News Archive — September 2019

Talking to Strangers: A Simple Way to Overcome Shyness, Social Anxiety, and… Just Plain Feel Happier

Talking to strangersDo you like talking to strangers, or is that a source of dread for you? A new study found that dotting our day with brief social exchanges here and there actually boosts our sense of happiness. This is something I have found true in my life, much to the chagrin of my daughters who are often waiting for me as I have found myself deep in conversation with someone I just met. But as a therapist working with kids and adults with social anxiety, talking to strangers may feel like something to avoid at all costs, but is actually a great way to desensitize and come to appreciate social connection and their ability to contribute to it. So socially anxious or not, here are some ideas to get all of us connecting more with each other— and, really, who doesn't need more of that in their life?

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Promise Me This Will Never Happen: Why Parents Need to Talk About the Climate Crisis

Youth Climate StrikeToday, millions of young people across the globe are striking to raise awareness about the climate crisis. Some parents may be joining them, others may feel uncertain or overwhelmed about whether to discuss this with their children. Here are my thoughts about why we need to stand up for our kids' future and talk about the climate crisis in ways that do not increase fear, but rather make an impact and build our "eco-resilience" in other words, are constructive and add momentum to the currents of change.  This is a crisis we can do something about. Here's to working together for our children's future.

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Code Like a Girl: Learning to Code without Fear

Code Like a GirlWhen I was in college, back in the Stone Age, one day one of my professors marched us out of class and over to this mysterious building called the "Computing Center" and insisted we create an account and learn to use a computer. I, being me at the time, was afraid that one false key stroke and I would crash the whole system. Thank goodness that's ancient history, but tech anxiety is a real thing. Thanks to author of ThDaring Book for Girl, Miriam Peskowitz, and her wonderful new book, Code Like a Girl, tech anxiety could be a thing of the past. Code Like a Girl is a beautifully illustrated, super easy to follow fun adventure helping girls and anyone who is fearful to put their toes in the tech water see that while it may feel uncomfortable at first, it's really, really fun. Miriam is a super explainer/ inspirer/teacher/role model and I'm so lucky to say, my dear friend. So let's get the fear and anxiety out of tech for all of us: show them how it's done: Let's all code like a girl.

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How to Overcome Math Anxiety: Ten Strategies to Help Your Child Have a Math Mindset

Math Anxiety ©Andrea Obzerova

Math Anxiety-- is it a necessary evil? No, but I get it. When I was a little girl and my statistician educator dad would try to help me with math I would cry. So yes, I get it, but now as an anxiety therapist I know better that it isn't math (or the spider, or the ladder, or the dog) that's the problem it's what our intrusive anxious thoughts are telling us about that situation. And we don't have to listen! There are additional factors with math which "prime" there it is again us for developing anxiety about math: 1) Pressure about the importance of math and STEM in general; 2) Pressure from those dreaded timed tests. Researchers have found that timed testing is not necessary for learning and in fact interferes with performance because the high levels of stress trying to beat the clock block our access to working memory where our math knowledge is stored. So, I no longer cry about math, and I don't want anyone else to either. You can overcome math anxiety and here are lots of ideas to help.

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