The Importance of the Electoral College

An article by Tara West for The Inquisitr makes a good case for why the Electoral College is important:

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This map shows the counties that Trump won vs. the counties that Clinton won. Without the electoral college candidates would only have to focus on the important counties that are crucial to tipping the balance of the popular vote.

…the reasoning behind the Electoral College [is] to ensure that non-urban dwelling citizens have their voices heard in the election. If there was no Electoral College, the 100 most populous counties (just 3 percent of the total county count) would determine every election unless something significant happened within the U.S. geography makeup. Therefore, rural voters’ concerns would be placed on the back burner of all presidential elections and platforms.” 

 

The Ancient Origins of CBT

Epictetus

Epictetus (55-135 AD)

This week I was doing some Google Searching about the ancient origins of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and here are some interesting tidbits that stood out to me.

“Stoic philosophers, particularly Epicetus, believed logic could be used to identify and discard false beliefs that lead to destructive emotions, which has influenced the way modern cognitive-behavioral therapists identify cognitive distortions that contribute to depression and anxiety.” (From Wikipedia)

“CBT is based on a model or theory that it’s not events themselves that upset us, but the meanings we give them. If our thoughts are too negative, it can block us seeing things or doing things that don’t fit – that disconfirm – what we believe is true. In other words, we continue to hold on to the same old thoughts and fail to learn anything new.” (From Psyche Central)

My OCAMPR Workshop on Gratitude During Times of Suffering

Last week I had the privilege of traveling out to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology which was hosting this year’s conference for The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion. I was asked by the OCAMPR board to present a workshop on the topic ‘Gratitude During Times of Suffering.’ My talk, which was recorded on Ancient Faith Radio, is available by clicking on the video below. It is also available for mp3 download here.

Multitasking: the more you practice it, the worse you become

Most of the time we do grow more skilled at the things we practice, whether it’s learning to play the violin or speak French. But studies show that multitasking falls into the weird category of behaviors that go against this norm: the more you practice it the worse you become. In 2009, researchers at Stanford found that those who multitask frequently and believed that it boosted their performance were actually worse at multitasking than those who preferred not to multitask. This is sobering: if you multitask a lot and think you’re good at it, there is a statistical likelihood is that you are actually a very bad multitasker. The more you practice it, the worse you become.

This research seems counter-intuitive and weird. How could practicing an activity make a person worse at that activity? From a neurological perspective, however, this is not surprising. Study after study has found that in order for the higher functions of the brain to flourish the brain needs to be given frequent and regular spaces of silence, as well as spaces of deep undistracted attentiveness to a single activity. What both silence and attentiveness share in common is that they depend on the brain being able to weed out incoming stimuli. In other words, for the brain to work properly, it needs times when it is not multi-tasking. Times of quiet, as well as times of undistracted focused activity, act as incubation periods in which the brain consolidates what it has learned like a computer defragmenting to weed out the junk. Of course, undistracted focus is not possible in an environment of multitasking.

The above was an expert from my TSM article ‘Recovering Quiet in an Age of Noise‘.

 

What Gratitude is Not

empathy

The resilience that gratitude makes possible is important, not only so we can have the resources for weathering life’s storms, but so we have the inner resources to help others who are going through difficulties.

I’ve recently been posting a lot about gratitude and cognitive reframing. In this post I want to say a few words about what gratitude is not.

It’s important to emphasize that true gratitude is not a type of Pollyanna, everything-is-happy optimism. Sometimes in the self-help literature, people are encouraged to just assert they are happy even when they aren’t. There are some interesting studies showing that for certain types of people this false optimism not only doesn’t help, but actually makes them more miserable. So gratitude isn’t just gritting your teeth and saying things are fine when they aren’t.  True gratitude is the opposite of this since it involves acknowledging and accepting one’s sufferings, but then interpreting those sufferings in a spiritual way.

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My Journey With Digital Distractions and Email Addiction

I recently published an article for the Taylor Study Method titled ‘Recovering Quiet in an Age of Noise.’ This article continues to explore my ongoing interest in digital distractions and email addiction, but this time I’m approaching the topic from a personal angle and sharing my own journey. I share what I discovered when I went from having internet only on my computer to having it strapped to my side at all times. To read my article just click on the following link:

Recovering Quiet in an Age of Noise