Reflections on Mental Health from New Year’s in Japan

My family ushered in the year of the Rabbit with taiko drumming and fireworks on the beach in Okinawa, Japan. Three generations of family members, ranging in age from barely six weeks to more than six decades, gathered for the holiday. For some of us, it was the first time

Let There Be Light

Wednesday of this week was the winter solstice – the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere – when the earth is tilted as far away from the sun as possible. The sun’s path across the sky is the lowest it will be all year. From now till

Practicing Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a time to pause, recognize, and express our appreciation for all that is good and enriching in our lives. There’s no doubt that we all have experiences in life that are challenging and difficult – times when it is hard to be grateful. A practice of gratitude doesn’t

Veteran’s Day

In 1918, in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the armistice to end World War I was signed. The day became known as Armistice Day. Today, in the US, it is called Veteran’s Day, a federal holiday that honors all veterans for their service and

From Local to Global: Mental Health at Every Turn

I am a bit breathless. This has been a week chock full of public news and life events that push mental health to the forefront of our attention. The variety of topics reminds us that mental health is linked to stories near and far, joyful and painful, universal and particular.

Thanksgiving 2018

Everyone knows that thanksgiving is a compound word expressing the essence of this favorite American holiday focused on giving thanks. But did you know that beyond “thanks” and “giving” there are another 346 Scrabble-approved words we can make out of the letters in “thanksgiving?!” Here are a few of my

An Easy Fast

This week was Yom Kippur, the holiest of holy days for the Jewish people. It’s really big. Even those who don’t go to services regularly throughout the year take themselves to synagogue on Yom Kippur. It is the last day of the 10 Days of Awe. The Day of Atonement.

Psychology 101 with Santa and Friends

Christmas is replete with mythical characters. These beloved personages speak to fundamental psychological ideas and ideals – embodying how we think, what we value, and why we feel certain ways. Not simply delightful imaginings for children, Santa and friends are among the most beloved teachers of Psychology 101. So what

Why I Light Hanukkah Candles

In the northern hemisphere, daylight has been dwindling and next week, December 21st, will mark the winter solstice. In my hometown of New York City, we will have almost six fewer hours of daylight than we had around the summer solstice in June. Enveloped in cold and darkness, it’s no

Thanksgiving is about Community; Community is about Mental Health

From the Pilgrims and American Indians to our present-day gatherings of family and friends, Thanksgiving has always ultimately been about community. And community is at the heart of what elevates the human condition. As we celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday, I was humbled by the joyful gathering of four generations at my

Shared Roots

Coinciding with the setting of the sun tonight, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar begins: Yom Kippur. It is a day of fasting, reflection and introspection. Metaphorically, within a 24 hour period, the gates will open or close and after fervent prayer, it will be decided who shall live

Music, Mental Health, and Mother’s Day

Hearing the first notes of our favorites songs, our hearts skip a beat, memories are triggered of moments, places, and life milestones. We think of lovers, friends, and family, people gone and people in our present lives. Music is unique in its capacity to give wings to our innermost thoughts