Does practice make perfect? On music and mental health

Sometimes we think of psychological difficulties like anxiety, or depression, or anger, more like traits, or something inside us – and that living well means getting rid of this flawed broken piece of us. But what if we approached psychological well-being as something that we can work towards, one small act at a time, over a period of time, across different situations, with different people? What if we practiced well-being?

Teaching your child to fail

Why is it so hard for us as parents to watch our children fail? It’s antithetical to the whole parenting enterprise, isn’t it? We work hard for years to ensure that our children have the tools to succeed. It’s heartbreaking for us when they experience hurt, fear, and sadness. We want to rush in and pick them up and set them back on their feet. But here is the crux of the matter: We need to step back and allow ourselves to be vulnerable too to fail at protecting our children from their feelings.

A moment of wonder on the other side of OCD

Unlike most other organisms, our brains cannot tell the difference between an actual threat and a symbolic one. What this means is that our brain confuses actual threats with thinking about threats. Indeed, we tend to respond to fearful thoughts as though they are real. Nowhere is this tendency to experience and react to thoughts as if they were real more apparent than in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). And nowhere is it more evident how this tendency can trap us. For many, it not only traps us, it takes away all of our sense of wonder and possibility in the world.