Laughing Contest Winners

For all the emphasis that has historically been placed on IQ scores, success and happiness in one's life and career may be as dependent (if not more), on emotional intelligence - or EQ (wait...what is emotional intelligence, exactly?). And as you may have noticed, I've been on a bit of an emotional intelligence kick as of late. From cultivating our optimistic side... to listening to recordings of ourselves without wanting to curl up into the fetal position... to taking ourselves less seriously…


Having a Tough Day? Need a Good Laugh?

Being alive can be pretty stressful at times. Whether we are five or fifty-five, there's always something clamoring for our attention, and pushing us to the edge of our breaking point. Mean kids at school…unexpected bills…repertoire that needs to be learned for a big audition in two weeks, but meanwhile our best friend is going through a big breakup and needs support, even though we ourselves are having a conflict with the new music director at work, dealing with a house full of kids with the…


Are We Too Serious for Our Own Good?

You know how airlines always provide a short "safety" demonstration before take-off? Where they show us what we ought to do in the event of an emergency? When was the last time you actually paid attention to this presentation? I recently flew on Delta, and was ignoring the obligatory safety briefing as usual, until something caught my attention, and I ended up watching the video all the way through. In fact, when I landed and had some time between flights, I youtubed it so I could watch the…


How Can I Keep Old Repertoire Sounding New and Fresh?

You know that magical time in a new relationship with your car, when it has that new car smell? When every little detail, from the pounding bass of your stereo, to the thunking sound your power windows make when they meet the top of the door frame, brings a smile to your face? And how a couple months later, the smell has faded away, and your car is just a hunk of metal that gets you from point A to point B? Whether it's a car, a new apartment, or barefoot running shoes, inevitably the newness…


How Can We Become More Optimistic About the Future?

We like to think that the world around us makes sense. That there is a logical reason why things happen the way they do. So we instinctively explain the day's events in terms of cause and effect (psychologists call these attributions). Say someone cuts us off in traffic. Sheesh, what a jerk, we say. Or, if we are in the mood to give them the benefit of the doubt, we say gee, maybe they were rushing their kid to the hospital... The interesting thing about these attributions is that they affect…