A lot of my NYU students are celebrating Friendsgiving this year instead of Thanksgiving – a holiday adjustment originally conceived by millennials.

Still 80% according to surveys are going to the traditional family gathering, turkey on the table route.

There is a great interest in “chosen family” – people in our lives who are not genetically related but who have earned the right to be considered friend or ‘family’.

A move away from less traditional gatherings – even a totally different menu – would you believe pizza is one item (that sounds good to me!).

However it is celebrated, adding new meaning to an old holiday is often welcomed.

I’ve asked my students before the break to be a force of thanks to other people over the next few days.

To feel the power that they have to make friends and family feel appreciated and to not forget those who are struggling.

And that is thanksgiving no matter what you call it.

Best Friend

“I’ve gotten to the point where the label of ‘best friend’ is so ridiculous. If you have three people in your life that you can trust, you can consider yourself the luckiest person in the whole world.”  ― Selena Gomez

Mindfulness vs. Drugs

Mindfulness worked as well as the go to drug for treating anxiety in a recent study, 200 adults, six-months.

2½ hours of weekly classes and 45 minutes of home practice vs. Lexapro, a drug for depression and anxiety.

After two-months, anxiety declined 30% for both approaches on a severity scale.

In the U.S. anxiety disorders affect 40% of all women and 1 in 4 men.

Among the self-help tips:  ‘I’m having this thought, let that go for now”.

7 study members dropped out because of drug side-effects.

In the end, letting go is one alternative to sopping up the stress around us and can train the brain to change the relationship people have with their own thoughts.

Doubts About Doubts

Betting against yourself is a bad bet because as soon as you make it, you lose.

Never bet against you.

As Shakespeare said “assume a virtue if you have it not”.

Avoid negative thinking or people who expose you to it.

If you’re not worth believing in, imagine how others will feel about you.

The Power Within

You don’t have to look elsewhere to be better or happier, it’s all right inside of you.


It just needs a wakeup call – no requirement to turn yourself inside out.


Most stress comes from those around us – the ability to cope with anxiety is built in over years of growth – all it needs is a tug by you to kickstart it.


Interesting that all the books, courses and videos about confidence barely move the needle.  We’re already born with it – sometimes it gets beaten down so it’s up to us to activate it.

The power within is an awesome power to make life better by accepting the fine person you are.

Stress Ratings

How much stress is this worth to me?

Say that when anxiety builds.

Just asking the question will help you put things in perspective.

Harder to Breathe

Last week I met Ryan Dusick, founding drummer of Maroon 5 whose career was upended by drug and alcohol addictions that became so bad that Adam Levine asked him to leave the group.

Dusick wrote a book that will be published within a month called “Harder to Breathe”about his journey.  He agreed to speak to my new “Stress-free Living & Working in the Music Industry” class this spring that promises to be a seminal moment for my budding, young music students.

Dusick wrote in a Variety article:  “We were in the middle of a four-year, global promotional campaign, during which we were instructed to ‘say yes to everything,’ and any breaks in our schedule quickly evaporated as our album blew up on a massive scale.”

“Just when it was time to enjoy the fruits of our labor, my body and mind gave out on me, and this breakdown proved devastating not only to my career but to the very fabric of my being.”

Dusick is now a licensed psychologist working in LA in a career he could not have anticipated but nevertheless appreciated.

Balance, care, prioritizing health over profits – the keys to this inspiring story.

Screen Time

I thought you might appreciate an update on how my NYU students are doing with their screens stowed and no digital connection.

Two-thirds through the semester, I don’t even have to remind them to put their phones, laptops and iPads away.

More students are taking notes with pen and paper – one doodles (I wonder if that’s me she’s drawing?).

Four have voluntarily thanked me in front of the class for asking them to put their phones away – helps them focus better, they say.

Class discussions are immersive – everyone involved.

This leads me to believe that the real lesson here is how to gain control over our digital devices instead of letting them lead us into a knee-jerk world of distractions.

Shy One

As a Dale Carnegie instructor, I taught people that they didn’t have to be loud and boisterous to be an effective speaker.

In fact, it’s the other way around.

Nothing is more compelling than a soft voice full of passion for their subject.

Trying to be what you’re not is a formula for failure while channeling your authentic self is always the road to success.

The moment dictates what part of you to reveal.

The reason polls constantly show fear of speaking ranking higher than the fear of death is because speaking requires the confidence to be and sound like your authentic self.

Panic Button

Now is not the time to stop a panic attack.

Learning to live with them before they happen is.

People prone to anxiety overload (all of us) who cultivate the sense of being able to deal with panic are better served than those walking around harboring fear of the next one.

That opportunity will come soon enough but being ready with skills and coping techniques is more effective that waiting in fear.

“Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear” – Steve Maraboli