteen years. We don’t have any major problems like physical abuse, or cheating, or drugs. I really love him and I know he loves me, But I keep wishing he would be different than he is. I find myself resenting him all the time for little ways…

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The Examined Life: Holding On to a Toxic Partner

Q: My close friend Mark (that’s not his real name) – fell in love with someone nine years ago – I’ll call him Sam. Sam has done nothing but harm to him. He can’t hold down a job, even though Mark spent a lot of money he doesn’t have for schools and training programs for…

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The Examined Life: Generosity and Well-Being

If you’re having a bad day, what is the best way to boost your mood? Will you be more likely to feel better if you do something to treat yourself, or will you feel better if you focus on doing something nice for others? Psychologists have actually researched this question, and have come up with…

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The Examined Life: Choose Optimism

It probably won’t surprise anyone that an optimistic outlook is good for your physical and emotional well-being. Optimists react to problems with a sense of confidence in their ability to respond effectively to the challenges in their lives. They are hopeful about the future, and believe that their personal problems, as well as those of…

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The Examined Life: Pride Matters 2016

Maybe we’d become too complacent. I think I had. We’ve all known what it feels like to be unsafe in the world, and we’ve known how much it hurts to be “otherized” – to be evicted from the circle of “us” and to be treated as less than human. But we have same sex marriage…

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