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Courtesy of Dr. Paul T. P. Wong

The coronavirus pandemic is spreading around the world like wildfire, the economy is in tailspin, the supermarket shelves are empty, . . . how much bad news can we possibly take? It is hard to be optimistic when the world seems to be falling apart around us.

And maybe we shouldn’t be optimistic. The optimists are the ones, after all, who got us into this mess. U.S. President Donald Trump, for example, who a few weeks ago said, “we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” Well, it’s not fine. …

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Chapel of Bones (Photo: Jeremy McCarthy)

In 1973, Ernest Becker wrote a Pulitzer prize winning book called The Denial of Death, introducing the idea that much of human behavior is driven by the deep subconscious need to deny our own mortality. Social and evolutionary psychologists have expanded this idea into what is now known as “terror management theory.” The reality of death is so terrifying that humans spend their lives in pursuits designed to relieve anxieties about our own mortality.

In this context, the strong reaction to the Coronavirus around the world makes perfect sense. We have learned that there is a new way to die — a chilling realization that prevents us from forgetting about the transience of life. …

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Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash

Meditation is not mandatory.

If you read articles in health, or follow certain wellness gurus, you might think that a mindfulness meditation practice is a requirement to live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. But it isn’t.

Not only is meditation not required, but neither is exercise, yoga, jogging, eating organic foods, fasting, or any other of the common wellness practices that have become popular nowadays. You can take them or leave them. And it may not make as big of a difference as you think.

If you disagree, then consider that most humans who have ever lived have never done yoga, have never practiced meditation, have never exercised. “OK,” you might say, “but most humans lived in a healthier time than we live in today. …


Jeremy McCarthy

Positive psychology, leadership, wellness, wellbeing. Corporate Director of Spas for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Psychology of Wellbeing blogger.

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