The Current

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The 8 Feelings

When the phone rang, I knew what the call would be about. It was like that part in an adventure movie where the hero is about to reach the top of the mountain – you know what’s going to happen next. The only thing missing from the moment was swelling orchestral strings to enhance the drama. I answered the phone with satisfaction, and savored the description of the formal job offer, adorned in sparkly detail of important title, more money and the power to shape the strategy of a company. I unhesitatingly accepted the offer that we had spent the

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The Pain of Hope

Suicide is a hard subject to discuss. Tragically, it touches too many lives. For those who attempt suicide and survive, the shame can be paralyzing. For the family and friends of those harmed by it's effects, the pain, confusion, and anger can be disorienting. Because we avoid talking about suicide, many of us don't fully understand it. While there are many contributing factors to why someone would try to take their own life (mental illness, drug abuse, susceptible age, etc.), one big misconception about suicide is that it is rooted in hopelessness. Adversely, most people are attempting to kill the hope that refuses to die inside of them.

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Principles and Practices for Parenting from the Heart

(From Chip Dodd's & Stephen James' upcoming book on parenting—Giraffes on Ice, est. pub. 2017) Sometimes parenting feels like we are trying to thread a needle while wearing mittens. By design, parenting is paradoxical and is wrought with challenges. Our children simultaneously... •  need our assurance and test us, •  learn from us and teach us, •  confuse us and remind us of what it was like for us in our youth, •  demand increasing amounts of freedom and desire security, and •  give us hope and scare us about the future at the same time. For even the most committed and

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Three Ps to Help You Focus

There is no shortage of distractions (legitimate or otherwise) vying for our attention. There’s a pretty good chance, in fact, that you won’t read this article straight through because you’ll be interrupted by a text or a child or a fleeting thought. If you’re at work, you’ll likely be interrupted within the next three minutes. And once distracted, it will take you about 23 minutes to get back on track according to a Stanford University study. In order to stay focused and truly hear the voice of your heart, you need to mind your Ps & Qs. In particular, you

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Dealing with Holiday Stress

My daughters were born on Halloween and New Year’s Day. That means that nearly all of our family “holidays” are crammed into about a 45 day window. I’d like to think that, somehow, my holidays are more stressful than yours. But that’s not really true. The Holidays (with a capital T and a capital H) are universally stressful. They’re the perfect storm of things designed to feed anxiety, depression, and addiction. The Holidays are loaded with family expectations, energy drains, financial strains, and the also the highest hopes. We desperately want these few months to be the highlight of the

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What if? What then?

Have you ever thought to yourself, “If I could just know the future, then everything would be ok.” This kind of magical thinking troubles a lot of us. It’s called anxiety, and thoughts like this carry the potential for a lot of wasted energy. Anxiety is a powerful self-willed illusion that says, “If I can outsmart life and predict the future, then I will be ok.” When we are in anxiety, we work over a problem until our brain is like a hamster on speed in a wheel—a whole lot of running with nowhere to go. What could go wrong? How many different ways? What will he say? What will she

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The One Question to Ask Before Your Wedding

The early part of a relationship is filled with questions: What’s your favorite movie? Where did you grow up? What makes you good at your job? If the relationship is going well, you may graduate to more profound questions: What are your dreams? What are your fears? Will we take the next step together? Eventually, someone may pop THE question: Will you marry me? The decision to get married brings on a ton of "Who, What, When, Where" questions: Have you set the date? Where are you getting married? Who are you inviting? But before you start thinking about the big day, I

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Drugs and Talk Therapy Affect the Brain in Different Ways

Psychiatric drugs and psychotherapy mostly have the same purpose: to make us feel better mentally and emotionally. However, it seems like common sense to assume that they do so by very different means, the former acting chemically on your brain and the latter altering your mind and thoughts. Yet if you ponder this some more and consider that our brains are our minds — after all, every lived thought and feeling has its basis in the brain — it follows that if you spend time on the therapist’s proverbial couch, any benefit will ultimately register not only in changes to how you think,

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Why Pre-Marital Counseling?

About 2.6 million couples will marry in the U.S. this year. About 45% of those couples will participate in pre-marriage counseling. Seems like a good idea. Some research suggests that couples who seek counseling before their wedding report a 30% higher marital success rate than those who did not. There are, of course, other factors that play into marital success. And pre-marriage counseling certainly isn’t a silver bullet. (Notably, less than 1% of couples that are considering re-marriage pursue pre-wedding therapy.) If, however, you’re considering therapy in advance of your wedding, it’s worth exploring the question of why. Here are

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STRESS: Where does it come from?

What is stressing you out? Work? Family? Money? All of these? Maybe your football team is stressing you out. Or your car. Maybe it’s that relationship ghost that’s been haunting you for the last 10 years. Or your addiction. Or the decision you have to make by the end of the week. Whatever it is, it’s probably not the thing itself. Most stress—about 85%—comes from indecision or lack of control. It’s not your money that’s stressing you out. It’s the lack of control, or power, or influence. Or it could be a lack of information or actual insight into the

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