The American Psychological Association has dubbed May 20 as Mental Health Blog Day “to educate the public about mental health, decrease stigma about mental illness, and discuss strategies for making lasting lifestyle and behavior changes that promote overall health and wellness.” In response, I thought I’d collect a handful of articles from the past year that may resonate with this overall theme.
Mainstreaming psychological well-being in the law: TJ’s challenge (April 2015) — “What if our laws and legal systems focused on creating psychologically healthy outcomes for parties involved in legal matters and for society as a whole? What if considerations of economics (leaning right) and rights (leaning left) in creating law and policy were screened through the lens of psychological well-being of people affected by those laws and policies?”
Free course: The Science of Happiness (March 2015) — “Last fall I took a free online course, ‘The Science of Happiness,’ facilitated and taught by leading authorities on positive psychology. I thought it would be enlightening and useful not only for work, but also for my life in general. I was not disappointed. It was an excellent course, well-conceived and clearly organized, with plenty of compelling content. I can recommend it enthusiastically to my readers.”
Targets of workplace bullying: Pursuing healthy, immersive activities away from the job (January 2015) — “For some, delving into a positive, engaging, and immersive activity may serve as a healthy alternative to ruminating over a terrible work situation. This may be in the form of a hobby, a personal project, an avocation, volunteer work, or creating a side business. Shelley Lane did just that as she stepped back in time with her study abroad journals in the midst of her experience with workplace bullying.”
On being a change agent: The role of “Edgewalker” (December 2014) — “In her 2006 book, Edgewalkers: People and Organizations That Take Risks, Build Bridges, and Break New Ground, author Judi Neal writes that the “Edgewalker is someone who walks between the worlds,” an individual who builds bridges, works at the boundaries and soft edges, and operates in a visionary way. Neal draws heavily from diverse cultural and spiritual traditions in defining this role.”
“I am powerless” (Probably not, but let’s talk about it) (November 2014) — “Over the past couple of months, I’ve taken note of essays and blog posts where individuals have shared a sense of powerlessness to change things for the better. The saddest of these are proclamations: “I am powerless to (fill in the blank)….” They come from good people who care about making the world a better place, yet have reached a place of deep exasperation, frustration, or hopelessness. Some are venting, others are mourning. Some, having gotten it off their chest, will jump back into the fray, while others seem poised move on or withdraw.”
The courage of Monica Lewinsky (October 2014) — “For some 16 years, Monica Lewinsky has been paying a dear price for youthful mistakes that she happened to make with the President of the United States. Her affair with President Bill Clinton while serving as a White House intern became public in 1998, and it almost toppled Clinton’s Presidency. . . . In “Shame and Survival,” a piece that she authored for the June issue of Vanity Fair, Lewinsky, now 41, writes for the first time about what the ensuing years have been like. She describes the cruelties, ridicule, and humiliation, frankly but without excessive self-pity. . . . Lewinsky writes about her experiences with heart, insight, and thoughtful restraint.”
Competing visions of the “good life” (July 2014) — “John Ohliger (1926-2004) [was] an iconoclastic, pioneering adult educator, civic activist, and public intellectual whose work I have mentioned before on this blog. . . . In essays from the early 1980s, John foresaw the dilemmas over material goods that a modern, ‘first world’ society would face. He drew from the work of other leading adult educators to articulate two competing visions of the future for society. One vision was that of a ‘technological, top-down, service society’ that defined ‘the‘good life as affluence and leisure with high-tech big technology solving problems which lead to mastery of the environment.’ The other vision saw the good life as embracing ‘useful work, peace, self-fulfillment, and appropriate technology leading to harmony with the environment.’”
As graduation season approaches, some words of advice to students (and others) (May 2014) — “As a law professor at Suffolk University Law School, I’ve been serving as the founding faculty advisor to a new student-edited law journal, Bearing Witness: A Journal on Law and Social Responsibility. . . . When the editors of Bearing Witness invited faculty to contribute short pieces of advice for the second issue, I wasn’t sure what to offer. But then I started thinking about life in general, and suddenly the words came easier. Do not assume that I’ve done all these things right; rather, some of these points represent lessons learned. Here goes . . . .”
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