Monday, May 7, 2018
Don't Go Down With the Ship - Saving Yourself From Sunk Cost Fallacy
Image via Pixabay
Sunk Cost Fallacy is “the idea that a company or organization is more likely to continue with a project if they have already invested a lot of money,time, or effort in it, even when continuing is not the best thing to do.” In other words, it’s what dad used to call “throwing good money after bad.” This fallacy causes us to act irrationally because we fear loss. That illogical behavior extends to bad habits and relationships.
David McRaney, who blogs about self-delusion, describes the Sunk Cost Fallacy as the idea that the more you invest in something, the harder it becomes to leave it behind. He cites psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, which explains the evolutionary process behind the fallacy. As the brain developed, “organisms that placed more urgency on avoiding threats than they did on maximizing opportunities were more likely to pass on their genes.” As a result, when we have a choice, we tend to focus on loss, even when potential gain outstrips those losses. We are genetically programmed to risk-aversion, even when taking a risk is better for us. For example, in Kahneman’s experiments, subjects only chose to take a risk only when the potential win was double their expected loss.
If we are genetically programmed to avoid loss, it makes sense that leaving a bad relationship is difficult. In another study, researchers asked a four groups to determine if a couple should stay in an unhappy marriage. Each of the first three groups emphasized an investment at stake: time, effort, or money. In a fourth control group, researchers didn’t emphasize an investment. Thirty five percent of respondents in the first three groups said the couple should stay together. For the control group, for whom less was at stake, only twenty five percent said they should stay together.
Consider the story of Meghan McArdle, who spent three years in a relationship she thought was heading to “forever”. When she asked her beau about marriage, he dumped her. As she mourned the loss, the economist realized she’d fallen victim to the Sunk Cost Fallacy. She’d seen clues he was reticent to commit, but refused to act on them because she’d invested considerable time and effort in their relationship.
To add further complication, scientists have found that as a couple increases commitment to each other, the individual sense of self blurs. Two people start to identify as a group - so a break up can weaken the sense of self. Researchers asked couples who had recently been through a breakup to keep a diary. They found subjects were “more likely to use words like "confuse" and "bewilder" in daily diary entries than those who hadn't...Notably, the less clear the students felt about their own self-concept, the more distressed they were after a breakup.”
So, how can you break free from a relationship that looks like a sinking ship? How do you overcome the impulse to stick with it to the end when the relationship is not in your best interest? First, practice self care. Spend time reflecting on what you want. What are your goals and interests? What values and commitments are important to you? Ask yourself, where would I like to see myself in 10 years? Think about your identity alone; not your partner, or your identity as a couple.
Next, Psychology Today recommends spending some time in meditation. Each day, they say, take 15 minutes to breath, step back from the issue, and remove judgement. They suggest a handful of questions you can ask, depending on your own “sunk cost,” like; “If you were deciding again to make that purchase or get into that relationship, would you make the same decision?” and “Are you trying to prove that you are right, even if it keeps you committed to the wrong decision?” The author suggests that by stepping away from yourself with meditation, you are more likely to answer the questions logically, and can overrule your genetic disposition to avoid loss.
It takes a lot of effort to build a habit or manage a relationship. That doesn’t mean we should continue with it, if the end cost is too great. Taking the time to look at our choices with a critical eye will help reduce the effect of the Sunk Cost Fallacy. We may find we are overdue for positive change.
Friday, April 13, 2018
Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Life Transitions - Therapeutic Counsellor
Grief Recovery Specialist - Clinical Hypnotherapist
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Tribute to Roy Fawcett 1928-2018
Roy Fawcett passed away on March 31st. He was what many would like to claim to be, a legend in his own time. Roy was renowned world wide for his organs and pianos. He was a force in life and, apparently, after life as well. His wife Shirley said she hoped to have a sign from him from the other side. This definitely was it.
My husband, Pierre, and I are new to Winchester and Roy and Shirley were the only people we knew. Need I say we met Roy through his organ selling business. His impression on us was stellar. When we moved to our new dwelling in town, we invited Roy and Shirley over for lunch. It was then we learned that Roy had also been in the clock and watch business and knew a few things about tick and tock. What a coininkydink that I had an antique clock on the mantle that hadn’t worked in 20 years. With my temptation to ask and his enthusiasm to look, he did indeed examine the clock and tried to fix it. Even then Roy’s eyesight was failing him. I admired his determination.
Unfortunately, the clock did not work after Roy’s efforts. This was all the more reason I was astounded that day I walked through the dining room and heard the pretty chimes that had been quieted for so long. The clock was working! After a moment of being mesmerized, I got a chill and the thought of Roy flashed through my mind. I said to Pierre that he better call Roy and see how he is. It was then we learned he had just passed two days before.
The clock still ticks and chimes. There won’t be a day that goes by that I won’t think of Roy Fawcett..
Thursday, March 1, 2018
The Power Of Gardening: The Perfect Hobby For Getting Healthy
By: Julie Morris
While we all want to be healthy, sometimes getting healthy is easier said than done. Eating healthy all the time can seem limiting, and preparing healthy meals can be time-consuming and tiring, especially after a long day at work. Exercising at the gym can be intimidating and trying to work out at home can get stale quickly. And if you have a chronic illness or chronic pain, there are simply some exercises and activities that are too strenuous or tiring.
I know from experience. My fibromyalgia and the accompanying depression made tending to my physical health a chore. My grandmother suffered through similar aches and pains, but I remembered one thing that always brought her such joy and happiness was her garden. Her garden was filled with vegetables of every color, and I spent many afternoons canning in her sunny yellow kitchen. Gardening is a fun way to improve your health that you may be overlooking. Here are a few tips on how gardening can help you improve your physical and mental health:
Community gardening is a great way to stay active and socialize
Urban gardening has become quite popular in many areas of the country. Some families do this by growing plants in containers on their balconies or patios while others embrace community gardens. In this format, a large area of land is gardened collectively by a group of people. According to Newsmax, some research has shown that gardeners who utilize community gardens tend to be less overweight than non-gardeners.
Community gardens provide a host of benefits to those who join in to tend the space. There is a socialization aspect that can be valuable for all gardeners, and the sense of camaraderie and success that builds during gardening can be a valuable way to boost one's confidence and self-esteem.
In fact, while I certainly get my passion for gardening from my grandmother, it wasn’t until I started working in a local community garden that I really learned the ins and outs of gardening, and gained the confidence to start my very own backyard garden. I’ve found that gardeners are always very willing to share their advice and expertise, such as using vertical gardening or raised beds to avoid wear and tear on my joints, and investing in ergonomic gardening tools. These adjustments enable me to use my garden as a place of solace and escape, as well as grow my own produce to fuel my cooking obsession.
Stress can be significantly reduced by gardening
High stress levels, which are often accompanied by poor sleep quality, can be detrimental to our physical and mental health. One great way that I’ve found to to reduce stress levels is to garden. There is just something about being outside in the fresh air and digging in the dirt that puts a smile on my face and brightens my mood. As the Conversation notes, gardening is linked to reduced feelings of fatigue and depression and greater life satisfaction. It turns out that we don't have to spend a lot of time gardening to see some improvements in our mental health. Benefits come from even moderate chunks of time spent gardening each week.
Hit the garden for a full body workout
Gardening also provides great physical exercise, making it a great fit for those who may shy away from other activities. Gardening provides a complete body workout, providing cardio along with valuable weightlifting and stretching opportunities. As you weed, dig, plant, water, and prune, you are building heart strength, endurance, and flexibility along with burning calories. The best part is that it is low impact, and easy on bones and joints, making it a great way for those with chronic pain to remain active.
Gardening is a great catalyst for healthy eating
Once you’ve nursed a cucumber or tomato plant to life, you’ll look forward to eating the fruits of your labor. Vegetable gardening can be an effective catalyst for making healthy dietary changes. Eating produce that you have grown yourself feels great and can be motivating and gardening can spark a desire to try new foods and spend more time getting creative in the kitchen.
Get a big brain boost from being in the garden
People often find that their attention to detail and ability to concentrate improves while gardening. The National explains that natural environments like gardens can have restorative qualities that improve one's problem-solving abilities and memory. The stronger and healthier you feel mentally, the better you'll be able to commit to healthy lifestyle changes. Your garden doesn’t have to be the only natural environment you escape to to relax. I often visit a local park to read and do a little bit of yoga. The surrounding area is full of shady trees and beautiful landscaping, making it a green space paradise.
Friday, February 2, 2018
4 Ways to Get Ready for a New Baby (And Prioritize Self-Care) When You Have a Disability
Getting ready to bring a child into the world is amazing and beautiful. It also means a laundry list of things that have to be done to get ready. For expectant parents who have a disability, that list of to-dos includes figuring out how to make baby gear work for your home and your unique needs.
#1 Get Your Home Ready
If you have a disability, you most likely already have a routine at home that fits your needs. Now you have to take into consideration a baby’s needs and the best way of meeting those needs that works for you. Start with a good guide, like this checklist from RealSimple.com, and use it as a tool to think about how you plan on parenting and how any gear or adaptations will meet your needs. For example, many parents choose to use a bassinet in the beginning to keep their baby close at night, and one popular option is a bassinet co-sleeper that attaches to your bed. This might be a great option to keep your baby within arm’s reach so you don’t have to worry about mobility in the wee hours of the morning.
#2 Get YOU Ready
All your attention may be focused on the your little one’s arrival, but moms and dads both need to think about their own needs too. For moms who plan on breastfeeding, stock up on nursing bras and nursing pads. Just as you want to have everything ready for your baby, planning ahead for your needs means you don’t have to worry about extra trips to the store after your child’s arrival. Another way you can plan ahead for your own needs is to make some meals you can freeze that will be ready to pop in the oven when you need them.
Even with the best preparation, adjusting to parenthood can be stressful. That’s entirely normal, but when stress rises, take a look at what you’re doing for yourself and see how you can make self-care a priority. Whatever you like to do to relieve stress now, whether it’s exercising, taking a relaxing bath, or chatting with friends, plan on scheduling time for that after your baby is born. Self-care is about more than basic needs and time for yourself, though. Create a habit of checking in with yourself and how you’re feeling throughout the day. Start doing that now so you’re in the habit of making yourself and your own needs a priority when your baby comes.
#3 Arrange Care
If you have close friends and family who can help, talk with them now about how they can help because that social support is especially crucial in the early days. Many new parents like to set up websites that let loved ones coordinate bringing you a meal. Whatever your abilities or limitations may be, parenting a newborn is a round-the-clock job, and having help makes a huge difference in how you feel. If you’re planning on hiring a babysitter or nanny, asking friends for referrals is the best way to find someone who is the right fit for your family.
#4 Reach Out
Along the same lines as reaching out to friends and family for help, start connecting with other parents and researching resources that will help on your parenting journey. The U.S. Department for Child Welfare has an excellent list of resources for parents who have a disability. You can start using these now to reach out to other parents who are in your situation. Parents who have been through it already can give tips and be a valuable support system.
Reaching out for support and prioritizing self-care are two of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. The adjustment to parenthood can be exhausting and stressful, but it’s also a time to bond with your baby and enjoy the sweet moments of his or her first days and weeks. When you prepare as much as you can ahead of time, it’s easier to be in the moment when the time comes.
By: Ashley Taylor
Friday, January 19, 2018
CTE: Repeated hits, not concussions, behind neurodegenerative
A new study shows that repeated head injuries can cause CTE – the degenerative brain disease that's been found in a lot of former football players. People used to think that concussions were the main thing causing CTE, but more and more evidence shows that even hitting your head hard without getting a concussion could cause it. This study is the most definitive find so far that, yes, it's super effing dangerous to get smacked repeatedly in the noggin. Facepalm.
Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Life Transitions Counsellor
Grief Recovery Specialist - Clinical Hypnotherapist
Monday, January 15, 2018
Fight Senior Loneliness With These 5 Fun Hobbies
Loneliness is one of the worst things that can happen to senior citizens. According to a report from AARP, seniors who are socially isolated get sicker, experience greater cognitive impairment, and die sooner. In fact, loneliness is frequently cited as being as dangerous as smoking and obesity.
The impact of loneliness isn’t limited to physical health. Reduced social interaction is also bad for mental health. People who are socially isolated are more likely to be depressed and have substance abuse disorders. And since these problems in turn promote isolation, seniors can easily descend into an unhealthy spiral.
Moving an elderly family member in with you isn’t always an option, but what else can concerned family members do to fight senior loneliness? Drugrehab.org suggests hobbies as a way to stay social. In their words, “One of the hardest parts of being in recovery is feeling like you’re alone, or feeling uncomfortable around others while you’re in a fragile emotional state. Having a hobby can help you set the tone of your social encounters as well as keep them short and sweet; make a date with a friend to go for a swim or head to a DIY pottery class together.” Whether the senior in your life is struggling with an addiction related to his or her social isolation or just needs a gentle re-introduction to being socially active, the same advice can help.
Although hobbies are an excellent way to keep seniors engaged, the hobbies that interest a 30-something aren’t always suitable for a 70-year-old. Here are five hobbies that most seniors can enjoy:
Swimming is amazing exercise for older adults. Its low-impact nature alleviates arthritis pain while improving physical fitness, and it’s also great for mental health. According to the CDC, swimming improves moods and decreases depression. Seniors can pair up with a partner for an afternoon of swimming laps or join a water fitness class for more social interaction.
2. Cooking Classes
Whether it’s a widower who never learned to cook or a single elderly woman on a fixed income, old age comes with its own unique nutrition challenges. Add to that the changing dietary needs of older adults, and it’s not hard to see why malnutrition is such a widespread issue. Cooking classes teach seniors kitchen skills, help them learn how to eat on a budget, and make mealtime fun again by returning it to a shared activity.
Is there any better complement to culinary skills than your own kitchen garden? Gardening is revered for its gentle physical activity and power to reduce stress, and it’s also a perfect way to bring nutritious produce right to a senior’s back door. And with Master Gardener programs and community plots, it’s easy to turn this hobby into a social activity.
For the senior with an artistic streak, ceramics classes are a great way to go. Simultaneously gentle and strengthening to the hands, wrists, and arms, crafting pottery is perfect for seniors suffering from arthritis. Since it requires focus, it’s an effective distraction from negative thoughts, and it’s a quiet way to socialize without feeling pressured into constant conversation.
5. Dancing Classes
When they’re ready for more intense socialization, why not try dancing? Not all dancing styles are doable for the average senior citizen, but gentle styles like ballroom dancing, line dancing, and ballet offer a mix of fun and approachability. Not only is dancing great exercise, it’s also a fun way for a single senior to meet new friends.
The right hobby for a senior ultimately depends on tastes, but there are a few criteria to look for. The best elder-friendly hobbies get seniors out of the house and social while still being affordable. It’s also wise to choose hobbies they can access using public transportation. Since community centers and YMCAs are often on transit routes, they’re a good place to start looking. Finally, don’t be disappointed if loved ones don’t enjoy themselves right away. It takes time to rebuild social confidence, but getting out there is the best way to start.
By: Julie Morris
Image via Pixabay