Exit the Terrarium: Why Your Community Needs You!

IMG_20160613_191409.jpgI’m not going to lie, since the tragedy in Orlando, I’ve been having trouble mustering up the emotional energy to write a blog post. Instead, I found  myself furiously Googling and making plans to build a terrarium. It’s not TOO strange when you consider that I am a proud lizard owner (see Dandy, pictured above), but it is a weird thing for my mind to be mysteriously fixating on in the wake of this tragedy. However, I think the feeling mirrored my desire to close myself off in my own social ecosystem. In times like these, it is very easy for us to choose one thing to focus on, and huddle up with like-minded friends in a miniature version of the “real” world. Continue reading

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Why and How to Forgive

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No matter who you are, chances are you have some kind of emotional baggage weighing you down. Maybe it makes you nervous and upset whenever you think about a bridge you’ve burned with someone you care about, maybe fear of losing face and admitting wrongdoing is preventing you from reviving relationships or partnerships that could otherwise improve your life, or maybe you still haven’t forgiven yourself enough to pick up where you left off. Whatever is holding you back, the fall season is a great time to make peace with others and yourself, and start afresh. Continue reading

The Secret to Being a Kinder Person

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If only it were as simple as putting on a bunny costume.

Everyone wants to think of themselves as a good person, but actually doing the right thing, or even knowing the right thing to do, is not easy. However, there is one simple thing you can do that, once you start doing it, will almost immediately make you a better person: It’s called trying. Like any other achievement, being a better person starts with simply putting in a little effort. Here are a few things to try: Continue reading

Kindness Isn’t Easy, But It Is Important

Elephants touching each other gently (greeting) - Addo Elephant

Feeling genuine compassion for others who are struggling can be difficult and painful. In order to not constantly be sad about all of the terrible things happening in other people’s lives, human beings have grown adept at suppressing our kindness and compassion for one another when it suits us, and a lot of the time we don’t even realize we are doing it. In a way, this is a necessary skill, but sometimes we take it too far. Here are some tips on how to be more caring, without sacrificing your own sanity or happiness.

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Strategic Acts of Kindness are Better than Random Acts of Kindness

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First off, I want to say that I think that it’s wonderful that the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation teaches children the importance of being kind, and I very much agree with the idea that kindness is contagious (in fact, it’s been backed up by science). However, the randomness factor is one I never understood. Showing kindness is not a random act, and it doesn’t even need to be a selfless one. Many studies have demonstrated helping people not only makes them happier, it also makes you happier. This led me to the belief that being compassionate and being logical are actually the same thing. So why are we labeling acts of kindness as “random”? Here are some reasons why I think we need to look at kindness from a more strategic perspective:

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Being Logical and Being Compassionate are Actually the Same Thing

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Like many of you, I was deeply saddened to learn of Leonard Nimoy’s passing this week. Since this is a blog about being both compassionate and logical at the same time, I think it is pretty clear that I, like so many of my fellow nerds, hope to follow in Mr. Nimoy’s footsteps – not just in being an intelligent, accomplished person, but also in being a caring and compassionate one. Today, in his honor, I wanted to talk about the many ways in which being compassionate is actually a quite logical choice.

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Embracing Empathy Part Two: Taking Kindness to the Next Level!

Embracing Empathy

My last post explored the ways that empathy is deeply ingrained in human nature, but also some of the psychological ways that humans are bad at harnessing empathy to have a positive impact on ourselves and those around us. Today I wanted to give some practical tips on how to embrace empathy in your everyday life in order to improve your personal happiness and sense of purpose, and make life better for those around you.

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Empathy, Part One: Why Are We Sometimes Nice and Sometimes Not?

This entry is going to be the first of a two-parter about empathy. I’m starting this week by exploring the concept of empathy and how it is deeply ingrained into human nature, despite the many ways we sometimes suppress it. Next week I will follow it up with advice on how to channel empathy and overcome some of the obstacles to compassion that we humans face on a daily basis.
em·pa·thy
noun
1. the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

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