You’re already busy and pushed to the end of your limits by the day-to-day grind. Taking on any more is just overwhelming — but suffering is also the secret to being successful.
Gain usually comes through pain.
Gain usually comes through pain.
Every day we’re assaulted with facts, pseudofacts, news feeds and jibber-jabber, coming from all directions. According to a 2011 study, on a typical day, we take in the equivalent of about 174 newspapers’ worth of information, five times as much as we did in 1986. As the world’s 21,274 television stations produce some 85,000 hours of original programming every day (by 2003 figures), we watch an average of five hours of television per day. For every hour of YouTube video you watch, there are 5,999 hours of new video just posted!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s a reason: The processing capacity of the conscious mind is limited. This is a result of how the brain’s attentional system evolved. Our brains have two dominant modes of attention: the task-positive network and the task-negative network (they’re called networks because they comprise distributed networks of neurons, like electrical circuits within the brain). The task-positive network is active when you’re actively engaged in a task, focused on it, and undistracted; neuroscientists have taken to calling it the central executive. The task-negative network is active when your mind is wandering; this is the daydreaming mode. These two attentional networks operate like a seesaw in the brain: when one is active the other is not.
Fantasy Author Lev Grossman says C.S. Lewis taught him that in fiction, stepping into magical realms means encountering earthly concerns in transfigured form.
I agree. I find inspiration and insight in fantasy that I can then bring back into what we normally term reality.
If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a pet, you know that the pain and grief is deep and real — and can even be overwhelming.
Despite that, grief over the loss of a pet is often not treated with the same respect or sensitivity as grief over the loss of a human.
I’m doing more and more coaching and counseling around loss of animal as well as human companions, since I seem so well equipped by life experiences to deal with this. My popular book, Baltho, the Dog Who Owned a Man, and my other books all talk about this in one way or another.
Even though this adorable Yorkie, Misa Minnie, is only 1 and a half years old, the intelligence level of her tricks will astound you — and make your day.
Many forensic psychologists and criminologists use the terms sociopathy and psychopathy interchangeably. Leading experts disagree on whether there are meaningful differences between the two conditions. I contend that there are significant distinctions between them.
The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), released by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013, lists both sociopathy and psychopathy under the heading of Antisocial Personality Disorders (ASPD). These disorders share many common behavioral traits which lead to the confusion between them. Key traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include:
A disregard for laws and social mores
A disregard for the rights of others
A failure to feel remorse or guilt
A tendency to display violent behavior
In addition to their commonalities, sociopaths and psychopaths also have their own unique behavioral characteristics as well.
My popular books make great summer reading–as well as gifts. My memoir, Baltho, The Dog Who Owned a Man is about my remarkable Afghan hound rescue named Baltho, with whom I shared a psychic bond. He helped me in my counseling and coaching practice by pointing out things I missed.
In my books I often talks about my many mystical experiences, not only with the living, but with those who have passed on.
For more on Baltho and his three incarnations (he’s now back for the third time, wanting to be known as Melchior), see this article by British writer and researcher, Geoff Ward.
Here is Melchior, along with Melchior and his cat Noir. Melchior is working on becoming my co-therapist again.
If you’d like signed and inscribed copies of my books you can buy them from this site, for the regular retail price. They’re also available from Amazon.com and other outlets.
From the crises in the Middle East to mass shootings in U.S. schools to the reckless striving for wealth and world domination, there is one overarching theme that almost never gets media coverage—the sense of insignificance that drives destructive acts. As a depth psychologist with many years of experience, I can say emphatically that the sense of being crushed, humiliated and existentially unimportant are the main factors behind so much that we call psychopathology.
Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.
In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.