Applied Psychology

Applied Psychology


Reason and Emotion: Integrating Passion and Intellect

reason and emotion September 9th, 2018

There is an interesting metaphor for living in the world: that we ride atop an elephant (our emotion, our instincts, and our desires) and that our rational mind is like the human who attempts to direct the elephant where one wants this beast to go. This blog is about the ability to integrate reason and emotion, and the positive effects it can have on creativity, habit formation (and habit-breaking), and living a fulfilling and happy life. And what does one need to cultivate in order to ensure that rational thinking enjoys the benefit of passion and emotions? As usual, the answer is: wisdom. The bulk of the following is really quotations about reason and emotion, as exemplified by this quote by the distinguished scientist, evolutionary biologist, and author, Edward O. Wilson: “Brain scientists have vindicated the evolutionary view of mind. They have established that passion is inseverably linked to reason. Emotion is not just a perturbation of reason but a vital part of it.”

Read More

The Values and Virtues America Desperately Needs

the values and virtues America desperately needs September 2nd, 2018

America, if it were a person, would be experiencing anxiety, self-doubt, egocentrism, confusion, self-loathing, and narcissism. Life has never been easy or uniformly positive for all but the wealthy, and even then, the rich aren’t any happier than the other social classes. It’s true, there was what some consider to be a “golden era” as we came out of World War II. The wealthy and corporations paid a large share of the tax burden, had more in common with the other social classes (e.g., “the Commons” were more robust then), and jobs were well-paying and fairly secure. Despite the racial, gender and sexual orientation problems that plagued America then, it was a time of general prosperity, social mobility, and optimism. Something has gone awry to an increasingly dire degree; if America were a person it would be spending a lot of time in bars, occasionally getting into a fight while intoxicated, and dealing with a persistent cough. The values and virtues America desperately needs are the subjects of this blog. It entails social criticism, but I think America can look to its “better angels”, as Lincoln put it. We have to do it. 

Read More

Thoughts On Living a Life of Value

a life of value August 31st, 2018

Especially in this midterm election year, the word “values” gets twisted to mean demonizing immigrants and non-whites, reducing a woman’s right to choose, or a very liberal interpretation of the Second Amendment.  You hear a lot about “fake news” and other signs of demagoguery. It’s all very dispiriting. And can priests be trusted?  Not if you live in Philly, they can’t! You also see rich pastors from megachurches selling their wares and scaring folks into giving until it hurts.  No, Values of the Wise (VOW) is deeper, more authentic, less crammed down your throat. Living a life of value is a goal within your reach and VOW can offer inspiration and an intellectual justification for finding wisdom and meaning in life. Maybe happiness and fulfillment to some degree, too!

Read More

Finding Meaning and Living a Good Life

meaning August 29th, 2018

This is a guest blog written by Paul Wong, Ph.D. In it, he writes that “All the great humanitarians, such as Albert Schweitzer, Maya Angelou, Oskar Schindler and Mahatma Gandhi, devoted their lives to a noble mission. In contrast, those who pursue money, power and wealth can achieve only a shallow life at best; when they fail in their egotistic goals, they are more likely to become bitter, angry and depressed than those who failed in pursuing a life full of meaning.” Read more about how meaning contributes to a well-lived life – a life of value.

Read More

Why I Am So Into Values, Wisdom and Ethics

values, wisdom and ethics August 28th, 2018

Back around 2003, I began to try to take my love of quotations (those that represent values, wisdom and ethics) and create a way of organizing, sharing, and touting them. I had a stack of quotations sitting in a folder (an actual foldable folder, for paper) and couldn’t find the one I was looking for (it was a quote about honor). I began to type them into a Word document, and the rest is history! This blog is about what Values of the Wise means, how it came about, and what it is good for. I hope by the end, you will see (and hopefully appreciate) my love of values, wisdom and ethics.

Read More

Powerful Ballad About Respect, Empathy & Compassion

empathy August 23rd, 2018

You might not have heard of the musical group Everlast. In 1998 they put out a fantastic, unparalleled song “What It’s Like.” I can’t say enough good stuff about it, both lyrically and musically. It’s absolutely remarkable. It’s been listened to over 5 million times on YouTube, and it hit #13 on the charts when it debuted. In this blog, I will provide a YouTube link and share the lyrics. Watching the video while reading the lyrics will no doubt provide the reader interested in values, ethics, and virtue with inspiration and a truly deep emotional experience. I have literally teared up listening to this amazing song. The crux of the empathy the writer Erik Shrody is calling for can be clearly seen in these words: “You know where it endsusually depends on where you start.” See how the other half lives in the song “What It’s Like”…

Read More

Religion, Faith, and Spirituality Examined

religion August 20th, 2018

It’s very easy for me, as a skeptical kind of person, to find fault in religion and to criticize it as more about the placebo effect than some kind of benefit bestowed by a powerful ally in the sky. However, religious and faithful persons have demonstrably improved and advantageous lives either due to or at least associated with their belief in a higher power. That much has been shown by social science. They can even find evidence of various beliefs and states in the brain when a person undergoes an fMRI and such. There is a huge functional brain effect from mediation, for example. Here are a few thoughts on the benefits of religion in a person’s life.

Read More

Podcasts on Values and Ethics Available Here

podcasts on values and ethics August 20th, 2018

Values of the Wise features 85 podcasts on values and ethics, such as interviews with experts on politics, sustainability, morality, personal growth, etc. If you want to hear conversations that philosophical thinker and adept interviewer Jason Merchey conducts with experts, thought leaders, authors, and wise individuals (in 45 minutes), look no further. 

Read More

Hostility, Obsession, Stress and Heart Attack Risk

August 14th, 2018

One’s attitude makes a difference in health and well-being, but also literally in regard to heart attack risk. Hostility, anger, stress, and obsession kill, but optimism, relaxation, and mindfulness help us live happier, healthier, longer, more productive lives. So chill out!

Read More

Alas, Wisdom Does Not Come Easily

wisdom does not come easily August 9th, 2018

Having read a great book on wisdom entitled Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience by author Stephen S. Hall, one of the aspects that clearly comes across is that wisdom is elusive, in need of deliberate development (or life giving one a few Aces right from the get-go), and complex. It’s multifaceted and culturally contextual. Some young adults are surprisingly adept and putting together the big picture and seeing patterns and learning from experience, and some people in late adulthood still don’t get it and can’t see the forest for the trees. Wisdom does not come easily, but it is a glorious and sought-after state of mental, spiritual, and emotional development worth pursuing.

Read More