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This story from Forbes describes Simon, an unhappy lawyer in Britain, who became a successful sculptor. If you take nothing else away from this post, remember this: Career change rarely proceeds in a straight line.
Many people embark on a career change and achieve success without ever talking to a coach, consultant or counselor. Resources and consulting for professionals, business owners and executives who want to advance, change or plan their careers. The Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute is a dynamic program for established leaders from all walks of life who seek to transform themselves for roles with social impact at the local, national, and global levels. FEATURED ARTICLE & VIDEOStanford is thinking broadly about how we will best educate students in the 21st century. If universities are rethinking the pre-career student experience in the face of a rapidly changing world, those same forces are spurring an evolution in how higher education serves people across their working lives and into retirement. The event’s second panel, “University of the Future,” explored what those changes might look like by drawing upon the insights of a number of current and former Stanford students who have been able to study at the university at different points in their careers. In opening the conversation, Philip Pizzo, whose Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI) offers year-long fellowships to successful professionals looking to ready themselves for new roles in which they can make a significant social impact, noted that people are living longer than ever and can expect to enjoy both long working lives and retirements. Joan King Salwen and fellow 2016 DCI Fellowship recipient Steve Leveen spoke to the value of spending time with people at very different life stages than their own. View second panel, “The University of the Future: Learning across the Lifespan, “ featuring DCI Fellows and DCI Founding Director, Philip Pizzo, MD. The recent sad news that a young Apple employee was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the company’s headquarters raises an important, if troubling, question: Would you know what to do if you suspected a coworker might be dangerously depressed?
Of course, if there is the threat of violence to themselves or others, calling 911 or contacting company security is the way to go—you shouldn’t put yourself in danger. Many of us see our coworkers more hours in a week than we see our own family members, which means we are in a unique position to detect a shift in a colleague’s mental state. While saying things like they want to die, feel completely alone, or have nobody who cares about them are obvious indications of a troubled mental state, most people who struggle with depression in the workplace express their distress more subtly than that, noted Edward Yost, a human resources executive with the Society for Human Resource Management. Two hallmarks of depression that go hand in hand are isolation and withdrawal, said Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying Institute. People who are depressed may withdraw from others and distance themselves from social interaction, Namie said, and because many people with depression are good at masking their feelings of self-negativity, a colleague may brush off a sudden disappearance from team lunches or department happy hours by blaming an increased workload or other job-related obligations. For a conscientious coworker, those claims should be carefully considered, because there are two possibilities here, neither of which is great news from a mental health perspective.
This new research is both interesting and encouraging: It found that just seven minutes of meditation can reduce racial prejudice.
Before describing this particular study, I want to point out that one important implication of this research, in my view, is that prejudices of all sorts are learned and conditioned from a variety of social and cultural forces; and, they can be consciously altered. In the study, a sample of 71 white, non-meditating adults were each given a photo of a gender-matched black person and either received taped LKM instructions, or instructions to look at the photos and notice certain features of the face. The researchers found that just seven minutes of loving-kindness meditation directed to a member of a specific racial group (in this case, a black person) was sufficient to reduce racial bias towards that group. This entry was posted in Health and Wellbeing, Psychological health in today's world and tagged global citizen, inner life, interconnection, psychological health on April 19, 2016 by Douglas LaBier. The authors state that their study breaks new ground in wisdom research by identifying conditions under which psychophysiology impacts wise judgment. “Our research shows that wise reasoning is not exclusively a function of the mind and cognitive ability,” says the lead author,Igor Grossmann.
The study extends previous work on cognitive underpinnings of wise judgment to include consideration how the heart’s functioning impacts the mind.
I was recently interviewed for a New York Times article by Tammy La Gorce that portrayed the long-term open marriage of the actress Mo’Nique and her husband Sidney Hicks. First, the open marriage is just the current version of what became more visible during the early ‘70s because of the book, The Open Marriage, and the popular movie, “Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice.” Overall, it’s part of a much broader shift, or evolution, underway today. Increasingly, men and women seek to create and maintain an intimate relationship that they experience as fulfilling and meaningful. It’s wise to suspend judgment, especially about psychological health, when views about the latter are contaminated by ideology or shared values and norms. For example, Kim (not her real name) a divorced woman in her 40s, explained to me that she maintains a satisfying relationship with a man who also has a lifelong, supportive connection with a woman who is the mother of his three children.
This entry was posted in Health and Wellbeing, Modern Love, Sex & Relationships, Psychological health in today's world and tagged adult love, flaws in love relationships, psychological health, sexual connection on March 24, 2016 by Douglas LaBier. It’s pretty clear that our workplaces are steadily evolving towards environments of greater equality. This is an ongoing, gradual transformation, however, with many subtle obstacles rooted in personal and institutional prejudices and barriers.
Such hidden, embedded sexism, according to the research published in The Psychology of Women Quarterly, may go unnoticed.
This New York Times article by Tammy La Gorce looks at the practice of the open marriage from today’s perspective. This entry was posted in Health and Wellbeing, Midlife Conflict and Renewal, Psychological health in today's world and tagged adult love, decline of romance, flaws in love relationships on March 10, 2016 by Douglas LaBier. In the research, a series of studies of nearly 5,000 people was conducted by the University of British Columbia. The important finding, however, was that the preference for giving priority to time over making more money was associated with greater happiness in life.
The study is described in detail here, and was published in the journal Social Psychological & Personality Science.
Interestingly, the study also found that older people also were more likely to say they valued their time compared to younger people. This entry was posted in Health and Wellbeing, Midlife Conflict and Renewal, Psychological health in today's world and tagged career development, inner life, psychological health on February 23, 2016 by Douglas LaBier.

You may have heard about the Spanish man who was found to have not reported for work for six years, and no one noticed — although he continued to be paid. That may be an extreme example, but many people today are turned-off by their jobs in less visible ways. This entry was posted in Health and Wellbeing, Psychological health in today's world and tagged career development, career dissatisfaction, psychological health, psychology, workplace conflicts on February 16, 2016 by Douglas LaBier. A new research review finds that chronic stress and anxiety puts you at increased risk for developing depression and dementia. In a summary of the findings, the authors concluded that there is “extensive overlap” of the brain’s neurocircuitry in all three conditions, which may explain the link between chronic stress and the development of neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and Alzheimer’s disease. The authors pointed out that experiencing anxiety, fear and stress is considered a normal part of life when it is occasional and temporary, such as feeling anxious and stressed before an exam or a job interview. A recent Harvard Business Review article by Art Markman highlights the value of subverting your usual way of thinking and doing, in order to enhance creativity at work. There is a fundamental tension between productivity and creativity, and managers won’t get more of the latter until they recognize it. Productive people move through the tasks they have to accomplish in a systematic way. That means people need to have the time to learn things that are not obviously relevant to their jobs, so that they will have a broad and deep knowledge base to draw from when they need to be creative. Moreover, creative enterprises rarely involve steady and measurable progress.
Now, some new research adds to these findings, as well as to recent survey data, that younger people, especially, are more concerned with building a positive, sustaining relationship than with marriage, per se. That finding is significant for reasons that might not be visible on the surface: I think it reflects the reality that forming a lasting love relationship with the right partner requires a prior failure or two. The findings suggest an evolving role of marriage among young people today, said Sara Mernitz, co-author of the study.
This entry was posted in Health and Wellbeing, Modern Love, Sex & Relationships, Psychological health in today's world and tagged adult love, flaws in love relationships, marriage conflicts, psychological health on January 26, 2016 by Douglas LaBier. Whether you approve or not, there’s no question that intimate relationships are steadily transforming — what we seek from them, how we engage in them, and what we define as desirable and fulfilling.
The research examined the health outcomes of people who are divorced, as well as unmarried, cohabiting couples.
This entry was posted in Health and Wellbeing, Midlife Conflict and Renewal, Modern Love, Sex & Relationships, Psychological health in today's world and tagged adult love, decline of romance, flaws in love relationships on January 19, 2016 by Douglas LaBier. The research consisted of a series of studies of nearly 5000 people, conducted by the University of British Columbia.
The study’s basic finding was that the preference for giving priority to time over making more money was associated with greater happiness in life. The study noted that a participant’s gender or income didn’t affect whether they were more likely to value time or money.
A guest post from John Friedman, who heads corporate responsibility communications worldwide for Sodexo Group.
Now that the fireworks have faded along with some of the afterglow from the very successful COP21 meeting in Paris we must begin in earnest in deciding what 2016 will bring. In partnership with the Stanford Center on Longevity, our yearlong program utilizes the wealth of innovation and knowledge at one of the world’s finest universities to create new and enriching professional and purpose pathways for the next stage of life.
Through a series of events and initiatives called The Year of Learning, the campus community will generate wide-ranging discussion and debate about the future of teaching and learning at Stanford—and beyond. But before a troubled person reaches that breaking point, mental health experts say they often tip their hand, indicating in ways that seem clear in hindsight that they were wrestling with depression. More general feelings of being helpless or trapped, especially if expressed frequently, are more likely to be the kind of comments a coworker might express to another, he said. The isolation may be self-imposed or may be a result of being shut out of workplace cliques. The study, from the University of Sussex, was published in the journal Motivation and Emotion. Knowing this is especially important in our current era of reactive prejudice towards those who are “different,” and whose presence is becoming more visible as our society becomes increasingly diverse. It found that heart rate variation and thinking process work together to enable wise reasoning about complex social issues. The couple maintains that it works for them, despite the criticism and disbelief they often encounter. It’s towards a sense of greater freedom to create and be open about different forms of intimate relationships; ones that people define for themselves as desirable and satisfying. As you grow through the adult years in today’s changing, increasingly diverse society, a broadened perspective enables you to realize that life can be complex; and can work differently for different people. That is, organizations in which men and women are valued, recognized and rewarded for the capacities most crucial to an organization’s success.
So it’s important to document and raise awareness about attitudes and behavior that continue to undermine individuals and teams in organizations.
That is, “Norms, leadership, or policies that reduce intense harmful experiences may lead managers to believe that they have solved the problem of maltreatment of women in the workplace,”according to the authors. Finding such an association is not new, but this examination of several studies was more extensive and conclusive. However, when those acute emotional reactions become more frequent or chronic, they can significantly interfere with daily living activities such as work, school and relationships. Although we can systematically engage in activities that are related to creativity, it is hard to systematize creativity itself.
Instead, being creative involves trying lots of different possibilities, struggling down several blind alleys before finding the right solution.
The current study, described in this report from Ohio State University, found that both men and women experience as much of a boost in their emotional well-being whether they move in together or marry. It found that, for young adults who moved on from a first relationship, both men and women received similar emotional boosts whether they moved in with their second partner or got married to them.

Men and women increasingly pursue relationships that they define as positive, meaningful, and healthy, though they may differ from traditionally accepted norms.
The research found that people born in the late 1950s who experience divorce and separation or live together without marrying “…have very similar levels of health in middle age to those who are married,” said lead author George Ploubidis in a Medical XPress summary. I think it provides an example of healthy values among psychologically healthy people; and should be emphasized by us mental health professionals. The study, described in detail here, and published in the journal Social Psychological & Personality Science, also found that older people also were more likely to say they valued their time compared to younger people. However, the researchers pointed out they didn’t include participants living at the poverty level who may have to prioritize money to survive. John blogs on sustainability for The Huffington Post, and is a leading writer on corporate responsibility and sustainable business.
With guarded optimism I read articles summarizing the year and for the most part they reflect a renewed hope and optimism that comes from the global agreement not only on efforts to cap global temperatures to increasing no more than 2 degrees Celsius, but also the ‘stretch target’ of 1.5 degrees. Think of a rocket lift-off: that initial surge of power gets the spaceship outside the gravity zone! The DCI provides the opportunity for about 25 Fellows annually to engage in personal reflection and intellectual exploration in the company of peers who form new and lasting communities and networks. The Year of Learning program included this recent panel discussions featuring DCI Founding Director, Philip Pizzo, and DCI Fellows, Steve Leveen and Joan King Salwen.
It quotes me a few times, especially about my emphasis on how the management and workplace culture can create emotional conflict for people, independent of what they be bringing to the workplace from their personal lives, outside of work.
It used the Buddhist mediation technique of loving-kindness meditation, which promotes unconditional kindness towards oneself and others. They found that people doing loving-kindness meditation showed large increases in other-regarding emotions. The study by Waterloo and the Australian Catholic University was published in  Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.
La Gorce’s article quoted my views about open marriage — what it means, and whether it “works,” from a psychological perspective.
How their relationships evolve down the road, over time, is something they will assess and judge for themselves. And we can judge them from our own perspectives and life choices…or observe and respect what works for them. For example, the ability to work collaboratively, particularly with others who differ from oneself — whether because of gender, cultural and ethnic backgrounds; or sexual orientation. One current example is revealed in this study that examined hidden sexism in the workplace. This finding highlights one aspect of a link between healthy personal values and psychologically healthy lives. It examined a number of research reports of how brain areas are impacted by chronic anxiety, fear and stress.
The research was published in the journal Current Opinion in Psychiatry and conducted by Canadian researchers from the the Rotman Research Institute. It was a bit more for women, but interestingly, that boost occurred equally among men and women who had a prior relationship that didn’t work out.
And the latter includes, even, recent advocacy regarding polygamy, as well as support for legalization of sex workers, as Amnesty International has announced,  Such developments stir considerable emotional and moral reactions, which is why it’s helpful to find research that studies that show how some of these shifts may to lead to positive outcomes regarding emotional and psychological health. For example, it found that people who have divorced and remarried are no more likely than those who have remained married to have cardiovascular or respiratory health problems in early middle age.
The study found that valuing your time over the pursuit of money is linked to greater overall happiness. Because my views contrasted sharply with some of the others cited, especially those of Helen Fisher of the Kinsey Institute, I’m elaborating on them here. It found that that frequent sexist comments as well as a management culture that covertly demeans women are just as damaging to women as overt acts of sexual coercion, sexually-tinged conduct or sexist behavior towards them. I regularly see this in my work, and wish it would be more soundly emphasized by my fellow mental health professionals. It’s no surprise that nearly every day a new survey pops up about how much people dislike their jobs and their management. Nearly all creative ideas involve people finding new uses for existing knowledge – some novel configuration of old insights. And that increases the likelihood that a couple will grow together, emotionally, sexually, intellectually and spiritually, rather than grow apart. Not surprisingly, only half of the study’s participants said they valued their time over money.
However, slightly more than half of the people were found to value their time over their money. The reasons typically include severe, unrelenting stress from too many demands and too few resources or rewards, such as cited in a poll of 7000 people. Both stress and just tuning out are often rooted in debilitating, undermining management behavior and workplace culture. For example, a survey of 2,000 workers found that 47 percent said their managers made them feel threatened, rather than rewarded, and 24 percent thought their bosses were poor communicators, lacking empathy.
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