Monday, November 20, 2023


 Did you know that what you think matters? The content of your thoughts, the time you spend with them, and your reaction to them all influence the way you feel and what you do. If you have worked with me before, you will likely have learned this very important concept, which is a main tenet of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  

Indeed, focusing on things that have gone wrong during the day and judging yourself for either the mistakes you made or the fact that you are thinking about your problems (or maybe even judging yourself for both) can lead you to feel some unpleasant emotions. Notice I didn’t say “bad” emotions- emotions themselves are not really “good” or “bad.” Those are labels we often use when we judge our experiences and react to our thoughts and feelings. Remember that emotions are a normal and necessary part of the human experience. 

In this month of Thanksgiving, I challenge you to acknowledge the difficult thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. Allow them to be present without judgement. Be aware of any labels you use to describe your situation. Choose what to do next- you have that power! You can sit and wait.  You can use healthy coping skills to work through it. You can ask for help. You can journal. You can exercise. You can talk it through with someone. You can read. These are only a few of the many choices you can make when faced with difficulty.


One of my most favorite daily habits that helps with managing difficulties is to intentionally spend time focusing on thankfulness. Look for, notice, acknowledge, appreciate, and attend to the thoughts, feelings, behaviors, situations, relationships, challenges, struggles, etc. that you are thankful for. Find the joy in the hardship, the growth potential in the challenge, the connection in the grief, the love in the lonely, the bravery in the fear, the gratitude in the lack. Many people think “If I just had/did/was, etc....I would be happier.” I challenge you to change your perspective. You may have enough right now. Experience thankfulness. Express gratitude. Look for the good. This doesn’t mean to ignore struggles or avoid unpleasant thoughts and feelings. It means to embrace it all and do some good with it so that you can grow and experience deeper meaning in your life. 

This is not a quick fix. This takes time. Grow in patience. You can reach out to a mental health provider who practices CBT for help. 

I wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Common Misconceptions about OCD


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can pervasively impact the life of the diagnosed individual as well as their families, friends, partners, and roommates. The term OCD is also commonly tossed around in casual conversation, which can unfortunately create a misunderstanding about how debilitating the disorder can be. Even among professionals, OCD can be poorly understood.  

I want to encourage you to have hope if you or someone you care about has a diagnosis of OCD. There are very effective treatments available. In order to help people better understand differences between danger and OCD intrusive thoughts as well as the role of magical thinking, common themes present with OCD symptomology, I am sharing two articles in this month’s focus. 


Harm OCD vs. Being Dangerous 


The Role of Magical Thinking in OCD


I hope you gain a better understanding of OCD symptoms and will reach out for help if you need. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Nature and Awe

 One of my favorite places to visit and appreciate awe is in Lake George, NY. There are mountains- majestic, strong, and beautiful. The lake is gorgeous- peaceful, calm, and serene. The experience of traveling there from my hometown on Long Island is also worthy of awe. Farmland, open space, rocks, trees, and mountains provide opportunity after opportunity to be connected with nature. My family and friends have always laughed at me when we would travel there together and I would refuse to put the air conditioning on in the car so we could experience the “fresh mountain air.” I lovingly accept the laughter - laughing at oneself is good and healthy! I recently had the pleasure of introducing my children to this experience (though I did allow AC for them) during a visit to Lake George. Connecting with nature is a value in our family, and being able to swim in the lake and drive up a mountain with my children for their first time was wonderful. Being in nature is beneficial for all of us. It helps our mood, immune system, and cognition. 


There are a few interesting articles I am sharing this month that illustrate the importance of nature exposure for children and adults, as well as some practical suggestions for increasing time in nature. It is possible, even for busy people. 


Feeling Awe Might Help Kids Be More Generous 


Why Trees Can Make You Happier 


Nurtured by nature: Psychological research is advancing our understanding of how time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition 




Enjoy your time outside! 

Monday, August 14, 2023

The Science of Friendships

There are summer vibes in my neck of the woods. Children riding bikes, friends shooting hoops in the road, adults meeting for dinner, couples on dates, people meeting at the beach, and vacations shared together. Maintaining connections with friends in some ways has never been easier. We can text, call, video call, connect on social media, and email. In other ways, it is harder. We get distracted by our everyday responsibilities, work, devices, and overload of commitments. As a parent, it can be so tricky to keep a friendship alive with another adult. Recently, I ran into one of my old friends, a really good old friend, whom I had not seen in several years and only spoke to occasionally. Life (parenting, work, family, busyness) got in the way. Seeing her was lovely. Our kids got to meet, and we were able to sit and talk and catch up, hoping to meet again soon. Today, my children were playing basketball on our block with several other kids in the neighborhood. This was not planned in advance, as many playdates often are nowadays, but rather an organic mix of friends out and about in the neighborhood. It is very healthy to have kids organize themselves into an unstructured activity without the direction of adults. Note, kids still need to be supervised, but that can be without an adult directing or organizing the play for them.

Adults can play too! You may enjoy swimming, biking, hiking, pickleball, singing, playing instruments, crafting, shopping, talking or another fun activity. I encourage you to reach out to a friend or maybe a few friends and connect. Friendship is good and important!

For more information about the science of friendship, see The Science of Why Friendships Keep Us Healthy:

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Parental Self-Care

Taking care of ourselves is an important and often neglected priority. We overschedule our days, long for breaks that seemingly never come, and miss the meaningful moments happening right now. What if we slowed down and checked in with ourselves to see how we are doing? 

Look at these recommendations for prioritizing self-care by loving ourselves. This will help us, in turn, to care for and love others. 

Monday, June 19, 2023

Teen Social Media Use


One of the most common concerns among families with teens is the use of social media. There are benefits and disadvantages, as there are with most forms of technology. This is an important topic to thoughtfully research, ask questions about, and seek guidance from a trusted source such as a mental health professional or pediatrician to have a productive discussion with your family.  

Here is a recent advisory about social media use in adolescence as summarized by the APA:  


Here is a recent webinar about social media use in adolescence as presented by PM Pediatric Behavioral Health: 


I encourage you to review these resources and utilize the information to help make an informed decision for yourself and your family.